Academics Plus Goals & Philosophy

Revised February 2010                       
 
 
 
ACADEMICS PLUS GOALS & PHILOSOPHY
 
 
           The Academics Plus Program at Sierra View School focuses on reading, writing and math, rounded out by a solid curriculum in composition, science, history, and geography.  These are the foundations for all future learning and a successful career.  Enrichment subjects, such as art, drama, and music are taught, but the fundamental program receives priority.  Academics Plus at Sierra View has over three decades of success with this approach.  The Program has experienced teachers with a common commitment to the goals and philosophy of the program, a record of student achievement, and a high reputation amongst parents.
           
           An important element of Academics Plus is that parents are encouraged to actively participate in their children's education, and are given multiple opportunities to do so.  Since Academics Plus is a magnet program chosen by the parents, they are typically enthusiastic and willing to be involved in the educational process. Assisting with homework, reviewing and returning weekly progress reports, helping in the classroom, and supporting field trips are just a few of the ways parents will be involved in the program.  Numerous studies have shown that parent participation in education is the highest single indicator of a child's academic success, and therefore the Academics Plus Program highly encourages such activities
           
           Development of the "whole" child is also stressed in Academics Plus.  The program is designed to instill within each child confidence, a sense of responsibility, pride in accomplishment, and a positive self-image through academic achievement.  Teachers have high expectations, challenging students and helping them to succeed. To accomplish this, the program emphasizes a caring and orderly learning environment, in which teachers and students treat each other with respect and dignity.  Academics Plus believes that sensitivity to each student's feelings and individuality can be maintained in an atmosphere of fair, firm and consistent discipline.
           
           The classroom setting in the Academics Plus Program utilizes whole group interaction, small groups, activities, individual seatwork and/or centers to help make the learning experience exciting and enjoyable.  All aspects of the curriculum are carefully planned by the teachers to be engaging and imaginative ways for young children to learn.  The mission is to spark a joy for learning, while building a foundation of knowledge and skills so that students become lifelong learners and productive contributors to society.
              
 ACADEMICS PLUS PROGRAM GUIDELINES
 
 
GOALS & PHILOSOPHY
 
         1) Academic Focus.  The Academics Plus Program focuses on reading, writing and math, rounded out by a solid curriculum in composition, science, history, and geography These are the foundations for all future learning and a successful career.  Enrichment subjects, such as art, drama, and music are taught, but the fundamental program receives priority.  Academics Plus at Sierra View has over three decades of success with this approach.  The Program has experienced teachers with a common commitment to the goals and philosophy of the program, a record of student achievement, and a high reputation amongst parents.
           2) Parent Involvement.  An important element of Academics Plus is that parents are encouraged to actively participate in their children's education, and are given multiple opportunities to do so.  Since Academics Plus is an alternative program chosen by the parents, they are typically enthusiastic and willing to be involved in the educational process. Assisting with homework, reviewing and returning weekly progress reports, helping in the classroom, and supporting field trips are just a few of the ways parents will be involved in the program.  Numerous studies have shown that parent participation in education is the highest single indicator of a child's academic success!
           3) Focus on the Child.  Development of the "whole" child is also stressed in Academics Plus.  The program is designed to instill within each child confidence, a sense of responsibility, pride in accomplishment, and a positive self-image through academic achievement.  Teachers have high expectations, challenging students and helping them to succeed.  Academics Plus believes that sensitivity to each student's feelings and individuality can be maintained in an atmosphere of fair, firm and consistent discipline.  To accomplish this, the program emphasizes a caring and orderly learning environment, in which teachers and students treat each other with respect and dignity.
           4) Joyful Learning Environment.  The classroom setting in the Academics Plus Program utilizes whole group interaction, small groups, activities, individual seatwork and/or centers to help make the learning experience exciting and enjoyable.  All aspects of the curriculum are carefully planned by the teachers to be engaging and imaginative ways for young children to learn.  The mission is to spark a joy for learning, while building a foundation of knowledge and skills so that students become lifelong learners and productive contributors to society. 
  
PROGRAM SPECIFICS
 
 
I.                   ORIENTATION
 
A.                 Fall and Spring
1.                  Kindergarten orientation will be held before Back to School Night.
2.                  An information night for incoming parents will be held by CUSD in the spring.
3.                  A new parent orientation will be held in September.
4.                  Attendance of Parent Advisory Council is strongly encouraged for all parents and teachers.
 
B.                 Observations and visitations for prospective parents
1.                  Classroom visitations can be scheduled.  It is recommended that these visits be made between October 1st and April 30th on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.
2.                  A standard information package will be distributed and consist of the following: application, brochure, and guidelines.
 
II.                REGISTRATION
 
A.                 Parents must register students on the designated CUSD first day for kindergarten registration at their school of residence.  An application for the Academics Plus Program will be forwarded to Sierra View School.
 
