Throughout this section, collaborative curricular efforts we have already undertaken together, as six Kahakai teachers, are interwoven with our plans for IPCS. We expect IPCS to yield broader and more frequent opportunities for collaboration in curriculum design.
Overview: Initially, the Innovations Public Charter School will be an elementary educational program for third-fifth graders that differs fundamentally from traditional classroom education. Morning instructional sessions will be designed for small groups of students who are flexibly grouped according to their achievement levels to facilitate instruction in standards-based skill development in language arts and math. The focus on skills in the morning will provide students with the necessary foundation to ensure success with the overall curriculum focus of standards-driven, project-based inquiries in the afternoon. These will provide real-world applications for those skills. In addition to the project-based/inquiry activities, student interests will also be addressed in individually selected clubs.
To reach all types of learners, teachers, staff and mentors will employ a variety of methodologies - teacher as facilitator, cooperative learning groups, lecture, Socratic dialogue, technology-based instruction, experience-based instruction and project-based instruction to name a few.
Strategies to be used to improve student performance and contribute to the positive development of each child include the following:
These strategies are research-based and support an infrastructure that encourages team building, shared learning, experiential project-based systems, and innovative and creative management. The strategies will demonstrate that learning is shared responsibility. Students will take an active role in the design and implementation of integrative learning projects as well as taking responsibility for their success. They will share a curiosity and enthusiasm for learning in a non-traditional environment.
The IPCS Accountability Plan utilizes a broad range of assessment tools and strategies. The Accountability Plan defines a set of assessment indicators to provide teachers, administrators, parents, and students with information about how the school and its students are progressing toward its goals. The Accountability Plan includes the following:
Assessment Strategies are:
Integrated Assessment: Assessment will be integrated into the development of the school's curriculum to ensure continual improvement of the school's offerings. Changes will be made based on analysis of student performance data so that all students can achieve high educational standards.
Internal and External Assessment Strategies: Both will be developed to help teachers and students know what is expected of them and provide student and teacher performance data that can be examined regularly and used to make curricular and instructional revisions.
Match to the Mission: The school's assessment strategies reflect the school's mission and goals.
Frequent Family Communications: Parents and school community will be frequently informed of the philosophy and process of assessment as well as asked to participate in the assessment process.
Assessment tools that align with the state standards and curriculum will be used.
Students will participate in the Hawaii Assessment Program, a standardized state examination which will measure student performance of statewide student standards. These standards outline what all Hawaii students are expected to know and be able to do. Currently in development, the Hawaii Assessment Program will measure skill and content knowledge based on the state standards.
The Stanford Achievement Test (abbreviated edition) will be given and used to evaluate mastery of core skills, tracking performance over time, and providing a larger context by which to evaluate students compared to counterparts across the nation.
Electronic portfolios will be used to collect information relevant to the growth of students over time.
Diagnostic tests will be administered on a frequent basis to collect information about which concepts, skills, or content is giving students the most difficulty so instructional changes can be made.
Dr. Popham's "split and switch" technique will be administered to collect evidence of student growth in the area of higher intellectual processes over an academic year.
Peer assessments will be conducted to teach students the value of reviewing and critiquing one another's work
Rubrics will be used to clarify and illustrate what a student knows and is able to do.
The Electronic portfolio concept will be expanded to the whole school context to increase the value of the assessment process for school-based improvement.
All of these techniques and tools are discussed in detail in Part IV.
Project-Based Learning: The overall curriculum structure which is called project-based learning (PBL), a model for classroom activity that shifts away from the traditional classroom practices of short, isolated, teacher-centered lessons, and instead emphasizes learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with real world issues and practices.
One immediate benefit of PBL is its unique potential for motivating students by engaging them in their own learning. PBL provides opportunities for students to pursue their own interests and questions and make decisions about how they will find answers and solve problems.
