Hour of Code

CELA participated in the global Hour of Code movement last December. Our students experienced hands-on learning while having fun and acquiring valuable skills. Click below to see learning in action at CELA!

“I did it!”

“You got it!”

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CURRICULUM OVERVIEW:
Guidelines and Resources

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

CELA Learn, Lead, Excel Mastery Cycle Process

At CELA, our educational model is built to ensure all children continually grow and are given repeated opportunities to succeed. To achieve this, we have a standards-based curriculum model defining the base academic standards children should master at each grade level preparing them for college, careers, and life. CELA has created and is using standards aligned with its mission as the foundation for our rigorous curriculum design. The standards are designed as building blocks toward the higher order thinking skills that we implement, in order to help our students solve complex problems. Having a standards-based curriculum provides us the ability to celebrate each student’s progress over time and to individualize instruction to ensure every child is spending time learning content appropriate for their own learning progression until they reach mastery.

With these standards in place, we have selected educational resources (including textbooks) for our teachers to use as tools to lead toward learning mastery of these standards. Academic excellence is one of CELA’s three pillars. Therefore, all curricular materials selected and used in the school will be of the highest quality and will be constantly evaluated, reviewed and improved.

Performance Review

We will continually measure CELA’s and each student’s performance in all areas assessing the schools performance and each students performance and making the necessary adjustments individually and school wide to maximize individual and school wide growth allowing CELA to excel.

The Christian Value/Leadership Development Program

The Christian Values/Leadership Development Program is a Biblically-based program that seeks to train students and faculty to live Christ-centered, fulfilling and virtuous lives as leaders in all walks of life. We believe an individual’s character is developed through the understanding of the Christian values given to the world through God and Christ and then comprehending what it means to live a life that daily demonstrates the individual’s acceptance and commitment to these values in everything they do.

Our curriculum is based on the values found in the teachings of God and Jesus and revealed to us in the Bible. At CELA, all members of the CELA family, including students, parents, and faculty, agree with our Statement of Faith and therefore are Christians. We are teaching that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Because of our faith in God who is all-knowing and unlimited, we believe the values He teaches us are the key values we should live by. At CELA, we take these Biblically-based beliefs and understandings and add to them the examples of people who are living or who have lived their lives exemplifying these values. We study to uncover the impact these examples have had on the world. Children are taught how to integrate these values into their every-day behavior and practice them in a culture where it is revered to do so.

The families are brought into this culture through required assignments, working with their children on their lessons and hopefully broadening the span of influence and providing the parents a platform to influence the children in a positive manner. This we believe will have a profound and long-lasting impact on the CELA family and the world.

Our Christian Values curriculum plays an integral part in our Leadership Development Program as we believe it is imperative to have a great value system in order to be a great leader. Also imperative to developing confident leaders are the continual opportunities we give our students to practice and become comfortable in leadership positions. Our students take part in these roles on a daily basis, both in their classroom and through school-wide programs such as student-led announcements, prayers, chapel programs, concerts, etc. These continual, rotating leadership opportunities along with intentional public speaking and speech classes, forensics competitions, etc., are giving our students the confidence they will need to become great Christian leaders for our future.

Social Studies Alive! (K-8)

TCI’s Social Studies Alive! is an interactive, engaging, and collaborative curriculum covering world and American history, geography, civics, and economics. Students will not just read textbooks and answer questions, but they will discover information and apply their newfound knowledge in a variety of ways! They will feel the emotions of historical figures, reason through problems and debate complex issues. Through meaningful activities and projects, students will interact in pairs and groups so they are engaged in their own learning and practicing leadership skills. This method raises student achievement and understanding, while fostering students’ passion for understanding the Christianity of our Founding Fathers.

Science Alive! (K-5)

TCI’s Science Alive! is an engaging and student-centered K-5 curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Science Alive! includes hands-on investigations, collaborative engineering design challenges and online text, simulations, and interactive presentations. This comprehensive program blends rich curriculum with interactive and engaging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) experiences that develop strong scientific knowledge while sparking students’ natural curiosity and creativity.

