Curriculum & Instruction
As a Hawaiian-Focused School, Hawaiian values, knowledge, and practices are integrated into core curriculum. All students participate in Piko Wehena, morning protocol to set the intention for the day; weekly ʻIke Hawaiʻi classes that incorporate music, hula, and Hawaiian language; and school wide activities such as Makahiki Day and May Day Hoʻolauleʻa.
VSAS officially became a Hawaiian-Focused School in 2016 in order to fully implement its mission and vision. Since that time, the school has prioritized professional learning and increased expectations for teachers and staff to support integration of Hawaiian-Focused content as the piko (center/source) of the VSAS curriculum.
Arts & Culture
Art and multi-cultural learning are integrated into core content. Professional artists and arts educators work directly with students through residency programs such as those provided by the Volcano Art Center and the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture in the Arts Artists-in-Residency program. All middle school students participate in the Theater program. Electives classes at the middle school include music, photography, and other visual and performing arts. Japanese Language and Culture class is provided to all elementary students and offered to middle school students as an elective.
English Language Arts
Teachers use multi-sensory, structured language approaches to reading as well as rich experiences with high quality literature 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.
VSAS uses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our students have rich opportunities to work in hands-on and field-based activities and engage with scientists across a variety of fields.
VSAS uses standards of the National Council for Social Studies C3 Framework. At the elementary level, individual teachers and sometimes groups of teachers create their own social studies curricula, often integrating this content area with language arts and other learning. Social Studies in the Middle School grades is integrated with English Language Arts in Humanities core curriculum and ʻIke Hawaiʻi, US History & Civic Action, World History & Culture co-curricular classes.