Curricular Strategy

CBA’s Curricular Strategy

In partnership with parents, CBA exists to inspire world changers through 

Christ-centered, intercultural, immersion-based education.


Who are we?

CBA seeks to kindle community change in Charleston by uniting and supporting diverse families, providing developmentally appropriate, project-based, language immersion education.  


In this setting, we develop children linguistically, cognitively, socio-emotionally, and physically by equipping children to navigate multiple cultures and languages. CBA students learn to live in at least two languages, simultaneously making friends from many cultures while being saturated with the great love and Truth of the Triune God. 


Who are our students becoming? (CBA Expected Student Outcomes)

Creative thinkers 

  • Discern: Distinguish between truth, falsehood, and opinion, recognizing that truth emanates from the nature of the Triune God, as Jesus is Truth, and there is no falsehood in Him.

  • Organize/Analyze/Synthesize/Create: Organize knowledge, analyze patterns and truths, and construct purposeful meaning with the end goal of innovation with excellence.

  • Have a Growth Mindset: Embrace new challenges as they reflect and seek feedback to foster ongoing understanding and growth.

  • Develop a Global Perspective: Strive to understand global issues from multiple perspectives and interact compassionately with all cultures.


Confident communicators 

  • Read and listen actively: Engage in active listening, reading, and observing with the intent to understand the purposes of the communicator and discern and communicate Truth.

  • Write and speak winsomely: Employ best techniques to speak and write informatively, professionally, and persuasively using multiple platforms. 

  • Collaborate: actively participate in a learning community of individuals working together to accomplish a common goal.

  • Love polemic: Seek to understand and address differences in a spirit of respect and love.


Courageous leaders 

  • Treasure hunt: discover the Triune God as He purposefully reveals Himself throughout all His creation and the Bible. (Colossians 1:15-18, Romans 1:19-20, Psalms 19:1-6)

  • Humbly serve: Employ their gifts and talents to generously love others through serving their needs.

  • Honor & Obey: Being quick to forgive and uphold honesty, responsibility, and respect in their words and actions.

  • Grit: Courageously persevere in accomplishing tasks and goals, confronting fear and developing their gifts and talents while gratefully acknowledging their abilities come from the Triune God.


Men and Women of Character

Key Character qualities/values addressed every year

Paul, in the book of Ephesians, calls on the children of God to be imitators of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2, puts it this way: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Because we desire our students to learn all they can about God and imitate His characteristics, throughout the year we focus on the following key characteristics of God:


Month

Character Quality

Definition

“I will…..”

August

Obedience

Doing what I am asked to do with a good attitude

  1. Follow instructions with a smile, all the way, right away

  2. Complete what I am expected to do

  3. Find joy in doing more than I am asked to do

September

Thankfulness

Acknowledging God’s goodness and graciousness with an attitude of gratitude 

  1. Say “please” and “thank you.”

  2. Enjoy what I have instead of complaining about what I don’t have

  3. Give freely with no expectation to receive

October

Honor

Treating others with honor and dignity

  1. See myself and others as created by God with value and importance

  2. Care for people no matter where they are from and appreciate differences

  3. Take care of the people and world around me

November

Generosity

Managing my resources so that I am able to give to others

  1. Look for ways to help and serve others

  2. Use my energy, time, resources, and talents to meet the needs of others

  3. Save in order to be able to give

December

Humility

Recognizing and admitting my total dependence on God

  1. Learn to ask for and accept help

  2. Admit when I am wrong and seek forgiveness 

  3. Put the needs of others before my own

January

Perseverance

Overcoming obstacles in order to reach my goal

  1. Face challenges

  2. Keep trying even when things are difficult, or I am afraid

  3. Take risks and do what is right even if others do not

February

Compassion

Seeing and meeting the needs of those who are hurting

  1. Be quick to listen to others

  2. Look for ways to comfort and encourage others

  3. Respond politely to different ideas, opinions, and ways of doing things

March

Creativity

Thinking about a task, situation, or idea in a new way

 

  1. See things from more than one perspective
  2. Use Biblical principles to make decisions and solve problems

  3. Look for new ways to do things

April

Courage

Overcoming fear so I can do what is right

  1. Do what is right even if others do not

  2. Get help when I am afraid

  3. Help those who are bullied or abused

May

Forgiveness

Letting go of bitterness and revenge

  1. Acknowledge the pain others feel

  2. Seek to restore relationships

  3. Let go of resentment or desire for revenge


Why do we do what we do?


