Academics

Academics

Academics at New Horizons for Charter School for Learning are designed to engage "at-risk" students in a new way, while fostering each student's educational growth. The school, which was designed to reflect the progressive values of the Shorewood community, cultivates life-learning and instills integrity, responsibility and citizenship.

The school's model consists of five interdependent components, and while the school abandons the traditional teacher-centered narrative approach in favor of a conference setting that engages all group members, students must still meet the state's graduation requirements. The school's standards are also tied to the state's common core state standards.
 
Graduation Requirements

Any student enrolled in the New Horizons for Learning Charter School will be required to demonstrate completion of New Horizons graduation requirements in order to achieve a Shorewood High School diploma.

Specifically, the graduation requirements for the New Horizons for Learning Charter School are as follows:

1) Completion of the State of Wisconsin High School Graduation Requirements

8 credits of English
6 credits of social studies
4 credits of mathematics
4 credits of science
3 credits of physical education
1 credit of health education
16 electives

2) Successful completion of one project per semester integrating standards and core area proficiencies (projects to be determined by Lead Teacher and Student).

3) Completion of portfolio demonstrating academic and community experiences and projects (partnerships coordinated by Lead Teacher).

4) Completion of application process for admission to college or university

 Grading Policy

New Horizons for Learning has selected to adopt a standards-based grading system. It is essential that each student, parent, and instructor understand the value of standards-based grading and its benefits for today’s student. Standards-based grading has four primary reasons for adoption by New Horizons. 

  1. 1.     Mandated by Federal directives
  2. 2.     Supports learning
  3. 3.     Improves communication
  4. 4.     Provides consistency/fairness

 How we grade for learning:

  1. 1.     We ensure grading is consistent for each student.
  2. 2.     We ensure grading is accurate for each student.
  3. 3.     We ensure grading is meaningful
  4. 4.     We ensure grading is supportive of learning.

At New Horizons we are interested in the achievement each student makes through successful performance. We are equally invested in the progress each student makes and the growth of each cohort. Reports on student progress and achievement will focus on academic strides in each course and subject area. They will be separate from punctuality, attitude, behavior, effort, attendance, and work habits. These indicators are no less vital to the success of the individual and the collective group.

Determining whether each student has met learning standards will be based on Triangulation of Evidence; Adapted from Davies, A. (2000). Making classroom assessment work. Merville, BC: Connection Publishing.

OBSERVATION 

What is the student able to do? What does the student know? 

            CONVERSATIONS                                                            PRODUCTS 

Homework will also play an important role at New Horizons. It will not however, be graded. Homework will serve on of four purposes.

1. Practice—to reinforce learning and help ensure student mastery of specific skills.

2. Participation—introduces material presented in future lessons. These assignments aim to help students learn new material when it is covered in class.

3. Extension—asks students to apply skills they already have in new situations.

4. Integration—requires students to apply many different skills to a large task, such as presentations, service projects, and writing.

Final grades will be based on achieving learning objectives through standards set by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Each student will be required to demonstrate a level of performance designated for three core instructional targets. First, a methods course will require each student to actively develop process and content skills in cross-curricular areas. Second, the completion of a portfolio in the areas of business, higher education, and community involvement is required. Third, a semester project/presentation through the project learning partnership with the Urban Ecology Center must meet learning standards. The successful completion in these three core targets will determine credit earnings toward graduation. Successful completion of course objectives will be represented with a P (pass). If learning targets are not met, the students will not earn a P but will receive a U (unsatisfactory) and will slow the process toward graduation from SHS/NH.

Final grades will not involve the practices that may be potentially harmful toward student progress. The three practices that will not be part of earning credit at New Horizons include the following:

  1. 1.     We will not average scores to determine a grade.
  2. 2.     We will not use zeros to factor into grades.
  3. 3.     We will not take away from students or lower their grade because of behavioral infractions.

Assessment plans at New Horizons include the following:

  1. 1.     Assessment Plan will begin with the desired results.
  2. 2.     Assessment Plan will include diagnostic assessment that help determine the what and how for teaching and learning.
  3. 3.     Assessment Plan will include formative assessments that will help students achieve learning goals and that help shape effective instruction for learning.
  4. 4.     Assessment Plan will include summative assessment that will be used to determine whether each student ‘knows and can do.’

If there are any questions regarding the New Horizons grading policy, please contact me at your convenience via email at bnedilsky@shorewood.K12.wi.us .

Bohdan V. Nedilsky, Instructional Director for New Horizons for Learning Charter School

Learning Model

The framework for this charter school reflects a collective vision and teamwork-oriented student learning. Five interdependent components form the pillars for New Horizons Charter School.

  1. Co-intentional learning symbolizes the contribution of experience that student and teacher supply towards learning.
  2. Differentiating instructing offers variety and choice to demonstrate learning.
  3. Educational stakeholding shares in the responsibility of each student's success.
  4. Transitioning forms direction towards pursuits such as higher education, employment, or community involvement.
  5. Providing technology for the 21st century learner to research, construct, and expend learning to others.

Instructing at New Horizons Charter School requires teachers to facilitate learning of traditionally reluctant and disengaged students towards their own empowerement around learning, pursuit of goals, and application of knowledge. This process involves the construction of a "performance culture," which views learning as an instrument for action.