English Language Arts Overview
The City Schools of Decatur seeks to create a clear path to success for all students. We strive to support this vision through our English Language Arts Curriculum. Through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language instruction, students learn to become skilled communicators who read independently, think critically, write with confidence, and interact respectfully and responsibly with others.
Using an equity lens is essential in our work around literacy. Children build their own identities and learn about their world through the texts they read and have read to them. Effective literacy instruction must also be motivating, inspiring, and identity-affirming. To do this, children need to experience authentic and critical reading and writing activities in addition to learning the foundational skills of reading.
The City Schools of Decatur understands that learning to read transforms lives. Reading is the basis for the acquisition of knowledge, for cultural engagement, and for success in the workplace. There are both holistic and component models of reading that recognize the complex, individualized, and multidimensional nature of learning to read (International Literacy Association, 2020). Multidimensional refers to various factors, processes, and sources of information that inform reading.
Following best practices of the Science of Reading, CSD has aligned the American Reading Company (ARC) Core, a comprehensive reading program, designed to best serve the needs of all students, with Fundations, a multisensory, structured language program ensuring all students receive a firm foundation in all strands of skilled reading. In K-2, we focus on structured phonics delivered through the Expeditionary Learning framework and shift the focus to language comprehension through the International Baccalaureate framework for grades 3-12.
“Teaching depends on knowing what students know and can do, and then determining what they need” (National Education Policy Center, 2018)
The Georgia Department of Education declared the City Schools of Decatur in 2021-22 as an “exemplar” for the GADOE Dyslexia Pilot Districts. CSD has also partnered with an Orton Gillingham Fellow and the International Dyslexia Association to ensure that we are implementing best practices.
CSD teachers and staff have been participating in the following trainings:
- LETRS, ARC, and Fundations
- Partnering with Norma Jean McHugh, a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators to provide a 70-hour training to teachers and staff in the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach during summer and school-year cohorts
The OG approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy to all students.