Greetings from the Elementary Principal!
RAS Elementary School
Welcome to the 2014-’15 school year, the Elementary School is a stimulating, cheerful and safe environment where children can learn and grow.
Greetings from the Elementary Principal!
English is the language of instruction and the language usually spoken among students. The American-style curriculum includes language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, music, art, and library studies. Technology is integrated in the classroom. The program is further enriched with the inclusion of Moroccan studies and daily lessons in French or Arabic starting in first grade. RAS elementary teachers are native English speakers, credentialed, and experienced in North American and international education.
Our RAS motto is “Learning in a World Community” and our elementary school is here to make it happen! I look forward to meeting you during the year and look forward to growing and learning together.
The Early Childhood Department (ECD), program offers prekindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade and a 2-year multiage program for selected first and second grade students. The main work is in literacy and numeracy taught through high-interest topics. Language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) are taught and practiced in hands-on units related to social studies and science themes.
Reading instruction is designed to teach reading and listening comprehension and to improve each child’s use of phonics and other strategies for decoding. The students have access to a wide variety of literature, including classroom libraries, leveled reading books and a core reading program. Teachers are able to work with individuals and small groups to ensure that children of all ability levels are able to make progress. Students who can read more advanced books are given the opportunity to do so. We assess students regularly to provide early intervention and English language support to students who need it.
Writing is emphasized throughout, with students using invented spelling to write for a variety of purposes by the end of kindergarten. By the end of second grade students are using conventional spelling, and learning about organizing thoughts, paragraphs, vocabulary choices, complete sentences, expressing main ideas and supporting details, and other elements of the writer’s craft. Writing is constantly related to reading and thematic studies, and students learn what makes compelling writing through their literature studies. We assess young students’ writing in various ways, including writing rubrics, teacher-designed assessments and standardized assessments.
They develop concepts from the concrete to the abstract as they advance through the early childhood grades. At the same time, they learn to perform the traditional algorithms (adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers with regrouping by second grade), memorize basic addition and subtraction facts, and practice multiplication and division concepts. They are introduced to appropriate levels of the major mathematical concept areas (numeration; estimation and mental math; geometry, measurement, fractions) and are encouraged to express their mathematical thinking in words. Math concepts are explored in relation to thematic units when possible. Math progress is assessed through teacher-designed, commercial, and standardized assessment tools.
The elementary program includes regular instruction in music, art, library skills, computer skills, and physical education. Teachers continue to integrate language arts with designated social studies and science concepts as much as possible, to increase relevance and excitement for learning. The library and computer teachers meet regularly with the classroom teacher to plan project-based, media-enriched study units.
Students continue to develop reading skills and gradually change the focus from learning to read to reading to learn.
Students read books and other print materials in many genres and for a variety of purposes. They begin to read for information and to read critically. Reading progress is assessed in various ways, including teacher-developed and standardized assessments.
By the end of 5th grade students are writing in a variety of forms using the writing process. They edit and revise their work, include description and details, sequence events, vary sentence length and structure, use basic paragraph structure, summarize, respond to literature, use a wide range of vocabulary, and use conventional spelling and mechanics.
We strive to structure writing experiences so that the students find pleasure in writing. We relate writing to reading, enabling students to learn about compelling writing from their literature studies. Students’ writing progress is assessed using teacher-designed assessments and the upper elementary writing rubric.
In the upper elementary grades students continue to use hands-on tools to explore mathematical concepts while increasing their pencil and paper skill. They edit and revise their work, include description and details, sequence events, vary sentence length and structure, use basic paragraph structure, summarize, respond to literature, use a wide range of vocabulary, and use conventional spelling and mechanics.
Art classes occur once each week with the goal of providing students with opportunities to explore a variety of art media, to learn specific skills and techniques, to develop art history knowledge through the study of artists and art periods and to develop an appreciation of art as a cultural expression.
Students in all grades come to the library once a week for a library class. During this time, students participate in a short lesson designed to learn about accessing information and to promote a life-long interest in reading. In addition, classroom teachers collaborate closely with the librarian to integrate classroom topics into the library studies program.
Music is an essential part of our life and provides a unique means of communicate through knowing, understanding, and expressing ideas and feelings about self, world and culture. Music teaching is a process approach which involves developmentally appropriate, positive, continuous and sequential learning activities with develop both skills and knowledge. Music classes occur twice weekly with performances during the year.
The program is a developmentally appropriate educational experience designed to provide immediate and lifelong benefits. The curriculum and instruction emphasize enjoyable participation in physical activity and help students develop the confidence, knowledge, attitudes, motor and behavior skills needed to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. Physical Education classes occur twice weekly.
At the elementary level, the use of technology resources and tools occurs in the classroom and it is integrated with other subjects taught at each grade level. Students have access to laptops and tablets and these tools are used for a variety of purposes including skills practice, problem-solving, communication, research and project and portfolio development.
For learners of French and Arabic as a foreign language, the program goal is to move students every closer to achieving fluency in the target language. For those students who already speak French or Arabic, the program is designed to enhance fluency and literacy.
The team’s objective is to identify and meet individual needs through one of several intervention options. These include planning with the classroom teacher to differentiate instruction for more advanced or struggling learners, pullout groups for ESOL or Learning Support, “inclusion support” during Language Arts where the specialist works with students and teachers in the classroom. The Elementary Counselor/School Psychologist, Special Education teacher, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers work with the Principal as a Child Study Team (CST).
Students need to acquire academic language which integrates reading, writing, listening and speaking skills using grade level content and material, cognitive skills, specialized vocabulary and learning strategies. Students can be placed in different kinds of programs according to individual need; students may be supported through inclusion programs, where an ESOL teacher works with the classroom teacher in the mainstream class, or pullout programs where relevant grade level material is studied at the ESOL students’ pace.
Students work towards curricula knowledge, study skills, and metacognitive learning (thinking about thinking). The major emphasis in the ARC is improving reading and writing skills. Students are generally grouped by grade level and receive instruction in small groups in the ARC or in the classroom. The ARC teacher consults with the classroom teacher to provide strategies and/or accommodations for individual students. Determining the level of services a student needs is determined with the CST and the classroom teacher.
The RAS Counseling and Guidance Program is committed to providing a safe supportive environment where all students have the opportunity to realize their worth, strive for personal and academic excellence, and create global harmony. The counselor also consults with individual teachers, developing special lessons that specifically address areas of concern in their respective classroom. Providing support to parents and collaborating with both parents and teachers is another important aspect of the program.
Research shows that friendships protect children from the harmful effects of bullying. Through the program, students will learn a variety of relationship skills, including, strategies for making and keeping friends and steps for joining a group activity. The Steps to Respect program also teaches children skills to cope with bullying, including recognizing bullying, using assertive behaviors to respond to it and reporting bullying to adults. Because many children become can be bystanders to bullying, the Steps to Respect program emphasizes that all members of a school community must take responsibility to decrease bullying and foster a respectful school culture.