Curriculum

The Ethical Community Charter School’s (TECCS) educational philosophy is rooted in the model proposed by Felix Adler in 1878 when he opened the Workingman’s School. Adler believed in providing a well-rounded education for children of working people. Adler developed a program in which academic subjects would be taught rigorously, but most importantly the school would be grounded in Ethics: the way people treat each other, service to others, and responsibility for making the world a more just and humane place. Following Adler’s ideas, TECCS has developed an educational model grounded in Ethics and working diligently to weave Ethics education throughout its core curriculum; Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science. In addition, we are integrating Ethics into special content areas: Technology, Physical Education, Art, Music, and Health, to provide a balanced approach to character development, Ethics education, and social justice.

TECCS is creating a seamless K-8 experience where students build upon the skills acquired in the previous school year. Teachers have developed curriculum by correlating thematic units with grade level core standards. Three unique elements are integrated into this approach at TECCS; an Inter/multidisciplinary core curriculum, Project-based learning (PBL), and Responsive Classroom (RC). These approaches are used together to shift away fluidly from teacher-centered instruction to a learner-centered approach that allows learners to develop skills across disciplines. For example, learners simultaneously strengthen writing techniques while gaining understanding of a core Social Studies, Science, and/or Ethics concept. PBL anchors the inter/multidisciplinary core curriculum by providing a tangible product, which provides learners the opportunity to communicate their understanding of the core studies.

In addition to integrating Ethics and PBL into an Inter/multidisciplinary approach, TECCS will take student-centered learning further as a new member of UNESCO’s ASPnet school program. TECCS is responsible for engaging our students in social justice as part of this global network. In the past, TECCS has helped support the relief efforts in Haiti and Japan. Currently, TECCS is identifying a project in which learners will have the opportunity to become innovators pursuing change locally and abroad. Learners will have dialogues with other learners in local and international ASPnet schools to identify a need and then attempt to satisfy that need as active service learners. This ongoing practice will establish and foster commitment to active service learning in the TECCS community.

TECCS has formed two programs to ensure all learners are participating actively in their education; GRO and SPARK. Gifted Reach Out (GRO) meets the unique needs of above grade level creative thinkers. In GRO sessions, learners from several grades collaborate on projects to hone their skills and build their strengths. TECCS piloted the program in 2011-2012. In the pilot effort, participants wrote and published three books for TECCS Kindergartners. SPARK, a summer intensive program introduced in 2012, assists learners who are below grade level by providing an opportunity to review learned concepts from the prior school year using an interdisciplinary and kinesthetic approach. Groups of grade level peers study previous learned concepts to enhance their operational understanding of core concepts.

Along with the implementation of these innovative academic programs TECCS has also created a character support program called C.A.R.E.: (Contributing to the community, Achieving excellence, Respecting yourself and others, and Exhibit self control). This 2012 initiative works to develop students’ integral role in the TECCS community. This program supports the core Ethics component of a TECCS education. C.A.R.E. empowers the learner to identify social and/or academic misjudgments and provides them with resources to rectify those social and/or academic acts.