11 on by OC Schools

Academic Corner 3/14/16

Mrs. Carleen Maurer

Mrs. Carleen Maurer

It is a top priority for our entire OC faculty to help our children succeed academically. We are intentional about creating programs and systems to help our diverse group of students achieve at their highest individual potential. One such system that helps us with this process we call our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

PLCs are made up of small teams of teachers from each grade level. Together, we meet twice a month for 45 minutes for the sole focus of talking about student learning and achievement. In PLCs, we are focusing on what we call the essential skills that our students need to know to be successful. At times, these skills are found in something that most everyone has heard of – the Common Core. Common Core is often something that some parents are unsure about or do not quite understand. It is our desire to help our parents navigate through this educational topic.

If you were to imagine Common Core as being a file cabinet, with three drawers – one drawer would represent student skills, one would represent curriculum content, and one would represent teaching methods. Here at OC, the ONLY “drawer” that we address are academic skills. These are the skills that all California students are expected to master by the time they leave a particular grade. They are foundational and build upon one another so that all students will have the necessary skills from kindergarten through 12th grade in order to be successful.

In our PLC meetings we discuss which skills we are actually addressing in the classroom; often times those skills are more advanced than the Common Core, which is not our goal nor does it impact our curricular decisions. Our primary goal in identifying student skills is to set the highest standard of academic excellence for our students, because we are committed to the belief that every child can learn.

While we want to meet the same skills and expectations of other students in our state and nation in order for our students to have competitive 21st century skills, the CONTENT and METHOD of what and how we teach are in no way dictated by Common Core. As a private Christian school, we are not subjected to government mandates. We know that a Biblical worldview is the highest standard and our teachers infuse our biblical perspective into every content area. OC has developed a set of Core Curricular/Spiritual Principles that truly set us apart, and this is what drives the content and methods of our teaching. We are so blessed to have the freedom to stay competitive in the academic skills area that our students are equipped with, while at the same time focusing on the Biblical standards that we hold to be true and necessary, as together, we fulfill our mission of Growing Christian Leaders.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact your site principal, the Director of Curriculum – Kourtnie Roberts (kroberts@ocschools.org), or the Director of Academic Achievement – Carleen Maurer (cmaurer@ocschools.org).