Educational Approach

Clarion School delivers a curriculum developed in collaboration with one of the foremost US Graduate Schools of Education. Aligned to meet the highest tier of US Standards, including the Common Core. Clarion school offers learning that is interdisciplinary, engaging and challenging and taught by highly qualified Educators.

Academic Rigor

Standards

NY State Standards – Common Core
New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) are internationally-benchmarked and evidence-based standards. These rigorous standards serve as a consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do.

Learning Frameworks

Literacy Framework – Fountas Pinell Literacy Continuum / Calkins Read-Write Program

A comprehensive, sequential, researched based program of learning for high-impact literacy instruction. Rigorous and articulated interventions support Fountas Pinnell Literacy™ through the use of leveled assessments.
An organic progression of learning for writing developed by the renowned Teachers College Columbia Reading and Writing Project. Comprised of processes, sequences, continuum, books, levels, lessons, methods, principles and strategies, the Calkins Program supports children in writing clearly and skillfully and reading flexibly and joyfully.

Math Framework – Bridges Math

A research-based, fully articulated sequential development of mathematical concepts and skills, with a strong focus of learning through student investigation, practice and practical application to real world situations.

Science Framework – Building Blocks of Science

A developmentally appropriate exploration of scientific concepts and knowledge coupled with the learning of the scientific method; a strong focus is placed on exploration through hands-on activity. Teachers are alert to individual interests and frequently extend activity to incorporate those interests. Topics are often integrated with the transdisciplinary Units of Exploration.

Social Studies Framework – Transdisciplinary Units of Exploration / Bank Street College of Education

Units of Exploration relating to year-long overarching social study themes are experienced through project-based student inquiry. Supported by a wide array of resources and drawing on various subject disciplines, children build understanding through research, field trips, a wide array of hands-on, project-based activities, and ongoing reflection and expression of learning.
Grade PreK – Family / Grade K1 – Transportation / Grade K2 – Water / Grade 1 – Community / Grade 2 – Dubai Now and Then / Grade 3 – Traveler’s Traders / Grade 4 5 – Egypt / Grade 6 – Immigration

Assessment Framework

Program embedded assessments

Powerful assessment and record keeping strategies are embedded in each of the academic programs and learning frameworks, ensuring teacher understanding of each child’s growth and level of attainment. This ongoing assessment leads to selection of the appropriate resources and instructional strategies for use with each child. In Bridges Mathematics and Building Blocks Science, end of unit tests helps to ensure that children have achieved learning objectives. In Literacy, assessments are designed to monitor literacy growth through a seamless continuum of skills. During the Units of Exploration, teachers maintain observational records and student project work to understand a child’s growth.

Portfolios

A digital and paper collection which gathers important student work as created by students throughout the year. The portfolios provide understanding of student development as seen through the lens of actual student work. Teachers and students partner to choose the student work and associated assessment documents for inclusion in the portfolios. Periodically the student reviews the portfolio (independently and in collaboration with teachers, parents and peers), to reflect upon their growth and development and to consider and establish goals for future learning. The portfolio is an important vehicle for celebrating the child’s growth.

Measurement of Academic Progress (Grades 2 onwards)

An external standardized test to objectively monitor individual student growth and attainment – with benchmarking both locally and internationally – helping to provide quality assurance of a school’s academic program as well as highlight areas of support for individual children. The test is conducted three times per year in Math, Literacy and Science.

CAT 4 (Grades 3 onwards)

The Cognitive Abilities Test provides insight into a student’s potential. Teachers use this information to ensure they are setting goals and providing instruction so that students achieve or exceed the level matching their potential. This diagnostic test is conducted at the beginning of each school year.

Character of Learners

The development of academic rigor and the current role played by schools are no longer enough.For children to continually adapt and succeed in a dynamic world, they need to be self-directed and life-long learners across all contexts. Clarion focuses on developing these critical mindsets, skills and values.

