Curriculum

English Language Arts

The Alpine School’s English Language Arts curriculum is based on a Balanced Literacy framework and aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The Balanced Literacy framework is designed to help all students learn to read, write, speak, and listen effectively and develop attitudes and habits about literacy that will last a lifetime. This framework for reading, writing, speaking, and listening is structured around three blocks: Language/Word Study, Reading Workshop, and Writing Workshop. The ability to communicate requires mastery of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing skills. The English Language Arts curriculum and the instructional program focus on an integrated approach to learning and using language effectively in all content areas. This curriculum is based on the major elements of literacy: Phonemic awareness, Phonics, vocabulary, fluency, text comprehension, language structures, literary forms and devices for reading, writing, speaking ,and listening.

Students in grades K-5 are using the McGraw Hill Reading Wonders and the WonderWorks programs. The programs work to develop the following skills:

-Building a strong reading foundation

-Accessing complex text

-Finding and using text evidence

-Engaging in collaborative conversations

-Writing to sources

In addition, students have been introduced to the Columbia University Teachers College Writer’s Workshop. This writing approach will help develop our students into young authors through a variety of different genres of writing.

Math

Alpine School offers a challenging and comprehensive math curriculum which is aligned with the newly adopted New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The curriculum stresses the acquisition of mathematical fundamentals and important mathematical practices in grades K-5 using our new enVisions 2.0 Math Program by Pearson. In grades 6-8 the math program builds on the foundations set in the previous grades with a sequence of courses that lead students to study in grades 6 & 7: Ratios & Proportional Relationships, The Number System, Expressions & Equations, Geometry, and Statistics & Probability. In grade 8 the students study: The Number System, Expressions & Equations, Functions, Geometry, and Statistics & Probability. In addition the students move through pre-algebra and algebra, with the most skilled students studying advanced algebra. This 6-8 curriculum is based on two research based programs, CMP3 and the University of Chicago’s Algebra program.

Science

The Alpine School science curriculum is in line with the newly adopted New Jersey Student Learning Standards. At the Kindergarten through 5th grade levels, students are engaged in learning through our new National Geographic Exploring Science program. This new program helps students truly understand scientific theory through hands on activities in Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, as well as Engineering Practices. With new shifts in science standards, all Alpine students will be "DOING" science as opposed to just "learning" science. Middle school students in grades 6-8 will be studying Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science, as well as Engineering Practices throughout their school years. The curriculum was designed and approved with progressions and optimal learning in mind. Students will use a variety of sources while engaging in many hands on learning experiences. All grades are supplemented weekly with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) class that enriches student knowledge in the engineering and design field. Students will be working with our new 3D Printers and VEX Robots to enhance their knowledge in STEAM.

Social Studies

The Alpine School Social Studies curriculum is spiraled throughout the grade levels, K-8, and fosters at each grade level an appreciation for world cultures and American heritage through the four main disciplines of Social Studies: civics, history, economics, and geographic literacy. This curriculum is aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Elementary Students in grades K-2 build the foundation by learning all about what makes a community. In 3rd grade they gain a deeper understanding of community and begin to focus on the government of the United States. 4th grade is devoted to learning all about our state of New Jersey from the exploration era up to the present day.

Middle School students in grades 5-8 will use their knowledge gained at the lower grade levels to make connections to broader topics. The following will be the focus for each grade level:

5th Grade- Early U.S. History (Regions of the US, Native Americans, Colonial Times, American Revolution)

6th Grade- World History (Ancient Civilizations, Cultures, The Rise of Europe, Middle Ages)

7th Grade- U.S. History I (5 Themes of Geography, American Revolution, Launching a New Nation, Westward Expansion)

8th Grade- U.S. History II (Civil War, Reconstruction, WWI, WWII, The Cold War)

World Language

French or Spanish is offered to all students in grades K-8. In Kindergarten the students are exposed to a half year of each language. At the end of the year the decision is made by their parents which language they will proceed with in the future. In grades K-3 foreign language classes meet twice a week for 30 minutes each session. 4th graders are offered French/Spanish twice a week for two full periods. When students enter middle school in 5th grade they will have four days of instruction per week. In grades 6-8 French or Spanish will be taught every day. The World Language curriculum is based on an integrated approach to instruction through grammar, communication, and culture. The goal is to have each child to be able to communicate in a second language.

Visual & Performing Arts

The Alpine School’s Visual and Performance Arts Curriculum is both aesthetic and performance based. The Visual Arts curriculum believes in the development of an appreciation of and performance in four interrelated disciplines of art: perceptual awareness, creative expression and art production, culture and heritage, and art criticism.The Music curriculum fosters appreciation of and performance in vocal and instrumental music through an exploration, reflection, and improvisation of the musical medium. Students in 3rd grade play the recorder as they enhance their understanding of music. Beginning in 4th grade students are able to play a musical instrument. They receive instruction one time a week in a small group or private setting. As students enter middle school they are eligible to join the instrumental band. Band practices are before school and students showcase their talents at our Winter & Spring concerts, 8th Grade Graduation, as well as the Alpine Memorial Day Parade.

