What is a charter school? Charter schools are tuition-free, open enrollment public schools of choice. Charter schools fit in a niche between private and public schools, allowing more curricular flexibility and teacher involvement than most traditional public schools. Charter schools are funded with public money (except for their facilities) and are an alternative to regular public school systems. Like school districts, charter schools are monitored and accredited under the statewide testing and accountability system.
About our charter school: Trinity Basin Preparatory, Inc. is an open enrollment charter school located in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas. Housed on three campuses, the school is composed of grades Pre-K3 through 8th grade. We strive to provide a well-rounded and rigorous education to our students within the framework of a safe environment. Expectations on our campuses are very high for students and faculty in order to foster the environment of achievement and success. Teachers who are successful within our organization use three basic principles that are important to our atmosphere: developing as a professional educator, the use of research-based, best teaching practices, and an understanding of positive discipline management.
Best Teaching Practices – Educators and administrators of Trinity Basin Preparatory, Inc. utilize current research to help ensure student achievement. Our teachers find success in using a variety of teaching methods, strategies, and services to provide our students with the platform necessary to grow academically.
- Guided Reading/Guided Math – Our schedule affords us the opportunity to meet with students twice daily for Language Arts and Math instruction. Besides the traditional ELA and Math blocks, students engage in learner-centered, activity-oriented experiences in guided reading and guided math in certain grade levels. Activities during these times target individual student needs in reading and math by providing effective, focused practice.
- Learning Centers/Work Stations – Centers and stations are important in maintaining student engagement within the content and target several different modes of learning. Frequent use of hands-on activities coupled with manipulatives helps students develops a firmer conceptual foundation in thinking and reasoning skills.
- Additional Services – Services provided consist of SpEd and RtI teams who offer targeted interventions in the classroom as well as occasional pullout services. Students and teachers also have the support of highly qualified classroom instructional aides, many of whom are bilingual. All teachers in our district must be ESL or Bilingual certified.
- Group Work and Reciprocal Teaching – These instructional practices involve a high degree of social interaction and collaboration, allowing students to discover the content through conversation and experience. Successful students are engaged in the learning process and expand their desire to continue learning.
Positive Discipline Management – The primary goal of our discipline management model is safety. We believe discipline and punishment are not the same things. Our schools follow a progressive discipline model. Disciplinary action includes engaging students in activities that reflect desirable character traits. While some cases do require a quick and punitive reaction, for the most part, we use the students’ misbehavior as an opportunity to teach correct behavior. We encourage our teachers to build positive relationships with students, which fosters a sense of belonging and increased academic success.
A Note about Our Curriculum in Grades PK-5:
(PK-2: self contained model, Grades 3-5: team teaching model)
- English Language Arts and Reading –The core curriculum for ELAR is Journeys by HMH. Journeys provides developmentally appropriate, systematic support to meet the diverse needs of all students in reading, grammar, and vocabulary instruction. Our balanced literacy program is based on guided reading and supported by read-alouds, shared reading, phonics instruction, and interactive writing. During guided reading, teachers provide reading strategy support for small, flexible groups using leveled readers. Teachers have access to leveled reader libraries based on the Fountas and Pinnell leveling system and have a subscription to Reading A-Z.
- Phonics and Spelling – The Saxon Phonics and Spelling program is used in kindergarten through second grade as a supplement to our ELA program. It is a comprehensive series that incrementally teaches phonics and spelling rules, providing every student with the exposure to the English language needed to achieve reading and spelling success.
- Math – Our adopted math program is HSP Math by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers. In addition to the traditional math program, students have the opportunity to practice learned math skills in guided math. In guided math, teachers provide materials such as manipulatives, games, and hands-on activities to reinforce math skills and extend learning. Math fact fluency is addressed by the use of the Kim Sutton 10 Block Fluency program.
- Science/Social Studies – Integration of Science and Social Studies concepts into ELA is highly encouraged. Teachers are supplied with scope and sequence documents referencing content specific activities, relevant trade book lists, and many quality internet resources from which to pull ideas for lesson plan development. Scott Foresman Science and MacMillan McGraw-Hill Social Studies curriculum with units covering life science, physical science, earth science and the human body. Teacher subscriptions to Science A-Z are also provided. Materials from MacMillan McGraw-Hill are used for Science and Social Studies.
- Writing – is taught across the content areas using the Four Square Writing Method. 3rd through 5th grade uses Write Source by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers.
- PE, Technology, and Library Classes – All students participate in these three classes.