A Habit of Mind means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known: dichotomies, dilemmas, enigmas and uncertainties. Employing Habits of Mind requires drawing forth certain patterns of intellectual behavior that produce powerful results. These are critical skills students need to deal with life’s challenges. We have combined these dispositions into our Key Design Elements because we understand the need for students to develop these Habits of Mind (dealing with failure, striving to complete a task, etc.) in order to be successful in life. We view the arts as a tremendous vehicle in which we will structure lessons to instill Habits of Mind and our Character Education units.
The staffing structure of Renaissance Academy provides the school community the ability to address our core values. Along with a solid academic team, a full complement of staff will provide the network of comprehensive care, concern, and commitment for the success of each child. Due to our co-teaching model with a core teacher and a specialist, low ratios of students to staff contribute to insuring student success.
Every child will be taught by a team of professionals who will team teach and collaborate to provide students with a multifaceted approach to learning. Each child will have direct instruction by a reading specialist, a special educator, a speech and language therapist, and a drama coach as they team teach with the classroom teacher. Together these educational professionals will work with our students to consistently assess the best approaches individually tailored to each child’s needs.
In addition to complying with the New York State Learning Standards in the Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Dance, Theatre), the arts will be interwoven into all curricula—an integrated arts education that connects to all areas of inquiry. Students will participate in workshops and residencies provided by professional artists, attend in-school performances by artists, and field trips to arts and cultural institutions. Integration of the arts will provide alternative modalities of expression and communication to support important language and comprehension milestones. Arts education impacts positive cognitive, physical, emotional and social development. Teaching about and through the arts fosters positive emotional development by encouraging children to identify and analyze their feelings and develop a deeper understanding of themselves. And, it is fun. Shouldn’t school be fun?!
With a longer school day, we have time to build in blocks of uninterrupted instruction where in-depth learning can happen. For the K-2 student we have built in time for snack and all students will have ample time to explore the music, drama, movement/dance, and visual arts. Our longer year, 191 days, provides ample time to integrate the arts into all areas, provide hands-on learning opportunities, performances and field trips.