The curriculum in Milwaukee Public Schools is based on the Common Core State Standards. 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.
Emerson School’s academic program equips students with a strong academic foundation and prepares them for success in middle school. The school curriculum promotes problem-solving, responsibility, and critical thinking. The dedicated Emerson staff guides student achievement throughout the school year through regular communication, regular feedback and coaching with families and teachers. The teaching staff strives to accommodate all learning styles, ensuring that individual learning needs, special education concerns and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are met. Students master basic skills through active teaching and learning infused with technology to reinforce and enhance their educational experience.
Language Arts/Writing instruction begins in kindergarten with work that focuses on the child’s verbal skills and on connecting the spoken and written word. In grade 1, children continue to express themselves using words. In grade 2, students improve their listening and oral communication skills while exploring the media. Grade 3 learners create a variety of writing selections and apply correct grammar and spelling. They use computers to research topics and share findings both verbally and in writing. Students compose a well-organized writing assignment, complete with details, effective word choice and correct sentence structure in grade 4. Grade 5 students give presentations to the class, research topics and write reports.
At Emerson, strong reading skills bolster performance in all academic disciplines. The staff recognizes the significant impact that well-developed reading and communication abilities have on a student’s education.
In kindergarten, Emerson’s youngest learners are introduced to reading readiness skills and are prepared for the beginning stages of reading. Grade 1 learners explore relationships between different letters and sounds while gaining meaning from stories. In grade 2, students enhance their reading skills as they apply new strategies to different texts, read aloud with expression and analyze parts of the story. Grade 3 students are mostly fluent readers and are able to read simple chapter books. They analyze and summarize story elements from a variety of books, discuss main ideas and distinguish between different genres. The focus in grade 4 is on teaching children to use reading materials as sources of information, applying a variety of reading strategies to unlock the meaning of text. Grade 5 learners begin making connections between what is read and real life while using multiple resources to research and gain information.
Math instruction begins in preschool. Children practice counting and sorting, learn about colors and shapes and discuss how numbers represent quantities in kindergarten classes. Grade 1 students practice addition and subtraction while identifying shapes, recognizing patterns and developing ideas in data. In grade 2, children increase their knowledge of geometrical shapes, describe data and use measurement tools. Grade 3 learners practice multiplication and division, while students in grade 4 work with fractions and decimals. Students collect and apply mathematical data while estimating, measuring and predicting outcomes in grade 5.
Kindergarten students explore and discover the world around them while learning to appreciate the beauty of nature. Grade 1 learners discuss careers in science, study motion, identify the sun, moon, stars and planets and learn about the life cycles of living things. In grade 2, students are taught about different scientists and important discoveries throughout history. They also explore sound, properties of earthly materials and the impact of technology on the world. Grade 3 learners develop a deeper understanding of scientific principles as they construct sketches and models to explain ideas and concepts. They also discuss changes in the environment and what causes them. As students advance to grade 4, they begin interpreting what they observe and learn to group and classify living and nonliving things. They also investigate electricity in addition to light, sound, heat and magnetism. In grade 5, students discuss important scientific events throughout history and record their own personal work using models, graphs, maps and charts.
The Social Studies curriculum at Emerson includes five areas of study: Geography, History, Civics, Economics and Behavioral Sciences. Scheduled field trips support class work and lessons. These field trips give students a chance to connect what is learned in the classroom to real life experiences in the world around them.
Kindergarteners begin their journey in Social Studies education by exploring their role as members of a diverse society. During these early years, young learners are also introduced to maps and globes, family cultures and traditions and rights and responsibilities. At a young age, they learn the importance of embracing cultural differences and learning from and respecting one another. Grade 1 children use historical artifacts, documents and photos to describe how families are related. The focus in grade 2 is on diversity in neighborhoods as students explore the community around them, discuss the idea of citizenship and explain similarities and differences in cultures. Grade 3 children learn about the larger world and connect it to their lives in Milwaukee. States and regions are discussed in grade 4, with an emphasis on the state of Wisconsin. In grade 5, students study the United States in greater depth, focusing on different regions, creating a timeline of historical events and explaining the influence of supply and demand on the nation.
The overall goal of Physical Education (P.E.) at Emerson is to develop awareness of the importance of physical activity. Students not only participate in physical fitness activities, but they are also educated on personal wellness and exercise.
In kindergarten, children are encouraged to develop an interest in physical activity as they practice basic movements and follow directions. Students begin playing physical games together and learn about cooperation and sportsmanship in grade 1. Grade 2 P.E. instruction guides children as they stretch themselves to meet new challenges. In grade 3, students show pride in their accomplishments and give positive feedback to classmates as they play games together. Children also demonstrate different types of exercise, including warm-ups, cool-downs, strengthening and aerobic. The focus in grade 4 is on improving individual skills while participating in group activities where children learn about teamwork. Grade 5 students learn how their bodies work and apply this knowledge to physical activities.
Art education and creative thinking is as important to the basic education of all children as reading, writing and mathematics. As an area of study, art education focuses on how things are presented visually, knowing what beautiful art is and solving problems innovatively.
Kindergarten students gain awareness of art and begin creating their own artwork. Grade 1 learners identify the work of famous artists, analyze how mood is created and make simple three-dimensional forms, such as clay figures. Students recognize that art takes different forms, develop skills using artistic tools and discuss how art is affected by color in grade 2. As they advance their skills in grade 3, students distinguish between different types of art and are introduced to perspective. In grade 4, children develop greater skill using art materials and discuss artistic design. Learners further their experience with perspective in grade 5, analyzing unique ways in which art is created and viewed.
Health education at Emerson includes both a personal and community approach to health care. During their preschool education, children are taught the basics of caring for themselves and keeping themselves safe. Grade 1 children describe the importance of eating healthy foods while continuing their education on safety. Students connect their own actions and health habits with others in the community and are taught how diseases can be passed from one person to the next in grade 2. As they advance to grade 3, children examine messages the community gives and receives about health. The focus in grade 4 is on the reproductive system while grade 5 learners explore the connection between health and personal habits.
The Music curriculum at Emerson provides children with musical understanding at a beginning to intermediate level. Children begin their musical education in kindergarten. At this early age, they sing and learn the basics of verse and melody. In grade 1, children increase their understanding of music and the arts as they learn to evaluate and appreciate musical performance. Grade 2 learners continue working with song and learn basic music notation. In grade 3, students practice rhythm, melody and harmony as they explore different instruments. By grade 4, most students can read basic music. They listen to and identify different musical styles and are introduced to instrumental ensembles. Grade 5 musicians play instruments and participate in choir.
Special Education services are provided to students who have been identified as having disabilities and needing special education and related services within the Milwaukee Public School district. It is the goal of Emerson School to provide full educational opportunities to all children with disabilities in the district. We employ an inclusive approach to special education whereby students with IEPs participate in the teaching and learning of regular education classrooms. With certified and specially trained teachers along with an equipped support staff, Emerson School also provides nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities for children with disabilities. We welcome students of all abilities and collaborate with families to provide the best possible education for learners.