About ECS » Key Design Elements

Key Design Elements

Enterprise Charter School has nine key design elements:
 
Project Based Learning:  Enterprise Charter School integrates project-based learning into our curriculum. Our arts program provides extensive opportunities to express and create beyond the regular classroom. Experiences have been as varied as news production, poetry slams, variety shows, gardening, rap music composition, and an array of science and history projects. 

Differentiated and Individualized Instruction: ECS utilizes a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to address the learning needs of all students. MTSS is similar to Response to Intervention (RTI) in that it has three tiers of support and monitoring, but it includes social and emotional learning.  MTSS is focused on using data to drive the instructional program to meet the needs of each student with research–based interventions for ELA, math, and Social Emotional Learning. This program is critical for identifying and referring students who may need special education services.   

Departmentalized Instruction: ECS utilizes departmentalization based on the grade level and teacher instructional
strength. Most of our teachers are instructional specialists in the core content areas of ELA, math, social studies, and science. These teachers are supported by the instructional/administrative team, consisting of the Building Principal, the Director of Curriculum and the MTSS coordinator. The focus for departmentalization is to allow teachers to focus their planning towards the Next Generation Learning Standards.

Nonviolence Education/Conflict Resolution: Enterprise Charter School utilizes a school-wide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program to set the stage for positive solutions to behavioral challenges. Restorative practices are utilized at ECS as a proactive approach to address through informal conferences and mediations, circles, and formal restorative conferences with the support of a full-time social worker and school councilor under the leadership of the Dean of Students and the Building Principal. Positive Intervention Behavior and Supports (PBIS) provides school-wide behavioral expectations
which are communicated extensively, and students have numerous opportunities to be recognized for their efforts in being great scholars and citizens. Over the last few years, administration and staff have focused on trauma-informed instructional practices to professional staff in order to foster a culture of equity where all students are held to high expectations and are provided with the resources they need.
 
Constructivism: Constructivist learning theory provides the overarching lens at ECS and supports the foundation
for selecting research-based academic and social-emotional learning programs and Project-Based Learning. Constructivism is a theory that students don't learn simply by hearing or reading information, they learn by experiences that activate their past experiences, interests, and culture and identity. This is what ECS means by its mission of Engaging Young Minds through Projects and Partnerships. Purposeful instructional design around this theory can be evidenced by the use of our
Maker Space, TV Broadcast Room, Virtual Reality and Minecraft learning, our Spring Variety Show. It can also be seen in our use of culturally-relevant books, entertainment, and investigations in science and social studies.
 
Multi-aged Classrooms: Multi-aged options for students fall within the framework of literacy instruction
and is implemented within that framework. The options are found in the literacy mode of guided
reading and writing and viewed across grade levels based on MTSS data sets. ECS’s common grade level
bands for reading and writing are 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6. These bands reflect the broad stages of
developmental learning needs for literacy acquisition.

Universal Art, Music, Theater, PE, Computers, Vocational Technology, C-DOS, and Foreign Language K-8: Our special area teachers engage in curricular planning meetings to integrate our daily instruction in these areas. Our curriculum includes project explorations around careers, particularly in STEAM. In the arts, we seek to support student
growth and development in public speaking and performance, often by enhancing core subject units. It
is essential for students to have an opportunity to express themselves in different modalities as they activate both their interest and the different functions of the brain that support learning, further supporting our constructivist design element.
 
Enrichment and Remediation Period: Our daily program includes a period of enrichment and remediation for all students. This is where targeted Tier 1 MTSS supports are provided to students, and allows students to attend Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction without missing the regular education program. Students who are excelling are able to use this time to extend their project-based work.
 
Commitment to Staff Development: As a single-building district, ECS is able to implement a flexible and responsive program of professional development based on the most up-to-date observations and feedback form staff. Professional Development at ECS falls into the six tenets; District Leadership and Capacity, School Leadership Practices and Decisions, Curriculum Development and Support, Instructional Teacher Practices and Support, Social and Emotional Development and Health, and Family and Community Engagement. Our teachers have a daily period to work collaboratively with their colleagues to plan lessons, interpret data, and coordinate projects. All of our professional development activities are based on the key-design elements which are chosen based on data collected from student achievement, teacher surveys, professional development evaluations, and goals for the school set by administration.