Curriculum » Curriculum


TCCS takes pride in a rigorous curriculum that develops students’ knowledge, concepts and skills, and encourages proactive and engaged learning.

English Language Arts

Teachers College Community School uses the research-based approach of Balanced Literacy utilizing the curriculum framework of TC's Advancing Literacy. Balanced Literacy stresses the essential dimensions of reading through teaching of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency and expressiveness, vocabulary, and comprehension. Daily read-alouds, independent reading time, reading workshop, writing workshop and systematic word study instruction are key features of the approach. Teachers model the habits and strategies of effective reading and writing through a variety of structures: read-aloud, guided reading, shared reading, interactive writing, and mini-lessons in reading and writing. By coaching students in individual and small-group conferences, teachers allow students to successfully and independently apply those strategies to their own reading and writing.

Classroom libraries are the centerpiece of Balanced Literacy. These libraries allow teachers to organize instruction around authentic literature. Extensive use of classroom libraries encourages students to read and write about a variety of topics that they know and like. The libraries are designed so that each grade will have a common core of books that span a range of reading levels and cover all kinds of literature from picture books, chapter books, and novels to poetry and nonfiction.

Teachers College supports the ELA curriculum with regular onsite coaching and offsite professional development provided by the TC's Advancing Literacy unit. 


The Teachers College Community School mathematics program also takes a balanced approach, focusing on what students need to know and the processes and skills necessary to reason, solve problems, and think critically. TCCS uses the Engage NY Math Curriculum complemented by Context for Learning and Investigations.

At the upper grades, TCCS participates in Algebra for All, New York City’s initiative to prepare all students to master algebraic concepts and skills by the end of 8th grade.

Teachers College is also a primary source of information and professional development for school staff on educational research, the collection and dissemination of best practices, and the effective implementation of instructional tools.


The Teachers College Community School's science curriculum is a combination of hands-on inquiry, interdisciplinary work with ELA, social studies, and math, and exploratory-based learning. The science curriculum is based on the New York City Scope & Sequence (PreK-8 and 6-12), as well as Next Generation Science Standards. Our approach allows students to practice problem-solving skills, develop positive science attitudes, learn new science content, and increase their scientific literacy.

The elementary science program emphasizes a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to learning. Younger students learn effectively when they are actively engaged in the discovery process. Children's natural curiosity leads them to explore the natural world. We encourage teachers to provide opportunities for students to have direct experience with common objects, materials, and living things in their environments.

Social Studies

The Teachers College Community School's program has its foundations in the New York State Social Studies Core Curriculum. Through explorations of history, geography, economics, government, and civics, students learn about the people, places, eras, and events near and far that shaped our world. TCCS follows the DOE's Passport for Social Studies Curriculum, using the trade book program and supplementing these materials with primary source kits, maps, atlases, and realia.

In kindergarten, students begin to develop awareness of self, family, neighborhoods, and communities large and small. In the elementary program, students are introduced to the diversity of world communities, the historic development of New York state, and the similarities and differences among nations. In the middle grades students learn about the Eastern Hemisphere, compare world religions and classical Civilizations, Native Americans and Colonial development, and United States History.

Physical Education

Students learn the importance of physical education in their daily lives by participating in team activities and fitness drills multiple times a week. The health education component teaches students how to take care of their bodies and the people around them and how to make healthy and informed decisions.


TCCS believes arts education is important to support our school’s goals for the healthy development of students, both intellectually and socially. Through exposure to the arts, TCCS students develop lifelong enjoyment in dance, music, and visual arts.


Teachers College Community School partners with music educators from Teachers College to offer high-quality music education experiences for students. Children at TCCS discover the joys of music as they learn to write, create, compose, sing, analyze, and perform various genres. The following are the musical offerings for the 2022-2023 school year:

  • General Music - PreK through 2nd Grades
  • Violin - 3rd Grade
  • Choir - 4th Grade
  • Digital Music - 5th through 8th Grades


Visual Arts

Visual art and design experiences are offered through partnership with Studio in a School, Salvadori Center, and Teachers College. The goals are to promote creativity and exploration and introduce students to a variety of arts media including creative technologies.

Assemblies and field trips supplement the arts curriculum. Students have opportunities to experience live music, opera, theater, and art exhibits both at school, and across New York City.

Middle School Curriculum Overview

The middle school curriculum is anchored by four core principles, shown below. They guide us in fostering optimal learning and development for young adolescents learners.  Our middle school students are also the leaders of the student body and have numerous opportunities to be models and mentors for younger students. The table below illustrates how the core principles are incorporated throughout the middle school curriculum.

Core Principles of the Middle School Program

Academic Excellence
  • differentiated instruction tailored to students’ strengths and interests
  • applied learning
  • enhanced communication skills and modalities
  • infused technology
  • social engagement
  • leadership
  • responsibility
  • community service
  • care of environment
Cultural Competence
  • emotional intelligence
  • global mindedness
  • social awareness
  • peer relationship
Personal Development
  • grit
  • healthy lifestyles
  • decision making
  • talent development

Promotion Criteria

Per DOE regulations, students must meet three promotion criteria to advance to the next grade:


Students must achieve 90% or higher attendance rate throughout the academic year.

Class work

Students must be able to complete tasks that are aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards.


Students will be assessed periodically to monitor academic growth and deficiencies.

Homework Policy

Homework is given to students on Fridays in the form of a weekly packet and collected the following Friday. The homework of students is not graded, but it is highly recommended that students complete it. Homework is a reinforcement of what the students will have learned during the school day and is a great opportunity for parents to engage in what your child is learning and extend that learning at home. We encourage you to enrich the concepts at home through discussions and activities that support instruction. For example, discussing measurement while preparing meals or connecting family outings to topics students are studying in school. (ie., museum, neighborhood walks, vacations, etc.)

Academic Support Services

  • Math Coach
  • Special Education
  • English as a New Language
  • Counseling