The Common Core is a set of nationally recognized academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy. These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.
In addition to adopting the Common Core State Standards in reading and mathematics, the District of Columbia has adopted challenging learning standards that define the knowledge, concepts and skills that students should acquire at each grade level. Visit the Office of the State Superintendent of Education site to view the standards for arts, health and physical education, science, social studies, technology, and world language.
Believing that social development and personal responsibility are essential to a challenging and joyful school community, Brent uses the Responsive Classroom approach to build essential skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. Students begin their day with a morning meeting, learn the importance of rules and logical consequences, are introduced to new materials through a guided process, and gain self-esteem through decision making.
The Responsive Classroom is designed to infuse all teaching at the school, including the thoughtful arrangement of each classroom to encourage independence, promote caring, and maximize learning.
Brent’s field studies program draws on the splendors of Washington’s museums to make history, science, literature, and the arts come alive. In an age in which our reliance on virtual experiences is increasing, Brent students visit actual works of art and historical artifacts, and they gain a sense of artistry by creating their own exhibits and performances.
Each year, Brent focuses on a school-wide theme, which creates a web of learning and common experience between grades. A class studying the chemistry of water, for example, might visit the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop to explore the interaction of water with clay and glazes in pottery-making. George Washington’s medicine kit, on display at the Smithsonian, might drive a discussion of sanitary conditions during the Revolution; students might then do additional research in order to write and perform a play about the soldiers’ living conditions. Language skills leave the page and spring to life when the students write explanatory labels for their exhibits and serve as docents, explaining the displays to visitors. Study of that topic will culminate in all-school exhibitions.
These are open to the public. Please come and bring your family!
At Brent, writing skills are taught across the curriculum, thanks to a program implemented with the help of Columbia University’s Teachers College. In writers’ workshops, students learn to observe their lives and the world around them and to collect, draft, revise, and publish well-crafted narrative and expository texts. The writing project is aligned with the teaching across the curriculum, so students can gain the ability to express themselves clearly and creatively on any subject they study. For more information click here.
Families of students in 1st through 5th grades start out with a bird walk while ECE through K families gets to take part in arts and crafts and displays by local conservation organizations. Students come together at lunch for a show of live birds. This event has been featured in the Washington Post (read article here).