Syracuse Arts Academy is subject to all State requirements as they relate to the Core Curriculum. In the area of Language Arts, SAA will use Harcourt Brace Trophies as the primary curriculum. Scott-Foresman Addison-Wesley is the program chosen for Math instruction. All areas of curriculum will have some degree of art integrated into the curriculum for enhanced learning.
SAA will have a student computer lab, as well as computers in each classroom.
All curriculum courses are aligned with the Utah State Core Curriculum Standards and enhanced with a thematic emphasis on the Arts. A wide spectrum of activities will be integrated into the curriculum that support the educational goals and overall academic success for students. Additionally, increased emphasis placed on student proficiency in reading will increase the likelihood of student success across the curriculum. Following is a substantive overview of the curriculum embedded with innovative teaching methods and curriculum approaches.
The No Child Left Behind Act and the Reading First Initiative rely on programs that reflect scientifically based reading research as a guiding principle of reading instruction. The reading instruction will be aligned to the five essential components of effective reading instruction as identified by the National Reading Panel Report which summarized several decades of scientific research. The “four pillars” of an effective reading program will be evident throughout the curriculum: valid/reliable assessments, instructional programs and aligned materials emphasizing the five essential components of effective reading instruction, aligned professional development, and dynamic instructional leadership. The curriculum chosen to drive reading instruction is Harcourt Brace Trophies. Harcourt Brace Trophies is recognized by the Federal Government as an approved reading program. Additionally, districts across the state have evaluated reading programs offered by several textbook companies. This series was selected as the best instructional text. Students will have the opportunity to read both fiction and non-fiction books related to themes. Multi-aged grouping will allow for and encourage accelerated instruction for students, by focusing on the differing learning styles. Arts integration will be based on the five essential components of effective reading instruction, incorporating effective strategies and techniques. Research clearly shows that these approaches significantly support students’ reading and writing achievement.
Students will enhance writing skills through expressive and narrative writing assignments. All students will have multiple opportunities to write across the curriculum daily to communicate effectively for a variety of purposes and audiences. Student journals will encourage students to write when given specific prompts, incorporate grammar instruction, monitor spelling, and focus on improvement and growth throughout the year. The writing process and specific instruction is embedded in both the Language Arts and the Mathematics curriculum. Opportunities to record personal experiences, eyewitness accounts, memoirs, and literature responses will be provided frequently. Throughout the Language Arts curricula students are directed to produce traditional and imaginative stories, narratives, and poetry. Students will be required to produce informational text through book reports, cause and effect reports, compare and contrast essays, etc. Students will be publishing 6-8 individual products also incorporating writing to persuade and functional texts to teach and share information. Additionally, students will learn to use multiple strategies to improve writing skills: a rubric to self-evaluate writing, peer conferences, and peer reviews. Writing instruction will enable student proficiency on UPASS writing assessments.
Scott-Foresman Addison-Wesley Mathematics/Investigations is the math program chosen for math instruction. This math program is most closely aligned with USOE Core Standards. The research conducted on this program indicates that students’ skills in the areas of computation, word problems, and conceptual understanding scored significantly higher than students taught with traditional methods alone. (Goodrow (1998), Flowers (1998), Mokros et al. (1996.) The math program presents math instruction so that it teaches for understanding thus making the content accessible to all children. The program supports instruction by providing teachers with strategies to monitor understanding and provide intervention before, during, and after the lesson to reach all learners. Incorporation of different learning styles through arts integration allows for synthesizing knowledge and increasing memorization. Students connect math to reading and writing strategies so all students can become successful problem solvers and test takers. Furthermore, the pacing guidelines ensure all content is covered before the test with “Pacing for Test Success.” Lastly, it provides research-based professional development opportunities every day so all teachers can succeed in providing effective instruction to students.
