Continuous EducationFort Couch continues the district's philosophy of continuous education. Each level builds on and reinforces the previous grade while preparing students for future academic challenges. Students enter the middle school program at Boyce where the model is a two-teacher team. Here at Fort Couch, a four-teacher team and an increased course selection prepares students for the transition to a departmentalized high school. Students receive instruction in a variety of curriculum areas. An intentional mix of curriculums ensures that a student is not pre-assigned to a "track" based upon previous performances or stated interests. As a result, students have an opportunity to discover areas of interest and abilities that have not yet emerged.
Interdisciplinary teaching and cooperative learning are key words used to describe our curriculum. Interdisciplinary teaching first introduced in the elementary schools continues at Fort Couch. Units designed specifically to integrate the various curriculum areas reinforce the importance to construct links between what the student already knows and values and the information that they are expected to learn. Skills learned in language arts are applied in social studies and science presentations. Mathematical theory is exercised in science, industrial arts and home economics.
The Fort Couch interdisciplinary curriculum is implemented using a multi-text approach. In addition to traditional instruction and classroom activities, students are provided enrichment or remedial activities as necessary. Teachers from different core academic and resource areas work together to define projects that will further engage the students in the learning process requiring the student to apply the knowledge being learned. Working together as a team, the teachers have the flexibility in their schedule to move and regroup students as needed for different projects. Research which has shown that the more meaningful, the more deeply or elaborately processed, the more situated in context and the more rooted in cultural, background, cognitive and personal knowledge the curriculum is, the more readily the child will understand, learn and remember.
The curriculum allows teachers to educate by repeating, re-enforcing and extending similar objectives at each grade. In science, specific areas of Earth, Life and Physical Sciences are revisited each year beginning in 5th Grade with an emphasis on skills, processes, critical thinking and problem solving.
Participation in such activities such as the Wet Lands Study begun in 1992 allows the students to work in both small and large teams to achieve a common goal. This type of cooperative learning experience is emphasized throughout the regular curriculum. While working together on meaningful projects in addition to content, students learn important "people" skills that prepare them to live effectively in a society that is culturally, ethnically and economically diverse.
Teachers spark the imagination of an unusually large number of talented and motivated Fort Couch students through specialized grouping and student choice. In Math and Science, students may pre-test out of a particular segment of the curriculum and are enriched on an individual basis. In Language Arts classes, advanced assignments are provided those who are capable of more in-depth study. The Music Department sponsors specialized groups designed for particularly talented or motivated students such as the Dukes, the Shoops, Triple Trio, Mixed Group and Jazz Band. The Physical Education staff provides a before-school "Open Gym" program for students who wish extra help and attention.