We are committed to providing engaging and rigorous educational opportunities for all of our students through our academic programs. We are driven to meet the needs of our students today and in the future by offering relevant and engaging instruction that prepares students well, not only for career and college readiness but for lifelong success.
We are also committed to serving the needs of the whole child, which means focusing on interests, dreams and the developmental milestones of our students, from early childhood through graduation. Through strong partnerships with community organizations and nationally-recognized research institutions, we engage in a continuous improvement model to ensure excellence for both students and staff. We live the ideal that one is never too old to learn.
- Social Studies
- Art & Music
- Global Languages
- Physical Education
- Media & Technology
- Social-Emotional Learning
- Testing & Assessments
We think of “literacy” as the ability to read and write, but it encompasses much more. Oral language development is critical to building strong reading and writing skills, and to communication in general. Critical thinking skills utilized while viewing a production, hearing a speech, or engaging in social media, are extremely important. That’s why we focus on all of the domains of literacy: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Our integrated elementary curriculum has a strong balance of reading, writing and phonics work at the earliest levels, ensuring that our students gain the skills they need in decoding words and reading fluently in order to understand what they have read.
Literacy plays a part in every content area as students move through the Richfield education system. Our students are continually learning to read and write as they read and write to learn. “Literacy” in Richfield means thinking and communicating in the discipline, being financially and economically literate, and understanding how language is deeply embedded in all cultures.
K-5 literacy includes reading, writing, oral language and word work, including phonics. The integration of these three critical components is the true definition of balanced literacy. While the work looks somewhat different at each grade level, the combination of components is preparing students for success at the secondary level, where the texts and tasks are more complex. At the end of elementary school, students are expected to have strong reading stamina, meaning that they can read and understand what they have read for extended periods of time. A general expectation is the ability to read at least 40 minutes without interruption by the end of fourth and fifth grade. Students are also expected to write for extended periods of time and for different purposes, including creative writing, research and informational writing, and writing for personal purposes, such as reflection. Although there is considerable research disproving the effectiveness of formulaic writing such as the five-paragraph essay, students are expected by the end of fifth grade to write cohesive pieces of considerable length that include inviting introductions and strong endings, effective transitions that help the reader navigate through the writing, and clearly identified central ideas and themes.
Math is everywhere in our lives: from perfectly geometric plants to patterns in the skies, the seasons, and our waters. We are dedicated to building strong math identities in our students, helping them to deeply understand mathematical concepts and the why behind them, not just the procedures. Strong math education provides students with vital lifelong skills, including problem-solving, analytical and spatial skills, and a deeper understanding of the world around us through science, music and the arts.
In Richfield, we know that learning math is good for our students’ brains. Research shows that strong math students access different parts of their brains while engaging in mathematical activities. Math education provides students with the opportunity to look for problems and design solutions, and strong math education will prepare students for jobs that haven’t even been created yet.
Math is a discipline that continually builds off of previous learning, so a foundational understanding of mathematical concepts and number sense is critical to success in the more advanced math taught at the secondary level. By the end of fifth grade, students are expected to have a strong understanding of place value, patterns, mathematical models, geometry, measurement, and data display and interpretation. Students are expected to use math to solve real-world problems and understand how math touches our lives in countless ways every day. This deep foundational knowledge will provide a strong base as our students continue to build their math identity and grow as math scholars.
Science is an integral component of human society. It offers the opportunity for students to learn why and how things work—from the environment, to living organisms, to machines and more. Science provides explanations to the mechanics and reasons behind complex systems. In Richfield Public Schools, we embrace scientific thinking and strive to create young scientists who are curious and embrace a deep understanding of natural and man-made phenomena and their effects on our world. We believe that the future is in the hands of our students, and we want them fully prepared to voyage into the unknown.
Children are natural scientists, so science at the elementary level is designed to be exploratory—fitting well with a curious mind. Students explore a variety of topics across the science genres of life science, physical science, engineering, and earth and space science, providing a solid knowledge base for science in middle and high school, which is content-specific at grade levels. The Minnesota State Science Standards are phenomena-based, which means that students both individually and in collaboration with each other explore an issue and use science to understand or solve a problem. Engineering is integrated throughout standards to raise engineering design to the same level of significance as scientific inquiry, emphasizing its importance in today’s world.
Social studies prepares students to become informed, active and engaged citizens in society and participating members of an interdependent global community. At Richfield Public Schools, we are dedicated to that purpose. Our social studies curriculum requires students to engage in thoughtful inquiry, to learn from the past in order to create a better tomorrow, and to collaborate with others when solving problems. Further, social studies demands the inclusion of all students, because such rich diversity enhances the learning needed in a pluralistic society.
Social studies education at the elementary level provides the opportunity for our young scholars to learn more about the world around them and their place in it. It helps them to understand, make informed decisions about, and participate in society. It helps them to learn about/from the past in order to create a future where all people can build strong relationships, work together on important issues facing societies across the world and, to quote Mahatma Ghandi, to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
STEM education is an integrated approach to teaching and learning, preparing students for a world we cannot yet imagine. STEM is not a curriculum; it is a framework of education that uses inquiry and project-based learning to solve problems. While we often think of STEM as mostly science and math, or just technology, literacy also plays a critical role in STEM education. It helps students to better understand each subject separately and together. Students tap into their creative, scientific and technical mind to apply concepts in the four areas of science, technology, engineering and math to identify issues and resolve them. Our 6-12 Computer Science Pathway prepares students to be successful in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science courses at Richfield High School, giving students the opportunity to learn advanced coding skills that open a world of possibilities for them after high school.
