Gold Rush believes that students across grades K-5 should be taught critical thinking strategies that will prepare them for the 21st Century. Gold Rush educators also believe that each child should be instructed at his or her instructional level. Teachers across grades K-5 use a readers' and writers' workshop to achieve these goals. Students are taught mini lessons that push them to think at high levels. In reading, teachers reference national reading expert Stephanie Harvey's Comprehension Toolkit to explicitly teach students the following research-based reading comprehension strategies: monitoring comprehension, activating and connecting prior knowledge, asking questions, inferring and visualizing, determining importance and summarizing and synthesizing. Teachers utilize Lucy Calkins' Units of Study when instructing students on how to write informational, narrative and persuasive pieces. Students apply the strategies taught in instructional level texts that have been identified through assessments or in their own writing. Classroom teachers set individualized goals with each student and provide personalized feedback during the independent time of the workshop. Workshops conclude by having students reflect, share and celebrate what they learned and tried during the workshop.
Gold Rush believes that students need to think critically and problem solve in math. Gold Rush also believes that it is important to teach students the reasoning and concepts behind algorithms and how to solve problems accurately and efficiently. Students are taught multiple ways to solve problems, and students are asked to explain their thinking and defend their approach and answer. The school's professional learning specialist and classroom teachers provide math enrichment and support for students based on their unique learning needs.
Students explore science through the process of inquiry. Inquiry allows students' questions to drive the exploration of grade level units. Students generate questions about the world around them as they engage in hands on experiments and investigations.
In the area of social studies, students learn how history has influenced the world today. Students also explore what can be learned from the past and how they can demonstrate civic responsibility. In several grade levels, social studies is integrated into other content areas. Students in grades two through five, for example, write persuasive and informational pieces exploring the following social studies concepts: influential citizens, how the five strands of social studies are evident in Colorado history and societal changes over time.