Elementary School Options in Chandler Unified School District
Chandler Unified School District is launching a promotional campaign called, “The Choice Is Yours,” in an effort to communicate everything that CUSD has to offer its parents and students. CUSD wants the community to know that they have choices within the public school system and that the district is committed to meeting the needs of all its students. This is especially evident at the elementary school levels where the district has begun to create some very elite choices, as they continue to compete with local charter and private schools.
One option for elementary parents in the Chandler Unified School District is the Responsive Classroom Schools, which are offered at Humphrey, Haley and Hartford Elementary Schools. These schools offer a research-based model that improves academic achievement, decreases behavior problems and improves social skills. The approach is based on the premise that children learn best when they build on their academic and social-emotional skills. This model looks at the “whole child.” Parental involvement is key and they are encouraged to be actively involved in the social and academic aspects of the school.
Key concepts of Responsive Classrooms are morning meetings, rule creation, interactive modeling, positive teacher language, logical consequences, guided discovery, academic choice, classroom organization, working with families and collaborative problem solving. These key concepts encourage caring, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy and self-control.
To learn more about the Responsive Classroom approach, check out the following website: http://www.responsiveclassroom.org
Another option for elementary school parents are the Chandler Traditional Campuses. These schools follow a back-to-basics model and are offered at CTA Freedom, CTA Goodman, CTA Independence, and CTA Liberty Schools. This model is the type of classrooms the majority of us grew up in. It offers a solid foundation of fundamental skills in a structured learning environment where academic expectations are high.
Key concepts include traditional methods of learning with Spalding trained teachers, Saxon math (advanced by one grade level), mostly direct instruction to the whole group with students sitting in rows, facing the front of the classroom and school uniforms.
A third option are neighborhood schools with classic instruction, which are in line with the modern-day style of teaching found in the majority of public schools and include standard mainstream classrooms. These community schools have highly trained teachers, high expectations for students and an average student-teacher ration of 23 to 1.
If parents have a gifted child, they can enroll them in the self-contained Chandler Academically Talented Students program (known as CATS) at one of the local neighborhood schools. This program is designed to provide gifted students with an extremely challenging curriculum that encourages critical thinking and accelerated learning. CATS classroom locations vary from year to year depending on space and availability at neighborhood schools.
Parents of gifted children can even opt for a different gifted program, called the “STEAM” Academy for the Gifted. The STEAM acronym stands for Scientific, Technological, Engineering, Arts (+ Literacy) and Mathematical learning. It is also a self-contained classroom that is only offered at Knox Elementary, which allows gifted children to stay at the same school through 6th grade.
Lastly, the district offers a “hybrid” school that combines a traditional academy school with a classic model. Patterson Elementary School offers this “hybrid” and the district will be opening a yet-to-be-named school in fall of 2012 that will also offer this combination type setting. This model helps to meet the needs of families who might have one child that would be better served in a traditional classroom and another child who may be more successful in a classic classroom.
By providing parents with options and flexibility, the Chandler Unified School District is certainly the “premier district of choice.” To learn more about the CUSD options, go to http://ww2.chandler.k12.az.us/choice.
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