What is Excellence For All?
In the spring of 2016, the Phineas Bates Elementary School made the decision to move from our traditional Advanced Work Class to Excellence for All in the 4th grade. In this new model, all students have access to rigorous coursework in heterogenously grouped classes without a self-contained “advanced” class. This model is more in line with our vision of inclusion and our value of equity.
What makes Excellence For All an exciting opportunity for students?
In addition to more diverse classrooms that provide equal opportunities for all students at the Bates, Excellence For All offers the same rigorous core content and more enrichment coursework for students. At the Bates, we are pleased to offer the following to every 4th grade student:
- An ELA curriculum that includes project-based learning and substantial writing work that is a combination of work from Expeditionary Learning and the William & Mary curriculum.
- A math curriculum that offers students opportunities to apply math skills in authentic ways and use exploration and discussion to foster a deeper understanding of math concepts.
- Weekly specials for all students in art, science, physical education, Spanish, and robotics.
- AVID curriculum to support executive function and organizational skills.
- Weekly social-emotional learning sessions using Social Thinking to support students with self-regulation, stress management, and living our Bates Habits.
How does Excellence For All push already high-performing students with challenging work and engaging assignments?
Every classroom has a broad range of learning styles and current performance levels. Our teachers differentiate their instruction and design tasks so every student is challenged and pushed to their full potential. Through small group work, Universal Design for Learning, differentiated tasks, and individual student coaching, our exemplary 4th grade teachers ensure that every student gets the most out of his/her/their Excellence For All experience. Excellence For All prepares all students for success in the most rigorous secondary schools.
What happens in 5th grade?
Excellence For All continues in the 5th grade, with a rigorous curriculum offered to diverse, heterogeneously grouped classrooms. Our 5th grade teachers have substantial experience with the traditional Advanced Work Class curriculum and middle school teaching, which creates a 5th grade experience that prepares all students for admission to excellent middle and high school programming. Preparation for the ISEE becomes a component in 5th grade instruction in addition to maintaining the engaging and authentic learning experiences in 4th grade.