renaissance-school-extras-4Welcome Groups: For the first three weeks of school, our children are organized for instruction in age-based “welcome groups.”   The three weeks are absolutely packed!  Not only do we assess children during that time, we review and teach skills that allow children to polish their memories after summer break.  We take time to teach writing strategies and processes, and to observe what children already know and how quickly they pick up new information.  We check on number sense, computational skills, and introduce problem-solving protocols, while assessing a child’s facility with math concepts.  We spend time with group read-alouds and with individuals to establish baselines for decoding skills, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  Each welcome group gets to know the others who will be in afternoon content groups, establishing foundations for collaboration (contribution and support).  We also take time to learn about materials, tools, safety, school expectations, and the people who work with us.  The time scoots by quickly while allowing us to create a community environment built on a strong foundation of respect, responsibility, and relationships.

Afternoon Content Groups: Two welcome groups (same age) combine to create afternoon content groups that tackle science, social sciences, specials, languages (middle school), and curriculum-based project work.

Academic Groups:  At the end of the first three weeks, morning academic groups are established, determined by strengths and needs, with attention to age and peer relationships.  These classes are approximately 10-12 children who work with a teacher.   Children may move among groups as skill development dictates.  In these literacy and numeracy placements, our faculty work collaboratively to ensure children are successful and making good progress!

Buddies and Clans:  Each child also belongs to a pair or trio of older and younger buddies, as well as a clan group (vertically selected group from across the school).  Everyday our children interact with many others across the school.  Everyone is known and no one gets “lost!”  This is intentional in building our community of learners.