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 transitioned to new elementary math curriculum in 2018-19 which resulted in growth in math proficiency in our lower grades. We are now transitions all elementary grades to this curriculum.
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 have selected the National Geographics curriculum. The curriculum is captivating and has received rave reviews from educators.
View a brief video on Reach for Reading
We are adding additional reading intervention specialist to our staff for the 2019-20 school year and have also been awarded a Reading Corps volunteer to support young readers in grades K-3.
Read FIT Academy’s Literacy Plan
Emphasis on World Languages
We offer three world languages; Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and French. Our goal in K-3 is exposure to all three languages while in grades 4-6 we will focus on one language per year. We offer these options 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 2019-20:
- Kindergarten through grade 2: Two classes
- Grades 3 – 10: 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
- Grade 9: 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 & Spanish: 40 minutes (alternating days)
Recess/Extended Brain Breaks: 30 minutes per day
All-Star Training: 40 minutes per day
Music: 30 minutes per day, twice a week
General 6-8 School Schedule:
English / Language Arts: 55 Minutes
Mathematics: 55 Minutes
Social Studies: 55 Minutes
Science (with PLTW STEM embedded in grades 5-8): 55 Minutes
Health & Physical Education: 55 Minutes (alternating days)
World Languages or Art & Music: 55 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?
In 2018-19, we supported advanced students through all-star time and a middle school honors class. In 2019-20, we will transition to a model where we move students to the next grade for academic instruction in math. This means students will remain with their assigned grade most of the day but will attend instruction for math with higher grades. 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.