Watershed Public Charter School (WPCS) will use innovative hands on curriculum in core subjects and link disciplines together into larger multidisciplinary projects. In elementary school there will be two homeroom teachers per grade each of whom teach two of the four core subjects (math, science, literacy and social studies) for the whole grade. Arts, technology, sustainable agriculture, physical education and language integration specialists will facilitate the incorporation of those disciplines across the curriculum. The specialists will help to brainstorm and make connections to facilitate lesson preparation and coordinate across multiple subjects, and may assist with classroom instruction as needed. Art, drama, dance, music, language and physical education (specials) will be available on a rotating basis as well. Middle school will follow a similar model with less emphasis on homeroom instructors. Student-directed exploration, physical activity and time spent outdoors will be opportunities for learning, skill-building, and social development in all grades.
Pre-K and Kindergarten will both include unstructured, child directed play time during which teachers and classroom aides will engage with students and link back to the curriculum. Instructors will be able to guide and challenge students while identifying emerging interests that can later be woven into lessons.
WPCS will use the Responsive Classroom approach, which is a method of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Developed by classroom teachers, the approach consists of practical strategies for helping students build academic and social-emotional competencies day in and day out.
Classes will be smaller than a traditional public school and we will use assessment for learning (rather than of learning) to chart our student’s growth over time to augment standardized testing. We will comply with the minimum testing required by the state.
WPCS values play, exploration, imagination and unstructured outdoor activity and will incorporate daily recess for students in all grade levels. We prioritize our educators having the time and space to collaborate and will facilitate that process with increased co-planning time. We plan to support and train our educators on project based learning and overall best practices.
Outdoor space and a working farm will enhance lessons and be an integral part of instruction. A library that includes a workshop space with cutting edge digital 3D printing technology will encourage experimentation, collaboration and creative problem solving.