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Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning at Ravenswood

Teaching and Learning at Ravenswood

The Ravenswood community is an extraordinary place to live and learn!  Our students, families, educators, and community possess remarkable funds of knowledge, cultural and linguistic assets and powerful abilities. In the Teaching and Learning department, we consider the facts and skills we want children to learn (the "standards"), the tools we use to deliver it (the "curriculum"), the way we actually teach ("pedagogy"), and how we know whether kids are learning ("assessments").
During the 2022-23 school year we will:
  • Build upon our understanding of quality and rigorous standards aligned instruction (what we teach)
  • Focus on being antiracist and culturally responsive in our practices (how we teach)
  • Use “street data” to understand the needs of our students and make decisions about how to support them best (how we know what students have learned)
  • Increase our own understanding and knowledge of creating effective and engaging learning (the conditions in which we teach and learn)
In order to realize our mission and our Strategic Priorities we know we must value the following:
  • all students deserve a coherent learning experience aligned to the content and practices of the English Language Arts and Math Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), History-Social Science Framework and CA ELD Standards;
  • content knowledge and skills develop in tandem with interdisciplinary language and literacy; students cannot have one without the other;
  • academic language and literacy are essential for success in all content areas;
  • all students must be supported to tackle complex, non-fiction texts, especially historically underserved students--Emerging Bilingual students, African-American, and students with disabilities;
  • students must have opportunities to learn and perform what they have learned through coherent assessment strategies; and
  • we must build the social and emotional core competencies of students and adults in order to establish a thriving learning community.
Our Approach To...

Our Approach To...

Anti Racist Instruction and Culturally Responsive Teaching

“Pedagogy should work in tandem with students’ own knowledge of their community and grassroots organizations to push forward new ideas for social change, not just be a tool to enhance test scores or grades. Pedagogy, regardless of its name, is useless without teachers dedicated to challenging systemic oppression with intersectional social justice.”


In order to be anti racist in our practice we are working to:
  • Engage in Vigilant Self-Awareness.
  • Acknowledge Racism and the Ideology of White Supremacy.
  • Study and Teach Representative History.
  • Talk About Race with Students.
  • When we See Racism, we Do Something.
  • Shape an Antiracist Future.
We are actively engaged in the Ready for Rigor Framework (Zaretta Hammond) by:
  • Building awareness
  • Creating Learning Partnerships
  • Supporting Information Processing
  • Building Community


“Literacy was not just for self-enjoyment of fulfillment, it was tied to action and efforts to shape the sociopolitical landscape of a country that was founded on oppression.”


1) Reading Is Not a Natural Process and is developmental 
Unlike human speech, which evolved naturally over hundreds of thousands of years, written language was only invented between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago; there is no natural developmental window during which young children automatically become able to match words to print.

In order for children to be ready to read, the relevant parts of their brains (visual- and speech-processing centers) must be sufficiently developed; they must also have a high enough level of phonological (sound) awareness to understand relationships between sounds and letters/groups of letters. 

2) Instruction Must Be Systematic 
An effective reading program teaches letter-sound relationships in a clearly defined sequence, with simpler, more straightforward skills being introduced before more complex ones, and concepts gradually building upon one another.  This is particularly important because English has so many exceptions; if standard patterns, alternate patterns, and exceptions are not taught in a clearly defined way, then there is significant potential for confusion. 

3) Reading and Writing are a reciprocal process
Basically put: reading affects writing and writing affects reading. Research has found that when children read extensively they become better writers. Reading a variety of genres helps children learn text structures and language that they can then transfer to their own writing. In addition, reading provides young people with prior knowledge that they can use in their own writing and learning. One of the primary reasons that we read is to learn.

4) Reading and writing should be joyful and open up a world of learning and experiences for students
Happiness increases learning. It turns out that when positive learning experiences create joy, there is a chemical reaction in our brains that increases memory, focus, and our capacity for problem-solving.

TK-5 Literacy Curriculum

This year we will be engaging in a new Literacy curriculum adoption pilot.  We currently use the Teachers College Readers and Writers Workshop Project for TK-5th grade English Language Arts. Lucy Calkins founded the Teachers College Writing Project in 1981 as a think tank, field-based research team, and provider of curriculum and professional development. Calkins and her colleagues developed the image of classrooms as workshops, and developed a host of methods for teaching writing which have since become foundational to classrooms across the world.