Your child was created intricately and wonderfully. As a children’s brains develop, children move from being preoperational thinkers (≈ age 2 – 7) to becoming concrete operational thinkers (≈ age 7 – 11). They then mature into a formal operational stage around the age of 12. Basically, the preoperational brain is perfectly designed by God to learn oral language with ease. Oral language coming first, prepares humans for a life of learning and communicating orally. The concrete brain is perfectly designed by God to learn literacy (reading and writing). At this point, the brain typically has lost most of its capacity to easily acquire spoken language at the native level. The shift between stages is gradual (it does not happen overnight when you turn seven).


What are the educational implications of brain development in children in the areas of oral and literacy fluency? A “pure” preoperational thinker should focus primarily on language acquisition and a “pure” concrete thinker should focus primarily on literacy. Often the US public schools have prioritized literacy in both stages, incorporating a curriculum that pushes 4 and 5 year-olds to learn to read before entering 1st grade (skipping over the first levels of the Fountas-Pinnell Guided Reading Level Descriptions). In comparison, many European countries do not start formal schooling that focuses on literacy until 6-7 years of age, while encouraging bilingual early childhood programs that develop oral fluency. As a result, many Europeans learn to read a couple of years later, but by the age of 10, they read just as proficiently as students who started reading at five. European readers often are speaking and reading in multiple languages, and usually navigate multiple cultures as well. 


How are we getting there?


Brain research-based, developmentally appropriate learning: Based on brain research and international best practices, Charleston Bilingual Academy’s Early Childhood Education (Preschool – KG) immerses students in spoken language and encourages the love of reading. The school also works on prewriting and prereading, but at an enjoyable pace, to protect the child’s desire to learn. By the end of EE4, we expect students to identify several letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case) and be able to write some letters. By the end of Kindergarten, students can phonetically sound out the alphabet, combine some syllables into words, and begin reading simple words (Fountas and Pinnell would rank this level of reading as A Level).  Students will also be able to write simple words and phrases with guidance. 


When a six-year-old enters first grade, they are still preoperational thinkers, yet they are developmentally shifting towards the “concrete” stage. CBA wants to both maximize the final stage of language acquisition capacity while also increasing literacy instruction. Students now begin learning in both Spanish and English. The Spanish class focuses on literacy and mathematics at a slightly slower pace as students continue to develop their oral fluency in the target language. The English class, however, begins the school year with a focus on literacy and learning to read (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). 


In summary, CBA does not teach literacy with the same intensity in Early Education and Kindergarten as you find in a traditional monolingual public-school environment. In the first semester of first grade, CBA increases instruction in literacy in English and Spanish. As a student becomes proficient in one language, the ability to decode transfers to a large degree into the other language. 


Based on our knowledge of child development, we want to increase literacy yet not at the cost of destroying a child’s desire to learn. Exasperating a child will undermine the learning process. As we partner with parents in teaching literacy, we build the students’ desire to read through piquing their curiosity, desire to succeed, and enjoyment found in reading. As we increase their love of learning, we will also increase their stamina. As a result, by the second half of elementary school (3rd-4th grades), CBA students will be on par, if not ahead, of national norms in reading in English. And it goes without mentioning, they will also be reading in another language! And one more thing, research tells us they will be stronger critical thinkers. As students enter middle school in grade 5 they are researching, debating, and writing in both languages. By the time students take the SAT in high school, bilinguals often score higher.


