Become a Lifelong Learner!
Keystone Freedom Academy has partnered with McMillan McGraw-Hill to implement a full academic curriculum which provides both virtual and print resources. Technology is ever changing and will always be embedded within each student’s education at some level. Keystone Freedom Academy provides the opportunity for students to work both virtually and with print materials to build upon their foundational skills and become a lifelong learner.
Keystone Freedom Academy’s Curriculum is a comprehensive and structured approach that identifies broad instructional goals, specific objectives and competencies, and instructional materials that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Core Standards. It utilizes research-based programs that have been evaluated by the Institute for Education Sciences and What Works Clearinghouse as indicating ‘strong’ evidence for effectiveness. The use of clearly defined standards allows for clarity and facilitates measurement of effectiveness. The immersion of social skills and science, technology, engineering, mathematics, plus the arts (STEM+) skills throughout the curriculum is a unique feature of our curriculum.
Moreover, the curriculum is aligned to our strategic plan and incorporates opportunities for students to learn basic, industry standard certification, and/or college level advanced coding and STEM+ skills. PA Common Core standards provide the framework for goals and resources at each grade level.
Resources have been selected based on research, best practices, and alignment with a high number of sending school districts. This alignment will enable students to transition back to sending districts with ease, as the new classes will be using familiar resources. Keystone Freedom Academy’s curriculum also focuses on core content in English, mathematics, science, and social studies. Integrated throughout the core content are social skills, technology, Arts and Humanities and it is adapted to meet the needs of our functional students within the upper and lower school programs. In addition, social and emotional strategies taught to students utilize a behavioral approach to teaching k-12 age-appropriate social skills and competencies, including communication, problem solving, decision making, self-management, and peer relations.
Teachers and instructional staff have the autonomy to design and implement lessons that best meet students’ needs. Professional development for teachers and instructional coordinators will be provided throughout each school year focusing on instructional strategies that encourage students to explore, collaborate, and design while completing hands-on project-based lessons with emphasis on STEM+. For example, students will build, program, and watch over a robot that will monitor and care for multiple plants. This project provides students opportunities for engineering, science, math, research, writing, reading, and technology. In addition to learning skills in these content areas students will explore career opportunities through partnering with businesses such as a florist, agriculture farmers, entrepreneurs, nutritionists, chefs, and restaurant managers.
School leaders, in partnership with parents, teachers, and the entire school community, are responsible for ensuring that every student is engaged in a challenging and rigorous curriculum. In addition, special education leaders are responsible for augmenting the core curriculum with supplemental and intervention materials, when appropriate, to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. With a range of learning accommodations most students with disabilities have success in learning the same content as non-disabled peers. The key issue for the educational team is designing an effective program that enables the child to learn and socialize with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible.
The academic instructional curriculum provides instruction with an additional focus on social/emotional and life skills. The curriculum emphasizes skills necessary for and relevant to independent functioning, allowing each student to reach his or her highest possible level of independence.
The focus of instructional programming is on:
- Developing core academic knowledge,
- Improving social skills and adjustment,
- Increasing appropriate behaviors, and
- Developing critical career and work skills in preparation for a productive adult life.
- Community-based instruction (CBI)
- Provides students the opportunity to develop both life skills and work skills in a variety of real-life settings.
Students Participate in courses that:
- Are designed to provide them with the opportunity to participate in general education content courses where curriculum is modified and presented at an individualized pace of instruction
- Involves the use of specialized strategies.
- Use visual strategies to support communication and acquisition of content knowledge.
- New skills are taught through the use of reinforcement, shaping, prompting, and other specialized techniques.
Standards define what students are expected to know and be able to do as a result of instruction. PA Core Standards in the areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Technology are designed to assist students in becoming college and career ready. Next Generation Science Standards are the framework for what students should know and be able to do upon completion of science courses. ALL students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, are expected to make progress and show achievement in these standards.
Our social/emotional curriculums sit under our SWPBIS (school wide positive behavior interventions and support) framework. Like SWPBIS, they are proactive and preventive, emphasizing a positive climate. Second Step and School-Connect, which are integrated through all academics, provide instruction for social and emotional learning with units on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving. This curriculum fosters the development of: social self-awareness, perspective taking/theory of mind, self-regulation, executive functioning, social-emotional understanding, social skills, organizational systems, reading comprehension, written expression, and more.
The overall curriculum is structured, with broad goals, instructional resources, and assessments within each subject area. In addition, more detailed goals, objectives, competencies, and materials are delineated in tables relative to each grade. This explicit and comprehensive format will assure the curriculum is clearly communicated and understood by all teachers and staff. Furthermore, this unique comprehensive and innovative curriculum was developed based on input from education staff with varied areas of expertise, research from state and national sources of program reviews, adherence to state standards, inclusion of future trends in education and employment opportunities.
English Language Arts
The students at Keystone Freedom Academy utilize StudySync® which is an integrated print and digital english language arts program for grades 6–12. The program is able to be utilized in multiple implementation models both online and off. An easy-to-use, multimedia-rich curriculum, StudySync, brings great literature to life and supports student exploration in the classroom and beyond.
Reveal Math draws from a range of academic research into effective mathematics instruction. In addition to academic research, several other critical inputs contributed to the development of the program, including extensive in-classroom testing, user testing, and direct feedback from hundreds of educators across the country. Reveal Math is based on the research foundations of: Productive struggles, Rich tasks, Mathematical discourse, Growth mindset, Learning target-based formative assessment, and Collaborative learning.
With the transition to the new science standards, Keystone Freedom Academy implements Glencoe Science which is a curriculum that promotes inquiry and real-world problem solving with phenomena and hands-on activities. Glencoe iScience includes hands-on labs, project-based learning, and on-demand professional developments for staff.
McGraw-Hill Networks™ is a dynamic student-centered program that helps teachers prepare students to be successful in college, careers, and civic life. Rigorous, age-appropriate content highlights diverse perspectives, integrates primary sources, and makes relevant connections to bring the subject area to life. Dynamic digital resources draw students in. Networks inspires active citizenship by stimulating collaboration, problem solving, debate, action, and by drawing connections to today. By demonstrating relevancy, students realize they have the power to shape the world around them.
Social Emotional Curriculum
Second Step is a program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL) that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments uniquely equipped to encourage children to thrive. More than just a classroom curriculum, Second Step’s student-centered approach helps create a more empathetic society by providing education professionals, families, and the larger community with tools to enable them to take an active role in the social-emotional growth and safety of today’s children.
Social Emotional Curriculum
School-Connect creates and distributes School-Connect: Optimizing the High School Experience, a program for boosting students’ social, emotional and academic skills. School-Connect authors also offer professional development in how to implement the program and create supportive learning communities in high schools and speak nationally on the importance of school connectedness to adolescents’ personal growth and engagement in learning.