“Having been born in another country, Menands School introduced us to the American culture and helped us become acclimated to our new environment. We learned more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Everyone went above and beyond to teach us what we needed to know.” — Sonya Gomes, former Menands School student
The Menands School District is “a small school community with big aspirations.” Highest among these aspirations is our commitment to providing Menands School students with a high quality, well-rounded instructional program. We are dedicated to supporting each student in the achievement of the educational outcomes that establish the foundation for success in high school, college, careers, and citizenship. Because we are a small school district, each Menands student is known by our entire staff. Menands teachers and administrators work closely with each other and with families to support each student’s strengths and needs.
Menands School academic programs continue to evolve to incorporate current best practice in each discipline to support mastery of the Common Core Learning Standards.
The K-8 math program is aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards scope and sequence, and state assessments. The core program in kindergarten through fifth grade utilizes enVision Math; and the core program in grades six through eight utilizes the Glencoe math series. At all grade levels, conceptual understanding, computational fluency, math vocabulary, real-world applications, and problem solving are emphasized. In eighth grade, high ability students are accelerated to Regents leve Algebra.
K-8 English language arts and reading are aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards in reading, writing, speaking, and listening for information and understanding, literary response and expression, critical analysis and evaluation, and social interaction. Classroom instruction is based upon a framework of balanced literacy, with a strong emphasis on read-alouds and guided reading in the early grades and increasing opportunities with a wide range of literary genres, literature circles, and interdisciplinary projects as students progress through the grades. Encouraging students’ interest in reading is fostered through an emphasis on independent, self-selected reading at every grade level. Benchmark assessments are administered three times a year to monitor students’ progress and to identify students in need of support services. Students write formally and informally across subjects and have many opportunities to write narrative,persuasive and informational pieces across the grades.
The K-8 science program is mapped with the content and skills of the NYS Standards and tate science assessments. In kindergarten through fifth grade, students experience “minds-on” science through the use of Science and Technology Kits for Children. In sixth through eighth grade, students participate in numerous science labs and scientific investigations. In eighth grade, high ability students are accelerated to Regents level Earth Science.
In the K-8 social studies program, students explore five dimensions of the social sciences across the grades: history; geography; economics; culture; and citizenship. At all grade levels, students gain experience with important social studies skills while focusing on specific grade level content as outlined in the New York State core curriculum:
Kindergarten – “Self and Others”
Grade one – “My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago”
Grade two – “My Commmunity and Other Communities”
Grade three – “Communities Around the World”
Grade four – “New York State and Local History and Government”
Grade five – “The Western Hemisphere”
Grade six – “The Eastern Hemisphere”
Grades seven – “History of United States and New York State I
Grade eight - “History of United States and New York State II"
Teachers regularly incorporate technology, research, interdisciplinary projects, and content area literacy into their social studies instruction.
The Menands Inquiry Team, also known as “MIT,” is an academic enrichment program for high-ability, high-achieving students in grades four through seven. Working in small groups under the guidance of teachers, MIT students use an inquiry, project-based approach to investigate an essential question on a high interest topic. After extensive research and field work, students create a product or performance that demonstrates what they have learned. MIT supports the development of skills that are critical to success in the 21st century, including self-directed learning, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the integration of technology
The Menands School District recognizes the challenges that students and their families face as they transition from one stage of their educational career to another. As such, Menands School is proud to provide several important transition programs. Kindergarten is a full-day program. In August before the school year begins, kindergarteners participate in “Kindergarten Warm-Up Week,” a set of four half-days in which students ride the bus to and from school, get to know their teachers, learn their way around the building, and begin learning the classroom routines that they will experience in the year ahead. Eighth graders participate in numerous transition activities to help them prepare to leave Menands School and enter Shaker High School, Watervliet High School, Tech Valley High School, South Colonie HIgh School, or Green Island/Heatly High School. These activities include a presentation on the five high schools, attending orientation meetings at their school of choice, participating in an interactive panel discussion about high school featuring former graduates of Menands School.
In the K-6 library/media program, students develop information literacy skills in weekly classes with the library/media specialist. Students develop their skills through collaborative projects that bridge the library research program and the classroom curriculum. The K-6 library/media program fosters the development of students’ own personal interests, giving them the tools needed to explore topics today and in the future. Some of the skills included in library/media instruction are selecting texts, navigating fiction and nonfiction, taking notes, exploring information resources, and using information responsibly to avoid plagiarism.
In grades 7 and 8, students continue to apply these skills in their content area classes and in learning about their own personal interests. The library/media specialist and the middle school classroom teachers collaborate on research projects through which students continue to practice the skills developed in the K-6 library program.
Students in grades K-6 participate in a formal computer literacy program through weekly classes with the library media specialist. In kindergarten through grade 2, students become familiar with the operation of the computer and age appropriate software programs that can be used to develop reading and writing skills. Students are introduced to a variety of digital resources including eBooks, websites, and subscription databases and gain experience with searching on the World Wide Web. In third grade, students, learn keyboarding skills. In grades 4-6, students use the Microsoft Office Suite, select and evaluate digital resources, and integrate subject area knowledge and Web 2.0 products. At all grade levels, students apply what they learn in computer literacy and library/media in classroom-based research projects.
K-8 art is aligned with the New York State Standards and is taught through a framework of demonstrations, art history lessons, and a multitude of hands-on projects that incorporate the principles and elements of art. At the end of the year, students display their artwork in a school-wide exhibit that features many genres of art and the historical contributions of American and European artists. Throughout the year, students participate in routine, informal critiques of their work by the teacher and their peers. Students regularly participate in local art contests, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. contest at Siena College.
The K-7 general music is aligned with the National Standards for Music Education and the New York State Standards. To encourage interest in music, students create music at every grade level and perform in two school-wide concerts and a number of school and community events. Benchmark assessments are administered throughout the year to monitor students’ progress and to create an audio portfolio that travels with each student throughout the grades. Students may choose to take instrumental lessons and play in the school band starting in fifth grade.
The K-8 health education program provides students with a knowledge and skills-based approach for enhancing personal, family, and community health and safety. A comprehensive health, substance abuse, and violence prevention program entitled The Great Body Shop provides the framework for instruction in kindergarten through sixth grade. In middle school health education, students gain experience with the skills of self-management, relationships, stress management, communication, decision-making, planning, goal setting, and advocacy. These skills are integrated with functional knowledge in the following areas: physical activity and nutrition; HIV/AIDS; sexual risk behaviors; alcohol and other drugs; family life/sexual health; injury prevention; violence prevention; basic first aid; self-care and personal health.
The K-8 physical education program provides students with extensive opportunities to improve their movement skills and their knowledge of a wide range of sports and games. A primary goal of instruction is to help students make the connection between physical activity and good health. Using our extensive outside play areas, a beautiful gymnasium, and a generous supply of up-to-date equipment, physical education classes are activity-based with the goal of getting students moving and enjoying the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle.
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