Core Knowledge

The Core Knowledge (CK) program is a humanities enrichment program designed to build academic and social-emotional confidence and proficiency.  CK consists of a diverse community of learners that is challenged and supported in their growth as scholars and conscientious citizens.

Academic Confidence

Students participate in a two-period Core that covers the state standards for ELA and social studies.  The third period of enrichment allows students to experience additional humanities topics and rigorous texts that will provide a strong foundation of knowledge and academic confidence for those students that choose to pursue Honors or AP coursework in high school.

CK students cover topics such as:

  • WWI
  • WWII
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Cold War
  • Impressionist art
  • Abstract art
  • Jazz music
  • Blues music

CK students read texts such as:

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Diary of a Young Girl  by Anne Frank
  • Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  • The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Collection of short stories, speeches, and poems

 Social-Emotional Confidence

Pre-adolescents and early adolescents need a tremendous amount of support to navigate a new school environment and the changes they are experiencing personally.  The Core Knowledge program is designed for students to grow their social-emotional intelligence and confidence. Students participate in a mentorship program in both 7th and 8th grade.  As 7th graders, they are supported by an 8th grader who helps them navigate the school campus, relationships with peers and teachers, school extracurriculars, and coursework. As 8th graders, students are able to practice leadership skills as they mentor their little buddy throughout the school year. 

Social-emotional confidence is also directly taught in ballroom dance lessons once a week throughout the school year.  Group dancing gives students incredible confidence as they master the steps together. Students learn to think on their feet, to be considerate and conscientious of their partners, to practice both leading and following. The music and the dances spark lessons in history and culture along the way.


  • Who can participate in the Core Knowledge program?

All students are welcome to participate in the Core Knowledge program.  Students that benefit from extra rigor or support will receive instruction and curriculum that promotes growth both academically and emotionally.

  • How do I apply to the Core Knowledge program?

Core Knowledge is an academic class.  When registering your child in AERIES, mark the course-request for “Core Knowledge English Language Arts” and “Core Knowledge social studies”.

  • Is Core Knowledge an Honors program?

We strive to provide an academic experience that will provide the foundation for any student who chooses to participate in an Honors or AP program in high school.  Some students begin the program in 7th grade ready for the rigors of Honors coursework; others benefit from the support offered within the school day to tackle Honors classes in 9th grade.  All students are challenged to reach their highest potential.

  • If my child participates in the Core Knowledge program, what will his or her school day look like?

Core Knowledge students will participate in two class periods of Core (ELA and history) and a third of CK enrichment.  Students will then travel to math, science, and PE classes throughout the school day. Some students choose not to take an elective while others take one or two.  Many Core Knowledge students should expect to have a seven or even eight period school day.

  • How is a typical Core Knowledge class taught?

Because Core Knowledge students have a two period block of instruction and then another class of enrichment, teachers base each day’s activities on what students need to learn.  Some days, students may participate in a Writer’s Workshop that allows for a mini-lesson and conference time along with drafting. Some days, students will have time to work through a series of stations that allow students to research historical topics.  Other days, students will cover a mix of history and ELA curriculum. For example, while studying the fall of Rome, students will analyze primary sources and generate an explanatory essay all in the same class. Each Friday, students will participate in a rotation where they will meet with their buddy in a multi-grade cohort, cover Core Knowledge topics, and practice dancing.  

  • How do I get more information about the Core Knowledge program?

Please contact Valerie Galindo, for more information.



Christopher Greeley
Core Knowledge Teacher
805-687-0761 EXT 3551

Alexa Levesque
Core Knowledge and Core Teacher
805-687-0761 EXT 3560