Special Features of EVCS
Overview of the School
The Elmwood Village Charter School is a vibrant school community that is meeting the academic and social needs of 300 students in the city of Buffalo. The school emphasizes social responsibility, arts integration, multi-culturalism, and community alliances. The school operates with the belief that the social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum, and children must meet with social success before they can achieve high levels of academic success. The students at Elmwood Village Charter School are experiencing this success in an intimate, peaceful, and diverse school community that appreciates different learning styles. At Elmwood Village Charter School students know that they are valued and respected, and each one of them can contribute to school life.
The Responsive Classroom and Cooperative Discipline Models
EVCS implements the Responsive Classroom Model (developed by the Northeast Foundation for Children in Greenfield, MA) to help maximize student achievement. The Responsive Classroom approach combines the teaching of academic skills with the teaching of social responsibility as part of everyday classroom life. Students can successfully develop academic competencies because of the context of cooperation, responsibility, empathy, and self-control that the Responsive Classroom creates. EVCS also adopted the Cooperative Discipline classroom and school reform model derived from the philosophy of psychologist Rudolph Dreikurs. According to this approach, students excel when they feel like they are active participants in the learning process rather than its passive recipients. This creates a school culture where social responsibility fuels academic excellence and where students help each other thrive in the context of the various communities to which they belong.
Before and After-School Care Program
EVCS partners with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club to provide before-school care beginning at 7:15 a.m. and after-school care until 6:00 p.m. The program is run on site by the Boys and Girls Club of Western New York as a convenience to parents of students enrolled at EVCS. Families must complete a separate registration form for this program, and a modest fee may be charged on a sliding scale.
Connections with the Broader Community
The Elmwood Village Charter School partners with community organizations to provide stimulating and engaging learning experiences for students. Partnerships include Folkloric Productions, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of WNY, Ameri-Corps, Medaille College, Theatre of Youth, the Buffalo Museum of Science, Tifft Nature Preserve, the International Center for Creative Studies at Buffalo State, In-School Music, and Science Firsthand.
Low Student to Teacher Ratio
The average class size at EVCS is 25 students. Each classroom has one certified teacher and one teaching assistant or teacher’s aide, and many of our teaching assistants are certified teachers. The school has four full-time special education teachers; two full-time academic intervention teachers; a full-time health and physical education teacher; a full-time school nurse; a part-time library/media specialist; a part-time ESL teacher; and part-time art, music, dance, and Spanish teachers. The adult to student ratio is approximately one adult to every seven students.
More Instructional Time
EVCS has a longer daily schedule and school year. The school day runs from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with before-school care beginning at 7:15 a.m. and after-school care available until 6:00 p.m. The longer school day provides students with approximately one extra day of instruction per week.
Community Service Connections
All classes at EVCS have a community service partner. Partnerships have included: Meals on Wheels, Christian Ministries, Hope Refugee Services, the International Institute, the Lexington Co-op, AIDS Community Services, the Blind Association of WNY, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), Friends of the Night People, Grace Manor Nursing Home, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Elmwood Village Charter School’s library/media center is staffed three days each week by a certified library/media specialist and a parent volunteer. The center houses over 5,000 books, periodicals, and resources; 18 computers; and an interactive SMART Board. In addition to the library/media center, each classroom has its own classroom library and 1-3 computers for student use. Grades 3-6 have a permanently mounted SMART Board in the classroom, and grades K-2 share a portable unit.
All students at EVCS study Spanish, art, music, cultural dance, and physical education every week. Every class also has regularly scheduled health and library classes.
In the first year, Elmwood Village Charter School was able to offer weekly classes in music, art, and cultural dance. In the second year, the teaching artists collaborated and developed a curriculum that integrated music, art, and dance together. Students worked in all three classes to create a final project that incorporated these three art forms. In subsequent years, thanks in part to a matching-funds grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the teaching artists are working alongside of the classroom teachers to more fully integrate the arts into the core curriculum.
Instrumental Music Lessons
Group instrumental music lessons are provided on-site, after school by In-School Music. Arrangements are made directly between a student’s parents and In-School Music, and these lessons are provided as a convenience to parents. Lessons are offered in piano, guitar, violin, and viola.
EVCS offers students in the middle school the opportunity to participate in a charter school basketball league. The school also offers a running club for students in grades three through six. The school also participates in the Girls on the Run program.
Parents, guardians, and other significant family members enrich the program at EVCS by sharing special talents, skills, interests, and hobbies with students. This is done either as a classroom presentation or an after school enrichment program.
Special Education Services
Elmwood Village Charter School offers a full-range of special education services that include push-in, pull-out, consultant teacher, resource room, speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. The school employs five special education teachers who work alongside of our general education teachers to utilize strategies that are successful with a wide-range of learners.
Students with Limited English Proficiency
At Elmwood Village Charter School, students with limited English proficiency are provided opportunities to achieve the same educational goals and standards as the general student population. At EVCS, we use a push-in model to meet the needs of students with limited English proficiency. In this model an ESL teacher works in the child’s classroom to deliver instruction and give support.
Reading, Math, and Writing Programs
The Open Court reading program is a scientific research-based program that is proven to build solid reading skills in all students. EVCS is one of the only schools in the area to have implemented Open Court in fulfillment of our commitment to help all students become competent and lifelong readers.
Everyday Mathematics is a researched-based curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. Everyday Math uses real-life concepts to teach math skills using a cycling technique that allows students to master skills more completely.
At EVCS, we use the “writing workshop” approach developed by Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project to teach writing. This approach holds that writing is a process, with distinct phases. Students collect ideas, develop those ideas, write first drafts, revise, edit, proofread, and finally publish with the expectation that their writing will be read by others. By involving children in this process, they become more active in their own education and see themselves as writers. Students receive instruction in narrative, expository, informational, poetic, and procedural writing.