TK-5 Schoolwide Academic Programs
The Language Arts program is aligned fully with the new California Common Core standards. The Common Core’s “College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards” dictate the broad goals for what all students should be able to do prior to graduating high school in order to be ready for higher education and a range of career options while the K-8th grade standards inform more specific grade level expectations. Our K-8th grade ELA programs include increasingly complex reading materials and as the students develop stronger skills they assume more independence in their work assignments. Throughout each grade our students develop more sophisticated persuasive, expository, and narrative writing skills. They also are able to verbally present information clearly using evidence to support claims when appropriate. We teach them to analyze what they have read and to cite strong and detailed textual evidence to support their positions. They are able to elevate the quality of their persuasive, expository, and narrative writing. In collaborative discussions and class presentations our students learn to verbally present information clearly using precise evidence to support claims when appropriate. The entire Language Arts curriculum is a strong literature based program that includes a balance of oral and written language. Reading instruction is meaning based and encompasses systematic and explicit instruction of emergent literacy skills including attention to the four cueing systems, spelling and vocabulary development, a wide range of comprehension strategies and critical thinking skills to interpret and evaluate texts. The strengths of the Language Arts program lie in the integration of the literacy instruction across all areas of the core curriculum, incorporating multicultural literature and multimedia, building upon an abundance of life experiences and the reservoir of knowledge students of diverse backgrounds bring to school that represents the voices of diversity within the community. Other effective program elements include differentiated instruction and co-planning to meet the needs of all students. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, Illuminate Inspect assessments, SBAC interim and block assessments, Achieve 3000, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth. This array of assessments was chosen to measure each individual’s growth towards mastery of the grade level standards.
Our math program is entirely aligned with the Common Core standards. The mathematics curriculum is problem-based, offering all students the opportunity to learn mathematical concepts and procedures with a deep understanding. Students engage in problem solving that requires them to draw on knowledge of a wide variety of mathematical topics. Students become skilled at analyzing findings, and at communicating their understandings in both written and oral language. Students learn how to integrate mathematics in other curricular areas as they learn how math can be used as a tool to help them organize and better understand many different types of information. Other effective program elements include differentiated instruction and co-planning to meet the needs of all students. Teachers use daily quick checks, curriculum based assessments, Illuminate Inspect assessments, SBAC interim assessments, MobyMax, Kahn Academy, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth.
The social studies curriculum is based on core knowledge in history and social sciences and the California State Standards. In addition to acquiring core knowledge in history and social science, the curriculum also requires students to develop the critical thinking skills that historians and social scientists employ to study the past and its relationship to the present. Teachers utilize literature from around the world, non-fiction, primary, and Internet resources to develop the students critical understanding of history and their own identity. Instruction is aligned to guiding questions and projects, providing opportunities for students to explore and celebrate community, diversity and multiculturalism. Students apply what they’ve learned in presentations, projects, simulations and productions. Students learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant, to recognize vital connections between the present and the past, to recognize the likelihood of the impact of the past and present on the future, and to appreciate universal historical themes and dilemmas. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, History Alive, SBAC interim and block assessments, Achieve3000, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth. This array of assessments was chosen to measure each individual’s growth towards mastery of the grade level standards.
The science program has been designed to address the Next Generation Science Standards. Our approach to teaching science includes project-based learning, hands on interdisciplinary learning that connects to prior knowledge, and challenge based learning experiences. Our students often engage in science investigations in groups and across content areas. Consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards and rationale, all students receive STEM instruction through Project Lead the Way. Specific content is united by these themes and includes physical science, life science, and earth and space science and engineering. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, SBAC interim and block assessments, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth.
VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
All students participate in a comprehensive and sequential music and arts program the Meet the Master curriculum and the Gameplan curriculums. Music theory, instrument use, and voice application learning experiences lead to clearly defined skills and knowledge, and at the same time offer the joy and personal satisfaction that are inherent in music. The presence and use of music in the classroom reinforces and recognizes that all children have musical potential, bringing their own unique interests and abilities to the learning environment. Students are involved in the activities of moving, singing, listening, and playing instruments, through which they experience the essential strands of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, form and expressive elements. The Visual/Creative Arts curriculum emphasize the following within the visual arts: artistic perception; creative expression; historical and cultural context; aesthetic valuing; and connections, relations, and applications. Students learn how to identify and use elements and principles of design using the language of the visual arts (i.e. value, line, contrast, balance). Based on personal experiences, students create original artwork using various arts media and technical processes. Students explore the role of visual/creative arts in human history, across a variety of cultures and time periods including the different historical art movements (i.e. impressionism, surrealism, abstraction). The students learn to make critical judgments about various art works and experiences, making determinations of quality based on analysis, interpretation and derivation of meaning. Through co-planning between the art teacher and the general and special education grade level teams, grade level curriculum is integrated into arts instruction. The students learn through integration of visual/creative arts and core subject area instruction. Finally, the students come to learn, value and enjoy the time that is necessary for the creative process to come to fruition. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, Gameplan, Meet the Masters, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth. This array of assessments was chosen to measure each individual’s growth towards mastery of the grade level standards.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH
Our physical education and health programs reflect our commitment to educating the whole child. The physical education curriculum emphasizes a variety of cognitive, affective, and motor teaching and learning strategies focusing on teaching students how to move. The physical education program teaches movement skills with California state standards incorporated into every lesson. Physical education impacts students’ physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Students who are physically educated are more likely to become adults who live healthy lifestyles because they have mastered the necessary movement skills to participate confidently in many different forms of activity, value physical fitness, and understand that both are intimately related to health and well-being. The key to developing physically educated students is to provide opportunities for success in movement activities, both individually and in groups. Experiencing success during movement activities enhances a positive self-image. A positive self-image enables students to feel good about moving, which in turn motivates them to maintain healthy habits and regular physical activity. All students have the potential to become physically educated; therefore, attention should be focused on the uniqueness and abilities of each student. A strong foundation for developing a physically educated student is to develop a person who has the knowledge and control over how the body moves. Both traditional and nontraditional activities provide our students with the foundation to become competent and confident movers for a lifetime of physical activity. Physical education is closely connected to and supports the other disciplines, particularly our health classes. The health curriculum compliments the physical education curriculum similarly preparing students for leading healthy lives and similarly aligning to the California state standards. Our health curriculum cover the following topics: 1) nutrition and physical activity; 2) growth, development and sexual health; 3) injury prevention and safety; 4) alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; 5) mental, emotional, and social health; and 6) personal and community health. Health standards are taught and reinforced in other content areas consistent with our interdisciplinary model. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth. This array of assessments was chosen to measure each individual’s growth towards mastery of the grade level standards.
TECHNOLOGY AND MEDIA ARTS
The technology curriculum is integrated throughout the content areas so that students develop technological skills to enhance their learning activities. This covers the following six major content areas: basic operations and concepts, social, ethical, and human issues such as copyright and fair use issues as well as digital citizenship, technology productivity tools, including using formulas in Excel/spreadsheet, coding, developing websites, creating VLOGs and BLOGs, advanced searching, proper keyboarding, etc., technology communication tools including word processing, PowerPoint, PhotoShop, graphs and charts, and technology research tools, technology problem-solving, and decision-making tools, such as evaluating the quality or accuracy of information, critical thinking and analysis. Teachers use curriculum based assessments, portfolios and a myriad of on-going formative and summative assessments to measure growth. This array of assessments was chosen to measure each individual’s growth towards mastery of the grade level standards.
SOCIAL BEHAVIORAL SKILLS
Social/behavioral skills instruction is a part of each child’s educational program. The curriculum addresses prevention and early intervention as the keys to creating safe, caring, and responsive schools. The entire school community teaches and supports positive behaviors that demonstrate respect, cooperation, responsibility, and compassion. Social/behavioral instruction also include teaching the school rules to ensure all teachers and students are on the same page with clear expectations. In addition, WISH subscribes to the RULER program, has WEB leaders, implements Challenge Day, has a Kindness club, and supports a social-emotional committee.