In addition, as we work to adopt our new Literacy curriculum, we are implementing a Scientifically Researched Practices as outlined below during our Literacy Blocks using:
Foundational Practices
  • Concepts of print: Readers learn how to approach a text and can read left to right and top to bottom on a page.
  • Phonemic awareness: Students learn to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in words. For example, a kindergartener can identify the three sounds in the word cat: /k/ /a/ /t/. She can also identify how the word changes if the /k/ sound is replaced with /m/.
  • Phonological awareness: Students learn to hear, identify, and manipulate units of oral language, including words, syllables, and other word parts. For example, a second grader can clap twice to show he can accurately identify the number of syllables he hears in the word “sister”: sis-ter. He can tap three times to count the syllables in “artichoke”: ar-ti-choke.
  • Phonics: Readers learn the predictable relationships between sounds (phonemes) and the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language. With phonics, students have a system for remembering how to read and write words. For example, once a child learns that bone is spelled b-o-n-e rather than b-o-a-n, her memory will help her read and spell the word instantly and more accurately in the future.
  • Spelling: Students use their knowledge of phonics to accurately write the letters to represent the sounds they hear in words.
  • Fluency: Readers learn to read text accurately, quickly, and with appropriate expression to show they understand emphasis and tone. Fluency is the link between decoding and comprehension.
Knowledge Building Practices
  • Vocabulary: Readers have vast knowledge of words and their meanings.
  • Background knowledge: Readers accumulate knowledge of the world, facts, and skills to build their background knowledge. They use this background knowledge to make sense of the information they come across through reading.
  • Oral language skills: Students develop command over word form, sentence structure, and discourse. They can make meaning from spoken language using their background knowledge, vocabulary, and understanding of how language is structured.
  • Reading comprehension skills: Readers learn to unlock the meaning of text because they can decode the words on the page and simultaneously understand the meaning of those words.

6-8 Literacy Curriculum

myPerspectives is a powerful English language arts curriculum for Grades 6–8 that values the perspective of the learner, collectively and individually, and provides next-gen learning experiences that promote higher achievement and develop the competencies needed for college and career readiness. Interactive learning blends print and technology in a student-centered, teacher-inspired classroom. 


“Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.” – Stefan Banach


Through productive struggle, inquiry, academic discourse, and common core aligned performance tasks, Ravenswood students become problem solvers, collaborators, communicators, and owners of mathematics, to ensure college, career, and life readiness.
We support students to:
  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.

TK-5 Mathematics Curriculum

Investigations is the K-5 inquiry-based approach to teaching mathematics.  Students actively explore mathematical ideas to develop understanding and fluency. Students collaborate, investigate, and take part in problem-based learning.
  • Student-centered mathematics
  • Active learning and collaboration
  • More than one way to solve it
  • Explain and justify reasoning

6-8 Mathematics Curriculum

We will be adopting a new 6-8 Math curriculum this year.  Currently we use- Summit Learning Math
which is made up of projects and focus areas. Math courses additionally include concept units, which focus on conceptual understanding. Courses are aligned to Common Core State Standards and other sets of standards relevant to specific disciplines.


“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” - Mae Jemison, Astronaut, Doctor and Much More


We nurture student curiosity
We involve students in making sense of natural events/phenomena and the science ideas underlying them. 
We develop scientific literacy
We integrate science with other subjects
We use classroom assessments to support student learning

TK-5 Science Curriculum

FOSS is built around firsthand exploration of phenomena, using classroom-proven theories and practices to engage all your students.

6-8 Science Curriculum

Green Ninja Science curriculum aims to engage students in science through personal inquiry and action. Students find science meaningful and relevant by solving real-world problems and deepening connections to the environment.

Social Studies

“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” -James Baldwin


Knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for informed and thoughtful participation in society require a systematically developed TK-8 program focused on concepts from: social justice, civics, economics, geography and history.

