Icahn Schools use the Core Knowledge Sequence, a nationally recognized curriculum. It is based on the concept that every child should be equipped with a core foundation of knowledge so that they are armed with the common knowledge base necessary to compete in any setting. The program is taught sequentially and thematically. Jeffrey Litt adapted the Core Knowledge Sequence to expand its effectiveness and include multiculturalism.
Our English Language Arts program uses direct, explicit, systematic and sequential phonics instruction and decodable literature to promote early reading success. Students read award-winning fiction and non-fiction literature. Each classroom has numerous library books for the children to borrow and read at home. Teachers maintain a log of each child's reading. In addition, all grades have class sets of well-known children's literature for in class use and guided reading lessons. Many of our schools also provide a full library. Our staff developers provide ongoing support to teachers through demonstration lessons and peer coaching. Our recent addition of Network Intervention Specialists, provides additional support and workshops in English Language Arts.
All children participate in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills by taking a test in June. The results determine each child's reading and mathematics strengths and areas in need of strengthening. Our Targeted Assistance Program and after school tutoring provides individualized remediation using the ITBS as a guide. Baseline assessments are used to drive the instructional program. Lesson plans reflect individualized instruction needs.
The mathematics program at the Icahn Charter Schools (ICS) provides a curriculum that covers units beyond the conventional curriculum. An integral part of the instructional program is the support from a subject specialist. Demonstration lessons and peer coaching ensure that the teachers benefit from the latest research on the teaching of mathematics. Those students, who need to strengthen their skills, as determined by baseline testing and teacher judgment, are afforded small group instruction forty minutes each day, five days a week. As with all major subject areas, the ongoing assessment documents a child’s progress for teachers and parents. Our 8th graders have a 100% pass rate on the High School Integrated Algebra Regents exam.
Science is an integral part of our curriculum and an exciting subject for our students. The study of geology, physics, biology and chemistry are among the topics included in our curriculum. The content spirals throughout the grades with each following grade going into more depth. Our students learn the importance of science in their daily lives and in their futures. As a result of our program, at least 90% of our children scored at or above the national norm on the New York State Science test in any given year of testing. Additionally, our 8th graders have a 100% pass rate on the High School Living Environment Regents exam.
Social Studies is a truly exciting course at ICSs. Our children, beginning with early childhood classes, learn about the continents, ancient Greece, ancient Rome, exploration, colonialism, slavery, etc. There is an emphasis on multiculturalism.