What Do We Believe at Cushing School?

We believe that every student is unique and capable of growth in learning. At Cushing School we believe in:

  • Education of the whole child (the physical, social, and intellectual)
  • Provision of developmentally appropriate educational experiences
  • Emphasis on active, cooperative, inquiry-based learning experiences
  • Building a foundation for life-long learning
  • Addressing the needs of all students in the least restrictive environment

What Are Our Expectations?

Stressing responsible behavior and good citizenship, Cushing School has adopted the following expectations for our students.

  • We expect you will represent our school in an outstanding manner.
  • We expect you will work to the best of your ability.
  • We expect you will treat others with dignity, worth, and respect.
  • We expect you will keep our campus clean and beautiful.
  • We expect you will obey the rules and regulations set forth by your teachers and the school.
  • We expect you will work to keep a positive relationship with parents, teachers, and friends.
  • We expect you will reach beyond your grasp and learn new things.
  • We expect you will make all of us very proud.

Our Staff

The Cushing School Staff is dedicated and composed of teachers whose background, training, and educational experience promote academic excellence. Cushing School is home to:

  • Nineteen (19) general classroom teachers
  • Eighteen (18) additional certified staff members who serve our students in the areas of general education, special education, fine arts, specialty areas (ELL, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language), health services, and counseling
  • Twenty (20) non-certified staff members who assist in the following areas: classroom, secretarial, special education, custodial, and food services.

Please visit the Faculty Link to learn the names and present assignments for all staff members at Cushing School.

Our Educational Programs

Our classrooms are environments that foster active learning. The curriculum supports an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to learning. A variety of teaching techniques and strategies is emphasized in providing meaningful learning experiences. Classes are heterogeneously grouped with differentiated learning employed to allow for the accommodation of a variety of learning needs and styles.

· Our Language Arts Curriculum uses Harcourt’s Storytown in Grades K-5 as the core with Grade 6 using Prentice Hall. Reading, writing, listening, speaking, language, phonics, and spelling skills are taught using literature.Additionally, teachers access a variety of quality literature using trade books from our Literacy Closet. Writers’ Workshop and Readers’ Workshop present numerous opportunities for individual and group learning across all grade levels.The core programs are supplemented by a variety of materials such as Empowering Writers and structured phonics programs.

· Our Mathematics Curriculum continues to use curriculum materials that support our students’ understanding of numeracy. Grades K-5 use Everyday Math: Common Core Edition and Grade 6 uses McDougal Littell and Big Ideas Math as we continue our efforts toward meeting the federal mandates of the Common Core State Standards. Hands-on activities promote problem-solving and computational skills at all grade levels. Additionally, supplemental programs such as Origo Math, Study Island and FASTT Math can be accessed to provide additional practice based on individual need.

· Our Science Curriculum uses investigatory kits from FOSS, Delta and Insight as well as access to the Harcourt Science Program. The Science Curriculum promotes a hands-on approach to learning. Students are actively involved in observing, recording, and reporting on various experiments.

· Our Social Studies Curriculum uses a variety of materials in Grades K-6. Each grade level has materials that are aligned to the adopted state curriculum frameworks in Social Science. We introduce our students to their community, their state, their country, and the world during the elementary years.

· At Cushing School, technology is stressed in all subject areas. The Curriculum Lab houses workstations for students and staff use. Each classroom also has at least one networked computer, but may have two and three networked computers. Thanks to the generosity of the Cushing PTO, Cushing’s teachers and students also access a class set of iPads for use in addressing students’ instructional needs and challenge.

· At Cushing School, Specialty Subject Areas are also an important component of our educational program. Specialists teach weekly classes in Physical Education, Art, and Music.

· When students require a “helping hand”, Student Support Services are available for those in need of Reading, Mathematics, Special Education, and ELL support. These services are delivered using in-class models when appropriate and pullout settings when indicated. Guidance/School Psychologist/School Social Workers services are available for individual students and for addressing esteem building and character development at grade level meetings.

Student Evaluation at Cushing School

Our students are constantly being assessed (formally and informally). Teachers utilize a wide variety of available options for recording and documenting students’ growth over their years at Cushing School.

Systemwide, our Kindergarten students are assessed in the early fall using the Early Screening Inventory – Revised (ESI – K). In Grades 2-6, on a systemwide level, all students are administered the G.R.A.D.E. Reading Test in the fall.This is a standardized test that provides our teachers with scores in many reading subgroups such as vocabulary and comprehension.The scores are used to determine students in need of extra support as well as challenge in the areas of Language Arts. If areas of concern are noted, more extensive, individualized testing may take place.

RtI (Response to Intervention) is also a part of the assessment fabric at Cushing School.Using DIBELS in Grades K-4 for benchmarking and progress monitoring when deemed necessary for documenting student achievement in Reading helps us to ensure all are on-track at Cushing School for growth in decoding the written word. AIMSweb is another assessment tool our teachers access to evaluate document literacy and numeracy skills throughout the elementary years.SPS have also developed their own assessments for benchmarking in Math and Writing in all elementary grades as well as a system-wide assessment in Social Studies in Grade 5.

