Justice leads us to examine our approach to each child’s learning – to
make sure that we value each child, provide full access to educational
opportunity and resources, and affirm all cultures and styles of
learning present in our school. Social justice also shapes curriculum.
We place a strong emphasis on studying history from many viewpoints,
including the examination of social oppression, struggle, resistance,
and change. We also focus on ways we can make a difference in the world
outside the school through classroom-based and school-wide community
service and involvement.
In-depth Projects and Investigations
have a commitment to in-depth learning within and across traditional
disciplines. Themes and topics of study are pursued for periods from
several months to a year. Students are taught to look at a topic deeply
from many different angles. A sample of King Open themes includes:
- “Family Study” in kindergarten
- “Community Study and Portraits of King Open” in grades 1/2
- “Charles River through Time” in grades 3
- "Regions of Our Country" and "Discovering Justice" with a focus on "Immigration" in grades 4
- “Resistance to Slavery” in grades 5.
These themes incorporate a range of academic skills and disciplines,
including math and science, and connect with students’ lives and
concerns. Visual and dramatic arts are integrated at many points, and
the school’s art teacher connects the art curriculum with the core
High Expectations and Academic Challenge
act on the belief that all children have great intellectual potential,
and can contribute to the learning of the whole class and school
community. Our goal is that each child is challenged and supported to
meet high expectations for learning. Teachers at King Open create
learning situations in which students learn through discovery, and are
encouraged to ask questions, create, and solve problems.
Including All Students
King Open strives to be a fully inclusive school in which all students,
regardless of learning styles, disabilities, or needs, have access to
the same curriculum. Each child is viewed as bringing a unique set of
gifts and potential to contribute to the learning experience of the
whole school community.
Assessment for Learning
believe that the most valuable assessments are developed by classroom
teachers. Students are asked to show what they have learned through
projects, narrative assessments, teacher-created tests and writing
assignments, and portfolios. Students receive immediate and ongoing
feedback and learn to develop skills of self-assessment and reflection.
Families participate in substantive parent-teacher conferences, and
receive written reports, to learn about their child’s progress.
Together, the faculty examines how King Open students perform on
district and state required assessments as well as classroom
assessments, and teachers use the information to update their curriculum
Nurturing Community and Building Relationships
classroom is a community that depends on all of its members. We teach
and help develop each student’s capacity for self-expression and
self-control. It is through the process of learning respect for others’
rights and sensitivity towards differences that community is created and
strong relationships forged. We see conflicts as an opportunity for
learning, and explicitly teach and facilitate conflict resolution
strive to build strong partnerships between every family and teachers
and staff. We believe that every family brings valuable strengths and
experience to the school community as a whole. Family involvement at
King Open takes many forms, and whether at school or at home supports
the learning and social development of all of the children.
Open is a professional learning community with an expectation that
teachers work together in teams and as a whole staff to improve teaching
and learning at the school. Teachers collaborate in school-wide
multi-grade teams to construct curriculum, assess student learning, set
goals, address issues, and to support each other personally and
professionally. As a result, there is a great deal of consistency of
goals, content, themes, and practices across King Open classrooms.
King Open uses Responsive Classroom
throughout the school. Responsive Classroom is a teaching approach that
seeks to develop emotional/social skills alongside academic skills. It
incorporates such techniques as daily meeting, rule creation, behavior
modeling and positive teacher language to create an atmosphere in which
students learn how to internalize expected behavior and correct mistakes
with dignity. While some form of Responsive Classroom has been used
widely by many KO teachers, KO is now formally using this approach in
all classrooms and training all teachers.