PBL also provides opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. Students apply and integrate the content of different subject areas at pertinent moments in the production process, instead of in isolation or in an artificial setting. In this way, PBL helps make learning relevant and useful to students by establishing connections to life outside the classroom, addressing real world concerns, and developing real world skills. Many of the skills learned through PBL are those desired by today's employer, including the ability to work well with others, make thoughtful decisions, take initiative, and solve complex problems. These are also abilities emphasized in Hawaii's new standards.
In the school and beyond, PBL also encourages teachers to build working relationships with each other as well as with those in the larger community. Student work - which includes documentation of the learning process as well as the students' final projects - can be shared with other teachers, parents, mentors, and the business community who all have a stake in the students' education.
Seven features have been identified as key components of this project-based learning model:
Worthwhile and successful projects require integration of content based on standards with clearly articulated goals, and demonstration of content learning both in process and product.
A multimedia component gives students opportunities to use various technologies effectively as tools in the planning, development, or presentation of their projects.
A student direction component maximizes student decision-making and initiative throughout the course of the project-from topic selection to design, production, and presentation. Projects that include adequate structure and feedback help students make thoughtful decisions and revisions. By documenting students' decisions, revisions, and initiative, teachers (and students) capture valuable material for assessing student work and growth.
PBL accommodates and promotes collaboration among students, between students and the teacher, and between students and other community members as well. This component gives students opportunities to learn collaborative skills, relying on the work of peers, integrating peer and mentor feedback, providing thoughtful feedback to peers, and working with others as student researchers.
The real world connection component takes many forms, depending on the goal of the project. PBL may connect to the real world because it addresses real world issues that are relevant to students' lives or communities. A project may be connected to real professions through use of authentic methods, practices, and audiences. Real world connections might also be made by communicating with the world outside the classroom, via the Internet or collaboration with community members and mentors.
An extended time frame builds in opportunities for students to plan, revise and reflect on their learning. Though the time frame and scope of projects vary widely, all include adequate time and materials to support meaningful doing and learning.
PBL requires varied and frequent assessment, including teacher assessment, peer assessment, self-assessment, and reflection. Assessment practices come to be well understood by students, allowing them opportunities to participate in the assessment process in ways not typically supported by more traditional teacher-centered lessons.
Curriculum alignment with Hawaii Content and Performance Standards: The IPCS curriculum will be aligned with Hawaii's Content Standards using a standard procedure for curricular decisions. Standards will be chosen from the four main core areas of Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Curriculum for the school will be based on the following steps:
Project-Based Curriculum Sample Currently in Use: One model of project-based learning utilizing a high level of technology was implemented by IPCS teaching staff at Kahakai Elementary SY 1998-2000. The Electronic Book Project integrated literacy, social studies and/or science, technology, and differentiation in order to significantly impact student reading achievement. The project was based on Hawaii Content Standards and clearly articulated goals that supported and demonstrated content learning both in process and product.
Students in grades 3-5 participated as authors and readers of interactive story books they created with HyperStudio. HyperStudio is a multimedia software program allowing for integration of text, graphics, video, animation and sound to represent and convey information. Using HyperStudio, students develop cards much like pages in a book. The cards are linked together to form a stack. Stacks are interactive inviting the reader to make choices as to their reading experience.
The project grew out of the following situation: after it was determined that K-2 classrooms were in need of additional age-appropriate reading materials, students at upper grade levels were challenged to provide beginning and early readers with motivating reading materials. K-2 readers were surveyed to determine reading preferences. Survey results showed a definite preference for electronic books on computer. Upper grade students compared differences and similarities of standard book formats versus interactive electronic book formats and developed a plan for electronic book production. They attended mini lessons on genre, writing for a younger audience, storyboarding and HyperStudio skill lessons.
Students selected and researched a topic, then selected main concepts to present in their e-book. They made design, production and presentation decisions. The final product was an interactive, electronic book appropriate for young readers.
