As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) magnet school, we specialize in providing student unique STEM lessons integrated into their curriculum. Besides integrated STEM lessons in the classroom, Cypress Ridge students will go to STEM enrichment once a week and participate in STEM activities in the Discovery Science Center at least once each quarter. Our students can also participate in a number of STEM related after school club including STEM Team, VEX Robotics, and LEGOS. We are home to the Discovery Science Center, a field trip center for Lake County students.
The faculty of Cypress Ridge is all in with integrating the Engineering Design Process throughout the year. Every grade level has piloted an engineering unit, in which students read a story with characters who face an engineering problem in their region of the world. Our students work through possible solutions to the problem (such as building a bridge, a windmill, or an electronic water trough sensor) before learning how the professionals solved it. In many classes, engineering is integrated into core subjects. (For example, the second graders might read a story about a birthday party, then used measurement and engineering skills to design a gift box for the party guests.)
The arts are an important part of elementary education. Music, drama, graphic design, and fine arts are infused into core curriculum. The enrichment team includes Wonderful Wednesday lessons with the arts as well. All students will participate in Music Enrichment Class weekly. Choir is offered as an after school club.
Developing problem solving skills and problem solving stamina is an essential part of our math curriculum. Peer collaboration plays an important part in engaging students in meaningful math conversations as they use their skills to solve problems. Students are provided with and are encouraged to use math manipulatives that enable them to concretely discover and prove math concepts. In addition, students at all grade levels work to build the mastery of basic math facts for their grade level.
Science instruction encompasses life, physical, and earth/space sciences with an emphasis on hands-on learning. Children learn and put into practice peer collaboration, while working through the scientific process. Many teachers utilize AIMS (Activities Integrating Mathematics and Science), which enrich the education of students through hands-on activities that integrate mathematics, science and other disciplines. We also staff a STEM Enrichment Lab to stimulate our students’ interest while teaching key science concepts and skills. Each spring, to culminate the school year, CRES hosts its annual Celebration of Learning. Students and teachers create an interactive teaching display including technology, writing, art, and projects based on either the Life, Earth, Environmental sciences, and/or Engineering. All students participate in the schoolwide Science Fair with glass, team or individual projects.
Reading is vital to all aspects of curriculum and life. Our instruction utilizes a phonetic approach to teaching reading in which children use a multi-sensory approach to learn the 44 sounds and the 154 ways to spell those sounds in the English language. In grades K-2, we concentrate on the basic alphabetic code and the advanced alphabetic code. In grades 3-5, we build on this by teaching the construction of multi-syllable words. In addition, significant time is spent teaching students how to gather information from the text read in order to fully understand the meaning and message within the text. Children in all grades read a variety of materials from different genres, and their reading is often integrated across the curriculum. Practicing reading is critical and time is allocated during the day for students to read independently. Teachers use a variety of activities, including book projects, to check of a child's comprehension after reading a book on their own.
Composing ideas on paper (or computer) is another necessary life skill, and to do so effectively requires the mastery of many skills. Writing includes a 2-part knowledge base. One is grammar and conventions. Without these, a piece of writing might either be illegible or make no sense to the reader. The other is the ability to convey the message or content of one's ideas in such a way that it is appealing or informative to the audience of readers. Reading and writing are very closely linked: students use their knowledge of main idea, details, vocabulary, characterization, and many more to compose pieces of writing that persuade, inform, and give narration.
Social Studies begins in kindergarten with "My Family and My School". As the students' world view expands, so does the curriculum growing to my city, my state, and my nation. Many Social Studies lessons are integrated with English/ Language Arts. Students read both fiction and non-fiction passages, novels, and essays, write to respond to literature, while learning important historical and social studies content.