What is unique about the MITCH curriculum? ● Core Knowledge (CK) is sequenced learning from Kindergarten through 5th grade, so units build clearly and logically on prior years’ learning objectives. CK includes History (Social Studies), Language Arts, and Science topics. It also includes art and music, which are covered in specials. It is a thematic approach that allows for reading and writing and the arts to be woven together, thematically, during each unit. More information can be found at https://www.coreknowledge.org. ● Saxon Math is a cumulative, spiraled curriculum. Students constantly review concepts that have already been taught, while they build their knowledge. Each year, Saxon includes a period of review, giving all students a strong foundation in math concepts required for success. At MITCH, students in 1st grade and above “walk to math,” sometimes switching classrooms during the math hour. This allows students to be given instruction tailored to their ability level. With two classes per grade, typically one teacher teaches the grade level math and the other teaches the year ahead. ● Codebreaker is a phonetics based reading program that teaches children to read through speaking, spelling, and writing. Students begin by learning to hear the sounds in a word and learning the letters that represent those sounds. Spelling is the key component for developing a sight vocabulary and provides the words they need to write and read sentences. Codebreaker teaches the entire English phonetic code and spelling rules, which empowers students to read and write independently. We take the guesswork out of decoding and encoding words which builds confidence!
What Core Knowledge topics are covered at each grade level? ● Kindergarten: Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales, Stories, Farms, Magnetism, Native Americans, Five Senses, Plants, Kings and Queens, Seasons and Weather, Columbus and the Pilgrims, Colonial Towns and Townspeople, Taking Care of the Earth, Presidents and American Symbols. ● 1st Grade: Fables and Stories, Human Body, Different Lands Similar Stories (Same stories from different countries), Early World Civilizations (Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt), Early American Civilizations (Mayan, Aztec, and Incan Empires), Astronomy, The History of the Earth, Animals and Habitats, Fairy Tales, A New Nation: American Independence, Frontier Explorers ● 2nd Grade: Early Asian Civilizations, Modern Japan, Ancient Greece, The American Constitution, War of 1812, Westward Expansion (Pioneers and Native Americas), Civil War, Immigration, North American and South American Geography, Civil Rights, Natural Cycles, Insects, Magnetism, Simple Machines, Human Body (cells, digestive system, healthy diet) ● 3rd Grade: Classic Tales (The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin), Classification of Animals, Human Body (bones, muscles, nervous system), Ancient Rome, Light and Sound, Vikings, Astronomy, Native Americans, Early Exploration, Ecology ● 4th Grade: Human Body (Circulatory/Respiratory Systems), Meteorology, Europe in the Middle Ages, Rise of Islam, Chemistry, Electricity, American Revolution, Constitution, Geology, Maps and Mountains, Early Presidents, Oregon ● 5th Grade: HISTORY: Early American Civilizations; European Exploration, Trade, and the Clash of Cultures; The Renaissance and the Reformation; England from the Golden Age to the Glorious Revolution; Russia: Early Growth and Expansion; Feudal Japan; Westward Expansion; The Civil War: Causes, Conflicts, Consequences; Native Americans: Cultures and Conflicts; SCIENCE: Classifying Living Things; Cells Structures and Processes; Plant Structures and Processes; Life Cycles and Reproduction; The Human Body: Endocrine System, Reproductive System, Puberty; Engineering Design; Scientific Method; Earth’s Systems, Ecosystems, and Humans; Earth’s Place in the Universe; Energy
Why do you have a dress code and what is it? ● Dress code reduces class distinctions based on clothing. It also helps minimize student distractions because of common attire. Finally, it presents a unified representation of our school community on field trips. ● Uniform Guidelines: (these can also be found on our website) ○ PE Days - MITCH branded PE uniforms, or a solid color polo and solid navy blue sweats or shorts. ○ Non-PE Days - any solid color polo with navy blue or khaki pants/skirt
How do you do recess and lunch here? ● Most MITCH classes have two recesses. One with their grade level is 15 minutes and monitored by the grade level teachers. Lunch recess is 20 minutes long and there can be more than one grade level on the playground at a time. This recess is monitored by Art, Ag, and Music teachers. ● Students eat lunch in their classroom. Students have access to a microwave, but the time limit for microwaving an item is 1 min. Lunch is 20 minutes long.
What is homework like at this school? ● Assigned homework can vary from grade to grade, and within a grade from day to day. Parents can expect more homework when students are preparing for projects or class events. Below is a general idea of grade-level homework expectations. ○ Kindergarten - No homework, just suggestions for practice. ○ 1st Grade - Math is the main homework each night and comes home if it isn't finished in class. ○ 2nd Grade - Math is the main homework each night; students also read for 20 minutes. ○ 3rd Grade - Spelling sentences are assigned 3 times a week. Students have nightly math homework, which varies depending on their math class. Students also read regularly. ○ 4th Grade - Students complete unfinished math, daily, and spelling three times a week. They also read 20 minutes, practice typing and math facts. Occasionally there will be other homework related to the unit of study. Once a quarter there is an at-home reading project to complete. ○ 5th Grade - Unfinished work from class or preparation for activities or learning the next day, regular reading toward a personal book challenge.
How do you think your smaller class and school size impact student learning? ● Small class size has multiple positive effects on student learning. Teachers have more time to spend individually with students, giving students more opportunities to participate. At the same time, student anxiety about participation often decreases. Finally, small class size contributes to a tighter-knit learning community, where students are often each other’s greatest supporters and advocates.
Do staff collaborate for the purpose of increasing student achievement? ● Staff collaboration exists within both grade-level teams and across the school. Teachers work together with their grade-level colleague to plan and implement curriculum. We work together across grade levels, so each teacher has the resources they need to understand students and differentiate according to their needs.
What are your specials like? ● Art Education at MITCH connects and builds upon the Core Knowledge grade level content and exposes children to a wide range of art and artists. ● The MITCH Physical Education program strives to teach students teamwork and good sportsmanship through fun physical activities and motor skills. It promotes essential body management skills, utilizes MITCH Core Knowledge grade level content, and satisfies the Oregon Core Standards for grade level achievement in physical education. ● Agriculture Education explores historical, scientific and cultural material embedded in the Core Knowledge Curriculum through hands-on lessons in the classroom and our school garden. It satisfies Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core and Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards. Each class receives one hour of Agriculture each week, in which students most often visit and tend to the school garden. In poor weather, inside experiments and observation, as well as cooking are learned. ● Music Education combines: Core Knowledge music history topics, hands on learning with instruments, singing and learning to read music. A school wide music program takes place at the end of the year.
What does parent involvement look like here? ● Help in the classroom with students ● Chaperone field trips ● Grade homework ● Help with Core Knowledge events ● Lunch/recess duty ● Put together Codebreaker notebooks ● Read with students ● Clerical work (make copies, filing, grading, etc.). ● Check out books from the public library for our #classroombookaday goal (5th grade) ● Work in the garden ● Help with building maintenance
What is the activity fee and what is it used for? The $300 per student activity fee per year is required. It pays for classroom consumables, Core Knowledge Events and field trips. Financial assistance is available.
Why do you ask for a family contribution and is it required? MITCH receives 80% of the State School Fund from the district. The State School Fund is explained in more detail in the next question. We have to rely on family contributions (suggested at $600) in order to make up for this funding difference. Family contributions go directly toward MITCH’s operational budget to keep the doors of the school open. That is different than any donations that go to the PSO for special projects for the school. Though we do not require a family contribution, our budget depends on help from families.