Our Approach- Elementary School
Literacy and a love of language are at the core of student achievement and lifelong learning. At PAVE, we cultivate literacy by implementing a program that not only teaches students to read and write but also challenges them to think critically about the topics and questions explored in great texts. Through explicit instruction in language development, reading fluency and vocabulary, scholars at PAVE build a strong foundation as readers and are confident in approaching complex texts. Through inter-curricular units of study scholars read, write about, listen to and discuss a variety of complex texts that encourage critical thought and the acquisition of important content knowledge. PAVE intentionally develops thoughtful readers who have a strong balance of content knowledge and reading skills.
Problem solving and investigation are the foundation of mathematics learning at PAVE. PAVE develops scholars who reason mathematically and do the ‘heavy lifting’ when it comes to problem solving. We expect our scholars to develop problem-solving strategies from a foundation of deep number sense, use of math and fluency with operations and math content. All PAVE teachers utilize and receive training in an approach called Cognitively Guided Instruction and we implement a balanced math curriculum that includes Investigations, a daily math meeting and story problems. PAVE expects that children don’t just learn math but that they understand math.
Data and Assessment
Data is an integral part of PAVE’s constant desire to improve. PAVE staff knows that the key to achievement for our scholars is constant improvement of both teaching and learning. The key driver for improving teaching and learning is ongoing analysis of student performance data. PAVE employs several practices to ensure that we keep the bar high for our scholars and guarantee that they are all moving towards that bar. PAVE believes that all data should be motivating – no matter how a student is performing – and their performance is viewed as a starting point from which they can improve. PAVE has developed school-wide systems that support the use of data as an engine for improving instructional practice and student learning. Regular data meetings are held to look at formative assessments and adjust teaching practices, student work is closely examined to see whether or not they are applying lessons taught, and students are invested in their growth by learning how to use their results to get motivated to achieve.
Teacher Training and Professional Development
Research shows that teachers have the single biggest influence on student achievement. PAVE values its teachers as professionals and provides a variety of outlets for continuous teacher training and development. It starts with a two-week summer institute that focuses on foundational practices in classroom management and culture as well as curriculum and instruction. The instructional leadership team at PAVE and consultants in both English Language Arts and Math lead workshops and conduct sessions to ensure teachers are prepared for the school year. One of the key elements that continues throughout the year is regular coaching and support. Through classroom observations and regular coaching meetings teachers work with their coach to implement feedback and hone their teaching practice. PAVE also provides time and space for professional development on Fridays by releasing our scholars early and gathering as a staff to have workshops, meet and plan. In addition to support from the instructional leadership team PAVE teachers often cite their colleagues as critical in their learning and growth as teachers.
PAVE holds a strong belief that every child has unique strengths and that all of our scholars can have academic success with the right supports in place. Good instruction and a deep knowledge of how our scholars learn is our primary method for ensuring that our children experience rich literature, challenging mathematics, exciting content and meaningful social growth. To ensure there is enough support for all learners, the elementary school invests in:
Co-teaching: Each classroom in Kindergarten – 4th grade has two full time teachers. They work to differentiate learning for all scholars and ensure that scholars receive the individual support that they need.
Response to Intervention: We believe that academic struggles should be addressed as soon as possible. PAVE’s elementary school holds daily intervention groups led by trained interventionists to ensure that scholars receive remediation and support right when they need it.
English as a Second Language (ESL): To ensure that our ESL scholars are successful, PAVE’s ESL Coordinator employs a Sheltered Instruction model. This model is a balance of support both in and out of the classroom. The ESL Coordinator collaborates with classroom teachers and interventionists to ensure that all scholars are exposed to rich literature and language.