Excellence in Knowledge, Expression, & Community


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Monarch supports whole-child development through knowledge-based curriculum and rich experiences in language, inquiry, concept mastery, and creative learning. Our research based program engages more than just the intellect: it also builds upon students' social, emotional, creative/aesthetic, and physical capacities. We believe this supports the skills necessary for success in today's complex world- skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, empathy, resilience, and a willingness to engage across differences. 

Research-Based Approach to Monarch:

E. D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge Sequence

Core Knowledge curriculum was developed by E. D. Hirsch, a highly-respected and accomplished university professor and advocate for excellence and equity in education for all children. To support this goal, an exemplary curriculum was developed that endeavors to:

  • create highly knowledgable, literate students that grow to engage and lead within our democratic society
  • empower each child to achieve his or her greatest academic potential
  • shrink the excellence gap between the academic achievement ofU.S. students and that of international peers from high-performing countries
  • shrink the fairness gap between the academic achievement of U.S. students living in poverty and that of their economically advantaged peers.

Hirsch is the author of several acclaimed books on education in which he has persisted as a voice of reason making the case for equality of educational opportunity. A highly regarded literary critic and professor of English earlier in his career, Dr. Hirsch recalls being “shocked into education reform” while doing research on written composition at a pair of colleges in Virginia. During these studies he observed that a student’s ability to comprehend a passage was determined in part by the relative readability of the text, but even more by the student’s background knowledge. Comprehension was almost impossible if students had never been exposed to the topic. 

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This research led Dr. Hirsch to develop his concept of cultural literacy—the idea that reading comprehension requires not just formal decoding skills but also wide-ranging background knowledge. In 1986 he founded the Core Knowledge Foundation. A year later he published Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, which remained at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for more than six months. His subsequent books include The Schools We NeedThe Knowledge Deficit, and The Making of Americans. In the prologue to his most recent book, Why Knowledge Matters, Dr. Hirsch urges—as he has for more than three decades, in books, articles, and lectures—that “only a well-rounded, knowledge-specific curriculum can impart needed knowledge to all children and overcome inequality of opportunity.”




The following links take you to a selection from among the many articles, essays, and speeches of Core Knowledge founder E. D. Hirsch, Jr. :


Daily Arts Instruction is Essential

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Research shows the overwhelming effects arts have on child development, brain function, and higher academic achievement.  

In June of 2014, a study was published by Boston Children’s Hospital that showed music lessons had a significant impact on the ‘executive function’ of the brain, or cognitive control. This was evident in children who had at least two years of music instruction. Executive functioning is at the top of important brain functions, affecting information processing, retention, and problem solving.

In September of 2014, a study was released from Northwestern University that revealed the impact of music instruction on the central nervous systems of at-risk children. Researchers detailed the direct effects of music instruction on the brains of disadvantaged children.

In 2010, the Missouri Alliance Arts for Arts Education published the results of an exhaustive, three-year study regarding the effects of fine arts education on academic achievement, discipline, and levels of student engagement.