Elementary - P: (702) 902-5466 F: (702) 902-5444 • Middle/High - P: (702) 826-4373 F: (702) 902-5444 • 4650 Losee Road, North Las Vegas, NV 89081 Phone

Somerset Academy Losee Campus

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Best Practices
Interdisciplinary Connections

Curricular decisions will be guided by the aim of thorough student mastery and achievement rather than by an effort merely to cover content. As teachers build on interdisciplinary connections, students naturally begin to link information between and among courses, increasing the relevancy of skills and content in such courses.

Components of an Effective Lesson

The Components of an Effective Lesson is the framework designed for delivery of a comprehensive lesson. The components are as follows:

  • INTRODUCTION: Set the stage for the lesson. Examples of introductory activities may include note-taking, group activities, predicting, etc.
  • DAILY REVIEWS: Provide review for short-term memory of recently taught material. Provide immediate and meaningful feedback when correcting homework. Keep reviews and homework checks brief.
  • DAILY OBJECTIVE: State and post the objective(s) before introducing the lesson. Have students record the objective(s).
  • CONCEPT AND SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION: Teach the big concepts. Provide the “why” for rules. Link concepts to previously learned material and/or real-world experiences. Use a variety of techniques to address student needs, including oral recitation, note-taking, and activities. Hold students accountable for taking notes and keeping records. Use ongoing, formative assessment to make instructional decisions.
  • GUIDED / INDEPENDENT / GROUP PRACTICE: Conduct practice at different times throughout the lesson to help students process information. Use a variety of activities and groupings to address student learning needs. Structure classroom time for student reflection, inquiry, discovery, discussion, problem-solving, and analysis.
  • HOMEWORK: Assign homework that aligns with curriculum objectives and reinforces skills and concepts taught. Include a variety of activities and assessment items.
  • CLOSURE: Review the skills and/or concepts taught. Provide a variety of ways for students to explain what they have learned and how to apply the concepts.
  • LONG-TERM REVIEW: Integrate ongoing, periodic review into lessons to maintain student skills, address deficiencies, build conceptual understanding, and prepare for high stakes tests.
Differentiated and Standards-Based Instruction

The School’s ultimate goal is to provide a learning environment that will maximize the potential for student success. Teachers will use differentiated instructional strategies that connect with individual student's learning needs. Teachers will manage instructional time to meet the standards while providing motivating, challenging, and meaningful experiences for students to receive and process information in ways that require differentiation of experience. These instructional practices will include:

Direct Instruction (lecturing/modeling): this methodology will be used when teachers need to explain or demonstrate specific content and skills. Explicit, systematic instruction will be based on the Common Core Standards for Learning. This instruction is structured and based on mastery learning. Frequent Curriculum-based assessments help place students in ability groups for further differentiated strategies and identify students who require additional intervention.
  • Scaffolding - Teachers will identify the current developmental skills of individual students based on assessments and provide support structures to help students move to the next level. As the year goes on, the student becomes more adept at skills and at directing his or her learning, and becomes more autonomous.
  • Cooperative Learning – Teachers will guide small-group learning, to increase communication and team-building skills. It is based on grouping small teams of students heterogeneously according to ability, interest, background, etc. Some Cooperative learning activities will include Jigsaw II, STAD-Student Teams, or Group Investigation.
  • Inquiry-Based Learning - Based on the scientific method, this student centered strategy will require students to conduct investigations independent of the teacher, unless otherwise directed or guided through the process of discovery. Teachers will use this strategy in developing critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Information Processing Strategies - Teaching students "how to" process information is a key factor in teaching students how to strategically organize, store, retrieve, and apply information presented. Such strategies will include memorization, KWL, reciprocal teaching, graphic organizing, scaffolding, or webbing.

Behavior Management

We believe that both teachers and students need to be provided with a consistent behavior management system so that maximum time can be spent teaching and learning. Inappropriate behaviors that interfere with the learning process and the expectations set for character development can be reduced and ultimately extinguished through consistent, best-practice behavior management techniques. Behavior management based on a positive reward/point system will be in place in all classrooms from the beginning of the first year of operation. Pre-service and in-service training will be required of all teachers. Each teacher, then, will be given the opportunity to implement her/his own behavior management techniques in their respective classrooms. The ultimate goal will be to remove these systems from the classrooms, based on the theory that appropriate behaviors will be internalized and external reward systems will no longer be necessary.

Accountability

Teachers will be required to document instruction of the Common Core Standards by completing daily lesson plans. Lesson plans will identify specific objectives taught and benchmarks met as listed in the curriculum. The Principal will check lesson plans weekly and conduct daily classroom walk-through’s to ensure that curricular objectives are being documented in each teacher’s lesson plan book and taught accordingly.