Curriculum and Instruction
The curriculum used at Cornerstone Christian Academy has been thoughtfully chosen by the Cornerstone staff to focus on the school’s five Priority Learning Results:
- Students will be growing spiritually.
- Students will be effective thinkers.
- Students will be involved in effective action.
- Students will have effective relationships.
- Students will be lifelong learners.
Teachers develop instructional units around essential questions which challenge students to be more thoughtful about their learning. The traditional knowledge and skills are taught under the umbrella of bigger ideas with a focus on a Biblical worldview. The school’s language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies are taught from a foundation of Biblical truth.
The staff is committed to curriculum and instruction that is research-based and focused on Cornerstone’s grade-level expectations. Because we want our students to excel academically and spiritually, we have made significant investments in our teachers’ growth and development. Our teachers have been trained to differentiate instruction, engage students in critical thinking and questioning, measure student performance, develop strong biblically-based curriculum and use technology to support learning. Most importantly, our teachers understand the importance of seeing learning through Biblical truth and the need to cultivate students who can critically think about and apply their learning.
Cornerstone Christian Academy for Learning & Leadership has invested in state of the art technology and is one of the most technologically advanced Christian schools in the nation. Our classrooms have been modeled after the “Classroom of the Future” at Stanford University’s Wallenberg Center. Classrooms have multiple displays (LCDs and screens), mobile furniture for easy collaboration, and laptop computers or iPads for every student. Teachers have and will continue to receive on-site training for the use of the technology that supports and enhances our mission and objectives. Teachers focus on how the technology can be used as a tool to further support the student’s and school’s learning goals. Our goal is to create a culture that mirrors the lives of students and their futures; one that seamlessly integrates today’s digital tools, accommodates a mobile lifestyle, and encourages collaboration and teamwork.
The primary content focus for Kindergarten and First Grade is development of the foundational learning in Bible (with an emphasis on Bible memorization), reading, and mathematics. There is some introduction to science principles and social studies content. Students will be assigned an iPad to support their learning.
In grades 2-5, the curriculum includes Bible, reading-language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Second Grade students are assigned an Intel tablet and 3rd-5th grade students are provided their own laptop computer to support their learning.
Beyond our regular curriculum and homeroom instruction, our school offers specialty classes for all grade levels that give students a well-rounded education. Students have opportunities each year for music, art, physical education, computers, and library services that are taught by the school’s specialists.
Additional Instructional Support
Students who need and qualify for additional instructional assistance in reading and/or math will receive instruction in our learning center from our certified teaching specialists at no additional cost to parents.
Teachers use a wide range of instructional materials based on their units of instruction. Instructional materials are selected to best match with the school’s curriculum focus. This includes some use of traditional texts Bob Jones Bible, Pearson Prentice-Hall language arts, Houghton-Mifflin Singapore Mathematics, but also Foss Kits for science exploration, specific book studies, and other media (i.e., newspapers, magazines, open source documents).
At Cornerstone, a wide variety of assessments are used over the course of the year by teachers. This ranges from traditional tests and quizzes to rich and engaging performance tasks. Students receive a standards-based report card three times a year. These documents give students and parents a picture of student grade-level performance, individual growth, and character development.
Cornerstone annually uses three measures which give both individual and schoolwide data: Measure of Academic Progress reading, language, and mathematics assessments, a Cornerstone writing assessment, and Cornerstone Student Portfolio of Accomplishment.
Measure of Academic Progress
To be able to systematically measure student progress, we administer the nationally normed test, Measure of Academic Progress (MAP). The MAP assessment is an adaptive, computerized test in reading, language, and mathematics which is aligned with state and national standards. It is a criterion-based growth model assessment which shows how students are growing compared to students across the country. On average, the MAP scores of Cornerstone students show our students to be above national grade level performance. Teachers have ready access to reports which give both summary information and individual student results.
Cornerstone Christian Academy Writing Assessment
Each spring, Cornerstone students in grades 2 and 4 participate in a writing assessment which is one of three genres: narrative writing, informational/explanatory writing, or argument/opinion writing. These assessments are then scored by the full Cornerstone faculty using holistic grade-level rubrics.
Cornerstone Christian Academy Portfolio of Accomplishments
Each spring, Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) has students produce an electronic Portfolio of Accomplishments because it values Biblically-based active, relevant, and self-reflective learning. A portfolio is an excellent tool to reveal student growth, progress, and depth of understanding.
Components of the portfolio include carefully chosen pieces of student work and self-assessment/self-reflections which align with the Cornerstone Priority Learning Results. The complexity of each portfolio is scaled according to the student’s age/grade level. Each spring, students present their portfolios to their parents in student-led conferences.
Students regularly visit the elementary school library where they receive grade level appropriate instruction varying from library usage to topics related to reading. Students check out books, learn how to use the Dewey Decimal System, are supported in learning research strategies, and are taught the importance of reading good literature.