The immediate goal of Lake Eola Charter School is to build a foundation for further academic success at the high school and post-secondary levels, to ensure that students are able to keep open a broad range of future endeavors and to prepare them to be responsible and productive citizens.
LECS will seek to systematically and cumulatively build the students knowledge and skills by providing them with a thorough and early grounding in reading, writing, mathematics, history, science, a foreign language, and the arts.
Where much of traditional education has focused on a transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the students, faculty at LECS will be seen as facilitators of student learning aimed at specific goals. Longer blocks of time will allow teachers the maximum flexibility to create in depth student projects, including, for example, visits to local museums, the library and Lake Eola. Within a given class setting, many activities and methods may be adopted to enable students to understand the concepts and facts of a subject. Teachers model the reasoning skills inherent in structuring and processing academic content so that students can begin to make decisions independently by critically thinking through questions and when necessary, using quantitative analysis to solve real problems.
The school will serve no more than 219 students in grades K-8. Classes sizes are as follows:
Kindergarten: 17 students
The school is located in the downtown business district of Orlando, and shall be open to any elementary student or middle school student who resides in the Orange County School District.
All eligible students who submit a timely application shall be enrolled, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of the program or building. In such case, all applicants shall have a chance of being admitted through a random selection process. The charter gives enrollment preference to a sibling of a student enrolled in LECS, a child of a LECS employee, or a child of a LECS Board member.
Lake Eola Charter School is committed to following anti-discriminatory statutes as set out in s.228.2001 which forbids discrimination against students or employees based on race, national origin, sex, handicap, or marital status.
Carefully designed, multi-aged, school projects will be held each year including an oratorical festival and a science and technology fair. LECS is committed to setting up content and performance standards based on International and National standards, as opposed to simply adopting the standards laid out by a publisher of a textbook series. Therefore, most of our materials will be drawn from sources such as non-fiction and fictional works, magazine articles, essays, computer software, manipulatives, and other enrichment materials. The following criteria will be used for selecting materials: 1) correspondence with the school's achievement targets for each grade, 2) subject accuracy, 3) clarity of exposition, and 4) vocabulary and ideas that build from grade to grade.
Technology will be used to research specific knowledge and to communicate this knowledge to others. Computers are seen as a tool for mastering knowledge and skills, rather than an end in themselves. In grades K to 8 computer stations are integrated into each classroom. At least one classroom computer will be networked with the school-wide system.
Closely connected with mastery of basic knowledge is the acquisition of positive attitudes and behaviors which are essential for success in an advanced academic setting. These include hard work, personal responsibility, the ability to work cooperatively and constructively with others, a sense of fairness, and the self discipline to initiate and complete projects.
1. Students will develop clear and effective written and oral communication skills using standard English
Below are the general approaches to curricular development in the core disciplines. The faculty individually and in academic program committees will specify content and performance standards prior to the beginning of the school year. In addition to curriculum development, careful attention will be paid to implementing coherent assessment standards and practices based on the curriculum.
It is essential that students master the basics of reading by the end of the 3rd grade so that by 4th grade they are prepared to learn science, history, literature and mathematics in greater depth. As one educator put it, "They must learn to read, so that they can read to learn." Students need a language-rich environment where they are immersed in meaningful reading and writing activities.
Early preparation is necessary to build a foundation for literacy. Studies have shown that children who are introduced to books and other printed materials at an early age are more likely to succeed in reading well by the time they reach 4th grade than those who are not. For this reason, LECS believes that it is essential to provide a Kindergarten program for early literacy preparation which has three goals, (1) recognition and naming the letters of the alphabet, (2) general knowledge about texts (using a book, whether a story is told in pictures or print, etc) and (3) awareness of phonemes, the speech sounds that correspond roughly to individual letters.
Because LECS is located adjacent to the Orlando Public Library, we have a unique opportunity to form an on-going partnership with the library. This partnership includes access to special programs such as staff lead read alouds and guest author talks.
LECS students will learn to read at least at the basic reading level as outlined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress Standards (NAEP) in order to progress to the 4th grade. Grades K-3 will focus on the process of reading effectively so that students can construct the meaning of a wide range of texts including poetry, folktale, fables, legends, plays, speeches, essays and other works of non-fiction. Learning phonics is central to this process.
The language arts program in grades 4-8 will reflect a literature-based approach. It has been adapted from Nancie Atwell's program where students self-select fiction and non fiction that reflects three levels: holiday, challenge and just right choices. Through conferencing, reading logs and activities such as Book Bistro students demonstrate their comprehension. Integrated in this process teachers use mini lessons to model skills such as inferencing, sequencing and cause and effect.
Equally important to the reading process is the writing process. Daily writing will be used as a means of processing questions, knowledge, experiences and creative thought. Students will advance from basic sentence structure using correct grammar and punctuation to full length writing of essays, journals, creative writing, and technical writing genres. Writing skills are developed in a whole-language context.
