The Center City PCS Curriculum

At Center City, we believe that all students can grow into compassionate, curious, and engaged citizens who advocate for themselves and for their communities. Therefore, we commit to providing students with a diverse set of experiences that include a rigorous, socially-relevant curriculum and opportunities for service learning. We believe that through these experiences, our students will become self-confident and resilient young adults who are able to think critically, take meaningful risks, and contribute to a productive, just, and peaceful global society.

We infuse character education, service learning experiences, and social justice themes into our academic and enrichment programs in order to help our students become active and engaged citizens.

Our curriculum and instructional practices are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework (C3). Our curriculum provides scholars with rich and authentic experiences in ELA, humanities, math, and science. Enrichment offerings vary by campus but include visual art, music, dance, Spanish, STEM, and drama.

Curriculum at a Glance

The K-8 curriculum at Center City Public Charter Schools is designed to intentionally drive student achievement and to engage, challenge and meet the diverse needs of all of our scholars.  Driven by our mission to not only set scholars up for success on the rigorous PARCC assessment but to also equip them with the critical thinking skills of 21st-century learners. We want our students to thrive in high school, college and beyond, so we designed our curriculum to bridge the gap between our current student achievement data and the high expectations for student outcomes driven by the Common Core State Standards.

Pre-K 3 and 4

For Pre-K we use the Every Child Ready Curriculum (ECR) developed by the AppleTree Institute. ECR’s full-day curriculum provides instruction in literacy, language, math, science, social studies, physical development, creative arts, and social-emotional development. Children participate in a structured and predictable set of instructional components, including whole group, small group, child-driven, and independent learning times. ECR incorporates thematic units that explore themes, including Family & Community, Space & Astronomy, and the Animal Kingdom.

K-8 English Language Arts

Our ELA curriculum is deeply rooted in two simple beliefs: first, that scholars need significant “time in text” and second, that a true love of reading must be at the core of each and every classroom. Driven by these beliefs, we use a curriculum that prioritizes the major shifts in instruction driven by the Common Core State Standards. Center City scholars spend significant time reading and closely analyzing complex texts as well as identifying evidence from the texts to support strong arguments. In grades K-3, scholars are securing foundational skills and engaging in text-based discussions through the Core Knowledge Language Arts program (CKLA).

Scholars in grades 4-8 will meet the demands of the Common Core by engaging with authentic, high-interest literature and visual arts through the Wit & Wisdom, a research-based curriculum that engages students in four thematic units of study. Each module includes an anchor text, a wide selection of supplemental fiction and non-fiction texts, and visual art. The curriculum integrates writing instruction at the daily level and each unit ends in a performance task.

K-8 Mathematics

Center City has adopted the Eureka Mathematics curriculum for grades K-8. The Eureka curriculum prioritizes the major work of each grade level, as designated by the PARCC Model Content Framework. Scholars spend significant time engaging in higher levels of mathematical performance – to persevere in problem-solving, to reason using various mathematical strategies, and to reflect on mistakes, processes, and solutions. Each unit includes opportunities for students to develop procedural skills and fluency while building a solid, conceptual understanding of foundational mathematics content. With a deep conceptual understanding of the content and daily opportunities to apply the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practices, scholars are empowered to engage in mathematical discussions and to build a level of mathematical literacy that will follow them to high school.

Middle School Science

In 2017-18, we adopted the Full Option Science System (FOSS) curriculum for grades 6-8. FOSS is a hands-on curriculum that allows students to learn science through critical thinking and active investigation. FOSS is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and builds students’ capacity to learn both scientific and engineering concepts. In the lower grades, we have designed a science curriculum that is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and embodies the dual nature of science: a body of deep content knowledge and the processes and practices used to add to that body of knowledge. Scholars learn early about the scientific process and are asked to apply this process of disciplined inquiry and experimentation to a science project of their choosing.

Middle School Social Studies

Our social studies curriculum is built around the Core Knowledge Sequence in grades K-5 which describes the content students should know at each grade level throughout the course of their education. In middle school, the curriculum is designed to focus on complex primary and secondary sources which requires accurate citation of visual and textual evidence. Our curriculum emphasizes the determination of central ideas, summarization, citation, inferencing, and analysis in order to build the critical thinking skills necessary for scholars to develop and defend historically accurate arguments in both written and oral response format.


Applying to Center City PCS is easy! We do not have admission criteria and welcome all families who are interested in our programs. We invite students for grades PreKindergarten (4 years old) to 8th grade to apply at


Center City's teachers are dedicated to developing the whole child through a rigorous, character-infused academic program. Find out if you are ready to become a Center City teacher.


Every child deserves a quality education and we strive to provide small, safe family environments that are conducive to learning. Your donation helps to ensure we are nurturing and developing the next generation of leaders.

Helpful list of all DC Public Charter Schools that are offering learning opportunities this summer #CharterSummers #DCcharterPROUD #KeepKidsLearning #NationalSummerLearningDay

At @CenterCityShaw, EK12 Bold Improvement school winner, Principal Tyson strategically loops teachers w/ students when student growth & family engagement data is amazing. Love the data-driven decision-making! Find more interesting #BoldImprovement ideas:

Thank you to @empowerk12 for the opportunity! #CenterCityPCS #Excellence #BoldImprovement

Highlights from #DCDataSummit session titled "Boldly Using Data to Improve Student Success" - @CenterCityPCS Shaw held student-led conferences w parents and teachers. Students owned their own data, which empowered them to take their learning to the next level.

Congratulations to Brandy Tyson, our bold performance principal!

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