Richland 2 opens accelerated learning center

08/21/2013 10:00 PM

08/21/2013 11:26 PM

When school doors opened for the year in Richland 2 Wednesday, the district celebrated the debut of a new center for rapid learning.

When school doors opened for the year in Richland 2 Wednesday, the district celebrated the debut of a new center for rapid learning.

The Center for Knowledge North opened on the Muller Road Middle School campus. The magnet program offers an accelerated curriculum and is an extension of the popular Center for Knowledge that is operated on the E.L. Wright Middle School campus.

“The curriculum is based on the realization that children are able to learn at a rapid rate,” said Jo Lane Hall, principal of both sites. “While technology and current events change, there is a body of knowledge and skills that do not change, and students should learn those fundamental basics.”

While continuing to follow the state’s Common Core educational curriculum, The Center for Knowledge also offers The National Core Knowledge curriculum.

“We are required to teach both, so students must be able to grasp material at a faster pace than would be required if teaching just one curriculum,” she said. “Our teachers have undergone extensive training to learn how to promote problem-solving experiences in the classroom.”

It was largely the emphasis on problem-solving that motivated Chris and Shannon Bready to enroll their children, second-grader Lexi and first-grader Jack, at the new center.

“As you’re going along in life, that (problem-solving) is kind of how things are going to formulate,” Shannon Bready said. “It makes the kids work together as a team.”

And while her family had “great” experiences at their former school, Bready said the individual-based learning provided by the smaller environment was appealing.

“It’s more of an individual pace,” she said. “It’s a proven curriculum and I just think they are going to have a great year.”

Lane said the center’s Core Knowledge Sequence includes a progression of specific instruction in history, geography, mathematics, science, language arts and fine arts.

“Children learn by building on what they already know,” she said. “So it is important for them to begin building foundations of knowledge in the early grades when they are most receptive to attaining an organized body of knowledge.”

She said visitors to the school might find students exploring the practices of Ancient Egypt and how such features as geography, the Sahara Desert, pyramids, mummies and hieroglyphics impacted the life during that time.

“They may recreate the Nile River with landmarks of what it would have looked like in ancient times,” she said.

Lane said The Center for Knowledge North will continue to build on the proven practices at the original site.

The Center for Knowledge consistently receives more than 350 applications each year, typically the most of any district magnet program. Students are chosen by lottery and nearly 90 students can be placed at the two centers each year.

The Center for Knowledge North currently serves kindergarten through second-grade students. It will add one grade level each year through fifth grade. The program includes 44 students per grade level at each site.

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