SER-Niños Charter School’s educational philosophy is carefully aligned with the school’s vision in order to effectively serve as the vehicle through which the SER-Niños community can successfully prepare its students for success in high school and life.
Students at SER-Niños Charter school attend classes from 7:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. during the school year and for an optional three weeks during the summer.
The educational curriculum at SER-Niños Charter School is based upon a curriculum with includes the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and components of E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Sequence to ensure all students receive a definite and coherent sequence of instruction. Our content-rich curriculum stresses vertical (PK-8) and horizontal (across grade level) continuity so that student knowledge will grow consistently and progressively from grade to grade. Each of the core subjects is stressed, with every student receiving one and half-hours of daily instruction in Reading and Math each.
SER-Niños staff meets at a curriculum meeting at the end of every eight-week period to discuss and select the TEKS objectives to be taught the following nine-week period. The staff discusses which TEKS objectives work well with the themes and the integrated units they plan to teach that nine weeks.
SER-Niños students must perform on grade level in all subject areas as measured by a standardized achievement test before graduation to the next grade. All eight-grade students must complete a research project and make a presentation to the graduation committee. They must demonstrate oral and academic proficiency in English and Spanish. Students are also required to complete 10 hours of community service upon the year of their graduation.
Integrated Studies and Thematic Units
Integrated studies and thematic units allow students to be a big part of their learning environment. Themes are selected based on the interest of the students. Students, regardless of age or ability, have a say in what will be studied. The teachers integrate these themes into their curriculum. The curriculum is aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
In order to meet our academic vision, the whole child is evaluated for growth. The child is not only assessed academically but socially and emotionally as well. Students are provided with opportunities for self-assessment, reflection, and goal setting. Students are evaluated thoroughly and frequently to provide teachers and administrators with data that would be used to improve instruction and student performance. SER-Niños assesses students using a variety of tools:
- Portfolios are kept and used by the teacher, the child, and the parent to assess progress over time.
- Nine week report cards
- Eight week reading assessments
- Math assessment at the beginning and end of each school year
- Thematic projects
- Spelling assessment
- Student journals
- Standardized tests
- Daily classroom observations
- Teacher made tests
- Language assessments
SER-Niños Charter School previously used the California Achievement Test (CAT) and the Spanish Assessment of Basic Skills (SABE) to assess student’s growth on grade level each year. The SABE was not normed this year so SER-Niños will begin using the Stanford 9 and the Aprenda this school year (2000-2001).
Final Eighth Grade Project:
Students will research and write on a topic of special interest that focuses on ways to improve their community. The project will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in research, writing, analyzing, and presenting complex information. The research project will be presented in two languages.
Student groups in all grade levels select and design projects that encourage them to give back to their community. Students have been involved in:
- Clean Houston Neighborhood (trash collection)
- reading books to elderly community members
- collecting blankets and food for shelters in the community
SER-Niños will continue to use its current assessment tools, as well as implementing new assessments when appropriate. Continuous assessment and monitoring will ensure that our students reach their goals and are prepared for high school and life.