Curriculum

The HoLa curriculum sets forth an educational plan that reinforces HoLa’s mission to provide a rigorous and rich academic program in a dual language immersion context, where students are actively engaged in the learning process. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, challenging and aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and the Core Curriculum Content Standards.

School-wide Initiatives:

  • Responsive Classroom – An approach to the  elementary classroom that emphasizes character development, with the goal of deliberately helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies within the structure of a strong and safe school community.
  • Arts Emphasis – Cross-curricular integration of the arts into the classroom, along with instruction in, and exposure to, various media through weekly art, music and dance classes, field trips and residencies.
  • Specials – Students participate in “special” classes daily: art, music, gym, dance, yoga and instrumental instruction.
  • Experiential Learning – Emphasis on “hands on instruction” in all subject areas (manipulatives, cooperative learning, field trips, interactive activities/workshops, child-directed inquiry).
  • STEM – Starting in 4th Grade, students benefit from a progression of STEM courses each year: Coding (Scratch/Python), App Development, Robotics, 3D Modeling & Printing, and Circuitry / Arduino, as well as Adobe Creative Suite. There are also a range of STEM-based extracurricular offerings available to Middle School students, such as Science Olympiad, CyberPatriot teams, and Math Club.

Literacy / Language Arts:

  • Benchmark Advance / Benchmark Adelante (K-2) – Comprehensive literacy programs in Spanish and English comprised of phonics; guided reading; word study / vocabulary development; interactive read-alouds; readers’ theater; readers’ and writers’ genre workshops; and more to develop competent, well-rounded readers and writers with a strong foundation to support the shift from learning to read, to reading to learn.
    • Balanced Literacy Approach – Designed to increase confidence and fluency in all aspects of literacy; students’ progress through reading levels using the Guided Reading approach, which emphasizes the use of quality, authentic children’s literature to build an interest in and passion for reading. This also includes Shared Reading and Interactive Writing experiences where our teachers explicitly model the skills of proficient readers and writers.
  • Expeditionary Learning (grades 3-4) – EL’s approach develops literacy for upper elementary students through the use of compelling topics reflected in high quality, authentic informational and literary texts, which engage students and build expertise across subject areas as they increase in complexity over the course of the year and gradespan. Students work with evidence, learn to cite texts effectively, and develop their writing skills through a process and revision-based approach.
  • Internally Created Curriculum for Middle School ELA / SLA (grades 5-8) – HoLa’s instructional leads have created a curriculum custom-made for HoLa’s dual language setting, that allows all grade-level standards to be addressed through alternating weeks of ELA and SLA, while developing strong literacy skills in two languages, and exposing students to in-depth exploration of rich literature in English and Spanish.
    • Novel Study/Literature Circles (grades 5-8) – A method of explicit instruction on the nuances of a novel to develop students who can approach complex texts with comprehension, formulate analytical responses to writing, and demonstrate familiarity with various genres of literature. The curriculum alternates between whole-class readings of key novels, and small group leveled readings with texts on a similar theme.
    • AP Spanish (grades 7-8) – HoLa’s 7th & 8th grade SLA curriculum has been approved as an AP Spanish Language & Culture course by the College Board. 8th grade students are eligible to take the Spanish Language & Culture AP exam on site at HoLa each spring.

Math:

  • EngageNY (K-4) – Comprehensive Common Core aligned math curriculum created by a team of NY educators and curriculum experts.
  • Achievement First (grades 5-8) – Developed to support students to think critically and apply mathematical concepts beyond basic mastery of algorithms, AF’s framework is comprised of five core tenets: conceptual understanding; procedural fluency; strategic competence and adaptive reasoning; productive disposition; and problem solving.
    • Algebra – All 8th grade students participate in an Algebra I course as part of the curriculum, so that they are prepared for high school and on track for an advanced math trajectory.

Science:

  • Science Dimensions – A holistic approach to science instruction based on Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers guide students to think like scientists and internalize concepts through exploration, analysis, and application.

Social Studies:

  • Harcourt Social Studies/Estudios Sociales (K-4) – A comprehensive social studies program designed to engage and motivate students, and provide a global perspective, through the stories of the intriguing people, places and events that make social studies relevant to their lives. Students learn the information and skills they need to become informed citizens who consider diverse points of view, use critical thinking skills and are active in their communities.
  • Achievement First (grades 5-8) – AF’s Social Studies curriculum prepares students with the foundation to tackle AP history courses in high school. The curriculum progresses from ancient civilizations, world history, geography, and an in-depth exploration of American history.
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