B.                 Siblings of current students and children residing in the Sierra View neighborhood will be given first priority in kindergarten classes provided that they have registered on the first day for kindergarten registration at Sierra View.
 
C.                 Sierra View teachers' children will receive first priority after siblings.
 
D.                The principal will conduct a lottery draw with at least one PAC volunteer present to fill remaining kindergarten openings and establish a waiting list for the grade level.
 
E.                 The administration will establish and maintain a waiting list.
 
F.                  If a student leaves the program or denies an opening within the first 20 days of school then they must reapply for admission to the program.  They are added to the end of the grade level waiting list when they reapply.  Additionally, their new registration date will be the date they reapply to enter their child in the program.  After 20 days they will not be penalized and will retain their position on the waiting list.
 
III.             TEACHER REQUIREMENTS
 
A.                 Teachers will help to insure a successful Academic Plus Program by:
1.                  Providing a weekly progress report on student's academics and behavior;
2.                  Assigning and monitoring homework;
3.                  Facilitating parent conferences as needed;
4.                  Assigning letter grades on report cards (grades 3rd - 6th );
5.                  Having a teacher serve as a representative at PAC monthly meetings;
6.                  Attending appropriate meetings.
 
B.                 Homework policy:
1.                  Homework will be given 3 to 4 days a week except for kindergarten.  The assignments are to be work that is done by the student outside of classroom time.
2.                  Kindergarten may occasionally give homework.
3.                  Recommended amounts of time for daily homework assignments are as follows: Grades 1st - 3rd     10 to 30 minutes
Grades 4th - 6th     30 to 60 minutes
4.                  Within the first two weeks of school, this policy will be handed out to parents and explained by the teacher either before or at Back to School night.
 
IV.       PARENT REQUIREMENTS
 
            Parents will assure a successful Academic Plus Program by:
1.                  Reviewing and signing the Academic Plus Program "Guidelines for a Successful Program" each year and having your child(ren) review and sign the "Student Agreement" each year.
2.                  Assisting your child(ren) with homework as needed;
3.                  Reviewing Weekly Reports with your child;
4.                  Returning Weekly Reports and teacher/school communications in a timely manner;
5.                  Supporting the school/teacher discipline plans;
6.                  Supporting all recommendations of the staff (e.g., teacher assignments, special education/G.A.T.E. testing, etc.);
7.                  Providing transportation for your child(ren) to and from school on time;
8.                  Becoming involved in the program whenever possible (e.g., the Parent Advisory Council, program evaluation, class projects, field trips, classroom volunteer, etc.);
9.                  Non-support of program requirements may result in a parent conference;

IV.              THE PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL (the PAC)
 
A.     The purpose of the PAC is to advise and assist the school district in the overall dissemination of programmatic information, planning, development, implementation, and evaluation relative to the goals and philosophy of the Academics Plus Program.  The PAC supports the program teachers and the school community.  The PAC also coordinates and assists in all fundraising events and/or activities as deemed necessary to support the academic needs of the program.
 
B. Participation in the PAC is welcome and strongly encouraged by all Academic Plus Program parents; either by becoming a council member or simply attending and participating at PAC meetings and/or other PAC events.
 
V.                 PROGRAM SUPPORT
 
A.                 The administration will issue a school handbook with the discipline plan.
 
B.                 The administration will support teachers in finding the best educational experience/placement for their students.
 
VI.              TEACHER SELECTION
 
A.                 Prospective teachers will be given Academics Plus Program Guidelines before interviewing for positions.
 
B.                 A Parent Advisory Council member will be on the interview and/or the selection panel.
 
C.                 After final selection the candidate will be invited to attend a PAC meeting and share his/her background and teaching experience.
  
VII.           LIMITED ENROLLMENT
 
A.                 The Staff and PAC support single grade classes whenever possible. Therefore, the administration will limit enrollment whenever necessary and feasible to avoid combination classes.
 
               CURRICULUM MATERIALS
  
VIII.        GUIDELINES
 
A.                 The program as a whole should have the option to use materials listed on the State Board Approved Materials list that meet goals and philosophy of the Academics Plus Program.
 
B.                 The curriculum must meet with the district's goals and objectives.
 
C.                 The curriculum must follow a definite progression building on skills acquired at each grade level.
 
IX.              FORMAT FOR MATERIALS
 
A.                 Materials and teaching methods will be consistent with Academic Plus philosophy where the primary emphasis is on the basic academic skills in a more structured environment (see Primary Goals and Philosophy).
 
B.                 Materials will offer sequential and complete instructional units.
 
C.                 The classroom teacher will monitor the general progress of students in all academic subject areas.
 
D.                Integration of problem solving will be ongoing to meet higher level thinking skills in all academic subjects.
 
E.                 Teachers' materials and techniques will support the total class approach to teaching and provide opportunities for individual learning modalities.