PROGRAMS

at Hollygrove

Welcome!

Welcome to Larchmont Charter School at Hollygrove. Founded in 2006, by a group of parents looking for an alternative choice for their children's public education, Larchmont at Hollygrove was formed and has become a school rooted in the values of community, diversity and academic excellence.

English Language Arts

 

Our English language arts program is connected to the notion that reading and writing are components of one process and that each supports the growth of the other. Writers deserve to write the kinds of texts they see in the real world. Readers need opportunities to read high-level interest books of their own choosing. Using the Columbia University Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop models, students spend extended periods of time reading and discussing literature, and have continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. In this manner we are building the skills and developing the interest and confidence needed to support lifelong readers and writers who demonstrate agency and independence, as well as the skills and strategies to ensure success in middle school and beyond.

 

At LCS we recognize that the “one-size fits all” model does not match the reality of students’ learning styles or needs. The Reader’s and Writer’s workshop supports the need for a differentiated curriculum.

 

The workshop model:

  • Helps teachers address each student as an individual learner

  • Teaches strategies that can be used continuously as the child grows as a reader and writer

  • Supports small group work and conferring

  • Taps into the power of learning as part of a community

  • Builds choice and assessment-based learning into the design of the curriculum

  • Teaches students the writing process: rehearsing or planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing

  • Provides readers with opportunities to consolidate the skills they have learned so they can

  • use these skills with automaticity

 

Students also work on “word study” skills and conventions of English language. They are integrated in Reader’s and Writer’s workshop and also given a specific focus at other times in the day. In our TK/K classes, children practice these skills in their literacy groups. First and second grade practices these word study skills in more homogeneous groups where the students are working at about the same level. The teachers are therefore able to focus in on the specific phonics skills that are appropriate for each group. In 3rd and 4th grade, time is set aside for students to specifically work on spelling and grammar lessons.

Mathematics

 

Our goal for mathematics instruction is to produce LCS students who recognize and appreciate the mathematical components of their world and the important role that mathematics will play in their future. We strive to develop student fluency with numbers supported by a strong mathematical vocabulary and solid skill base. Challenging projects that implement skills and concepts support the development of mathematical reasoning and algebraic thinking building confident problem-solvers throughout the grades. Our early focus on the application of skills readies our students for increasingly challenging math curricula.

 

Our Hollygrove teachers implement an approach to teaching mathematics called Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). CGI is not a math program in itself, but rather an approach to teaching mathematics that both supports and enhances our Everyday Math curriculum. CGI is a student-centered approach to teaching math. It starts with what your students already know and builds on their natural number sense and intuitive approaches to problem solving. It is a way of listening to students, asking strategic questions, and engaging with their thinking—all with the goal of uncovering and expanding every student’s mathematical understanding. CGI provides an opportunity for all students to engage in the math lesson each day at their level of understanding and development.  In addition, our teachers utilize a variety of curriculum resources to make our math instruction meaningful to students like Everyday Mathematics, Engage New York and resources put out by leading educators in elementary mathematics best practices like Marilyn Burns and Marcy Cook.

Science

The science curriculum is based on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and is built on the belief that science is an inquiry–based, collaborative endeavor. Hands-on scientific experiences, supported by content rich classroom libraries, Internet resources, speakers and field trips provide a context for discovery. Students explore and expand their understanding of scientific core ideas that build on each other as students progress through grade levels.  These core ideas are grouped into the following four domains: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering. Students work collaboratively in a variety of different experiences in science and engineering,which allow students to expand their knowledge base and to develop new insights. Students make models, conduct experiments, have science talks, and work collaboratively on projects. Projects include collaborative presentations as well as more formal written research. There are many opportunities to share the joy of scientific discovery with classmates, teachers and parents.  The disciplinary core ideas are as follows:

 

TK-K

  • Forces and Interactions: Pushes and Pulls

  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Animals, Plants, and Their Environment

  • Weather and Climate

  • Engineering Design

First Grade

  • Waves: Light and Sound

  • Structure, Function, and Information Processing

  • Space Systems: Patterns and Cycles

  • Engineering Design

 

Second Grade

  • Structure and Properties of Matter

  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

  • Engineering Design

 

Third Grade

  • Forces and Interactions

  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Environmental Impacts on Organisms

  • Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits

  • Weather and Climate

  • Engineering Design

 

Fourth Grade

  • Energy

  • Waves

  • Structure, Function, and Information Processing

  • Earth's Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

  • Engineering Design

  • Waves: Waves and Information

Social Studies

 

We consider our social studies curriculum to be an opportunity to promote a culturally sensitive historical perspective and to inspire civic-minded participation through project based learning activities. Our social studies curriculum is aligned with California State Standards, following core content expectations. Instructional delivery is focused on guiding questions and projects as we build student understanding of various historical perspectives, providing opportunities for students to explore, analyze and deepen their understanding of community, diversity and multiculturalism.

