K-8 Program Description

Thank you for your interest in Assets School!

2016-17 school year: August 16, 2017 through May 23, 2018
School day: 7:40 – 2:55 Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri; 7:40 – 1:25 Wed
Tuition: $22,420 including supplies and technology fee
Financial aid: Need based; maximum award is 50% of tuition

Program characteristics:
Students are grouped as homogeneously as possible based on test results that parents submit as a part of the application process. Self-contained, mixed grade classrooms (e.g., 4th/5th, 5th/6th–the groupings depend on the number of students and profiles we’re working with) contain up to 16 students along with a lead teacher and a second teacher (1:8 teacher-student ratio).

The curriculum is integrated meaning that the teacher selects a theme which serves as the vehicle that drives most of the curriculum. For example, if a theme is “Systems,” the teacher may use that as the lens through which students study a subarea of American history. Whenever possible, reading, writing, math, science, and social studies activities and assignments as well as technology and visual and performing arts are related back to this subarea. Teachers also include hands-on activities, projects, and simulations to keep learning relevant and students engaged. Enrichment and acceleration are provided for students who require more challenge due to advanced skill levels.

Social-emotional development is important to us and is therefore integrated into the curriculum. While grades K-6 are transitioning to the Responsive Classroom approach, 7th and 8th grade classrooms have all adopted the Developmental Designs program. Through structured, scaffolded activities, students cultivate critical social skills (e.g., communication, problem solving, collaboration, self management) that support relationship building and the creation of safe, fun, productive learning communities. Additionally, every student meets one-on-one with a classroom teachers on a weekly basis for Individual Counseling which gives the student and teacher opportunity to share thoughts and feelings privately, build trust and connectivity, and discuss issues pertinent to school functioning. While our classroom counseling program is teacher facilitated, we have three on-staff counselors who work with students as needed. Counselors also provide classroom instruction in problem-solving and coping strategies, effective communication, and brain function (i.e., impact of the amygdala on emotional regulation and learning).

We have a school-wide behavior management program based on “time out” which immediately stops distracting, unsafe, or disrespectful behavior (given the context) as it is occurring and allows classroom instruction to continue without disruption. We call this intervention “point-out” because it points out to the student that his behavior choice was a poor one in that moment. Point outs may translate into office visits with an administrator who engages the student in problem-solving discussions. Point-out is intended to: (1) immediately stop the behavior in question, (2) allow instruction to continue without further interruption, (3) help students develop awareness of their behavior and its impacts self and community, and (4) hold students accountable for their behavioral choices. Teachers recognize and reinforce sought after behaviors through the use of a positive incentives and feedback.

In an effort to help students identify or pursue their interests and talents, all children leave their instructional group four days a week for a 40 minute period to attend non-graded Enrichment classes. Students self-select topics they’d like to explore and go through nine different Enrichment cycles over the course of the school year, each lasting three weeks. Activities include visual arts (e.g., ceramics, stained glass, silk screening, duct tape art), construction (e.g., Lego, Capsella, K’Nex, Rocketry), performing arts (e.g., Improvisation, Garage Band), physical activities (e.g., Games & Sports, Basketball, Flag Football), computer tech (e.g., Minecraft, Flight Simulator, One Minute Movie), Cooking, and so forth.

We have a homework policy that calls for roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level (e.g., 70 minutes for a 7th grader). Homework assignments give students the opportunity to independently practice whatever was taught that day. All we ask of parents is that they provide a time and place for homework; in our desire to nurture personal responsibility, monitoring and checking of homework by parents is highly discouraged (e.g., you no longer need to serve as homework police). If a student comes to school unprepared, she is sent to study hall during lunch hour to make up the missing work. On the other hand, if a student attempted to do homework but could not due to lack of skill retention, a parent’s written statement testifying to this is all that’s needed to let the teacher know that the task was not fully mastered.

The school day starts at 7:45 and ends at 2:55 except on Wednesday when it ends at 1:25. There is a midmorning snack break from which gives students a chance to have a bite and socialize. Lunch is 40 minutes with 20 minutes spent eating and 20 minutes spent playing on our back field. We have no cafeteria so students must either bring lunch from home or subscribe to a catering service on a month-by-month basis.

For a fee, parents may contract for bus service from selected areas. We distribute contact information on families wishing to carpool.

A school care and periodic after school classes (e.g., Chess Club, Art) are available for a nominal fee.

Financial aid information is sent out in the spring to new families who have an active application; awards are announced at the end of June.

We do not offer support services such as intensive clinical counseling, and speech-language, occupational, and physical therapies.