All four of our elementary schools have strong science, technology and math education, and we are continuing to build the engineering component of STEM, utilizing Engineering is Elementary curriculum to create learning experiences for our students that tap into their natural curiosity of how the world works. We partner with the Science Museum of Minnesota for many of our STEM units and activities, and encourage our young scholars to learn as much as they can about the world and the way it works.
The arts celebrate creations of the heart, and offer multiple perspectives on the world. We believe the arts are a crucial component to education and that students’ lives are enhanced through the arts: music, visual arts, food, design, performing arts and more. Participating in fine arts contributes to higher academic achievement, civic engagement and socio-emotional growth. It can also improve motivation, concentration and confidence.
General music and art are offered at the elementary level, providing the opportunity for students to create things of beauty. Music and art also provide the opportunity to learn about and explore a variety of cultural and personal identities through different genres of music and visual arts.
Our country and our communities are more diverse than ever before, and it is one of our greatest strengths—our rich diversity will provide our young people with the skills needed to successfully navigate through an increasingly connected global society. Becoming proficient in a second, third or even fourth language is a valued skill in the workplace and in life. Further, language education provides a deeper understanding of cultures from the lens of one of their most important human aspects—communication.
We are proud to offer a pre-K through high school dual language immersion program, where students bring their first language assets and learn a second language from and with each other. In addition, we offer Spanish, French and German language and culture instruction, and we embrace all of the languages that make us #OneRichfield.
We offer students the opportunity to learn a global language beginning in middle school. At Richfield Middle School, a student can even earn high school credit while still in eighth grade. At Richfield High School, three global languages are offered, with all three (French, German and Spanish) offering college credit at the highest levels. Most colleges and universities require at least two years of high school global language credit, and our students are well prepared to meet this prerequisite by the time they graduate from Richfield High School.
We also offer the opportunity for students to earn the Seal of Biliteracy from the State of Minnesota. The Seal of Biliteracy is a celebration of students’ multilingualism, providing recognition of language assets through notation on a student’s transcript as well as college credit at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU).
We are committed to the priceless values of bilingualism and biliteracy.
Global languages (Spanish, French and German) are offered to students in grades 6-12 at Richfield Middle School and Richfield High School.
As part of our mission to provide the best possible education for our students, we require physical education and health education throughout our students’ educational careers.
Physical education provides an opportunity for students to continue building both their gross and fine motor skills, enhance their hand-eye coordination and their reflexes, and improve their cardiovascular and muscular systems while reducing stress. Further, physical education provides the opportunity to learn and improve team-building skills and self-confidence.
Health education helps students build their knowledge about physical, mental, social and emotional health. Our students learn about healthy habits and how to maintain them, as well as how to prevent chronic diseases through a healthy lifestyle.
One is never too young to learn the benefits of a healthy mind and a healthy body. Physical education at the elementary level combines rich play with strong education about lifelong exercise, physical activity and teamwork. Health education improves the lives of families, communities, our nation and the world. Minnesota uses the National Health and Physical Education Standards to guide K-12 schools’ health and physical education programming because we want our students to grow strong and to enjoy a long life of being active.
#En-Rich is our personalized digital learning model that supports students and teachers in developing the “Four Cs” of 21st-century learning: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. This happens through a combination of personal learning devices, instructional software and innovative teaching strategies. Students use multiple platforms to check grades, communicate with teachers, access digital assignments and access digital curriculum, including Synergy (student information system), Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Seesaw and Schoology.
At the elementary level, students access personal learning devices through carts in the classroom. In addition to everyday school content, students learn a variety of skills through our digital and media literacy curriculum to prepare them for the future including quality, fact-based research, computer science and digital citizenship.
All students in grades preK-5 will have access to a classroom set of devices equal to or greater than half of the students in the class. In other words, one device for every two students. Chromebooks will be available in week two of the academic year, after students complete digital citizenship and digital fluency training. Students will also have access to media center devices that will help them learn about being good digital citizens and provide learning opportunities in computer science and robotics.
We are committed to supporting the whole child. Curriculum and services are offered to support students socially, emotionally and academically. Second Step and health curriculum are offered to all elementary students to support the development of pro-social skills, empathy and positive peer relationships. Secondary curriculum focuses on practicing and acquiring skills related to emotional regulation, skill building and goal planning for high school graduation and beyond.
Each year, we administer and analyze district-selected and state-mandated assessments. The information that is obtained from these assessments is used by teachers, administrators and parents to help them better understand how our students are learning important skills in reading, mathematics and writing.
Our assessment and evaluation program uses student achievement and growth data to provide instructional programming, procedures, or placement for students in accordance with their demonstrated academic skills.
Our mission is to collect meaningful information, communicate the information in a user-friendly way and utilize the information to make strong instructional decisions that will best serve our students.
Learn more about the tests administered at the elementary level by visiting the Testing & Assessment page on the District website.