 

In kindergarten, the curriculum focuses around the idea of interdependence and what a relationship is. This is broken down into smaller units—Relationships to and within the community-what is a relationship? What is a community? Who works in our community? How can we take action to help solve some of these problems? How can I inspire others to take action?

 

The big idea for first grade is “What is our place in the world?” The main idea is “All Around the World” which includes a study of the continents, mapping, culture, language and food, history and language, cultural literacy and American symbols, icons and traditions. 

 

The essential question in second grade is “How do humans impact the world?” and “How do heroes make a difference?”  The studies of the year will cover Geography and Mapping, Family Heritage, Government Institutions and Practices, and an introduction to Economics.

 

The focus in third grade is on learning about the past, present, and future about our local environment.  The major units of study are government, Los Angeles: Then, Now & Future, and Economics.

 

Fourth grade looks at our state of California over time. Students research the physical features of the four regions, Native Americans of California and how they were impacted by the Missions, the Gold Rush, and the shift in populations after the Gold Rush.​

Signature Projects

At Larchmont, the curriculum is driven forward by the California academic content and performance standards and CA CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and structured through our constructivist approach. Signature Projects at the TK-4 grade levels embody our inquiry-based approach.

 

The TK-8 Signature Projects set the theme for the year for students to put into practice the three pillars of LCS’s mission & vision:  Community, Diversity, and Academic Excellence. Signature Projects aim to provide a meaningful structure through which to learn the standards in social studies, science, English language arts, mathematics, world languages, physical education, and the visual/performing arts. Signature Projects consist of multiple smaller units and lessons, connected through their thematic consistency and focus, and includes two approaches to teaching and learning.  Our teachers document the learning that takes place in their signature projects on the bulletin boards in our hallways. These documentation boards are meant to be a conversation connector between our students and their families or other visitors to our Hollygrove campus. Please make sure to check them out the next time that you are on campus!

Edible

School Yard

 

Cooking, Gardening & Lunch

 

Larchmont Charter (TK-12) was handpicked by Alice Waters to spread the roots of the Edible School Yard Project in Los Angeles. The ESY Project at LCS supports constructivist learning through hands-on experiences in gardening and cooking classes, and healthy foods shared around a common table. This edible education fosters an appreciation of how the natural world sustains us and inspires students to be advocates for the well being of our school community, the environment, and all living beings.

 

The vision of the Edible Schoolyard is to integrate gardening, cooking and lunch made from scratch into the core academic mission of the school. As a school, we are pioneering Alice Water’s latest idea that school lunch is an academic subject and re-imagining what the school lunch experience should be. The Edible Schoolyard program promotes the tenets of eco-literacy by teaching children to garden, prepare and eat local seasonal food. In the process, they awaken their senses, learn about nutrition, help to build community, and begin to take personal responsibility for the physical earth and the social community. All students at the Hollygrove campus have edible schoolyard classes each week, which include opportunities to taste, cook, build community, garden, and learn key science concepts in our living laboratory.

 

The ESY curriculum is also evident in our innovative school lunch program. The lunch we provide is made from scratch by Chef Robertino, using produce sourced from our local farmer’s market and meats that are humanely raised and hormone and antibiotic-free. The seasonal menu includes familiar favorites like Pasta Mondays and Salad Bar Wednesdays.

How can you help?

There are many ways to support ESY at LCS. You could:

  • Support ESY activities and fundraising throughout the year.

  • Volunteer to help serve lunch. Volunteers are an integral part of the lunch program. Many parents have described this as a, particularly rewarding volunteer experience because they get to see their children during the day and enjoy a meal afterward.

  • Support a home-school connection by growing your own garden with our children, encouraging adventurous eating by introducing new dishes into your regular rotation, and composting either as an eater or a gardener. You can add your compost to your green bin if you don’t have a garden.

  • Sign your children up for our terrific lunch program. If you give it time, and approach it in a matter-of-fact way, you (and they!) will be surprised by what they end up devouring.

Music, Art and Improv

 

At Hollygrove, our constructivist approach focuses on students’ natural and varied approaches to learning and understanding. We recognize that students “construct their own understanding” through various activities and experiences. We therefore offer a breadth of enrichment classes at every grade level, and enrichment teachers also assist the teachers periodically throughout the week in core academic classrooms to support the integration of various learning styles throughout the curriculum.

