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Class Placement

Educational programs are based on a developmental approach, with emphasis on cognitive and affective growth, belief in the uniqueness of each learner, and appreciation of diversity. We give careful consideration to the learning style and needs of each student and to assigning classes for the upcoming year.

The placement process is a team endeavor. The goal is to provide each student with the best learning environment in the context of a productive and complementary group. Administrators, school counselors, behavior support, sending teachers, receiving teachers, learning specialists, and specials teachers participate in the placement process starting in the spring. Placement is not finalized until mid/late summer. 

''Parent/Guardian Perspective'' forms are included with the summer letter communicating placement decisions for the upcoming school year. The ''Perspective'' information helps our staff to understand each student’s learning needs. We urge parents to return this electronic form each summer.

 

Curriculum

The Ray School maintains a robust and comprehensive curriculum, preparing students for a lifetime of learning. Instruction ranges from the traditional skills in literacy and numeracy to developing social awareness and personal identity.

The Ray School is one of four schools in SAU 70, which also includes the Marion Cross Elementary School in Norwich VT, the Richmond Middle School and Hanover High.  Teachers from all four schools are engaged in defining a coherent scope and sequence across a host of academic areas, and the development and documentation of a K-12 curriculum is part of our current strategic plan.

Ray School ''Specials''—subjects that enlarge and enhance our lives beyond the learning of our core academic skills—expose our students to important skills and capabilities.  ''Specials'' teachers may visit individual classrooms, or instruction may take place in a specialized area of school property.

 

Art 
The art curriculum provides students with opportunities for creative expression as well as instilling a lifelong interest in the arts.  Art at Ray explores a variety of fine arts including drawing, painting, ceramics and work with other materials.  Art projects include and promote the understanding of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.  Throughout the school year, art projects are often integrated with core academic areas for each grade level.  Art History is introduced with projects and by weekly Birthday Artists.  Students are always encouraged to try their new skills and ideas out at home and to visit local art exhibits and galleries.

Athletics 
The school does not sponsor extracurricular athletic programs in grades K through 5.  Programs are provided through the Hanover Recreation Department and other community organizations, which sometimes use our facilities. The school does not provide supervision for students on school grounds between the end of school and the start of recreation programs. Therefore, parents/guardians must provide supervision for students that remain on school grounds outside school hours.

Field trips 
Field trips are an important part of the school curriculum.  At the beginning of the school year, parents/guardians will receive a blanket permission slip that covers a student’s participation in local walking trips.  Notice of an upcoming field trip will be sent home prior to the trip.  For trips requiring transportation, parents/guardians will be asked to sign a separate permission slip for each trip. We do not allow parents/guardians or teachers to provide transportation for field trips. 

Foreign language
Spanish is taught in kindergarten through grade five.  Our foreign language program emphasizes the skills necessary for students to communicate verbally.  Through specific thematic units, the program promotes listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.  Students use language in an authentic way, and lessons reinforce the classroom curriculum. Songs, stories, role-playing, and projects create the meaningful communication necessary in the early stages of language acquisition.  The overarching goal of the program is to move students toward proficiency in the Spanish language.

Music 
The Ray School provides music instruction at all grade levels.  Lessons on string instruments begin in grade 4, and band instruments in grade 5. Lessons are given once or twice a week during lunch and recess periods. String instruments can be rented through the school.  Band instruments can be rented from a vendor.  Financial need does not prohibit a student from studying an instrument.  Contact the principal for further information.

Physical Education
The Ray School curriculum follows the SHAPE America National Standards and Grade Level Outcomes. The goal of the physical education program is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Students participate in activities that will help to develop mature movement patterns including Locomotor, Non-locomotor/Stability, and Manipulative Skills.

Technology
Technology curriculum at the Ray School embeds 21st century learning skills to support each grade level. Our technology curriculum supports student learning in writing, research, and presentations.

Media/Library 
The school library is a media center containing books, magazines, DVDs, computers, and digital resources.  The mission of the library is to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information.  The library offers story time, book talks, book discussions, media presentations, and instruction that follows the curriculum.  

 

Homework

Please note that we are engaging in discussions around homework and this current guidance may change.

Teachers will provide clear guidelines for parents/guardians through newsletters, open houses/curriculum nights, and parent conferences.  Parents/guardians may need to check work for completion and quality, but it is expected that students will complete assignments by themselves.  Students and parents/guardians should seek advice from teachers if a student is having difficulty.


Grades K-1 
While we do not give formal homework at these grade levels, we encourage reading either by parent to student or by the student when appropriate.  We encourage enriching educational experiences beyond the classroom, preferably connected to the ongoing activities in the classroom.  Parents/guardians receive information from classroom teachers about current and future projects. 

