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Elementary Academics

Balanced Literacy/K-3 Literacy

Balanced Literacy is an approach to language arts that honors the reciprocal relationship between reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Instruction in a Balanced Literacy classroom requires students to be actively engaged in learning. Lessons and activities are differentiated to teach similar skills at various levels. Students may choose reading materials from authentic literature in numerous genres. Teachers make this possible by making thoughtful selections which provide options to match students’ instructional reading level and interests. Guided reading is based on the individual student’s capability to build a bridge to a challenging area. In a Balanced Literacy classroom, children learn that reading and writing are closely linked together to form the same process. DPS has invested in additional reading teachers, extensive and in-depth staff development and implementation of the Balanced Literacy Framework. Teachers develop individualized success plans for each student who is having difficulty reading, and the “gateways” at grades 3, 5 and 8 ensure that students have mastered the skills they need to be successful at the next level before they are promoted.

Reading First

Reading programs in four Durham elementary schools benefit from federal Reading First funds. The Reading First initiative in North Carolina is designed to ensure that all children learn to read well by the end of the third grade. The program applies scientifically based reading research to reading instruction in all North Carolina schools. Participating schools are: Fayetteville Street, Glenn, Lakewood and Harris.

Discovery-Based Science

Science education is critical to the core knowledge of all children.  Science is learned best when students are given the opportunity to experience science.  We are moving toward using more of an inquiry approach to learning science and applying it to real life; to bolster our provision of quality materials for scientific investigations; to continue to provide professional development for teachers; and to increase our partnerships with the community.