Subject Areas

Subject AreasVideo Viewing Policy

Our goal is to provide a rich and balanced educational opportunity for all students.  High standards are at the heart of our expectations, although we recognize every student has unique abilities, interests, and motivations.  Parents encourage their child’s success by monitoring progress in school and at home, and by participating as fully as possible in the Liberty community.  Class work and homework are designed to challenge each student to make the most of his or her talents.

Liberty’s curriculum is based on the Core Knowledge Sequence for grades K-8 (which can be purchased on the Core Knowledge website http://www.coreknowledge.org).  Portions of it can be found in the book series What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know, What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know, etc.  It establishes the “master plan” for content to be explored at each grade level.  Resources are obtained from many varied sources.  Ninth grade classical honors program builds upon the Core Knowledge Sequence with rigorous academics and promotion of the thinking framework.


English Literature and Composition

“The development of literacy will be one of the primary aims and focuses of effort in the School.  This will include a great deal of reading from a variety of both fiction and non-fiction primary literature.  Particularly in the early grades, the School will emphasize reading and more reading.”  (LCS Charter)

Most American schools dedicate two or more hours each day to “literacy.”  A majority of time is spent teaching children the fundamentals of reading strategies, such as making inferences, predicting, classifying, and “looking for the main idea.”  The purpose of these exercises is to bolster test scores, independent of real knowledge.  In contrast, Liberty strives to develop the appreciation of language, increase specific knowledge, and provide meaning to students through the achievement of Primary Literacy, Mature Literacy, and Moral Literacy.

Primary Literacy

Primary Literacy begins with phonic recognition.  Our Charter states, “In the early grades, students will receive explicit, systematic phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. Children will be provided deliberate, coherent, direct instruction in letter-sound correspondences. Practices which teach children to rely on word-memorization (the look-say method) and guessing (through illustration and/or context) will be avoided.”

Once phonetic decoding skills are introduced, fluency must be developed. Fluency allows students to focus their mental energies on comprehension rather than decoding. Fluency means “flowing,” and in this context it also means “fast.”  Fluency takes practice - a lot of it.  Riggs & Open Court Phonics, selected stories from Open Court, and selected books from Accelerated Reader (AR) have been approved by the BOD for the development of decoding skills and fluency at Liberty. 

Teachers should use discretion and select Open Court stories and AR books which are content-based and meet the principles of this policy and the Literature Acquisition policy to the greatest extent possible.  Child-centered stories and books of a trivial nature (see Mature Literacy below) should be avoided.   If a teacher is uncertain as to the appropriateness of a particular book or story, he/she should consult the Principal and/or Academic Advisory Committee.  AR books (and the corresponding tests) which do not meet the principles of this policy should not be maintained in the classroom. 

Although the approved Open Court and AR materials are necessary for practicing early literacy skills, these books can quickly bore students and may not develop language appreciation.  Language is at the heart of reading. The love of the sound of language will carry with a child, if it is properly developed. Children need to discover at an early age the peculiar satisfaction that comes from experiencing form in language, as in nursery rhymes and poetry. When this occurs, children will continue to prefer the sound of beautiful or interesting language as they later select books for meaning.   Furthermore, we believe young children should be shown incrementally what is outside their realm of experience.  Children who are exposed to complex speech patterns learn to express themselves earlier and more fluently than those spoken to in careful sentences.  

In the early grades nursery rhymes, poetry, fairy tales, and captivating stories, beyond the students’ own reading abilities, will be read aloud to children.  In addition to the development of language appreciation, this practice fosters the desire in children to master the difficult of skill of reading in order that the students might gain personal access to the exciting world of stories. 

Instruction of Composition Policy

Reading and Literacy Policy

Primary Grades (K-1) Reading List

2nd Grade Reading List

3rd-4th Grade Reading List

5th-6th Grade Reading List

Upper School Reading List

Making the Grade in Math

  1. The United States has historically taught mathematics procedurally.  With the procedural approach students are taught “cookbook steps” for solving problems   Studies show that students are able to extract simple concepts from procedural teaching in the early grades, but in later years, as concepts become more difficult, understanding is lost, and students retain less knowledge. 
  2. Liberty utilizes a conceptual approach to teaching mathematics.   With the conceptual approach, it is not enough to assert something is true, instead teachers (and students) must be able to prove why something is true every step of the way, based on concepts the students already know and understand.  Once students understand why something works, they can apply the concept to other situations.
  3. New knowledge builds on old knowledge. To be successful, students need to thoroughly master a math concept before moving on to the next.
  4. As students progress along the Thinking Framework, students should recognize multiple ways of solving a problem, be able to evaluate each approach, and determine which would be the most reasonable to use.  

 

The Singapore National Math Curriculum is a conceptual math curriculum which supports these principles and been approved for math instruction in Kindergarten through 7th grade (Pre-Algebra) at Liberty Common School.

 

Mathematics Policy

Science for the 21st Century
The Core Knowledge curriculum is followed in grades K-8. Special features for 7th grade: Chemistry, Genetics, and Evolution; 8th grade: Physics.

History and Economics
The Core Knowledge curriculum is followed in grades K-8. World and American History in 7th and 8th grades, plus 9th grade Economics, unique in PSD! This course provides an understanding of economic systems, money and banking, and the essential elements of micro- and macroeconomics.

Foreign Languages
The acquisition and appreciation of other languages is essential to the understanding of one’s own language and the world. Latin vocabulary, the root of all Romance languages, is taught throughout the grades with a dedicated course in 7th and 8th grade. Electives: Latin, Spanish, French.

Fine Arts
The Core Knowledge curriculum provides students with a solid background in art and music history, theory, and appreciation. Upper school Students may also choose from a wide range of electives including Band, Orchestra, Choir, as well as Drawing, Painting, Drafting, Ceramics, Pen & Ink, Photography, Technical Drawing and Woodshop.

Physical Education
Healthy minds and healthy bodies work together. Physical Education for grades K-9 along with offering 9th grade Health classes to complete the Upper School program.

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