Academics at Isabella Bird Community School

At Isabella Bird Community School we are academically focused. Our students’ days are rigorous and engaging. IBCS offers engaging, compelling, and essential questions to inspire curiosity. Teachers employ inquiry-driven instruction, and incorporate themes of social justice, civil rights, environmental awareness, and service learning, thus giving students opportunities to deeply explore their personal connection to the larger world. This ensures students recognize their future is inextricably tied to the rest of humanity. Our curriculum and instruction is grounded in research-based best practice, differentiated to meet the diverse needs of our students, and strives for academic excellence for all students. 

Academically challenging and inquiry-driven instruction is based on real-world, relevant, and compelling content. We strive to deliver content and instruction umbrellaed under larger universal and timeless concepts. Specifically, each grade level aligns their year-long instruction to a specific concept as outlined below: 

Using this model,  students learn to make connections, think critically, grapple with complex texts and ideas, and find relevance in what they are learning. 


Bridges Curriculum

Additional teacher created or curated materials to supplement and/or enrich student learning.

We plan math in all grades while focusing on the deep understandings that students need in middle school math. We focus on the progression of the standards and how the work and thinking students do in kindergarten math, leads to the higher level math in middle school and high school. This requires teachers to have a deep understanding of not only their grade’s standards but also those that come before them and after them. 

We also recognize that student caregivers might have had difficult experiences with math in school and that it is socially acceptable in our society to say that one is “not good at math.” We would never feel comfortable saying this about reading, but it is acceptable for mathematics. We ask that caregivers refrain from sharing this with the children they care for. We know that EVERYONE can learn math to a high level of competence and understanding. We know that having this mentality towards mathematics, that everyone can and will succeed at it, has a huge impact on learning. 

English Language Arts

Whole Group CCSS Instruction: CKLA Curriculum (K-2), EL Curriculum (3-5)

Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Drills (K-2)

Orton Gillingham (Phonology, Syllabication, Morphology)

Small Group Targeted Instruction (K-5)

Differentiated Book Clubs (3-5)

Lexia Core 5


Amplify Science Curriculum

Social Studies

InquirED Curriculum