Prior knowledge is a combination of a student’s preexisting attitudes, and beliefs, life experience and activities and knowledge. It is a lens through which they view and absorb new information. It is a composite of who they are, based on what they have learned from both their academic and everyday experiences. It is a framework for learning and helps students make inferences. Students learn and remember new information best when it is linked to relevant prior knowledge. Because prior knowledge plays such an important role in learning and comprehension, Hope Community Charter School broadens students’ experiences by taking them to the rich variety of historical and cultural opportunities in the Delaware Valley. Trips to local zoos, gardens, museums, theaters, and historic locations are incorporated into the curriculum throughout the year.
In addition to field trips, Hope Community Charter School has set aside time every Friday for an enrichment class. Students have an opportunity to choose the enrichment activity they participate in and students change activities every six weeks. The enrichment activities are developed by the staff based on the hobbies, interests, and curiosity of the staff and students. Enrichment programs may include but not be limited to cooking, sewing, knitting/weaving, music, dance, pottery, chess, Legos, kite building, drawing, computer application and yoga. By exposing students to experiences that extend beyond the classroom walls, we hope to expand their academic experiences, build schema, and help students construct their own understanding of the world.
Providing Additional Support Necessary for All Students to Succeed
Hope Community Charter School uses a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement. Teachers identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes through ongoing formal and informal assessments, monitor their progress, provide evidence-based interventions, adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities. Our teachers receive proper training in the elements of this highly collaborative instructional model so they are empowered to use it confidently. Our three-tiered model is based on the most common RTI design and is supported using classroom teachers, instructional aides, parents, and special education teachers.
LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM