City Academy believes that both the social-emotional and academic growth of each student is equal and necessary to address the healthy development of the whole child. Through the application of the Responsive Classroom Program, teachers strive to develop a classroom culture that is both safe and cohesive. Our school-wide values are known as C.A.R.E.S., which stand for cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control.
STEAM Philosophy (All Grades)
In the fields of science, art and math, City Academy has advanced the integration of these fields – along with technology and engineering – to build cross-curricular connections that foster critical, creative thinking. This effort has become known as the STEAM Initiative, an innovative and collaborative approach that extends STEM education to incorporate art, recognizing that many of the skills and principles taught in art are applicable to and enhance what is accomplished in STEM classrooms. The result is a unique STEAM Initiative. Science, math and art are all taught as formal subjects throughout all grade levels, but are connected through shared principles of critical, creative thinking. The STEAM Team has used the Understanding by Design model to develop enduring understandings and essential questions that purposefully unify the STEAM subjects.
Language Arts Philosophy (All Grades)
Reading and writing empowers students to be thinkers and creators. To foster this empowerment, we believe that students must be immersed in a culture devoted to a rich language arts program that is cross-curricular in its approach. The entire City Academy community engages our students in the processes of reading and writing. Parents, teachers, administration, alumni and staff read to our students, making reading an integral part of every student’s day. As students develop, instruction is differentiated to support varying abilities and needs to ensure each student possesses an assortment of reading comprehension strategies. Writing begins with expressing ideas through representations, and builds into an expression of words. Students practice and become familiar with writing through journaling, personal narratives, lists, stories, poetry and nonfiction. Our youngest students see themselves as writers. The Writer’s Workshop model fosters independence, allows teachers to regularly conference with students individually, and supports differentiated instruction.
Reading Philosophy (All Grades)
At City Academy, we believe that for students to become life-long readers, they must be immersed in a culture devoted to reading. The entire City Academy community engages our students in the reading process: parents, teachers, administration, alumni and staff. Our reading program is an integral part of every student’s day, is cross-curricular and is nurtured within our students beginning in our early childhood program and continuing through the completion of the sixth grade. Our instruction has been designed with the goal of developing empathic and detail-oriented readers who not only understand themes, points of view and authors’ purposes; but who can also reflect on what they have read to develop cultural, societal and personal perspective. Reading instruction is differentiated to support the varying abilities and needs of our developing readers ensuring that each individual student possesses an assortment of comprehension strategies that work for them.
Spanish Philosophy (All Grades)
The City Academy Spanish program begins with immersion in early childhood, a time when children are most receptive to language learning. In all grades, students actively participate in Spanish instruction through games, songs, projects, and the use of technology — specifically, Rosetta Stone. The Spanish program exposes students to other cultures and develops their Spanish speaking, reading and writing abilities.
Music Philosophy (All Grades)
The general music at City Academy begins with experiential interaction with a variety of musical styles and instruments. As students move through a sequential program of music instruction, there is an emphasis on developing the whole student. Students are taught to understand the importance of music within society; see the connections between traditional, popular and classical music; identify as well as critique a musical piece; and perform confidently in front of an audience. Emphasis is placed on cooperation, improvisation, constructive expression and use of the whole body. At City Academy, music is valued as a necessary and enriching part of the intellectual growth of students.
Physical Education & Health Philosophy (All Grades)
We believe that physical education is an essential component of the overall educational process. During our health and physical education classes, students participate in a progressive and individualized program that is designed to develop specific character skills: cooperation, sportsmanship, leadership, loyalty, respect, and honesty. Students are exposed to a wide variety of lessons and activities gaining knowledge, skills and values that will develop and enhance their sense of well being. By having a better sense of themselves physically, students will be able to make educated decisions on how to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle that will maximize the quality of their life.
Art Philosophy (All Grades)
A strong visual arts program is a vital part of a child’s education. In addition to basic art skills, the interdisciplinary process of creating art fosters the development of a range of skills necessary for children to grow as students and to achieve their potential. It encourages exploration, observation, analysis, experimentation and the development of skills in problem solving and self-expression. Students gain confidence as they use divergent thinking to create their own unique answers and solutions to each art project. In addition, focus, pride in workmanship and the appreciation for aesthetics are ingrained in students who experience a solid art education. Finally, students learn the relevance of art in history and culture, which provides them with a more complete understanding of the world.