TK-5 Curriculum

Scott Foresman Social Studies helps your students become successful learners as they journey into Social Studies. This standards based curriculum engages students by offering multiple learning methods that challenge students to think critically about key concepts. Beyond memorizing places, dates and facts, students are led to develop true understanding of the topics they are learning about. They will be encouraged to take what they currently know about the subject and think further to apply it to new experiences, situations and ideas they will encounter in their own lives. The goal is not only that students will remember what they learn, but also build the foundation to continue applying the subject so they will know how to learn more.

6-8 Curriculum

TCI’s Social Studies Alive! Is a flexible social studies curriculum that integrates proven teaching strategies, engaging content, and meaningful technology to excite students and foster their love of learning.

Language Development

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
–Flora Lewis


We promote biliteracy and ensure English Language Learners progress toward reclassification. Together, we prepare Ravenswood students to thrive in a multilingual world.
We Believe:
  • Language Learners can achieve at high levels with the right supports
  • Language and culture are assets and should be valued and celebrated
  • All educators are responsible for the language development of our students
We support students to become multilingual.  We use Integrated and Designated ELD practices with a particular focus on the High Impact Language & Literacy Practices.  We use 
  • Small group engagement and language practice 
  • Guided Language Acquisition Development (GLAD) model resources
  • Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) books
  • Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) books

In order to support students to:
  • Engage with Complex Text to develop literacy skills and complex language 
  • Foster Academic Discussion to develop content and language through structured talk protocols and language supports
  • Write with evidence with attention to the language of the text type

We currently use Oral Language development series TK-5 and StudySync 6-8 as our Designated ELD Curriculum.  We use National Geographic’s Reach In the USA to support our Newcomer students in language acquisition. We are engaging in an ELD adoption process this year.

In addition to our Emergent Bilingual programs at all of our schools, we offer a Dual Language program at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy and Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School where we honor and support Bilingualism & Biliteracy by:
  • Develop high levels of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish and English.
  • Prepare students for the continuation of the dual language program in middle and high school.
  • Ability to enroll in advanced placement courses in Spanish language and literature in high school for college credit.
  • Earn the California Seal of Biliteracy in 12th grade.
  • Achieve grade-level or higher academic performance in mathematics, science and social studies.
  • Achieve grade-level or higher academic performance in both Spanish and English language arts upon completion of the 5th grade or sooner.
  • Develop high levels of self-esteem and great pride in their own cultural heritage.
  • Develop a deep appreciation of other cultures and great pride in their own cultural heritage.
  • Cultivate cultural awareness and understanding.

Our Dual Language Instructional Model

Our dual language program is based on a 90/10 instructional model. At the transitional, kindergarten and first grade levels, 90% of instruction is in Spanish, and 10% is in English. In the second grade, and in each successive grade through the fifth grade, Spanish instruction is reduced by 10% and English is increased by 10%. By the fifth grade, instruction is 50% in Spanish and 50% in English. 

Students continue their dual language program at the Ravenswood Middle School (RMS), where they receive approximately 25% of their instruction in Spanish (Spanish language arts and social studies) and 75% of their instruction in English.
The language of instruction in non-language subjects, mathematics, science, and Makerspace are taught in Spanish in grades TK through 5. Science lab, physical education, art and health and wellness are taught in English at all grade levels. Music is taught in both Spanish and English.
Benefits of a Dual Language Education
  • Outperformance of peers in English-only programs.
  • For Spanish-only students, more rapid acquisition of English than Spanish-only students enrolled in English-only schools. 
  • Compared to monolingual students, improved performance on tasks calling for divergent thinking and problem solving.
  • Strong development of respect for self, family, school, and community and strong school and family partnerships.
  • Ability to communicate with and assist monolingual Spanish or monolingual English family or community members.
  • Opportunity to take Spanish language and Spanish literature Advanced Placement courses in high school, which are accepted as college credit by most universities.
  • Life enrichment and positive cross-cultural attitudes through exposure and access to numerous Spanish-speaking and English-speaking cultures, in addition to Afro-American and Pacific Island cultures.
  • Better preparation for the global job market, as a second language provides a competitive edge and expanded career opportunities. 

