FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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, we have also posted curriculum outlines for our major subject areas. While these are always works in progress, they provide an insight into the units, topics, and skills that are explored and developed at each grade level. 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 "C-P-A" approach: “concrete” (use of objects or manipulatives) –“pictorial” (diagrams and other visual models) –“abstract” (numbers and symbols). Students begin at an early age developing their mathematical reasoning, number sense, problem-solving, and communication skills in a hands-on and interactive manner. Discussions highlighting how students “see” problems differently or use different strategies to find answers are common in our classrooms. 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 Big Ideas Math, and in 8th grade students have the option of taking Common Core Algebra I. As in the earlier grades, conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills are always 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 and participate in Science 21 summer curriculum writing. 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. Into 8th grade, students will be given the option of intensifying their studies to prepare for the Living Environment Regents.
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 such as inquiry modules to 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.
The concept of blending science, technology, research, engineering, the arts, and math (STREAM) into a rich context for Innovation and Design is truly compelling and powerful. In addition, providing children of all ages with opportunities to strengthen their computational thinking strategies through progressively more complex coding experiences pays dividends across content areas. Linked below is a recent presentation to the Board of Education around computer science and STREAM at Pocantico Hills.