Mindsets

Grit

The school day is filled with opportunities for students to develop the resilience and perseverance to succeed and accomplish goals even in the face of adversity and failure. Teachers design a safe environment and plan activity, so children can experience failure and the subsequent success of persisting; trying it again, adjusting strategies, experimenting and achieving.

Wonder

Children are continually prompted to find-out, investigate, experiment, observe and try things. This support and opportunity allow the child’s curiosity to flourish, to grow like a plant when provided just the right amount of water and nutrients. Often when realizing a child’s keen interest in something, the teacher follows up with supporting activities, incorporating those interests into core learning.

Risk-taking

Developmentally appropriate risk taking is critical to learning. Children are supported in acting and thinking in ways where the outcome or the effect of their effort may not immediately (or at times ever), achieve the desired result. Children are helped to understand that such experiences provide powerful opportunities for learning and are a necessary part of growth and development. Children are recognized and celebrated for trying something even when immediate gain is not guaranteed.

Well-Being

Leading a caring, responsible, self-fulfilling and productive life requires that we take care of our spirit, our mind and our body. Teachers frequently visit this topic as part of daily classroom life and through topic study. Good nutrition, the proper amount of exercise and recreation, healthy relationships, mental and physical relaxation, intellectual stimulation and accessing health care in a timely fashion are critical understandings to promote your child’s well-being.

Skills

Critical thinking

Students are supported in the act of wondering and of posing evermore powerful questions. In turn, they develop deep insight; the ability to evaluate information and come to understandings and judgements and about a wide array of academic and daily living situations. This learning allows them to become sophisticated, effective, and principled “action takers”.

Communication

Clarion students become highly adept in all areas of communication through active learning. Communication is best learned as students are expected to collaborate and convey their thoughts, ideas and learnings. Our teachers recognize that students need to be active communicators in all learning environments. Communication is seen not only as the ability to speak, read, write and listen, but as a critical tool in reflecting on learning and building greater meaning and understanding.

Collaboration

Children are guided in becoming ever more sophisticated at working socially to learn and accomplish goals. The ability to collaborate with others and be productive is essential even in trying circumstances. Through frequent opportunities to work together, and by providing students with guidance in developing the skills and attitudes necessary to productively collaborate, students become comfortable and confident working with others. Students learn how to move their group beyond difficult situations to ensure that the group achieves its goals.

Creativity

Students are continually encouraged to develop their own ideas, to make things based on their own thinking. They learn to understand that creation is an act which requires them acting on their thinking by responding to their explorations, experiences, interests, needs, information, reflections and learnings. Teachers recognize that becoming a creative person is fostered by providing children with many opportunities to “create”; an understanding which requires teachers to also plan for intentional but open-ended activities that support such creativity. Teachers know that creation is not necessarily about making something new to the world; it is more often about making something new to the individual. It is in the act of creation that all knowledge, skills and dispositions come together and are given life. The desire and act of creating moves the child to higher levels of understanding.

Values

Empathy

In the “Responsive Classroom” students spend a great deal of time reflecting upon their own behavior and feelings, and those of others. They learn how to understand the condition and the feelings of others and they use that information to help them relate to, work with, and support each other.

Humility

Children learn to appreciate and be thankful for what they have, and are exposed to and reflect upon those who less fortunate. These values are developed in Units of Exploration, fieldwork, daily class meetings, community service and many other daily activities. Modeling by staff is critical to this learning.

Integrity

Integrity is infused into the classroom culture through both explicit and implicit instruction. In addition, Moral Education is delivered as part of Ministerial requirements. Expressions of integrity are valued and recognized. Examples of integrity are reviewed through both historical and current events.

Responsibility

Students taking responsibility for their behavior and their learning is critical to the classroom being a safe and productive learning environment. Students become responsible as a consequence of ongoing discussion in the class. Children are guided to identify, analyze and agree on sets of expectations that all children must demonstrate. Teachers watch, interact and give feedback to students individually, in small groups and with the whole class to reflect on their “demonstrations” of responsibility. Becoming responsible is a process developed over days and years and through many to opportunities to practice, get feedback and reflect.

