The curriculum in Milwaukee Public Schools is based on the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.
Dr. King School’s academic program equips students with a strong educational foundation upon which they can build a successful future. The school curriculum promotes critical thinking and engages student learners in an active scholastic environment while integrating African-American history and culture across academic areas. The dedicated Dr. King School staff monitors student achievement throughout the school year and strives to accommodate a variety of learning styles, ensuring that individual needs are met. Students master basic skills through innovative instruction integrated with technology to reinforce and enhance their educational experience.
The Dr. King School curriculum is based on the MPS District Learning Targets, which are aligned to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction State Standards. The school community’s hope is that students will become independent, self-confident learners with strong skills and good decision-making abilities. Please click on the image below to download the Learning Targets brochures.
Dr. King School’s Language Arts/Writing program utilizes the Write Source series and the My Access! Curriculum as a means of enabling students to use the English language as a tool for self-expression.
Language arts/writing instruction begins in kindergarten with work that focuses on verbal skills and emphasizes the connection between the spoken and written word. Learners in grades 1-2 expand their vocabulary, create pieces of writing through multiple drafts and participate in class discussions. They also gain additional practice with computers, basic research and the media. As students progress to grades 3-4, they develop well-organized writing assignments, complete with details, effective word choice, correct sentence structure and proper grammar. Grade 5 students use revision strategies and peer feedback to write a report and then present it to the class. As students expand their education during the middle school years, they complete research papers, plan an advertising campaign, create multimedia projects, assess media messages and defend their ideas using evidence. By the time they graduate, most students exhibit strong writing skills that prepare them for success in high school and are able to identify and critique effective writing and speaking.
At Dr. King School, the staff recognizes the impact well-developed reading skills have on a student’s education. In order to excel in any subject area, students must have a strong foundation in literacy. Reading success is monitored through benchmark, end of unit and writing assessments. Marzano’s student workbooks are also utilized throughout the curriculum. Students transition to the appropriate instructional level based on the results of class work and assessments.
Dr. King School’s youngest learners prepare for the beginning stages of reading by exploring relationships between different letters and sounds while gaining meaning from stories. As they advance their skills in grades 1-3, students apply new strategies to different texts and read aloud with expression. By the end of grade 3, most students are fluent readers who are able to analyze and summarize story elements from a variety of books, discuss main ideas and distinguish between different genres. Learners in grades 4-5 connect what is read with real life experiences while using reading materials to gain information for research projects. As they enter the middle school years, students explore themes, read with fluency, accuracy and expression and develop critical opinions about texts. In their final years at Dr. King School, students read classical and contemporary literature, distinguishing between the two and connecting themes to their own experiences. Students also evaluate material from different sources for accuracy and value.
At Dr. King School, students explore all strands of mathematics and learn to think critically in order to solve real-world problems. The course work is based on the national Standards of Mathematics and incorporates homework activities and lesson plans for all learning styles while integrating literacy into math instruction.
Math instruction at Dr. King School begins in kindergarten, as students practice counting and sorting, learn about colors and shapes and discuss how numbers represent quantities. Grade 1 learners practice addition and subtraction while recognizing patterns and developing ideas in data. In grades 2-4, children increase their knowledge of geometrical shapes, gain familiarity using measurement tools, practice multiplication and division and work with fractions and decimals. Students collect and apply mathematical data while estimating, measuring and predicting outcomes in grade 5. The focus in grade 6 is on applying basic skills in a range of application problems. Students also discuss area and perimeter, use graphs to represent data and expand their minds to solve complicated equations. In grade 7, students focus on understanding processes and finding solutions while developing their ability to reason and draw conclusions. As they approach graduation, grade 8 students justify their strategies and use appropriate mathematical terms and vocabulary.
The Science curriculum at Dr. King School provides students with exemplary instruction through hands-on scientific investigations and in-depth concepts taught using scientific methods and vocabulary.
Kindergarten students explore and discover the world around them while learning to appreciate the beauty of nature. In grades 1-2, students discuss a variety of topics, including the life cycles of living things, important discoveries throughout history and the impact of technology on the world. As their scientific education continues, learners construct sketches and models, discuss changes in the environment and learn to interpret their observations. In grade 5, students discuss important scientific events throughout history and record their own personal work using models, graphs, maps and charts. Students pose questions and predict results while examining scientific topics in the media throughout middle school. In grade 8, students evaluate scientific ideas and apply facts while refining their research skills. Lessons include chemical reactions, structures and functions of the human body and the consequences of decisions affecting personal health and safety.
The Social Studies curriculum at Dr. King School includes five areas of study: Geography, History, Civics, Economics and Behavioral Sciences. Many classrooms plan field trips that supplement lessons. These field trips give students a chance to connect what is learned in the classroom to real life experiences in the world around them.
Kindergartners begin their journey in Social Studies education by exploring their role as members of a diverse society. Students in grades 1-2 discuss family cultures and traditions, diversity in neighborhoods, citizenship and the importance of embracing cultural differences. Grade 3 children connect the larger world to their lives in Milwaukee. In grades 4-5, learners focus on the United States by discussing states and regions, creating a timeline of historical events and explaining the influence of supply and demand on the nation. Students learn about ancient and medieval civilizations in grade 6 while grade 7 learners focus on the modern world. During their last year at Dr. King School, students study U.S. government, a market economy and various social issues.
The overall goal of Physical Education (P.E.) at Dr. King School is to develop awareness of the importance of physical activity. Students not only participate in physical exercises, but they are also educated on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and habits.
In their early years at Dr. King School, children practice basic movements and follow directions. In grades 1-2, students stretch themselves to meet new physical challenges and learn about cooperation and sportsmanship as they play games together. Students learn to take pride in their accomplishments and give positive feedback to classmates. As students enter grade 5, they learn how their bodies work and apply this knowledge to physical activities, improving their individual skills. During their middle school years, students develop their personal ability to assess and monitor their own physical activity. The staff at Dr. King School encourages students to participate in physical fitness activities outside of school, with the hope that learners will develop a lifelong interest in physical fitness. By the time they graduate, students demonstrate respectful personal and social behavior while exhibiting an understanding of healthy physical activity and nutrition.
At Dr. King School, we believe that art education is as essential to the basic education of all children as reading, writing and mathematics. As an area of study, art education focuses on how things are presented visually, knowing what beautiful art is and solving problems creatively.
Health education at Dr. King School includes both a personal and community approach to health care. During their kindergarten years, children are taught the basics of caring for themselves and keeping themselves safe. Children in grades 1-2 identify healthy foods, discuss hygiene and learn how diseases can be passed from one person to the next. As they advance in their education, students learn about the reproductive system. In grades 5-6, learners explore the connection between health and personal habits. They also discuss healthy relationships and self-respect. Grade 7 instruction focuses on community responsibilities and students are required to complete a community service project. In grade 8, students learn about health issues they may soon encounter and healthy alternatives.