What We Do and Why We Do It

In alignment with our Mission & Vision, JICMS adheres to the following emphases:

Our teaching philosophy follows Direct Instruction (DI) principles.

The foundation of our instruction focuses on the mastery of fundamentals.  We define mastery as the ability to demonstrate knowledge and skills repeatedly and accurately.  This requires repeated instruction in the subject matter, increasing degree of challenge and considerable practice.   As our students master the fundamentals, our instruction focuses on sequential building of conceptual knowledge and promoting independent expression of knowledge.  Finally, our instruction focuses on individual internalization of conceptual knowledge, expressed in extensive written work and verbal presentation, preparing our students for advanced study at the high school level. Read More…

Core Knowledge

We teach much of the Core Knowledge Sequence to prepare our students for a rigorous, college-prep. high school curriculum.

For the sake of academic excellence, greater equity and higher literacy, elementary and middle schools need to teach a coherent, cumulative, and content-specific core curriculum.

Our society cannot afford a two-tiered system in which the affluent have access to a superior education, while everyone else is subjected to a dull and incoherent classroom experience. Academic excellence, educational equity and fairness demands a strong foundation of knowledge for all learners. — E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
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What is the Core Knowledge Sequence?
A Coherent, Cumulative, and Content-Specific Curriculum

The idea behind the Core Knowledge Sequence is simple and powerful: knowledge builds on knowledge. For the sake of academic excellence, greater fairness, and higher literacy, Core Knowledge provides a core curriculum that is coherent, cumulative, and content-specific in order to help children establish strong foundations of knowledge, grade by grade.

If all of our children are to be fully educated and participate equally in civic life, then we must provide each of them with the shared body of knowledge that makes literacy and communication possible. This concept, so central to the Core Knowledge Foundation’s goal of excellence and equity in education, takes shape in the Core Knowledge Sequence—a pioneering attempt to outline the specific core of shared knowledge that all children should learn in American schools.  Read More…


Our Curriculum –

6th Grade
Literature      Novel Ideas Novel Studies
Math                Saxon – 65 (5th grade), Course 1 (6th grade), Course 2 (7th grade)
Writing          High Performance Writing (SRA)
Spelling         Zaner-Bloser Spelling 6
History          Core Knowledge History – Pearson Learning Co.

7th & 8th Grades
Literature    Novel Ideas Novel Studies, Classic Literature Novels
Writing         High Performance Writing
History         7th (Beginning US History-Civil War); 8th (Reconstruction-present)
Math              7th (Course 1, 2, or 3); 8th (Course 2, 3, or Algebra 1)

Middle School Literature Selections –
6th Grade – Holes, Hatchet, Esperanza Rising, Maniac McGee, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Selected Poetry
7th Grade – Soldier’s Heart, The Door in the Wall, Diary of Anne Frank (play), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Short Stories, Selected Poetry
8th Grade – Touching Spirit Bear, Iqbal, Animal Farm, Twelfth Night – Shakespeare, Short Stories, Selected Poetry