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Elementary Education Excellence

North Side’s elementary school program focuses on mastering the basics. Scholars learn through a variety of methods, regularly benefiting from individual and small group attention. The personalized focus is provided by dedicated classroom teachers as well as professionally trained interventionists and volunteer tutors trained by our grade level principals and teachers.

Subject Overview

Mornings at North Side are devoted to the basics of reading, writing, and math. After lunch, social studies and science topics are explored as part of daily learning. Music, art, and physical education are taught on a rotation each week.

English Language Arts

North Side Community School will be transitioning from the Journeys elementary ELA curriculum to Amplify CKLA during the 2023 – 2024 school year. This shift will ensure that students are receiving instruction that is aligned with state standards and grade-level expectations in Missouri.

CKLA is a comprehensive program (Preschool–Grade 5) for teaching reading, writing, listening, and speaking while also building students’ vocabulary and knowledge across essential domains in literature, world and American history, and the sciences. Built on the science of reading, Amplify Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) sequences deep content knowledge with research-based foundational skills. Amplify CKLA inspires curiosity and drives results, empowering all students
with rich background knowledge. The program provides engaging print and multimedia materials designed to provide a robust literacy-rich foundation in every North Side classroom. EdReports, an independent curriculum review nonprofit, rates the ELA curriculum on three gateways: Text Quality, Building Knowledge, and Usability. Amplify CKLA earned a top rating in all three. CKLA is also vertically aligned to the Amplify ELA program that North Side students will use in 6th – 8th grade ELA courses.

The instructional materials for Core Knowledge Language Arts K-5 meet expectations for all criteria across Gateways 1, 2, and 3. The materials for K-5 include strong foundational skills to support young students’ reading development as they move from learning how to read to comprehend complex texts. Support for teachers to attend to the critical need of foundational skills is explicit and comprehensive, providing guidance and targeted instruction. The texts included with the materials are rich and rigorous, offering students a balance of informational and literary reading over the course of the school year.

The materials for K-2 meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Texts are organized to support students’ building knowledge of different topics and sets of text-dependent questions and tasks provide opportunities for students to analyze ideas and grow their vocabulary. The materials include process writing instruction and a progression of writing skills, a progression of focused shared research, and writing projects.

The materials for K-5 meet the expectations of Gateway 3. Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards. Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards. Materials support the effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available on multiple platforms.


North Side Community School will be transitioning from the Math in Focus curriculum in 3rd – 5th-grade math to the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum through Open-Up Resources. This shift was necessary to ensure the mathematics instruction students receive is aligned with the Missouri state standards and grade-level expectations. The Illustrative mathematics curriculum aligns  with the type of instruction students receive in their middle-grade math courses as well. While K-2 teachers will have access to both the Math in Focus curriculum and the Illustrative curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year, the next year we will shift to a coherent and aligned k 8th grade mathematics program.  

IM K–5 Math is a problem-based core curriculum rooted in content and practice standards to foster learning and achievement for all. Students learn by doing math by solving problems,  developing conceptual understanding, and discussing and defending their reasoning. Teachers  build confidence with lessons and curriculum guides that help them facilitate learning and help students make connections between concepts and procedures. 

Every activity and lesson in IM K–5 Math tells a coherent mathematical story across units and  grade levels based on both the standards and research-based learning trajectories. This allows students the opportunity to view mathematics as a connected set of ideas and offers them access to mathematics when developed into the overarching design structure of the curriculum. The first unit in each grade level provides lesson structures that establish a mathematical community and invite students into mathematics with accessible content. Each lesson offers opportunities for the teacher and students to learn more about one another, develop mathematical language, and become increasingly familiar with the curriculum routines. The use of authentic contexts and adaptations provides students with opportunities to bring their own experiences to the lesson activities and see themselves in the materials and mathematics. 

The first unit in each grade level provides lesson structures that establish a mathematical community and invite students into mathematics with accessible content. Each lesson offers opportunities for the teacher and students to learn more about one another, develop mathematical language, and become increasingly familiar with the curriculum routines. The use of authentic contexts and adaptations provides students with opportunities to bring their own experiences to the lesson activities and see themselves in the materials and mathematics. The materials reviewed for Illustrative Mathematics Grades 3-5 meet expectations for Alignment to the CCSSM. In Gateway 1, the materials meet expectations for focus and coherence. In  Gateway 2, the materials meet expectations for rigor and practice-content connections. In  Gateway 3, the materials meet expectations for usability including Teacher Support and Student Support.


North Side Community School will be shifting in the 2023-2024 school year from the MySci  curriculum to Amplify Science for our K-8 science courses. North Side piloted one unit of Amplify  Science in 6th and 8th grade during the 2022-2023 school year. Teachers and district leaders  found that students were more engaged during this unit than they had been with the MySci  curriculum. Teachers found that the robust package of resources helped them plan and execute  more effective instruction as well. 

