Approach to Education
- All students should be prepared for University and a life of continuous learning
- All students should be helped to realize their full potential, empowering them to make informed decisions in life
- All students should grow in confidence and self-esteem
- The maximum possible "value" should be added to all aspects of each student's education
- All students should be encouraged to become well rounded citizens, who contribute positively to their communities
The whole class is taught together, using the unique SABIS Point System®. The key concepts of a lesson are listed. Each of these is taught interactively, alternating oral work, individual written work, and group checking. Class time is utilized to build a solid foundation of knowledge through interacting, analyzing, forming and expressing opinions, and effective discussion. Discussions are based on critical thinking and logical reasoning.
Students who fall behind in their work are advised, motivated, helped and coached until they catch up. As long as students manage their own time successfully their time is theirs, otherwise we take over to support and guide their efforts.
English Language Learner Program
SICS provides an English Language Learner (ELL) program for all students in need of services from grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently in its seventh year of operation, the ELL Program serves forty-nine (49) students in grades K through 9th grade.
All SICS students are given a Home Language Survey (HLS) upon registration to the school. If a parent states on the HLS that another language other than English is spoken in the home, the student is assessed for English language proficiency using the Pre-las or Las-links assessment tool. Once services have been deemed necessary, students receive ELL and Sheltered English Immersion instruction.
The ELL program operates on both “pull-out” and “push-in” models. In the “pull-out” model, students receive instruction from licensed ELS teachers which is designed to help the student receive instruction from licensed ESL teachers which is designed to help the student assimilate the English language so that he/she can successfully acquire the academic language of the mainstream classroom. The ESL teachers also “push-in” to assist the students assimilate content using appropriate acquisition strategies.
ELL students are evaluated using several different assessment tools. These include the state mandated MCAS and ACCESS tests. The results of these assessments combined with the student’s academic performance along with input of the ESL teacher are used for program determination of services for the student.
Special education services are provided to eligible students in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and M.G.L. c. 71B. To be eligible for special education services, a student must have one of the following disabilities: autism, developmental delay, specific learning disability or an intellectual, sensory, neurological, emotional, communication, physical, or health impairment. The Student must also be found to be failing to make effective educational progress as a result of a disability and to require specially designed instruction or related services in order to access general education. Upon completion of an initial evaluation, the Team develops an individualized educational program (IEP) that highlights, among other things, the student’s strengths, areas of concern, strategies for accommodating for the student’s disability, modifications to the curriculum, services that the student will receive, and important goals and objectives developed to ensure student progress. Parent involvement during the evaluation and IEP development process is an integral part of the process.
Copies of the Parent’s Notice of Procedural Safeguards Rights Brochure may be obtained from the Special Education Academic Coordinator. For students found eligible for special education prior to their enrollment, Collegiate Charter School of Lowell will implement the student’s current IEP in accordance with the requirements of 603 CMR 28.00. For additional information regarding evaluations of eligibility for special education and the availability of special education services, please contact the Special Education Academic Coordinator.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .”
The Section 504 regulations require public schools to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified student regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, a FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met. SABIS® International Charter School recognizes its responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices involving both students and staff. No discrimination against anyone who falls under the provisions of Section 504 will knowingly be permitted in any program or practice of the Collegiate Charter School of Lowell. Any student, parent or legal guardian who believes that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of a disability may file a written complaint with the A.Q.C. or the Director.No student, parent or guardian who has filed such a complaint will be subject to coercion, intimidation, interference or retaliation for registering a complaint or assisting in the investigation of the complaint. Interference with, intimidation of, and/or retaliation against any individual, including a student, parent, or guardian, for filing a complaint, filing a grievance, or opposing discrimination is strictly prohibited and shall be treated as an actionable, wrongful act in and of itself.
For additional information regarding the Section 504 evaluation process or disability-related accommodations or services, please contact the Special Education Academic Coordinator.
