Instruction Overview

Four-dimensional Instruction

Curriculum and instructional design center around a meta-cognitive framework that focuses on 4 dimensions: knowledge-building, cognitive, personal, and social, ensuring that students acquire the schema necessary to build the critical thinking skills needed to comprehend and interact with new content (Collins, 2006; Vygotsky, 1978). In all courses teachers utilize modeling and speaking meta-cognitively about the academic tasks. Students who have traditionally not experienced success in school require instruction on how to approach math problems, how to make sense of a complex text, and how to more deeply engage with the learning process. All course scope and sequence documents outline the “Goals and Objectives for Shaping Attitudes Toward Learning,” in addition to the subject matter content and skills.

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Our instructional focus is 4 dimensional: knowledge-building, cognitive, personal, and social.

Poor literacy skills hinder the academic success of high school learners. Marion Academy embeds disciplinary literacy strategies into all areas of curriculum and instruction, making it clear to students how an expert reader of a particular discipline reads and makes meaning of text. Incorporating disciplinary literacy strategies with the gradual release of responsibility model requires extensive teacher modeling, leading to independent student mastery.

Differentiation

Teachers plan for differentiation and include differentiation strategies in all lesson and unit plans. Based upon student need, differentiation strategies employed in Marion Academy classrooms may include using vertical text sets, student choice, heterogeneous and homogeneous grouping, parallel tasks, and incorporating opportunities for multiple learning modalities. Vertical text sets provide students with opportunities for students to read standards-aligned content at reading levels that match or slightly stretch their reading level.

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In addition to vertical text sets, students continue to interact with complex disciplinary texts, practicing vocabulary acquisition and improving reading comprehension skills. The gradual release of responsibility instructional strategy described above includes a great deal of cooperative group work, and teachers must select strategic grouping techniques to maximize instructional time and to provide for differentiation.

Creating comprehensible explanations and scaffolded learning experiences.

Teachers whose students include English Language Learners (ELL) additionally employ the Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol (SIOP), in which teachers plan explicitly for content adaptations, building background knowledge, creating comprehensible explanations and scaffolded learning experiences, and providing opportunities for review prior to mastery assessments.

Reading and Language Arts Instruction

At the beginning of the year, teachers at Marion Academy will generate a complete picture of their students’ abilities by using baseline data and will follow their progress with curriculum-based assessments.

Marion Academy uses baseline data to follow your child’s progress.

Baseline data is obtained through Scholastic Reading Inventory assessments, where a reading level called a Lexile® score is generated based on student vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. Students whose Lexile level is below 1000 require reading remediation and participate in the research-based program, Scholastic READ 180. Students whose reading level is below 600 take a more intensive research based reading remediation program, Scholastic System 44.

Mathematics Instruction

Marion Academy’s math classes are effective, standards-based environments that foster understanding of big mathematical ideas, help students make connections between learning experiences, and enable students to see themselves as mathematicians. There are varied “math paths” that scholars follow during their course of study at Marion Academy.

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Our Science Classes teach important critical thinking skills

Science Instruction

Marion Academy will impart all of its students with the scientific knowledge, skills and habits of mind needed to be lifelong-learners, critical thinkers, effective communicators and wise decision-makers. Students will develop and use the skills necessary to engage in our world which is shaped by science and technology.

Social Studies Instruction

The Marion Academy Social Studies courses emphasize critical thinking skills, reading primary source documents and investigating fully the contextual elements of historical events. New academic standards are in the process of being adopted by the state of Indiana, and the social studies curriculum will be redesigned to align to the new standards as soon as they are adopted. Attachment M indicates how US History is instructed in an interdisciplinary course at Marion Academy.

Positive Action Instruction

Marion Academy implements a program called Positive Action, which is a systematic educational program that promotes an intrinsic interest in learning and encourages cooperation among students. It works by teaching and reinforcing the intuitive philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions. Positive Action resources will also be used by the Behavior Specialist in the De-escalation Room.

Our Positive Action program is facilitated by our teachers during our our Advisory periods in the afternoon to build school culture.

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