VCS Elementary Course Catalog

Page 1


Course Catalog

VALLEY CHRISTIAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 1450 Leigh Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125 l (408) 559-4400 l

The Starts Here! The Valley Christian Elementary School finds its strength in community. We like to say, “The Quest Starts Here!” The K-12 scope and development of programs in Academic Achievement, Artistic Beauty, and Athletic Distinction provide elementary students with the opportunity to discover their God-given talents and abilities at a young age. As our students progress through junior high and high school, they will discover more advanced opportunities to develop these gifts. Many of our teachers and coaches spend time at both the Skyway and Leigh campuses, creating an educational environment built upon high standards and continuity. Classroom teachers create an educational environment that values the unique abilities and needs of every student as they lead in the core academic disciplines. A robust schedule of pull-out classes taught by specialists creates a comprehensive approach to education that students love. Additionally, the thorough offering of after-school programs allows students the chance to pursue their areas of passion in depth. The Quest Starts Here... but it’s only the beginning!


Distinctives • • • • •

A 2016 National Blue Ribbon school Caring, well-trained teachers Over 2/3 of elementary teachers with a Master’s degree Teachers receive ongoing professional development in the latest educational trends. Teachers receive comprehensive training in Differentiated Instruction

• • • • •

Language Arts taught through the multi-sensory Slingerland approach Cursive taught beginning in Kindergarten VCES offers extensive after-school programs in academics, arts, and athletics On-site support services Daily Bible lessons and weekly chapel (includes Heart Smart curriculum)

Valley Christian Schools maintains dual accreditation through Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). rev. 10/2/19



Table of Contents Core

Classes Bible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Language Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Mathematics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Social Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Pull-Out Classes Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Discover AMSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Physical Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Fifth Grade Electives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Spanish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Kidservatory Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Field Trips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


Bible We take our responsibility to provide a warm and nurturing Christ-centered community for our students, parents, and faculty very seriously. Students enjoy cross-curricular biblical integration, take Bible as a core academic subject, and participate in chapel once a week. We strive to provide a welcoming and safe educational environment by training our students to be proactive Young Peacemakers. A variety of community service opportunities help VCES students discover, first-hand, the joy of living a life of service and love. The core Bible curriculum aims to help students understand the basic themes and characters of the Bible.


Textbook: Positive Action for Christ



Character building, creation, developing and nurturing a relationship with Jesus


Creation, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Life of Christ, daily devotions


Lessons from the life of Moses, lessons from the life of Jesus, weekly memory verse, daily devotions


Through the faithful lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Daniel students learn about the rewards of living for God.


Building Life’s Castle, the Life of Christ


Survey of the Old Testament, biblicallybased conflict resolution


Language Arts The elementary language arts program seeks to develop fluent readers and prolific writers by the time they matriculate into junior high school. Beginning in kindergarten, students learn the basics of phonemic awareness and cursive letter formation via the Slingerland methodology. By fifth grade, students are reading chapter books above grade level and write original essays on a variety of topics. Accelerated Reader is an individualized assessment and independent reading program that provides all students with an opportunity to develop a life-long love of learning. Students take an assessment at the start of every grading period, which determines their reading range. Students read books independently, take a quiz, and earn points toward their individual goal.



Textbooks: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Journeys Slingerland Method

The language portion of the curriculum develops communication skills such as speaking in complete sentences, expressing ideas clearly, building vocabulary, listening to instructions, and hearing ageappropriate literature and poetry. Kindergarten reading instruction emphasizes recognition and use of the alphabet, blending of short and long vowels, and reading of sentences and simple books. All students learn to write by forming letters and numbers and are taught cursive handwriting beginning in kindergarten. Additional Textbooks: Modern Curriculum Press-Phonics, Starfall



Journeys is an integrated Language Arts program, encompassing reading, language, and spelling. The curriculum covers initial, medial, and ending sounds. It also introduces beginning parts of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives), proper sentence structure with the use of capitals, and punctuation to form paragraphs. Proper verb tenses, plurals, contractions, and possessives are also emphasized. A conscientious writing program promotes neatness, correct letter formation, and grammar.


The second grade Journeys curriculum covers fiction and nonfiction selections, and reading comprehension skills and strategies. Students learn to write expository, opinion, and narrative paragraphs. Weekly lessons in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are embedded and connected to reading selections. Students review cursive and are introduced to manuscript.


Journeys curriculum in third grade provides systematic instruction, diagnostic support, and distributed practice for the full range of foundational skills in the Reading Standards. Students receive daily, systematic writing instruction and engage in the full range of writing, including opinion pieces, informative/ explanatory pieces, and narratives. The curriculum provides a measured approach to guiding students in using language to acquire and convey meaning effectively. Weekly lessons in grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing are carefully sequenced and build upon one another.


