The DLEACS School Curriculum is designed to meet the NJ Student Learning Standards, enhanced where appropriate by the core knowledge remediation of essentials (such as in ED Hirsch’s core curriculum), and character Read 180 for grades 4-8, and Math for grades 180 6-8/Do the Math for grades 1-5 development essentials (in our Character Education program).
The Dr. Lena Edwards Academic Charter School is comprised of seven (7) gears. The gears are Character Education program, Music and Arts, Complete Direction after school academic enrichment program, STEM classes aligned with the NGSS, Health and Wellness, Mentoring and Parent University. ” The seven Gears of success is a comprehensive, innovative approach to fostering academic achievement.” “Each gear represents critical areas that impact a child’s academics. Social and emotional development particularly in an urban environment, which in turn prepares students for higher achievement, college, and future careers.” In addition, the curriculum supports the goals of students reading to learn by the end of first grade and reading to learn by the end of third grade. In Math, students are prepared to correlate the 8 Mathematical practices in order to become proficient in the skills and concepts in every grade level in order to be prepared for the rigors of high school math according to the NJDOE Math standards https://www.nj.gov/education/cccs/2016/math/standards.pdf
The seven gears are infused throughout the content areas:
The six Character Education attributes are reiterated through a school pledge during the daily morning meeting. Students also receive character education workshops on a rotating basis as part of the curriculum. Students get opportunities to be selected as student of the month from each class. Students are selected by their teachers for the honor to represent their class as a student of the month. In addition, middle school students participate in the school culture and climate team. Students survey the school and create positive affirmation posters, meet with administration to discuss concerns as well as represent the school at the NJDOE Conference on Social and Emotional Learning as school ambassadors where students get an opportunity to elaborate on the benefits of a social-emotional learning approach.
Music and Arts are another part of the distinguishing factors of our school. Students receive choral and instrumental training. Middle school students learn how to play the flute, clarinet, drums, and trumpet. The middle school band participates in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They perform at various community functions.
The Complete Direction program provides students with multiple opportunities to learn about viable career opportunities in the culinary arts, STEM and after school music programs. Participating students also receive homework help during the after school experience.
Health and Wellness is another facet of the school that sets DLEACS apart from schools in the surrounding community. Students work with staff, parents and community partners to grow, harvest and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. DLEACS grows fresh fruits and vegetables in the school garden.
Student mentoring program, another part of factors that set DLEACS apart from other schools, offers students and families opportunities to hear from motivational speakers on various topics such as etiquette, the importance of higher education, career goals, interaction with law enforcement, social-emotional learning and grief counseling. The goal is to reinforce the importance of striving for excellence now in order to prepare them for success in the future. This is one of the only school-based mentoring programs in the surrounding community that is supported by local college partners (St. Peters University & New Jersey City University).
An additional feature of our school curriculum is STEAM features, which stands for Science – Technology/Engineering- Arts – Math. At DLEACS all of our students enroll each year in Science – Technology - Arts – Math. A stand-alone Science and Music Learning Center, renovated in 2015, provides the space and environment for more in-depth learning.
DLEACS also has a Science Enrichment lab, another distinguishing feature, where students learn about Life, Physical and Earth Science through a curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. DLEACS utilizes the Science Fusion Program that is a part of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) suite of programs. Students work in a project/peer-to-peer manner in order to learn about the principles of Life, Physical and Earth Science. DLEACS employs for Math, Social Studies and English Language Arts/Literacy.
Parent University is a compilation of supports for parents that include but are not limited to parent focus groups, fuel assistance through community agencies such as PACO, career path assistance, helping students with completing assignments, homework and understanding the DLEACS content materials to better support their children.