Academics

The ACCS class schedule provides substantial weekly allotments of time for each of the core academic subjects, totaling more than 1,300 minutes, or more than 22 hours of instruction per week. Core subjects amount to the following time allotments:

    • 10 hours (600 min.) for English Language Arts
    • 6.25 hours (375 min.) for mathematics;
    • 3 hours (180 min.) for science; and
    • 3 hours (180 min.) for social studies

The fundamental design and methodology behind the Albany Community Charter School’s curriculum is based on our mission of setting high academic standards that result in every student meeting and exceeding New York State Standards. Consistent with our mission, Albany Community Charter School has selected research-based, curriculum materials that are aligned to the Common Core standards and cover the content that New York expects children to know at each grade level, and additional content that fills in any gaps.

Curriculum

ELA
Trophies Series & Story Town
Trophies is a research-based, developmental reading/language arts program. The series is used with wide success because it includes explicit phonics instruction; phonemic awareness instruction; direct reading instruction; and guided reading strategies. Language arts components are integrated into reading and writing instruction, allowing students to learn mechanics and usage in context. The series also includes systematic intervention strategies that give teachers the flexibility to differentiate instruction for varying student abilities, as well as assessment tools to ensure every student successfully learns to read.

In grades 2-4, the Storytown reading program used by Albany Community Charter School begins to develop students’ inferential questioning strategies. Since, inference strategies are a foundation of students’ beginning critical thinking skills, students in grades 2-4 will also begin work in Readers’ Workshops utilizing strategies developed by Ellin Keen and Susan Zimmermann in Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader’s Workshop. These supplemental materials aid in training elementary students to discuss what they are reading and relate the literature to real-life situations, a key component in achieving success with the New York State English Language Arts standards.

To augment the curriculum materials in all content areas but particularly in ELA and mathematics, Albany Community Charter School uses dynamic word walls to foster our population’s understanding of key vocabulary. Not only does the creation of dynamic word walls reinforce key vocabulary and content knowledge, but will help to create a school culture focused on high expectations and academic achievement.

Success for All – Kindergarten
KinderCorner is a research-based and research-proven full-day kindergarten program that provides children with experiences that prepare them for success in primary grades. KinderCorner fosters the development of children’s language, literacy, math, interpersonal and self-help skills, science, and social studies concepts. The focus on strong oral language skills, a love of reading, phonemic awareness, phonics, and listening comprehension creates a solid foundation for reading.

    • Sixteen 2-Week Unit Theme Guides, the backbone of KinderCorner. Theme Guides provide daily lesson guides, materials lists, objectives, vocabulary, a detailed description of each component, and a letter for parents.
    • Four comprehensive kits containing children’s books, puzzles, and other manipulative materials that introduce and support the thematic concepts and vocabulary of each theme.
    • Big Books with bright, beautiful photographs and illustrations that provide support for instruction on concepts of print as well as thematic concepts. Small black and white student copies of each of these Big Books go home with the children so that they can read them with family.
    • 19 KinderCorner “Shared Stories.” A powerful literacy strand includes colorful stories with decodable text. Children’s consumable versions help them build a library at home as they master reading.
    • Optional classroom videos/DVDs linked to the reading program. These create memorable images of vocabulary, sound/letter correspondences, sound blending, and reading strategies.
    • Rhyme Cards, Phonics Picture Cards, Activity Cards, and Posters support instruction of new concepts, concepts of print, and/or the children’s practice of skills, e.g., sorting, classifying, and so on.
    • Stories and Rhymes CDs that provide the children with additional opportunities to listen to some of the stories that they have heard during Story Tree. The children can “read along” as the CDs provide a signal when to turn the page. The rhymes and songs from Rhyme Time encourage the children to recite or sing along, enhancing phonemic awareness and vocabulary development.
    • Math Home Link pages that the children take home to practice their math skills.

Math
Saxon Math
In kindergarten ACCS supplements its Success For All math curriculum with the Saxon Math 1st grade edition. Saxon Math is a systematic and sequential program that continually reviews previously learned concepts. It uses an “incremental approach” toward instruction by dividing information into smaller, more easily grasped pieces called increments. A new increment is presented each day and students work only a few problems involving the new material. The remaining homework consists of practice problems involving concepts previously introduced in order to keep the information fresh and active in the student’s mind. All new concepts are developed through hands-on activities and rich mathematical conversations that actively engage students in the learning process. Concepts are developed, reviewed, and practiced over time. Every assignment (and every test) is a cumulative review of all material covered up to that point.

Harcourt Math
In mathematics instruction, Albany Community Charter School uses Harcourt Math. Harcourt Math is a research-based, complete and comprehensive math program for 1st through 6th grade. It was written to provide thorough coverage of state and national standards and to provide teachers the flexibility to customize the program for state and local courses of study. Like our ELA program, ACCS uses a NYS edition aligned with state standards. Harcourt Math was designed to help build conceptual understanding, skill proficiency, problem solving facility, and logical reasoning while carefully developing concepts within and across the mathematics strands.

It focuses on effective learning processes and instructional strategies that are essential for success in a wide range of learners. These processes and strategies include:
Explicit Instruction – prior knowledge is activated and direct instruction takes place. Guided practice transitions to independent work. Concepts, skills, or strategies are applied, and assessment follows.

    • Conceptual Understanding – Visual Representation and Modeling promote students’ abilities to make generalizations: hands- on learning and step by step models link concrete experiences to abstract representations and promote students’ abilities to make generalizations.
    • Assessment Aligned with Intervention – Assess each student’s prerequisite skills knowledge in preparation for chapter instruction. Identify those who need information. Allow for individualized instruction and re-teaching. Assess – the feature in each lesson – provides feedback and closure.

Science
Harcourt Brace
We use the Harcourt Science series because the curriculum is designed to be exploratory and introduce students to foundational concepts in life science, physical science, earth and space science, and technology engineering. Harcourt Science teaches students from the perspective of the scientist – using inquiry and exploration to engage students and help them master important scientific facts. In the Harcourt Science series, students investigate science concepts through hands-on activities, reinforce scientific inquiry through reading support, and link the real world to the classroom.

PE and Health
Albany Community Charter School offers students physical education based on the New York State curriculum to fulfill the state standards for physical education.

The Arts
All ACCS students receive Music and Art instruction based on the New York State curriculum to fulfill the standards for the Arts. Instrumental music lessons are offered to students in grades 3-7. Each year ACCS holds a Spring Art show to showcase the Art work of its students in grades K-7.