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.
Riley 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 every student learner in an active scholastic environment. The dedicated Riley staff monitors student achievement throughout the school year and strives to accommodate all 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.
Riley’s Language Arts/Writing program utilizes the Write Source series as a means of enabling students to use the English language as a tool for self-expression. Instruction also features school-wide writing prompts and a focus on specific genres ensuring that students are able to write in various styles for different audiences.
At Riley, the staff recognizes the impact well-developed reading skills have on a student’s education. In order to excel in all subject areas, students must have a strong foundation in literacy. The Scott Foresman series is used for reading instruction in grades K5-5 while learners in grades 6-8 use the McDougal Littell series.
Students explore all strands of mathematics and learn to think critically in order to solve real-world problems. Riley utilizes Saxon Math, a spiraling curriculum that consistently introduces and reviews mathematical concepts in daily lessons throughout the school year. Teachers supplement the curriculum with constructed response items that require students to solve problems and explain their mathematical thinking. Additional help is available for students through after-school math tutoring program. Family Math Night is an annual school-wide event that provides families with the chance to work together in a fun and creative manner to improve their child’s math skills. This event features educational games and activities that support and extend Riley’s math program.
The Science curriculum at Riley provides students with exemplary instruction through hands-on scientific investigations and in-depth concepts taught using scientific methods and vocabulary. Riley’s family-friendly annual school-wide Science Fair allows students to put their skills to use as they compete for first prize.
The Social Studies curriculum at Riley includes five areas of study: 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 in the world around them.
The overall goal of Physical Education (P.E.) at Riley is to develop awareness of the importance of physical activity. Students not only participate in physical exercises, but they are also educated on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and habits.
Art education is as essential 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 creatively. Art is integrated throughout the curriculum and is taught as a self-standing subject.
Health education at Riley includes both a personal and community approach to health care.
The Music curriculum at Riley provides children with musical understanding at a beginning to intermediate level. The Fine Arts Committee ensures that students can express themselves through song, dance and instruments. Regular visits to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra enable students to visit with musicians and take in extraordinary performances. In-house performances bring additional experiences to the students.