Curriculum and Instruction

Description & Purpose

The Master Curriculum rests at the foundation of the Preclarus College Mastery Model. Driven as much by vision to develop American Leaders as by mission to increase college graduation rates, the Master Curriculum is designed to expose every student to in-depth, advanced instruction in all core subject areas while fostering a community that effectively grooms character, talent, and understanding in cultural and global perspectives. Through the Master Curriculum, Preclarus will be able to ensure that our students enjoy an academic program which is as stimulating, challenging, and rich as those administered at the nation's wealthiest private schools.

The Master Curriculum is designed to take the average, determined, St. Louis 5th grader and develop him/her into a global thinker, leader and innovator. Utilizing an innovative de-tracking method, the Master Curriculum will stand as the single curricular program which will lead each student from marginal proficiency to College Mastery competency by 12th grade. The Master Curriculum will ensure that every graduate of Preclarus will enter the post-secondary world with the culturally rich, liberal-arts foundation needed to make an irreplaceable contribution to our community and country.

Middle School Promotion Policy

Senate Bill 319 prohibits school principals from promoting students to the next grade level who are reading two or more grade levels behind their currently enrolled grade level.  In addition to following this policy required by the state of Missouri, Preclarus Mastery Academy implements the following guidelines for promotion:

 In order to be promoted to the next grade, students must:

  • Receive, at minimum, a second semester grade of C- in both Math & Language Arts
  • Receive, at minimum, a second semester grade of C- in all other graded courses
  • Not exceed more than fifteen (15) absences during the school year or eight (8) absences in any given semester
  • Achieve an NWEA RIT Score that meets the minimum Promotion Requirement in Reading, Language Usage, and Math by the final spring NWEA testing cycle (see Promotional RIT Scores chart below)

According to the NWEA Promotional RIT Scores, in accordance with Senate Bill 319, it should be assumed that any student who is more than 2.0 grade levels behind in Reading or Language Arts, or 1.5 grade levels behind in Math, will be retained at their current grade level. More detailed information about our promotion policy can be found in the Student Handbook.

Advanced Placement Courses

At Preclarus Mastery Academy, we offer the high school course, Algebra I, to our eighth grade students who demonstrate mastery of grade level concepts.  We applaud our students for their mathematics skills and relish in our students' accomplishments on the High School End-of-Course exam, which has always produced a 75% to 100% passing rate.  

Culturally Rich Programs

There is an emerging desire in public education to ensure that our nation's students are knowledgeable about the diverse histories and heritages of underrepresented groups. Preclarus will establish a standard of informing students about the local, national, and global contributions of underrepresented heritages. Likewise, Preclarus will promote a standard of integrating culturally relevant curriculum throughout the school's history, literature and art programs while providing exposure to world cultures and global perspectives.

Concentrations of Study

Concentrations of Study, a loose equivalent to a collegiate major at the secondary level, will provide an opportunity for students to develop a well-rounded and in-depth understanding of a specific area of interest. Students will be able to declare a Concentration at the end of freshman year of high school. Some Concentrations may have specific entry requirements such as: a student enrollment cap, minimum GPA or grade requirements, an application essay, or a formal audition. While all students are assured entry into a Concentration of Study, students are not guaranteed entry into their first choice Concentration.

Preclarus aids students in this important step by exposing students to different careers and a high quality educational program.  At the beginning of the school year, our school partnered with Mayor Francis Slay and Alderwoman Marlene Davis to have our seventh grade students preform job shadowing of local government officials on Groundhog Day, which is February 2, 2016.  Additionally, Mayor Slay agreed to support our Triple P program, the Preclarus Page Program. The Triple P program allows high achieving eighth grade students to assist executive staffers within the City Hall complex.

8th Grade Capstone Project

During 8th grade, every student must develop a substantial Capstone Project covering the topic, talent, inquiry or interest of his/her choosing as it relates to a social ill facing our community. This project will be a culmination of knowledge and expertise acquired through research, community awareness, and content learned while at Preclarus Mastery Academy. Students complete a research paper, multi-media project, and presentation of their final project to their peers, parents, staff, and community members.

Daily 3 Instructional Model

All teachers in our building implement Daily 3 Instructional Model in their classroom.  This model includes 15-20 minutes of direct instruction followed by small group and independent student work centers.  Students will rotate through 3 centers each day: Justification/Writing/Independent Work; Review; and Teacher Guided.  At the Justification/Writing/Independent Work center, students will complete activities such as responding to a writing prompt, writing to justify their answer, or reading and responding in writing to questions.  At the review station, students will work on reviewing skills previously taught in class or completing independent activities based on individual needs.  During the Teacher Guided group, the classroom teacher, Reading Specialist, Teacher Assistants, and Special Education teachers (if necessary), will facilitate small group instruction for a short period of time to develop meaningful understanding of concepts based on the needs of the students in each group.   

Singapore Math Strategies

In mathematics, our teachers implement Singapore Math strategies including Model Drawing and Mental Math games to develop students’ algebraic thinking and mental math skills.  These strategies allow our students to master mathematical concepts and understand the material on a deeper level. 

First In Math 

Preclarus Mastery Academy has obtained a subscription for each student to First In Math, an online practice tool which provides students with additional practice in basic math concepts through Algebra.  This program allows students to access math practice from any internet capable device.  As students participate in online games, they earn stickers which rank them into 11 categories.  Students’ sticker attainment is not a one-to-one correspondence for the number of mathematics questions correctly answered to their stickers earned.  Students must demonstrate a skill proficiency to be able to earn any stickers and only earn between 3 and 10 stickers for showcasing mastery of the particular game and up to 25 stickers for showcasing skill mastery in a gym, which times students and requires the student to demonstrate fact fluency in whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers.   To access First In Math, PMA students may log in using their unique username and password at www.firstinmath.com

Raz-Kids

Preclarus Mastery Academy has obtained a subscription for each student to Raz-Kids, an online practice tool which allows students to read fiction and non-fiction texts at their reading level.  After reading a text, students are prompted to take the accompanying online comprehension quiz to earn stars.  Similar to First In Math, this program ranks students into 8 categories based on their star attainment.  Students must demonstrate proficiency on the comprehension quiz (80% or higher) to earn stars for the book in which they read.  To access Raz-Kids, PMA students may log in using their unique username and password at www.raz-kids.com or use the free app Kids A-Z available for download on Apple or Android devices.

"Hit the QUAN" 

In order to promote fun in the learning process, Dr. Harris challenged the school community to academically “Hit the QUAN”.  In a traditionally connotation, “Hit the QUAN” is a new rap song by iLOVEMemphis, which spurred a dance movement by the same name by rapper Rich Homie Quan.  Using the music and dance that students across the region know and do, Dr. Harris worked with Preclarus Mastery Academy staff and students to learn how to academically “Hit the QUAN”.  To academically “Hit the QUAN”, students and staff had to learn and use QUAN as an acronym for responding to questions. 

 

Q – read the entire question

Uunderline important words or phrases

Aanswer the question

Nnote evidence from the text to prove your answer

 

As a culminating activity to learning the QUAN instructional strategy, a flash mob was planned and conducted on December 9 where staff and students shared the strategy, performed the QUAN dance to music, and competed to determine which group, staff or students, was the best QUAN dancers.  The “Hit the QUAN” flash mob and competition video was added to the school’s website for individuals across the nation to be able to vote for the winner of the dance competition – the staff or the students.  Visit our Student Activities page to view the video.