Application of Learning

For powerful learning to occur, it needs to be applied – “learning by doing”. By applying the design thinking process to challenging activities and projects, students come to a deep understanding of what they are learning and to how to use these learnings to problem solve, create and communicate.

Active

A corner stone of all learning is students being engaged in their learning. Teachers ensure that learning activities provide opportunities for students to move, touch, discuss, experiment, think independently, question, share; to be actively engaged in their learning.

Reflective

Students are continually supported in reflecting on all their experiences, their effort and their acts of creation. They use this activity to deepen their learning, to appreciate their learning and to guide them in their future learning. Little meaningful learning occurs without meaningful reflection. Reflection occurs through frequent whole class meetings, small group meetings, one-on-one teacher-student and student-student meetings and students independently thinking about and expressing their thoughts in writing and with a wide range of media and expressive forms.

Project Based

Students are guided to create tangible expressions of their learning. Often, they incorporate Design Based practices and at other times their creations are spontaneous and impulsive. The critical factor is that children become comfortable in applying acquired knowledge and skill using a wide range of strategies and media as they become inspired to share, reflect upon and record their experiences, their feelings and their learning.

Design Process

Methodically planning the creation of a product (art, app, writing, sculpture, musical composition, skit, speech, etc.), students learn the power of setting an objective, creating a plan of action and following through with execution and review. The principles involved are reflected at: https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl/gold-standard-project-design.

Culture of Learning

The ability to deliver on these individual domains of learning and their synthesis requires a powerful ecosystem. We have built a comprehensive and dynamic culture of learning; an environment where everyone is learning with and from each other; children, parents, teachers and administrators. This ecosystem is supported by having 2 qualified educators in each classroom.

Master Educators

Teachers hold advanced degrees and/or have extensive experience working in a progressive educational environment and are experienced using the programs and frameworks adopted by the school. In addition, each classroom has two qualified teachers.

Responsive Classroom Framework

A set of educational practices which places the child at the center of the learning ecosystem. Teachers develop close personal relationships with each child through focused observation, ongoing discussions and continual review of the child’s work. The teacher guides the class in creating an emotionally supportive and motivating learning environment which is relevant, challenging, engaging and tuned to the interests of the children. Students develop into independent learners who take responsibility for and have pride in their learning and their role as a productive member of the learning community. The responsible and independent level of the children allows the teachers the freedom to craft support which meets individual student needs.

Inquiry-Experiential-Exploratory Based

We learn in a powerful, engaging and motivating manner. Students develop deep understanding and ability to apply and share what they are learning. The learning is active, built around wondering, questioning, finding-out, experimenting, analyzing, constructing understanding, reflecting and applying knowledge. The teacher’s role is to guide learning, not deliver it.

School Without Walls

Curriculum related “out of school expeditions” and travel help the children develop deeper understanding of the topics explored in school. The activity helps children to regularly apply their knowledge and develop the Clarion Character of Learners. The trips are exciting, interesting and motivating, and help children connect their learning to the “real world”.

Intellectual Curiosity Engagement

Students are supported in wondering about their environment, themselves, their classmates, and others. Teachers support and expect children to be active learners by asking questions and by following their interests. Teachers support children by allowing and encouraging their “wonder” to drive activity which helps them to better understand themselves and their world.

Joy of Learning

Powerful learning is filled with life, with sharing with others, with excitement and humor and fun as well as hard work and disappointment. At school we learn as a “Community of Learners”, helping and supporting one another to achieve and celebrate our accomplishments during our learning journeys.

Teacher Training/Coaching

At Clarion, teachers are recognized as the critical factor in creating and delivering a powerful and effective learning environment. They are supported in understanding and executing the Clarion approach to teaching learning through the employment of evidence based professional development models. These models emulate the teaching delivered in the classroom; a dynamic and vibrant approach to learning.

Experience Clarion

Learn how our Master Educators create Transformational Learning.