Please see the attached letter regarding the auditorium renovations.
At Pocantico Hills, we are committed to the belief that all children have incredible growth potential and that we must do all we can to extend, nurture, and inspire them within the school and beyond. To us, the quality of a child’s classroom experiences is more important than scores on standardized tests, and our collective goal every day is to enrich our students’ lives beyond the standards set by the State.
As part of their everyday engagement with the curricula, students should be actively applying and bridging essential skills, thinking deeply, making connections, asking thoughtful questions, seeing relationships, collaborating, and communicating. We should be modeling and developing flexibility, creativity, and innovation, as well as productive habits of mind so students can excel in the world around them. Our Guiding Principles and Essential Skills frame our thinking for this important work and are embedded in all our decisions.
Thanks to the community’s support, we have many resources at our fingertips, and we are always working to embed them in our instruction. We realize that the world around us is changing more quickly than ever before, and we have a responsibility to thoughtfully and systematically prepare our students for all the demands and challenges ahead.
In addition to the overviews you see below, there is so much more we explore at Pocantico Hills – please see our teachers’ class pages for more information and links!
2013-2014 marked the first year implementing our new K-6 math program, Primary Mathematics. This “Singapore Math” methodology focuses on developing deep number sense in the early grades utilizing the “concrete” (use of objects or manipulatives) –“pictorial” (diagrams and other visual models) –“abstract” (numbers and symbols) approach. Students begin at an early age developing their mathematical reasoning, problem-solving, and communication skills in a hands-on and interactive manner and it continues through the program. Discussions highlighting how students “see” problems differently or use different strategies to find answers are common. Throughout the grades, it is important to know that emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding and not just procedural fluency. Beginning in 7th grade, instructional resources include Singapore Math’s Dimensions Mathematics, as well as selected modules developed by New York State Education Department. As in the earlier grades, conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills are emphasized.
Not only do we utilize the Science 21 curriculum K-6 – a hands-on, investigation-based program developed by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and used by over 60 districts - but our teachers provide valuable feedback, participate in Science 21 summer curriculum writing, and we sit on the Science 21 Steering Committee. Much of the site is password-protected for subscribing districts. One link below is to the Manual for Administrators (it is public on the site), which provides an overview of the program.
Our science program in 7th and 8th grade is a foundational curriculum exploring general science, earth science, physical science, and life science concepts. This scope was originally developed in coordination with Briarcliff.
We use a variety of resources to teach social studies at Pocantico Hills. In K-6, our primary resource is the Integrated Social Studies/ELA curriculum developed at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES by teachers in the region including our own. In addition, all of our teachers, regardless of grade level, utilize additional resources and independently build units and lessons tailored to their students’ interests and needs. In 7th and 8th grade, the primary textbook is America: History of Our Nation.
Here is a link to a series of posts several years by Bill Jackson, who spent time with our teachers several years ago.
As we discuss conceptual understanding of math and procedures to utilize, here is an interesting article on “procedural fluency” from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). It essentially supports our belief (and that of Primary Mathematics) that understanding concepts and how they connect to other concepts is the first critical step; understanding a variety of procedures and when best to use them should happen later or together with conceptual exploration. Procedures are important, but they should not be taught in isolation, nor should they be drilled too extensively or exclusively: http://www.nctm.org/about/content.aspx?id=42833
Simply memorizing information leaves children with superficial understanding, not to mention the fact that what they memorized in the first place disappears quickly. There are also interesting related links embedded in the article. http://hechingerreport.org/memorizers-are-the-lowest-achievers-and-other-common-core-math-surprises/