High Quality Instruction
HIGH QUALITY INSTRUCTION
Based on the MTSS framework, all students receive universal support through high quality academic, behavioral and social-emotional instruction. Instruction, curriculum and assessments are research and evidence based. Instruction is data driven and, at this foundational level of our Multi-Tiered System of Support, provides multiple sources of data used to determine if students need supplemental or intensified support (see the Plan For Below Grade Level And At-risk Students for more information regarding these supports).
Darnall Charter School has developed and will continue to refine an instructional program that provides optimal support for our students based on the expectation that students will develop skills and abilities that will prepare them for college and the workforce. Using early identification, consistent progress monitoring, and through differentiated materials, instructional and learning strategies, and the use of adaptive software, the learning needs of individual students are supported. Our program is built on the premise that learning occurs best in supportive learning environments that foster active engagement.
The following are essential components of the Darnall’s academic, behavioral and social-emotional instructional programs:
Instruction is adapted based on the assessment of students’ strengths and needs. Various differentiation strategies may be used to adapt the presentation of curriculum, materials used, learning activities, student grouping or the instructional setting.
Universal Design for Learning (“UDL”)
At Darnall, we continue to refine our teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. By building in flexibility we adjust instruction to every student’s strengths and needs. We are working toward structuring all lessons and assessments around the three UDL main principles which include; offering information in more than one format (representation), giving students more than one way to interact with the material and to show what they’ve learned (action and expression) and looking for multiple ways to motivate students (engagement).
Evidence-Based Instructional Practices
Darnall Charter School uses and will consistently implement evidence-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students including, but not limited to:
- Flexible and strategic grouping
- Flexible seating (at some levels)
- Collaborative learning such as pair share and partner talk
- Peer assisted learning
- Interactive notebooks
- Incorporating student choice
- Student presentations and debate
- Small group direct instruction or guided practice
- Differentiated small group or one-on-one instruction based on student needs
- Project-based learning
- Cross-age support
- Independent practice
- Systematic use of adaptive software
Grade Level Grouping
Although TK - 6th grade classes are self-contained, or single subject in Middle School, it is our practice to provide flexible grouping within grade level teams in order to best meet the needs of our students. Just as we expect teachers to provide focused small group instruction within their classrooms, we support collaboration among grade level teams to provide focused instruction to homogeneous groups. The flexibility to reconfigure for specific purposes such as intervention or ELD ensures that teachers are able to collaborate on behalf of their students.
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Culturally responsive teaching is used to ensure students feel a sense of belonging. Students are more engaged in the learning process when instruction is presented in the context of their personal experience or perspective.
1:1 Technology, Instructional Technology and Resources
Darnall’s primary goal for the use of technology, consistent with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), is to support the learning needs of all students. Technology is another option for providing students with a means to access the curriculum. It allows for the flexibility and responsiveness that UDL aims to facilitate for students in the classroom. This power and flexibility greatly enhances the ability to individualize and customize the learning experience and provide students with multiple avenues for learning: multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement. The following are some of the ways teaching and learning are enhanced with technology:
- Personalized Learning and Differentiated Instruction - Students do not learn the same material at the same pace or in the same way. Technology makes it possible for teachers to differentiate content delivery and student assignments, using a variety of teaching methods and tools.
- Enhanced Student Engagement and Ownership for Learning - The learning shifts from the more traditional instructor-led model to a more student-centered focus. Accessibility to online learning tools gives students options that naturally engage them in the learning process.
- Enhanced Opportunity For Collaboration - Students have access to resources beyond the classroom walls or the school day. Students are able to collaborate, communicate and problem-solve with their teachers and peers through a variety of tools.
- Improved Student Workflow - Students experience greater independence, greater task completion, and more efficient workflow with the ability to electronically manage and share tasks in a single environment.
- Ongoing Formative Assessment - Teachers are better able to monitor student work and progress. This facilitates ongoing feedback to students from teachers and formative assessment opportunities.
We are committed to the acquisition and support of effective educational technology that provides teachers and students with real-world contexts for learning, connections to larger learning communities, and opportunities to individualize and apply learning.