Teaching Methods


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Curriculum and Instructional Plan
With a rich educational program focused on literacy development, an individualized approach to teaching, and a collaborative, nurturing school community, COSLA provides a greatly needed new educational option for students and families in the community. At COSLA, students show evidence of high academic standards which stem from the use of innovative teaching practices. Literacy development and enhancement is at the center of the school’s curriculum. The use of reading and writing to enhance learning in core subjects is paramount. Inclusion-model classrooms & community-based learning are evident, as are the adoption of several responsive classroom methods and the implementation of brain-compatible learning techniques, which include multiple intelligences and multisensory learning to differentiate and deliver instruction. COSLA uses Voices Balanced Literacy program to meet the criteria for balanced literacy. The goal of Voices Balanced Literacy is the development and encouragement of fluent readers, articulate writers and speakers, and discerning listeners and viewers. The Voices Literacy program has been incorporated to increase cultural awareness and build character while developing independent readers, rich in vocabulary and comprehension. COSLA continues to employ the Saxon Mathematics program which meets the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, instructional best practices, and exemplary mathematical research. Saxon also incorporates higher order thinking while integrating writing and meeting the needs of diverse learners. COSLA reserves the right to make changes to texts and curriculum to meet the needs of the COSLA students.  This rigorous, standards-based curriculum is designed to reinforce commitment to teaching core academic content as well as critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills.

Alignment with State Content Standards
COSLA uses Tennessee’s state Standards, including Grade Level Expectations, State Performance Indicators, and Checks for Understanding to develop its instructional program, and selects curriculum material for all core subject areas based on their alignment with state content. All lesson plans are developed based on the standards using a computerized program called Teacher Ease. In addition to full alignment with the standards, lesson plans include a checklist that ensures diverse instructional delivery methods are used and are aligned with our schools philosophy and mission. On the lesson plan, each teacher checks the methodology to be used as well as the higher levels of learning that will be addressed. Some of these include cooperative learning, project-based instruction, and cultural awareness.  In addition, teachers are continuously reviewing student mastery of state content standards through formative assessments, summative assessments, student products, and individualized student development sessions. Furthermore, the Teacher Ease software allows the tracking of instructional alignment to standards. This data is reviewed frequently by school administrators and staff throughout the school year.


COSLA believes that all children can and will learn at high levels. As such, it is the academy’s intention to create individual classrooms and a whole school environment that is supportive and developmentally oriented to the needs of every learner. COSLA also endeavors to close and eliminate the achievement gaps for all students. As such, it is understood that learning must be individualized for students who are academically behind state and national norms.

In order to meet its goal of individualizing the learning of all academically low achieving students, COSLA utilizes specific, diagnostically-driven data to differentiate in-class curriculum and instruction as well as provide additional help and support needed to assist each child in making over one year’s growth towards grade level proficiency. To do this, COSLA implements a number of strategies including: targeted intervention/remediated instruction, re-teach weeks, tutoring, mentoring, and progress monitoring. A Response to Intervention (RTI) team has also been assembled to facilitate the evaluation, intervention, progress monitoring and diagnosis of students struggling in Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics with a multi-tier approach.

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