Standards of Excellence

Each content area's curriculum is reviewed annually for minor modifications based on quantitative and qualitative data and feedback. However, a major review of each content area occurs every five years as part of BT's curriculum review cycle.
 

Cycle for Content Area Review

2019-2020: Science, Fine Arts
2020-2021: Social Studies, Social/Emotional Learning, Counseling
2021-2022: English, Speech
2022-2023: Mathematics, Technology
2023-2024: World Languages, Physical Education/Health
 
Changes determined during the content area review will be implemented in the following school year.
 

Counseling

The Counseling Department supports students through classroom seminar‑style instruction, small group activities, and individual engagement. Additionally, we partner with parents by providing programming and sharing tools and resources. Our department’s mission and philosophy is to foster a community of inclusivity and support students throughout the process of self‑discovery. We believe in each student’s unique and intrinsic self‑worth, and in the importance of educating the whole child. We value positive relationships, mutual trust and respect, and advocacy for the best interest of each student.

Counseling Department Goals:

  • Provide tools to nurture emotional intelligence.
  • Create opportunities for students to define what success means to them, form their future goals, and identify steps to achieve those goals.
  • Foster an environment where it is safe to succeed as well as fail.
  • Build collaborative relationships with students, families, teachers, and administration.
  • Educate all constituents about the interconnectedness of each student’s academic, social/emotional, and extracurricular life.

One way to reach these goals is by aligning our curriculum to the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success: K-12 College-and Career‑Readiness Standards. These standards describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to achieve academic success, college and career readiness, and social/emotional development. The standards are based on a survey of research and best practices in student achievement from a wide array of educational standards and efforts.

English Language Arts

BT's English language arts standards are a blend of Nebraska standards, Common Core, and, skills-based expectations from the ACT. Bolded standards are priority standards and the non-bolded standards are supporting standards.

  • Priority Standards are "a carefully selected subset of the total list of the grade-specific and course-specific standards within each content area that students must know and be able to do by the end of each school year in order to be prepared for the standards at the next grade level or course. Priority standards represent the assured student competencies that each teacher needs to help every student learn, and demonstrate proficiency in, by the end of the current grade or course" (Ainsworth, 2013, p. xv).
  • Supporting Standards are "those standards that support, connect to, or enhance the Priority Standards. They are taught within the context of the Priority Standards, but do not receive the same degree of instruction and assessment emphasis as do the Priority Standards. The supporting standards often become the instructional scaffolds to help students understand and attain the more rigorous and comprehensive Priority Standards" (Ainsworth, 2013, p. xv).

Fine Arts

BT's fine arts standards are selected from the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS), which are a unified and comprehensive set of standards across all artistic disciplines. The NCAS do not dictate specific artistic techniques, but rather emphasize artistic intent and process, leaving teachers free to teach the techniques that support those processes. The four anchor standards of Create, Perform/Present/Produce, Respond, and Connect also reflect BT's department value that a lively artistic culture requires not only educated artists, but also an educated audience.

Health Standards

BT's health standards are selected from the National Health Education Standards. The standards identified by grade level and course below are only priority standards but all standards are taught.

Math Standards

BT's math standards are selected from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. Please note that some of the wording in standards for kindergarten through grade 4 comes from the Nebraska state standards. The standards identified by grade level and course below are only Priority Standards, but all NCTM standards are taught.

  • Priority Standards are "a carefully selected subset of the total list of the grade-specific and course-specific standards within each content area that students must know and be able to do by the end of each school year in order to be prepared for the standards at the next grade level or course. Priority standards represent the assured student competencies that each teacher needs to help every student learn, and demonstrate proficiency in, by the end of the current grade or course" (Ainsworth, 2013, p. xv)

Physical Education Standards by Grade

BT's physical education standards are selected from the Nebraska Physical Education Standards. The standards identified by grade level and course below are only priority standards but all standards are taught.

Science Standards

BT's science standards are selected from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards identified by grade level and course below are only priority standards, but all NGSS standards are taught. Please note there are links in the documents below that provide greater clarity of standards.

  • Priority Standards are "a carefully selected subset of the total list of the grade-specific and course-specific standards within each content area that students must know and be able to do by the end of each school year in order to be prepared for the standards at the next grade level or course. Priority standards represent the assured student competencies that each teacher needs to help every student learn, and demonstrate proficiency in, by the end of the current grade or course." (Ainsworth, 2013, p. xv)

Social Studies Standards

BT's social studies standards are selected from the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS). The standards identified by grade level and course below are only Priority Standards, but all NCSS standards are taught.

  • Priority Standards are "a carefully selected subset of the total list of the grade-specific and course-specific standards within each content area that students must know and be able to do by the end of each school year in order to be prepared for the standards at the next grade level or course. Priority standards represent the assured student competencies that each teacher needs to help every student learn, and demonstrate proficiency in, by the end of the current grade or course" (Ainsworth, 2013, p. xv)

World Language Standards

A carefully designed and comprehensive curriculum shapes world language instruction at Brownell Talbot. Our curriculum begins language instruction in our Early Years program, and it continues to guide language learning for Lower and Middle students. In Upper School, the curriculum inspires the growth of real world language proficiency and empowers students to assess their own performance and potential as speakers of a world language other than English. The World Language Standards of Excellence at BT are inspired by the standards provided by ACTFL, or the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages. Specifically, our Standards of Excellence adhere to the ACTFL 2017 Can Do statements. All language instruction throughout the program employs ACTFL’s conception of language learning as a continuum of proficiency wherein students develop fundamental language skills in the following categories:

  • Interpretive Communication.
  • Interpersonal Communication.
  • Presentational Communication.
  • Intercultural Communication.

As students develop language skill, their real world language proficiency is illustrated by individual student growth on the ACTFL Proficiency Scale. Once students have completed all of the language training available to them at Brownell Talbot, they will be able to demonstrate Intermediate High or even Advanced proficiency. It is important to note that we view proficiency as functional linguistic ability that a speaker can employ spontaneously in non-rehearsed circumstances. As a result, the task examples provided should not be viewed as a checklist of tasks that will be completed one after the other. Rather, these tasks help demonstrate the magnitude and complexity of communication tasks that a learner would have the linguistic capacity to perform within the indicated band of proficiency. Without doubt, the BT Standards of Excellence help guide learning activities and assessments which advance student language skills. However, they also serve to educate our students and their families about the nature of language proficiency, and this perspective makes language learning more personal, and more attainable for the individual learner.