Math - Our students learn to appreciate the power of mathematics and the role it plays in modern society. Mathematical skills and thinking are necessary for achieving success in the modern world.
Science - As implied by our name, science is a major area of emphasis at AMS. Our school has a sophisticated and well-developed science program throughout all grade levels. The students are exposed to the inquiry method of science and participate in hands-on activities. Our goal is to encourage scientific literacy and scientific critical inquiry skills in our students.
Language Arts - The language arts curriculum at AMS encompasses speaking, writing, reading, listening, and comprehension. The goal of language arts is to create a life-long love of learning while developing the ability to communicate effectively.
Social Studies - Social studies imbues students with an understanding of current and historical events, trends, and structures. Our goal is to develop students who will become engaged and knowledgeable citizens in our increasingly complex society.
Art - All of the art programs at AMS are structured around the fourteen elements and principles of art and design.
Music - Our music program aims to develop an appreciation for music by equipping students with knowledge of music principles. AMS also develops specific musical skills and abilities through direct participation in musical performances.
Computers - Computer literacy is becoming increasingly important in today's technologically advanced world. Students at AMS are given the opportunity to progress from knowledge acquisition to skill application in the areas of hardware and software. AMS provides computer instruction as a tool for life-long learning.
Physical Education - Modern convenience in today's society removes much of the physical activity from daily life. AMS understands the necessity to encourage the creation of healthy habits in order to maintain a healthy body to match the healthy intellect of our youth. Our PE program is designed to foster teamwork in a safe and fun environment while students develop physical fitness and an appreciation for a variety of sports.
Special Education - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) states that all individuals with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age are to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE). This education must occur in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and provide supplementary aids and supports when necessary.
Foreign Language - Learning a second language is highly beneficial to a student's progress in other subjects by enhancing both language skills and logic abilities. AMS provides students with opportunities to develop and expand their language skills by means of a comprehensive foreign language instruction program.
Our students learn to appreciate the power of mathematics and the integral role it plays in modern society. Upon enrolling at AMS, each student is placed in one of several math programs according to their experience and skill level.
Students are exposed to geometry and statistics at each level. Within the selected program, both student and teacher work together to develop individual tasks and goals that are appropriate for the student based on his/her abilities and interests.
We use the SAXON mathematics materials for consistency throughout the grade levels. Please visit their site for a complete overview of these materials. Geometry is also incorporated into all grade level instruction. Research shows that grade-school children are ill-prepared when they begin learning geometry in middle school. In order to better prepare our students for formal geometry studies, we have added a complete program of geometry in grades K-5.
The Science program at AMS is an integrated, hands-on, standards-based program. Students will be exposed to the following material:
The students will participate in lab activities that will utilize the Scientific Method outlined in Strand 1: Inquiry Process of the Arizona State Standards.
Reading and Language
Students at AMS use the Imagine It! Series and Houghton-Mifflin program to explore genres of tales, poetry, plays, autobiographies, realistic fiction, non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction, and folktales. Students are also expected to read outside of class to expand their literary knowledge and develop a love for reading. Spelling and vocabulary words are context-based. The primary goal of the language arts program is to develop accomplished readers and writers in all subject areas. Through the selection of high-quality and relevant literature, we strive to nurture passionate, life-long readers who appreciate the value of a good book. We provide a "print-rich" environment, offering children endless opportunities to experience a love of literature and language.
Speaking and Listening
Students at AMS have a wide variety of opportunities to use language to express themselves. Our small class size means that there is adequate opportunity for students to interact with teachers and each other. Our classroom spaces are designed so that students can work in a variety of learning settings, including small and large groups, where they can develop their listening and speaking skills. Our school provides a nurturing environment where students who are non-native speakers of English feel supported as they acquire academic skills that are vital to their future success.
Students are exposed to the six traits of writing beginning at the kindergarten level. Students work on developing and achieving mastery in writing through daily journaling and research reports.
In the primary grades, students become aware of their school and community and how people contribute to the well-being of themselves and others. Different cultures and their influence on our lives will be explored. Students study the songs and symbols of the United States and comprehend that we are a nation of laws which provides a safe environment to live in.
The intermediate grade levels will explore the history of the United States. Through a process of discovery, students study the foundation of the United States and learn about the first Americans and end with present-day America and current events. Students take a close look at the founding of our nation during and after the Revolutionary War. The history of Arizona is also covered.
The art programs are structured in levels centered on the fourteen elements and principles of art and design. Each art project introduces or reinforces art concepts and art vocabulary while offering the students skill practice in various media and art techniques.
