What We Teach

The main focus of Emerald City School curricular programs is to lead our students toward academic mastery. Students with learning differences benefit from our approach because class lessons are planned to meet individual student needs and interests. We also offer comprehensive academic interventions in math and reading, which are designed to increase skill mastery in those areas and bring students to their appropriate grade level.

In addition to our academics, Emerald City School also emphasizes the value of community engagement and the cultivation of a growth mindset in our students. Teachers encourage students to advocate for their own needs within the classroom, which develops the confidence students require when applying their self-advocacy skills in other areas of life. We highlight the importance of teamwork and perseverance both through everyday classroom assignments and with the community projects our students take on throughout the year.

While other programs may target academic deficiencies, we believe in the power of harnessing student strengths. Emerald City School programs provide our students with the skills they need to succeed and empower them to use their skills to create positive change within themselves and within our larger community.

Emerald City School offers plenty of opportunities for struggling readers to reach their grade level. During ELA, students set goals for their reading fluency and comprehension. Our curriculum is designed to meet students at their mastery level and expand their skills with relevant high-interest reading materials. Students who need further support are assigned a separate reading intervention, where they work with a teacher in an even smaller setting on specific skills.
We are dedicated to providing math instruction that makes sense to students with learning differences. During math class, we focus on the concrete-representational-abstract sequence of instruction. Students see the real-world application of math concepts, then break those concepts down into understandable steps. Students learn that selecting and applying the correct math processes to a given problem is just as important as arriving at the correct answer. In order to build math confidence, we also encourage math fact fluency through programs like Rocket Math. Finally, students are assigned intensive math interventions to master specific skills.
In technology class, Emerald City School teaches students homekey typing, how to use the Microsoft Office software suite, and how to conduct internet research. We also teach Digital Citizenship through Common Sense Media, a program which highlights the importance of internet safety, privacy, and the dangers of cyberbullying.
Emerald City School is honored to participate in a collaborative Fine Arts program with the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop), just two blocks from our location in central Seattle. Every week, our students participate in a wide variety of Fine Arts classes taught by professional creative artists. This year, our students have explored the magic of puppetry, dance, and the Japanese graphic literary artform known as Manga. We look forward to learning all we can from the amazing art programs offered at the MoPop.


Our interventions include explicit instruction and learning strategy models. We draw from the latest research, which has identified other successful instructional strategies such as:

  • Small interactive groups
  • Controlling task difficulty
  • Repetition and practice
  • Sequencing
  • Technology
  • Directed questioning and responding
  • Strategy cueing
  • Teaching for generalization
  • Monitoring student learning

School Extras

Learning should be engaging and experiential. We take pride in exposing our students to the many and varied experiential learning opportunities that await them outside of the traditional classroom walls. Fine arts opportunities and educational resources are outside our doors in the heart of Seattle and its diverse neighborhoods. These resources complement the well-rounded educational experience that students receive while attending Emerald City School.

ECS values building our school community beyond academic life. This year, we offer several popular after-school activities for students to explore. We are also always open to exciting student suggestions!

  • Robotics is a parent-led club for students interested in learning about robots. Students experiment with Lego robotics kits and watch the 'bots do their bidding.
  • Movement/Dance/Cheer is a club for students who want to spin, rally, and arabesque through inspiring performances. Students in Movement learn to use their bodies in rewarding and challenging new ways.
  • Arts and Crafts is a club for students who want to create cool things and learn new skills. Students snip, stitch, and glue their pieces with the guidance of Ms. Ellie.