Elementary education is offered in five elementary schools—Cherry Lane, Montebello, R.P. Connor, Sloatsburg and Viola—with grades K-5. The elementary program focuses on teaching students how to learn. Children engage in learning experiences that often integrate across content areas. The major categories of this program include: literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, Spanish, physical education, art and music.
The goals of the District's balanced literacy approach are to inspire students to read, develop their passion for writing and increase their ability to be attentive listeners and skilled communicators. A strong emphasis placed on developing each child's literacy skills within a workshop model maximizes the benefits of differentiated small group instruction. Integrated units of study afford students rich opportunities to apply their literacy skills across disciplines.
A constructivist approach to learning mathematics enables students to make meaning of numbers, shapes and data. A spiraling curriculum ensures strong conceptual development that anchors advancement of skills. Applications of numeracy concepts and skills are embedded within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) units. These hands-on, minds-on experiences provide an authentic context for collaborative problem solving and innovation.
Through the Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) program, students begin learning Spanish in first grade. FLES incorporates grade-level social studies, math and science subject matter into Spanish lessons to reinforce the core curriculum while developing language proficiency. Exploratory units in Italian, French and Chinese afford opportunities to learn about additional world languages that students may elect to study in the secondary schools.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), a research-based college readiness system that continues through Grade 12, is being integrated into the 4th and 5th curriculum in a developmentally appropriate manner. At the elementary level, AVID places a strong emphasis on strategies for success, including: organization and study skills, note-taking and goal setting. Students are exposed to a variety of tools that promote improvement in reading, writing, inquiry and collaboration skills.
School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIs) programs at each elementary school promote good citizenship, emphasizing values such as respect for others, fairness, truthfulness and cooperation. The school-wide approach to character education is reinforced in classrooms so that students benefit from a consistent message regarding expectations.