The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake elementary curriculum focuses on the English Language Arts skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking and spelling. Starting right in kindergarten, pupils also study math, science, social studies and health, lessons that are frequently designed to reinforce particular reading and writing skills. Another area of emphasis is ensuring that all children get off to a successful start in school. Our experience is that small investments of additional time and resources when children start school can result in significant benefits throughout their educational career. To this end our three elementary schools use a number of strategies to identify and assist children who may need a little boost or a little extra time getting adjusted to school.
Special education pupils are mainstreamed into regular classes for all or part of the day whenever possible. Parents volunteers are frequently welcome in our classrooms and may be solicited by teachers to provide additional help and one-on-one attention for students.
Special area instruction is provided starting in kindergarten in physical education, library, and computers. Classes in vocal music and art begin in 1st grade. All pupils learn to play the recorder in 3rd grade, laying the foundation for them to elect to learn a musical instrument in 4th grade. The great majority of 4th and 5th grade pupils opt to join the school band, orchestra, and/or chorus, which hold public concerts in the high school auditorium twice a year.
Instructional technology is available in our elementary classrooms with each K-2 classroom having a bank of iPads and access to a cart of computers. Students in grades 3 through 5 have 1:1 chromebooks available to them in their classrooms. Teachers use technology to present engaging lessons to students and students use technology to create collaborative projects, research items of study, and writing projects.
Elementary enrichment opportunities are provided through after-school clubs, Odyssey of the Mind, and PTA-sponsored “Curiosity Shop” courses. Our PTAs are extremely active, offering everything from parent education programs and family nights to published “books” of student writing.