Arts Instruction

I was really aware, even while it was happening, that the discovery of arts education in my life sort of saved my life. -Daveed Diggs


  • Observe: look closely to understand the world
  • Explore: discover new ways of doing things
  • Envision: know how a plan helps them create the unknown
  • Express: show emotions and ideas  
  • Persist: take risks and recover from failure 
  • Develop craft: learn and practice new skills
  • Reflect: learn from experience and grow
  • Connect:  Work with and learn about others in the field

STEM (TK-5 Makerspaces)

The Makerspaces at Ravenswood are unique classrooms with both high-tech and low-tech tools and materials for students, and the school community, to learn through  inventing and creating. 
Makerspaces are staffed with either a classified or certificated “Tinkerer” (depending on school site). The Tinkerer will collaborate with classroom teacher to use the makerspace resources and tools to meet the classroom teacher’s academic, instructional and social/emotional goals. 
Makerspace Tinkerers:
∙ Meet or support classroom teacher’s goals for ELD, Common Core, and Next Generation  Science (NGSS) standards 
∙ Teach design thinking and engineering 
∙ Teach coding and computer science 
∙ Support in-class projects (including project based learning units) 
∙ Provide a fun and safe environment for meaningful group work and collaboration
Additional information about how our Makerspaces allow students to learn and explore STEAM subjects through hands-on experiences can be found here.


Belief #1 - Assessments should be part of a coherent system support student learning that is transparent and accessible and shows growth of students

  • Values the instructional purposes of assessment first (i.e., getting information that enables educators to adapt curriculum and instruction to better meet student learning), and includes additional assessments that serve only essential predictive and evaluative purposes.  
  • Clarifies who will use the assessment information, for what specific action steps and how using the assessment will improve teacher practice and/or student learning.
  • Balances formative, interim, and summative assessment cycles to reinforce a growth mindset that provides students multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery

Belief #2 - Assessments should be high quality for all students

  • Measures critical thinking; requires students to analyze and justify solutions to problems; engages students in tasks worth doing and quality texts.
  • Is aligned to the language and level of rigor of the grade level standards and provides observable evidence of student mastery of the standard.  
  • Is accessible by all students, regardless of English language fluency or disability.

Belief #3 - Assessment should be part of a meaningful process that 

For Teachers
  • Provides timely data and information about student needs so that teachers can better drive towards equity in the classroom 
  • Support Teachers to see the gifts and abilities of students
  • Provides professional learning and implementation supports to ensure assessment information is used to identify effective action steps 
For Students
  • Builds agency of their own learning and enables them to be advocates and agents for change in their own communities.
  • Ensures they get to use assessment data to inform their own understanding of their learning, to set goals, and monitor their own progress. 
  • Is an opportunity for them to share their story and their needs
For Families
  • Allows for collaboration between families and teachers to understand student needs, student learning, and the standards and curriculum.

How do we use this?

In Ravenswood City School District, we strive to use assessments to drive collaborative professional learning and improve outcomes for students. They are a key part of answering the second of Richard DuFour’s four essential questions for professional learning communities: 
  • What do we expect our students to learn? (Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards)
  • How will we know they are learning? (Assessments)
  • How will we respond if they don’t learn? (Interventions/Accelerations)
  • How will we respond if they already know it? (Extended Learning)

Levels of Data we Review:

Satellite Data Map Data Street Data
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Lagging Indicator
Leading and/or
Lagging Indicator
Leading Indicator
  • Standardized test scores (CAASPP)
  • Attendance patterns
  • Graduation rates
  • Lexile levels and Running Record levels (eg. iReady or Fountas and Pinnell)
  • Rubric scores math assessment (iReady)
  • Student/Family empathy interview
  • Student work
  • Classroom observations
Tells an important but incomplete story of equity.  Illuminates big performance trends, but does not tell the whole story of the health of a student  While this data paints a slightly richer picture, but still does not tell the whole story of the health of a student. Offers information and clarity of where students are in their learning. Adds to a complete data story of the health of a student.


Contact US

Contact US

Sara Stone
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
Alison Officer
Compliance Coordinator
Important Links

Important Links

Provides information about the current District Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), School Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA), School Accountability Report Cards (SARC), and other relevant plans and documents. 
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