The Prepared Mind Pillar at Athlos Academy of St. Cloud is centered on academic programs that will prime students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills they need to excel. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to construct meaningful connections and deeper understanding of core content. Our teachers use instructional strategies that promote curiosity, collaboration, and a culture of positivity. We believe having a Prepared Mind is as much about learning how to learn and succeed as it is about academic knowledge.
Athlos Academy uses a literacy program that is based on thirty-five years of literacy research called Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Reading and Writing. Published by Columbia's Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, the curriculum develops engaged, proficient readers. Through well-scaffolded reading workshops, students read a range of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, to learn critical reading strategies regarding fluency, purpose, craft, and meaning. Using relevant materials, the program fosters confident readers who value time spent with a good book.
Focused on the power of a student's voice, the Lucy Calkins writing program encourages young storytellers to become empowered, published authors. Using classroom structures to support the writing process, students engage in complex decisions to craft compelling insights and meaningful memoirs. They are immersed in the research process to develop informative and persuasive pieces, utilizing topics relevant to a child's world. With intentional teaching of the writing traits, a student becomes a proficient writer who can harness their voice to address any task and audience.
What does it mean to have mathematical literacy? It means that a student understands the important role math has in the world and becomes a citizen who can make informed decisions. Developing mathematical literacy begins with building mathematical thinkers, which is at the core of the Bridges math program used at Athlos Academy.
Bridges promotes a deeper understanding of math concepts, proficiency and fluency with computational skills, and the ability to reason and persevere through complex problems. Its approach blends direct instruction along with investigation and exploration using contexts and real world connections. The program presents information supported by a progression of learning: kinesthetic materials, powerful visual images, and symbolic notation. Pressed to make connections within the strategies and models, students develop a rich cognitive framework for the structure of mathematics.
The science program at Athlos Academy follows the three-dimensional Framework For K-12 Science Education (2012) laid out in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This research-based framework shifts science instruction away from the memorization of facts to a hands-on approach where students learn to think critically, practice science and engineering practices, and make connections to other content areas and the real world. Teaching with the K-12 Framework helps us prepare Athlos students for 21st century jobs and challenges by bringing together the three dimensions of science education: science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.
The social studies program is founded on the idea that developing civic competence is the basis for full participation in a democratic society. Aligned to state standards, Athlos Academy uses units framed by central topics such as family, community, and citizenship. Deeper investigations into pivotal historic events and eras such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the settlement of Minnesota will cultivate historical inquiry skills and an appreciation for our past. Students will consistently make connections to modern day global issues.
Beginning with guiding questions and essential understandings, the units include activities to pique curiosity and spark excitement. Throughout the grade levels, there are intentional connections made to Performance Character traits rooted in the deeds and words of significant historical and modern figures.
The Fine arts curriculum includes visual arts and music exploration integrated thematically with other curriculum content. Students participate in 2-3 fine arts sessions each week.
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) are the state tests that help districts measure student progress toward Minnesota's academic standards. These tests are requirements of the state of Minnesota. Reading and mathematics tests are given in grades 3-8, 10 and 11. Science tests are given in grades 5 and 8 and once in high school, depending on when students complete classes in life sciences. For more information click here: http://education.state.mn.us/mde/fam/tests/