New teaching method for Layton charter school

Nov 23 2012 - 4:34pm

LAYTON -- A new charter school, which will utilize an innovative method of teaching reading, writing, and mathematics to students in kindergarten through sixth grade, will open in the fall of 2013.

Leadership Learning Academy (LLA) will serve 567 students, and will begin accepting applications for the lottery enrollment beginning Jan. 1.

Construction will begin in early December for the school, which will be located off of Hill Field Road on 2675 North. The school will include a library, gymnasium, classrooms, commons areas, computer labs, and a playground.

The school's board of directors recently held their first informational public meeting to introduce the teaching method the school will use -- Project CHILD (Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered.)

"Project CHILD is unique," said Tracy Powell, LLC board member.

Powell explained that students are assigned a home room teacher within their grade level. Class sizes will be capped at 27 students.

She then explained that three teachers and their classes are grouped into a cluster. The clusters cross grade levels and include students in first, second, and third grade or fourth, fifth and sixth grade.

One teacher in each cluster will specialize in reading, writing, or math. The students will move between teacher's classrooms for 90-minute rotations each day to be taught the subject that the teacher specializes in.

"The kids rotate to the teachers, but they stay with their grade level. The students are with the same (three) teachers for three consecutive years," Powell said.

"The first graders that we have will be with us for second and third grade as well. You get to know them very well," she said.

Powell said that she taught at a Project CHILD school in Florida for four years.

She said that the students didn't have to relearn the rules of the classroom, and teachers didn't have to invest time in getting to know new students each year. She said that teachers already knew the levels of the students and were able to use that to their teaching advantage.

"I can't say enough about it. It's amazing the growth you see in the kids. It's amazing that you as a teacher can focus on one subject and not get burnt out. I really believe in it," Powell said.

Also included in the teaching style is a lot of station work -- where students receive instruction from teachers, work in collaborative groups with peers, and also work independently, said Heidi Bauerle, board of director's secretary.

"This group has worked really closely with Davis School District, especially on location and talking to the District about where we can help out. This was one of the areas that really could benefit both the charter school and the District. It's been a really good working relationship with the District, which isn't always the case," said Brandon Fairbanks, of Academica West, the management company helping to set up the school.

Informational meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Weber Basin Water Conservancy located at 2837 E. Highway 193 in Layton. Meetings will be held every month until the school opens in August 2013.

Powell said that they expect the school to fill to capacity the first year.

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