Curriculum

Senita Valley’s Curriculum includes:

Arizona State Standards: Academic Calendars are designed at Senita Valley Elementary School at every grade level. Teacher preparation days are utilized prior to the beginning of each school year to map out the essential standards to be taught. The process is supervised by the District Curriculum Coordinator, with the assistance of Instructional Team Leaders at each grade level, and approved by Senita Valley’s principal. Every teacher has input in the calendar process of the state standards. Grade level academic calendars are designed for reading and math, while each teacher prepares individual scope and sequences (Yearly Instructional Maps approved by the principal) for all other state standards to be taught. Each teacher at Senita Valley has a curriculum scope and sequence prepared at the beginning of each school year.

Reteach/Enrich and Common Planning Time is implemented at Senita Valley to ensure that students are achieving academic “mastery” in the state standards. Research of effective and best teaching practices are utilized in our reteach and enrich daily intervention program. Our program is regularly evaluated and improved with weekly common teacher planning time at every grade level, to review and assess student performance based on formative tests, and then plan instruction to meet each child’s needs for reteach or enrichment. Data team meetings are used to monitor, evaluate and improve instructional planning. Data team meetings are supervised by Senita Valley’s achievement teacher, principal, and instructional team leaders at each grade level.

Senita Valley’s overriding value is that all students can learn with appropriate supports. Our school has initiated a Student Solutions Team (SST) made up of administrators, classroom teachers, special education staff, and specialty area teachers. Meeting once a week, the purpose is to assist teachers in identifying strategies to support students in accessing the grade level curriculum and/or managing their behaviors.

Extended Learning Program (ELP) services gifted students in grades third through eighth. One day a week, students identified through the Cognitive Abilities Test, meet with the ELP teacher for a full day of instruction. This enrichment program uses collaborative groupings and hands-on activities to enhance learning. Higher level thinking skills activities, brainteasers, science experiments, Chess games, thematic units, simulations, and field trips are all an integral part of ELP. Professional community members are often invited to share their knowledge and engage the students. ELP serves as a resource for all teachers on the Senita Valley campus to address the needs of high achieving students in all grades.

Inclusion/Special Education services are provided to meet the needs of special education learners. Students who are experiencing learning or behavior difficulties are referred to the child study team for observation and learning style inventory. After testing is completed and if the referred child qualifies for the program, special education services are provided. Children are instructed utilizing the strengths of their own specific learning styles. Specific strategies are applied in the student’s regular classroom, or in the least restrictive environment according to the student’s individualized education program.

English Language Learners (ELL) are instructed by both the classroom teacher and a qualified ELL teacher with the support of additional paraprofessionals for all academic areas as needed.

Accelerated Reader (AR) ProgramAccelerated Reader Program is a program that is used to motivate students to read. It is also a useful tool for teachers and parents to use to diagnose potential reading successes and difficulties. Students read AR books based on their individual reading levels and take comprehension tests on the computer. It gives an accuracy level for comprehension and motivates students who don’t always enjoy reading and encourages students who do love reading. Each student has an individual reading goal for each of the eight goal periods.

Raz-Kids  is an on-line reading program for classroom/home is utilized by 1st – 4th grade students to increase reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary skills. Student progress is monitored and instruction is differentiated based on student’s reading levels.

LASSO (Language Arts Scholars Stepping Out) A 30-minute block for language arts instruction BEYOND the required Balanced Literacy block. Based on results of formative and Benchmark data, teachers present lessons on the writing process, vocabulary, grammar, and reading genres.

Project Based Learning A project that requires an extended process of inquiry to master skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Projects are based on specific standards in the ACCRS. Rubrics are used for learning and assessment.

Spalding Program Research based, systematic instruction of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and text comprehension as required by state standards. Spalding is designed for differentiated instruction to support the learning of general and special education.

Headsprout (Intervention) Identified struggling readers in grades K-3 meet for 30 minutes daily for this on-line, interactive reading program. Students practice phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Progress is monitored as they advance through levels at their own rate. Success is celebrated with certificates, small prizes, and special recognitions.

Advanced Math Students excelling in math attend classes to master math skills at the grade level ABOVE their regular classroom. Advanced Math is further referenced in section A2.

Kindergarten Intervention Our kindergarten half-day program is supplemented with a free intervention class for students who score low on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment and teacher observations. These students attend regular kindergarten class for half of the day, and Kindergarten Intervention class for the rest of the school day.

DMS (Daily Math Skills) A timed, math fluency probe given daily in grades K-5. This standardized assessment probe targets a grade level skill. The Student Achievement Teacher collects data from teachers weekly. Students also monitor their own progress via a chart or graph. Mastery is celebrated as a class; an important aspect of DMS.

6 Traits of Writing Students are taught the six traits that teachers look for in a piece of writing. Developmental rubrics are used to teach revision and editing to improve their writing. All teachers attend training for 6 Traits at the beginning of our school year.

ELP Our Extended Learning Program (ELP) is for students who score 97% or above on the CogAT assessment. ELP classes extend student learning with writing/speaking/ presentation projects, critical and creative thinking activities, math competitions, debates, and technology lessons. Fostering academic development and focusing on their emotional and social growth is the goal.  “I like my regular classes, but I love going to ELP classes because I am really challenged there. I like to have to think hard!” – A.M., 5th grade student of ELP