Academics

Academics Overview

Loyal Heights follows the Common Core State Standards in all four core subjects below. Additionally, we use district curriculum as well as supplementary resources to provide students with a rich academic experience.


Remote Learning Platforms for 2020-2021
•All K-5 grade students will use Microsoft Teams for video conferencing.
•All K-3 grade students will use Seesaw as a learning management system.
•All 4-5 grade students will use Schoology as a learning management system.
To learn more about these platforms, visit the SPS Technology Supports for Families.


English Language Arts (ELA)
Having every student be a strong independent reader is the goal of the staff at Loyal Heights Elementary. In 2016, Seattle Public Schools adopted English language arts instructional materials created by Center for the Collaborative Classroom for reading and writing instruction in grades K-5. Collaborative Literacy is a comprehensive ELA curriculum designed to develop independent readers, writers, and critical thinkers. Comprising three components– Being a Reader, Making Meaning, and Being a Writer– Collaborative Literacy addresses the core competencies traditionally taught in the language arts block while at the same time creating classroom communities in which students can learn and grow. Collaborative Literacy is research based and standards aligned. 

Being a Reader (K-2): Being a Reader is a comprehensive, research-based reading curriculum for grades K–2 that combines systematic, sequential foundational skills, instruction and rigorous comprehension work with integrated social-emotional learning.

Making Meaning (K-5): Making Meaning provides research-based, whole-class reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction, using increasingly complex texts across a wide range of genres for grades K–5. The program supports student practice in daily independent reading of self-selected texts, conferring, and working collaboratively to analyze texts. The program guides students in applying comprehension and self-monitoring strategies during Individualized Daily Reading (IDR). Conferring allows teachers to assess each student’s comprehension and provides an opportunity to support struggling students, encourage students to read more complex texts, and identify areas of growth for each student. Making meaning includes inclusive trade books as mentor texts, explicit vocabulary instruction, and integrated book clubs.

Being a Writer (K-5): Being a Writer builds writing skills and competence by utilizing the following principles and structures throughout: Writing regularly, embracing process and craft, tapping into intrinsic motivation to write, peer conferencing, writing time and conferring, and diverse trade books as mentor texts. Being a Writer created in partnership with the National Writing Project.
Beginning Writers (grades K–2): Being Writers builds basic communication skills for beginning writers that need practice expressing their ideas and sharing them with others.
Developing Writers (grades 3–5): Developing Writers gives students many  opportunities to produce finished pieces in different genres and gain experience in the  explicit teaching cycle of prewriting, drafting, revising, proof-reading, and publishing.  Skills instruction occurs during the revision and proofreading phases of the writing process.

Instruction: These are approaches to literacy instruction you will find in classrooms.
•Small Group: Students in K- 2 read books that correspond to scope and sequence of  phonics and high frequency word instruction. Reading strategies are taught with the  goal of having students apply the strategies to independent reading.
•Book Groups: Students in 3-5 engage in learning at their independent reading  levels, practicing skills and strategies that have been taught in their whole group  instruction.
•Independent Reading: Students are engaged in independent practice. Students self- select depending on their interests. Books may be selected from classroom and  school libraries.
•Writing: Students are taught and exposed to different writing strategies, such as  narrative, how-to, opinion, letter writing, poetry, expository, informative, persuasive,  journal writing, etc.
•Self/Peer Editing: Students are given the opportunity to engage in collaboration with  peers to enhance and improve their writing skills.
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Mathematics
Loyal Heights Math Instruction is guided by the Common Core Standards of each grade level. One commonality with Common Core is the program’s emphasis on skill mastery – providing a deep focus on one skill with repeated exposure, moving from concrete to pictorial to abstract. The goal is to give each student a strong foundation in math based on logic, number sense, and critical reasoning. A variety of instructional materials are used including Math in Focus and Engage New York. These materials are supplemented with other Common Core based materials to meet the needs of all learners.

In addition to the common assessments and curriculum in math, Loyal Heights uses the Mastertrack program throughout K-5 to monitor student progress on Common Core math skills. The information gathered from Mastertrack data enables teachers to tailor lessons and small groups based on individual student need.

Instruction: These are approaches to math instruction you will find in classrooms.
•Rotation Model: Students move through different stations practicing a variety of  math skills.
• Math Talks: Short instructional routines that include classroom discussion that  fosters mathematical thinking
•Collections: A structured opportunity for children to count a collection of items that  lays the foundation for understanding the base ten system and operations of numbers.
•Technology: A variety of technology is used to differentiate instruction and engage  students in learning. Examples include iPads, laptops, Seesaw, XtraMath, etc.
•Whole Class Instruction: New concepts are presented at the beginning of the  class/week. This included debriefing at the end of the lesson.
•Independent Practice: After the concepts are taught, students are given time to  practice skills independently using a variety of materials and tools.
•Small Groups: At times, students are grouped in a variety of ways to work on skills  specific to their needs. This allows teachers to support students with similar needs  and for students to collaborate with each other in their learning.

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Science
In 2020-21, Loyal Heights staff voted to be a part of the new Seattle Public Schools K-5 science Amplify Science curriculum adoption. This curriculum is the product of a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and the instructional technologists at Amplify, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. Amplify Science allows Loyal Heights students to obtain Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) skills. Created in 2013, NGSS move the focus of instruction away from memorization and toward active engagement and critical thinking. The standards aim to teach students to think like scientists and engineers and grapple with core scientific principles, in addition to supporting deep learning of concepts that cut across science domains.

