Curriculum and Culture [ Text ]

The curriculum at String Theory Charter Schools is rigorous and robust, with the overriding focus geared toward preparing students for their future in the 21st century. Our program is grounded in the PA Core Standards for Math, Social Studies, and English, and the Next Generation Standards for Science. In addition to the outstanding courses, the Majors programs are unparalleled in an environment that integrates the arts and sciences.

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In our Elementary Schools, students begin their learning in kindergarten with immersion into our caring and highly individualized program of both academics and the arts. The curriculum creates an outstanding foundation from which academic success can be scaffolded. Students progress from one level to the next with the requisite skills not only in content but also in higher order thinking, prepared to analyze for deeper meaning.

Beginning in kindergarten, the arts program introduces students to the performance and visual arts such as drawing, vocal music, instrumental music, and dance. As their talents develop, opportunities are created for them to stretch their learning and interests. Choir, dance class, and art shows allow the students to demonstrate their learning and newly honed skills.

Research shows that early foreign language exposure enhances a child’s primary language development, thus increasing his or her brainpower!

This is why we begin our foreign language skills program in kindergarten, which naturally leads to greater success in foreign language study in high school and college. French is our language of choice and the language of the arts. The French Department uses the American Council of Teaching Foreign Language Standards for the curriculum, providing students with an interdisciplinary, cross-curricular study of the French language and culture.

As the years have passed, we have been intentional about infusing Creative Writing in all content and curricular areas, from kindergarten through 8th grade. Best practices in education dictate writing across the curriculum, and our students certainly validate their learning through written expression. Students write personal narratives, folk tales, scripts and stories related to ELA and the grade level content.

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In grades five through eight, our Middle Schools, students continue to develop both academically and artistically. All content areas are now divided and taught by department, thus allowing students to experience each subject more thoroughly and distinctly. Novels are read through both independent reading and guided instruction. ELA, Math, Social Studies and Science round out the academic program. Students may take advanced classes in grades seven and eight. If students take Algebra in the eighth grade, they must also take the Keystone exam at the conclusion of the course.

Beginning in middle school, each student chooses a major, and one block per day is devoted to the pursuit of content and practices in that major. For students in middle school, the Majors are introductory, and serve as preparation for the rigor of high school Major programs.

While Majors evolve based on student interests and enjoyment in the elementary years, our current list of Middle School Majors includes:

  • Ballet and Broadway;
  • Digital Design & Fine Arts;
  • Innovations in Science & Technology;
  • Vocal Music and Instrumental Music;
  • Theatre and Television Broadcast Arts;
  • Creative Writing and Digital Publishing.

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(Applies to Philadelphia Performing Arts ONLY)

High School begins in ninth grade and concludes with graduation in grade twelve. A typical ninth grader’s school year consists of five academic blocks, one extended majors class, one lunch period, and one advisory / mentoring period.

High school courses typically fall into one of four categories:

  • College Prep — for average students who will be college and career ready at the conclusion of grade twelve;
  • Honors — for students who are able to pursue in-depth study and who are willing to spend extra time outside of class working independently to complete require additional reading and writing assignments;
  • Advanced Placement — utilizing College Board Advanced Placement curriculum, receive college credit on the completion of a mandatory exam;
  • College courses — begins in tenth grade.

String Theory Schools’ curriculum is aligned with the Pennsylvania’s Standards Aligned System (SAS), http://www.pdesas.org/, and the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, www.corestandards.org.

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Typically high school freshmen take the following courses as part of their core academic program:

  • Genres in English Literature
  • Algebra or Geometry
  • Biology
  • World History
  • French

Both advanced and enrichment programs provide needed support for students who will benefit.

Students in tenth grade usually enroll in the following courses:

  • Geometry
  • American Literature
  • American History
  • Chemistry
  • French I or II

Options exist for students who will benefit from other courses, including both advanced and remedial work.

College programs exist for students beginning in tenth grade, and qualifying students are able to attend local universities for one course per term, in addition to the regular in-school program. Various schools, such as Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania, offer programs for our high achieving high school students. Visit our College Partnerships page.

Students in eleventh and twelfth grade enroll in any or all of the following courses:

  • Math: Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus
  • English: British Literature, World Literature
  • History: US Government
  • Science: Environmental Science, Conceptual Physics, Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Psychology
  • Foreign Language: French I, French II, French III, French IV, AP French

Electives such as Current Events and Forensics are offered based on interest, and announced in March of the preceding year for enrollment purposes.

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All students continue to deepen their knowledge and expertise within their Major, as 1 block per day is devoted to the pursuit of content and practices in that Major. While Majors evolve based on student interests, our current list of High School Majors includes:

  • Ballet and Broadway;
  • Digital Design & Fine Arts;
  • Innovations in Science & Technology in STEM and Engineering / Robotics;
  • Vocal Music and Instrumental Music;
  • Theatre and Television Broadcast Arts;
  • Creative Writing and Digital Publishing.

Our art-infused curriculum places a premium on both academic and performance excellence.

Each Major program delves deeply into the subject, and students develop an immense skill set at the conclusion. As students develop within their Majors, internships and other opportunities exist to work with professionals in their chosen fields.

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INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC MAJORS

Each student plays the violin from kindergarten through fifth grade. Instrumental majors may continue to develop their violin skills or choose to learn the viola, cello, or double bass. Instrumental majors play an integral role in school performances and attend various outreach programs during the school year. They participate in several different musical groups during their high school years.

BALLET MAJORS

Our ballet training allows students to appreciate the discipline and beauty of dance. Everyone enjoys ballet through fifth grade, making them aware of the body as an instrument of expression. Beginning in sixth grade, students expand their skills in both classical ballet and broadway dance.

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VOCAL MUSIC MAJORS

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade attend vocal music class regularly. By the end of second grade, they become musically literate – familiar with music of other cultures and able to write and create short rhythms and melodies. Vocal music majors become members of the school’s Concert Choir, performing throughout the school year. Various choirs are created based on the interests of the students as they progress through high school.

VISUAL & FINE ARTS MAJORS

All students are exposed to visual and fine arts both in their classrooms and with a specialist. As they progress through the grades, students develop both technological and fine arts skills. By high school, they choose an area of expertise, and begin to concentrate in that one area. Experience with motion capture and animation provide digital students with a wide array of experiences. Fine arts students develop their skills through more traditional media.

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INNOVATIONS IN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY AND STEM MAJORS

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade enjoy lab time where they experience the wonder and excitement of science and technology. In sixth grade, students majoring in STEM begin to focus on life sciences and engineering sciences. Throughout high school, students further narrow their focus with such areas as aquaponics and robotics.

Our arts curriculum fosters learning in all curricular areas; thus, preparing our students for higher education, lifelong learning, and a wealth of career options.

eSPARK:

eSpark

Science Fusion:

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USA Testprep:

USATestPrep

Eureka Math

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Wonders Reading

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