Chartwell offers a full academic program, with well-structured, multi-sensory teaching in all classes. Our fully accredited curriculum includes all areas of reading and language instruction, mathematics, social studies, science, health and fitness, the arts, technology, and a wide array of enrichment activities. Students build academic skills one layer at a time. Each layer integrates higher order thinking, creativity, perseverance and practical problem solving. Chartwell teaches students to overcome academic challenges, and helps them grow in self-reliance, character, and respect for the effort and abilities others.
Reading, writing, and communication skills are taught in all classes by teachers who are specially trained in instruction for students with learning variations. Depending on the nature of each student’s profile, these are not issues that will self-correct, be outgrown or be solved by recourse to medication alone. The critical instructional shift for our learners is a change in how they are taught, not just that class sizes are smaller or that they have a tutor who can help them with their homework. These uniquely effective teachers and their promising students form an active learning community committed to best practices and to understanding how each individual reaches his or her potential.
Click the grade level your child will be entering for a summary of the educational program:
The youngest students at Chartwell are typically in second and third grade. All research supports the need for parents and educators to identify, as early as possible, any children who are at risk for falling behind in the most critical of academic skills – reading. See the Figure 1 below to see why. Our day program for this age group is specially designed to be both diagnostic and prescriptive. Enrolling primary grade students in such a nurturing setting gives them the best chance of not needing intensive remediation later. Research shows that students who receive early intervention are more likely to attain and apply the fluent reading and critical comprehension skills they will need in later school years, and avoid the discomfort of being labeled and singled out as needing special help.
The reading program, based on the National Reading Panel’s evidence-based research, provides instruction in five critical areas of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Reading and spelling instruction is direct and explicit, using well structured and systematic multi-sensory approaches. Teachers check for understanding, and pace the material to allow for repetition, development and mastery of each skill. Mathematics instruction includes hands-on activities and use of manipulatives as appropriate, and emphasizes a strong foundation in mathematical concepts as a base for ongoing growth. Science for primary grade students utilizes their natural curiosity and inquisitiveness about the world by investigating, exploring and observing through experiments and projects. In our humanities program, students learn about the cultures, music, art and beliefs of people in various regions and historical periods.
All students at Chartwell attend visual arts class regularly. Young students learn basic principles of color, design and art elements through a variety of projects including drawing, painting, mixed media and crafts. Technology is embedded throughout the curriculum, and instruction begins with basic computer operations, introduction to keyboarding and word processing, and the use of age appropriate applications and software. The Chartwell Wellness and Fitness program emphasizes personal health and fitness, and promotes teambuilding to help students develop confidence, cooperation, communication and the necessary motor skills for playing games. SELF (Social, Emotional and Leadership Fundamentals) classes focus on building socialization, self-esteem and character building. Weekly enrichment programs in music, gardening, and culinary arts provide additional opportunities for learning and for students to explore their talents and creativity.
The Case for Early Intervention Before 3rd Grade
First graders with below basic reading skills in phonetic ability are poor readers in fifth grade.
As the above figure demonstrates, children who began first grade with poor phonetic skills (in the lowest 20 percent of their class) were two grade levels below their classmates in a test of word reading in fifth grade (Shaywitz, 2003). This is why parents and educators should be particularly keen on providing effective intervention before the end of primary grades, when the reading gap begins to define a limitation on some students' ability to achieve their academic potential. Chartwell's strong commitment to effective early intervention is reflected in our tuition
These are typically the years that most students come to Chartwell, because weak acquisition of early reading skills are manifest as they encounter higher expectations in 4th grade and beyond. Throughout the rest of their academinc careers, students will need to read well in order to learn in subjects like social studies, language arts and even math. See Figure 1 above to see why students at Chartwell in grades 4 to 6 are focused on closing a gap that has already emerged in critical reading and study skills. At Chartwell, we monitor each aspect of a student's reading challenges, and students are taught how to recognize and learn effectively while preparing for the faster pace and independent demands of middle school course work.
Students at Chartwell are grouped by ability, rather than traditional grade levels, for language and math placement. This allows for small group instruction that addresses the student’s academic needs, while allowing them to discover areas where they excel. Students develop the skills and strategies to become more proficient readers and mathematicians. Reading instruction continues to build phonological awareness, decoding and fluency skills, while greater emphasis is placed on vocabulary development, morphology and demonstrating comprehension of reading materials through discussion, summarizing and analysis.
In mathematics, diagnostic teaching is critical in assessing student skill development, understanding and readiness for the introduction of new concepts. New skills and procedures are practiced repeatedly for students to gain mastery, and the math curriculum allows students to review and reinforce skills as they learn new ones. Problem solving requires the application of both computational and conceptual skills, and students are taught vocabulary and specific strategies to determine the appropriate operation.
