Samuel Clemens Elementary School’s academic program equips students with a strong educational foundation upon which they can build a successful future. The school curriculum promotes critical thinking and engages students in an active learning environment. The dedicated Clemens staff monitors student achievement throughout the school year and strives to accommodate a variety learning styles, ensuring that individual needs are met. Students master basic skills through innovative instruction integrated with technology to reinforce and enhance their educational experience.
Along with the MPS district, Clemens adopted the Wisconsin Common Core State Standards in 2010. Aligned with college and career expectations, the standards ensure academic consistency throughout the state. They define the knowledge and skills that students should master during their elementary and secondary school education so that they may compete and succeed in a global economy. The Common Core State Standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide a clear and consistent framework that prepares American children for college and the workforce.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence-based.
English Language Arts/Writing
Clemens School’s works to integrate writing and English language arts instruction into the content areas. In Kindergarten through third grade, students receive daily instruction using the Core Knowledge Language Arts Curriculum. Our fourth and fifth grade students’ instruction focuses on specific genres, ensuring that students are able to write in various styles for different audiences. The writing block occurs for one hour each day.
At Clemens, writing is incorporated into every subject area through graphic organizers, journals, problem-solving, constructed response, note-taking, scientific method and research. The Unique Program is utilized for students with specific needs.
English Language Arts/Writing instruction begins at an early age with basic writing assignments that motivate students to express their thoughts by connecting the spoken and written word. They also expand their vocabulary, participate in class discussions and create pieces of writing through multiple drafts. Our staff teaches students to apply proper grammar and correct spelling while developing well-organized writing assignments, complete with details, effective word choice and correct sentence structure. Students are also taught to use revision strategies and to judge effective writing and speaking, including that in the media.
At Clemens, the staff recognizes the impact well-developed reading skills have on a student’s education. In order to excel in any subject area, students must have a strong foundation in literacy. A daily 120-minute Comprehensive Literacy Block includes foundational skills instruction, close reading with complex text, and Guided Reading and Accountable Independent Reading (G.R.A.I.R). Our staff participates in professional development, focusing on data analysis, differentiated instruction, formative assessment and the use of technology.
At an early age, young learners at Clemens explore the relationships between different letters and sounds while gaining meaning from stories. Reading skills are enhanced as students apply new strategies to different texts, reading aloud with expression and analyzing parts of the story. As students become more fluent readers, they begin to analyze and summarize story elements from a variety of books, discussing main ideas and distinguishing between different genres. Students delve into classic and contemporary literature, stories from around the world, foundational United States documents and more. This wide array of literature enables students to build knowledge, gain insight, explore possibilities and broaden their perspective.
At Clemens, students explore all strands of mathematics and learn to think critically in order to solve real-world problems. Clemens utilizes Envision Math 2.0, a rigorous curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards. The Comprehensive Mathematics Framework occurs for an hour each day. Our GE Academic Coach provides professional development to the Clemens staff, focusing on data analysis, differentiated instruction, formative assessment and the use of technology.
In the early grades, children discuss the concept of mathematics and learn how numbers represent quantities. Next, they practice addition and subtraction while identifying shapes, and developing ideas in data. As their skills develop, students are able to successfully grasp multiplication, division, fractions and decimals. By the time they graduate from Clemens and move on to middle school, students have a strong mathematical foundation and are able to estimate, measure and predict mathematical outcomes. At Clemens, hands-on learning helps students absorb critical information that is essential to their future success at higher levels of education.
The Science curriculum at Clemens provides students with standards-based instruction through hands-on scientific investigations and in-depth concepts taught using scientific methods and vocabulary.
Young learners are introduced to science by exploring and discovering the world around them. They also discuss careers in science, study our world and learn about the life cycles of living things. As students progress, they discuss different scientists and important discoveries throughout history. They also explore sound, properties of earthly materials and the impact of technology on the world. Learners construct sketches and models to explain scientific ideas and concepts. Experiments enable students to participate in hands-on activities that further their understanding.
The History/Social Studies curriculum at Clemens includes lessons on geography, history, civics, economics and behavioral sciences. Many classrooms plan field trips that supplement lessons. These field trips give students a chance to connect what is learned in the classroom to real life experiences. Clemens utilizes the TCI Social Studies series.
Clemens students identify themselves as members of a diverse society, exploring family cultures and traditions as well as rights and responsibilities. The Social Studies curriculum also introduces learners to maps and globes, historical artifacts, documents and photographs. Students discuss their community, citizenship and how the larger world connects to their lives in Milwaukee. Educators at Clemens take time to instruct students on states and regions as well as the United States government and historical events that impacted our nation.
Students have weekly instruction in physical education, art, and music. Specialists seek to engage students on all levels, which include physically, emotionally, and socially.
Media and Technology
In addition to computers in every classroom, students have access to a fully-networked computer lab with current software programs that supplement regular classroom activities.
Technology is integrated into the Clemens curriculum, ensuring that students are prepared to succeed in a globally-connected world. At an early age, students are instructed in technology using SMART Boards and Mimeo Interactive technology. These resources combine the classic whiteboard with digital projection and a computer, creating an interactive system of learning for students. As students develop their technological knowledge, online researching skills are introduced and software applications allow students to reinforce key concepts, practice math calculations, build reading abilities and apply keyboarding skills.