A child’s early school years are an important time for learning. It is in elementary school that we build the foundation for children’s pathways to lifelong success. We believe successful learning occurs in an environment that is age appropriate, interactive, challenging and engaging. Our dedicated teachers deliver high-quality, whole-group instruction, tailored, small-group instruction and one-on-one support. We ensure that all children’s voices are heard and that they receive the support necessary to succeed. While students are exposed to all four core curriculum areas, the emphasis in elementary school is on growing student skills in literacy and mathematics.
Our literacy programming is based on a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model driven by instructional standards, focused on strategies and guided by student data. We offer students tools for selecting and comprehending literature. Students learn to ask questions, make connections and explore different genres, authors and texts. They work at their own level and make progress by learning to work through direct instruction of skills in various formats, including whole-class instruction, small-group work and individual conferencing. Students engage in grade-level text through read aloud and content area work, and read a variety of texts at their independent reading level. In addition to our dedicated teachers, Donges Bay provides a full-time literacy specialist to work with individuals and small groups of students and lead professional development for teachers. We ensure our students receive research-based, rigorous and differentiated instruction.
Challenging content and authentic problem solving that fosters perseverance and interest are hallmarks of our mathematics program. Instruction is designed to develop mathematical practices to build students’ conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. Students work both individually and collaboratively to become successful math thinkers. Donges Bay employs a full-time math specialist to support our high-quality teachers and students. Teachers have been trained to provide multiple levels of support to ensure all students are challenged throughout our mathematics curriculum.
Our teachers use inquiry-based, active, hands-on investigation to engage students in authentic applications of science, with a strong emphasis on teaching students how to use the scientific method. Students engage in science investigations and experiments by first looking at all the evidence before making a statement of fact. By teaching the scientific method as a technique for students to develop conclusions, students learn how to answer a question in a logical manner. Science instruction is a key tool used to ensure students develop problem-solving skills that empower them to participate in rigorous science coursework in the secondary setting.
Preparing students to be responsible citizens of our nation, state and local community is the focus of social studies instruction at Donges Bay. Across students’ elementary school experiences, teachers use social studies instruction to grow understanding of the history, traditions, geography, economic and political contexts and values that influence society. Through a strong community partnership with Junior Achievement, students at every grade level engage in early lessons on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. This enhances the school’s social studies curriculum with authentic applications and experiential learning that enables students to put their new knowledge and skills into practice.
Our elementary schools feature comprehensive programming in the areas of art, music and physical education. Opportunities in these curricular areas cultivate the whole child by allowing students to showcase their creative abilities, build their social-emotional intelligence and explore their passions.
A robust, comprehensive music program is an integral part of every child’s education. All Oriole Lane students take a general music class that builds their skills in music through singing, instrument playing, movement and critical listening. In these classes, students are exposed to music from various historical and cultural traditions. Creativity and collaboration are encouraged as students learn to read and perform music.
Beyond the general music programming, students in upper elementary grades also have access to elective options in orchestra and band. Fourth- and fifth-grade orchestra students attend two large ensemble rehearsals before school and receive one 30-minute, small-group lesson during the school day each week. Band is offered to students beginning in fifth grade. It is in elementary performing arts programming that elementary school students are taught their first sounds on an instrument and are shaped into young musicians.