Our Lower School is made up of about 100 students organized in three teams: the Green Team, the Blue Team and the Gray Team. Although some variations take place in any given year, our Lower School Green team is typically composed of our youngest students in Grade One through Grade Three.
The Lower School Blue and Gray teams educate students in Grades Four and Five. Students in these grades are divided evenly between the two parallel teams, with learning needs and social dynamics being important considerations in classroom placement. Classes are almost always composed of students of multiple ages due to the varying nature of their needs. This inherently creates a community of broad appreciation for, and respect of, one another.
Our students need academic remediation, 21st century school programs, and a little bit of fun! Students in our Lower School start their day with recess to get their brains and bodies engaged. Our program balances the needs of highly skilled educators in academic content areas with our students’ ability to thrive in a learning environment that offers limited disruptions. All Lower School students take part in Responsive Classroom during the day, building classroom and school community, and supporting academic and social/emotional growth.
All Lower School students have a second recess later in the day, which we believe provides the right amount of time for play that keeps students at this age engaged throughout a rigorous day of academics.
Balancing the needs of students with high-quality instruction. Lower School Green students are in self-contained classrooms for all but Math and Unified Arts classes, offering stability of expectations and a nurturing environment. Reading, mathematics and literature classes are offered throughout the morning with writing class and Unified Arts classes such as Physical Education, Music and Art in the afternoons.
Lower School Blue and Gray students change classrooms for each content area so that teachers can be specialized in an area. (During the current Covid-19 pandemic, students are staying in one classroom, except for Unified Arts classes.) Morning classes (Reading, Mathematics and Literature) each last a full hour, allowing students enough time to get immersed in the content and receive individualized attention from teachers and other members of the instructional staff without feeling rushed throughout the day. Afternoons are composed of Unified Arts classes as well as Writing, Science, Student Development/Technology and Social Studies.
Two adults makes a difference. Springer’s Lower School classrooms are led by a classroom teacher and supported by a second adult, whom we call an Instructional Assistant, who provides additional instructional help for students. Teachers and Instructional Assistants provide guidance in both large group and small group settings, allowing for a natural flow of the class with direct encouragement from highly-trained adults in the room.
Classrooms typically contain about 12 students, which allows Faculty and Instructional Assistants to provide a great amount of attention and academic support to students. Unified Arts classes are composed of about 15 students.