Academics & Instruction at FIT Academy
We believe that children who are healthier, happier, and primed for learning will succeed academically. That is why we begin the journey of teaching and learning by paying attention to the whole child first. Convention tells us to focus on teaching and curriculum but common sense tells us to begin by ensuring that children are primed for learning. Only then can they benefit from excellent instruction and that is why we have adopted the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD’s) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model as a guiding framework.
Many people ask about our curriculum. Curriculum means content but implies much more so we like to talk about instruction. Instruction requires alignment with state standards; It requires effective teaching practices; and it requires learning to take place. Think of curriculum as the WHAT and instruction as the HOW. The HOW is at least as important as the WHAT. We begin this process by establishing the following academic focus:
In order to provide quality instruction supporting this focus, we will provide professional development for teachers in the following areas:
- Alignment of curriculum with state standards
- Teaching literacy across content areas
- Best practices in inquiry based learning
- Responsive classroom management
- Best practices in differentiated and individual learning
- Incorporation of healthy habits such as brain breaks
Curriculum Review & Selection
Our curriculum will be selected based on the needs of students, alignment to state standards, and alignment with our areas of focus. With this in mind, many of our decisions will be shaped as we build our instructional team and school community. We will offer a Curriculum Open House in May to discuss the curriculum options that we are considering prior to finalizing our selection.
We have enlisted the assistance of Bari Kahar, Owner of Mathnasium – Eagan in helping us research math curriculum that will serve the needs of our students. Mr. Kahar has successfully supported math learning for hundreds of children for seven years at his Eagan learning center. We are also researching various curriculum that will provide teachers and students the content necessary to support instruction.
Language and Literacy Curriculum
In accordance with the Minnesota English & Language Arts state standards, our goal is to integrate literacy throughout all content areas. With this in mind, we are strongly considering using the National Geographics curriculum. The curriculum is captivating and has received rave reviews from educators.
View a brief video on Reach for Reading
School Capacity & Class Sizes
Research on class size varies quite a bit and there are a number of factors impacting what might be the optimal class size for a group of learners. However, much of the research discourages classes that are too large or too crowded. There is also much research that indicates that a class that is too small (under 20) does not provide the rich learning environment that a slightly larger group might benefit from. We have established our class limits as follows:
School Capacity / Enrollment Cap for 2017-18:
- Kindergarten: Two classes
- Grades 1 – 8: One class per grade
School capacity is established by school board policy
Class Size Limits:
- Kindergarten: 23
- First Grade: 25
- Grades 2 & 3: 26
- Grades 4-8: 28
School Calendar & Daily Schedule
Our FIT Academy school calendar is identical to the District 196 calendar with the exception of one STEM day added to our grade 7-8 calendar. Our school hours will be as follows:
Start Time: 8:20am
End Time: 2:40pm
Before & After School Care
FIT Academy charter school reached agreement with the YMCA of the Twin Cities to offer a before and after school care program hosted at FIT Academy for grades K-6.
Before School Care: 7:00am – 8:15am
After School Care: 2:50pm – 6:00pm
In addition, we plan on having other activities such as sports teams, clubs, and other activities for students in grades 6-8 after school.
General K-5 School Schedule:
Morning Meeting: 20 Minutes
English / Language Arts: 90 Minutes
Mathematics: 60 Minutes
Science & Social Studies: 40 minutes (alternating days)
Health & Physical Education: 30-40 minutes (alternating days)
Art & Spanish: 40 minutes (alternating days)
Recess/Extended Brain Breaks: 30 minutes per day
All-Star Training: 40 minutes per day
General 6-8 School Schedule:
Advisory: 20 minutes
English / Language Arts: 50 Minutes
Mathematics: 50 Minutes
Social Studies: 50 minutes
Science: 50 minutes
Health & Physical Education: 40 minutes (alternating days)
Art & Spanish: 50 minutes (alternating days)
Recess/Extended Brain Breaks: 20 minutes per day
All-Star Training: 30 minutes per day
Music: Many of you may have interest in music education. We will not have music education in our first year but will actively pursue a partnership to include it as an after-school activity. We hope to add music in the future.
What is All-Star Training?
All-star training is not (as the name may imply) sports related. It is a 30 minute block in the student schedule dedicated to academic intervention and extension. Through our use of information (data) driven informal assessments, our teacher PLC’s (eduspeak for teachers working purposefully as a team) will identify the needs of each student for review or reinforcement in specific academic areas. Others who show mastery will need additional opportunities to extend the depth of their learning, often referred to as Gifted & Talented. This will be accomplished through daily All-Star Time where students work individually or in small guided groups in their specific area of focus. Using All-Star Time for this purpose ensures that teachers can stay on schedule during their regular academic blocks.
Don’t Forget About Field Day!
On Wednesdays, we will have students in grades 2/3 through 8 bused in groups to a nearby indoor turf sports facility to participate in one hour of field activities and sports. There will be no cost to the families for Field Day. This will take up to 90 minutes of the day and modify that day’s schedule for students. Grade levels will rotate throughout the day so there should never be more than 56 students at the facility where our two licensed physical education teachers will lead activities.