Foss Science & Carolina Inquiry Kits (6-8)

The Full Option Science System® (FOSS) Program bridges research and practice by providing tools and strategies to engage students in enduring experiences that lead to deeper understanding of the natural and designed worlds that God has created. Science is a creative and analytic enterprise, made active by our human capacity to think. Here at CELA, we allow students to be exposed to a variety of scientific theories so that they can think about how they relate to what is known, test their ideas in logical ways, and generate explanations that integrate the new information into understanding of the natural and designed worlds as CREATED by God!

Christian Engineers apply that understanding to solve real-world problems. Thus, the scientific enterprise is both what we know (content knowledge) and how we come to know it (science practices – with the lens of Christianity). Science is a discovery activity, a process for producing new knowledge based upon and defended by our Christian faith!

Math Expressions (K-5) & Big Ideas (6-8th)

Hands-on and inquiry driven, Math Expressions teaches students how to represent solutions and explain their answers. This approach helps develop problem-solving and reasoning skills. Math Expressions combines elements of standards-based instruction with the best traditional approaches. Through drawings, conceptual language, and real-world examples, it helps students make sense of mathematics. NSF (National Science Foundation) funded* and research-based, Math Expressions is proven to be effective in raising student achievement, and puts CELA students on the path to becoming lifelong learners. There is also a wealth of resources for parents: https://www.eduplace.com/parents/hmm/.

Big Ideas Math® is dedicated to the balanced approach to instruction. Activities and Explorations involve student-directed discovery learning, allowing students to develop conceptual understanding. The discovery learning is followed by teacher-directed instruction giving students the opportunity to utilize clear, precise mathematics language and structure. The Big Ideas Math program at CELA utilizes a research-based, balanced instructional approach that includes CELA’s Dynamic Technology supports and enhances the multiple pathways available from sixth-grade mathematics through the possibility of High School Algebra 2.

CELA’s Balanced Literacy Model

In order to help students identify themselves as readers and writers, CELA utilizes balanced literacy instruction as a comprehensive approach to language arts instruction that “contains all of the components necessary for students to master written and oral communication. The balance literacy framework includes a Reading and Writing Workshop that contain the following components:

  • READ-ALOUDS: Teacher Modeled Reading
  • INDEPENDENT READING WORKSHOP: Daily Independent Reading
  • GUIDED READING WORKSHOP: Guided Instruction in Developmentally Appropriate Books
  • WRITE ALOUDS: Teacher-Modeled Writing
  • INDEPENDENT WRITING WORKSHOP: Daily Independent Writing
  • GUIDED WRITING WORKSHOP: Guided Instruction in Developmentally Appropriate Writing
  • WORD STUDY: Guided and Independent Phonics, Spelling, and Etymology
  • GRAMMATICAL STUDY

CELA uses a variety of resources within Reading and Writing Workshop which include but are not limited to the following:

Superkids (K-2)

CELA uses Superkids, to produce skillful, confident readers and writers through phonics-based reading instruction that children need and engaging fiction and nonfiction material they love. At the heart of the program are the Superkids characters, who keep children motivated with their adventures, songs, and life lessons.

Fundamentals (K-8) English Language Arts

The Reading Fundamentals Units of Study provide a focus for instruction and lessons based on models of best practice, using increasingly complex texts through the grades. Reading Fundamentals exist inside CELA’s balanced literacy framework and workshop environment. In a workshop model students are involved in an academic rich environment with activities that require complex thinking, cognitive rigor and the application of knowledge. Using this framework students will engage in interactive read alouds, shared reading, and independent reading at their individualized reading levels. This, combined with small class sized will allow CELA students to have multiple opportunities to read and review various texts for the purpose of enhancing genre knowledge, attaining a deeper understanding of information, and increasing their love of reading.

