The Dekalb Academy of Technology and the Environment (DATE) curriculum is a hands-on, minds-on, problem-solving, inquiry-based, integrated curriculum which will provide students with a foundation for understanding the world and their place in it. The environment, both natural and built, is the context for this curriculum, and technology is the means by which students will come to know, understand, and care for the environment which sustains us all. The South River Watershed will be an important educational resource for DATE. This local environment will provide the context for much student learning, and students will get to know their home watershed in a holistic way through integrated, interdisciplinary education. Alfred North Whitehead in The Aims of Education said, "The solution which I am urging is to eradicate the fatal disconnection of subjects which kills the vitality of our modern curriculum. There is only one subject matter for education, and that is Life in all its manifestations. Our aim is to teach all the discrete subjects and skills of the elementary curriculum and to teach the interdependence of all the components—the ecology of the classroom." This can be done through watershed education. DATE’s classrooms will use technology to enhance student learning, and this will be done in intentional ways. Students will be asked to consider the need for and uses and impacts of technology as they come to know, understand, and use increasingly sophisticated technologies in the DATE curriculum.
Our rigorous curriculum includes clear learning outcomes with matching assessments, engaging learning experiences, and instructional strategies, organized in sequenced units of study, that ensure that all students achieve the desired end: the mastery of the content standards and maximized personal growth and development as a 21st learner prepared for college and the workplace.
Classroom instruction is aligned to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (www.georgiastandards.org)
To be most engaging and effective, curriculum should be developed by the teachers who will implement. DATE teachers’ particular understanding of the students they will serve, the school itself (buildings and grounds), the surrounding environment (ecosystem and human community), and their own specialized areas of training and expertise enable them to craft a curriculum that will best meet the needs of their students. The DATE curriculum is based on and guided by the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), which provide a clear content and skill set for each grade level. What will distinguish DATE as a charter school is how the mandated standards are met, how the DATE faculty creatively and collaboratively integrates the disciplines in the school’s project-based curriculum. With the guidance and support of a curriculum specialist and technology and environmental education professionals, the DATE faculty will create a dynamic curriculum for this K-8 school. The curriculum will be dynamic in that DATE’s educators will update and improve it continually over the coming years in response to changes in technology and the environment as well as in response to changes in education theory and practice and state performance standards. The three DATE grounding principles of place-based education, educating for sustainability, and making connections will not change; they will guide the evolution of the DATE curriculum on a steady course into the future. An integrated project example for each grade level is provided below. Each project example is designed to meet some GPS in at least three of the four core curriculum areas, and the specific standards for each project are noted. To provide more detail, the GPS for each project activity have been indicated for the kindergarten and grade six projects. The set of grade-level project examples include a variety of project types and lengths. The projects exemplify the type of integrated, interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum the DATE teaching staff will develop over the next six months.
The core instruction utilizes researched-based effective teaching strategies that are appropriate for the content area, utilizes engaging performance scenarios and encompasses 21st Century learning skills.
With the unique technology school focus, all students should have access to a computer and the internet at home.
Formative and Summative assessments are used to evaluate students’ performances on tasks toward mastery of the standards. Along with teacher made assessments, students are also assessed on the following District or State evaluative tools such as GA Milestones, MAP, GKIDS, and ACCESS
DISTRICT OR STATE EVALUATIVE TOOLS
- Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS) (Kindergarten)
- Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) (K – 8)
- Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS) (K – 8)
- GA Milestones End of Grade (EOG) (K-8)
- GA Milestones End of Course (EOC) (* selected 8th grade students)
Instructional strategies include, but are not limited to:
Generating and testing hypotheses
Cues, questions and advanced organizers
Project based learning
21st Century Skills
21st Century learning skills include, but are not limited to:
Innovation and creativity
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and analyzing information
Charter Focus: Environmental Sustainability and Technology Integration
Fully certified core teaching faculty
Gifted instruction is provided at every grade level (K – 8)
Early Intervention Program (EIP) services provided (K – 5)
Serve student with disabilities (K – 8)
Serve English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (K – 8)
Targeted Assistance (TA) for identified students ( K – 8)