The School will use as guidelines for curriculum development the Common Core State Standards and the recently approved NH Common Core-aligned Math, ELA, Science, and Arts Competencies. In particular, the LEAF Charter School will emphasize the Work-Study Practices (WSPs) developed by the NHDOE in June of 2014 (See Section (g) below). School faculty will utilize the California Center for College and Career’s ConnectEd resources – “Designing Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum Units” and “Performance-Based Curriculum Mapping” – to aid in meaningful integration across disciplines.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Resources: NH K-12 Curriculum Frameworks for Reading and Written & Oral Communication
English Language Arts (ELA) will be integrated into all areas of study. Specific foundational skills in reading and writing will be assessed upon admission to the School, to determine areas of intervention and acceleration for all students. Weekly Writing Labs will offer personalized guidance and structured opportunities for individual growth. All faculty will engage students in pre- and post-reading activities for content learning, and will develop meaningful challenges that require students to use writing to express understanding (e.g., writing a graphic novel or screenplay about the American Revolution). Relevant literature will be explored in all Threads of Inquiry. The Senior ELA Seminar will focus primarily on college application essays and professional writing.
Year 1: ELA Basics, Reading & Writing for Content Learning
Year 2: World Literature
Year 3: American Literature
Year 4: Modern Literature & Senior Seminar
Resources: NH K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks
Faculty will use the Core-Plus Mathematics Program to integrate essential math concepts into the wider curriculum. Specific foundational skills in computation, logic, structures, and functions will be assessed upon admission to the School, to determine areas of intervention and acceleration for all students. The “Problem of the Day” will offer personalized guidance and structured opportunities for individual growth. All faculty will use content-specific word problems and puzzles to increase numeracy, and will develop meaningful challenges that require students to use math to solve real-world problems (e.g., creating computer programs or designing and building structures). The Senior Math Seminar will be largely individualized and allow students to pursue theoretical or practical mathematical interests.
Year 1: Integrated Algebra, Geometry, & Statistics
Year 2: Integrated Algebra, Geometry, & Statistics
Year 3: Integrated Algebra, Geometry, & Statistics
Year 4: Integrated Algebra, Geometry, & Statistics or Calculus
Resources: NH K-12 Curriculum Frameworks for Social Studies
The Social Sciences offer a broad array of intellectual content for exploration in the Humanities. Threads of Inquiry for each year of study will be largely drawn from history, with in-depth investigation into the geo-political contexts of cultures worldwide. Curriculum development will rely heavily on the University of San Diego’s model “World History For All,” an integrated and comprehensive high school social studies curriculum.
Year 1: Geography, Anthropology
Year 2: World History, Government & Economics
Year 3: US History, Civics
Year 4: Global Studies
Resources: NH K-12 Curriculum Frameworks for Science
Sciences are at the core of STEM-centered learning and integral to student success in the 21st century. Scientific inquiry – forming hypotheses, making predictions, collecting data, experimenting and analyzing – is analogous to the creative process of learning at the LEAF Charter School. Each Thread of Inquiry will incorporate concrete scientific knowledge and real-world applications of scientific principles. Specific integrated curriculum materials will be drawn from ConnectEd’s Multidisciplinary Integrated Curriculum Units and other sources, particularly in the areas of engineering, biomedicine, and forensics.
Year 1: Earth & Life Sciences (Science of the Natural World)
Year 2: Physical Science (Science of the Built World)
Year 3: Environment Science, Chemistry (Science of the Manufactured World)
Year 4: Physics or Anatomy/Physiology (Science of the Modern World)
Resources: NH K-12 Curriculum Frameworks for the Arts
The Arts (Dance, Music, Visual Arts, & Theater) will be integrated into all areas of study. Specific foundational skills in movement, public speaking, and visual expression will be developed in the first year of attendance. Subsequent years will allow for more individual exploration. Weekly Arts Workshops will offer personalized guidance and structured opportunities for individual growth. All faculty will develop meaningful challenges that require students to use the arts to express understanding (e.g., design and model an environment that reflects an era). Additional opportunities for students to engage in the arts will be provided through open studio time, independent study, mentorships, and participation in the offerings of larger arts organizations, such as the Scholastic Arts & Writing program, the NH Educational Theater Guild, the Monadnock Valley Music Festival, and the NH Dance Institute.
Resources: NH K-12 Technology Education Curriculum Guide
Technology will be integrated into all aspects of School culture. Many students have smartphones or other devices that can be leveraged for educational purposes; for example, smartphone sensors (camera, GPS, accelerometer, etc.) can be used for a wide variety of data collection. Specific foundational skills in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) basics and computer programming will be developed in the first year of attendance. Subsequent years will allow for more individual exploration. All faculty will explain and model appropriate uses of technology, and will encourage the innovative use of technology to express understanding (e.g., designing a website, interactive presentation, app, etc. to document a relevant social issue). Additional opportunities for students to engage in ICT learning will be provided through open studio time, independent study, mentorships, and participation in the offerings of larger organizations, such as NH-VEX Robotics, Project Lead The Way, etc.
Resources: NH K-12 Physical Education & Health Education Curriculum Guidelines
Issues of health, wellness, and physical education will be explicitly addressed during quarterly “Skills Intensives,” and will include such topics as CPR/First Aid, Nutrition, and Healthy Relationships. Guest speakers and healthcare professionals will be invited to participate and lead workshops during the Intensive week. Wellness skills will be implicitly taught through modeling and optional activities throughout the semester. Before- and after-school offerings such as hiking, yoga, and field games will be available every school day. Additionally, the School lunch and garden programs (aided by the Farm-to-School Network and local food producers) will give students the opportunity to make healthy nutritional choices and participate in growing and preparing their own food.
Elective options are vast and limited only by the student’s interest and imagination. Time is available each week for guided and independent pursuit of topics of interest. This may take the form of a traditional independent study, in which a student outlines in advance, with the assistance of a mentor, the curriculum that he/she wishes to study. Electives may also be online offerings, through VLACS (NH’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School), Advanced Placement, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), or others. Older students may choose to earn elective credit through apprenticeships, internships, or work-study programs. Students will work with their mentors and/or employers to construct detailed curricula and expectations for all external programming. All LEAF students will be encouraged to study at least one Foreign Language. Additional credits may be earned over the summer through documented and assessed community service, travel, pre-college programs, or other activities. LEAF students will be strongly encouraged and incentivized to continue learning over summer vacation, to increase overall progress and mitigate “backsliding.”