We believe in academic excellence at Morgan. We also believe that kids are their own swirling universes with interests, hopes, dreams and anxieties. Our elementary is broken into Upper and Lower, with a pilot middle school program. Kids who are 5-7 have a dedicated home room teacher and are called the Allies. Kids who are 8-10 are the Activists, and also have a dedicated home room teacher. Our Organizers (11-12) will have the same experience in the upcoming school year.
Each day, our students begin with morning meeting to center themselves and each other. We share our pronouns, and how we’re feeling in order to reset and prepare for a day of learning and growing together. While most of the day is split into cohorts, children have opportunities to be in community with one another and learn together. Fresh air break, lunch and project time are often shared. While music, math, art, PE, science, geography and social studies are often separate. Kids also have buddy time which allows them the opportunity to to model leadership skills and kindness.
Our literacy classes leverage the expertise of all of our veteran teachers and are broken into skill level. Some may be engaged in a mini lesson around digraphs, trigraphs or blends, while others still may be engaged in a book club.
Regardless of age, kids who are proficient and have mastered certain skills are given the opportunity to extend their learning in a group with similarly aligned friends. Older kids who struggle with foundational skills which may impact their comprehension and fluency later are placed in small groups which provide the learning opportunities they need and change and grow as thier development does.
This kind of environment helps kids recognize that regardless of age, we are all on a very individual trajectory, and everyone is getting what they need. This is the difference between equality and equity. Our structure engenders a culture of trust and acceptance. Children may be working on a diorama sharing their summary from a recent book read, others may be may be engaged in a mini lesson around digraphs, trigraphs or blends, while others may be engaged in a book club.
ARC (Anti-Racist Curriculum)
Our ARC curriculum crosses content areas and incorporates historically marginalized voices throughout the day. We don’t function in isolation as adults, so why should kids? While our central subject varies based on age and developmental level, we pull text sets and provide opportunities for kids to see beyond themselves while developing skills necessary to be advocates and allies for themselves and others in an ever increasing global society.
We also recognize that when working with historically oppressed communities, we must provide kids with the tools necessary to be successful no matter where they go. Transiency is a known challenge in marginalized communities and we align our curriculum with common core standards so that kids who may have to transfer unexpectedly are prepared with the skillsets and information they need to flourish in any public or private school setting.
While following important milestones and standards, we also take the opportunity to to share the perspective of historically marginalized groups of people. If we’re learning about the American Revolution and the founding fathers with our 9 and 10 year olds,- we’ll also learn about the incredible impacts Black Americans and Indigenous people ultimately contributed to develop the country we live in today.
Our math curriculum is developed and designed by leading specialists in the field. What we know about math education is that kids who learn algorithms before gaining conceptual understanding often struggle with more complicated strands later. Math shouldn’t only be about memorizing facts, it should be about solving real world problems. Our veteran teachers incorporate applied, hands on math activities, and offer kids the opportunities to fix problems they see in their school and community. Working together sharing ideas in a group, identifying patterns and coming to realizations on their own is where the buy in happens. Teachers then support those discoveries with mathematical language and vocabulary. All of these elements is how we build mathematicians and erase stereotype threat kids of color experience as they move through their educational experiences
Every child at The Morgan Oliver School has an opportunity to discover new passions, and deepen old ones. We leverage the community resources around us, finding small non profit organizations or local artists passionate about an area of study and invite them to be a Teacher in Residence, or volunteer thier time to share their skill.
From carpentry to percussion ensemble, permaculture to pottery, soccer, dance, strength training and computer classes, we hope to provide experiences for children to explore the world around them.
Each level of the school has 45 minutes of science, PE, art, permaculture or workshop, music and library. For many of these experiences, the children are broken into upper elementary and lower elementary to provide more developmentally appropriate lessons and practice.
If you are interested in sharing your skills with our community, please visit our employment page.