The Arthur Academy
What really makes us
We use Direct Instruction:
Direct Instruction curriculum is a continuous staircase
leading from beginning Kindergarten to the skills needed in
the middle grades.
Lessons are designed to be completed in a period.
A lesson a day ensures a year’s progress each year.
Lessons are structured to develop mastery of skills.
Lots of cumulative review ensures students retain what
they have learned.
Adding only 10% new material in each lesson enables
students to be successful throughout.
ALL students learn to read, spell, write
and do math at or above grade level
Direct Instruction is built on some
basic learning principles.
Over the years, using Direct Instruction
taught us these principles.
Not just theories, they are built off of the
successful experience of hundreds of DI
Here are 10 principles that provide the
backdrop for how to design a successful
These principles are the foundation of
the Arthur Academies.
1. Guided, oral practice enables
immediate and effective corrections
—so students learn faster.
Practicing more orally BEFORE students write saves
a lot of time and allows the teacher to fix errors
Choral, or unison, answering helps the teacher
quickly determine if any students are still confused.
Students answering on signal lets the teacher hear
if some students say the wrong answer—and
therefore the class needs more teaching.
Quick, individual, oral questions test to see if the
class has learned the material.
2. Students learn best at a level in
which they are very successful.
Putting students in a level above where they
understand what’s going on will result in lack of
Students must be at mastery to learn successfully.
That means that they already know 90% of
what is being covered in a lesson.
Direct Instruction teaches everything explicitly so
students find it “easy” to learn the 10% new
material—especially if they have previously not
been taught explicitly.
It does not need to be “hard” for students to be
learning a great deal.
3. Students learn to decode best in
small groups taught by highly
Students must be closely monitored when learning
to decode, to be sure they are saying
sounds, sounding out and blending correctly.
Large group instruction does not allow this careful
monitoring in Kindergarten and first grade.
Small groups are required in Kindergarten and first
grade when students are learning to decode.
By second grade, once students can decode, it
works better to teach in larger groups. Why?....
4. Students learn best when
actively taught by a teacher
Most students learn very little by doing
school work—if they can do it
independently, then they already knew it.
To maximize student learning we must
maximize the time students spend in front
of a teacher, teaching them new
information but at their instructional level.
Whole class groups provide the
maximum time being instructed by the
teacher for all students.
5. Improving reading
comprehension requires a teacher
spending time teaching vocabulary
and world knowledge.
Students benefit most from being taught
vocabulary actively and directly by a teacher.
Students need to be taught world knowledge in
order to understand more advanced material.
Teachers need to intervene and provide extra
instruction when students are not mastering
Teachers need to monitor work carefully in reading
so as to catch information and vocabulary that
students lack—and to provide extra instruction.
6. Students learn best when they
are actively engaged.
Our curriculum gives teachers a lot of
questions to ask of the students.
The questions are ones the students can
answer (applying things that were just
Teachers ask questions of the whole group.
Because everyone has to answer, everyone
has to be engaged and listening.
Students must be actively engaged.
7. Students learn best when they
correct their own work.
Students see and mark their own errors (in red)
very soon after doing the lesson and can learn
from their mistakes.
We have special correcting pens so students
cannot change their answers while correcting
their own work.
Students are expected to fix every error in blue
so they learn everything they didn’t know
Teachers and the principal check student work
to see that it has been corrected and fixed up.
8. Students learn best when they do
ALL of the assigned practice work.
Every lesson is followed by some independent student
work to practice what has been learned.
Students are able to do this work and the practice helps
them remember what they learned.
Teachers and the principal closely monitor how well
students do on this work—making sure everyone has
mastered the lessons.
If any lessons are not completed we assign RACS
(Required Assignment Completion Session) after school
so students can finish the assignments.
9. Students learn best when they
are positively motivated.
We expect all of our teachers to use positive praise to
motivate our students.
We look for a ratio of three times more recognizing good
behavior than paying attention to bad behavior.
We encourage the use of rewards and other forms of
recognition for good behavior and excellent academics.
We provide recognition of various forms for high
academic performance and good behavior.
Only if students ignore positive praise from the teacher
do we resort to mild consequences for misbehavior.
10. Students learn best when they
are held to high expectations:
To be engaged during lessons.
To participate fully in all lessons.
To answer all questions.
To complete all assignments.
To correct their work accurately.
To follow teacher directions.
To do their best at all times.
Our students learn more….
because we have structured
our schools to align with
these ten learning principles.
Our Expectations are explicit.
(Our Expectations Contract)
Completing all assignments
Academic progress required for promotion.
Good behavior (pay attention, stay on task, and
Our Promises are provided
(Our Promises Contract)
Grade level work
Teach first, assign after
Complaint process protections
Direct communication for problem solving
Positive Behavior Management
Honest report cards
Every single student, regardless of
ethnicity, parental income, learning
difference, culture, or native
language, will become a fluent reader and
will master the academic and intellectual
skills necessary to succeed at the next
level of schooling.
If we want students to succeed at the next
academic level, what else do they need?
What is needed for success in
middle and high school?
In addition to academic knowledge
1. Focused classroom behavior,
2. A good work ethic,
3. To have earned their own success,
4. A belief in themselves.
How do we develop focused
Our lessons are highly interactive—students have
to answer questions every minute of every lesson.
Because of carefully designed instruction students
are able to answer all questions.
Our teachers strive for 100% engagement.
Students are praised frequently for active
participation and are routinely questioned
Teachers and principals intervene when any
student is not participating in the lesson.
Our students learn they have to pay attention.
How do we build a good work
We have independent work every day in
every subject—that is at the student’s
level, so we know they can do it.
Every assignment is graded and scored.
Students must complete ALL assigments.
RACS (Required Assignment Completion
Sessions) are provided for students who
are not completing assignments.
Saturday school is also available if
Students learn to work hard in our schools.
How do students earn their
Tests are based exactly on what has been
directly taught (no gotcha’s).
Daily work should be over 90% correct all
Students maintain a high rate of mastery
or we will intervene.
90% is expected and is a “B”.
Less than 80% is lack of mastery and is
Most students get A’s and B’s in our school
and they have earned them.
We honor REAL accomplishments
We give awards to students who get
100% on tests.
We only give A’s to work over 95%
Students who pass a level in Rocket Math
We post work of students who have fixed
up papers until they are perfect.
We celebrate groups and classes where all
students are at mastery.
How do students acquire a belief in
They have paid attention.
They have done the required work.
They have shown what they know on
rigorous tests—not graded on a curve.
We have celebrated their very REAL
They realize they have accomplished this
through their own efforts.
Our students are well prepared
With us they learn:
1. Focused classroom behavior,
2. A good work ethic,
3. They have earned their own success,
4. To have belief in themselves.
If they have these things (and the skills
they need) they are bound to succeed!
Our new motto captures our
Our guarantee is that if students pay
attention and do their work they will learn
and get smart.
Then we can help them to be proud of their
Thank you for your attention!
I hope this has given you a sense of
how truly special the Arthur Academies