English Language Arts, K-6
Early literacy is a high-priority goal in the Trenton Public School District. Acquiring literacy skills in the foundational years of elementary school is critical for retention and success in future grades. A classroom environment that promotes the development of students' literacy skills must first be created so they can achieve success in their learning and everyday life. The implementation of effective, high-quality instruction using research-based resources provides teachers with the opportunity to evaluate their students' strengths, locate gaps in their development and tailor lessons focused on specific learning objectives.
Instruction is aligned to the New Jersey Student and Learning Standards and provides students with rich, rigorous learning experiences that address literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, as well as 21st-century skills in research, technology, and media. The standards-based curriculum allows students to explore the world around them through integrated reading and writing programs. To meet the needs of all students, teachers differentiate instruction by following the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework. Often referred to as “I do it, we do it, you do it,” this model is broadly recognized as a successful approach for moving classroom instruction from teacher-centered, whole group delivery to student-centered collaboration and independent practice.
The framework is sequenced into the following four steps:
1. I Do – the teacher leads instruction
2. We Do – the teacher leads guided practice
3. You Do Together – students practice collaboratively
A classroom following the Gradual Release of Responsibility is designed to:
help teachers address each child’s individual learning,
explicitly model strategies students will use not only the day they are taught but whenever they need them,
help students work with engagement so that teachers are able to individualize instruction and lead small groups,
provide students with equitable access to research-based resources
create a classroom environment that fosters student ownership of their own learning and
build choice and assessment-based learning into the very design of the curriculum.
English Language Arts, 7-12
The Trenton Public Schools Secondary English Department continues to enhance its English Language Arts program to support the various sets of needs for our diverse learners and the NJSLS. Grades 7 and 8 are working to master the workshop model for reading and writing. The workshop model allows teachers to develop an environment that is focused and cohesive so that students can progress at an individual rate. Students are immersed in books and are afforded the opportunity to engage in academic discourse. Differentiation and individualized learning occurs in student-teacher conferences where teachers can truly assess students’ understanding, clarify misconceptions, and support learners. The district has and will continue to support teachers in professional growth to strengthen the components and structure of the English lesson and to stay relevant with new education trends and best practices. New middle school electives are also being added to incorporate project-based learning to create authentically fun academic experiences that are tailored to student interests and include Monsters in Literature and Broadcast Journalism.
Our high school curriculum allows students to be engaged in various genres of literature and writing. Multiple levels are offered for each grade level and are designed to meet the needs of individual students. Students read a selection of both contemporary and classical works sprinkled with nonfiction and research throughout. For our students wishing to pursue higher-level classes, we offer AP Literature and Composition, as well as AP Language and Composition. To enhance the core classes, we also offer several elective courses in English including Thesis Writing, Poetry, and Hip Hop, and Literature of Women of Color to name a few. Focusing on college and career readiness through the mastery of reading, writing, and communicating is our vision for every graduate of Trenton Public Schools.