Technology/Library/Media

The Alpine School believes that technology should be infused throughout all curricular areas. It is both a tool and curricular content area. Students have regularly scheduled classes in the computer lab and Mac Lab and have various technological resources available to them in the classroom such as PCs, wireless laptops, Smartboards, televisions, projectors, etc. Computer classes at the younger levels focus on typing skills with the help of Mavis Beacon Type to Learn 3. Students also work on projects that connect to what they are learning in the classroom. All students in grades 5-8 are issued a Chromebook which they will use throughout the year. In both 3rd and 4th grade the classrooms have class sets of Chromebooks for the students to use. Students are expected to use the latest devices and programs to conduct research, develop presentations, and complete daily assignments. The teachers are expected to prepare and present effective and engaging lessons in all content areas. It is the goal of the Library/ Media curriculum to give all students the opportunity to acquire and refine research skills and develop lifelong pleasure reading competencies.

Physical Education/Health

The Health and Physical Education curriculum is an integral part of the total education of every child at the Alpine School. The curriculum prepares all students to actively and effectively achieve and promote lifelong wellness. The Physical Education program increases physical competence, health-related fitness, self-responsibility and enjoyment of physical activity for all students so that they can become physically active for a lifetime. Besides promoting lifelong wellness the Health program uses an instructional sequence that provides all students with opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills that are rooted in public health, educational research, and effective practice. In addition to the standard Physical Education curriculum, Middle School students are allowed to participate in the following school sports:

Fall: Soccer (coed)

Winter: Boys Basketball & Girls Basketball

Spring: Golf (coed)

There are also a number of after-school enrichment activities that are offered for all students to help them achieve the goal of lifelong wellness.

Enrichment

The Alpine School’s Enrichment program brings specialized services and innovative programs that serve to enhance the educational experience for all students. The Enrichment program begins in each classroom with every teacher striving to meet the needs of all learners through differentiated instruction. The individual teachers enhance the learning of all students by engaging them in activities that better respond to their particular learning needs, strengths, and preferences. In addition to the classroom program there is a formal Enrichment program for all students. In K-4 the Enrichment program is an outgrowth of curriculum units that develop and enhance critical thinking, active listening, following directions, and creative thinking skills. The Enrichment teacher for Grades K-2 and 3-4 meet with the assigned classes weekly. In grades 5-8 the students will get the opportunity to take part in a week of enrichment where they are given a choice of electives. Usually they come from some area of the curriculum that needs to be broadened or isn't normally available to the students. In addition to the week of enrichment, select students are able to participate in Math Counts, Mini Model Congress, and Mock Trials. The Enrichment program continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the students of the Alpine School.

Writer's Workshop

The Writing Workshop is a structured approach to learning the craft of writing, refined by Lucy Calkins and a team of staff developers at the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University Teacher's College. The writing workshop can best be described as a spiral writing curriculum that aligns with the Writing, Speaking and Listening Common Core New Jersey State Standards and builds writing skills from one grade level to the next.

Our goal is to help our students develop a process of writing that is "flexible, strategic, thoughtful and skillful". Students will participate in Writer's Workshop classes three times per week, writing about things that interest them while increasing their writing stamina and independence. Writer’s Workshop typically begins with a Mini-lesson directed by the teacher to the entire class. This is followed by an Independent Writing time during which the teacher takes the opportunity to conference with either individuals or small groups of students. Writer's Workshop features writing folders, the reading of mentor texts to model great writing, and a writer's notebook in second and third grade filled with reflections, "seed ideas", and personal stories. Writer’s Workshop typically closes with sharing of the day's writing with the entire class, small group or partners. After students cycle through the writing process of prewriting/rehearsing, drafting, revising and editing, the writing unit ends with a shared celebration of a published writing piece.

We are very excited to help our students develop an understanding of the way a writer views the world which is referred by Lucy Calkins as living a “the writerly life”.

Gifted & Talented

The Alpine Public School acknowledges and appreciates students' gifts and talents. Through a selection process determined by IQ testing, classroom grades, standardized test scores, and teacher recommendations, students in grades K-8 take part in numerous gifted and talented programs. These programs range from enrichment reading classes, pull out mathematics, STEAM competitions, Brain Busters competitions, model congress, and mock trials. Students are pulled out of their regular scheduled classes to work with other students of exceptional intelligence to enrich their academic experience.