Grades 3-8 will participate in an in class speech contest in response to a question or topic concerned with values/citizenship. Students will be evaluated based on grade-appropriate objectives. The best speeches of the class contest will go on to participate in the all school Oratorical Festival in one of two divisions: 3,4,5 or 6,7,8.
Projects such as the University of Pittsburgh Quantitative Understanding: Amplifying Student Achievement and Reasoning (QUASAR) show that students can reach high levels of mathematical reasoning across the board. Three assumptions form the basis of Pittsburgh's success in raising proficiency in mathematical reasoning and complex problem solving: (1) All students are able to learn a broad range of mathematical content (2) all students can acquire a deeper and more meaningful understanding of mathematical ideas, and; (3) all students can demonstrate proficiency in mathematical reasoning and complex problem solving.
According to the National Council of Mathematics Teachers a shift is needed from traditional 'paper and pencil' approaches which emphasize computation and rote learning to an approach which emphasizes the child gaining mathematical insight, reasoning, and problem solving skills. Based on the NCMT's recommendations, LECS will focus on creating a developmentally appropriate curriculum where children are encouraged to understand the conceptual basis and the quantitative analysis of mathematical relations. The K-4 curriculum will emphasis the development of children's mathematical thinking and reasoning abilities. Students will use manipulatives in order to recognize concepts such as number sense, the meaning of fractions and decimals, techniques for forming estimations, geometric and spatial patterns, and whole number operations. As students come to recognize mathematical reasoning patterns in different contexts, they are encouraged to apply these concepts to real life situations and communicate their findings in a variety of ways including writing, diagramming, models, and oral demonstrations.
In grades 5-8 students will build on the algebraic and geometrical concepts integrated into the K-4 curriculum. By the 7th and 8th grades, the formal study of pre-algebra and algebra is introduced. Rather than teachers leading students in a lecture format through a math problem, the emphasis is on students solving the problem and then demonstrating to the class strategies for reaching a conclusion.
The science curriculum focuses on mathematical and scientific reasoning, as well as experimentation and observation, and is in line with the McRel Standards. Each grade level will learn a specific body of facts, theories, and principles in the areas of physical sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, and astronomy. In the early grades (K-2), the emphasis will be on exploration of the natural world including topics such as magnets, the solar system, simple machines, dinosaurs and backyard birds. In grades 3-5 students will be introduced to the scientific method and the use of measurement in understanding the elements of Newtonian physics, the processes that shape life and the environment. In grades 6-8 students will integrate quantitative analysis and the scientific method to describe natural laws and biological functions. All students are required participate in the yearly science fair.
LECS teaches history, geography and world cultures from kindergarten through the eighth grade. The curriculum was developed based on the Washington World History Project with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
History and geography are taught from Kindergarten to grade two through interesting stories from around the world such as folk tales, legends, myths, accounts of historical events, and biographies. In grade three, students study all seven continents in a general survey approach. Activities and discussions promote understanding of the history, government, daily life, culture, economy and geography of the various regions.
The transition from stories to a more detailed and factual study of history occurs during fourth grade. Students read biographies, study Native American Culture, the history and geography of the United States and the history of Florida in its formation and heritage. From grades 4-8, social studies in taught cyclically. Year 1 is early civilization, year 2 is from the Dark Ages through Exploration and year 3 is post exploation to modern day. Additional themes integrated into the rotation include Florida History in grades 4 and 5 and government in grades 6-8. All grades study the Foundations of American heritage which includes the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independance and the Branches/duties of the government. Students learn geography in conjunction with their study of history.
Following the McRel Standards, LECS will teach modern foreign language and culture to every student in grades K-8. Studies have shown that early acquisition of a second language increases the chances that the student will be proficient in speaking and writing a second language, as well as having other cognitive benefits. Language classes will meet twice weekly to maximize exposure to the sounds of the new language and to provide as much immersion experience as possible.
In the early grades students are taught through games, songs and dramatizations which stress oral expression and listening comprehension. Cultural elements and basic vocabulary are introduced and students are encouraged to play, sing, name pictures and exchange simple sentences among themselves. By grade 4, students are introduced to the written language and begin to learn specific vocabulary and verb conjugations. By 6th grade formal grammar and syntax are studied. Later, reading comprehension is increased through the study of literature and discussion.
LECS provides a comprehensive health and physical education program in accordance with the McRel standards. Students learn about health promotion and disease prevention, human growth and development, nutritional science, accident and fire prevention, and physical activity concepts. Part of the program focuses on nonviolent strategies for conflict resolution. Special topics such as the drug and smoking prevention, safety training, first aid, and AIDS/HIV awareness are enhanced by community services available in the Orlando area.
Students learn about age-appropriate aspects of human sexuality and family life as part of the health program, provided parents/legal guardians agree to their participation in this part of the program.
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