St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School offers a challenging curriculum for childern in Kindergarten through Grade Five. Our teachers individualize their classrooms to meet each child's styles, academic levels and interests. The curriculum has been designed to educate the whole child. Students are encouraged to reach their full potential in all academic areas.
At the Elementary level, the core curriculum subjects are taught in English. The Armenian language and history are taught in Armenian, with an emphasis on creating awareness and instilling an appreciation of Armenian culture and traditions.
To view in detail the Elementary School curriculum by grade click on the following grades:
Discover the Wonders of Math, Science and Social Studies
The Principal, Teaching Staff and Education Committee at St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School have been working diligently for the past five years on a thorough evaluation and review of its Elementary curriculum in order to provide the best possible classroom instruction. We would like to share with you our review regarding the curriculum of Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. In addition to the curriculum we offer several enrichment programs as part of the SSAES experience, please see below.
My Math is a complete K-12 curriculum with both linear and vertical alignment based on The Common Core, The Math Practices and Understanding By Design. My Math balances conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and Real World Problem solving. My Math provides complete digital and print versions of all materials.
Each Unit begins with an essential question, has a vocabulary list, concept overview, and a see and show section that encourages whole group conversation to elicit prior knowledge. A list of specified counters and manipulatives are provided with each lesson that are used to enhance student learning. Problem-solving, highlighted math practices, and homework can be pulled out of student book and taken home, assigned digitally or used for classroom practice. Each unit ends with a check my progress section to assess student understanding and skills with vocabulary checks, concept reviews, problems to solve and fast math practice.
To learn more about the My Math Curriculum follow this link: http://www.mheducation.com/prek-12/explore/mh-my-math.html
Encourage practice, determination, and resilience with you children by:
A. Reinforcing the Math Practices found here:
B. There is a correlation between estimation of magnitude and math achievement. Kindergarten students tend to overestimate smaller numbers and under-estimate larger numbers. Younger children need more exposure to larger multi-digit numbers at an earlier age. This is something you can work on with your children at home in a playful way.
C. Pattern recognition is the common activity when duplicating or extending an existing pattern. You can encourage your children to make the same patterns using different colors or extend existing patterns in day to day activities.
D. Help your children to learn inhibitory control by asking your children to think before they act or respond to a question. Games like Simon Says gives them practice at stopping impulse control.
E. Cognitive practices can be trained. Most people can learn to be good at math despite predispositions or learning challenges with encouragement, practice, and reinforcement.
St. Stephen’s adopted the Know Atom curriculum in 2013 based on the STEM Committee’s recommendation. Here are some excerpts taken directly Know Atom’s website which explain the philosophy and give an overview of the curricular system:
Know Atom’s mission is to make every classroom a laboratory where students learn by being scientists and engineers. When students are scientists and engineers in the classroom, they explore their own creative potential. Know Atom’s approach teaches students to analyze and evaluate, question and create. These skills aren't just useful in a science classroom they’re applicable to art, ELA, math, and social studies.
The curriculum is STEM focused, builds skills through the Practices (as listed below) and connects these four areas:
Science is knowledge gained from experimentation. Scientists build scientific knowledge by identifying questions and answering them with experiments that confirm or refute their claims.
Engineering solves problems by using scientific knowledge to create new technologies. Engineers are often seen as the link between scientific discoveries and how those discoveries are used to fill specific needs in the world.
Technology gives us the tools to think deeper and create new experiments. And technology’s not just electronics—it’s doorknobs and medicine, screws and smart phones—the everyday and the extraordinary.
Math is the tool we use to capture observations, analyze information, and communicate findings to others. It’s at the center of the STEM relationship, helping everyone understand and replicate each other’s findings.
STEM skills are life skills—the ability to question and solve problems, hypothesize and experiment, prototype solutions and measure results, create new things the world has never seen, and communicate to others why they work—all skills that help all students approach their learning and eventually their careers with a critical mindset.
The eight practices of science and engineering that the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn and describes in detail are listed below:
The Adventures in Time and Place program for our Social Studies Curriculum has been a rich cultural program with many manipulative and geography resources. It is the only K-6/7 program with the National Geographic Society and The Princeton Review on the author team, which provides authority, integrity and validation for its Social Studies program. There is rich historical content that is relevant and readable for all students in the program, along with hands-on activities and technology to meet individual needs and help all learners succeed.
The Theme Books are rich with activities and literature that build Social Studies content and the Geo Adventure Pads are packed with daily activities for practice in map-reading and other geography skills. The program brings geography to life for the students and lends itself to a wide range of activities that will give pupils another way to see the world. The Social Studies Anthology Series is a collection of stories, biographies, autobiographies, poems, songs, diaries, folk tales, letters, oral histories, plays, speeches, and more. The McGraw-Hill Publication of Adventures in Time & Place provide the focus for all learning and help develop an in-depth understanding of geography, history, culture, economics and citizenship.
