TK–5 Overview

Our Learning Model

Our learning model allows students to achieve their fullest potential by supporting their academic growth, emotional development and understanding the diversity around them.

At CWC, we focus on Academics, Social Emotional Development (often referred to as SED), and Difference & Inclusion. SED and Difference & Inclusion work is done with students, staff and parent community – that’s how deeply this work is embedded into our school.

In order for students to thrive, we set out to cultivate mindsets and skills to support their learning and development. Our ultimate outcomes for our students are our Graduate Dispositions that embody habits of character and mind. Success in these dispositions will empower students to flourish in a diverse and global society. 

At CWC, we focus on Academics, Social Emotional Development (often referred to as SED), and Difference & Inclusion. SED and Difference & Inclusion work is done with students, staff and parent community – that’s how deeply this work is embedded into our school. 

Instructional Approach

CWC prides itself on having a broad definition of how we measure success for our students. Connected to our work across the 3 strands of our Learning Model, we make efforts to build student competency and skill in not only academic content, but in social emotional development and civic engagement. Beyond cultivating a group of readers, writers, and mathematicians, we also work to develop students who know how to meaningfully connect with one another and how to be a part of a community. We hope students have cultivated a set of dispositions and skills that will ultimately prepare them to courageously envision hopes and changes for the world and how to make those changes a reality.

Our curriculum is grounded in rich educational theories of learning and realized through evidenced-based instructional practices. Our teachers use a variety of approaches and practices to plan lessons and engage students in rich and meaningful learning. The following components help us bring this theory to life in each classroom:


Constructivism is a theory of learning based on the premise that knowledge is built (or constructed) upon earlier knowledge.
We structure learning to build on what students already know and support them in revising and refining their understanding as they work toward mastery. In addition to content knowledge, our students engage in learning processes that develop conceptual understanding and self-knowledge.

Developing the Whole Child

CWC believes that learning experiences should give students the ability to engage in and make use of their multiple intelligences. This belief drives us to create rigorous, creative and joyful academic experiences that integrate across subjects.
Project-based learning may include both science and math concepts, and we also offer music, P.E. and visual and performing arts (varies by school) to develop musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and spatial intelligences to all students during their TK-5 career at CWC. Across the school day, we believe our learning model helps children see invaluable connections between disciplines, all of which promotes their ability to creatively and critically think and problem-solve through complex real-world issues.

Project-Based/Inquiry Learning

Project-based learning or “inquiry” facilitates the constructivist approach. ​Inquiry Learning integrates skills and knowledge through meaningful and engaging projects that make abstract learning concepts concrete.
As reflective learners, children connect what they learn to their own lives. Teachers strive to teach for understanding, ensuring that students deeply internalize what they learn and are, in turn, able to apply what they learn to new and different circumstances and contexts. Within the CWC learning model, Inquiry lives most fully within our science/social studies instructional blocks, however these projects often draw from multiple disciplines.

Workshop-Based Small Group Instruction

The workshop model is a way in which we structure our classrooms and, particularly, our literacy and mathematics learning blocks. These workshop structures ensure that instruction is tailored and appropriate for students’ current understandings, needs and personal experiences.

Moments in the day like Math, Reader’s or Writer’s Workshop have some whole group instruction/discussion and include more time for small group/partner work, differentiated learning and independent practice. To make this happen, teachers take time to get to know each child as an individual and receive the support, data, and resources they need to adapt instruction to the needs of diverse learners. Our goal is for students to  connect what they learn to their own lives, making learning meaningful for all. 

We firmly believe that with strong teaching in the classroom supported by targeted intervention as needed, every child can meet or exceed grade level expectations that are academic, social, or behavioral in nature. We recognize that students learn in different ways and we adjust our teaching to maximize the learning potential of every child.

CWC Los Angeles schools achieve strong academic performance and community engagement.
Learn more about our
Results and Data.

TK-5 Curriculum

A New Generation of Leaders

CWC West Valley’s academic program reflects our broad objective of enabling our students to become self-motivated, competent, life-long learners. Based on our core beliefs of how learning best occurs, we establish the foundation for students’ current and future development as learners. Our curriculum is aligned with national and state standards.

English Language Arts

The overarching goal for TK-5 English Language Arts instruction is to ensure that students are able to develop and utilize improved communication skills, vocabularies, and writing abilities in an authentic manner. 

CWC uses a Balanced Literacy approach, which includes methods such as: 

  • Reader’s and Writer’s workshop
  • Phonics Instruction
  • Interactive Read-Aloud
  • Interactive/Shared Reading & Writing
  • Independent & Guided Reading

Science & Social Studies Inquiry Projects

At the elementary level, students engage in study of historical topics and scientific exploration through hands-on projects that utilize an interdisciplinary approach. Inquiry projects invite students to examine real-life topics and questions that tie to authentic topics of interest. 

