Launch is an EL Education school dedicated to putting students at the center of their learning. We believe in equity-driven teaching which means:
a) having high expectations for ALL students
b) amplifying and celebrating the culture of our students while additionally teaching them about other cultures
c) building a critical consciousness in our students so that they have the reasoning and analytical skills necessary to analyze real-world situations and lead beyond our school building
This can take many different forms in our classrooms around how we engage students in high-quality, rigorous instruction.
At Launch, we select curricular materials to ensure all students can master the content of the NYS Learning Standards and to guide our teachers in creating the rigorous, meaningful and authentic learning environments present at an EL Education school.
In ELA, we use a combination of EL Education’s recently revised middle school curriculum, the Reading with Relevance curriculum, and teacher created units of study that mirror the structures present in EL’s curriculum. Within their ELA class, students receive targeted guided reading instruction, independent reading practice and vocabulary instruction using the Classical Roots curriculum.
When appropriate, we offer students targeted reading support through programs like Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Instruction and Wilson phonics instruction.
We implement the Math in Focus (Singapore Math) curriculum to ensure every student’s ability to master concepts and apply mathematics. Math in Focus includes powerful visual models and engaging hands-on activities that empower students to develop the critical-thinking skills, positive attitudes, and confidence needed to set the stage for achievement.
In Science, we utilize the Amplify curriculum that is aligned with NextGen Science standards. This curriculum includes ample opportunities for hands-on exploration and learning, digital simulations, and engineering. Additionally, students have significant practice in evidence-based text analysis and writing. At each grade level, teachers build out from the curriculum to include even more project-based learning opportunities that are culturally responsive to our students.
In Social Studies, we use NYS Social Studies standards to backwards design curriculum. 6th Grade learning standards include some 5th grade learning standards to adapt to the needs of incoming students, who may have limited Social Studies content from their previous schools. Social Studies at Launch includes significant embedded practice around the grade-level ELA standards. In each grade, students read at least one additional text and regularly complete evidence-based writing.
In Art, we use the National Core Arts Standard to align our curriculum across all grade levels. All projects will be designed to help and support all students in a deeper understanding of fine arts and digital arts. The art department also works closely with other subject areas to help deepen students' learning. All projects are culturally relevant and meet regularly to review and adjust teaching practices based on the needs of the students.
The Launch PE class focuses on fitness, wellness, sportsmanship and skill building. Students have the opportunity to explore many different sports and physical challenges.
Our multi-subject students (self-contained 12:1:1 classroom) receive a standards-aligned curriculum that is more closely tailored to each child’s individual learning style. We have both a Humanities and a STEM teacher to split the content. We modify the reading and writing model we use with our ICT and General Education classes by teaching mainly in guided reading and Wilson phonics groups that meet our multi-subject students’ instructional reading levels. In Math, we utilize a blended learning approach with teacher-led lessons pulling from a variety of curricula, iReady math, and practice centers. Science and Social Studies follow grade level content and are literacy-rich.
One of the hallmarks of Launch’s academic program is our commitment to co-teaching. In almost all classes, students have two teachers – most often, a general educator and a special educator – working to differentiate the pace, learning modalities, and group sizes in order to meet the needs of all learners. Most often, our teachers pull small alternative groups based on data gathered from formative assessments. We also focus on English Language Learners (ELLs) to ensure that students' language development is attended to in all academic content areas.
Launch is an EL Education school dedicated to putting students at the center of their learning. At each grade level, students take part in a 6-8 week cross-curricular Case Study. Over the past three years, our topics have been the Justice System with a focus on mock trial and playwriting in 6th grade, Disrupting Gun Violence in our Community in 7th grade, and the Civil Rights Movement in 8th grade. Students analyze the expedition topic through a number of lenses within their Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Art and Science or Math classes and prepare for a big culminating event where they can engage the community in their learning.
Learning Expeditions are only one way that students engage in high-quality, rigorous instruction. Throughout the year, teachers plan units of study with the final assessment or project in mind and build their daily lessons to ensure that students will be able to show mastery on the end-of-unit assessments. We use a variety of engagement strategies in our classrooms – turn and talk, whole class discourse, discussion protocols, chalk talks, cold calling, group work and showcasing student work – to involve all our students in daily learning. Our classroom seats are arranged to provide students with the opportunity to learn from their peers. Whenever possible, we ensure that students are reading books that include a diverse set of authors and characters to provide a windows and mirrors opportunity for deeper learning.