Education plan of Du Bois schools incorporates standards, objectives and performance indicators that align with State requirements and Common Core standards. In accordance with state regulations, the curriculum includes appropriate curricula for language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, lifetime wellness and fine arts at each grade level. Theme-based education is implemented to keep students engaged and motivated. Anderman and Midgley, in their 1998 study of the benefits of theme-based learning, found that this type of learning encourages students to be more engaged because they move away from rote learning and memorization. It provides more challenging, complex work that has an interdisciplinary focus and encourages cooperative learning. While schools may be using projects as part of the curriculum, theme-based instruction is different because it is a holistic instructional strategy rather than an add-on.
To ensure academic success for students by significantly increasing academic achievement, the focus is on providing students with opportunities for personal attention, a customized academic program, a peer group with positive aspirations, and hands-on activities that hold students' interest and develop their skills and sense of competence. Du Bois schools teach students to discover knowledge for themselves, to "learn how to learn"; integrate multicultural education activities into content-area instruction; engage administrators, teachers and support staff in professional development and collegial learning activities; enhance instructional leadership skills; offer incentives, recognition and rewards to promote excellence and provide opportunities for students to contribute to the community. Schools often have difficulty providing these types of opportunities, yet research indicates they are critical to long-term success.
Du Bois schools implement instructional goals and methods that are most effective with at-risk students: a strong focus on academic achievement, an integrated curriculum and a supportive learning environment. These methods are supported by more than 1,000 of the highest-quality and the most useful studies included in the document published by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, Effective Schooling Practices: A Research Synthesis. It identifies key areas that are most effective: a preplanned curriculum that guides clear and focused instruction, the integration of traditional school subjects, frequent feedback and reinforcement regarding progress, techniques that build basic and higher level skills, the merging of language arts and mathematics into content-area instruction, recognition of excellence and interaction with caring staff members. Emphasis is on high student achievement, effective teaching and high expectations.
Du Bois schools are small learning communities and elementary, middle and high schools are located on the same campus, creating a seamless transition that enhances academic achievement. The leadership structure endorses and supports the tenets of academic accomplishment and is committed to implementing excellence-based education. Standards are set for student achievement, rubrics are developed and tasks are designed that implement local, state and national frameworks. Teachers and support staff help all students master learning material through using a written, sequential curriculum, reviewing and re-teaching as necessary, utilizing community resources and technology to help all students in mastering learning material and documenting and thoroughly assessing student achievement.