Academic Update for the 2019-2020 School Year

We are committed to providing students with the foundational skills to succeed in middle school and beyond as we encourage critical thinking, an innovative mindset, and strong character. The following curriculum changes are a testament to JCDS' research-based, best-teaching practices, and were developed through a process of careful assessment, reflection, and collaboration.
Coding, also known as computer programming, is being expanded and enhanced at JCDS! Coding instruction will be taught in Pre-K 3 and continue through 6th grade. The program now includes Root, Turtle, Botley, and Kubo Robots. In addition, LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Set Mindstorm Robotics equipment has been upgraded for use in 6th grade.
Digital Citizenship

JCDS has increased digital citizenship instruction to ensure students safely navigate the internet and their devices. Students in Kindergarten through 6th grade will also learn about online etiquette and the skills necessary to succeed as digital learners and leaders. 
Field Trips

  • A fall Washington, DC, field trip has been added to the 6th grade curriculum as a culminating academic experience.
  • The 5th grade Camp Montgomery trip will now be an overnight experience to support team-building and social-emotional growth.
  • Fourth grade students will visit Fort Mose to complement their unit on American history.
  • Students in 3rd grade will attend a civil rights tour of St. Augustine in conjunction with their unit on the southeast region of the United States and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Global Studies

  • Last year, both 4th and 5th grade students learned about American History as JCDS transitioned into a new Global Studies program. The new program is designed to take students on a journey from tangible, local history in the early grades to global history in the upper grades. This year, 5th grade will embark on its new Global Studies curriculum with a focus on the legacy and history of the Roman Empire, medieval Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Imperial China, and the Renaissance.
  • Design thinking, an instructional method aimed at creating and facilitating future innovators and breakthrough thinkers, will be integrated into the Global Studies program this year. 
Language Arts
  • Writing Workshop will be fully implemented in Kindergarten through 6th grade after being successfully piloted last year. Each grade level will teach a unit on narrative, informational, and opinion writing. Students will progress through a writing continuum and apply writing and revision strategies with increased complexity. 
  • The Patterns of Power grammar program will be piloted in 4th and 5th grades this year. Students will study authentic texts to recognize essential grammar conventions that readers and writers require to make meaning. This program's emphasis is on grammar in context, critical thinking, and application. 

First grade will adopt Dimensions Math after it was successfully piloted last year in Kindergarten. This more user-friendly series follows the principles outlined in the Singapore Mathematics Framework, uses the concrete, pictorial, and abstract approach, and aligns with the 2nd through 6th grade math program.
Social-Emotional Learning

The Monique Burr Foundation for Children's prevention education program, Child Safety Matters, will be taught in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Teen Safety Matters will be taught in 6th grade. This will help better educate students about bullying and personal safety. It will be implemented in classrooms and taught by the School Counselor.

  • All schedules were improved to increase uninterrupted instruction to support experiential learning. 
  • Teachers' schedules were improved to include additional collaborative planning time to enable the development of interdisciplinary projects, reflection, and on-site professional development.

Life science and engineering units have been added to Kindergarten and a unit on light and sound has been added to 1st grade to complement inquiry-based learning in the early grades. 
Throughout the year, we will share more details about these wonderful initiatives through the Shark Weekly newsletter and the JCDS blog. 

We are excited about the new school year and look forward to welcoming you back to JCDS soon! 

Kind Regards,
Tonya Elstein
Director of Education
Christy Maurer
Director of Education, Grades 3-6
Tricia Finkenberg
Learning Design & Curriculum Coordinator
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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.