Academics

The Northgate School District elementary curriculum provides students with rich and robust learning opportunities in the areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies for students in Kindergarten through 6th-grade. Our elementary students also rotate through classes in Art, Music, Physical Education, Computers, and Library.

English Language Arts

Northgate’s English Language Arts program is based upon State and National standards that integrate reading, writing, listening and speaking. Essential phonics skills are taught through the Journey’s reading series in grades K-6 and applied in the Write-to-Read computer lab. Process writing and literature circles develop vocabulary and comprehension skills while allowing students to practice and apply strategies necessary to build independence.  Library instruction supports fiction and non-fiction selections from the regular classroom representing various authors and genres. Research skills are systematically taught utilizing appropriate sources and electronic media. We also use Accelerated Reader, an individualized program that promotes independent reading and reinforces reading comprehension.  

The English Language Arts curriculum is divided into the following broad categories:

  • Foundations
  • Reading Text and Literature
  • Writing
  • Conventions
  • Speaking and Listening

Mathematics

The Mathematics curriculum provides a comprehensive mathematical experience incorporating the five strands of mathematical competency. These include conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence, adaptive reasoning, and productive disposition.  GO Math! is a rigorous curriculum proven to build students’ mathematical knowledge from the basics to higher-order thinking and critical problem-solving in grades K through 5. Real-life problems and situations are applied to math concepts so that students experience information to develop mathematical insights and reasoning. 

In 6th grade, they will use Illustrative Mathematics a problem-based core mathematics curriculum that develops students’ mathematical thinking skills through questioning, discussion, and real-world contexts and connections.

Students are provided opportunities to problem solve and think creatively using technology and manipulatives. These components of our elementary Mathematics program develop student understanding of basic skills and fundamental algorithms as well as providing opportunities for students to construct mathematical knowledge. Our mathematics program encourages students to work cooperatively, communicate mathematically, and make connections between important mathematical topics and the real world.

Our Mathematics curriculum consists of the following broad categories:

  • Numbers and Operations
  • Algebraic Thinking
  • Geometry
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Mathematical Practices

Science

The Smithsonian Institute science program provides students with an engaging hands-on, inquiry-based learning experience, and an in-depth study of scientific concepts that require higher-order thinking skills.

Social Studies

Social Studies concepts are incorporated with reading and literature in grades K-6. The intermediate program stimulates an understanding and respect for our American heritage, fosters the development of responsible citizenship in our democratic society, and emphasizes respect for varying cultures. It is a developmental program which focuses on literal comprehension, critical thinking skills, and vocabulary development, map and globe skills, writing and speaking skills, and the study of chronology. The program prepares the students for responsible citizenship in our American society.

Art & Music

Students are offered rich learning experiences that integrate the arts with the general curriculum. All students in grades K-6 receive formal instruction from certified art and music teachers each week. 

Our certified art specialists encourage aesthetic awareness through observation and visual re-creation of the world around us. The art curriculum includes sequential lessons in the areas of drawing, painting, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking and crafts. Classroom teachers and the art teacher collaborate on themes to create interdisciplinary units.  

Our certified music specialists provide formal instruction that encourages participation through singing, rhythmic movement, and aesthetic awareness. Music instruction is often integrated with the general curriculum, which both enriches the learning experience and helps children form connections between the arts and other subjects, such as math and science.

Physical Education

Students in grades K-6 receive formal instruction from a certified physical education teacher each week. Students are expected to wear a t-shirt, shorts or sweatpants, and athletic shoes and socks on the days they have class.

At the primary level, the program focuses on the development of basic gross and fine motor skills and participating cooperatively in small and large group activities. These skills are further developed at the intermediate level when students also receive instruction in the rules of various sports. Our program integrates the arts in the form of music and dance, while physical fitness and wellness remain the focus of the program.  

For More Information

Director of Curriculum and Assessment
Dr. Chris Caton
ccaton@northgatesd.net
412-732-3300 Ext. 1101