The St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School Administration has always maintained high academic standards for its curriculum and with the many new innovative and enriching programs provided at our Elementary school, we will continue to strive to provide the highest academic standards in education.
After School Programs
Phonics & Literature In Kindergarten
The children will be exposed to a comprehensive phonics instruction program that is effective for the students and just plain fun!! The publishers at Hampton-Brown have developed wonderful instructional materials for the early childhood classroom. The program entitled Phonics and Friends, easily transitions students from phonics to literacy.
The program builds phonemic awareness, introduces sound-letter association, models decoding strategies and helps build emergent reading skills. The program also provides a wide range of strategies for meeting individual needs as well as user- friendly assessment tools for the teacher. To build phonemic awareness the program includes sing along songs, Big Books and CD's. To introduce sound-letter association, 26 letter Rhyme Cards are provided. The front side of the card is a memorable rhyme and the backside demonstrates letter formation. To model decoding strategies, 26 Big Phonics Storybooks are provided. The Storybooks include predictable, patterned text with many words representing the target sound and letter with fun characters in a delightful story. To build emergent reading skills the program has 26 Sound and Letter Packs, each pack containing six copies of the Phonics Storybook in small format. The children try out newly acquired phonics skills in these leveled pattern books. The stories promote instant recognition of high-frequency words. A Sing-Along Song and Story Tape with Picture Word Cards are also included.
St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School has always maintained high academic standards for their curriculum and provides the best quality instructional materials to meet these standards. Reviews are conducted regularly of the school's instructional materials in all subject areas. It gives us great pride to strive to provide the most innovative and challenging programs available.
The Emergent Reader at St. Stephen's
The Early Childhood Educators and Administration at St. Stephen's have always pursued to have age-appropriate programs in our Language Arts Curriculum. Our approach to reading instruction has always been to provide the right amount of support and guidance for children to become independent readers. This approach is critical when instructing a Guided Reading Program at the First and Second Grade levels. At St. Stephen's we believe in the Approach to Guided Reading, as children beginning a Guided Reading program at the early emergent level practice reading aloud together with a great deal of teacher support. As they progress from one level or format to the next, they gain in their independence as readers. Once our students reach the early fluency level, they read silently with only minimal teacher support. Students are encouraged to ask themselves three questions when they encounter a "tricky" word: Does it make sense? Does it sound right? Does it look right? Once they have mastered these strategies, they are well on their way to becoming independent, fluent readers. In our First Grade class at St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School the SUNSHINE program by The Wright Group, includes both the Early Emergent and Upper Emergent Guided Reading Kits, both include 6 copies each of 16 pupil books.
As early readers show an interest in books and begin to focus on text and illustrations, the program helps develop the use of directionality of print and sound/symbol correspondence to reading unknown words. As upper emergent readers master directionality they are becoming independent strategic readers. These students focus on the print using their knowledge of letters, sounds, and known word parts to solve print problems. Their understanding of language and story structures helps them gain meaning from print. We at St. Stephen's are proud of the Reading Program at the Early Childhood Level, as many of our students have started on their successful reading journey. We are delighted with the program components, which provides for a comprehensive approach to literacy instruction.
STEM Project Initiative
St. Stephen’s mission for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education is to excite and inspire students, and to develop strong foundational skills in STEM disciplines. We believe that STEM can empower individuals and society for good; we want our students to understand that they can already help improve the world through STEM and that their sphere of influence will grow over time. To carry out our mission, we have embarked upon a five year strategic plan funded by the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust. Our plan addresses three core objectives: Curriculum improvement, professional development, and the creation of a STEM culture.
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School adopted the Open Circle Curriculum in 2003. Under the direction of teachers and staff trained in the Open Circle program, Kindergarten through grade 5 students and teachers learn to work together in resolving conflicts and in building positive relationships. Open Circle aims to create safe, caring, and intellectually engaging environments for students by promoting skills for emotional, social, and community development.
The Open Circle Curriculum teaches the principles of communication, responsibility, cooperation, respect, and assertiveness at all grade levels. Concepts and skills of each of these principles are studied at age-appropriate levels, and reinforced year to year. Central to the year-long curriculum are 15-30 minute Open Circle meetings twice a week. Students move their chairs into an “open circle,” always leaving one chair empty as a symbol that there is always room for another person. Parents learn about Open Circle lessons through newsletters, which extend the practice of the concepts and skills to the home.
The Open Circle Curriculum helps teachers implement its principles, and focus on classroom management techniques. It teaches students communication skills, self-control, and social problem solving, laying the foundation for the growth of SSAES students into well-rounded, respectful citizens.
The St. Stephen's Armenian School prepares students to enter other academic settings with the skills they need to succeed.
After St. Stephen's, students attend a number of different schools. Some return to the public schools within their communities, while other students transition to independent school programs. Below is a sampling of schools to which St. Stephen's students have transitioned within the past ten years: