Curriculum

Coherence of curriculum and integration of topics of study are primary goals. Teachers coordinate the curriculum across grade levels and use teaching methods which accommodate different learning styles. Additionally, we give children a sense of ownership of their school and a belonging to a greater community, therefore instilling pride, self-reliance and responsibility, which are essential for developing self-directed, life-long learning skills.

The Mountain Community School uses the framework of the Common Core Standards as well as The North Carolina Essential Standards when building integrated units of study. An emphasis is placed on creating learning opportunities that are both challenging and engaging, allowing our students to experience their learning and apply their knowledge in meaningful ways serving our school community as well as the world beyond our walls.

Recognizing that students present a range of learning abilities, our teachers are encouraged to utilize a wide variety of methods to inspire their students to reach for their personal best. Children need a sense of pride in themselves and their accomplishments if they are to become productive members of a learning community.

The Mountain Community School has school and community service programs through which students develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and their world. In this way, the children encounter a diversity of ideas which further motivate them to learn. We hope that those activities which bring the students into the community and the community into the school promote appreciation of and commitment to education throughout Henderson County.

Language Arts

The Language Arts curriculum at The Mountain Community School encompasses skills development (i.e. reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and oral language) and literature review. Recognizing that different children learn to read at different ages, teachers are given the flexibility to progress each child through the curriculum at his or her own pace. We recognize that verbal and oral communication is an essential building block for higher learning skills.

Our Learning Expeditions provide a strong focus for the English/Language Arts program as they integrate many concepts and lessons that encourage students to investigate issues in our school community and the greater world. This model fosters discussion, debate and reflection. It creates space for individual curiosity and passion to acquire new knowledge for students to present their findings in a meaningful way.

The overall English/Language Arts curriculum correlates to the Common Core Standards mandated by the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

Mathematics

The primary goal of mathematics education at TMCS is to ensure that every student becomes mathematically literate. This implies that the student is a good critical thinker and problem solver, is confident in their ability to do mathematics, is able to communicate and reason mathematically. In order to achieve these goals, the mathematics curriculum engages students as much as possible with exercises which are drawn from and are directly applicable to daily situations.

The TMCS math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Math Standards, which fosters a foundation in conceptual understanding, rooted with a strong emphasis on number sense. Math at TMCS, like all content areas, is designed to offer opportunities for students to experience “real world” application through their course of study. The use of technology to enhance and enrich the mathematics program is encouraged at all levels.

Science

The Mountain Community School is dedicated to providing our students with a solid, broad-ranging understanding of the fundamentals of science. The science curriculum stresses hands-on, inquiry-based investigations of scientific principles outlined in the NC Essential Standards.

By integrating science concepts across the other disciplines in a systematic, coordinated progression, we provide the essential building blocks needed for deeper scientific study and understanding. Incorporation of guest presentations, demonstrations and field trips to the greatest extent possible expand our students’ experiential understanding of science as well as greater insight into potential career opportunities. We also take full advantage of the rich environmental heritage of our region to develop an understanding of the workings of the natural world around us.

The goal of our science curriculum is to help children develop sound reasoning skills and the ability to solve our world’s practical problems. We want TMCS students to contribute to each other’s conceptual understanding of the world around them, to foster the development of scientific attitudes: curiosity, respect for evidence, critical reflection, flexibility, sensitivity to living things, and to integrate science across the other academic disciplines.

Our students work through the fundamentals of our scientific world: Plants and Animals, Conservation of Natural Resources, Natural History, The Human Body, Physical Science, Earth Science, Chemistry, Electricity, Meteorology, Astronomy, and Engineering. We work to include applied aspects of the science curriculum to help our students relate their understanding of scientific concepts to the everyday world around them.

Technology

The Mountain Community School incorporates technology skills into its everyday curriculum to every extent possible keeping in mind that technology is merely a tool,and not an end in itself. Students become familiar with technological devices and use them as a tool for learning. Students integrate research, word processing and graphics skills as appropriate support for their academic work across all subject areas. By the time the students are ready to move on to high school, familiarity with a wide variety of technology media is expected as a result of exposure to a variety of technological resources.

Social Studies

The goal of the Social Studies curriculum is to expand children’s horizons beyond their family and home to the larger world, both past and present. North Carolina, American, and world history is presented with increasing detail in each grade as outlined in the North Carolina Essential Standards.

The cultures of peoples both past and present are explored within this framework. A special emphasis is placed on the diverse cultures of our country with a central theme of understanding.

Learning Expeditions are a central focus throughout the social studies curriculum. Learning Expeditions provide the opportunity for project-based work that allows students to take their learning to a new depth as they develop a deeper understanding of our complex world.

Arts

The Mountain Community School believes that the arts represent an essential component of a student’s education. Through attaining a basic knowledge of the arts, children are not only better prepared to understand and appreciate works of art, but also to communicate their ideas, feelings, and judgements to others. Students are given opportunities to learn about music through listening, as well as through active participation in music activities.

TMCS encourages the use of music, art, dance and/or theater as independent learning activities, and/or as extension activities for lessons from history, language arts, and sciences. While reinforcing learning from other parts of the curriculum, such hands-on activities also serve to build self-control, discipline, cooperation and sequencing skills, as well as providing a holistic basis to education.

Our region hosts a wealth of artistic talent, and we invite local artists to assist with programs for TMCS students. A local community theater group (Flat Rock Playhouse – the State Theatre of North Carolina) offers outreach programs at the school, as well as offering support for dramatic arts endeavors of interested teachers and students. The school and the community benefit from the bonds created by these and other cooperative efforts.