The Social Studies curriculum is aligned to USOE core curriculum standards. Thematic units of study are designed to integrate and address the four key areas of the Social Studies curriculum: 1) Time, Continuity, and Change (History); 2) People, Places, and Environments (Geography); 3) Government and the Citizen (Civics and Government); and 4) Production, Distribution, and Consumption (Economics). The Arts emphasis enriches the curriculum as society has historically recorded history through multiple modes of self-expression. Students will experience a Social Studies classroom that will provide practical experience in both content and process skills that become a bridge to the real world of jobs and adult responsibilities at home and within the community. Such an experience means going beyond the memorization into a world of reasoning and reflection. Students interact with each other as well as independently with personal responsibility to interpret tools, develop an awareness of content to real life problems, construct a variety of methods to define solutions, and work in a physical setting that promotes teamwork and connections between disciplines.
The Science curriculum is aligned to USOE core curriculum standards. Hands-on scientific projects will be incorporated into the curriculum to fully guide the students through the various levels of the scientific method. Manipulatives, experiments, surveys, research, and technology will all be integrated into the various units to enhance the learning experience. Scientific skills that enhance the students’ ability to perform well on the Core Assessment Test will be integrated into each unit.
The Physical Education program is aligned to USOE core curriculum standards. Physical education contributes, primarily through movement experiences, to the total growth and development of all children. Students have opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes that promote physical activity as part of their everyday lives. Physical Education seeks to develop an appreciation for various forms of expression through movement including sports, and dance, from the standpoint of a spectator, a reader, as well as a participant. Content areas include: fitness, motor skill development, social/emotional development, and knowledge. Life skill development is woven throughout all content areas. Instruction will be delivered using the USOE Physical Education/Health curriculum to encourage students to achieve and maintain health-enhancing levels of physical fitness, apply movement concepts and principles to enhance motor skill development, demonstrate respect for self and others through responsible personal and social behavior, understand that physical activity provides opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, and self-expression, and apply knowledge using a variety of thinking skills in the physical activity setting. Syracuse Arts Academy will be designated as a “Drug Free School Zone” and a smoke-free worksite. The school boasts a strong “Say No to Drugs” campaign by incorporating a year-long emphasis on healthy lifestyles/choices. Red Ribbon Week will highlight activities teaching and reinforcing appropriate drug-free behaviors.
Individual Syracuse Arts Academy classrooms will be equipped with a minimum of five computers and high speed internet access. The USOE Educational Technology Core standards and objectives will be implemented to equip students with technology knowledge and skills necessary to successfully live, learn, and work in the 21st century. The objectives will teach marketable technology skills and also to apply technology across the curriculum. Consequently, this core will not be taught in isolation of other core content but integrated throughout. A school wide local-area-network (LAN) will be installed, and Intranet services available for public address, presentations, and a digital in-school television network. Students will learn how to use the various software programs available for word-processing and multimedia presentations. Technology is integrated when "it is used in a seamless manner to support and extend curriculum objectives and to engage students in meaningful learning. It is not something one does separately; it is part of the daily activities taking place in the classroom." (Dias, Laurie B., Integrating Technology, Learning & Leading with Technology, November 1999, p. 11) Keyboarding will be taught through direct instruction as a concentrated unit in third grade and reviewed in each succeeding grade to allow students to achieve a high degree of proficiency. All students will have opportunities to demonstrate the technology skills as a consequence of learning about other core content. Students will be assessed during the spring of their 5th grade year. The assessment will include a keyboarding skill test, a technology literacy self-assessment, and the inclusion of at least two pieces of student work in an electronic portfolio. The standards and performance indicators that will be instituted are adapted from the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. Additionally, teachers will instruct students on safe, ethical, and appropriate use of technology, which comply with legal and professional standards.
An increasing amount of research indicates that the benefits of “arts” instruction is beneficial to the brain. Most educators and artists agree that students’ creative skills, critical analysis, cross-curricular learning and literary skills are strengthened through the arts. Some studies are suggesting that it builds circuitry and increases certain mental functions. Music training increases the area of the auditory cortex which enables the brain to organize thought and information in addition to increasing ability. Music integration will be the initial focus of an arts emphasis for SAA. The core curriculum is aligned to USOE core curriculum standards. School staff will be working toward the goal of integrating arts throughout the core. The focus will be to improve the quality of arts instruction in the classroom by enhancing professional development that combines arts-based teaching strategies with standards-based instruction and assessment. The intent is to build the capacity of teachers through artists-in-residence and partnerships with other local arts providers. The goal will be to provide and disseminate curriculum both in print and through professional development opportunities.