Play-based, Project-based Curriculum

CBA provides a play-based (Early Education – EE) and project-based (Elementary, Middle School) curriculum. Each day, EE students are given time to be creative through play, socialization, arts and crafts, and recess. Students work through themes from science and social studies as they are immersed in language-rich classrooms and begin to learn about the calendar, colors, letters, shapes, phonics, pre-writing skills, numbers, life-cycles, and many more exciting things. For example, when they are studying the farm, writing, reading, math, biology, geography, economy, art and music are wrapped into the theme. Children are given the building blocks for creative thinking and problem solving all while being immersed in the love of reading and writing as they are prepared for future learning.  


Learning in elementary and middle school is project-based as teachers weave Language Arts core disciplines of reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking skills into science and social studies units at age-appropriate levels mapped to common core  and NGSS standards. Elementary children explore the world with wonder as they read, investigate, explore, create, sing, and discuss, and present what they are doing. Students are encouraged to ask questions, present their thinking, and take ownership of their learning. Middle school students begin to develop their logic skills as they delve deeper into the why’s and how’s. 


In grades 1 and 2 the focus is on learning-to-read beginning with systematic phonics instruction. In grades 3 and beyond, the focus turns to reading-to-learn. Throughout the years, students are instructed in differentiated small groups in literacy-rich classrooms. Each inquiry-based lesson and activity is made to be developmentally appropriate. Through collaborative projects, use of technology, and increased independent learning, students become creative thinkers, confident communicators, and courageous leaders – world changers! 


The study of mathematics based on the Singapore Math model using Eureka curriculum materials. Singapore math methodology focuses on students learning to think mathematically instead of just rote memorization. Watch this introductory video to further see what math looks like (scroll down to the “introducing number bonds” video. You can also read an example here).  


Foundationally, everything is taught out of a Biblical worldview where God is revealing Himself through creation which we then connect to scripture. Throughout all subjects and levels, students are constantly asked the following questions, leading them to search for truth that is only, ultimately, answered in the Bible: Who made it?  What is its purpose?  How is it good?  How is it beautiful? We also reinforce this worldview in our Bible classes and Chapel, showing that God wants us to know Him and have a relationship with Him which will then overflow into our love for others. Art, music, and physical education are also incorporated into the curriculum. The small class sizes allow teachers to individualize learning goals as each child develops at his/her own pace. The well-balanced, engaging curriculum endeavors to grow students’ desire to learn while intentionally employing and building their linguistic strengths.


Why do students study what they study?

Language Arts

God spoke the universe into existence; God inspired the Bible; Jesus, God Incarnate, is “the Word made flesh.”  Language is a gift from God which is unique to humankind. We learn language to better serve and love others. We reflect God’s image when we bridge language and cultural barriers to communicate and build relationships with others. God is the author of a stunningly diverse body of languages and cultures. The effective use of language glorifies God. Through the language-centered skills of quality reading, writing, listening, and speaking, CBA desires students to better understand God and His creation, especially humanity.  This is pursued through proficiency in grammar, mechanics, and usage, in both English and Spanish.   In addition to synthetic phonics and formal writing instruction and practice, students demonstrate mastery of learning through oral presentations and class discussions.  Students develop their language arts skills to glorify God, demonstrating the wisdom and eloquence of communication coupled with the knowledge of and love for God to serve others. As we study language and culture, our understanding of God and His work in the world is increased. 

 

Mathematics: 

Mathematics is the study of God’s creation and His ordered universe. Through His creation, God reveals His nature in mathematical principles that are absolutely true and reliable. Mathematics is the tool God has given us to numerically describe God’s creation. As students learn to solve equations, prove a theorem, or work through any mathematical process, they are uncovering God’s truth and seeing the beauty of order and design in the universe.

 

History: 

History is God’s redemptive story being accomplished through time in His world. It is ‘His Story’. God has always had, and always will have, a purpose and a plan that encompasses all people of all tribes and tongues. It is God who determines times and places and created man to think and act. And ideas and actions have consequences. What we believe impacts everything we do. By studying history, students begin to uncover the connections between the purposes of God and the acts of men.  History provides the opportunity to see God’s character, His faithfulness, mercy, and love displayed, and helps students become attuned to His beauty, goodness, and truth. History comes alive as stories of real people and real events are told and retold, and students begin to see themselves as part of that story. Students begin to see the impact of people and the church on culture, as well as the impact of culture on the church and are provided with the opportunity to apply lessons from the past to their lives today. Our desire is for students to become lovers of God and imitators of His goodness to all tribes and tongues.  