Science Philosophy (All Grades)
Science education at City Academy is firmly rooted in both the school’s culture of academic rigor, as well as an environment of affective transformation. Fostering well-rounded, critical thinkers requires an atmosphere that couples science literacy with the experiences that come with true exploration and discovery. The motivation that drives a student’s thirst for knowledge and willingness to delve deeper is often generated when the formal concepts of science are set within an inquiry-based curriculum that provides valuable, meaningful resources and experiences inside and outside the classroom. This intentional pairing at City Academy offers opportunities that can have monumental, positive effects on a student’s enthusiasm for a subject often deemed difficult or inapplicable. Passion for a scientific topic or concept comes when science specialists facilitate and guide their students through a process of scholarly exploration.
Social Studies Philosophy (Second – Sixth Grade)
The social studies program at City Academy is structured with the goal of creating knowledgeable, engaged citizens who are capable of making informed decisions based on an understanding of how the past shapes the present. Through a diverse study of different countries, cultures and religions, students form a broader view of the world while recognizing their own unique place. This curricular diversity allows our students to begin to build comprehension of the processes through which societies come to terms with changes to their history and community life as well as how they will address the societal challenges that future generations will face. The City Academy approach to social studies goes beyond the textbook using differentiated instruction and lessons based on discussion, critical thinking and analysis. This serves to truly engage students in the subject matter, helping them understand how historical events; people and places are relevant to their own lives.
Writing Philosophy (Second – Sixth Grade)
At City Academy, we believe that writing is an integral part of every subject area and that instruction needs to be differentiated to support the varying abilities of our blossoming authors. It is our belief that by utilizing a writing program that is cross-curricular, we are raising the level of engagement for the students as well as reinforcing the enduring understandings being taught in other subject areas. Our writing curriculum revolves around the four main types of writing–expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive–while our specific writing prompts and instructional methods are meant to inspire critical thinking, collaborative dialogue between students, self-reflection and evaluation of one’s work.
Mathematics Philosophy (Second – Sixth Grade)
The City Academy mathematics program for grades two through six builds upon the foundation of the Early Childhood Montessori math classes. The Singapore Math curriculum allows our students to learn math in stages, beginning with concrete, moving next to pictorial and finally working in the abstract. At every grade level, students build number sense through a variety of classroom experiences. Teachers differentiate and individualize the curriculum for each student, cultivating independent thinkers and problem solvers. Through the use of hands-on projects, activities and a variety of real-world experiences, students are encouraged to appreciate the importance of mathematics in their lives and to gain confidence in their abilities as evolving mathematicians.
Violin Philosophy (First – Sixth Grade)
City Academy’s Violin Program is based on the principle that every child can learn to play the violin if given the right environment, quality instruction and an instrument that is appropriate for their physical stature. The discipline, sensitivity and endurance required to learn the violin augments the children’s development of their character and intellectual skills, which in turn supports their individual academic endeavors. Students begin their violin studies playing from memory. As they move towards the end of elementary school, they begin learning to read music notation. Instruction is based upon both the Suzuki Method and the O’Connor Violin Method, which have been modified for use in a classroom setting. The use of these methods allows the violin instructor to teach students to appreciate and play a variety of styles of music.
Social Studies Philosophy (Junior Kindergarten – First Grade)
The early childhood Social Studies program at City Academy seeks to expose our young students to a variety of international and national cultures. By using hands-on materials, technology, maps, and artifacts from around the world, the students develop an interest, understanding and respect for different cultures.
Practical Life Philosophy (Junior Kindergarten – First Grade)
A Practical Life curriculum in the Montessori tradition is offered to City Academy students in junior kindergarten. Its purpose is to assist young children in the development of a sense of order, concentration, personal pride, independence, respect for others, fine motor skills, grace and courtesy, confidence and self esteem. The practical life activities will help children gain control in the coordination of movement, adapt to expectations around them, and gain personal independence.
Mathematics Philosophy (Junior Kindergarten – First Grade)
The City Academy Early Childhood Mathematics program uses an independent approach, encouraging children ages three through seven to learn academic and practical life skills through the Montessori method known as M.O.C.C.I. (Movement, Order, Concentration, Coordination, and Independence). Our mathematics curriculum focuses on each individual child’s physical, psychological and social needs. By designing our curriculum in this manner, City Academy is able to enhance natural, all-around growth in every child.