 

Music

All students take part in an active music program. The TK-2nd grade curriculum includes general music and songs, rhythm, percussion, instrument families and Glockenspiels. The 3rd and 4th-grade classes begin with singing and rhythm. The students learn to play the recorder, study composers and world music. They are also introduced to the ukulele.

 

Art

The visual arts program values process, exploration, and problem-solving. Students learn through experimentation and discovery, and they are encouraged to use critical thinking skills. The visual arts curriculum is carefully designed to integrate with the classroom curriculum.  In TK-K the students explore line, form, color, texture and shape using a variety of medias. The 1st-grade curriculum reviews shape and value and symmetry and introduces a study of abstract art. 2nd grade brings in geometric shapes in art, freeze dance abstracts, figure drawing and complimentary colors. 3rd grade adds a study of negative/positive space. 4th grade creates fiber art, is introduced to surrealism and culminates the school year with a Peace Parade art project.

Improv

Children learn social skills through natural and positive reinforcement and shared experiences using improv games. These team-building activities take students a step further by incorporating the language and understanding developed through improv games to create a culture of going with the flow, using kindness, staying on topic (conversation skills), and understanding empathy and perspective.

Physical Education

 

Our PE program offers opportunities for physical growth and development in team and individual sports. The goal is to introduce enjoyable activities and healthy concepts that will promote lifelong fitness and optima health. Through a variety of activities over their elementary school experience, students develop skills of balance and locomotion along with greater bodily and spatial awareness and an understanding of games, rules and strategies.

Student Support

 

Social-Emotional Learning

and Special Education

 

The vision of Larchmont Charter School’s special education program is to ensure life success and/or college success by providing quality instruction to all students with special needs in the least restrictive environment. Larchmont Charter implements a pull-out/push-in method in providing services for students with special needs. Although Larchmont Charter cannot implement a full co-teaching model, opportunities for co-teaching will be developed during push-in time. SPED and general education teachers are expected to collaborate in differentiation of instruction and modification of curriculum for students with special needs.

 

Larchmont Charter also provides speech, occupational therapy, counseling, adapted physical education, educational-related mental health services, recreational therapy, vision therapy, deaf/hard of hearing, and behavior intervention supports. Larchmont Charter also implements an intensive social skills program called BASES (Behavior Analysis and Social Education Services) for the elementary program and a transition program where we partner with various agencies including the Department of Rehabilitation for the We Can Work program. We also provide an alternative curriculum for our students who are on the Certificate of Completion track.

 

Our goal for our students with special needs is to master strategies and skills to compensate for their disability to enable them to demonstrate learning or proficiency/mastery of the Common Core Standards with the end goal of being exited from the special education program prior to high school graduation.

Looping and

Homework

 

Looping, in education, refers to the practice of a teacher remaining with the same group of students for more than one school year.

  • Our first-grade students stay with the same teacher and same peer group in second grade.

  • In third grade, the classes are reconfigured and the students then stay in this new loop for third and fourth grade.

  • In Kindergarten, we do not loop students. That is a stand-alone year. We take one year to get to know students very well before placing them in a two-year loop.

 

The advantages to looping are:

  • Teachers gain extra teaching time. Classroom rules, routines and procedures only need to be quickly reviewed at the beginning of the second year.

  • Teachers increase their knowledge about a child’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses in a way that is impossible to achieve in a single year.

  • Long term teacher-student relationships have been noted to result in an emotional and intellectual climate that encourages thinking, risk-taking, and involvement.

  • Students develop a strong classroom community.

Homework

At Hollygrove, we typically assign 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night, starting in Kindergarten, in addition to daily reading. We believe the purpose of homework is multi-faceted — benefits of homework as they relate to the LCS model include:

  • home-to-school connection

  • an opportunity for children to review and practice what has been covered in class

  • the chance for your child to prepare their mind for the next day’s class

  • the opportunity for children to extend learning by applying skills to new situations

 

Most importantly we want students to think of themselves as learners both inside and outside of the classroom while still recognizing the need for a healthy amount of homework and a balance with home life. In grades TK-2, the homework is assigned as a weekly packet so families have the flexibility to adjust the amount completed each night. In grades 3-4, there are some elements of homework that are nightly and other projects that are completed over the course of a week(s).

LCS Logo_white

Network Office

444 N.Larchmont Blvd.

 

Ste.#207

 

Los Angeles, CA 90004

 

323-380-7893

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