Explore our academic program
Howard Gardner MI Charter School offers a very thorough academic program in all aspects of education. Our classes are multi-aged, allowing our teachers to work with students over a longer period of time, getting to know them, and more importantly, understand them. We offer a full range of content curriculum.
Our science program is taught by a science specialist who uses the most up-to-date, hands-on science curriculum. Science is double-block scheduled to provide time for experimentation and trips to nearby streams and parks.
Our writing curriculum centers on teaching students to write for varied audiences and includes news reporting, technical writing, composition and illustrations, and poetry and prose writing.
Classes have also engaged in activities such as entrepreneurial experiences, bridge building, creating a literary magazine, and operating a real student store. The curriculum is highly integrated with teachers and projects often spilling over into other subjects and other grades.
Over time, the curriculum is studied, evaluated, and rewritten in true laboratory school tradition. At Howard Gardner MI Charter School, students are exposed to best practices in teaching and learning every day.
Because of the nature of our school as a laboratory school, we are constantly evaluating our programs. While we are child-centered and experimental, we are also data driven. Some schools discuss testing as it relates to student achievement. We, however, look at data differently. We test every year in grades 3 – 7 using the PDE Classroom Diagnostic Tests (CDTs). We use the results of that testing to indicate to us the strength of our programs and not merely to check on student progress.
The difference is more than a semantic. We believe that scores achieved by our students on standardized tests tell us far more about our programs and teaching methods than they do about the relative achievement of a particular student. We measure a child’s growth over time by comparing their scores to a previous set of outcomes. We also compare those results with actual classroom performance. In short, we believe that we are testing ourselves, our programs and our methods through student testing. There is no reason nor benefit in teaching to a particular test.
As a Pennsylvania charter school, our students in grades 3-8 also take the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams. These exams assess our student’s abilities in a mixture of reading, math, writing, and science, as well as helping to determine our schools progress.