Curriculum & Instruction
At the elementary level, teachers create their own social studies curricula, often integrating this content area with language arts learning. Our middle school social studies teacher provides courses in Ancient History, Pacific Island Studies/Hawaiian Monarchy, and U.S. History from colonial days through the Civil War to parallel DOE schools and facilitate student preparation for public high school social studies requirements.
English Language Arts
Teachers use multi-sensory, structured language approaches to reading as well as rich experiences with high quality literature in guided reading groups and many opportunities for students to engage in texts and respond to them. Writing instruction incorporates Common Core Standards including research; informative/explanatory, argumentative, and narrative writing; and English language usage (mechanics, grammar, and spelling). Students gain skills in oral communication and listening through classroom experiences in social skills, group work, various presentations, and performances for a variety of audiences.
Grades K-5 students use Primary Mathematics, which is based on the highly successful Singapore Math approach. Grades 6-8 students use Eureka Math! Both math curricula are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Teachers also integrate real-world, experiential, and place-based activities along with opportunities for practice. We emphasize understanding and communication of concepts in math more than rote memorization of facts or drills in computation.
Our students have rich opportunities to work in environmental science areas in our neighboring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, natural area reserves, and other areas around our island community, as well as outdoors on our beautiful rain forest campus. Many of our elementary teachers use materials from FOSS science kits, as well as teacher-developed activities. Some elementary teachers have been working with UH Hilo students in creating and implementing PRISM science units