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Academics

ReadingThe educational program at Graham and Parks is highly individualized, with an emphasis on teaching the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in creative ways. The curriculum is carefully crafted by teams of teachers and centers around core “Learning Expeditions.” Learning Expeditions involve in-depth studies of compelling interdisciplinary topics or themes. During the course of learning expeditions, we engage in many types of learning: hands-on investigations, content-area research, fieldwork, and meetings with local experts in relevant fields. We also demonstrate what we’ve learned through final projects or products that we share with the larger community. Our learning is hands-on, project-based, integrated, and responsive to diverse family cultures and groupings. We emphasize cooperative learning since we believe that learning is primarily a social activity.

ScienceWe are guided by the belief that success comes from hard work, and that all children have the ability to succeed academically. We share a “growth mindset:” we believe that our talents and abilities can be developed through perseverance. We know that intelligence is not a fixed trait; rather, our brains are constantly evolving as we experience new challenges. At Graham and Parks, we share a commitment to teaching this mindset to our children and to modeling it through our own actions as teachers. We strive to create an academic culture that honors risk-taking and mistake-making as a natural part of the learning process, a culture in which misconceptions are an inevitable stepping stone to deeper understanding. Our teaching practices are also designed to help students develop habits of mind such as grit, curiosity, and commitment. We nurture these habits of mind through universally high expectations for what students can achieve, through rich curriculum that motivates and engages students, through insistence on multiple drafts of student work, and through frequent celebrations of quality.

In addition to our general education program, Graham and Parks is proud to house the district’s K-5 SEI program for students who are new to the United States. The program instructs students to speak, read, and write fluently in English and prepares English Language Learners (ELL) to enter mainstream programs as soon as they are ready. SEI students engage in many of the same learning experiences as their general education peers, but specific curriculum units vary.

writingFor students with special education needs, we have a team of learning specialists who collaborate with classroom teachers to provide individualized support to students. We are also home to two language-based Learning Disabilities classrooms, which serve children who need additional, specialized instruction to access reading and writing across the content areas. We are proud to be a school that supports the learning of students with a wide range of learning needs. These classrooms, along with our mainstream classrooms, strive to use a “universal design” approach to planning and implementing curriculum in order to engage the full range of learning needs in our classrooms.