Core Academic Courses
English Language Arts
The Curriculum for English Language Arts is adapted from the Next Generation Standards. In a traditional school system, students who have accrued six credits in ELA would potentially be a “junior”, so our course progression is predicated on the belief that students who have accrued six credits of English Language Arts instruction would be eligible to take the New York State English Language Arts Regents examination.
New Dawn has designed and implemented curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Standards. Students take a placement exam using the Scantron series to determine where in our course offerings to begin their instruction. Currently, students work to pass the New York State Algebra I Regents examination.
Students take a full run of Global History and Geography, United States History and Government, Civics, and Economics. The curriculum is aligned to the New York City Department of Education’s Scope and Sequence and aligned to the New York State Social Studies Framework.
Students take courses in Living Environment, Chemistry, and other offerings that include electives like Forensics, Anatomy, and Horticulture. Depending on a student’s transcript history, they may take the Living Environment Regents, or the Chemistry Regents per New York State Regents Diploma requirements.
Advisories were developed to prepare students for college, career, and civic readiness. These advisories focus on mindfulness and the New Dawn 3 R’s of responsibility, respect, and resilience.
Languages Other Than English (LOTE)
New Dawn currently offers Spanish and American Sign Language.
Students use several trade texts for support and have access to varied mediums for expression, ranging from computer-based methods to charcoal and paint.
Health and Physical Education
New Dawn students are expected to meet NYC graduation standards in health and physical education. Students who do not have all necessary credits in these subject areas will earn them with us. Our health curriculum includes discussion of sexual education, substance abuse, and mental illness awareness. Students learn and practice the rules and strategy of both team and individual sports, as well as styles of dance, in physical education classes.
The internship program is available to students who have earned more than 10 credits towards their diploma. Internships are offered throughout the local community and beyond. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for the 2020-2021 school year New Dawn has been been offering online CTE courses through the Edgenuity platform in lieu of community internships; students who work at a part time job (20 hours per week) outside of school have also been able to make arrangements to get internship credit for their employment. The placements are aligned to our Advisory courses, in that career development and training in “soft skills” is built through learning about role models (Leadership and Character Development) and practicing those soft skills through the interview process (Road Trip Nation). Students develop a portfolio of their work throughout the internship experience and attend sessions to prepare them for placement which is aligned to CDOS and other content area courses. The scope of the work is reviewed annually with the Director of School Partnerships and College Readiness, the Special Education Coordinator, Advisory Teachers, Internship Coordinators, and the Principal.
Internship Research Seminar
The Internship Seminar promotes critical thinking and research skills through reflecting on the internship placement. Students develop research questions and develop an extensive research paper that includes a reflection of their placement and its relationship to the question they developed, along with annotating research articles from outside sources to support their assertions. Students attend community meetings through their internship placement, interview their supervisor and also attend one special event, if offered, to further connect the importance of the internship to their advisory and content area question. The seminar prepares students for college-level writing and further develops the “soft skills” required in the workplace. These projects are reviewed and supported on a semester basis by the Special Education Coordinator, supporting content teachers, the Director of School Partnerships and College Readiness, and the Principal.
At New Dawn, the Workshop Model of Instruction is used. The workshop model is consistent with a balanced approach described above and builds capacity in teachers to differentiate instruction, as well as impacting classroom management. The workshop model facilitates differentiated and individualized instruction and is highly effective with at-risk populations as well as with academically gifted students. To achieve the highest levels of thinking, teachers must forgo standing in front of a classroom and lecturing, moving towards using more authentic involvement of students. By changing the paradigm of teacher-centered instruction to a model whereby students proactively participate in the instruction through discussion and collaboration, the workshop model allows students to engage more fully in higher-order skills. It also allows students who are struggling with proficiency to participate with at- and above-grade level peers.
Teachers work with each group as needed in guided instruction addressing their needs. Key to the success of the workshop model is the use of assessment. Teachers use data to inform both individual conferencing with students as well as in the groupings of students for guided instruction. This process promotes individualized instruction, as well as the development of positive classroom culture. When students have issues, or come to class late, or have trouble understanding the content, the workshop model allows students to discreetly address these issues with their teacher without being in the spotlight of their peers. The workshop model allows teachers and students to work together to get at the core of their deficiencies and overcome negative connotations they may harbor with not understanding the content. Using the workshop model aids in breaking down these walls and gives students the opportunity to build their skills and trust their instructors in getting them to mastery level.