Assessment was on-going as students progressed through the development of their stacks. Self, peer and teacher evaluations determined needed modifications of stacks. The projects' culminating activity was an e-book event where students shared their works with younger students and received feedback from the audience. An electronic bookshelf of these student-authored texts was made available to all students at Kahakai via the school server.
This project-based learning was anchored in core curriculum. It involved students in sustained effort over time which yielded opportunities to plan, revise and reflect on their learning. Students were involved in collaborations and decision-making. Learning was authentic and utilized a variety of assessments that were on-going as well as product based.
Content standards, supporting documents, sample worksheets, e-book samples and student reflections from this project can be found in the Appendix.
Project-Based Curriculum Sample for IPCS: The regularly scheduled team planning sessions and flexibility in curriculum design/implementation will allow IPCS staff to take project-based learning to more extensive implementation encompassing the entire curriculum and differentiating for the needs of each individual student. The first project-based inquiry that students will be involved in at IPCS will involve the study and development of culture. The IPCS staff is in the design stages of "Create-A-Culture," an inquiry project integrating the language arts, math, social studies, science, world languages and educational technology-- benchmarks of Hawaii Content Standards.
Students will be involved in a simulation promoting the initial design phases for establishing a human habitat. The mission is to have students work in teams to design a habitat that addresses the actual challenges that will be presented to the planners/settlers. The design will be developed based on technological, scientific and historical information gathered as students work toward completion of this mission. As students progress through the mission, they will generate problems that require them to seek out more information to ensure their survival. As groups develop their new habitats, a need for interdependence among habitats/cultures is established as environmental conditions change.
As each element of culture is introduced to the students, a unit of study will be developed. The youngsters will explore, research and gather information regarding this cultural element by studying their own and other world cultures to gain an understanding of the element as it contributes to the nature of culture. Students will then determine the guidelines and structure for that element in their project.
Through exploration, students come upon questions and concepts that they feel a need to study further as a personal inquiry. Teachers acting as facilitators, will guide individuals through the inquiry process of learning to assist them in becoming independent learners capable of furthering their own knowledge-base in personal interest areas.
Students, organized in groups, often make oral presentations to other peer groups for the purpose of sharing their findings and understandings of culture. These mini-units will create a community of learners who share in the responsibility for learning, which is the goal of Innovations Public Charter School.
The culminating project for this simulation will be the creation of a multi-cultural museum representing the various cultures and habitats created by the several student groups. Members of the community at-large will be invited to the presentation of this multicultural museum, thereby establishing an authentic audience for students.
The standards addressed by the project, and graphic organizers demonstrating the interdisciplinary design of the unit, can be found in the Create-A-Culture unit found at the end of this section.
Collaborations: IPCS students will benefit from adult partners and mentors from community businesses and organizations that will enrich learning experiences. The IPCS staff has already established working partnerships with several community agencies. As teachers at Kahakai, the IPCS teaching staff wrote and implemented a grant proposal that involved a program called Artists In The Schools. Research supports the positive impact of instruction in the fine arts on students' academic success. Through this grant, partnerships with local artists were established which allowed students to receive direct instruction from these talented people in our community. A website devoted to this project was established as part of the Kahakai School website by Barbara Woerner, teacher on the IPCS teaching staff. A review of the Math Dance , one of student workshop sponsored by Artists In The Schools, can be found at http://www.k12.hi.us/!kahakai/ke/mathdance.html.
The IPCS teaching staff will continue partnerships such as Artists In The Schools which have already been established and seek new partnerships in the community in the development of Innovations Public Charter School curriculum. Some of the partnerships currently established are as follows:
The Children's Advocacy Center's director Carol Warner, who sits on IPCS' Interim Board, will act as a resource for student/parent workshops and presentations on family growth and development.
Sara Peck, Sea Grant Extension agent and IPCS Interim Board member, directed the Kahaluu Beach Project which involved Kahakai School students in reef sustainability research and communicating their findings to the public. Her continued involvement in IPCS marine science projects is anticipated.
