Sure we get and A for effort. But that's just the beginning.
At Jackson, our commitment to excellence and high standards touches every aspect of the elementary school experience. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the academic arena, where we cover the traditional subjects of reading, mathematics, language arts, science and social studies, along with art, music, physical education and french. Beginning in third grade, students may even opt to extend their education musically by joining the band or orchestra, where they'll receive group lessons on all designated instruments.
While achieving top scores is always a priority, a grade is just one component of a child's education. We believe every student has more immeasurable gifts and talents as well. Our teachers take an avid interest in developing and nurturing those special traits, and work closely with parents in this process.
For more meaningful and in-depth learning, Jackson's academic agenda works hand in hand with our IB PYP curriculum. This way, all of the core subjects are integrated with IB directives, so that students can see and understand their role in the way the world works.
The following provides more detail on how these subjects are inculcated throughout the kindergarten through fifth grades:
Reading: In the early grades, the focus is on phonics and guided reading, enabling students to develop a love of literature and reading habits that will sustain them throughout their school years and beyond. Our kindergarten and first grade students use SMART phonics, which incorporates letter sounds, spelling, and usage, as students master word recognition. Our reading program begins with strong phonics and develops comprehension through a wide variety of teaching and learning strategies. Textbooks are supplemented with trade books and real literature, with literacy circles and book clubs becoming common in the upper grades. We believe in balanced literacy that helps make reading a central part of learning.
Mathematics: Our mathematics program is anchored in a manipulative-based approach that focuses on concepts and problem solving. We use the EveryDay Mathematics text from the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. This program provides a variety of algorithms for solving problems and encourages students to understand the "why" of mathematics as well as the individual skills found in most programs. Application is key as well as a spiral introduction of topics. EveryDay Mathematics is regularly supplemented with more traditional skill development and our students reinforce their learning with appropriate games and competitions that engage and excite learners.
Language Arts: Grammar, writing, spelling, listening, and speaking comprise our Language Arts program. These are all designed to help students develop communication skills. Our writing program begins early in kindergarten, as does vocabulary enrichment. We see a strong language arts program playing significantly in the understanding and advancement of all other subjects across the curriculum. At Jackson, students have many opportunities to demonstrate their language arts skills through writing and publishing - from innovative class assignments to various literary compilations published school-wide such as Jackson Jottings.
Science: The science program is designed to expose students to a wide variety of science disciplines with a hands-on emphasis on the real world. Students learn the scientific method of observing and experimenting while developing their natural curiosity with regular visits to our science lab.
Social Studies: Our social studies curriculum takes students from their own awareness of self to their place in the world around them. It includes history, geography, and economics, as well as current events. Social Studies is integrated throughout our curriculum as we encourage students to expand their understanding to include a true global perspective.
Fine Arts: Fine Arts at Jackson includes choral music, instrumental music, and the visual arts. In music, students learn music appreciation, and history as well as enjoy singing and performing. Students in the fourth and fifth grades are invited to join our chorus, which performs several times throughout the school year. Each spring, our Fine Arts department puts on a spring musical for the enjoyment of the students and community, demonstrating a high standard of musical theater for students. Our visual arts program encompasses all media, including painting, drawing, clay, ceramics, and mixed media, exposing students to a wide variety of artistic expression. Each year students are then invited to display a sample of their work in our annual Art Show!
Physical Education: Our PE program includes exercise, skill development, rhythms, and a wide variety of introductory sports instruction. Our Wellness program, focusing on healthy eating and living, encompasses both physical education and health and fitness, offering a variety of activities designed to develop both.
French: With four French teachers on staff, we are able to offer 30 minutes of French instruction every day to students in first through fifth grade. The program focuses on learning a second language through listening, speaking, singing, reading, and writing through developmentally appropriate activities. Instruction includes learning about the many countries and cultures in which French is the primary language, and helps to support our IB global awareness objectives.
Media/Technology: Our Media Center/Library is open for students daily. In it, students not only learn library skills, but also develop a love of literature through our extensive book collection. Technology is infused throughout our curriculum, as the library, as well as each classroom, is equipped with computers. Each classroom is equipped with interactive white boards to take further advantage of how technology can enhance and advance instruction. Our Media Center collection is available on-line and the Accelerated Reader Program (AR) is an integral support to our already-strong reading program that encourages and monitors every child's reading progress.