Lower School Curriculum

Our curriculum emphasizes language arts (reading, writing, listening & speaking), math, science, social studies, and the arts. Our teachers help students build on daily success by fostering resiliency and self-determination. The state’s Common Core Standards guide what we teach through the High Quality Curriculum Materials that we have adopted. Teachers tailor instruction to meet the needs of needs of our students. Data gleaned from assessments, student work, and teacher observations is used to inform instruction and help students reach grade level benchmarks.

Literacy/Language Arts

Paul Cuffee Lower School’s literacy curriculum is based on the Science of Reading which includes 5 component: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension.  “Our curriculum builds deep knowledge by using content-rich, authentic texts on real-world topics in social studies, STEM, and literature. Students leverage their learning for social justice and environmental stewardship while building habits of character that help them contribute to a better world” (EL Education).

Grades K-3 teach foundational reading skills using the Foundations curriculum. Grades K-5 provide English Language Arts instruction through the EL Education curriculum. All students practice their ELA skills with the MyLexia program, an adaptive application that provides students the reinforcement they need to master their reading skills.


Paul Cuffee Lower School’s mathematics curriculum, Eureka Math, allows students to gain a deeper understanding of key math concepts that layer over time. Each lesson in the curriculum includes fluency, problem-solving, concept development, independent practice and a debrief. Students use the same models and problem solving methods from grade to grade, allowing them to solidify their math knowledge. Students learn to persevere, engage in productive struggle, think critically, strategize and engage in rich math discourse. Students are provided the opportunity to practice their skills collaboratively and independently using manipulatives and other tools.

Science and Social Studies

In science, we use the GEMSnet curriculum which is based on Full Option Science System (FOSS) Kits and in partnership with the University of Rhode Island. These kits provide easy access to the materials needed to teach science through an inquiry-based approach. Science notebooks are used to document student learning and scientific thinking.

Through our social studies curriculum, all students develop an awareness of their community and their role in it. Kindergarten and first grade focus on their school and local community. By the time our fifth grade students transition to middle school, they are equipped with knowledge of their city, state, country, and world. All students are also taught the history and importance of our school’s namesake, Paul Cuffee, and our students are challenged to live up to his ideals.


Students in kindergarten through grade 5 participate in special-area subjects including visual arts, integrated arts (music, drama, and dance), physical education, and library media studies.


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%