South Kona Educational Association (SKEA) supports efforts to develop student creativity and improve academic achievement through exposure to performance and fine arts activities via the Artists In The Schools Program. IPCS will include an Artists In The Schools component as part of the curriculum.
Borders Books provides a forum for authentic audiences for students to share literary works. IPCS' students will participate in special programs and benefit from incentives offered by Borders.
Schools of the Pacific Rainfall Climate Experiment (SPaRCE). Technology infused weather studies for grades 3-5 provide an avenue for students to participate in a global information system that allows them to gather and share information on weather conditions in the South Pacific through e-mail.
Big Island Educational Federal Credit Union partnership provides students with the materials necessary to experience math in real-world applications.
Salomon Smith Barney Inc., and broker Taylor Easley provides the students with knowledge that enables them to participate in on-line stock market simulations.
The Hawaii County Police Department will provide students information relevant to the DARE program.
IPCS will seek out community service professionals to fulfill volunteer requirements.
Interest Clubs: To ensure a balance between teacher-framed choice and student choice, students will be engaged in mini inquiries through student-developed interest clubs. Various mentorships will be coordinated to guide students' interests. Students will be provided weekly times to meet with their club of choice to participate in student generated activities. Club topics may include but are not limited to computer, poetry, chess, reading, cooking, newspaper, stock market, art, dance, music, yoga, and oceanography. Students will be surveyed to determine interest and clubs will meet for one quarter. Students will rotate to new clubs each quarter.
Service Learning: Projects that take students beyond the classroom walls have been an important curriculum component to foster a commitment to others beyond the students' immediate needs. Past projects have included visits to the elderly, planting flowers, painting trash cans, helping younger students in other classrooms, collecting food for the needy and more. IPCS staff will continue to involve students in school and community related service learning projects.
Technology: Telecommunication projects will promote awareness of various cultures, issues, environments, and students' roles in the global community. On-line projects will be found that support the IPCS integrative curriculum theme. The IPCS technology plan is as follows:
Goals: Students and staff will have access to and be able to operate current technology equipment. Technology will be utilized to develop critical thinking, reading, writing, communication, math, and multimedia skills. Through technology, teachers will be effective and efficient managers of student records and professional responsibilities. Technology will be used to successfully manage the administrative tasks of the school.
Innovation's Technology Plan for SY 2001 - 2004 includes 3 focus areas aimed at improving student academic achievement:
The Technology Plan is based on the four pillars of technology improvement:
Vision: Students and staff at IPCS will use emerging technologies as tools for learning and management, preparing them for future changes, developing a desire for life long learning.
IPCS seeks to make technology a seamless tool, used daily to engage students in learning. IPCS develops and supports technologies and models of instruction in which learning
IPCS will use technology to effectively keep track of student records and achievements, financial accounts, and to perform various administrative tasks.
Connectivity: IPCS will be located in six rooms on the north-west corner of the Kahakai campus. Kahakai is networked schoolwide. Every room on campus is connected to the LAN/WAN (Local Area Network / Wide Area Network).The classrooms assigned to IPCS have network connectivity via a coaxial backbone and CAT 5 cabling. Hubs will be installed in each of the rooms to allow for multiple access to the WAN and Internet.
Hardware / Software:Students at IPCS will have access to various current and emerging technologies throughout their school day. Each room will have a mini lab of computers, scanners, and printers allowing groups of students to work on projects. TVs, VCRs, digital cameras, and other peripherals will be available for use. A variety of software programs on each of the computers. will expose students to databases, spreadsheet, word processing, multimedia, skill development and simulations. Teachers will have Power Books for mobility to do classroom presentations and work on projects at home. A Web server will be set up allowing teachers and students to publish projects for sharing with other schools and the community.
