Our Academic Programs

 

What sets our academic program apart is its ability to offer an individualized educational plan based on each student’s ability level, learning style, strengths, and interests.

We are able to craft this highly-customized setting by keeping class size small. Each classroom contains an average of eight to ten students with two classroom teachers— a Head Teacher and an Associate Teacher. We break into even smaller groups of three to five students for core academic areas including reading, writing, and math. In these small groups, and across the entire curriculum, we instruct using a multi-sensory, direct instruction model.

 

 

Reading

We take a dynamic approach to reading, using several methods of instruction based on ability level and learning style.

For students who are at the beginning stages of reading and written language, we use an Orton-Gillingham program called Preventing Academic Failure (PAF). This program is one of the most effective classroom adaptations of the Orton-Gillingham method; using a multi-sensory, direct instruction approach for teaching phonics, spelling, reading, comprehension, and writing. Depending on the specific student and need, we can also employ Great Leaps, a supplemental program designed to increase the rate of reading and build fluency. For our students who are more fluent, we use a guided reading approach, in which students are reading chapter books and focusing on comprehension skills and expanding vocabulary knowledge. This promotes higher-level thinking skills and helps students learn strategies that allow them to read more difficult texts independently.

 

Writing

Our writing program focuses on teaching students to write in a clear and organized way.

Using the Basic Writing Skills program, we begin with the most basic forms of writing— at the sentence level. From there, students learn to write paragraphs using graphic organizers and outlines to help structure their thoughts in a clear and concise way. When students are ready for more creativity and open-ended demands; we move onto poetry, essays, research assignments, and short stories.

We utilize a combination of the Spellwell and Scientific Spelling curricula for explicitly teaching reliable patterns, phonetic elements, and rules for learning how to spell. For direct academic vocabulary instruction, Wordly Wise allows our students to learn grade-level words that help them successfully comprehend content-area texts.

 

Math

Saxon Math is an integrated approach and multi-sensory teaching method for learning mathematical concepts.

This hands-on program uses a variety of manipulatives and is designed to provide repeated practice and reinforcement in a structured way. We use teacher-created supplemental materials and SmartBoard activities; as well as interactive lessons that incorporate clocks, dice, fraction pieces, and coins. For students having a more difficult time with solidifying math concepts, we utilize the TouchMath curriculum, which offers a tactile approach to learning.

 

STEM

Our STEM curriculum is taught by a designated STEM teacher in our state-of-the-art Science and Art Center.

This space provides an essential environment for our hands-on, inquiry, and project-based curriculum. Lessons are centered around the life, earth, and physical sciences; as well as space and technology. Our older students study the nervous system and brain, as well as how the visual system works— focus areas which are taught by our STEM teacher weekly. Every spring, we have our annual Science Fair, which is a platform for our students to showcase their individual or group science experiments.

 

Social Studies

In Social Studies, our younger students explore different types of communities, and take part in an in-depth study of New York City.

We take a broad humanistic approach to teaching our students about the ideas, cultures, people, and events that shape our world. As our students move through grades, they use rich content themes to study history, geography, economics, government, and civics related to the United States and the globe. Our oldest students dive into different world religions, developing case studies for each. Class field trips are a big part of the entire social studies curriculum, giving students the ability to make real world connections to what they’re learning about in the classroom.