The Thomas Edison Charter Schools' curriculum is patterned after highly successful schools outside Utah. It highlights a strong academic focus on elemental skills development, and uses a direct instruction teaching philosophy. Skills are taught explicitly so students have a clear understanding of how to read, write, calculate, and problem solve.
The Utah State Core Curriculum serves as the foundation to the subjects taught and provides a minimum basis for academic requirements.
Literature and phonics are a daily part of the curriculum. The literature program has a strong phonics base emphasized by daily written and oral drill. Literature sets include classics with wholesome ideals. Teachers read to their classes daily. The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding is the schools' program for phonics that uses diagnostic teaching. Teachers adjust their instruction to their classes' needs.
Mathematics is taught daily and receives a great deal of emphasis. As part of the schools' focus and philosophy, mathematics is taught a grade level above the norm. Mathematics develops several critical habits of mind: clarity of thought, logic skills, abstract thinking, and self-reliance in thinking. Through the use of concrete models, mathematical concepts are developed. The program uses oral drill and written practice sheets and stresses memorization of math facts. But Saxon, the math program used at the schools, is much more than just drills: it teaches how math works! And it provides an aggressive math learning experience that imparts a continuity of instruction from kindergarten through the secondary grades.
The science program includes concepts in physical, chemical, earth, and biological sciences. It is based on the Utah State Core science curriculum and the philosophy of Thomas Edison Charter Schools. A hands-on program is part of the science learning process. All middle school students participate in the science fair each to gain experience with the scientific method, independent research, and presentation skills.
The Spalding handwriting program is taught in grades K-8, with cursive writing introduced in second grade, based on the child's ability. Neatness and legibility of penmanship is expected and stressed through daily drill.
The Spalding spelling program, which consistently teaches spelling rules, is part of the language arts curriculum. It teaches students how to analyze the structure of English words. The correct spelling of all words is stressed in all subjects. Examples of reading comprehension texts supporting the Spalding Method are the "New Practice Readers," "McCall-Harby/McCall-Crabbs" comprehension test booklets, and parent approved literature sets. Language/Grammar - The language program includes daily practice and drills in fundamental English grammar, its rules and usage. In the upper grades, students are taught how to properly combine short, choppy writing into richer, more complex sentences.
All students are expected to express themselves in a grammatically correct manner that emphasizes clarity of thought and preciseness in spelling and penmanship. A variety of writing experiences are provided at each grade level. Students learn how to write across various genres with rich language through resources such as Step up to Writing, Voyages in English, and the 6-Traits of Writing programs.
Relating history to our modern world, memorization of important geographical and historical data, and current events are part of the program. All middle school students participate in the History Fair annually.
Each student memorizes and recites pre-approved selections of either prose or poetry at least once every six weeks.
The computer/technology curriculum supports the schools' principles and emphasizes the use of computers as tools to enhance classroom learning, and preparing students to compete in the modern world.
Art appreciation is an integral part of the basic program. The principles and fundamentals of art are taught with interesting and fun projects. Students from Kindergarten on up are taught skills and techniques through art lessons which are often integrated with other content areas.
Students participate weekly in music class. Note-reading and rhythm are taught by teachers. Also, 4th-graders and above may participate in Orchestra or Band.
Each student participates in the structured Dynamic Physical Education program by Robert Pangrazi. The school is also an active participant in the state-sponsored Gold Medal Schools program which emphasizes good health habits, nutrition and general safety rules. We also include first aid and life-saving techniques.
Courtesy, respect, decency, civility, honesty, and the meaning of citizenship are taught. Teachers set examples for students and teach them through acknowledgment, praise, and role-playing. Respect for personal and public property is taught by expecting respect.
The curriculum satisfies and incorporates all of the elements identified in the state core curriculum for these grades so that graduating students are well prepared to enter 10th grade in all subjects at the local public schools. The program includes rotations between subjects such as math & science, history, technology, art and music, literature and physical education. Elective classes include drama, debate, yearbook, media studio, language exploration and team sports.