Citizens of the World Middle School FAQ
How will my student learn about world history in a way that doesn’t perpetuate stereotypes, prejudice, racism, or only Euro-centric points of view?
The study of history is of great value, both for learning and practicing complex thinking processes and for discovering lessons from the past that can shape and guide our understanding of the present and future. Central to the history courses at CWCKC will be a focus on ‘voice’. Whose voices are we hearing? Whose voices are missing from the records? What sources of information are we referencing and which are being overlooked? How can different people experience the same time, place, or event and reflect on it in powerfully different ways? By developing the graduate dispositions of critical thinking and cultural competency, our CWCKC students will learn from history in order to help create the world they want.
How will literature be taught to make sure my child reads important books from a broad and global array of perspectives?
Much like history, (see question above) literature is the sharing of voices - from different times, places, and perspectives. The selection of literature incorporated in ELA and Courses will be intentional and reflective of our mission and model. The study of individual works will be based on the same questions as above: Whose voices are we hearing? Whose voices are missing?
Will CWCKC teach foreign languages?
By 6th grade at CWCKC foreign languages will be an ‘elective’ option within the CWCKC Explorations. Students who want to study a foreign language will experience both classroom-based and digital learning experiences supported by Rosetta Stone. A selection of languages will be offered.
The website says math will be taught on an online platform. Does this mean my student will only learn math through a computer program? What does "online platform" mean?
Students will progress individually through personalized mathematics learning using a tool called Summit Learning. With the support of a teacher/mentor in the classroom, students who enter sixth grade will start their mathematics education at exactly the point they need - on grade level, beyond grade level, or filling in some missing learning from earlier grades. Summit Learning allows students to both learn the mathematical skills and concepts they need and also develop the independence that will support their learning processes through high school and beyond. The Mathematics Lab teacher will be a credentialed math teacher who is expert in the content material and who is also highly skilled in supporting students’ learning processes and transitioning students from being dependent on others to be self sufficient in their learning through inquiry skills, self understanding, and perseverance.
What is CPM mathematics?
CPM stands for College Preparatory Mathematics and is a mathematics curriculum that brings the study of mathematical concepts and standards into a setting that supports student collaboration, problem solving, communications, and confidence. As students work in problem solving groups, they develop a range of skills that support work across all types of team settings. By practicing communications and collaboration around the mathematics they are learning, they develop deeper understanding. The problem-based approach of the curriculum connects classroom work to real-life problems that are complex and relevant.
If my goal is to get my student into a high-performing high school that requires an entrance exam, how can I be sure my student will be prepared academically?
The focus of our mission is supporting students’ understanding across and beyond all the areas of the state educational standards. Our classroom approach from K-8 consistently encourages inquiry, exploration, and dialogue, along with perseverance when challenges are not met the first time. Students grow through this process to not only develop a strong skill set and knowledge base, but also the confidence to know that when faced with challenges, they have a set of strategies that will see them through.
The Courses, Math Lab, and Explorations all sound very student-centric and student-driven. I want my child to take ownership of their learning, but what role does the teacher play to make sure they are on the right track and mastering the content?
All of our courses and math programs are designed around the meaningful implementation of required state standards, as well as our own graduate dispositions. Teachers support students in a variety of ways to ensure they are developing new skills, mastering new content, and learning the strategies to become increasingly independent learners as they grow.
The Learning Fellowship talks about teaching digital citizenship. What does that mean?
Students will learn explicit skills of professional use of technology such as proper use of email or creating Powerpoint presentations. They will also learn about Internet safety and how to navigate social media sites, learning to become aware now of their digital footprint and reputation. These lessons will also cover key conversations about cyberbullying. Social relationships are incredibly important to middle schoolers, and we want to help them develop a healthy self image and have a strong sense of identity as they begin to navigate digital spaces, and we hope they discover powerful ways that the Internet can be a tool in their learning and work. The Learning Fellowship also talks about mindfulness. What does meditation have to do with academics and learning? Students at this age are going through a considerable amount of change - physically, socially, and emotionally. Mindfulness is one tool that students can use to help them respond to stressful situations in order for them to make a thoughtful response, rather than simply reacting or over-reacting. Mindfulness helps students be more self-reflective so they can be aware of how they learn best, identify patterns in their behavior, and learn strategies in order for them to be successful in learning/academic AND social situations in school and in life. For example, students will learn to use mindfulness skills when attempting a challenging academic task, and use them to persevere.
School culture is important. If students are entering the sixth grade at CWCKC from different schools all over the city, how will CWC create a culture in line with its values when students’ previous schools were all so different?
The school leadership team will carry out early trainings with staff in the summer in order to create a clear vision for school culture, along with concrete strategies and resources so that staff know how to carry this out in a typical day. During Learning Fellowship, students will participate in lessons that will focus on CWCKC school culture, including how to resolve conflicts with others, or how to solve problems collaboratively. CWC is hosting multiple open houses, tours, and leadership meet-and-greets to pull together a group of families that share a common vision and will commit to being part of a constructive and positive school culture.
What does safety look like at CWC?
We have a school safe plan that outlines all of the clear procedures to ensure that safety is a top priority, and we have regular trainings as a part of professional development to ensure staff are equipped to keep students safe in any situation. This includes fire, tornado and other emergency drills. Safety and emergency preparedness is a part of classroom orientation for students and is practiced throughout the year.
I worry about how young teens are using cell phones and social media for bullying and shaming. How will CWC help students navigate complex social systems? Will students be allowed to have personal cell phones?
Students learn about digital citizenship (including cyberbullying) during specific Learning Fellowship lessons. In Learning Fellowship, students will be taught explicit skills and strategies on being part of a community, peer conflict, and definition of bullying (including different forms) as part of an anti-bullying program. If students choose to bring a cellphone or any other personal device to school, they will check them in at the start of the day and will get access to them again at the end of the school day. If there is a need for a parent to reach their son/daughter during the school day, they can call the school office manager.