Daily Grammar Practice (DGP) (1-8)

Through an intricate process of studying one sentence per week, students at CELA, alongside their mentor teachers, learn to analyze how the elements of a sentence work together to shape the message of a writer. Because each day of the week has its own designated purpose, students consistently analyze different components/structures of the weekly sentence on its designated day. This allows our students to mindfully think about how each part of a sentence works individually first, and then they can work to explain how all of the parts work together. Through this process of breaking down a sentence to then build it back up again, students learn how to use the English language to communicate through writing or speaking most effectively, thus pushing their overall understanding of the English language to new levels. Students learn that through consistent grammar practice their writing skills become more analytical and process-oriented, thus elevating their word choice, sentence structure and overall delivery of their intended message on paper.

Spelling Connections (K-8)

Spelling Connections provides all students the missing piece to the literacy puzzle: explicit spelling instruction and word work. With Spelling Connections, students will retain, internalize, and transfer valuable spelling knowledge for improved results in all areas of literacy-in the classroom and beyond. This spelling curriculum provides complete, meaningful instruction and practice including differentiated word sorts to promote higher-level skill development in thinking, phonics/vocabulary, reading, and writing. It also includes diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments to monitor progress. Spelling Connections integrates technology tools for engaging, relevant spelling instruction and practice that all students will enjoy.

Handwriting Without Tears (HWT)/Keyboarding Without Tears (KWT) (1-8)

Elementary students are actively engaging in handwriting and typing instruction through Zaner-Bloser’s paired programs entitled, “Handwriting Without Tears (HWT)” and “Keyboarding Without Tears (KWT)”. These programs address the necessary posture, grip, paper positioning, and readiness to sequentially learn to print and write in cursive, as well as advance from letter recognition on the keyboard, to typing with speed and accuracy. Knowing that students become engaged through active learning, as well as stimulating their senses, CELA has chosen to use these programs because they foster just these learning techniques. In addition, using the two programs in conjunction with each other allows for the lesson delivery to build on a shared vocabulary and structure, thus creating alignment for students to learn and practice both skills as they advance from grade level to grade level.

 

4K/5K Program Info

An Imperative Read for Understanding our 4K/5K Education Program

You are a kindergartener. It is late August; so hot outside that upon opening the door to the inside, the cool air conditioning creates instant goosebumps. You enter a new building holding tightly to the straps of your new backpack; too big for your tiny body, but the one you told your parents was “just right” because “big kids wear backpacks to school!” You walk through the Great Hall, passing by a chapel where the shadows of reds and blues shining through the stained-glass windows seem to dance along the walls. As you walk, now hand-in-hand with your parents, you come to a room with your name on the door. This is it, you think, I am going to be a KINDERGARTENER! Naturally, a sweet teacher kneels down to your eye-level and asks you to come inside where each day you will learn and grow because everything, right down to the carpet on the floor, was created to be “just right” for a child like you.

CELA’s four-and-five-year-old kindergarten (4K/5K) program is the gold standard of education for young learners. Here, our 4K/5K program is intentionally-designed for young Christian leaders who thrive best in an engaging and stimulating environment, where certified teaching staff utilize a rich, research-based curriculum, small class sizes and specifically engineered state-of-the-art learning spaces to customize the unique engagement needs of young high-level learners. Our teachers embody Christian values as they nurture a positive classroom culture, one that promotes leadership opportunities for our youngest students. Additionally, our teachers use a uniquely-blended literacy approach that integrates reading and writing into the other content areas which allows our 4K/5K students to experience accelerated academic growth, where each child’s understanding is continually measured to ensure his/her individual learning needs are met at that “just right” time. Because of this, 100% of our 5K students are reading by Christmas. By enjoying daily Christian values lessons, frequent specials classes including art, music, PE and Spanish, as well as regularly using CELA’s Promethean boards and learning tables, personal laptops, modernly-furnished reading lofts and a customized, gated playground, our young students’ mental, physical and spiritual needs are able to grow and mature in many ways.