Special Education Director
Oversees all special education services at SICS, ensuring services are occurring as detailed in Individualized Education Programs. The Special Education Director works with teachers, families, and students to ensure that all students have an opportunity to succeed and to ensure compliance with applicable statutes and regulations pertaining to the identification, evaluation, services and placement of students with disabilities.
This person works with students, teachers, families, and community agencies to develop plans and provide support in an effort to maximize student achievement and social development.
Students are referred when learning problems arise through a rigorous referral process, involving the Student Assistance Team. However, the Special Education Academic Quality Controller will be the point person of communication with the psychologist, teacher, and parent/guardian. Special areas of difficulty are determined through diagnostics and diagnosis and further action is taken if necessary to benefit the individual child.
The Speech Pathologist is provided to work with children who have speech and
language problems. After referral and diagnosis, the therapist meets periodically to address the child’s areas of difficulty as per each child’s plan.
Students entering SICS take a diagnostic test. Those found to be behind academically may be offered one of several different solutions, depending on the severity of their problem. Students who start to slip backward during the year can benefit from these solutions as well. SICS has a Special Education staff to accommodate those students with diagnosed learning disabilities.
- Peer Tutoring - The SABIS® Student Life Organization™ has set up a system to match students needing help in specific subject areas with other students who volunteer to be tutors. The peer-tutoring program offers satisfaction to the students offering the help, and provides academic support to those students who can benefit from coaching by a student with a firm grasp of the subject. Peer tutoring occurs during Student Life Activity periods.
- Faculty Tutoring - A faculty tutoring program assigns teachers to tutor students who need more intensive help, but who are not sufficiently behind their classmates to need the support of an Intensive Program class.
- MTSS Intervention – A multi-tiered system of supports defined as a whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based framework for improving learning outcomes for EVERY student through a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems.
The Learning Process
All courses are structured. A unique system of academic tracking (the SABIS Academic Monitoring System®, which is a computerized method of detecting gaps in knowledge) allows the administration to closely follow the progress of each individual. Gaps are pinpointed as soon as they form, and the students' efforts are focused on eliminating them. Valuable time is saved, and a gap-free, cohesive foundation of knowledge is built in students' minds.
The backbone of the SABIS® Educational System™ is a rigorous and sequential curriculum that meets world-class standards. Supported by time-tested methods, this curriculum emphasizes a well-balanced body of knowledge, skills, and experiences. A critical review of the curriculum by SABIS® Academic Development Department is ongoing to ensure that it remains dynamic, comprehensive, and suited to the needs of a rapidly changing, global society.
In addition to the core subjects of English, mathematics, and world languages, the SABIS® curriculum is designed to provide knowledge of a broad range of subjects including science, social studies, art, music, health, physical education, and computers. It is designed to develop a balanced, well-rounded, college-preparatory experience.
The first step in the SABIS® curriculum development process is the identification of all concepts and skills for a given class, followed by their classification as essential and non-essential.
Essential concepts are those needed for future learning and not formally taught after initial mastery. For example, the concept of converting from decimal to percent is not an essential concept for fifth grade. It becomes essential in sixth grade because it is needed for future grades and is not taught in later mathematics classes. Expectations in terms of mastery allow for differences in student abilities and efforts. All students must master essential concepts at 100% accuracy to advance to a higher grade level.
Non-essential concepts are those that do not interfere with future learning but are part of the curriculum. All students must master a set amount over and above the minimum requirement and will tackle some areas more extensively. It is within this body, over and above the essential, that the amount and depth of knowledge that students achieve varies.
The body of knowledge-the facts and skills-that makes up the content of a course will not be learned in its entirety by all students. Even the most structured learning, such as mathematics, is not strictly linear. One of the strengths of the SABIS® curriculum is its identification of essential and non-essential knowledge.
- To qualify every student for entrance into college / universities
- To provide a well-rounded education based on mastering English and mathematics
- To enable students to acquire a firm command of a second language
- To train students in logical reasoning and critical thinking
- To prepare students to be able to sustain an intellectual effort for long periods
- To generate excitement for life-long learning