Our Learning Model

We prepare students to be sophisticated thinkers who master content and have a courageous and compassionate sense of responsibility for themselves and all people. Our classrooms are challenging – and joyful – learning environments that engage children through fun projects tailored to their personal experiences, strengths and needs. Our teachers take the time to get to know each child as an individual. We empower children to think critically and learn to engage respectfully and productively with fellow students by developing their capacity to enter into and understand the lives of others. 

CWC’s academic model is grounded in our philosophical foundations. Central to our academic model is the relationship between our goals for our students and the programmatic elements that serve as tools to accomplish those goals. CWC has identified the instructional approaches/practices, curricular materials and assessments that comprise its K-5 academic model. Together these tools provide the core of CWC’s academic program upon which school leaders will build.

Instructional Approaches & Practices 

These approaches and practices do not stand alone, but rather influence each other, and teachers will draw on multiple strategies in planning, delivering and adjusting their instruction. 

  • Teaching for Understanding (TfU) is a framework developed by Project Zero at Harvard University, which provides the structure for instructional planning to ensure that we are teaching for “understanding." It ensures connection between understanding goals and the topics, learning activities and assessments that teachers use to reach them, but does not mandate a particular way of teaching (pedagogy/instructional method).
  • Project-Based Learning integrates skills and knowledge through meaningful projects that make abstract learning concepts concrete. As reflective learners, children connect what they learn to their own lives. In integrated science and social studies projects, teachers strive to teach for understanding, ensuring that students internalize deeply what they learn and are, in turn, able to apply what they learn to new and different circumstances and contexts.
  • Data-Informed Instruction leverages the information and direction that data can provide. Use of assessment data, in addition to observations and professional judgment, will enable us to adapt to the students we serve, utilizing insights from both standardized exams and classroom-based tools.
  • Differentiated/Personalized Learning ensures that instruction is appropriate for students’ current understandings and needs. It enables all students to tackle meaningful learning challenges and for students who need additional targeted support in specific areas to receive it.
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility presents a process in which the responsibility is released from the teacher to the student. The gradual release of responsibility can provide a useful way of categorizing instructional methods to help students become more independent. As such, it supports selecting the methods appropriate for the content to be taught given the students’ current capacity.
  • Balanced Literacy/Workshop is a series of instructional techniques that allow for varying degrees of support and independence via whole and small group instruction in a workshop structure. These techniques balance discrete skills and their application in the context of authentic reading and writing.
  • Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) is an approach to teaching math that is based on over 20 years of research on how children think and learn math. At the core of this approach is the practice of listening to children’s mathematical thinking and using it as a basis for instruction. 
  • Service Learning is curriculum‐based community service that integrates service with classroom instruction. Beyond simply performing volunteer acts, service‐learning is structured in a way that gives students opportunities to put to use what they are learning through the academic curriculum. Even the youngest students can offer service to their classrooms and schools. 
  • CWC Graduate Dispositions