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Curriculum

Overview of MVCS Core Curriculum Areas

Reading

Using the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Curriculum and Reading Guidelines, students will receive 60-75 minutes of daily reading instruction through a balanced literacy approach. Balanced literacy is composed of shared reading, interactive reading, guided reading, independent reading, and word study. Within the reading block students will be instructed in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and meta-cognition. Our literacy block will also be supported by our in-house literacy coach, bookroom full of leveled fiction and nonfiction texts, and Lexia Reading Core5. Lexia Reading Core5 is a computer-based reading program that provides personalized learning on fundamental literacy skills for students in grades K-5. It provides real-time data without testing and adapts to each student's individual needs. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will take the Virginia Reading SOL.

Mount Vernon Community School (MVCS) will partner with The Literacy Lab, a non-profit organization that provides individualized reading intervention to at-risk students in grades K-3. MVCS will have one full-time tutor that will work with 12-15 students each day. This tutor is trained in intensive reading interventions and progress monitoring.

Writing

Students receive daily writing workshop instruction using the ACPS curriculum and the New Units of Study by Lucy Calkins. Daily writing instruction will be taught through a workshop framework of a focused mini-lesson, student writing time conferring and culminating with a share time. The writing process is the foundation of the workshop which includes brainstorming/collecting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.

Spanish Literacy

Students in the dual-language program will receive 40-50 minutes of Spanish literacy each day. The teachers will focus on building literacy skills through direct instruction and incorporated into the ACPS Science curriculum. Maravillas, Sparkito, and Comprendo will be used as resources. MVCS teachers are working with ACPS Office of Curriculum and Design to write and implement Spanish literacy curriculum.

Mathematics

Using the ACPS Curriculum, students receive 75 minutes of mathematics instruction daily. Teachers plan collaboratively as a grade-level team, along with the math coach. In weekly meetings, pre and post assessment data is reviewed in order to inform instruction, which aligns with the Virginia Standards of Learning. Student learning is monitored using a variety of assessments, both formal and informal. Teacher lesson plans incorporate both whole group and small group instruction. Student data drives the small group rotations, during which teachers provide support for students to access the grade-level curriculum, and extensions for those students who demonstrate mastery of the content. While not meeting with the teacher, students may work with their peers on rich, hands-on tasks using manipulatives. They also engage in math practice in DreamBox, which uses computer-adaptive software to allow students to practice mathematics at an individualized level. Teachers monitor student progress in this program, and also assign specific practice assignments that align to quarterly standards. In the math block, all students engage in content that supports the following five goals for students: becoming mathematical problem solvers, communicating mathematically, reasoning mathematically, making mathematical connections and using mathematical representations to model and interpret practical situations. Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, students in grades 3, 4, and 5 take the Virginia Mathematics growth assessments in the fall, mid-year and spring. The spring growth assessment will be the regularly occurring Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. 

Science

Students receive daily science instruction taught using the ACPS curriculum pacing guides and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) science standards. Classroom teachers and the science coach plan and guide students to conduct experiments and scientific investigations throughout the year. Ony students in grade 5 will take the Virginia Science SOL.

Social Studies

Students receive social studies instruction that follows the ACPS Curriculum. Students learn to think and act globally and to apply higher-order thinking skills to solve real life situations. Students take a Virginia Social Studies SOL in 4th grade.

English-Spanish Dual Language

Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students have the opportunity to learn Spanish and English literacies through content-based instruction in selected core subjects. Science, mathematics, and Spanish literacy are taught in Spanish. English language arts and social studies are taught in English. Dual Language students continue to develop language and literacy skills in their primary language while learning the same in their second language. The dual-language program offers students an enriching and challenging learning environment. All curricula taught meet local and state requirements. Students participating in dual language are held to the same academic standards as peers in other Alexandria City elementary schools. Dual Language at Mount Vernon strives to make students bilingual, bi-literate, and culturally aware.