At FernLeaf, we embrace a hands-on, student-centered approach to instruction (check out the Innovative Practices tab to learn more). Our teachers begin with a strong academic foundation and insert their own inspiration, expertise, and passions to bring learning to life.
FernLeaf educators are masters at using the Standard Course of Study and differentiated instruction to provide engaging academic content lessons.
As a core instructional practice, FernLeaf educators use small group instruction to teach, reinforce, and informally assess student learning. Incorporating project based learning into these practices allows us to focus on a student centered approach to content mastery while also teaching critical thinking skills.
We also utilize the Ready North Carolina Curriculum, to provide our students with instruction that is directly aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. This curriculum uses a problem solving-based approach that strengthens students’ learning muscles and builds conceptual understanding through reasoning, practice, and productive discussion using real-world scenarios.
Our educators supplement their personalized classroom instruction with iReady Learning in grades K - 4th and IXL Learning for grades 5 and up. Both are online instructional resources that assist educators in supporting student growth and grade-level learning. iReady is uniquely designed to provide scaffolded support that meets the needs of all students, especially struggling learners.
For students who need support above and beyond what is occurring as part of the Core Instruction outlined above we provide small group interventions provided by our Intervention Team.
ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING
A variety of teacher-developed assessments and established diagnostic tools are used throughout the school year to assess student learning. These assessment results are used along with observational data to monitor student growth and to guide instructional planning.
FernLeaf progress reports are shared with families and students on a trimesterly basis in the form of a standards based grading review. These reports include feedback related to educational progress in addition to social and emotional skills. These reports include a narrative section where teachers are able to share additional details related to their observations.
Federal legislation and North Carolina’s Accountability Program require all public and charter schools to participate in the state’s testing and accountability program. Standardized testing is one of many measures of student progress by which we measure our effectiveness as a school. Regularly administered tests include the North Carolina beginning-of-grade test in English Language Arts and Reading in third grade, and end-of-grade tests in reading and math given once per year in third through eighth grade, and the end-of-grade science test administered in fifth and eighth grade. High school students are required to take end-of-course tests at the completion of specific courses. Some of FernLeaf’s students with identified exceptionalities will take alternative assessments as documented in the student’s IEP.