The academic program at Arrowsmith School comprises classes in English and mathematics. Most students spend approximately one-quarter of their school day engaged in these lessons which are set by ability and with regard to each student’s needs.
The academic program at Arrowsmith School is an important part of the Arrowsmith student’s experience. Not only does it contain curriculum content necessary to the child’s knowledge base but it also allows students to apply their developing learning abilities. The structure of the academic program provides the students with a routine found in most mainstream classrooms.
The academic program has been created using the objectives found in Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum documents. Because students arrive at Arrowsmith with a wide range of needs and experience, we recognize the need for individualization of the academic programs.
With small class sizes and an average student to teacher ratio of 6 to 1, we have the capacity to meet those needs and provide lessons that are age appropriate, motivating, and accessible to each student.
Our academic teachers strive to help students make the necessary connections between their increasing learning capacities and their understanding of numeracy and literacy concepts by identifying learning styles, setting expectations, and using a variety of instructional and assessment tools and strategies.
We aim to challenge all students and do so in an environment where they can meet success and carry that success with them throughout their lives by taking responsibility for their own learning and their own achievements.
Students in the English program who have problems decoding text, reading words and sounding them out with accuracy, and who are reading below grade level will use the decoding strand of Corrective Reading which is a Direct Instruction program published by SRA/McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
This program has been extensively field tested and has consistently achieved good results and is widely used in remedial classrooms both in public and private schools throughout Ontario and much of North America.
To the extent possible, we follow the Ontario Curriculum for students who are reading at grade level. Students engage in activities such as novel studies, literary circles, and writing assignments in addition to comprehension and grammar based exercises.
The mathematics program is also drawn from the Ontario curriculum and covers the five strands comprising number sense and numeration, measurement, geometry and spatial sense, patterning and algebra, and data management and probability.
The curriculum objectives are then modified to best fit the students’ abilities and learning needs. We endeavor to create a classroom environment that engages students’ interest and helps them arrive at an understanding of mathematics that is critical to further learning.
Our math resources are extensive, and there are plenty of texts, tools, and manipulatives to support instruction.
Classroom activities are designed to encourage pupils to develop mental strategies, to use paper and pencil methods appropriately, and to use and apply their mathematics in realistic tasks. The processes that we focus upon in the daily math lesson include problem solving, reasoning and proving, reflecting, connecting, and communicating and are the areas where many children with learning disabilities tend to struggle.
It is particularly rewarding for our students to begin making connections between their cognitive development and their academic work. By strengthening their learning capacities through the cognitive program, students expand their methods of problem solving, communicating, reflecting, and ultimately, utilize these abilities in all strands of their daily lives.
Integration of the academic program with the cognitive program
Our academic teachers work closely with each student’s cognitive teachers to ensure that each student has a balanced workload and is working at his or her appropriate level.
Student progress in both the cognitive program and the academic program are communicated so that programs may be modified as required in order to best meet the students’ needs in the overall Arrowsmith School program.
Homework is an essential component of a child’s learning. It promotes a sense of discipline and personal responsibility, and also gives students the opportunity to reinforce any new skills or material learned, including objectives and expectations drawn from the Ontario curriculum.
Each week, pupils will have two evenings of English homework, and two of mathematics. It is expected that homework arrive back at school the following day completed to the best of the student’s ability.