Signature Instructional Practices
Signature instructional practices for PPCS:
Public Policy: The public policy mission fulfills the need to develop student leaders with the confidence, experience, and skills, to positively impact their communities through service learning projects. By the time students enter 8thgrade, they will have learned about public policy history and leaders through their coursework. Furthermore, students will experience authentic learning tasks through project-based learning. Students will engage in civics education and apply their knowledge of Civics Literacy to a service-learning project that positively impacts their community as an 8th grade culminating event. Students will be exposed to the different aspects and areas for public policy, in all fields, and work with community mentors to gain outside-of-the-classroom learning experiences. The school will enter into partnerships with community organizations that impact public policy in Los Angeles.
Project-Based Learning: Research supports that Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an effective and engaging way for students to learn and make meaningful connections across content areas. In order to be college and career-ready, students are required to apply knowledge in a cognitively demanding way. Through PBL, learners gain deeper comprehension within the content, and learn to collaborate, think critically, communicate effectively both orally and through writing, and find creative solutions to problems. PBL directly aligns to Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, with a focus on real-world applications and the development of 21st-century competencies that integrate technology and multi-media. The model provided by the Buck Institute for Project Based Learning will be utilized for professional development for teachers.
Critical Literacy: Critical literacy involves learners as active participants in the reading process through the analysis of the author’s purpose. Critical literacy applies to both expository and narrative text. Our students will learn to use their power as readers to question, reflect, and present counter-arguments. Critical literacy challenges readers to use their knowledge to take action. An intensive focus on reading instruction is necessary to increase students’ lexile levels and promote reading proficiency. Since the school will serve a sizable population of English Learners, vocabulary development will be a critical area of reading instruction. Professional development for teaches will emphasize explicit strategies for reading instruction to allow for students to be enthusiastic and competent readers and to engage in critical literacy across disciplines.
Effective Teaching Model: PPCS will strive to be a model for effective teaching and learning. We will promote exemplary teaching through a comprehensive professional development program aimed at providing teachers with various levels of experience with research-based strategies to meet the academic and socio-emotional needs of middle-grade learners. We will partner with local colleges and universities to hire the most qualified teachers. Professional development will be conducted by school leadership based on what the data reveals as areas of need. We commit to implementing and refining instructional approaches that advance achievement for our students. Coaching for teachers will be embedded in our effective teaching model.
Science Technology Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM): In alignment with our public policy focus, the STEM curriculum will be embedded in our instructional program, to include Art and Design (from STEM to STEAM). PPCS will develop and implement a rigorous academic program where students apply the components of STEAM in all disciplines. Our students will build connections between their school, home, and community that will enable them to flourish in higher academic settings and eventually become policy leaders in various fields.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): PPCS has partnered with Sanford Harmony to teach our students the benefits of SEL. Sanford Harmony was researched and developed by educators at the Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University. Researchers identified practical strategies, stories, activities, and lessons for improving relationships, teaching empathy, increasing student confidence, and reducing bullying. Additionally, PPCS also utilizes Ripple Effects, a multi-award-winning, social enterprise dedicated to using emerging technologies to prevent social injury and promote school and life success for all children and youth, especially those most at risk of failure.