Our approach to the New York State Curriculum
As we are an accredited school by NCA and AdvancED the curriculum has to be American. The curriculum we have chosen is from the State of New York as we feel that this curriculum is the most progressive and it enables us to apply cross- curriculum teaching and interactive learning through all the grades.
Scarsdale International School offers a high academic standard throughout all grades and subjects. English, Urdu or French, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies form the core of the learning program from Kindergarten to Grade 8, and this is broadened and enriched by a selection of required elective courses.
The elective courses, which are offered in our Carousel Program, are:
- Vocal and instrumentation
- Physical Education
- Computer Studies
Because young children learn at different rates and in different ways, teachers use a variety of methods and materials; they may work on projects with a whole class, in small groups or individually. The rich curriculum allows them to integrate learning so that ideas and skills flow from one subject area to another, including science and the arts.
The core of Scarsdale’s English program is literature.
From Listening and Learning Domains to Skills Unit Sets, Kindergarten to Grade 2 students work on grasping the basic elements that help them understand and comprehend English.
Students from Grade 3 to Grade 8 are exposed to Module-based Teaching, which includes lots of research and writing as the modules progress with each grade level. Students are taught and work on other important areas of English teaching, like grammar, spelling and vocabulary, writing, throughout the academic year as well.
Reading plays a fundamental role all the way from K to 8. Since the English curriculum is predominantly reading-based, students are expected to master their reading and comprehension skills during the English lessons, encouraged to respond creatively and thoughtfully to everything they read, and also utilize their free time in reading.
Students are expected to read aloud, as Guided Reading, or silently and independently during the English lessons. Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programs further help to instill comprehension practice to the students.
Teachers use a variety of strategies as a vehicle to enhance comprehension and for vocabulary development.
Writing is fostered through stories, responses to books, research projects or assignments related to the Social Studies theme. Children learn the process of writing—editing, revising, publishing on the computer— as well as the mechanics of sentence structure and punctuation. They learn to discuss their own work as serious writers and to offer helpful criticism to their classmates as serious readers.
The goal of Scarsdale’s Mathematics program is to develop children’s ability to think systematically and abstractly.
Throughout the grades teachers use concrete manipulative objects to help children internalize Mathematical concepts. As children progress from operations with whole numbers and fractions to basic principles of volume, area and perimeter, they learn to apply their skills to a variety of problem-solving tasks—word problems, mental Math, logic puzzles and games. Whether learning about time, money or weather patterns, the emphasis is always on applying skills to real life situations. Although accurate computation is always required, the emphasis is on estimation and the reasoning that underlies all Mathematics.
The focus of the Social Studies program is quite enthralling for students.
Its themes deepen and expand with their growing understanding. Students move from a study of their own families, neighborhood, and the structure and customs of different families today to the lives of Native Americans and family life in New Amsterdam and the old West. It encompasses the study of ancient civilizations across the globe and moves to a more detailed study of events that shape US history.
Research, report writing skills, history, geography, map reading, and a whole lot of skills are incorporated into this curriculum, as are many opportunities for artistic and dramatic projects and field trips.
Science program fosters curiosity through process of inquiry.
The Science program fosters and focuses on children’s natural curiosity by teaching them a process of inquiry. In a fully equipped Science lab scaled to their size, children conduct their own experiments taught by a Science specialist. They learn how to make hypothesis and test them, how to do careful observations, take measurements and keep records, and how to interpret unexpected results. The curriculum moves from a focus on plant and animal life and their own bodies in first grade to complicated subjects, such as electricity and the solar system, life and physical sciences, expanding and changing according to the children’s own interests and abilities.
Urdu and French are taught from Kindergarten to Grade 8 as academic subjects, while other foreign languages like Chinese and Arabic are taught in an immersion-based fashion, encouraging real-life use of the foreign language. Cooking and art activities, songs and games are used to bring the new language to life in the classrooms.
Technology is used throughout the curriculum.
Power Point Presentations, movie making, video presentations and YouTube downloads are used for the teaching of core subjects in the classrooms. But many other techniques are used by the students in the technology class, where a vast variety of applications and software is used. Kindergarten students to Fourth Graders come to the computer lab once a week to practice keyboarding, publish their own stories and do Internet-based research in a variety of subjects.
Grade 5 to 8 students are expected to bring their laptops to school as it helps foster a digital based learning experience while technology is integrated in lessons. Programs like Google Classroom help us enhance digital learning, enable students to think outside of the box, and improvise when a teacher is not physically present. In case of unscheduled school closings, students are required to complete assignments posted by teachers on the Classroom platform during their regularly scheduled class time. This helps to ensure we don’t lose student contact hours and students are constantly learning.
Reading Eggspress and Mathletics Programs are deemed necessary in the English and Math lessons. Both of the afore-mentioned are fun filled learning programs designed to assess not just the basic skills in these subjects but also the concepts taught in class.
Students are evaluated by means of continuous assessment during each quarter on the basis of their class performance, endogenic tests, homework, assignments, and class work. There are no examinations for Grades 1 through Grade 4 at the end of each semester and this brings us in line with what schools are doing in the United States.
Only Grade 5 through Grade 8 students write semester examinations, which in the first semester, take place towards the end of December and in the second semester take place towards the end of May each year.
Parent Teacher Conferences, Student Profiles on LMS, and Semester Reports give parents an insight into their child’s progress.
Abbreviated progress reports are sent out quarterly, while at the end of each semester detailed narrative reports are sent out. Teachers meet with parents, three times a year, formally at the quarterly Parent-Teacher Conference which is held once the progress reports have been sent home. Grades and rubrics are allocated to the core subjects for assessments while rubrics are used for the supplementary subjects that include Religious Studies, Physical Education, and subjects that are part of the carousel program in the Semester Reports.
Parents are requested and encouraged to log in to the school’s LMS page regularly to check the graphical representation of the academic performance of their child in each subject. Teachers, also, add in comments regarding a student’s quarterly performance on LMS, leading to meetings with parents, if needed.
Students from Gr 1-8 are expected to store their endogenic tests in a file, called My File. Endogenic tests that are conducted each week are placed in these files and a record sheet for the entire quarter is maintained and updated by the teachers. This procedure also helps parents to stay up-to-date as far as their child’s academic performance is concerned.
Not all lessons at school must be assessed, evaluated, measured, graded and quantified. Clubs and other activities– which are traditionally after school– are offered during school time to ensure maximum participation. The Activity Period allows students to partake in various activities, learn new skills, become confident, learn and become competent life-long learners for duration of 80 minute period once a week where the students learn a life skill unrelated to the core curriculum subjects.
The activity period is part of every student’s schedule. The students are allocated one activity each quarter. Faculty and specialists advisers motivate the groups and facilitate the activity.
The Activity period content varies from year to year but a selection is made from the following interests:
||*Puppet making||*Puzzle building|
||*Foreign language||*Reading Theater|
||*Dance||*Think and Design|
Teachers who can inspire and motivate as well as challenge their students are central and fundamental to a good learning program. The faculty at the school represents a wide diversity of backgrounds, training and teaching styles. The teaching faculty comprises of dedicated people who have the best interests of the students at heart.
The students are taught a specific course material determined by the curriculum and examples and applications are provided from everyday life in order to make the learning experience real and relevant. Therefore, the emphasis is not only on the theory but on the application and practice of the skills. The manner in which this is taught is grounded in the interactive method of teaching which moves away from just the student’s resource book and includes a wide variety of activities to enhance the learning experience.
The interactive learning process starts with a focus discussion and from there, either in groups or individually, the process of learning branches into oral presentations, multi-media presentations, displays, cross-curriculum work, practical investigation, independent research, field trips to apply the knowledge and skills mastered ,interviews and any other way which can enhance and enforce the skills taught.
English Learning Support Program
Scarsdale accepts a wide variety of students from all over the world and from Pakistan. Sometimes the accepted students have special needs that need to be catered for and so we place these students into our Educational Support Service Program.
The ability to communicate and comprehend English is essential for success in today’s world. However, children learn in different ways and at different speeds, as well as coming from different backgrounds.
Scarsdale provides extra help for students who may be weaker in English than their peers, by providing:
- English remedial classes
- Using the Technology Cart which enables the student to use visually and auditory cues and prompts
- Individual attention and classes where the basics are mastered and practiced
- Enrolling the student in the Rosetta Stone Program which, quite markedly, helps students to master basic English language skills
The ESS program helps students to:
- Develop higher self-esteem
- Begin to speak and write in English
- Avoid physical illnesses due to stress
- Grow up to be confident in front of a group
- Develop to their full potential
- Receive better grades
- Complete assignments independently
Thinking of others
Students are encouraged through various activities to think of others, less fortunate than themselves, and not just donate money but to walk a mile in their shoes, if possible. Each grade is encouraged yearly to select a project that will reflect the ethos of the school and together with the teacher formulate a plan to achieve the goal decided on by the whole grade or a particular class
Quite recently we have had the second grades running the Forest Cafe to raise funds for the SOS Children Village in Lahore and the fourth grades raising funds for the Edhi Children’s Feeding Scheme.
Moreover, the school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and the National Honor Society (NHS) participate actively in fund raising and social welfare projects each year. Hence, the school provides an ideal ground to trigger a sense of humanity and responsibility towards others members of the community.