Leaders of HSADSM realize that many of our nation’s public schools located in poverty areas are in crisis. To undertake this challenge and close achievement gaps, the school will personalize education by supporting the development of meaningful, sustained relationships among teachers, students, and parents; set clear, coherent goals and expectations that are well communicated to students and parents; and provide opportunities for students to complete real-life, meaningful projects that students can relate to amongst other personalized activities.
HSADSM will ultimately grow each school year to add grade levels and about 50 students to its enrollment until it graduates its first class in 2033. Kindergarten class sizes will be capped at 20 students, and other grades will be capped at 25. Concept Schools believes that small class sizes led by certified teachers allow for the development of meaningful relationships between students and staff. This translates to a small school feel, where staff and administrators truly become part of the community. HSADSM believes that strong relationships with students and families will lead to academic and social success.
We implement a standards-based, college-preparatory curriculum giving the staff flexibility to adapt instructional strategies in order to meet the needs of the students. All parts of our curriculum are fully aligned with Iowa State Learning Standards. Curriculum maps and unit plans are developed by Concept Curriculum Directors with support from regional Directors of Teaching and Learning and classroom teachers. This provides the framework for the detailed weekly and daily lesson plans that the teachers complete with their grade-level partners.
Rather than adhering to a single teaching philosophy or instructional model, the design will draw on best practices from the field and research to define a set of core instructional practices. HSADSM teachers will receive regular training from Concept and utilize a unique mix of the following research-based instructional strategies:
- Direct teaching
- Differentiated instruction
- Problem-based learning
- Project-based learning
- Collaborative learning
- Data-driven instruction
- Transformational use of technology
Use of these techniques provides an engaging, dynamic learning environment for students to explore the questions they have about the world and ways to positively contribute to the world around them. We utilize a variety of instructional approaches to teach advanced concepts and thinking skills in mathematics and science, as well as other disciplines.
The HSADSM curriculum is full of structured learning time to meet the state standards and to provide ample opportunity for staff to provide targeted learning support to ensure student success. (The number of weekly minutes for core content is noted below.)
English Language Arts (450 minutes, K-12g)
The study of literature in grades 6-8 encompasses analysis and discussion of the literature of various genres. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the writing process – prewriting, drafting, revision according to standard usage and mechanics, and final copy.
Mathematics (450 minutes, K-12g)
The Middle School’s mathematics curriculum covers the full range of mathematical topics, with a particular emphasis on the use of a variety of strategies in formulating and solving problems. Advanced and accelerated students may complete Algebra I in eighth grade. Mathematics instruction in middle schools include opportunities for appropriate project work; discussion between teacher and students and among students; exposition by the math teacher and practice on mathematical methods.
Science (100 minutes, K-2; 200-225 minutes, 3-12g)
To promote the scientific literacy necessary to function in the 21st century, the Middle School provides the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation and earth sciences. The inquiry based approach is an integral part of all science instruction as a place to practice the 5E method and obtain hands-on experience.
Social Studies (100 minutes, K-2; 200-225 minutes, 3-12g)
Social studies at the Middle School challenges students to assess and interpret, and they provide a framework for the development of personal and citizenship responsibilities.
Physical Education and Health (135-150 minutes, K-12g)
The physical education program gives students opportunities to improve their agility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and skills through participation in various activities. The health curriculum stresses the prevention and reduction of health risks. Students are encouraged to make responsible and informed decisions about diet, exercise, safety, sexual activity, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use.
Enrichment and Fine Arts (135-150 minutes, K-12g)
A well-rounded music program offers students a variety of ways to develop their musical talents and interests. Performing ensembles may include chorus, string orchestra, symphonic band, concert band, cadet band, and jazz ensemble.
We believe that students learn art best through creating it and that every child has the potential to be an artist. Our arts program focuses student attention on observation and communication through creative challenges that help our students develop visual-spatial skills and build habits of mind through artistic practices. As they explore a variety of traditional and new media, students build visual literacy skills.
The middle school technology program continues the interdisciplinary approach introduced in Elementary School to deepen students' knowledge in the domains of Digital Citizenship, Productivity Tools, Media Tools, and Computational Thinking. Courses are available to allow students to begin more specialized study in computer science and digital design. These courses highlight the foundational concepts of computer science, and graphic design and video production, in a manner all students will find accessible and relatable.
The middle and high school curriculum begins with everything you would expect in a college preparatory school—literature and history surveys, biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, calculus, geometry, and foreign language. We also offer our students exceptional educational opportunities and ask them to dig deep, think critically and commit themselves to fully pursuing their intellectual passions both inside and outside the classroom.
Co-curricular programs play a significant role in the culture of the school. Students are engaged in projects and activities before and after school. Our students participate in five main categories of events – clubs, special interest groups, annual school-wide events, field trips, and sports. After school clubs and sports will be facilitated based on student and community interest.
HSADSM will also seek external partnerships with community groups to provide students with rich after-school programming.
Beginning in 5th grade, students will be encouraged to participate in Concept Young Scholars Program (CYSP). CYSP is designed to improve students’ academic success, prepare them for college, develop strong character, nurture and empower students through Personal Development, Community Service, Physical Activities and Educational Adventures.
The structure that CYSP provides students coupled with the nurturing support team of adults builds self-motivated, eager learners who are prepared for the future and ready to lead a successful life.
Students who commit to the CYSP program are engaged in a systematic process that guides, recognizes, and rewards their progress. The program encourages activities such as academic competitions, college trips, and excursions.
Once students successfully register for the CYSP program, they collaborate with an advisor that assists in planning activities, monitoring progress, and setting goals in the following areas:
- Personal Development
- Community Service
- Physical Fitness
- Educational Adventure
CYSP scholars are the future leaders who build relationships and understand the importance of serving others in order to inspire action and accomplishment.
- Take ownership of their learning
- Have a deep sense of respect for societal norms
- Take responsibility for their actions
- Engage within their communities
- Demonstrate empathy and compassion
- Effectively communicate verbally and nonverbally
- Adapt and persist when challenged