 

Science

God created all things and did so with specific design and purpose. God gave man the desire to understand the details of God’s creation as a means of natural revelation to who God is. Since God is the source of all Truth and life, the study of science is the investigation of His intricate designs – from microscopic to telescopic wonders. The word ‘science’ comes from the Latin “scientia” meaning knowledge. According to Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; therefore, the basis for true knowledge must be derived from God’s truth as revealed to us in Scripture and through observations of His general revelation through creation. Throughout the years of study, students pursue evidence of grand design and gain a respect for the value of all life. Students write and discuss the intricacies of science and become better able to think critically and speak persuasively about science in light of creation

 

Bible: 

Theology stems from two Greek words: ‘Theos’, meaning “God” and ‘Logia’, meaning “word.” Theology, then, is literally the study of God and His ways. To use the words of Jonathan Edwards, the goal of teaching the Bible is for students to “have their minds, in the first place, inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable nature of the things of God.” It is critical that students have a solid foundational understanding about who God and the Trinity are, as this determines how and what they understand in other subjects and in life. Students develop a foundation of Christian truths amidst a rigorous academic setting in such a way that they are able to biblically evaluate both basic and complex life issues in light of scriptural Truth and are prepared to defend their beliefs with logically sound arguments in an increasingly hostile world. Students will build a foundation of Scripture, scriptural doctrine, theology, apologetics, and worldview analysis, and be equipped to apply biblical truth to their lives as they continue in their Christian walk, prepared to share the Gospel and discipline others from a solid foundation.

 

Physical Education:

Participation in physical education desires to help students gain an increasing awareness on how to care for the body God has given them. Since we are fearfully and wonderfully made and the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, students learn various methods that encourage a healthy and wellness-oriented lifestyle.  Physical Education is also seen as a time to build self-discipline, perseverance, grit, submission to authority, respect and teamwork into a student’s life.

 

Fine Arts: (included within the curriculum)

Believing God to be the Creator, Designer, and Sustainer of life, we desire to teach the creative arts and develop within each student the skill, knowledge, and understanding of the arts for the praise and glory of God. We desire for students to study the arts both to analyze and create. Students study and analyze works of the past as they examine how culture has influenced the arts and how arts express worldviews. As the Bible commands us to be imitators of Christ, we strive to lead students to create beauty, as everything God created was beautiful and good.  In working towards excellence in the arts, students recognize there is a definition of beauty beyond the eye of the beholder. We encourage standards of excellence, service to God and man, and the search for truth, goodness, and beauty. Fine arts equip students to express their faith through unique venues, including visual arts, music, technology, and dramatic performance. We aspire to provide a safe environment for each student to explore their unique gifting and talents while guiding them towards a lifestyle of discipline and worship unto God.


What academic goals (Benchmarks) are set for students to reach?


Reading: (link to Fountas & Pinnell/ Lexile chart, Link to level descriptions)


CBA provides a range for children that prioritizes individual growth. International research demonstrates that these students will have caught up or surpassed national norms by 10 years of age. Based on our differentiation and small class sizes, many children will reach our goals faster than the maps indicate below.


  • End of EE4: In Spanish, identify some alphabet (upper and lower case) 

  • End of Kindergarten: In Spanish, read AA-A books, where they have a close encounter with books and text including sentences with articles and adjectives.

