Learning is much more than teaching. It implies that the work of the teacher and student is complete, not when a lesson has been taught and heard, but when the child understands and can apply the concepts presented.
Learning is most likely to take place when children are challenged at their own level. To create an environment where children learn according to their unique strengths and talents, Almaden Country Day School employs flexible grouping, differentiated curriculum and a broad enrichment program.
- Setting Personal Goals
- Flexible Grouping
- Differentiated Core Curriculum
- Broad Enrichment Program
Almaden Country Day School is committed to providing every child with an exceptional education. As part of this process, our teachers create goals for each student. These includes input from parents and teachers on the individual student’s strengths, needs, areas of interest, and learning styles. Teachers include this information on report cards, which reflect both the student’s progress to date and goals to move the child forward.
Academic and Social Development
Teachers set goals and create a plan to help the individual student meet or exceed grade-level standards. While a consistent core curriculum is used for all students, the material is often differentiated to address a student’s personal learning needs. Teachers set goals and create a plan for challenging the individual student to extend them in a developmentally appropriate way to experience the greatest social and academic growth.
Expected School Wide Learning Results
School-wide learning outcomes have been set to develop the whole child in seven key areas of personal development that complement academic learning. These areas include literacy across the curriculum, critical and creative thinkers, appreciating personal gifts, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Our program was developed with the individual child in mind. We do not group children by abilities, nor do we label children. The danger in labeling a child in one area is that he or she is liable to wear that label everywhere else. Rather, we recognize that each child has unique and varied talents.
To challenge students according to their own strengths, we employ flexible grouping within the classroom. As teachers learn about their students, they can anticipate when a child will need extra help or when he is ready for greater challenge. In preparing lessons, the teacher will identify the level at which a student is prepared to meet a particular concept. Temporary “flexible” groups are then created to challenge children at their level.
As new concepts are presented, the flexible groupings will change according to the needs of the individual students.
The curriculum for each grade level builds student competencies in the core subjects, focusing on developmental readiness. The school uses extensive curriculum mapping to layout and maintain this scope and sequence. Teachers will also adapt the basic curriculum to meet their students’ interests, abilities and learning styles and differentiate material and activities during lessons accordingly.
One of Almaden Country Day School’s distinguishing features is its broad enrichment program. Not only do children receive a rigorous traditional education in core subjects, they also participate in courses designed to enrich their basic learning.
Talented specialist teachers provide a wide variety of experiences in physical education, drama, music, art, science, foreign language, and electives.
At our core is the belief that children will enhance their existing talents and develop strengths in other areas when given the opportunity to experience a multifaceted curriculum with guidance from a team of well-qualified professionals who nurture them.
When given regularly, homework helps the student to develop responsibility for work away from the school environment. Homework allows for extra practice of skills being developed in class, independent research and time management. It also assists parents in monitoring how their child approaches independent work. Homework should be meaningful in content and reasonable in scope.
Teachers plan together to set a homework framework to encompass all subjects as necessary, without overwhelming the student. It is important to remember that the length of time it takes to complete assigned homework will vary from student to student. As a general guideline, nightly homework is expected to require 10 minutes per grade level for a student to complete. For example, a 3rd grader would have 30 minutes of homework. Homework is not assigned over holiday breaks or weekends (i.e. with a Monday due date). If your child is having difficulty with homework completion within a reasonable amount of time, or you have questions or concerns about homework load, please contact the teacher for advice. Homework completion should not cause distress for you or your child.
After School Homework Center
The school offers an after school homework center for students in 4th through 8th grade on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3:15 – 4:30 pm as part of the MASH program. This is a time for students to get started on homework, set up a time to work with a teacher, collaborate with a group, or make up a test. The hourly fee for MASH applies to Homework Center.
Homework Completion and Acceptance
Late, incomplete or carelessly done homework may not receive credit, and the student will be responsible for making up the work. Work that is plagiarized from any source or copied from another student will not be accepted. Plagiarism or academic dishonesty is deemed to be an academic infraction and parents will be notified and further consequences will be applied as deemed appropriate.
Late Work in Middle School
Part of being an accomplished student is having the skills and organization to turn in work on time. This applies to both classwork and homework. Unexcused late work will be accepted with a loss of partial credit, up to 50%. Late work will be accepted for only a finite amount of time; each teacher will define the length of time late work will be accepted. Teachers will communicate specifics of their late policies on Veracross and at Back to School Night. As a reminder, middle school children are responsible for contacting the teacher regarding late work and missing assignments, quizzes, etc.
Students are given prior notice of upcoming tests. Parents are urged to make every effort not to have students miss classes for appointments, vacation, etc. on a testing day.
Missed Tests During Unexcused Absences
Students missing tests for absences are expected to talk with their teacher to reschedule within a reasonable amount of time.
Extended Time on Tests
Extended time on tests will be allowed if this need is previously documented and/or agreed upon by the teacher, parent, and student. The student will be allowed one continuous period of extra time to work on the test, which whenever possible will occur the same day as the test is given.
Standardized tests are administered during the third trimester to grades 4th through 8th. They may not be made up if students are absent. Results of the MAP test will be made available to parents with the final report card on our Veracross portal.
The Almaden Country Day School technology policy is based on ACDS values and guidelines. As a learning community, we support the use of technology and see it as a powerful enhancement to our curriculum. To this end, computers located in classrooms, computer carts, and in the school lab, digital cameras, as well as other technology and media are available in some capacity to every student at Almaden Country Day School. In order to maintain these technology tools, a general technology policy is set forth as follows:
Ongoing schoolwide use of shared resources depends upon responsible use by individual users. Therefore ACDS technology tools are used carefully, gently, and courteously. All computers are to be used in accordance with the ACDS Computer Use Expectations outlined below.
Accessing inappropriate materials, modifying another user’s documents, defacing property, and disobeying ACDS Computer Use Expectations all constitute misuse of ACDS technology tools. Consequences for such misuse will match the level of offense and could range from verbal warning, Notice of Concern, loss of use of computer privilege and/or further administrative action.
Students are expected to:
- Obtain permission from a teacher to use computers and other technology.
- Use Almaden Country Day School computers as educational tools, not for personal pursuits.
- Leave the computer the way it was found.
- Take reasonable usage precautions to protect our computer systems from viruses.
- Insert, add and remove nothing from the computers/technology without permission from a teacher.
- Only go to teacher approved web sites.
- Print the fewest possible pages to save paper.
- Keep food and drink away from computers at all times.
At the start of the year, all students, grades 1 through 8, are given a technology policy sheet (Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP) to review with their parents. This sheet is signed by parents and students, and then kept on file. Consequences for misuse are outlined in more detail in the AUP.