Social studies learning, while often tied to learning something historical, will almost always connect as well to current everyday issues that are developmentally appropriate for every grade level. Inquiry projects are often the place where students delve into related learning about civic engagement, social justice and how to become a positive changemaker in one’s community.  Inquiry learning is also a place where relevant diversity, equity and inclusion topics are tied in.  

Science-focused inquiry learning aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and includes physical science, life science, and earth-systems science. Methods of all science courses include the tools of science (e.g., technology, hands-on materials) and support the development of the reading, writing, analysis, and communication skills students need to become science-literate.  Lab experimentation allows students to test their hypotheses.  

Projects could include: 

  • Building Healthy Communities (K)
  • Biodiversity and Interdependence of Ocean Habitats (1st Grade)
  • Survival & Sustainability on Mars: Exploring How An Engineer Would Live in Space (3rd Grade)
  • Re-Imagining the California Mission (4th Grade)

Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) problem solving is a core framework for CWC’s Math Workshop. CGI is an educational philosophy that capitalizes on over 20 years of research showing that students come to school with rich informal systems of mathematical knowledge and problem-solving strategies that serve as a basis for learning mathematics. 

Across grades K-8, CWC LA utilizes the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum to make our CGI-aligned Math Workshop come to life. Illustrative Mathematics is a nationally regarded, standards aligned program.

Social Emotional Development

Students participate in daily community building activities and ongoing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons. The time and location of these lessons is different for every class and grade level, however CWC prides itself in not only having a dedicated block throughout the week for SEL but integrating it throughout all subjects and parts of the day, including outdoor play time. 

A number of tools have been blended together to create an SEL program that specifically develops skills in:

  • self-recognition and self-management of one’s emotions
  • an understanding of others including empathy and perspective-taking
  • decision making, problem-solving and resolving conflict

SED Components may include: 

  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Peace Corners
  • Instruction and practice with SED “Cool Tools”
  • Morning Meeting
  • Community Circles and Class Meetings for group problem-solving and community-building  
  • Integrated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work



    Art at CWC is an exploratory journey where children not only learn about art but also about themselves, their world and each other. Our children gain a practical understanding of art processes and skills whilst using a wide variety of art materials and techniques. Children learn artistic perception and aesthetic valuing, i.e. how to look and respond to works of art, culture, nature and the environment. They learn about the elements and principles of art and design and develop their visual vocabulary.


    CWC’s music program strives to provide children with opportunities to sing songs, play instruments and create musical compositions of their own. Children learn to describe music using the eight musical elements – melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, timbre, texture, structure and tempo. Children are exposed to music from different cultures, musical periods and rich musical traditions from around the world.

    Physical Education

    In Physical Education children develop their confidence and skills with an emphasis on body and space awareness. Students learn personal versus shared space, fundamental locomotor, as well as non-locomotor, manipulative skills, and applications. The introduction of team lead-up and cooperative games and activities help to promote good sportsmanship and fair team play. Sport-specific units of study include basketball, soccer, tennis, kickball, and volleyball. In addition to the vast array of sports skills and team sports fundamentals that are taught, activities practicing effective social skills such as active listening, conflict resolution, and compromising with others are interwoven as well.

    Student Programs

    At CWC, student programming outside of school hours helps enhance our learning model. The team’s mission is to encourage and inspire students to be lifelong learners of self, community, and the world.

    Our menu of student program offerings are viewed as an opportunity to extend SEL practices. Student Programs are open to all students and have tiered fees (scholarships are also available).


    Morning Care

    After School Program


    Camp Citizens

    Inclusion of all Learners (Special Education)

    CWC West Valley strives to meet the needs of all students, including those with disabilities, including but not limited to those with an Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) and 504 Plan. CWC West Valley is open to all students and will not discriminate on the basis of disability. CWC WV’s approach to educational support services is one of inclusion for a full spectrum of distinct learners. We are dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of the academic environment and society.

    CWC West Valley provides special education instruction and related services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act (“IDEIA”), Education Code requirements, and applicable policies and procedures of the Los Angeles Unified School District. These services are available for special education students enrolled here at West Valley. Students with identified physical, emotional, learning, or developmental disabilities have the right to placement in the least restrictive environment and shall receive special education services according to a written IEP. We offer high quality educational programs and services for all our students in accordance with the assessed needs of each student. We collaborate with parents, the student, teachers, and other agencies, as may be indicated, in order to appropriately serve the educational needs of each student.

    A Parent’s Guide to Special Education Services
    Individualized Education Program Meeting Guide

    For more information, please contact Kelly Norris, CWC West Valley’s Special Education Director at

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