Our Structure

Orsch is a school that provides a valuable education within a unique and dynamic framework. Following are links to some of the current paradigms in place within our school.


Structures and Systems:

Creativity
We encourage creativity at every turn – in assignments, thinking, being. Children thrive with the ability to express and utilize their creativity. It is quite simple to implement a world full of creativity – a school need only ALLOW creativity to see it prosper and change a mundane existence into a motivating and engaging one. We encourage a creative approach to every subject area and in all aspects of academics. See Philosophy Visual Reference. See Student Work.
Student Centered Approaches
In large part, levels, pace and tools are chosen by students. We offer many leveled options within each lesson and/or activity. We allow students the time they need to move at their own pace. We offer and teach the use of tools and resources, encouraging students to become resourceful always. Students who have the freedom to choose pace, level and tools are intrinsically motivated to learn, reach higher and grow. Underachievement is almost non-existent – it seems to be innate human nature to want to improve. Children love learning and developing; self-chosen improvement and knowledge is much more effective than a top-down approach.
Current Paradigms in Education
Orsch does its best to offer current paradigms in education, always offering students engaging lessons.

  • Experiential Learning
  • Differentiated Learning
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Multiage Practices
  • Individualized Approaches
  • Internet-based Personalized Lessons and Assignments
  • Cooperative Learning and collaborative groups

Morning Meeting
We begin each day with a meeting. Students are heard, Tiny Clubbers and Big Kids alike tell of their new toys or upcoming camping trip. Announcements are made, problems are solved, success is awarded, birthdays are celebrated, conversations happen. We collaborate – every day. The morning meeting, whether it is a Solutions Day, Award Day or any other day, is something all of us enjoy. Morning Meeting is a significant and important start to the day. We become family, community, in these moments.
Grouping
Grouping is an essential piece of any good paradigm. In the real world each of us belongs to several groups – family, work, social groups, athletic groups. Orsch strives to offer students many collaborative moments throughout the day. Groups can be arranged or self chosen – we frequently use both. Following are some of the grouping options we use.

Whole group consists of all of Orsch’s students

Skill level groups are established for targeted activities or lessons of all kinds

Multiage groups are smaller groups (5-7 students) from all ages. These groups collaborate on projects using the skills and talents of each member, even if one of the member’s best skills is coloring.

Small groups can be skill based or interest based and can be homogeneous or heterogeneous in skill level and/or interest.

Partnerships are another grouping option we utilize regularly. Partners offer productivity, accountability and comradary. Partnerships can be skills based, interest based or skills opposite based (Big Kids helping Pints) “Birthday Partners” are everyone’s favorite – we match our oldest student with our youngest student, next oldest with next youngest…


Teach tools – Use Tools
Today’s student has endless opportunities for resources and tools. Students can find the correct spelling of a word quickly using technology. Students can visualize mathematics easily with base ten blocks – there are countless invaluable tools out there. We teach the use of tools and resources at every turn.

Not every tool appeals to every student – students will gravitate to the ones that help them most. Students also show an interest in learning about other tools as they see their peers using them. Allowing students the freedom to use resources and tools gives them confidence to tackle and master anything.

Grids
Grids are the our most favorite invention! Grids offer the best of Orsch Philosophy in one place. Grids are designed to offer independence, freedom, creativity and variety. Grids are a tool for engagement and have proven to be an effective method to independence for every student. Every student loves a grid! For an example of our grid click here (We published this during Seuss month last year): Orsch’s Seuss Grid

Grids can be:

  • Theme Based
  • Skills Based
  • Subject Based
  • Project Based

Project Packets
Project Packets are used for individuals, partners or groups. Project Packets are generally in the form of checklists. Students are encouraged to complete the checklist in any order they prefer and are encouraged to divide and conquer within a group. Students quickly develop the skills and expertise necessary to accomplish a project within a given time frame by utilizing talents and skills within their group and by utilizing appropriate timing throughout the project. With heightened ownership comes heightened productivity. The independence and freedom to choose when and how to accomplish tasks has shown to motivate and inspire happy completion. MLK Group Project Packet Example
Awards
Every week Orsch students have an awards ceremony. Students are awarded for exemplary performance in any realm – school work, behavior, kindness. Awards are a means to promote excellence. We have seen this method encourage great work ethic and citizenship among students. When exceptional work is shown publicly the bar is raised for everyone. Positive modeling ignites and inspires others to work hard and do their best. Even the smallest of goals can be awarded – awards are very individualized. For example, a student could be awarded for completing a five page essay while another is awarded for completing a compound sentence.

Awards are done whole group – the audience is attentive, polite and honors those being awarded.

Solutions Day
We meet weekly as an entire school to solve problems of all kinds. Students are invited to submit a complaint or issue either in writing or in person. We listen to each other and come up with solution on the spot. The spectrum of solutions is broad, ranging from “Where should we relocate the pencils for better efficiency” to “I feel excluded – please help me solve this.”

Students respond very positively to Solutions Day – we now can’t imagine an environment without regular solutions meetings!

Presentations
Students are asked to present often. They are accustomed to strutting their stuff in front of a group. Students act out vocabulary words in skits, prepare Power Point presentations, share their accomplishments, present plays, songs, poems and products. Orsch students rarely shy away from center stage and will be well prepared to speak their minds into adulthood.
Assessments
Orsch assessments come in many forms. Most assessments are product and/or portfolio based, although, as needed we assess students using traditional methods so that we can plan their programming appropriately. Orsch does not participate in standardized testing as we see little benefit to such approaches.

Assignments must be 100% proficient before they are complete – we do not grade on a percentage basis, but prefer to assess based on aptitude and complete proficiency.