The fourth grade Journeys Language Arts program integrates writing, spelling, and language skills with thirty reading selections spaced throughout the text. Each lesson centers on the reading selection and focuses on the following skills: using text for evidence, writing evidence-based compositions, acquiring vocabulary by using it in context, learning spelling based on phonetic clues and in context of the literature, and speaking, listening, and engaging in collaborative conversations.


Fifth grade Journeys curriculum is organized around high interest stories, and literature units. Reading skills and strategies are taught with the textbook and novel units, while independent reading is practiced, driven by Accelerated Reading goals. Language skills addressed include the conventions of punctuation and grammar, research skills, parts of speech, vocabulary work, including Greek and Latin roots and affixes, homophones, and often-confused words. Writing instruction focuses on narrative, opinion/persuasive writing, expository writing, and responding to literature.


Mathematics The elementary math curriculum provides a comprehensive math program that encompasses all levels of ability, from kindergarten through fifth grade. The elementary utilizes a variety of web-based tools that allow students supplemental math practice both at school and home. Such programs include DreamBox, IXL, BigBrainz, Khan Academy, and ALEKS.



The kindergarten curriculum emphasizes classification, sorting, graphs, numbers to 100, measurement, time, and beginning addition and subtraction. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, DreamBox


The emphasis in first grade is on addition and subtraction, fact families through 20, introduction of time, measurement, place value, adding and subtracting two digit numbers, two and three dimensional shapes, and graphs. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, DreamBox


Second grade math focuses on addition and subtraction to 20, addition and subtraction of two-digit and three-digit numbers with regrouping, money to $10, telling time to five minutes, fractions and probability, statistics and graphs, geometry (2-D and 3-D shapes), place value through four digits, measurements, and elementary pre-algebra concepts. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, DreamBox


Third grade math emphasizes addition, subtraction, place value, addition and subtraction regrouping, time (elapsed time), money, multiplication and division facts through twelves, fractions (equivalent and comparing), long division, measurement, multiplication with regrouping, daily multiplication timed tests, and rounding and estimating. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, DreamBox



Fourth grade curriculum covers mental math, estimation through rounding, numeracy skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), geometry, decimals, fractions, and data and probability. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, ALEKS


Fifth grade math focuses on algebra, decimals, fractions, solid geometry, measurements, and numeracy skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, ALEKS


SOAR offers a unique, accelerated mathematics opportunity for qualifying fourth and fifth grade students. Selected students participate in this special course in lieu of traditional math instruction. The class meets four mornings a week. The course focuses on preparing students for the Math Olympiad competition. Textbooks: McGraw-Hill, ALEKS, Math Olympiad


Science VCES Science provides our students with many exciting opportunities for learning through exploration and discovery. Teachers emphasize “living things” as a major unit year-to-year. Students thoroughly enjoy the bi-monthly science labs as part of the pull-out program.



Major themes include characteristics of living things (animals and plants), weather, seasons, and life cycles. Textbooks: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Teacher-created units


The curriculum focuses on engineering and technology, sound, light, plant and animal structures, living things and their young, and objects and patterns in the sky. Textbooks: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Teacher-created units


Second grade units cover engineering/design process, states of matter, environments for living things, landforms and bodies of water, and changes to the Earth’s surface. Textbooks: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



The curriculum is based on three dimensions of learning which includes real world problem and cross curricular integration. Performance expectations are designed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. Major themes


The curriculum covers plants and animal structures, energy, Earth’s changing surface, waves, and information. Textbooks: TCI (Teacher Curriculum Institute)


Fifth graders study plant and animal systems, the solar system, physical science, and investigations and experimentations. Textbooks: TCI (Teacher Curriculum Institute)


Social Studies Through the study of modern communities, geography, local and national historical people, and groups and movements, students learn how to be responsible citizens in the world around them. Many of the elementary social studies objectives are woven into project-based units.



