Elementary School Overview
Discover the Wonders of Math, Science and Social Studies
The Principal, Teaching Staff and Education Committee at St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School have been working diligently for the past five years on a thorough evaluation and review of its Elementary curriculum in order to provide the best possible classroom instruction. We would like to share with you our review regarding the curriculum of Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.
In reviewing our Math program, it was evident to us that mathematics classrooms across the U.S. were changing drastically. The focus is shifting toward an emphasis on mathematical reasoning and problem solving. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and other current reform documents emphasize that to solve problems students must learn to describe, to compare, and to discuss their approaches. Teachers are eager to change their classroom practices in order to engage their students more deeply in mathematics. What teachers need are curriculum materials that help students learn more about mathematical reasoning and problem solving. The Investigations in Number, Data and Space curriculum meets that need.
The Investigations K-5 curriculum looks and feels quite different from the traditional elementary mathematics program. While it provides all the information teachers need to implement a complete math curriculum, there are no textbooks. The Investigations program meets the high standards developed by the NCTM. The NCTM problem solving approach enables students to learn not only the basics of solving equations, but also how to understand and apply mathematical concepts. At St. Stephen's our goal is for our students to "think mathematically." To prepare them for careers of the future in which they will reason mathematically to deal with new situations we cannot even anticipate today.
The Investigations curriculum was developed at TERC (formerly Technical Education Research Centers) in collaboration with Kent State University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. The work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation. TERC is a nonprofit company working to improve mathematics and science education.
At present, we are thrilled with our Discover The Wonder program based on the National Science Education Standards published by Scott Foresman. The program's motto is "Success with Science Every Day." Every student experiences success by being given equal access to science content and hands-on activities. The program is designed for students of all learning styles and to help improve students' success in reading and math. Unique math in science and reading in science lessons teach science content while reviewing critical math and reading skills. The Literature Library in the program provides students with trade books that reinforce science content.
Portfolios are especially appropriate in science education because of the need to document children's growing science content knowledge as well as their ability to use science processes such as observing, classifying, communicating, measuring, inferring, predicting and experimenting. The Discover The Wonder program has a wonderful portfolio assessment component. It is a collection of items documenting representative work, growth over time and encourages reflection on learning. The programs components include: Science Portfolio, Science Module Units, ExploraCenters, Explorer's Activity Guide and Study Sheets. The teachers at St. Stephen's are extremely happy with this program, as it has greatly increased the student's enthusiasm for learning and investigating into the Sciences.
The Adventures in Time and Place program for our Social Studies Curriculum has been a rich cultural program with many manipulative and geography resources. It is the only K-6/7 program with the National Geographic Society and The Princeton Review on the author team, which provides authority, integrity and validation for its Social Studies program. There is rich historical content that is relevant and readable for all students in the program, along with hands-on activities and technology to meet individual needs and help all learners succeed.
The Theme Books are rich with activities and literature that build Social Studies content and the Geo Adventure Pads are packed with daily activities for practice in map-reading and other geography skills. The program brings geography to life for the students and lends itself to a wide range of activities that will give pupils another way to see the world. The Social Studies Anthology Series is a collection of stories, biographies, autobiographies, poems, songs, diaries, folk tales, letters, oral histories, plays, speeches, and more. The McGraw-Hill Publication of Adventures in Time & Place provide the focus for all learning and help develop an in-depth understanding of geography, history, culture, economics and citizenship.
The St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School Administration has always maintained high academic standards for its curriculum and with the many new innovative and enriching programs provided at our Elementary school, we will continue to strive to provide the highest academic standards in education.