Individualized education

Kids at Table

Approach Educating the Individual

Overview

While unique, UCS's curriculum also complies with all Ohio Department of Education standards and is fully accredited by the Ohio Catholic Schools Accrediting Association. The curriculum is a continuous work in progress, but many of the core standards have remained the same since the school's inception.

The fundamental core of UCS's curriculum is to provide children with an individualized education. UCS believes first and foremost that every child must be treated as an individual as she or he learns at her or his own pace and ability. Thus, teachers at UCS employ a differentiated educational approach focused on the individual needs of each student. Students are taught at their own academic readiness level, progress at their own rate, and are evaluated independently. Each child's progress is measured by individual goals that are mutually determined by the teacher and the student.

UCS also offers a Montessori preschool program, for children ages three through five, and employs many Montessori concepts throughout all grade levels, such as self-directed learning and multi-age classrooms. All UCS classrooms, except the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes, are multi-age, with preschool children staying in the same classroom for all three years and levels 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 each paired for subsequent years.

The non-graded evaluation system focuses teachers and students on progress in specific learning areas as opposed to striving for grades. In lieu of grades, teachers assess students through the use of academic software programs, which chart progress in specific subjects such as math and reading and objective benchmarks such as the Iowa Test of Basic Scores (I.T.B.S.).

Through the use of varied assessments, placing students in multi-age classrooms, and maintaining small classroom sizes, UCS's educational program naturally promotes individualized education. This educational model allows faculty and staff to dedicate increased instructional time to each child.

Raising Responsibility

The Raise Responsibility System developed by Dr. Marvin Marshall is used in UCS classrooms to develop a sense of responsibility in each child for his or her own actions and empower students to make more conscientious decisions of their own accord.

Raise Responsibility focuses on childhood development through internal motivation rather than using punishments or rewards as means of behavior modification. The system, which places the responsibility of behavior management on the students and emphasizes self-reflection, consists of four levels:

  • Level D - Democracy. "I am doing this because it is the right thing to do." (internal motivation)
  • Level C - Cooperation. "I am doing this because I am expected to do this and someone is watching me." (external motivation)
  • Level B - Bossing/Bullying. "I bother and boss others."
  • Level A - Anarchy. "I am unsafe and out of control. I do what I want, when I want."

Please note that levels D and C are acceptable behaviors.

When dealing with a behavior incident, teachers use a series of four questions to elicit behavior-changing results:

  • "What do you want?"
  • "Is what you are choosing to do helping you get what you want?"
  • "If what you are choosing to do is not getting you what you want, then what is your plan?"
  • "What are your procedures to implement your plan; specifically, what will you do?"

UCS's use of this system is present in all classrooms, as well as during school-wide functions, and has produced markedly positive results in student behavior and achievement.

To learn more about the Raise Responsibility System or Dr. Marvin Marshall's work, please visit marvinmarshall.com.

All Kinds of Minds

The All Kinds of Minds approach to learning is based on the latest research in the fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Applying the findings from this research to the field of education, All Kinds of Minds has created an educational approach based upon three core components: A learning framework, classroom applications and a philosophy on interacting with each student.

The learning framework is based on eight Neurodevelopmental focus areas, including: attention, higher order cognition, language, memory, neuromotor functions, social cognition, spatial ordering, and temporal-sequential ordering.

Classroom applications involve teachers using observations of student strengths, weaknesses, and interests and incorporating suggested accommodations and interventions to implement educational plans that support each student's unique learning profile. Teachers design lessons that focus on the student's strengths and interests and promote growth in weak areas.

Finally, the forward thinking classroom philosophy is focused on creating a positive learning atmosphere where students feel empowered, learning diversity is celebrated, strengths are used to their greatest advantage, and each students' dignity is preserved.

Faculty and staff have found the All Kinds of Minds strategies particularly useful in addressing special concerns with children whether they are emotional or learning issues.

To learn more, please visit AllKindsofMinds.org.

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