MCAS Testing (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) is administered, as required by the Massachusetts Department of Education, in the spring of each academic year to:

· Grade 3 to assess English Language Arts and Mathematics

· Grade 4 to assess progress with regard to composition skills, English Language Arts, and Mathematics

· Grade 5 to assess progress in the area of English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science/Technology/Engineering

· Grade 6 to assess progress in English Language Arts and Mathematics

Parent reports for MCAS testing are generated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and mailed to parents upon receipt by the Scituate Public Schools.

In addition to traditional testing, our teachers may use the following options to present a complete snapshot of a child’s educational experience and development to his/her parents:

· Teacher-made tests

· Diagnostic tests

· Student self-evaluations

· Checklists and inventories

· Notations and informal observations

· Interviews with parents and students

· Writing samples in all subject areas

· Journal entries in subject areas such as science

· Technology projects

· Dictations

When a student is experiencing significant difficulties with academic assignments or adjustments to the school environment, the Cushing School Instructional Support Team (IST) is consulted.This team, which is comprised of Cushing Teachers (classroom and specialists), school psychologist, and administration, consults with the student’s classroom teacher to examine the child’s progress, attempts to identify the causes for his/her difficulties, and brainstorms intervention strategies to help the student.If determined by the IST Team, additional testing and eligibility for special education services or Section 504 services may take place.

The Cushing School Community

Cushing School is not just students and teachers. Parents play an extremely important role at Cushing. Parent participation takes many forms at Cushing School. Some of the ways parents make an impact on our school community are volunteering as:

· Room Parent

· Technology Volunteer

· Writer’s Workshop Volunteer

· Classroom Volunteer

  • Reading Partners
  • Docent Art Volunteers
  • Health and Wellness Docent Volunteers
  • Field Trip Chaperones

Working on a PTO sub-committee such as class pictures, fall and spring book fairs, ice cream or pizza social, pre-k story time, sixth grade recognition, teacher appreciation luncheon and school beautification are a wonderful way to support the students of our school community.

Additionally, the Cushing School Council is very much a part of the school community. The Council works as an advisory board to the building Principal and plays a major role in the development of the yearly School Improvement Plan (see link on the SPS Curriculum Page). Service on either one of these boards proves to be a rewarding experience for parents throughout the school year.

Special Events at Cushing School

Throughout the school year many special programs take place at Cushing. Participation in and enthusiasm for these programs have grown over the years and provide opportunities for our students to shine. Some of the special events at Cushing School are:

· Physical Education Field Day: Our purpose in conducting this event is to focus on sportsmanship and teambuilding, reinforce physical activities and encourage active, healthy lifestyles in our students.Planned, lead, and organized by Mr. Kevin Sawyer, Physical Education Teacher at Cushing School, all students (parents and faculty as well) participate in a fun and successful movement experience.

· Band and Chorus Performances: Grades 4, 5, and 6 Students at Cushing School have the opportunity to participate in Chorus and Band.The entire school gathers two times a year to celebrate the achievements of our Chorus and Band Students during the Winter Concert and the Spring Concert.An evening performance welcomes parents to join in this celebration. Spring for the Arts, a system wide celebration of the fine arts (music and art), includes the Cushing Band and Chorus.Additionally, special performances in Grades 1-3 are scheduled so all can experience the thrill and excitement of performance as a means of demonstrating learning at the elementary level.

· Cushing PTO Enrichment Programs: (associated with curriculum themes throughout the year) The Cushing PTO works with the Curriculum Leader at Cushing School to fund programs that enrich and supplement the curriculum at each grade level.Some of the programs sponsored by the PTO are various authors and illustrators who share their secrets and successes with us as we venture down the road to becoming strong readers and writers, various actors who portray important people in our history (Helen Keller, a Civil War Soldier, and the New England Colonists, etc.), and guest speakers who share their knowledge and first hand experience on various topics such as Native Americans or science topics (i.e., bats, physics, inventions, etc.).

· National Geography Bee: Students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 participate in the National Geography Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The bee is held in thousands of schools in the United States and is open to students in Grades 4-8.The goal of the bee is to spark students’ interest in geography.Each classroom forwards finalists to the school bee, which determines the school champion and runner-up.The school champion takes a written test that is submitted to the National Geographic Society.If this student qualifies, he/she may advance to the district, state, and national bee.

· W.E.B. (Wonderfully Exciting Books) Reading Incentive: Students throughout the Cushing School are required to read every day.Some of the reading is accomplished in class but we also look to parents to help us develop life-long readers by reading at home with their child.

· Partner/Buddy Classes:To give students the opportunity to bond within the school, many Cushing classes are paired with a class in another grade level as a partner or “buddy” class.Younger classes are matched with older classes so that the “big kids” become special friends, role models, and at times tutors for our younger friends.

· Theme Days:At various points during the year, theme days at Cushing School take place.On these days, everyone is invited to participate in the defined theme.Some of our themes have been Hat Day, Slipper Day, and Backwards Day.

· Camp Bournedale:Grade 6 students have the opportunity to attend Camp Bournedale in the spring of each academic year.The study of Life Science takes center stage during this time of year as approximately eleven different classes are run throughout the week.The core curriculum focuses on both fresh water and marine environments, however, other classes are offered as well ranging from adaptation to elementary physics. Class sessions in the morning run from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. and afternoon classes run from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.A large group presentation is held each day after lunch from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. There are several smaller blocks of instructional time included in the schedule.