  • End of 1st grade read G – K books, and recognize all Dolch and Fry sight words (in English) and high-frequency words (in Spanish and English)

  • End of 2nd grade read L – Q books; recognize all Dolch and Fry sight words (in English) and high-frequency words (in Spanish and English) 

  • End of 3rd grade read Q – W books 

  • End of 4th grade read U – Z books

  • End of 5th grade read X – Z books


Writing:


In both Spanish and English (unless otherwise noted)

  • End of Kindergarten – In Spanish, write upper- and lower-case letters, syllables and some simple words on primary writing paper using correct direction, size, and sequence of each letter formation,  

  • End of 1st grade- write from 3 sentences up to one paragraph that has an introduction, two connected ideas, and closure. Four types of sentences are written including major parts of speech and range in length up to 6 words. *This range will vary based on student’s oral fluency 

  • End of 2nd grade- write a two-paragraph essay that has an introduction, two or more connected ideas, and closure. Four types of sentences are written including major parts of speech and range in length up to 7 words.

  • End of 3rd grade- write three paragraph essays (narrative, informative, persuasive) that have an introduction, three or more connected ideas, bring closure, and use linking words and phrases to connect opinions and reasons. Essays develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details. Four types of sentences plus compound sentences are written, including eight parts of speech and ranging in length up to 8 words.

  • End of 4th grade – write 4 paragraph essays (narrative, informative, persuasive) that include an introduction, connect three or more ideas, and bring closure. Students write for a variety of audiences and develop essays with reasons, examples, definitions, and details. Strong emphasis placed on structure and organization of writing, including use of a variety of transitional words and phrases. Sentences range in structure and style including compound and complex sentences and all eight parts of speech, ranging in length up to 9 words. Students use keyboarding skills to publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. Students publish their work using headings, illustrations, and multimedia to enhance reader understanding. 

  • End of 5th grade write 5 paragraph essays (narrative, informative, persuasive) that have an introduction, connect four or more ideas, and bring closure. Students engage in the writing process over time including reflection, critique, and revision. Students write for a variety of audiences and develop essays with reasons, examples, definitions, quotes, and dialogue. Strong emphasis placed on structure and organization of writing, including use of a variety of transitional words and phrases. Sentences range in structure and style including compound and complex sentences, figurative language, and all eight parts of speech, ranging in length up to 10 words.  All eight parts of speech are used effectively. Students demonstrate command of keyboarding skills to type one page in a single sitting.


Mathematics

Common Core Math Standards are the guide. Specific skills are outlined in our report card that demonstrate what a student understands and can communicate in Spanish. Mathematics is taught only in Spanish. Students must answer world problems in Spanish incorporating correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar. 


What teaching practices will you notice in the classroom?


Teachers seek to:

  • Create a language-rich environment

  • Encourage inquiry by learning through questioning

  • Gear instruction towards teaching students how to think more than what to think

  • Embed objectives into real-world applications that bridge several content areas (project-based inquiry)

  • Facilitate individualized pacing to maximize learning by employing whole-group, small-group, one-on-one, and individual instruction.

  • Plan units with the end in mind.

  • Use data to tailor instruction

  • Demonstrate fruits of the Holy Spirit-filled life with colleagues, parents, and students (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control)


How does this look in the general core classes offered?

All *subjects are based on Common Core State Standards with the goal of student mastery of grade-level specific standards.


Bible

  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. All learning is grounded in knowing the Triune God as Creator and sustainer of life.

  • Foundationally, everything is taught out of a biblical worldview where God is revealing himself through Creation. Along with the biblical permeation that happens through direct and indirect instruction in the classroom, students attend chapel once a week.
  • Students see how everything points to Jesus, who wants us to know Him and have a relationship with Him, which will then overflow into our love for others.

  • Students learn the tension between the order and peace established in creation and the disorder and brokenness caused by sin (selfishness). They will understand that Jesus Christ came to bring spiritual healing and reestablish order and peace, and as he heals us, he uses us to bring his healing to others. Students will learn through both biblical studies, and daily interactions, that Jesus Christ is the great hero, and that we all need to depend on him.

  • Students develop a high level of global awareness as they proactively seek to love their neighbors of any culture.

  • Throughout the year a key characteristics of God is emphasized each month as students learn to become imitators of Christ.


*Language Arts (Spanish and English)

Reading:

  • Students are instructed in differentiated small groups in literacy-rich classrooms beginning with explicit systematic phonics instruction

  • Focus is placed on developing a child’s comprehension skills, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary development.

