To create, support, and evaluate meaningful and equitable ELA curriculum, instruction, and assessment for all students, developing lifelong readers and writers who participate responsibly and actively as articulate, informed, empathetic citizens of our democracy.
English Language Arts (ELA) at the Elementary Level
The district’s primary goal is to develop proficiency in the skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The reading program incorporates a researched approach that includes the following components: phonics, phonemic awareness, read alouds, shared reading, guided reading with decodable and leveled texts, literature and nonfiction features study, and independent reading. A wide range of literary genres and other materials are used, and instruction varies from full class to small groups to individualized work.
The literature study portion of our literacy program is devoted to rigorous texts and reading/writing instructional units of study which align with the expectations of the New York State Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards.
At each grade level, students have reading units of study focusing on the close reading of fiction, non-fiction, and grade-specific genres (ranging from mythology to historical fiction to folklore) which will provide students with the strategies and skills necessary to annotate, interpret, and comprehend increasingly more complex literary and nonfiction readings.
In addition to the reading units, students in all grades will develop their writing skills as they learn the craft of writing for the purposes of exposition, narration, and persuasion. Regardless of grade level, genre, or purpose, the focus of writing instruction and practice will be the five basic dimensions to good writing:
- Ability to convey meaning thoughtfully
- Ability to develop ideas convincingly
- Ability to organize logically
- Ability to use language effectively
- Ability to apply the conventions of standard written English
In order to allow students to grow and develop as writers over time, the district uses common rubrics and standards-aligned essential writing skills maps throughout the grade levels to help students focus on their strengths and areas for growth in each of these dimensions of good writing.
District Level ELA Assessment
Students in grades 1-5 are assessed within the curricular units of study and tested three times per year using the i-Ready Reading diagnostic tool. Grade level teams work with reading specialists, literacy coaches, and the ELA supervisor to analyze and apply student data to improve and differentiate reading instruction.
Students in grades K-5 respond to on-demand district writing prompts three times per year.Grade level teams work with elementary literacy coaches, and the ELA supervisor to analyze and apply student data to improve and differentiate writing instruction.
English at SMS
The English 6-8 courses are aligned with the New York State Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards and instructional learning activities are designed to emphasize skills and strategies in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students apply close reading techniques to analyze both fiction and nonfiction works and are exposed to a wide variety of literary works.
The elements of grammar, usage, punctuation and capitalization are taught through the student’s own written work and through mentor texts. Spelling and vocabulary requirements are drawn from assigned readings and supplemental lists, and an integrated approach is used in the teaching of these skills.
Students practice effective writing techniques and considerable time is devoted to the writing process. Most writing is done in response to texts read. We utilize peer evaluation, conferencing and other techniques, which are designed to improve written communication. Reading is, of course, emphasized and students will engage in whole class novel studies as well as in discussions and activities based on independently selected books. Students will be prepared to successfully complete the NYS English Language Arts assessment each spring.
English at the High School Level
The high school English Department curriculum promotes the development of reading and writing skills aligned with the New York State Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards. In the area of reading, students are exposed to a wide variety of grade level literary and nonfiction works. The emphasis is on teaching students to develop effective close reading skills including the analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and synthesis of challenging texts. Reading instruction also includes vocabulary development. In the area of writing, students engage in various types of writing including literary analysis, argumentation, narration, and description. Writing tasks in grades 9-12 are designed to build students’ revision skills and foster independence in writing clear, logical, well-evidenced claims, as well as to encourage the development of voice. Grammar is taught as part of the writing process with an emphasis on usage concepts outlined in the Next Generation ELA standards.
Students take the Comprehensive English Regents in their junior year.
- 4 credits in English
- Score of 65 or higher on the New York State Common Core ELA Regents exam
- Regents Exams: ELA
District Supervisor for English
Phone: (518) 785-5511x 3368