Grade 2 
Second grade students are expected to read five days a week for 15-20 minutes.  In addition, up to three times a week, second graders are expected to work on math fact fluency for 5-10 minutes a session.  Occasionally, other homework (spelling, math concepts, research) may be assigned.

Grade 3 
Homework, when assigned, is only on weeknights.  Students are expected to read on a daily basis. Additional homework activities may be assigned to reinforce concepts introduced at school, provide additional practice, or stimulate student thinking in advance of forthcoming lessons. Students should be able to complete homework independently, and the amount of time spent on homework and reading together should not exceed 30 minutes.

Grade 4  
There will be regular homework Monday through Thursday, and occasionally on weekends for projects.  Homework could be in all of the content areas, with reinforcement of math facts a regular area of endeavor.  Children are expected to read and/or be read to on a regular basis.

Grade 5
Fifth graders will have homework every Monday through Thursday.  Typically, students will read self-selected materials for 30 minutes each night. Approximately 30 minutes of additional homework will be assigned in one or more academic subjects.

 

Support Services

The Ray School offers a variety of support services in the areas of literacy and math. Decisions for participation are based on informal and formal measures of student performance. Any parent or teacher may ask for a Child Study Process meeting if a student is experiencing challenges at school.  

Our Academic Support Program (ASP) is a Tier II intervention program providing strategic support to students in literacy and math. This program incorporates early literacy and math support in grades K-1, and ongoing academic support in grades 2-5.

Early math and literacy support:

Kindergarten Phonemic Awareness/Phonics and Early Math: All K/1 teachers provide robust foundational skill instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, and early numeracy. Many entering kindergarteners have nearly mastered these critical pre-academic skills, while others need more intense instruction to fully grasp the concepts. Based on screening results, individual or small group instruction is offered to students who demonstrate a need for additional support. This instruction typically takes place within the context of normal classroom routines and provides time for additional direct instruction with a teacher. 

1st Grade Reading and Math Intervention:  All students are screened in early literacy and math skills in the fall. Based on screening results and teacher recommendations, first graders who demonstrate academic need are provided with supplementary instruction. These students work with a reading teacher or math interventionist  in a small group, receiving additional support with foundational skills.  These daily support services augment the regular classroom reading and/or math instruction.

Grades 2-5 Academic Support Program: Students in Grades 2-5 also participate in screenings at the start of each year.  Based on these screening results, classwork, and teacher input, students may be referred to the Academic Support program. ASP offers these students small-group intervention services in reading, writing, and/or math.  Academic Support Interventionists collaborate with our school’s math and literacy coordinators to interpret assessment results, identify academic goals, and implement effective instructional strategies. The aim is to strengthen students’ foundational skills and promote classroom success.  Sessions are scheduled two to three times a week, for 30 to 45 minutes each. Students may work with interventionists in the regular classroom, or in a separate space. Interventionists collaborate with classroom teachers regularly to ensure that student progress is maintained.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL):  This federally mandated program requires public schools to provide training in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English to students whose first language is not English. The program is under the direction of our ESOL teachers with assistance as appropriate from other educators and/or interpreters.  Referrals may be made by a student’s parent, classroom teacher, reading specialist or other staff member.  For information, contact our ESOL teachers.

504 Plans:  These plans (named for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) provide accommodations for students with specific individual impairments that limit a student’s ability to access classroom learning or participation.

Special Education

The special education staff provides diagnostic testing, services, and mainstream support.  A student may be referred by a parent, teacher, or another who is responsible for him or her.  Parents are notified of the referral and receive a copy of Procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities.

The staff determines whether sufficient information is already available, or additional testing is needed.  An appropriate specialist becomes the case manager for the student and is joined by the parents, and the classroom teacher form an evaluation team. Other related service providers may also join this team if necessary.  The team reviews the data and compares its findings to the criteria set forth in the New Hampshire standards to determine eligibility for special education services.  Only the team determines eligibility.  No single individual can do so.

If a child is determined to be eligible for special education services, the team develops an Individual Education program (IEP) to meet his or her unique needs with special education goals and objectives and required services. A wide range of services, including academic assistance, social thinking, and behavioral support, are available.  Services begin after parents provide written consent for the IEP. Student achievement is monitored to determine progress and whether adjustments are needed.  By law, IEPs are reviewed at least annually, and reevaluation occurs every three years.

Behavior Support:  Our behavioral support system provides positive and proactive support as a respectful learning environment for the school as a whole, and each classroom as well.  The Ray School faculty and administration understand that there is a direct relationship between a student’s resilience and their availability for learning.

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