As we plan for a return to school in the fall, we realize that things will probably look differently. The Minnesota Department of Education is scheduled to announce final re-opening guidelines the last week of July but it appears they are preparing us for some form of blended plan. Blended instruction is a combination of on-site and distance learning which we have both executed successfully. Our commitment is to implement state recommendations with the flexibility to serve the individual preferences of families. Provided that we have the authority and resources to do so, we are committed to serve some families entirely through distance learning, some entirely on site, and some using a blended model. Please continue to check with us as we work towards our final plans for re-opening in the fall!
K-8 Academics & Instruction
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. At FIT Academy, this means providing a strong foundation of health & fitness.
Many people ask about our curriculum. Curriculum means content but implies much more so we like to talk about instruction. Instruction combines alignment to state standards, selection of content and curriculum, and use of effective instructional strategies ensuring student learning.
In order to provide quality instruction supporting this focus, we will provide professional development for teachers in the following areas:
- Selection of content & curriculum that aligns with state standards
- Paying special attention to the foundations of knowledge
- Teaching literacy across content areas
- Responsive classroom management
- Best practices in differentiated and individual learning
- Effective use of data practices to guide instruction
- Incorporation of healthy habits such as brain breaks
FIT Academy is currently reviewing our math curriculum and evaluating new options to better serve the math growth of our students. Please email our Curriculum Lead Mr. Kalenze with any questions.
Language and Literacy Curriculum
In accordance with the Minnesota English & Language Arts state standards, our goal is to integrate literacy throughout all content areas. FIT Academy will be transitioning to the highly recognized Core Knowledge model in 2020-21. Please email our Curriculum Lead Mr. Kalenze for additional information.
Read FIT Academy’s Literacy Plan
Emphasis on World Languages
FIT Academy believes that learning other languages is very beneficial to the literacy development of children. For that purpose, we have adopted a model that introduces several world languages. Beginning in kindergarten, students will be exposed to several languages. In 2020-21, we will be offering French and Spanish in kindergarten through second grade and French throughout the rest of grades. We hope to grow that combination school-wide in future years. We offer multiple languages for several reasons including:
- Children have an especially high capacity to learn new languages at a young age
- Research shows that learning multiple languages improves overall literacy
- Offering several languages supports our goal of embracing the global community
- Exposing students to several world languages early will help them choose a language of focus as they enter secondary school
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 2020-21:
- Kindergarten through grade 3: Two classes
- Grades 4 – 11: 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 4-10: 28
- Grade 1: 20
School Calendar & Daily Schedule
Our calendar of school days is identical to the District 196 calendar.
Our school hours will be as follows:
Start Time: 8:20am
End Time: 2:40pm
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 & Music: 40 minutes once a week each
Recess/Extended Brain Breaks: 30 minutes per day
All-Star Training: 40 minutes per day
World Languages: 30 minutes, three times a week
General 6-8 School Schedule:
English / Language Arts: 58 Minutes
Mathematics: 58 Minutes
Social Studies: 58 Minutes
Science; 58 Minutes
Health & Physical Education: 58 Minutes (alternating days)
World Languages or Art & Music: 58 Minutes
Recess/Extended Brain Breaks: 20 Minutes per day
What is All-Star Training?
All-star training is not (as the name may imply) sports related. It is a time dedicated to academic intervention and extension in grades K-8. Through our use of information (data) driven informal assessments, our teacher 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. At the elementary level, 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. At the Middle School level, All-Star Time will be scheduled once a day for students in need of additional support.
How Will We Support Challenging Our Advanced Students?
Students in grades K-5 who qualify for advanced math are allowed to take the next grade level’s math class. This is accomplished by scheduling math at the same time. For other content areas and middle school, advancement is achieved through independent assignment or student schedule adjustments allowing students to take higher level classes. Students selected for this advancement will be based on a combination of standardized testing, teacher recommendation, and parent approval.
Don’t Forget About Field Day!
On Wednesdays, students in grades 3 through 8 will be 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.