Each week, while completing a variety of engaging projects, students are introduced to fundamental art concepts and new media techniques. The history and work of famous artists are shared, and students develop a "visual vocabulary."
Examples of projects at this level are Pattern Bugs (which explores pattern and symmetry), Visual Rhythm with watercolors, and Overlapping Shape Landscapes. Other student projects use concepts from math and science as they learn body proportion and the proper placement of individual facial features.
The students also complete a sculpture project in which they build on their social studies and science learning by creating a model of an endangered animal and its habitat. This project is based on each student's own research and reporting.
The goal of the AMS music program is to provide students with a broad knowledge and appreciation of music.
AMS students have music lessons two times per week where they learn to play their choice of guitar or piano and to read and compose music. These lessons culminate in two recitals each year.
In addition, students are taught the history of Western music, the music of other cultures around the world, and the skill of audiation (being able to think in musical terms). This is the most important skill for students to develop as it prepares them for the rewarding appreciation of what music conveys. By learning the language of music as one learns any other language, students develop the basis for a life-long relationship with music. Teaching methods include aspects drawn from Suzuki, Kodaly and Edwin Gordon. All instruction includes a strong, playful element so that students are encouraged to be spontaneous and creative with music.
Computer literacy is becoming increasingly important in today's technologically advanced world. The AMS computer program provides a comprehensive view of the technological world, and provides grade-appropriate instruction concerning hardware, software and the Internet.
Students learn to use Microsoft Office 2007 software applications and the Internet for many practical purposes. Internet use is monitored through web-blocking software, and by ensuring that activities are carried out under adult supervision.
Introductory classes work on building computer and technology vocabulary. Students learn about computer hardware and its functioning, which provides a firm basis for progressing into knowledge application.
Intermediate instruction develops a skills base through a variety of typing exercises and exposure to software packages such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and spreadsheet applications. At this level, the computer instruction program also facilitates the application of the learner's expanding knowledge pool by providing opportunities to actively and safely participate in Internet research projects and activities. Such activities are beneficial to other areas of the school curriculum as these activities enable students to navigate through a wide range of reference sources.
Enthusiasm for computer coursework at all levels is maintained when students participate in enrichment activities, such as Scavenger Hunts, or Web Quests, where students utilize online resources to answer assigned questions. Students explore the Internet as a reference source, and learn useful strategies to gather information for other subjects in the school curriculum.
Students involved in AMS computer instruction are given the opportunity to progress from knowledge to skill application in the areas of hardware and software. AMS provides computer instruction as a tool for life-long learning, with the application of skills outside of their original contexts.
Modern convenience in today's society removes much of the physical activity from daily life. AMS understands the necessity to create and maintain a healthy body to match the healthy intellect of our youth.
As such, AMS regards Physical Education (PE) as a very important part of a student's education. PE classes for all AMS students begin with a group stretch, followed by a calisthenics period to include jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups.
Students exercise in two-person teams to foster encouragement and to allow students to assist in the completion of their partner's exercise repetition. They play a variety of games which require them to use both their large and small motor functions and muscles. Sports equipment, such as hula-hoops, basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, and floor scooters allow for a variety of activities. Students learn the traditional rules of sports and are also encouraged to participate in creating their own games - past favorites have included scooter tag, scooter floor hockey, and scooter relay races. The ultimate goal of AMS's PE program is to foster teamwork in a safe and fun environment while students develop physical fitness and an appreciation for a variety of sports.
AMS strives to include every person with disabilities in the general education under the inclusion model. This is facilitated through direct services, consultation and support offered by a Special Education Teacher.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was last reauthorized in 2004. The law is known as IDEA 2004. IDEA 2004 states all individuals with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age are to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE). This education must occur in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and provide supplementary aids and supports when necessary. Curricular adaptations, which include both accommodations and modifications, are changes in the educational environment that allows the student equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as their non-disabled peers. School districts, including charter schools, are responsible for identifying and providing special education services to students from 5 to 21 years of age. AMS provides support to students with disabilities and educates them as much as possible in the same physical environment as their non-disabled peers.
Learning a second language is highly beneficial to a student's progress in other subjects, enhancing both language skills and logic abilities. AMS provides students with opportunities to develop and expand their language skills by means of a comprehensive foreign language instruction program.
In elementary school, Kindergarten through 5th grade students take Spanish once per week. Russian is offered to some elementary grades. All students have the opportunity to take Russian after school.
Explorations of the food, music, videos and literature of Spanish and Russian-speaking populations supplement the AMS Spanish and Russian curricula.