Science content for these elementary grades is centered on the life, earth and physical sciences, and the focal point is to engage in scientific inquiry. Through lab experiments and discussion, students investigate, observe, measure, collect data, test, predict, reason and hypothesize to acquire scientific knowledge. Our humanities classes are aligned with the California Content Standards, and students study geography, history, biographies of important historical figures, cultural contributions and current events through reading, discussion, films, hands-on projects, field trips and guest speakers. Chartwell students often excel in the visual arts, and students are encouraged to explore and express their creativity in original works of art while integrating and experimenting with color, patterns, shapes, perspective, materials and media. In their technology classes, elementary age students continue to develop keyboarding skills with increasing speed and accuracy, and learn multimedia formats incorporating graphics, sound, text and digital images. Teachers show students how to use the internet effectively for research while stressing the need for safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. In Wellness and Fitness, students pursue personal fitness and health while building cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength and agility through a variety of field games. Teamwork, cooperation, and respect are stressed in all sports. In SELF class, students learn and practice the six pillars of character: respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring, citizenship, and fairness. Students continue to benefit from music, gardening and culinary arts class, and Club Fridays allow students to pursue specific interests and socialization in a variety of activities.
Students in these grades are increasingly sensitive to any difference between themselves and the norm, academically and socially. They often act out their frustrations at home and can mask their academic difficulties with risky behaviors in and out of school. Students may also be conflicted about their need for honest friendships and their discomfort about revealing their learning challenges to their peers. Chartwell gives pre-teens a safe and supportive place to engage a wide variety of challenges that are increasingly apparent and had been impeding academic and other avenues of success. During the middle school years at Chartwell, students can work on individual solutions and emerge as confident and capable – ready to pursue rather than avoid their academic potential in high school.
While remediation of skills may still be necessary, application of skills is increasingly important in developing successful independent learners. Organization, study skills and self-advocacy are taught and emphasized across the curriculum in language, science, humanities and mathematics. To effectively advocate for their educational needs, students must reflect upon and recognize their own individual learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and students are encouraged to ask questions for clarification or seek help as needed. Some students will require assistive technology tools (audio-books, graphic writing organizers, text-to-speech software, voice recognition software, etc.,) to support their learning challenges as they transition into high school. Laptops are available in all classrooms for grades 4 to 8, and students build competency through regular use of word processing for essay writing, note-taking, online research and report writing. Students synthesize research into multimedia PowerPoint presentations, another area where many students find they can be very successful, and are provided opportunities to present oral and multimedia presentations of their final product to the entire student body, faculty and parents.
Students read both classic literature and modern fiction to gain appreciation, compare and contrast, identify thematic structures and literary elements, and are guided to apply critical thinking skills while discussing and writing about literature. By middle school, many students have the computational and conceptual skills required for PreAlgebra or Algebra. Symbolic reasoning and calculations with symbols are central in Algebra, and students are required to take detailed notes and show all their work. Science can be another area of unusual strength for Chartwell students. Students in seventh and eighth grade attend science class daily in preparation for grade level expectations as they transition back into more traditional learning environments. Laboratory work expands to include a broader range of learning objectives, and students are assessed more frequently on vocabulary and concepts studied. In middle school science, teachers provide instruction on accurate note taking, study skills and textbook use, which are given greater emphasis. Students may engage in dissections and also participate in science fair projects, building and presenting their projects.
Humanities classes continue to study the influence that different peoples and their history and cultures have had on shaping our present day. Students make the connection that choices we make today may influence their future. Taking notes, study strategies and textbook usage continue to be highlighted, and students are taught step by step how to research and complete reports. The use of computers is fundamental in all academic subjects, and students are instructed in technology class on the use of the various software, hardware and applications to support their increasingly sophisticated utilization of technology. Desktop publishing, digital media, animation, movies and other interactive multimedia are offered both during the school year and in the summer.
Recognizing that teenagers are socially oriented, activities that provide opportunities for them to build friendships and develop healthy interpersonal skills are essential. School dances, bicycle rides, drama productions and Science Camp provide structured extra-curricular and recreational opportunities. Girls and boys may also choose to participate in after school interscholastic sports.
These students are working in an academic environment that understands how the combination of motivation and project-based curriculum can turn around learners who’ve struggled to engage or reach their intellectual, artistic or social potential. The faculty has been selected for their mastery of individual subject domains as well as for their knowledge of how different subjects or skills interconnect and are relevant to learning overall. Our faculty members are known for their enthusiasm to engage teenagers wherever they are on the complicated continuum of social, educational and character development.
The New High School Project
curriculum focuses on critical inquiry, skill development and content mastery through six 6-week project periods. Each project period focuses on a significant question related to one major subject area – science, literature, or social studies. Reading, writing, organizational, and study skills are taught as part of every subject. The arts, mathematics, and technology are incorporated into each project period. Technology is integral to TNHSP, and students use technology as a learning tool, to gather research, and for creative expression in their portfolio projects.
The New High School Project is designed to produce students prepared for higher education and lifelong learning. Some students may not need to attend all four years as they acquire successful independent academic capabilities and may be interested in transitioning to other high schools. Students can also earn a high school diploma that prepares them for college or other educational opportunities. College advising and visits are incorporated into regular school year activities.