Kindergarten – 4th Grades
Westside's literacy approach is grounded in reading research. K-2 students receive explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics and develop their comprehension and fluency skills during whole class and small group instruction. Students build their knowledge, their vocabularies and their writing and comprehension skills through engaging content rich curricula. Our teachers use Fundations for phonics, the Heggerty phonological awareness program, the Wit and Wisdom curriculum and the Geodes decodable readers as resources for instruction.
Our 3rd and 4th grade classrooms serve as a transitional period, in which students complete their foundational learning as needed, and begin to progress to a more student-driven and flexible learning environment. Students are given greater independence in the classroom, and do not merely learn further content in each subject, but begin to take on more responsibility to facilitate and lead discussions with their teachers and classmates. While teachers will occasionally utilize more formal instruction on foundational blocks of learning as needed (as in the K-2 model), 3rd and 4th grade teachers serve primarily as facilitators and guides, and provide the frameworks within which students can explore, imagine, discuss, form connections, and apply the lessons they are learning. Students are expected to acquire and maintain an even deeper grasp of material, and have their first exposure to true project-based learning (PBL). They begin to learn what it takes to work together successfully, and how to navigate life in the classroom as increasingly independent learners.
SUMMER READING - ELEMENTARY (RISING K - 4TH)
5th – 8th Grades
As Westside students move into middle grades, the academic curriculum will transition more fully to a student-centered, Project Based Learning (PBL)-focused approach, while continuing to reinforce Westside’s focus on language and literacy. Students will learn primarily through this student-driven approach, and will be expected to understand content deeply, ask probing questions, form connections across subjects, and complete complex, interesting projects throughout each year. Teachers will leverage their expertise in PBL to provide innovative project frameworks within which students can drive their learning forward rigorously and imaginatively. By the time they complete middle grades, Westside students will have both a rock-solid foundation of academic content, and the ability to rigorously apply those lessons in the classroom and the real world.
- Language Arts
- American History
- Language Arts
- World History
- Language Arts
- World History
- Language Arts
- Georgia History
- 5th grade Math
- 6th grade Math
- 6th - 7ath grade Math
- 7th grade Math
- 7bth - 8th grade Math
- 8th grade Math
- Algebra I (HS credit)
- 5th grade Science
- Earth Science
- Life Science
- Physical Science
Learning Support & Intervention
At Westside, we strive to provide the foundation for every child to succeed, including our students who have been diagnosed with disabilities. As our school has grown over the last several years, we have also expanded the range of services we provide for students with disabilities. We currently support about 20 students (approximately 8% of our student population), providing services to accommodate conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and other learning disabilities. We have implemented very robust SST/RTI processes, and have worked with APS to ensure our students have access to the resources they need, including a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist. We have also been able to build a differentially effective program by leveraging several advantages of our smaller size.
Westside provides a range of services for children who qualify for special education services. The goal, as outlined by IDEA, is to educate students in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that will allow them to make progress on their goals and objectives designated in their Individual Education Plan. All placement decisions are made based on children’s IEP goals, with input from all IEP team members, including their parents. Adjustments are made as students’ needs and goals change within their IEP. The level of LRE services varies based on the child’s disability and goals laid out in their IEP, from minor consultative services to the classroom teacher, to separate instruction outside the classroom.
Gifted & Talented
Gifted and Talented Education at Westside Atlanta Charter School provides differentiated instruction for the intellectually advanced and creatively gifted students. According to the Atlanta Public Schools website a gifted and talented student is defined as one who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual and/or creative abilities, exhibits a high degree of motivation, and/or excels in specific academic fields, and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels which commensurate with his or her abilities. Intellectually gifted and exceptionally creative students have unique learning characteristics, interests, personal needs, and capabilities. Gifted and Talented Education addresses these unique characteristics and needs by providing an opportunity for gifted students to interact with their intellectual peers as they participate in classes which extend and enrich the Georgia core curriculum.
Westside annually screens all students actively enrolled for the appropriateness of referral for gifted eligibility testing. The screening/referral and testing processes are broken into two timelines:
- "First Look" screening is for students who do not have current gifted testing data on record
- "Second Look" screening is for students who were previously tested
Gifted and Talented Education in Middle School
Westside Atlanta Charter School uses the Collaborative Model in the middle grades. In the Advanced
Content Model, a gifted-endorsed teacher provides the daily instruction. The Collaborative Model provides instruction in the student's area of strength. However, the teacher does not hold the gifted endorsement. Instead, the core academic teacher collaborates with a gifted-endorsed teacher to provide differentiated curricula for the student. This model meets the requirements of the Georgia Board Rule 160-4-2-.38.
At Westside, we will also ensure that our students have the technological support and knowledge to augment their learning and thrive in an increasingly digital world. Each student has access to their own personal technology, and will engage in lessons on technical skills, blended learning (i.e., making a website as part of a Math project; writing a blog on History topic), and digital citizenship.
Technology and technical skills play an increasingly critical role in college and career readiness, and we will continually adapt our curriculum to support our students in that area.
K - 2nd grade students work on iPads
3rd - 8th grade students work on Chromebooks
We hope all of our students and families will find time to rest, relax, and enjoy the summertime weather! We also hope that students will spend some of their free time reading. Our summer reading lists and activities are designed to be flexible and give students options to select books they are interested in. Also, visit your local library where you can find extensive lists of books to enjoy for the summer!