Amplify Science’s instructional model allows students to access their prior knowledge and to connect past learning experiences to the present. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and define problems about the natural and designed world, design investigations in which they collect and analyze trends and patterns in their data, engage in argument form evidence in both writing and through discourse with their peers, develop conceptual scientific models of physical phenomena, and to communicate their findings from their investigations. Here is more information about the Amplify Science K-8 Curriculum and NGSS

•https://www.amplify.com/programs/amplify-science/
•https://www.amplify.com/Amplify-in-action-science/
https://www.amplify.com/amplify-science-family-resource-intro/
•https://www.nextgenscience.org/

Instruction: These are approaches to science instruction you will find in classrooms.
•Individual Investigation: Students work individually on common class experiments based on their grade level science scope and sequence. The class also comes  together to look for common discoveries as a means to solidify learning.
•Group Investigation: Students work in teams to investigate scientific questions  based on grade level science scope and sequence. Students assume various roles in  groups, work as a team, and share findings with the class as a means to solidify learning.
•Projects: Individual and group projects occur based on grade level science scope and sequence. Projects may be individual, small team, or large group in nature. In this manner, students learn from each, while at the same time, develop team working skills, speaking skills, compromise.
•Writing: As part of science projects, students develop science writing skills based on grade level science scope and sequence and based on the scientific method of discovery.
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Social Studies
Loyal Heights social studies curriculum is based on the OSPI learning standards that are required based on grade level. Standards are broken out into Social Studies, Civics, Economics, Geography, and History, with more information found here: https://www.k12.wa.us/student-success/resources-subject-area/social-studies/learning-standards.

Since Time Immemorial (STI) Adoption : At the present time, the district is adopting OSPI’s STI curriculum. This adoption will provide all Seattle Public Schools students with an education on the background and current affairs of the 29 sovereign nations within the boundaries of Washington state. While there is not yet a formal adoption at the elementary level, there are available units and some teachers are beginning to use these lessons as we await next steps.

Instruction: These are approaches to social studies instruction you will find in classrooms.
•Individual Projects: Students work individually on common social studies themes based on their grade level scope and sequence. The class also comes together to look for common themes as a means to solidify learning.
•Group Projects: Students work in teams on common social studies themes based on their grade level scope and sequence. Students assume various roles in groups, work as a team, and share findings with the class as a means to solidify learning.
•Presentations: Students develop presentation skills as part of social studies individual and group projects. Presentation skills include the design and communication of information for the purpose of informing readers as well as the development of oral speaking skills.
•Simulations: To enhance the social studies curriculum, teachers incorporate simulations into the units of study. Students, both in groups and individually, contribute to the simulation by planning and creating materials and artifacts.
•Reading: As part of the social studies curriculum, students are exposed to informational non-fiction texts. Additionally, teachers weave fictional texts into the ELA curriculum to further develop social studies content and skills.
•Writing: As part of the social studies curriculum, students develop a range of writing skills. This includes research writing as well as historical and contemporary based  perspective taking fictional writing such as letters, newspaper articles, journals, speeches, etc.

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Assessments
Each year, Loyal Heights students will be assessed on various measures over the course of the year. These measures are either required by the state, district, or building. Additional progress monitoring may be given for students being supported under our MTSS program. Regardless of the assessment, students are asked to demonstrate understanding of skills based on the Common Core State Standards. Results of the assessments enable teachers to create differentiated instruction to meet the needs of individual students, groups of students, or the entire class. Assessments include:

State:
•WaKIDS: Each fall, kindergarten students are assessed based on the OSPI created Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS).
•Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA): Each spring, students in grades 3-5 take the SBA in math (grades 3-5), literacy (grades 3-5), and science (grade 5)

District:
•Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): Each year, students in grades K-2 are  required by SPS to take the MAP assessment in math and literacy. This is a nationally normed computer adaptive test. This occurs in winter for kindergarteners and spring for grades 1 and 2. NOTE: LHE increases the frequency of the MAP assessment to 2 times a year for all students in K-2 and potentially a third time in case by case situations for students receiving additional support.
•Fountas and Pinnell (F&P): Each year, students are assessed based on the F&P reading assessment to test fluency and comprehension. This occurs in fall and spring for grades 1-5 and spring only for kindergarten.
School:
•MasterTrack: This mathematics tool allows teachers to gather student feedback and monitor student acceleration all year long based on the following assessments.
 oBenchmark Assessments: We provide beginning, middle, and end of year Benchmark Assessments to enable teachers to collect data at multiple points in  the school year.
 oCheckpoint Assessments: We provide individual standard-based checkpoint assessments on a weekly basis. Teachers use this information to create small groups and individualized math plans.
•Writing Sample: Each year, students will produce at least three personal narrative writing samples based on common core state standards and grade aligned rubrics.
•Social Emotional Needs Assessments: Each year, our counselor will work with teachers to assign SEL needs assessments to identify needs of our students.

Remote Learning Assessments: During the remote environment, assessments have not occurred under the direction of the district and state. The following are the assessments that have been used during the 2020-21 school year, all as decided by Loyal Heights.
•MasterTrack: See description above.
•Epic: This reading assessment assesses students for reading fluency.