Duluth Edison Charter Schools

Journeys Reading Program


Journeys is a reading program designed to meet the diverse needs of all students by using a balanced literacy approach. Students will progressively learn and develop different skills related to phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension.

Balanced literacy is an approach in which teachers support each reader's development. The teacher will utilize materials from the program that allow for differentiation, whole group or small group instruction. The teacher can support the student which leads to the ultimate goal of independent reading.

Some of the reading terms you may hear from our Journeys program include:

  • Read aloud - the teacher reads to the students exposing them to various types of literature and develop reading strategies.
  • Emotional and Personal
  • Shared reading - children participate in reading with the teacher and classmates and learn critical concepts of how print works.
  • Guided reading - students are reading independently at their instructional level while discussion is facilitated by the teacher.
  • Independent reading (Primary teachers - discuss the use of decodable books within your classroom)


Through this balanced literacy approach the teachers will be evaluating students in several ways.
  • Observation
  • Running Records
  • Small Group Instruction
  • Weekly Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Tests
  • Cold Reads
  • Unit Tests
  • Benchmark Tests
  • Map Testing

The balanced literacy philosophy is an effective way to help children improve their skills one step at a time. The better your child learns to read, the more successful they will be in years to come.

Embedded opportunities to challenge students:Reading

  • Unit Project
  • Big Idea/Essential Questions
  • Advanced Leveled Readers
  • Small Group section has Advanced level instruction/activities for each lesson
  • Grab and Go - - has weekly challenge practice in it
  • Work Stations include a Challenge Yourself
  • Technology - WriteSmart, Destination Reading
  • Each lesson has a connect & extend
  • Each lesson has Making Connections - the advanced students should be able to do all
  • Multiple writing opportunities each week that can be used to extend students
  • At Grades 3 - 5 there are the advanced novels - - if this is a K - 5 adoption they could take the magazine from the next grade level and use it (so for example Grade 4 could use the Grade 5 magazine, etc)
  • In Grades 3 - 5 there is a Weekly Internet Challenge
  • My Journey Home (Parent Component) has a Challenge Activity, Book Links, Internet Challenge
  • Spelling lesson has 5 Challenge words for each week
Everyday Math
Everyday Math consists of three basic parts, including: Math
  1. A curriculum with an emphasis on conceptual understanding while building upon mastering basic math skills.
  2. A curriculum that explores a full spectrum of mathematics instead of only the basic arithmetic.
  3. A curriculum based on the interests of students and their natural learning in preparation for their futures in the real world.
 Emergent Literacy in Writing Writing

In kindergarten and first grade, students learn writing through Emergent Literacy. In kindergarten, students at DECS begin learning to write. As they learn their sounds they also learn how to write letters. By the middle of first grade students begin using the two different curriculums in writing: Writers Express and Step Up to Writing. They continue to use these throughout fifth grade.

The Writers Express / Write Away curriculum teaches students the steps involved in the writing process while also teaching grammar skills.

Engaging Social Science

Social Science studies at DECS are skillfully designed to utilize the four main strands of history, geography, civics and economics. Through the "History Alive" curriculum, key concepts are introduced at developmentally appropriate times. Learning social science at DECS proves to be fun, engaging and, most of all, memorable!

Hands on Science Program

At DECS, our K-5 science program focuses on using hands-on activities and inquiry-based instruction to help students understand the scientific world. Teachers use Delta Science Module kits to address state standards and to allow students to engage with scientific materials. Students take part in everything from growing their own plants to creating electrical circuits and are encouraged to develop and investigate their own questions about the content.

Each grade level uses the MN State Science Standards as a guide for instruction. Teachers address the three branches of science: physical, earth and life. Students also delve into the scientific process and engineering design. Through these processes, students are encouraged to ask a question, test an hypothesis, and form a conclusion based on their findings. These processes help students better understand the three branches of science and how scientists and engineers do their jobs.  

Early Exposure to Spanish

Beginning in kindergarten, students start to acquire the second language of Spanish through conversations and culture. The long-term goal of DECS is that they learn to communicate fluently in Spanish. Students are exposed to a variety of lessons that enhance their cultural awareness and sensitivity. Additionally, students become familiar with Spanish writing through grammar lessons and various other activities.


Creativity in Art

At the elementary level, students are taught to use a variety of creative tools and materials to express themselves through ideas and art concepts. Students also begin to learn about different cultures and artists and learn to respond to and describe individual and professional artwork. At the elementary level, DECS strives to include cross-cultural lessons which include math, technology, reading, writing, science and social studies. 


Making Music

The experience of music through song, play, instruments, movement, creating, reading, notating, and listening culminates in kindergarten through fifth grades at DECS. With the use of many wonderful resources, including our new Quaver online music program students learn the elements of music while connecting to style, culture and other disciplines.


Physical Education Enjoyment

In physical fitness, the emphasis at this level is to develop health related competence and self-responsible learners. Students learn to individualize and personalize their own active lifestyles.

At DECS, students learn how to make informed decisions and how to evaluate ramifications regarding their health. Our nutrition program stresses healthy choices within the four food groups with special attention to heart-smart eating. We reinforce basic personal safety skills to help students stay safe in their environments.PE

Our students have great opportunities to develop skills in sports and games, without an overemphasis on competitiveness. We believe that learning basic motor skills through various activities provides competence leading to confidence and the enjoyment of physical activity that will last a lifetime!

Learning Lab Pilot at Raleigh

The Learning Lab Pilot at Raleigh focuses on STEM instruction and 21st Century Learning.  Through STEM instruction, the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are integrated into project-based learning activities throughout the school year.  Instruction will also focus on helping students develop creativity, collaboration, communication and creative thinking skills that will help them inside and outside of the classroom walls.  


Students in the Learning Lab use the Journeys and Everyday Math curriculum and also have the opportunity to use a Lego Education curriculum as well.  Throughout the year, students will take part in thematic units that will guide them in exploring a concept in a cross-curricular manner.