Curriculum and Instruction
An innovative combination of Arts and Academics
Kuumba Academy is a dynamic learning environment where teachers, families, students and community partners work together. The academic achievement of our children is the central focus. We encourage excellence through an intense focus on reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies.
Kuumba Academy offers an arts integrated curriculum that follows the Common Core Standards, and our staff is committed to delivering high-quality research based instruction. Our teachers participate in intense professional development to ensure they are current in best practice strategies proven to yield results. We pay close attention to the research on how children learn and the key elements of highly effective instruction. Our teachers have been trained extensively in using data to modify instruction to improve student outcomes.
Kuumba Academy offers small class sizes that focus on providing each student with the support and individualized attention they need. We also provide more time for instruction. We have a longer school day and offer full-day kindergarten.
Our teachers work 199 days each year, an increase that allows for extensive professional development. This is in addition to the in-classroom coaching and workshops that occur before and after school.
Continuous Assessment to Meet Individual Needs
The heart of high performance and continuous improvement is the regular and persistent review of data and results. Kuumba’s frequent assessments identify where intervention, support, and enrichment must guide instruction. We assess in grades K-7 through: the DIBELS Reading Assessment - at least 3 times a year; NWEA MAP’s assessment – at least 3 times per year for everyone and more frequently for students who are not at grade level; DCAS- Grades 2 - 5; and an ongoing using curriculum assessments in Reading, Math Science and Social Studies.
Most importantly, we make decisions throughout the school year based on this assessment data. We also use flexible grouping to ensure that children are receiving instruction that is at the appropriate level. A team comprised of administrators, specialists, teachers and parents make these decisions.
Strong Literacy Block
Kuumba Academy uses a balanced approach to ELA instruction. Students build knowledge of concepts through reading various genres of texts. We regularly integrate “practice stations” and incorporate guided reading daily into our instruction to ensure that all students are receiving individualized instruction. Our Literacy time is broken into: Read Alouds, Shared reading, Guided reading, Independent Reading, Literature Circles, and Guided and Independent Writing.
To promote a love of reading Kuumba Academy students participate in school wide DEAR time where all staff, students and faculty Drop Everything and Read. To promote fluency, arts integration and student confidence in reading, poetry is integrated into our ELA program on a daily basis. Families get involved in the poetry initiative by providing students with an active audience for poetry read-alouds on a nightly basis.
Strong Math Program
Kuumba Academy uses the Singapore Math program in grades K-5. Singapore math is a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes number sense, critical thinking, problem solving, and mental math strategies. Singapore math emphasizes procedural and conceptual knowledge and teaches students to mastery.
An Emphasis on The Arts
In partnership with the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Kuumba Academy students study a variety of art forms including visual and performing arts. Students in grades K-7 study world language, visual arts, and theatre. Kuumba Academy is the only elementary school to offer an elementary Dance curriculum.
Intensive Use of Technology
Kuumba Academy makes certain that we educate every child in the use of current and emerging technologies as tools necessary for living, learning, and working in the 21st century. Technology is integrated into classrooms and schools for instruction, data collection, and analysis. At Kuumba Academy, every child has the opportunity to use all the technology tools while also being taught how to identify what is inaccurate or inappropriate and to always use technology and the Internet in ethical ways.
In grades K-2 we have one computer for every four students; grades 3-7 have one laptop for every two students. This year, our fifth grade students will have access to iPads through a grant with the University of Delaware.