Elementary School Curriculum Overview

K-4 Math

The study of mathematics at HLA consists of the rigorous program Engage NY in K-4. Engage NY is aligned to the New York State Learning Standards, where the mathematical progressions are carefully sequenced into modules.

The curriculum modules are marked by an in-depth focus on fewer topics. They provide rigorous classroom reasoning, extensive problem sets, and high expectations for mastery. The Mathematical Practices are incorporated within each module.

Students also use Compass Learning, a web-based individualized curriculum that generates a personalized learning path tailored to each student and differentiates below and above grade level based on the student’s individual mathematic needs.

K-4 Social Studies

The MyWorld social studies curriculum, published by Pearson and taught across K-4, uses a variety of integrated learning experiences to activate prior knowledge and help students understand “big ideas” as they relate to essential questions. Learning comes alive through storytelling, literacy instruction, and flexible resources. Stories from our world engage students and help develop thoughtful, literate citizens. Lessons apply inquiry processes, practice reading and writing, and involve collaboration and communication skills. Blended learning experiences include an interactive student worktext and digital courseware. Aligned with the New York standards for social studies and the common core, the curriculum is infused with Hebrew, as our teacher teams co-teach this subject in both languages.

K-1 Literacy

In Kindergarten and 1st grade, students study literacy through Wilson Fundations and Close Reading for Meaning. Students gain foundational skills through the Wilson Fundations program, which provides research-based materials and strategies for reading, spelling, and handwriting. Students also practice handwriting using the Zaner-Bloser handwriting program, which offers step-by-step instruction for learning basic manuscript strokes, letters, and numerals. The Close Reading for Meaning approach gives students the tools to understand both the literal and deeper meaning of any nonfiction or fiction text, examine craft and structure, and develop evidence-based ideas. Students work in small groups based on their current skill levels. Students also use Compass Learning, a web-based program that creates a personalized learning path for each student.

2-4 Literacy

In grades 2 through 4 students study literacy through Close Reading for Meaning, ThinkCERCA, and Keyboarding Without Tears. The Close Reading for Meaning approach gives students the tools to understand both the literal and deeper meaning of any nonfiction or fiction text, examine craft and structure, and develop evidence-based ideas. Students work on argumentative writing through ThinkCERCA, an online program. With ThinkCERCA, students read passages of text, analyze the text and then respond to a critical thinking prompt using a writing framework. Working in small groups, students engage with reading materials and work based on their current skill levels. Additionally, during group time, students use Compass Learning (see K-1 Literacy section, above). Students practice typing skills through Keyboarding Without Tears, which covers typing fluency and speed and appropriate use of online tools (“digital citizenship”).

Science

Science Dimensions is the program used for K-4 science at HLA. This program is aligned to the transition of the New York State science learning standards to the Next Generation Science Standards.  The Next Generation Science Standards consist of three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science that build a cohesive understanding of the subject.  The three dimensions are:

·         Practices which describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems.

·         Crosscutting Concepts have application across all domains of science, linking the different domains of the subject. They include: patterns, similarity, and diversity; cause and effect; scale, proportion and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; stability and change.

·         Disciplinary Core Ideas focuses on K – 12 science curriculum, instruction and assessments on the most important aspects of science.

Science Dimensions was created with a “digital-first” mentality. This program provides an authentic approach to increasing student achievement in science and preparing teachers for engineering instruction through the use of technology.

Progress Monitoring

We use MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) three times per year to identify areas of strength and growth opportunities for all students.  The MAP assessments are also aligned with the content and skills measured on the New York State annual tests.

How Language is Acquired

Modern Hebrew

HLA’s founders saw Modern Hebrew as an understudied language in the United States, and also as one with a rich and interesting history. Our school is part of a growing movement of linguistically diverse public charter schools, teaching languages as varied as Modern Hebrew, Greek, Mandarin, French, and Arabic. This movement is based in part on a wide body of research showing some of the benefits of learning a foreign language:

  • Improved school performance
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Understanding of different perspectives

At HLA, Modern Hebrew is taught through the proficiency-based approach, which is considered the gold standard in foreign language instruction in the United States and around the world. Students receive one hour of Hebrew language instruction each day. They engage in meaningful interactions in the language, developing their speaking and comprehension skills at a rapid pace. As students advance through the grade levels, speaking and listening skills continue to be developed and reading and writing are introduced, developed and strengthened.

Modern Hebrew is taught by native speakers, who only speak to their students in Hebrew. In just a short time, students are able to understand Hebrew and speak in simple sentences. As their skills grow, they are introduced to more complex topics and are able to communicate in Hebrew in more sophisticated ways. As students learn Modern Hebrew, they also have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Israel, which provides a link to other subjects such as social studies and the arts.

The Arts

To access the full potential of arts education, HLA provides focused instruction on particular art subjects and integration of arts education in the broader curriculum.

For our early grade students, we offer programs in visual art, dance, and music.  Hebrew language instruction is integrated into our music and arts education.

Famous Israeli musician, David Broza, singing along with HLA students.

Physical Education

The physical education program at HLA positively impacts students’ physical health. Additionally, it helps students develop and foster physical and athletic skills while excelling on an individual level and as members of a team. It’s important to us that while they exercise, our students make friends, have fun and improve their self-esteem.

Special Education

HLA seeks to serve all students in the least restrictive learning environment possible. The school uses an inclusion model for educating our students with special needs to ensure regular interaction among all students. Special education students are removed from the classroom only when appropriate services cannot be provided in the regular classroom setting. Our teachers and support staff are mindful to ensure a positive learning and emotional environment for all our students, and to ensure that every student develops a sense of belonging with fellow students, teachers and support staff.

Israel Studies

Students participate in hands-on experiences related to the history and geography of Israel throughout the school year. With the network’s partnerships with Israeli organizations, our students enjoy various field trips and special assemblies that help them learn about the country and its culture. For example, Tzofim Caravan, a performing group of Israeli scouts, visits the school every spring; there is a school-wide Israel Day celebration, where staff and students come together to enjoy Israeli food, dance, songs, and other activities related to the culture of Israel.

The Modern Hebrew Language