Charles City Community Schools
Teaching and Learning

Charles City Community Schools exists to reach our kids through rigorious education —and that's what is behind everything we do. We want to create an experience where our kids can be challenged and encouraged to become the best versions of themselves each and every day.

Around here we meet our vision to develop learners who are competent, compassionate, problem solvers through our innovative and rigorous teaching and learning. Utilizing our instructional framework by Kenneth Leithwood and Karen Seashore Louis our teaching and learning applies engaging instruction aligned to rigorous core standards. This learning is then applied in authentic problem solving through student engagement and pathways. Our end goal is to have all students meet our essential competencies through academic standards and problem solving around authentic learning experiences.

Continue reading to see how the competence of core standards and essential competencies meet to create well-rounded students that go forward and make our world a better place through their integrity, critical thinking, and adaptability.

Feel free to browse our Teaching and Learning page to learn more about what makes our classroom experience exceptional and prepares students in an engaging a relevant way.

Core standards and benchmarks

Our instruction, learning, curriculum, and assessment are all aligned to these Iowa Core standards and benchmarks. These represent the “end in mind” of what each student will master as content competence throughout their academic career. The standards also define the expected grade level progress students will make that is assessed locally and annually by the state of Iowa. The core standards speak to the “competence” we develop in our vision. The links below take you to the core standards that our entire organization utilizes to align learning and assess for proficiency.

These resources come from

Literacy Standards
Mathematics Standards
Science Standards
Social Studies Standards
Fine Arts
Physical Education
Computer Science
21st Century Skills

K-12 Curriculum Overview 

Click here to open the full document. 

Essential Competencies 

Essential competencies are the “problem solver” portion of our vision. This represents what we strive for all students to master as better human beings through the application of their competence in core academic areas. This work is achieved by applying the competence in core knowledge in authentic problem-solving ways. This is accomplished through engagement and pathways.  In 2018, a team of staff, students, parents, community, and employers came together for several months to develop our “Portrait of a Graduate” which evolved into this set of Essential Competencies that all students are expected to master. This team all agreed these are the competencies that our kids need to become productive and healthy community members, employees, and people who make the world a better place. 


Charles City Essential Competencies Convey opinions and ideas using oral, written, and non-verbal skills in a variety of forms and contexts. Listen and observe to decipher meaning. Inform, instruct, motivate, persuade and connect with a variety of audiences through effective interactions. 


Work effectively in a climate of changing priorities. Demonstrate agility in thoughts and actions. Respond productively to feedback, praise, setbacks, and criticism. Understand, negotiate, and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach solutions. 

Learner’s Mindset 

Embrace curiosity to explore new ideas. Possess the desire to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Develop positive attitudes and beliefs about authentic learning. Immerse in new experiences and look at familiar experiences with new eyes. Persist through obstacles and challenges. 


Express awareness, sensitivity, concern, and respect to connect with others’ feelings, thoughts, opinions, experiences, and cultures.


Follow set of core values, which are demonstrated through choices and actions. Earn others’ trust and respect through honest and honorable behaviors. 

Critical Thinking 

Views problems, looking for both “bigger picture” connections and more detailed distinctions, to gain insights that will inform solutions. Regularly pursues additional information and evidence to refine understandings. 

Essential competencies download