  • Students grow in their capacity to read complex text and learn to explore pressing issues in the world around them to become fluent independent readers.


Writing:

  • Focus is placed on developing students who are able to articulate thoughts and ideas well in oral, written, and digital form in multiple languages.

  • Students are instructed in writing cross-curricular with the goal of becoming confident and creative communicators and thinkers.

  • Through a step-by-step, sequential, and concrete method of teaching writing, students learn to write, edit, revise, and publish narrative, informational, persuasive, and poetic genres.

  • Specific grade-appropriate grammar skills are integrated throughout the writing process.


Listening/Speaking

  • Speech writing and project presentations are integrated into all subject areas.

  • Through Socratic discussions students learn to take a stand, support their thinking with evidence, and understand and address differences in a spirit of respect and love.


*Mathematics

  • Instruction focuses on the development of a solid understanding of the numeration system with ever increasing problem-solving skills based on real-world applications through the Singapore method.

  • Instruction is designed to help students understand how to choose and apply mathematical concepts to solve problems they would encounter in real life.

  • Students are given the opportunity to use manipulatives and diagrams that aid problem solving, and encourage students to think quantitatively, critically, and creatively.

  • Students are required to demonstrate and explain their thinking.


*Science

  • Because science is the study of God’s creative design of His universe, students are taught to consider carefully how they can problem-solve and care for God’s world in terms of conservation, stewardship, and sustainability.

  • The classroom environment is developed to be a place of discovery for children, a place to instill wonder and curiosity about the world and how it works. 

  • Science begins and ends with the asking of questions. Students engage in the scientific method as they explore and problem solve through project-based learning.


Technology 

  • Technology is used to support, differentiate, and enrich learning as students learn to research information, make decisions, solve problems, and present solutions. 

  • Developmentally appropriate digital citizenship and internet safety are taught at each grade level.

  • Keyboarding skills are taught and practiced beginning in grade 3.

  • iPads or laptops are used throughout with a 1:2 ratio in grades 1 and 2 and a 1:1 ratio thereon.


Social Studies

  • History is studied as students begin to see God’s redemptive story through time.

  • People and events from the past are studied as motives, choices, and consequences are compared.

  • As students study the past, they become better equipped to examine the world in which they live and discern between wise and foolish choices.

  • Diversity is valued as students seek to understand and interact lovingly with all cultures as they learn to view global issues from multiple perspectives.

  • Students learn what it means to serve others around them graciously, selflessly, and proactively so as to bring Christ’s love to the nations.


How can parents be part of their child’s learning?

Home/School Partnership:

In order to achieve our academic goals, CBA partners with parents. From preschool on, it is CBA’s expectation that parents read for fun daily with their children. Starting in first grade, teachers will assign homework in English and Spanish reading as well as math review. This may include assigned books through RazKids for students to read. RAZ provides the much-needed opportunity for students learning in multiple languages the opportunity to listen to language as well as read independently.


Students need parents to reinforce the homework at home in an enjoyable environment, allowing the student to do his/her best (aka students do the work, not the parents). It is realistic that a child can enjoy reading two stories and do a worksheet and/or review sight/high-frequency words, without taking away a play-filled afternoon. 


Communication/ Data:

Parents should expect the following communications:

  • Weekly newsletter from the Grade 1 – 4 classroom teacher outlining the skills and topics of the week.

  • Math Eureka workbook or online practice assigned at home a few days each week 

  • Daily RazKids books assigned at individual student levels

  • Corrected student work sent home weekly so that parents are able to see student work and teacher’s corrections. We learn from our mistakes; we desire students to do the same.

  • 3x a year – Reading Running Record assessment report reflecting a student’s comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary development.

  • 2x a year – report cards that identify student progress aligned to the standards

  • 2-3x a year- MAP test results (short, adaptive test in reading and math that tracks individual progress allowing us to measure student growth). 

  • Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled in the middle of the first semester. Parents may also request a meeting with their teachers at any time. 


Soli Deo Gloria