School Instruction Overview
In the 6th and 7th grades there are two academic cores, one for language arts and social studies and the other for mathematics and science. All 8th graders take algebra, a separate science class, and attend a cored language arts/social studies class. All students participate in PE as well as a varied unified arts program that includes choral music, rock music, dance, visual arts, drama, and a peer resource class. All teachers meet during common planning time that is a regularly scheduled period in their workday. During this planning time, teachers discuss curriculum, instruction, benchmark data from 6 week assessments in language arts and math, and factors that affect student performance. This allows them to develop a curriculum that is challenging and engaging for our diverse student population. In addition, there are two early release days a month for staff professional development, with 12:30 dismissal.
General Education Program
Half of our school consists of a general education program. In these classes, students have access to curriculum based on grade level standards. The program is cored in language arts and social studies all three grades. Likewise, in 6th and 7th grade math and science classes are cored together for 100 minute blocks. In 8th grade, algebra and science are each taught separately for 50 minute periods. Students are mixed heterogeneously in all their core academic classes. In addition to the core academic courses, all students take physical education and an arts class daily. Students who need extra academic support may receive extra help in math through a Math Support Class or in reading through a Strategic Reading Class.
Two-Way Spanish Immersion Program (SIP)
We offer a Spanish Immersion Program in grades 6 through 8, where students take language arts and social studies in Spanish all three years. As part of this program, students also take a separate English class and take their math, science, physical education, and arts classes with the students of the general education program. This program provides an environment that promotes positive attitudes toward both languages and cultures and is supportive of full bilingual proficiency for both native and non-native speakers of English. The goal of the two-way Spanish Immersion Program is to develop:
Bilingualism: High levels of verbal proficiency in English and Spanish. All participants will demonstrate oral proficiency in both languages.
Biliteracy: High levels of academic proficiency in English and Spanish. All participants will demonstrate their ability to perform on grade level in English as well as in Spanish.
Multicultural proficiency: Understanding of different cultures and development of high self-esteem. All participants will demonstrate their ability to appreciate the values of other cultures in our society.
We have three Special Education Programs: Inclusion, Resource, and Special Day Class. Students in Inclusion and Resource are mainstreamed in general education classes with the support of grade level Resource/Inclusion teachers and paraprofessionals. Students in Special Day Class have the opportunity to be in smaller classes for the academic core subjects. Staff create appropriate curriculum based on the needs of the student and work with the families to create Individual Education Plans (IEP).
Visual and Performing Arts
We are fortunate to offer a comprehensive visual and performing arts program which includes choral music, a Blue Bear rock music program, Peer Resources leadership classes, visual arts, and dance. All students have access to the arts. In 6th and 7th grades, students are exposed to the various arts disciplines through exploratory wheels. In 8th grade, students stay in the program of their choice for an entire year.
All students have a daily physical education class for 50 minutes. Students develop a “Sportfolio” to track their progress in the area of health and fitness. Units of study include sports such as volleyball, basketball, badminton, soccer, hockey, and tennis. In addition, students run laps every Friday.