The Prepared Mind Pillar at Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish is centered on academic programs that will prime students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills they need to excel. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to construct meaningful connections and deeper understanding of core content. Our teachers use instructional strategies that promote curiosity, collaboration, and a culture of positivity. We believe having a Prepared Mind is as much about learning how to learn and succeed as it is about academic knowledge.
Athlos Academy uses EL Education’s Language Arts curriculum, a comprehensive, standards-based core literacy program that engages teachers and students through compelling, real-world content and builds equitable and inclusive learning opportunities for all students. It supports all learners by including strategies for students not meeting grade-level standards, extensions for students ready for more challenge, and built-in supports for English language learners. Each grade level includes four modules, which span a full school year. The four modules allow students to build important content knowledge based on a compelling topic related to science, social studies, or literature. Each module uses rich, authentic texts throughout.
In addition, to build foundational reading skills, Athlos Academies utilizes the EL Education K-2 Skills Block curriculum, which is a structured phonics approach, grounded in the Phase Theory of Dr. Linnea Ehri, which describes behaviors related to the types of letter-sound connections students are able to make as they learn to read and write.
The Wit & Wisdom program includes opportunities to apply reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills across a variety of tasks designed to grow students' literacy skills over the course of the year while providing options to differentiate for time where appropriate. The materials across the curriculum provide ample opportunities for students to build knowledge through content-rich, integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language experiences. Students are supported in growing knowledge and vocabulary as they practice and apply skills in new texts and tasks. The materials include comprehensive instruction in writing, building research skills, and supporting students developing independent reading.
Regular benchmark assessments are used to track students’ progress towards grade-level standards, and intervention platforms and progress-monitoring tools are utilized on an individual basis to make sure ALL kids are learning to read at grade level at a pace that is right for them.
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What does it mean to have mathematical literacy? It means that a student understands the important role math has in the world and becomes a citizen who can make informed decisions. Developing mathematical literacy begins with building mathematical thinkers, which is at the core of the Bridges math program used at Athlos Academy.
Bridges promotes a deeper understanding of math concepts, proficiency, and fluency with computational skills, and the ability to reason and persevere through complex problems. Its approach blends direct instruction along with investigation and exploration using contexts and real-world connections. The program presents information supported by a progression of learning: kinesthetic materials, powerful visual images, and symbolic notation. Pressed to make connections within the strategies and models, students develop a rich cognitive framework for the structure of mathematics.
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The science program at Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish follows the three-dimensional Framework For K-12 Science Education
(2012) laid out in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This research-based framework shifts science instruction away from the memorization of facts to a hands-on approach where students learn to think critically, practice science and engineering practices, and make connections to other content areas and the real world. Teaching with the K-12 Framework helps us prepare Athlos students for 21st century jobs and challenges by bringing together the three dimensions of science education: science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.
Athlos Academy’s teachers use a variety of standards-based resources to teach science. These include lessons or units published by the National Science Teachers Association, National Geographic, NASA, or other scientific organizations; resources written and published by other science teachers across the U.S.; and science teaching kits, such as FOSS (Full Operation Science System™).
Whenever possible, teachers integrate the practice of Performance Character traits and connections to the Healthy Body pillar
into science lessons.
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The social studies program is founded on the idea that developing civic competence is the basis for full participation in a democratic society. Aligned to state standards, Athlos Academy uses units framed by central topics such as family, community, and citizenship. Deeper investigations into pivotal historic events and eras such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the settlement of Minnesota will cultivate historical inquiry skills and an appreciation for our past. Students will consistently make connections to modern day global issues.
Beginning with guiding questions and essential understandings, the units include activities to pique curiosity and spark excitement. Throughout the grade levels, there are intentional connections made to Performance Character traits rooted in the deeds and words of significant historical and modern figures.
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In order to improve instruction and allow for data-driven decision-making, AAJP conducts interim assessments using assessments aligned to Louisiana’s academic standards and the. AAJP utilizes STAR Reading™ and STAR Math™ assessments as the primary interim assessments. The results of these assessments are used to inform classroom instruction and identify supports needed for individual students.
STAR Reading™ is an assessment of reading comprehension and skills for independent
readers through grade 12. STAR Reading™ tracks development in five domains:
- Word Knowledge and Skills
- Comprehension Strategies and Constructing Meaning
- Analyzing Literary Text
- Understanding Author's Craft
- Analyzing Argument and Evaluating Text week
STAR Math™ is an assessment of math achievement for students in grades 1–12. STAR Math™ tracks development in four domains:
- Numbers and Operations
- Geometry and Measurement
- Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability