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Curriculum Overview

SAIS offers a curriculum based on United States standards developed by national organizations.  

·         Mathematics and English Language Arts:  Common Core State Standards 

·         Science:  Next Generation Science Standards 

·         Social Studies:  AERO Social Studies Curriculum Framework

·         Music and Visual Art:  National Core Arts Standards 

·         Physical Education:  SHAPE America National Standards 


SAIS believes that standardized tests are a shallow measure of student learning.  Nevertheless, performance on such tests can open doors for our students.  Therefore, SAIS educators work collaboratively to place particular emphasis on those standards which have been determined to be most crucial for success in high-stakes examinations, such as college entrance examinations.


In addition to content specific standards, SAIS also teaches the Partnership for 21st Century Learning Standards (www.p21.org).  These include Key Subjects and 21st Century Themes, Learning and Innovation Skills, Information, Media and Technology Skills, and Life and Career Skills.



K-8 Curriculum Programs

English Language Arts 

All instruction at SAIS is conducted in English.  Teachers use a variety of methods to teach the Common Core State Standards, including Project-Based Learning, Reading and Writing Workshop, and Montessori lessons.  Extra English Language Learner support is available for students demonstrating that need.


Mathematics 

Mathematics instruction at SAIS is a balanced approach between problem-solving skills, conceptual knowledge, and procedural fluency.  Mathematics is a key element in many educational projects.  Additional delivery methods include Judo Math (developed at High Tech High in San Diego), Montessori lessons, and computer-based approaches.


Science 

At SAIS, science is at the heart of many educational projects.  Students follow the Next Generation Science Standards by learning science processes and cross-cutting concepts in addition to content-specific knowledge.  Authentic experiments form the core of the curriculum.

 

Social Studies

An international school setting requires a particularly broad approach to the social studies.  Using authentic projects, SAIS teaches the AERO standards, placing particular emphasis on perspective, empathy, and global citizenship.  Projects frequently result in local action on a social issue of importance.


MakerSpace 

At SAIS, every classroom is a maker space.  All students experience project-based learning, and students are afforded time in a dedicated, well-stocked maker space.  

The MakerSpace course is additional time allotted to students in grades 3-8.  This class supports students and teachers working on curriculum projects, as well as expanding time and resources for discretionary maker exploration and experimentation.

SAIS believes that students need to learn much more than content knowledge.  Successful persons are able to communicate, collaborate, and create.  MakerSpace supports the development of these important skills by teaching students how to implement design thinking and manage projects.  Hands-on problem solving is critical to success in the real world. 


Visual Art 

Visual art is part of the curriculum for all SAIS students.  As in all classes at SAIS, emphasis is placed on creative projects that meet national learning standards.  SAIS promotes a balanced approach, including opportunities to present art, respond to art, and connect art to other disciplines.


Music 

Curricular music is offered to students in grades K-2.  As with visual art, music follows the core arts standards framework of providing balanced instruction among creating, performing, responding, and connecting.  Two public performances are included as part of the required curriculum.


Physical Education

SAIS recognizes not only the need for students to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, but it also recognizes important research indicating that physical education supports academic growth.  The PE program at SAIS develops motor skills, applies those skills to physical situations, teaches students to maintain their health, teaches social responsibility, and develops a mindset of life-long physical activity. 


Chinese 

Chinese is required for all students K-8.  Students are grouped into age cohorts for scheduling, but teachers evaluate each student’s proficiency and differentiate instruction accordingly.  The curriculum develops each student’s ability to read, write, speak, and listen in Mandarin.  As with all classes at SAIS, the Chinese curriculum utilizes project-based learning as the primary method of instruction.



Early Learning Environment (ELE) Curriculum

SAIS uses project-based learning and the Montessori Early Childhood Education program to deliver the ELE curriculum.  Major topics include sensorial lessons, exercises of practical life, developing independence, mathematics, language, biology, and geography.  



Additional Programs 

After School Activities 

Each SAIS teacher conducts a nine week after-school activity.  These activities run from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.  Specific activities vary, based on student interest and teacher expertise.


Library 

At SAIS, there is no central library.  The second and third floors each have dedicated spaces with books and computers, and hallway bookshelves are also stocked with books.  Students are never more than a few feet from appropriate reading material.  Students also have extensive access to laptops for researching projects, and are able to access digital libraries through our technology.


Technology 

Technology is often an integral part of the research needed to complete projects.  SAIS maintains an inventory of one laptop for every two students, which is sufficient for project-based learning.



 

 


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