At Galileo, each child is valued and his or her uniqueness is cherished. The learning environment is designed for maximum engagement and maximum achievement. Students have the opportunity to work with same age peers as well as with peers of matched cognitive ability, talent, and interests at different times throughout the day, depending upon the lesson. As students’ achievement increases, the curriculum is advanced so that they are constantly moving forward, rather than being stuck learning and relearning the same material. In fact, we believe so strongly in this, that each student at Galileo has his or her own PEP: a Personal Educational Plan. This plan is a road map showing where your child is now and goals for where he or she should be heading, based on feedback from the school counselor, teachers, parents, and students themselves. Students’ work is reviewed at multiple time points each quarter to ensure that students are engaged, achieving, and flourishing.
All of our teachers are trained in gifted instruction. Students will be immersed each day in a full-time gifted education program. The entire curriculum is based on a model of gifted learning from the top thinkers in gifted education in world. In addition, our partnership with UCF affords us access to top faculty in diverse fields to help provide professional development and training to our teachers and cutting edge lessons to our students.
In traditional schools, classes usually are based on a passive model of learning where the teacher is the fount of knowledge, and his or her job is to impart that knowledge to students. At Galileo, because we are founded by researchers internationally known in the fields of educational reform, gifted education, and research methodology, we hold to a cutting-edge perspective on learning that is interactive, global, technology-based, and most of all, ACTIVE. Students actively engage in problem solving and inquiry lessons. Teachers are there to facilitate each student and to help scaffold them, based on students’ personal interests, strengths, and areas of concern.
Subject areas are taught using research-based, innovative curriculum and methods that work. Our classes do not look like traditional classrooms—they aren’t lecture-based or textbook-driven. Picture children working on whatever math skills they haven’t yet mastered, with other children of similar ability, regardless of age. You might have a 3rd grader and 5th grader solving math problems together. In reading, children read real literature and engage in book talks with other children. In social studies and science, students are engaged in authentic problem solving, such as building a mini-ecosystem on the playground, creating a school store, and founding a student government.
A typical day in a traditional school consists of children being exposed to discrete subject areas with no real connection between them. At Galileo, subjects are integrated by themes. Each day starts with children connecting to their same age peers in “Base Camps” where they can start the day with their friends by their side. Their Base Camp teacher starts class with a problem of the day or geography question based on the current school theme. Throughout the day, students participate in interdisciplinary lessons centered on this theme.
Our lessons, instead of being introduced through lecture and reading, generally start with an activity. We use the “Activity Before Concept, Concept Before Vocabulary and Reading” method used in inquiry science classes. Field trips, guest speakers, films, literature, historical primary source documents, and science labs help students develop a deep understanding of the key concepts of the lesson.
Our math and reading classes are truly accelerated and based on student’s ability, using diagnostic criteria. Our groupings are flexible: as students progress in academic skills, the curriculum is adapted to meet their needs.
Research shows that students perform best when they are given sufficient time for play and time outdoors. We make sure that all of our students get regular breaks for snacks and play. Lunch is time for another break, and students have the option to meet with those in different grades who share their interests during lunch clubs and recess. After recess, the fun continues as students engage in movement and the arts in their specials classes (Technology, Art, Music, PE/Health, Programming, World Languages).
Creative Productivity Workshops
The final class of the day is dedicated to the heart of our curriculum approach: Creative Productivity Workshops. Here, students sign up for interest-based workshops where they work on authentic projects for a minimum of two weeks at a time on things like writing plays, playing in a rock band, creating their own trading cards, building a mini-ecosystem, researching plant and animal life for that ecosystem, engineering robotics, designing clothes and toys, or flying planes in an aviation workshop.
This is the kind of school we have been dreaming about since we were kids. This vision is why many of us went into education in the first place. We invite you to join us and become a part of our Dragon family!