Staff Development: Teachers need in-depth, sustained assistance as they work to integrate computer use into the curriculum and implement innovative methods of instruction to include extensive use of technology. Staff at IPCS will receive technology training throughout each school year. Staff development efforts will be coordinated by Barbara Woerner and Kathleen Mika who have extended technology experiences which they will share with staff and students. In addition, grants (Title VI and Technology Literacy Challenge Grants) will be written to provide staff development opportunities for teachers and staff to advance their technology skills.
Curriculum Integration: Technology will be used daily by students to assist and engage them in their learning. Staff will continually upgrade skills to provide students with emerging uses of technology. Integration of technology into the curriculum will be funded by grants. Past awards secured by IPCS members which supported technology integration include
IPCS will continue to seek funding that will provide staff with the equipment and training necessary to raise the level of technology implementation so it positively impacts student achievement.
Technology Management: Two full time IPCS teachers will assist with the management and integration of technology. They will manage the school's network, program systems, equipment, grant writing and special projects. They will assist the IPCS staff with integration of technology into the curriculum.
Evaluation: IPCS will assess its technology implementation progress via a yearly Technology Audit. The purpose of the audit will be to determine the levels of technology use in instruction as well as in personal computer use. The audit will focus on the use of technology as an interactive learning medium. The goal will be to integrate technology in an exemplary manner that supports purposeful problem-solving, performance-based assessment practices, and experiential learning. The audit will also assess the effectiveness of school administrative and managerial programs. Results from the audit will be used to adjust and improve practices.
Future Improvements: Kahakai's current coaxial backbone for the network needs to be replaced with fiber optic cabling. Hubs will be replaced with switched hubs to provided faster connectivity. Each classroom and office on campus will be wired to accommodate a minimum of 4 networked computers. Innovation's staff will assist Kahakai's technology manager with this planned improvement.
Planned Interventions for Students Not Meeting Expectations: One of the advantages of small school settings is the ability to differentiate and accommodate learning environments for students struggling to succeed. With a relatively small number of students and high parent buy-in, contacting parents in the early stages is frequently sufficient to manage potential challenges.
An instructional program encompassing three learning modalities - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic - will be used in individual and small group settings to meet the needs of students who continue to be challenged by the learning process. Students experiencing difficulties with reading, will participate in Easy Reader, a remedial reading program developed by Bini Easley (a former Special Education teacher and IPCS staff member). The Easy Reader Program has been field tested and data collected provides evidence that children learn and become successful readers after using the program. Students with difficulties in math will be tutored in small groups with hands on materials using Math Matters, a remedial math program. Ira Yamagata, a special education master teacher at Kahakai, has volunteered to assist Innovations with any additional interventions for students having difficulties.
The small school atmosphere, where students have ownership in the program and are known by all, the low student-teacher ratios, and the time allotted staff members to meet one-on-one with students makes it much easier to provide specialized interventions where necessary.
Students With Special Needs: Learning accommodations for students with special needs will be addressed by the Innovation staff and parents. School programs designed to provide services for specific target groups will be initiated to provide assistance to address students' needs. It is currently planned that if a student requires additional support beyond that provided by the charter school, the child will be referred to the appropriate Department of Education agency to insure the proper servicing of the student. A Student Support Team will be assembled, a problem solving session held and a plan of action developed. Innovations will recognize and respond to the changing needs of students and seek to promote success for each student, every time.
School Calendar & Hours: IPCS will operate on the same calendar as Kahakai School (KS). Discussion of a modified school calendar is currently in progress at KS, so IPCS may need to change to remain aligned with the Kahakai School year calendar. Current calendar designates teacher work year beginning August 18th and ending prior to Kamehameha Day. Students will begin around August 20th and end around June 8th. IPCS will maintain Kahakai's current hours of operation from 7:55 to 1:55 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and 7:55 to 12:55 on Wednesdays to accommodate student transportation via buses.
Site last updated October 30, 2000