Special Curriculum Programs & Services


Art instruction begins at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake schools in kindergarten, where students receive a forty-minute class each week. In grades three to five instruction is increased to fifty minutes each week. Instruction is based on the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts as well as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Fine Arts and Humanities Learning Standards.

In elementary school children experience a wide variety of art forms including painting, drawing, print making, weaving, three dimensional construction and ceramics/clay. Students are also exposed to the historical and social aspects of the visual arts and learn the critical components involved in art appreciation. The elements of art and the principles of design serve as the foundation for all instruction in elementary through high school.

Elementary art classes are involved in many school-wide projects such as mural construction, hallway projects, interdisciplinary units, and Arts in Education experiences. Some students also participate in the BOCES art show and may enter other local and regional exhibits and contests. To contact the Fine Arts Department, you can call 399-9141, ext. 83182 or 83183.

Character Education

A positive attitude is one of the most important attributes each student can bring to class every day. Students with positive attitudes will find school to be exciting, challenging and rewarding.

The BH-BL Central Schools work in partnership with parents to maintain a learning and working environment that supports positive student attitudes and the character development of its students. Character development will reflect and reinforce character and civic values such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, hard work and respect for others.

Parents, students and the school community will work together to teach, promote and model ethical behavior reinforcing community values. Our schools will reflect and reinforce positive character traits that embody community values and promote principles of fairness and justice.


Using Computers and Computer Networks

Computers and the Internet are valuable tools for learning and research. Therefore, our school expects that students will use computers to access the school district’s file servers and the Internet to help perform academic work, explore educational topics, and conduct research projects.

Teachers, assistants and aides will instruct students in the proper use of computer technology. Most elementary school computer activities and projects will be limited to using materials stored on the district’s file servers (the BH-BL Intranet). In other words, students will be able to access only materials previewed by staff and determined to be appropriate. In some instances, students will also be allowed to access the world wide web (the Internet) with supervision for teacher-led projects. Elementary students will not have e-mail or “chat” capabilities at school. Projects requiring correspondence will be carried out solely at the teacher level.

Parents should discuss the following rules with students. Students who break these rules risk various consequences, including losing the privilege of using the school computer network and being suspended from school.

Rules for Proper Use of Computers by Elementary Students

  1. School computers and computer networks may be used only for educational purposes that are in keeping with the school district’s mission and goals. No student shall use any computer without prior approval from a teacher or administrator.
  2. Students should remember that information stored on school computers is not private and may be viewed or traced at any time by authorized personnel.
  3. Students should learn how to use computers and other equipment properly. Students who try to harm or destroy any district equipment or the data of another computer user on our system or any connected computer system will face appropriate consequences. Harming the computer system includes, but is not limited to, uploading or creating computer viruses.
  4. Students should not read, delete, copy or modify someone else’s computer files without that person’s permission.
  5. Students should not copy personal software on files or onto the district’s computers or computer network unless their teacher specifically gives them permission.
  6. Each year students may be given an account on the district’s computer network. Students will receive a log in name and a password. Students are responsible at all times for the proper use of their computer network account.
  7. Students should not share their computer password with anyone else unless they have written permission from their teacher or the computer coordinator.
  8. Students should not log on to the computer network using someone else’s name or password.
  9. Students should not copy or share any computer files or software in violation of school district policy or local, state or federal law.
  10. Any building or classroom web pages students create or display must follow the district’s web page guidelines and must be approved by their teacher.

Library Media Center

The ability to read and access information is the key to academic achievement and lifelong learning. Students visit the school Library Media Center both with their class and independently. They receive instruction in literary appreciation and research skills. Students may borrow from an extensive collection of library materials in multiple formats. Library materials are selected to support the grade-level curriculum and provide age-appropriate literature for recreational reading.

The BH-BL Library Media curriculum correlates to the NY State Standards of Learning and with the National Information Literacy Standards. A sequenced program of information literacy skills begins by introducing primary students to the format of books, the enjoyment of reading, and the development of responsible book-borrowing habits. With primary students, the emphasis will be on reading for pleasure, finding books of interest, and using a library card, as well as the cycle of borrowing, returning, and borrowing again. They will learn how a library is organized, and explore seasonal themes, authors and illustrators.

Intermediate students will focus on information seeking, or research, as an integral part of the library program. Students will learn about many different sources for reliable information and strategies to record and organize information. Many of these lessons will be taught as the students complete their classroom assignments and projects. We also practice using the Dewey Decimal system and explore different types of literature for children.

Rules for Proper Use and Care of Library Materials

  1. Students will return library materials in a timely manner. Students with overdue library materials may not be permitted to borrow additional materials. Materials that are overdue for an extended period of time will be presumed lost and parents will be billed for replacement cost.
  2. Students are expected to care for and protect library materials from loss or damage due to water, food, pets, siblings or otherwise. Students will be held responsible for the replacement cost of library materials lost or damaged beyond repair. The replacement cost and the extent of the damage will be determined by the Library Media Specialist.


Beginning in kindergarten, all children have the opportunity to experience music through classroom instruction and concert performances. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake music students enjoy a high level of success in competition, college entrance, and individual musical achievement.

All students begin music instruction in kindergarten with two general music classes each week. This study grows and expands as children progress through grades one, two, and three. In 3rd grade, students are introduced to playing the recorder in anticipation of their selecting a band or orchestra instrument in 4th grade. In the second half of 3rd grade students are exposed to live demonstrations of various instruments. Students may sign up for instrumental study at the end of 3rd grade at our annual recruitment night.

Fourth grade students who have elected to participate begin instrumental instruction in small group lessons held during the school day. Lessons times rotate so that the same period of classroom instruction is not missed each week. Most instruments are rented by parents outside of school; however, larger instruments such as string bass, baritone horn, and French horn are available for rental through the school. If parents are unable to afford instrument rental, certain instruments are available from the school on a limited basis. Contact the Fine Arts Department to find out how to obtain an instrument from the school.

Elementary band and orchestra meet at school one morning each week at 7:30 a.m. Parents drop off their students for rehearsal (many carpool), and students then continue with the regular school day. In their first year, most elementary instrumental students will participate in one or two evening concerts, which are held in the high school auditorium. (See the district calendar for dates.) Students also perform for classmates at a daytime assembly in their own school.

In addition, 4th and 5th grade students have the option of participating in the mixed chorus and performing in the two concerts each year. To contact the Fine Arts Department, call 518.399.9141, ext. 83182 or 83183.

Physical Education

Every student who attends school must take part in physical education. Grades K-3 are scheduled for physical education three times a week for 30 minutes each. These grades work on motor skills, manipulation, perceptual skills, an introduction to physical education equipment, and various eye-hand and eye-foot coordination activities. Included also are games and folk dance.

Grades 4-5 have physical education twice a week for an hour and are required to change into appropriate attire. Students work to advance the above activities and are introduced to square dancing and team sports. Grade 4-5 students also take a district-created Physical Fitness Test, called Ultra Fit.

Students are expected to dress appropriately in order to participate in physical education classes. All students are required to wear sneakers for safety and performance reasons. More information on appropriate attire is described in the Physical Education Department’s pamphlet on this topic.

Other Instructional Programs & Services

A variety of programs is available for students with special education needs such as remediation or enrichment. There are also support programs, such as physical and occupational therapy and psychological and social work services, for students who qualify. Parents who desire more information should contact their student’s teacher or building principal.