Academics and Programs

Academic Overview
The curriculum at Bancroft Elementary School is designed to provide students with opportunities to learn through active, meaningful, and hands-on learning experiences. Our staff is focused on building on each student’s strength such that each is a confident contributor to the school community. We know that parents are our students’ first teachers, and we invite you to take this journey with us. 

Dual Language Model 
Students experience the following benefits while in our program-- 1) they develop high levels of oral language and literacy skills in both Spanish and English, 2) they attain measureable academic achievement in both languages, 3) they hold positive attitudes towards school and themselves, and 4) they exhibit knowledge about and positive attitudes toward other cultures. Our program is a 50:50 bilingual immersion program. In this model, instructional time is equally divided between both Spanish and English. We also have two Spanish Immersion classes where instruction is delivered in Spanish only in PreK 3 and 4. In addition to our dual language program, we offer an inclusion program that supports positive socialization and high standards for all students. 

Common Core State Standards
Learning in all DCPS schools in math and language arts (K-12) is based on the Common Core State Standards ( These standards provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to know and be able to do in language arts and math beginning in Kindergarten. These standards are clear and consistent, include rigorous content and application of knowledge, and focus on higher-order thinking skills. By following these 
standards, DC and other participating states will better prepare all students to success in today’s global society. 

Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop 
We use the Reader’s and Writers’ Workshop (RWW) framework in both English and Spanish to ensure that our students are strong bilingual and bi-literate learners. RWW is a balanced literacy approach that was built on the premise that all children will learn to read and write when given a wide variety of real-life experiences appropriate to their level. Students are given daily opportunities to practice reading and writing with varying levels of support and scaffolding in both Spanish and English. 

There are various components of the RWW. The RWW structure allows students to spend long periods of time reading at their independent level and writing within a variety of genres; the workshop also provides opportunities for small group and individualized instruction. All students are given on-going reading assessments that identify their independent reading levels --the levels at which they can read with deep understanding and independence. Students are expected to dramatically increase their reading levels over the course of the school year. Information about reading levels will be given to families at least four times a year, but caregivers are always welcome to ask their student’s teacher for specifics about their levels and progress.

In addition to the reading and writing workshop, all students engage in phonics or word study lessons and participate in interactive read louds and shared reading. 

Students learn math content in both languages as well. With Common Core, students develop a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals (mention as applicable to grade level). Through mini-lessons, skills practice, and independent practice students are exposed to concepts and develop mastery. Students learn concepts and skills from all mathematical standards, as well as the connections between these concepts, through focused exposure to topics and frequent opportunities to review and practice. 

Students also engage in regular independent practice through on-line math curriculum. Students in Kindergarten through fifth grade work on ST Math which is designed to increase math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. This allows students to complete self-paced skill and concept reinforcement. 

At Bancroft, we believe that the best way for students to appreciate the scientific enterprise, learn important scientific concepts, and develop the ability to think critically is to actively construct ideas through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. We chose the Full Option Science System (FOSS) as our primary curriculum for our science program. This program was created to engage students in the scientific process as they explore the natural world. Students explore the scientific method and are then exposed to life, physical and earth sciences through a series of hands-on scientific investigations. Their learning will be celebrated during the annual school-wide science fair. 

Tools of the Mind 
Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood program that is being implemented in our PreK3, PreK4 and kindergarten programs. The Tools program builds strong foundations for school success in preschool and kindergarten children by promoting their intentional and self-regulated learning. Children learn to regulate their own behaviors as well as the behaviors of their friends as they enact increasingly more complex scenarios in their imaginary play in preschool and in learning activities in kindergarten.