Concept Schools (CS) six core values; guide its interactions with all members of the school community:
- Respect – All members of the CS community (students, parents, and staff) have equal worth and should be treated with respect.
- Responsibility – All people have choices, and teachers, parents, and students should be responsible for their actions.
- Integrity – Belonging to a community requires a commitment to the common good. The community is stronger when everyone can be counted upon to be honest and trustworthy.
- Courage – Having the courage to try new things expands minds and causes students, parents, and staff to reach beyond their own expectations.
- Curiosity – The ability to wonder and to create connections stimulates further learning. At CS, inquiry will be fostered on the part of parents, staff, and students.
- Effort – Success is accomplished when students, family, and staff are willing to do what it takes to accomplish their vision of the future.
Culture and Philosophy
The success of students, parents, and staff who work hard and achieve success are recognized and celebrated.
The core features of CS are based on ten features of good small schools outlined in Redesigning High Schools: What Matters and What Works (2002), a publication of the School Redesign Network at Stanford University. The core features of CS include:
- Personalized approach
- Continuous relationships
- High standards and performance-based assessments
- Adaptive pedagogy
- Multi-cultural teaching
- Knowledgeable and skilled teachers
- Collaborative planning and professional development
- Family and community connections
- Democratic decision-making
- Authentic curriculum
The CS is dedicated to providing a diverse population of students with an outstanding education focused on math, science and technology. The curriculum is designed to ensure 100% student proficiency on state standards in math, science and English Language Arts as well as a 100% graduation rate and acceptance into college.
CS implements a standards-based, college-preparatory curriculum giving the staff flexibility to adapt instructional strategies in order to meet the needs of the students. The curriculum is based on a model developed and successfully implemented by Concept Schools in 19 charter schools in 4 states (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan). All parts of the CS curriculum is fully aligned with State Learning Standards.
Curriculum maps and unit plans provide the framework for the detailed weekly lesson plans that the teachers will complete with their grade-level partners. A shared drive will make plans accessible for reference by students and staff. These plans will specify the daily activities and assessments that teachers will use to teach and measure progress and to ensure that all homework and class work are aligned to standards.
Middle School Curriculum
Below is the middle school sequence with total weekly instructional time:
|Subject||Minutes of Instruction|
|Mathematics||450 minutes a week (90 minutes a day)|
|English Language Arts||450 minutes a week (90 minutes a day)|
|Science||225 minutes a week (45 minutes a day)|
|Social Studies||225 minutes a week (45 minutes a day)|
|Art||135 minutes a week (3 times a week of 45 minutes)|
|Computer||135 minutes a week (3 times a week of 45 minutes)|
|Physical Education/Health||135 minutes a week (3 times a week of 45 minutes)|
|Life Skills||45 minutes a week|
1800 minutes a week
High School Curriculum
High school graduation requirements exceed traditional public schools and include service learning and a senior thesis. In order to earn a diploma, each high school student must meet all of the following requirements. Only students earning a diploma are permitted to participate in graduation activities. The high school curriculum will continue to undergo design refinements prior to the first ninth grade class entering CS so that the minimum high school course requirements provide students with the opportunity to meet the entrance requirements for top-tiered colleges and universities.
High School Graduation Requirements
|Criteria||Core Academic Program|
|Coursework||Completion of all required courses|
|GPA||Overall C or higher|
|Standardized tests||Completion of Graduation requirement tests|
|Digital Portfolio||Creation and maintenance of a digital portfolio that meets the school standards|
|College Portfolio and Applications||Completion of a college plan, resume, and necessary college applications|
|Internship||Completion of a summer internship during the course of high school|
|Service learning||40 hours of service learning|
|Senior Capstone Project||Completion of a senior capstone project|
Academic Graduation Requirements
|Mathematics||4 credits including Algebra I (may be taken in 8th grade), Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus|
|Science||4 credits including Physics, Chemistry, Biology|
|English||6 credits including Survey of Literature, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature, and 2 credits of Writing|
|Social Studies||2 credits including World History and American History/Government|
|Computer Technology||2 credit|
|Fine Art||1 credit|
|Physical Education||1 credit|
|College Pathway||2 credits including ACT/SAT Prep and College Path|
|Electives||6 credits; 1 must be in Technology; 2 must be in Foreign Languages; 1 must be Cons Ed/Economics; 1 credit must be taken online|
CS Elective Course Offerings
|African-American History||Film||Personal Finance|
|African-American Literature||Game Design||Philosophy|
|Animation and Graphic Design||HTML||Robotics|
|Art History||International Studies||Sculpture|
|Database Programming||International Politics||Sociology|
|Digital Photography||Latin-American Culture||Web Programming|
Rather than adhering to a single teaching philosophy or instructional model, the design will draw on best practices from the field and research to define a set of core instructional practices. CS teachers will utilize a unique mix of the following research-based instructional strategies:
- Direct teaching
- Differentiated instruction
- Problem-based learning
- Project-based learning
- Collaborative learning
- Data-driven instruction
- Transformational use of technology
Use of these techniques provides an engaging, dynamic learning environment for students to explore the questions they have about the world and ways to positively contribute to the world around them. CS will utilize a variety of instructional approaches to teach advanced concepts and thinking skills in mathematics and science, as well as other disciplines.