Creativity using the Common Core Standards
UNO places a tremendous value on the ingenuity and creativity of teachers. As a result, UNO teachers create and implement a standards-based curriculum using instructional materials as resources and supplements. All schools will be implementing the Common Core standards in English Language Arts and Math beginning fall 2012.
All members of the UNO community believe in the importance of instilling a deep and authentic understanding of what it means to be an active, American citizen. As a result, UNO teachers have designed a unique Civics curriculum that outlines the scope and sequence of standards, themes, and assessments that enables all students to have a profound understanding of their civic responsibility. As part of the curriculum, all 7th grade students travel to New York City to study and analyze the events of September 11th, and all 8th grade students go to Washington D.C. to better understand American history.
Planning for Data-driven Instruction
Backwards design that meets student needs In order to ensure 100% of students are able to engage in a high-quality learning experience, teachers create thorough unit and lesson plans that are tailored to the needs of their students. Using the backwards design approach, teachers identify the desired results, identify and generate assessments, and plan the learning experiences that will enable each student to attain the desired results. In addition, teachers create thoughtful lesson plans that delineate each stage of student learning, from generating background knowledge to independent application. Data obtained through a wide variety of sources is critical to the planning process as well. Finally, each teacher creates an ILP (Individualized Learning Plan) that addresses the specific needs of each student.
Ongoing classroom and standardized assessment used to shape instruction Assessment is a critical component to UNO’s academic program. UNO teachers generate and utilize a wide variety of assessment methods in order to acquire data that informs instructional decisions. Within each unit plan, teachers identify the most effective ways to determine if students have met the desired outcomes. Students also participate in standardized tests across the network, which include NWEA (Northwest Evaluation and Association), MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), STEP (Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress), ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievement Test), and ACCESS for ELLs. High school students take all EPAS assessments in order to prepare for the ACT.
English Language Acquisition
Supporting English Language Acquisition UNO implements components of a Structured English Immersion program to support English Language Learners. Students are instructed in English and teacher-generated lesson plans are adjusted to make all input comprehensible.
Personalized, rigorous Instruction that supports achievement and independence UNO provides exemplar educational programming for students with identified disabilities, a direct result of using data-driven practices while also utilizing a deep knowledge and understanding of disability and disability-related issues. UNO adheres to the same federal and state regulations as other public schools with regard to the provision of support and services in the least restrictive environment. Students are expected to meet personalized, yet rigorous targets designed to improve educational outcomes and provide increased opportunities for independence.
Music, Art, and Physical Education
A well-rounded education UNO believes that the arts and physical education are a critical component to providing students with a well-rounded education. All students participate in Music, Art, and Physical Education classes. Music and Art teachers use Illinois state standards to guide instructional decisions. Physical Education teachers use Fitnessgram to track and monitor physical fitness progress.The UNO Charter School Network (UNO-CSN) was created by the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) in 1998 with the opening of its first school, Octavio Paz. UNO is metropolitan Chicago’s largest Hispanic community-based organization and has worked with local families for over two decades on issues ranging from school reform to immigration.
The UNO-CSN serves as an extension of UNO’s commitment to advancing the lives of community residents by challenging students, parents and faculty to reach the highest of academic standards. Based largely on the successes of Octavio Paz school, the UNO-CSN has refined its program by expanding its network to include Rufino Tamayo (opened fall 2005), Bartolomé de Las Casas, and Carlos Fuentes (both opened the fall of 2006), Officer Donald J. Marquez (opened fall 2007), SPC Daniel Zizumbo, PFC Omar E. Torres, and Major Hector P. Garcia M.D. High School on the Veterans Memorial campus (opened fall 2008), Gage Park/Fatima (2010), and a northside campus and Soccer Academy (2011). The opening of these new schools allows UNO-CSN to expand education opportunities to deserving and capable students in Chicago and other cities throughout the country.
UNO currently operates a network of 11 charter schools, serving over 5,500 students and families each year. UNO believes that public schools should serve as the main platform for transitioning Hispanic families into successful and civic-minded Americans. UNO recognizes that the students and families served by its schools are the future stakeholders of America’s democratic traditions and therefore offers them the opportunity to become model citizens and informed participants in the country’s political processes. These core UNO values serve as the basis for this American Civics curriculum.