Boulder Elementary School has the unique ability to teach students in a multiage learning environment, meaning students of different ages learn together in one class, not separated by grade level. Multiage classrooms foster instruction driven by individual objectives, allowing students to thrive and be challenged based on their specific needs.

Multiage learning reflects the natural groupings found in the world around us and offers opportunities for children to exchange ideas, follow modeled behavior, and develop leadership and social skills. Attention to the education of the whole child, integrated curriculum, and child-centered learning are vital principles in multiage learning.

Boulder Elementary School uses the Responsive Classroom approach as its foundation, driving Garfield County School Districts’ mission of Igniting Hearts and Minds through a safe and collaborative culture.  It is an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on the vital link between academic success and social-emotional learning, emphasizing that how we teach is as important as the content taught.  

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching comprises a set of well-designed practices intended to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities.  The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs.  For additional information about Responsive Classroom and our school, read chapter 6, Positive Behaviors, of the Boulder Elementary School Handbook.  

Boulder Elementary School’s curriculum, based on Utah Core Standards, cultivates curiosity and appropriately challenges our students. Young children are intrinsically motivated to learn. They look at the world around them with wonder and a desire to understand all they experience. Our unique approach supports and maintains their internal drive, developing foundational knowledge, learning skills, and personality traits to create lifelong learners who strive to achieve mastery in all academic pursuits.  

We are dedicated to the education of the whole child, integrated curriculum, and child-centered learning. These principles are vital in multiage learning. Therefore our students are not identified by their grade level.  The students are divided into multiage classes, although they frequently participate in lessons, activities, and events as a whole school.

Students learn specific content in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, Engineering, Computer Science, Social-Emotional Learning, and Digital Citizenship. They learn to think about what they have learned and apply what they learned to new situations. Boulder students learn to collaborate and communicate with others, think critically and creatively, and develop study habits that will last a lifetime.

Since our curriculum is based on Utah Core Standards, the students demonstrate their proficiency or mastery of these standards. School staff track students’ progress and achievements, driving instruction to reach their highest potential. We cannot rely on traditional grading methods based on the percentage of work completed. Instead, standards-based reporting depends on the learning targets for each of the state standards.   

Our standards-based scale is 1-4 and reflects students’ increasing skill or mastery. A “1” represents little understanding of a taught concept, so the student cannot demonstrate proficiency. As students learn and progress, they can show partial mastery and score a “2”. Once they meet a target, they achieve a “3”. The “4’s” are reserved for students who exceed the learning target.  “N.A.” represents not applicable.

At the beginning of a unit or when standards are introduced, students may only be at a “1” because it is before learning occurs. They are not traditional grades. It is important to remember that we track progress with the goal of students mastering each area by the end of the year. Think of the standards-based scales as the following:

4: Exceeding Grade-Level Standards

3: Meeting Grade-Level Standards 
     (end-of-year target) 

2: Approaching Grade-Level Standards

1:Developing Grade-Level Standards

For additional information on standards-based grading, review Dr. Robert J. Marzano’s tips on standards-based grading or watch What is standard-based grading?