Core Knowledge Curriculum
Challenge Charter School is proud to have been the first official Core Knowledge® school in the State of Arizona. Core Knowledge® is “engaging, challenging, and content-rich” at the appropriate developmental level, and integrated across disciplines for a foundation that “promotes academic excellence for all learners, while remaining flexible enough” to meet individual needs.
The Core Knowledge® sequence has been aligned to ensure mastery of all state standards and reaches far beyond them to create an even larger base of knowledge for your child. At CCS, content is aligned across subjects creating thematic units that allow children at all developmental levels to make connections that make the learning relevant and fun. The arts are integrated, as is the Core Virtues® character education program.
A Core Knowledge® classroom is inherently advanced due to the content and cross-curricular connections. It also provides many opportunities to go a “mile deep” and make deeper connections for children who benefit from an additional challenge. Differentiation is frequent at CCS for all levels of learners and small groups and intervention are incorporated for students needing additional time on task to master a subject, as well as those needing an extension to stay challenged. The name “Challenge” comes from the philosophy that each child should be challenged at their level daily at school.
Some of the other many benefits of choosing a Core Knowledge® school include:
- Provides a broad base of knowledge and a rich vocabulary
- Motivates students to learn and creates a strong desire to learn more
- Provides the knowledge necessary for higher levels of learning and helps build confidence
- Provides a strong foundation of knowledge for success in high school and beyond
- Provides a clear outline of what children are expected to learn in school
- Encourages parents to participate in their children’s education both at home and in school
- Provides opportunities for community members to help obtain and provide instructional resources.
The Four S’s Of Core Knowledge Are:
Many people say that knowledge is changing so fast that what students learn today will soon be outdated. While current events and technology are constantly changing, there is nevertheless a body of lasting knowledge that should form the core of a Kindergarten-Grade 8 curriculum. Such solid knowledge includes, for example, the basic principles of constitutional government, important events of world history, essential elements of mathematics and of oral and written expression, widely acknowledged masterpieces of art and music, and stories and poems passed down from generation to generation.
Knowledge builds on knowledge. Children learn new knowledge by building on what they already know. Only a school system that clearly defines the knowledge and skills required to participate in each successive grade can be excellent and fair for all students. For this reason, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a clear outline of content to be learned grade by grade. This sequential building of knowledge not only helps ensure that children enter each new grade ready to learn, but also helps prevent the many repetitions and gaps that characterize much current schooling (repeated units, for example, on pioneer days or the rain forest, but little or no attention to the Bill of Rights, or to adding fractions with unlike denominators).
A typical state or district curriculum says, “Students will demonstrate knowledge of people, events, ideas, and movements that contributed to the development of the United States.” But which people and events? What ideas and movements? In contrast, the Core Knowledge Sequence is distinguished by its specificity. By clearly specifying important knowledge in language arts, history and geography, math, science, and the fine arts, the Core Knowledge Sequence presents a practical answer to the question, “What do our children need to know?”
Literacy depends on shared knowledge. To be literate means, in part, to be familiar with a broad range of knowledge taken for granted by speakers and writers. For example, when sportscasters refer to an upset victory as “David knocking off Goliath,” or when reporters refer to a “threatened presidential veto,” they are assuming that their audience shares certain knowledge. One goal of the Core Knowledge Foundation is to provide all children, regardless of background, with the shared knowledge they need to be included in our national literate culture.
We encourage you to visit www.coreknowledge.org to review detailed information about the Core Knowledge® sequence as well as to find other helpful resources to use at home to partner you’re your child’s classroom curriculum.
Due to the very hands-on nature of CCS and the constant differentiation in the classroom, not all classroom activities can be “made up” when school is missed.
CCS classrooms are fluid environments constantly responding to the needs of the students as they arise and grabbing each “teachable” moment to ensure our mission of keeping each child “challenged” at their level daily.