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School Blog

February 25, 2019

Beyond Reber Place: finding a long-term home

A room that formerly functioned as a school kitchen is now being used as the art room. If you have toured South City Community School recently, you may have noticed some odd things. A room tucked off the the side of our gym that once served as a school kitchen—fitted with a window and stainless steel counter for receiving food trays—now functions as our art room. Not far away, a former stage, once painted entirely black and still flanked by heavy stage curtains, has been converted into our lending library. While these makeshift rooms are definitely unconventional, we embrace them as a natural extension of our origins as a grassroots, start-up school approaching its ten-year anniversary. A shrewd resourcefulness, an attitude of contentment with limited resources, and a willingness to… Read More

September 13, 2018

Making Sense of the World through Mapping

A fifth grade student holds up the map he made of his classroom, drawn to scale. Last week SCCS fifth graders worked on drawing a map of their classroom to scale. Using a yard stick and graph paper they plotted out the walls and key pieces of furniture according to real-life proportions. Mapping is part of the SCCS experience from kindergarten onward, beginning with the most immediate terrain of the classroom. Kindergartners draw a picture of their classroom while first graders build a model with blocks. As students grow in age and ability, their maps become more sophisticated, incorporating concepts like scale, direction, and depth. SCCS students have been spotted on our school grounds sticking rulers into puddles after rainstorms to measure depth. They use the data to create maps… Read More

May 16, 2017

There All Along: Honoring Diversity in the SCCS Curriculum

“None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along." - Ezra Jack Keats [caption id="attachment_1417" align="aligncenter" width="384"] Peter, the children's book character created by Ezra Jack Keats, with his dog Willie.[/caption] Every fall, three year-olds at SCCS begin the school year by reading the books of Ezra Jack Keats-- The Snowy Day, Peter’s Chair, and Whistle for Willie. Published in the 1960s these books blazed a trail simply by featuring an African American boy as a main character in a child’s picture book-- something that was unprecedented at that time. Of course, when our three year-olds read these books, they just enjoy the story itself and are not… Read More

December 15, 2016

Seven Reasons Why SCCS is Proud to be a Low-Tech School

[caption id="attachment_1246" align="alignright" width="500"] Paper plate tree weavings by fourth graders.[/caption] Since SCCS opened its doors, our curriculum has never relied heavily on the use of technology. While our older students (third grade and up) learn typing and the light use of internet and email, you will never find an SCCS student holding an iPad in lieu of a pencil and paper. Many primary schools spend a lot of money to put computers or tablets into the hands of even their youngest students, but our attitude has been to hold back. We are advocates of the low-tech school day because our vision for learning prioritizes hands-on experience, face-to-face interactions, and mental stamina with minimal distractions. As screens and technology become more ubiquitous, we believe that keeping school (mostly) screen-free has great… Read More

September 15, 2016

Like a Fire: Charlotte Mason and Habit Formation at SCCS

[caption id="attachment_1193" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A PreK-3 class in spring, absorbed in their handiwork.[/caption]   “Habit is like a fire, a bad master but an indispensable servant.” - Charlotte Mason We are five weeks into the school year and the inevitable start-of-school wrinkles are being ironed out. I could be suffering from selective memory or a romanticized view of the past, but when I think about last year, it is hard to remember the bumpy beginning. By spring, so much growth will have happened. As I reflect on this fall-to-spring transformation, I realize that it is not magical or automatic, but is the result of a lot of hard work by our teachers--the hard work of habit formation. Last year I watched the fourth grade class at the same time of… Read More