One CELA parent described their 4K/5K experience by saying, “I’m not sure I could ever find a better school for my four-year-old’s needs. Where else can a four-year-old lead morning announcements and prayer times, communicate daily with upper-elementary and middle school buddies, read in a lofted hideaway, hear Jesus’ parables and recite scripture, run and jump in a fully-equipped athletic facility, and most importantly, be academically challenged each and every day. Our son loves learning, and he loves God. He loves being a part of the CELA community. For a parent, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

 

Middle School Program Info

Middle School – A Pivotal Time in Every Young Leader’s Life

Middle school is a time often characterized by awkwardness, insecurities and struggles. At CELA, we characterize middle school as something different. It is the time when young people become leaders. At CELA, confidence replaces awkwardness, honest humility replaces insecurity, and personalized teaching and mentoring turns the adolescent’s struggle to perseverance. We teach Christian values such as courage, kindness, and empathy that not only equip our middle school students to become intentional leaders and mentors, but also make them more confident in their own academic and extra-curricular pursuits as young people.

While in other school districts 6th-8th graders are isolated from younger students, we believe in a different philosophy. At CELA, our adolescent students interact regularly with our younger students as part of their daily experience. In a building where the structural layout was designed to bring together our large, multi-level CELA family, and where smiling 4K students walk with waving hands stretched high above their heads just to catch the eyes of their older peers, our middle-level learners have the opportunity to become every day mentors. Our middle school students serve as chapel buddies and reading partners to our elementary students. Each one shares in the responsibility of creating a nurturing environment where Christian values are put into daily action, and each is given an important job as mentor and role model.

By igniting the leadership potential inside of each of our 6th-8th graders, each one feels special and unique. When middle schoolers feel special and begin to understand their own place in the world, the potential for academic learning is limitless.

CELA has designed a nurturing environment where highly qualified, content-certified subject area teachers do not simply instruct, but mentor and teach using a personalized approach. CELA’s academic and Christian Values & Leadership Development (CVLD) program is catered to meet the unique needs of the middle school student. We have developed a rich technology environment with exploratory databases full of researched information, all housed within a restricted-internet platform which protects our students. Additionally, we use a unique Lecture Capture system allowing teachers to record lessons that students can later review to help solidify understandings. These lessons are all easily-accessible on each student’s individual laptop computers, one at school and a second at home. With class sizes no larger than 16 students, learning is differentiated and lessons are created to challenge all levels of learning. An extensive non-fiction reference library collection has been handpicked for the needs of high-level readers, and our middle school math program includes high school course options for advanced learners. A unique electives menu including engineering, public speaking, leadership, and world cultures sparks learning outside of the core academic areas in our students. Because an emphasis is placed on creating programs focused on joyful participation, learning and individual growth, the customized experience our students have empowers them to be all they were born to be.

CELA’s middle school students are exceptional Christian leaders. We believe their experience in our unique middle school program makes this happen.

Exceptional adolescent leaders are rare. Rare is different. Different is awesome!

With the CELA Standards and key resources in place, our team is now creating our scope and sequence documents, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments to assess student mastery. As students progress through the curriculum, if they do not master a mastery standard, they will have the opportunity to receive further instruction. This will be done on an individual student basis where student’s performance is compared to their own past performance on a regular basis. Through this process, they will receive continual positive reinforcement as they grow in their performance on the standards. Additionally, their learning will be far more efficient as they can go back and re-learn content specific for them or be pushed to excel beyond the current classroom content through enrichment opportunities.

Once students are reaching mastery, they will then have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the content and grow in their leadership capacity through opportunities to help teach the content to others. Additionally, they will be given numerous enrichment learning activities allowing them to apply content learned, synthesize it across other curricular programs, and utilize it to lead and serve others.