Amplify Science is a K–8 science curriculum that blends hands-on investigations, literacy-rich  activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, read, write, and argue like  real scientists and engineers. In each Amplify Science unit, students inhabit the role of a  scientist or engineer in order to investigate a real-world problem. Amplify Science is rooted in  the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Do, Talk, Read, Write, Visualize model of learning. Gold standard  research shows that this pedagogical approach works, and our early efficacy research about  Amplify Science is promising, too. Amplify Science meets the criteria for Tier III-Promising  Evidence as an education intervention under ESSA.  

The instructional materials reviewed for Amplify Science Grades 6-8 meet expectations for  Alignment to NGSS, Gateways 1 and 2. In Gateway 1, the instructional materials incorporate and  integrate the three dimensions and incorporate three-dimensional assessments for and of  student learning. The materials also incorporate phenomena and problems that connect to  grade-band appropriate DCIs, present phenomena and problems as directly as possible, and  consistently include phenomena and problems that drive student learning and use of the three  dimensions within and across lessons. Further, the materials elicit, but do not leverage, student  prior knowledge and expertise related to phenomena and problems. In Gateway 2, the  instructional materials ensure students are aware of how the dimensions connect from unit to  unit, incorporate a suggested sequence for the series, and incorporate student tasks related to  understanding and explaining phenomena that increase in sophistication across the series. The  materials incorporate scientifically accurate use of the three dimensions. Further, the materials  include all components and related elements of the DCIs for physical science, life science, and  engineering, technology, and applications of science; the earth and space science DCIs are  mostly included, with one element missing. The materials include all SEPs and nearly all  elements, except are missing four elements of Asking Questions and Defining problems and are  missing one element from both Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Using Mathematics and  Computational Thinking. The materials include all CCCs and nearly all elements, except are  missing one element from Scale, Proportion, and Quantity. Additionally, the materials  incorporate multiple instances of nature of science connections to SEPs and DCIs and  engineering connections to CCCs.

Social Studies

North Side Community School will be continuing to use the McGraw Hill Impact Social Studies  curriculum in our elementary social studies classes. The print curriculum was adopted during  the 2022-2023 school year, and the digital component of the curriculum will be added for the  2023-2024 school year. 

With IMPACT Social Studies for grades K–5, students will gain building blocks for critical thinking,  develop a strong reading and writing foundation, and learn what it means to be responsible,  active citizens. With engaging content, geared to today’s elementary school students, IMPACT  takes a fresh approach to social studies curriculum in the elementary classroom. IMPACT Social  Studies builds a solid foundation in the core subjects of social studies—history, geography,  economics, and civics—with conceptually coherent units of study. Each unit provides active  engagement with a rich variety of informational texts, primary sources, and media. In a developmental approach across grade levels, students use disciplinary tools and strategies to  think like a historian, a geographer, an economist—and as an informed and engaged citizen. The inquiry model engages learners through compelling questions that pose important issues.  Students gather, analyze, and synthesize information in order to explore the issues and develop  answers to the compelling questions, building relevance through their explorations. In addition,  inquiry becomes a springboard to further research and action as students consider how the  people and events of history impact their lives today. A key component of the inquiry model of  instruction is exploring a topic from multiple perspectives. IMPACT Social Studies provides  students opportunities to explore the contributions, opinions, stories, and daily lives of people  from diverse backgrounds throughout history. Through these explorations, students develop  deeper understandings of individuals, groups, and events that have had an impact on our world.  These multiple perspectives include views on issues and events at the local, national, and global  level, and from individuals with diverse social, cultural, and racial experiences. Multiple  perspectives make social studies learning more complex, more real, and more rigorous. Students  apply literacy tools—strategies for close reading, writing, speaking, and listening—to learn social  studies content. As students read, write, and investigate for specific purposes, they analyze  primary and secondary sources, explore facts and figures, form connections to art and literature,  and work with an array of texts written from different perspectives. Through rich content,  IMPACT Social Studies provides instruction and practice in essential ELA skills and strategies in all  lessons. Students analyze information and arguments, think critically, support opinions with text based evidence, and make connections through reading, writing, speaking, and listening in response to compelling questions.


North Side aims to instill a love of music and the arts in our students. We believe music is as natural a form of human expression as speech. Through music instruction and performance, children develop language skills, the power of self-expression, the ability to discipline their senses and minds, the capacity to work together, and an appreciation of the beauty of choral and instrumental music. Students receive instruction in music every week. During the extended school day, select students in 2nd-5th grade are part of the school choir and chimes ensemble. 


North Side combines freedom of artistic expression with core knowledge of art elements to create endless creativity in the art room. Our classes expand creative thinking skills, build self-discipline, and develop gross and fine motor skills. We help students discover how art impacts their everyday lives. Our primary focus is to broaden students’ awareness of line, shape, form, color, value, texture, space, pattern, balance, emphasis, rhythm, proportion, and unity.  Each project is developed based on one or more of these elements, helping students develop a keen awareness of the importance of each. Students are exposed to the impact of art history and develop positive critiquing skills when referencing a work of art.