The New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards provide the foundation for the development of curriculum that promotes the use of innovative learning strategies by integrating supportive technologies, inquiry- and problem-based approaches and higher order thinking skills. The standards contain new elements that are to be included in curriculum and instruction: the integration of 21st century skills and themes, global perspectives, technology and interdisciplinary connections.
The GCCS curriculum is organized by interdisciplinary themes: International Studies, Arts & Humanities, Environmental Studies, and Technology. Each theme spans a ten week period, includes several curriculum units, and allows for vertical articulation across grades. Our specials, (Creative Art, Science Lab, Physical Education), major courses (Arts & Humanities I and II, International Studies I and II, Environmental Studies I and II, Technology I and II, Holocaust I and II), and support classes (Basic Skills, Gifted/Talented) are designed to complement the themes.
The public may access Atlas, our on-line curriculum map, at http://gccscharterschool.r ubiconatlas.org/c/etc/opti ons.php?UserID=0 to view our curriculum content, skills, best practices, resources, and assessments.
Or you can click here for more information on Atlas Curriculum Mapping
The goal of the “International Studies” theme is to improve student understanding of diversity. The social studies curriculum is the foundation for this theme. The school year begins with this ten week course.
The goal of the “Arts & Humanities” theme is to improve students’ understanding of life through the Arts. Through this unit of study, students learn to live in harmony with others, to appreciate beauty, and to have high standards of moral judgment. The language arts curriculum dominates this theme.
Technology refers to all the ways people use their inventions and discoveries to satisfy needs and desires. Ever since people appeared on the earth, they have had to work to obtain food, clothing, and shelter and to satisfy their desire for leisure and comfort. People invented tools, machines, materials, and techniques. They also discovered water power, electricity, and other sources of power that increased the rate in which they could work. Technology involves the use of tools, machines, materials, techniques, and sources of power to make work easier and more productive. The goal of the technology theme is to allow students to learn how technology has helped people gain control over nature to build a civilized way of life. Students learn about the benefits of technology to increase the production of goods and services, to reduce the amount of labor needed to produce goods and services, to make labor easy and to give people higher standards. Students learn about the side effects of technology. These include environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, technological unemployment and the creation of unsatisfying jobs. Students study the challenges of technology that include combating side effects, preventing side effects and spreading the benefits of technology.
Humans and all living things depend on the Earth’s land and water biomes for food, water, and shelter. Humans, however, have the greatest capacity to alter the environment-both for better and for worse. It is a constant challenge to find ways to meet the needs of increasing populations worldwide, yet still minimize the cost to natural resources. In the United States , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with protecting the nation’s land, air, and water systems. Significant progress has been made since the first Earth Day in 1970, but much work remains to be done. Communities across the country are finding resources and methods to help protect the unique ecosystems near where they live. The goal of the Environmental Studies theme is to raise environmental awareness in students as the challenge to protect the planet will only become greater in the future.
GCCS adopted the Caring Schools Communities character education program (formally known as the Child Development Project) to provide short, concrete activities that foster communication between teachers and parents and parents and students. The components of this program include: Class Meetings, Homeside Activities, School Wide Activities and Buddies.
These activities enable parents to contribute a home-side to their children’s school-side learning and encourage personal time with child and parent/adult caregiver. These activities deliver a message of respect for the diversity among family and community. All activities build on the value of parents and children talking and listening in their home language.
The Buddy program gives students the opportunity to develop caring, trusting friendships through shared learning experiences that are engaging for older and younger students. Teachers are assigned buddies and participate in multi-age group activities.
Class meetings are times to talk; forums for students and teachers to gather to reflect, discuss issues or make decisions about the ways they want their class to be. The teacher’s role is to create an environment in which students see that their learning, their opinions and their concerns are taken seriously. The students participate as valuable contributors to the classroom community. The meetings promote classroom management in a way that helps students actively contribute to their academic and social learning.
Whole school activities are celebrations of student learning. They are exhibits that enable parents, caregivers, family, friends and community to celebrate the achievements of the students.
The focuses of the Creative Arts Gifted and Talented Program include creativity, independent research, fine arts and technology. Through this program, students gain valuable experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting.
- The curriculum integrates art history, criticism, aesthetic perception, creativity, theory, and skill development, as well as components from the core curriculum of knowledge.
- The curriculum will provide self-directed and group learning experiences that promote cultural awareness, verbal and non verbal communication skills, creativity, higher level thinking, problem solving skills, and self-expression.
- The program will provide opportunities for museum and gallery visits and opportunities to learn the hierarchy of art with Western Art at the pinnacle.
The Science Gifted and Talented Program is designed to inspire exploration in earth and physical science. Students will engage in scientific inquiry and thinking that goes beyond traditional classroom instruction.
- The program uses the scientific method to explore chemistry, physics, magnetism and the solar system.
- Experiences include guest speakers, field trips to local wildlife refuges and museums, and hands-on outdoor activities.
- Students will have opportunities to strengthen problem-solving skills and math skills in each scientific exploration.