Rutherford Winans Academy has a cohesive plan for instruction and learning that is based on and aligned with the approved standards and expectations from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).  MDE provides standards and expectations for the academic program, the arts program, physical and health education program, and the technology program.

The Michigan K – 12 academic curriculum consists of Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE) and detailed learning objectives which are called benchmarks.  The academic content standards provide rigorous expectations of what students should know and be able to do in the subject areas of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Mathematics and Science kindergarten through the twelfth grade.  The corresponding benchmarks guide in enhancing Rutherford Winans Academy accountability on the Michigan Education assessment Program (MEAP).

Community Building occurs in every classroom to help students socially develop by building positive relationships through sharing experiences and resolving conflicts.


Language Arts for kindergarten, the emphasis is to continue meeting the needs of beginning and emergent readers in the kindergarten classroom, teachers guide the entire class through stories with a high level of support through guided reading.  During guided reading, teachers work with a smaller number of students and focus more on the individual reading needs of each child.  The end goal is for students to become confident, proficient readers who love to read!  Kindergarten students dictate stories and writing through picture labeling and journals.

Math in kindergarten is hands on – working from concrete experiences.  Concepts are addressed in a large group setting through calendar activities, direct lessons, daily routines, graphs, sorting and counting rhymes in relation to the theme or literature being studied.  Independent and small groups work at centers and tubs.  One-on-one skill practice is also done.

Science in kindergarten is students raising questions about the world around them.  They learn to use hands-on and inquiry based approaches to describe scientific data.  Kindergarteners describe, compare, and sort items according to physical attributes (i.e. number, shape, texture, size, weight, color, and motion).  They use their senses to make observations about physical attributes (sight, smell, touch, taste and sound) to group objects.  They learn to follow rules to stay safe.  

First Grade:

Language Arts for the first grade, children identify letters, words, and sentences.  They match oral words to printed words and during guided reading, the teacher asks children to identify the author and title of each reading selection.  Reading Recovery provides literacy learning and meets grade-level standards.  Reading Recovery includes phonemic awareness phonics vocabulary development, fluency and comprehension.  Students enhance writing skills through responses to a story with a beginning, middle and end.  Students also respond through journal writing.

Math for first graders includes learning about geometrical figures and objects measurement of length, weight, capacity, time and temperature, use of money, graphs and charts used for data analysis and prediction, and algebraic patterns.  During first grade, math students will be expected to read and write numerals to 100, to count objects to 100 or more, to compare and order whole numbers to 100 or more using a variety of methods including usage of the symbols <, =, and >, and the vocabulary of less than, equal to, and more than.  They will learn to apply these lessons to real-life scenarios.

Science for first graders allows students to raise questions about the world around thema and seek answers by making observations.  They identify what things can do when put together and what cannot be done when separated.  First graders create drawings that correctly depict descriptions.  First grade students make observations, ask questions about, and investigate patterns.  They learn best from their own actions.  Therefore, they make predictions and plan simple investigations in order to understand the world around them.

Social Studies in the first grade, students explore the social studies disciplines by developing the ability to think like a historian through an integrated approach using the context of “Families and Schools”.  Using calendars, students begin to understand the maps and relative location using familiar contexts of home and school.  They investigate different resolutions to school and community issues and develop a respect for the rule law and the rights of others. 

Second Grade:

Language Arts for second graders in the reading program prompt them to ask questions and restate facts and details about the text.  Through guided reading they learn to recognize cause-and-effect relationships, to follow written instructions appropriate to their reading level, and to interpret information from diagrams, charts, and graphs.  Language arts lessons also teach children to use titles, tables of contents, and chapter headings to locate information in expository text.  Children learn to decode words with the help of the teacher.  They are expected to demonstrate fluent reading skills.  Students enhance writing skills by responding to writing prompts in the form of paragraphs and journal writing.

Math in the second grade math includes fractions.  Students should understand halves, thirds, quarters, and eights as parts of a set.   They should know that a complete set makes one whole.  The children will be skip-counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10’s, 25’s, 50’s and 100’s.  Coins are used in teaching second grade math.  The children will count mixed groups of coins including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars.  They’ll be taught to recognize equivalent forms of many values, and should count coins up to one dollar or more during the course of the year.  During second grade, math students learn place values to 1000.  They should be able to use place value patterns using 0 as a place holder (10, 100, etc.) and should understand that ten 10’s equal 100.  In numbers up to 1000, the children should know the place value of any designated digit.

Science in second grade allows students to apply ideas to things in the world.  They push, pull, and manipulate things to see what will happen.  They observe changes of plants and animals as they grow and change.  They also observe the changing patterns of the moon and stars.  As a result, second grade students become aware of changes that take place in life.  They form ideas as to whether the changes are natural or manipulated.

Social Studies in second grade encourage students to explore social studies through the context of the “local community.”  Students are introduced to a social environment beyond their immediate surroundings and they draw upon knowledge learned in previous grades to develop more sophisticated understandings to explore the social studies disciplines of history, geography, civics and government and economics.