The youngest elementary students learn to understand and demonstrate characteristics of a good citizen, to identify the purpose of holidays, to recognize state and national symbols, and to understand and describe the jobs of school and community workers. Textbooks: Teacher-created Units


First grade social studies units focus on oceans and continents, the concept of family, map skills, and colonial times. Textbooks: Harcourt: Reflections


All second graders acquire essential map skills and learn about people who make a difference, with a major focus on understanding the concepts long ago, yesterday, and today. The government unit helps students gain insight into governmental institutions, practices, and the lawmaking process. Textbooks: Harcourt: Reflections



Third grade curriculum covers geography, Native Americans, community history, government, citizenship, and economics. Textbooks: Harcourt: Califorina Series


In fourth grade, students learn about California Native Americans, geography, Spanish missions, California’s settlers, the Gold Rush, and transportation. In addition, the curriculum emphasizes map skills via the Weekly Reader publication. Textbooks: California Series Weekly Newspaper


Fifth grade social studies covers US geography and history from preColumbian civilization to westward expansion. Textbooks: History Alive, America’s Past


Pull-out Classes

Computers (Grades K-5)

Developing excellent communicators is one of our primary educational goals at VCS. Since we recognize the key role that technology plays in communication today, we strive to equip our students with the most up-to-date equipment and training available. Core curriculum focuses on computer skills, coding, and digital citizenship. With the emergence of countless digital learning tools, students must be able to operate in an increasingly digital world.


(Grades K-5)

Physical Education

Our PE classes provide students with the right start to sportsmanship and healthy lifestyle choices. Students participate in PE twice a week, and kindergarten students attend an additional motor lab to further develop their gross motor skills.

Fifth Grade Electives

Classes meet twice a week. Students choose a fall and spring class from the following options: AMSE (STEM), Study Hall, Drama/ Choir, Band, Orchestra, Leadership, and ALP (Athletic Leadership and Performance).


Spanish is taught weekly to all students in 1st-4th grades and biweekly for kindergarten. Instruction in colors, shapes, and numbers begins in kindergarten; and by the upper grades, students are forming short sentences and increasing their vocabulary to include places in the community, months of the year, and days of the week. There is also exposure to the Hispanic culture through various projects.

(Grades K-5)

Discover AMSE Science

(Grades K-5)


Life science, physical science, and earth science units come alive as K-5th grade students engage in hands-on experiences that reinforce the concepts they are studying. This program seeks to excite students’ interest in the discipline of science through a motivating, completionoriented approach. By capitalizing on their background knowledge, this class moves students toward a more complete understanding of science concepts while emphasizing God’s truth as it is revealed in the physical world. Sample units include: Genetics and DNA, States of Matter, Friction, Potential and Kinetic Energy, Egg Anatomy, and Flower Anatomy. All fourth grade students experience an Agri-Tech unit, and all fifth graders complete an International Space Station (ISS) experiment.

Students meet with the school librarian twice a month. The focus of Library class is to learn the basics of Library Science and make reading selections based on the students’ interests and reading levels.

(Grades K-4)

Kidservatory Art (Grades K-5)

Kidservatory Music (Grades K-3)

All K-5 students receive a foundation in visual art, and showcase their work via portfolios and the annual art show. Over the elementary years, students learn to identify the basic elements of art and analyze their effect in works of art, and also create art using different mediums: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and textile arts.

Kidservatory Music Wheel

Fourth grade students participate in a yearlong rotation (every eight weeks) of offerings in music including strings, choir, and band.

Kidservatory Music

After a year of exploring instruments/ performing arts in their fourth grade rotation, fifth grade students may select an instrument of their choice. They can choose from strings, band, or piano.

(Grade 4)

(Grade 5)

All K-3 students meet weekly for vocal/music instruction. The first half of the year prepares students for the Christmas Concert at the California Theatre. The second half of the year readies students for the end of the year performance at the “Festival of the Arts.” Through the Orff method of learning, Valley Christian students learn rhythm beat, melody, and play in parts with xylophones, conga drums, and various small, unpitched rhythm instruments.



Field Trips Throughout their elementary years, our students attend a variety of field trips that provide many exciting opportunities for learning about science, art, history, and our local community. Many of these field trips become the highlight of the year for our students.


Prusch Farm Park trip, Alum Rock Park Wild Life Museum, Fire Station, Pizza My Heart, Science at Skyway


Pumpkin Patch, Valley Christian Skyway Campus, Theatre, Levi’s Stadium, Happy Hollow


Campbell Historical Museum, Gilroy Gardens Natural Science Day, Hidden Villa Life Science trip, Children’s Discovery Museum


Monterey Bay Aquarium, The Tech Museum, Almaden Quicksilver Museum


Walk Through California, San Juan Bautista, Roaring Camp, Skyway Theatre Performance


Youth Science Institute at Alum Rock Park, Mission Springs Outdoor Education Science Camp (overnight), Westward Ho!, Walk Through American Revolution, City Team


MISSION STATEMENT Valley Christian Schools’ mission is to provide a nurturing environment offering quality education supported by a strong foundation of Christian values in partnership with parents, equipping students to become leaders to serve God, to serve their families, and to positively impact their communities and the world. VISION STATEMENT A world where every student pursues their personal Quest for Excellence™.

FOUNDING STATEMENT Valley Christian Schools supports the homes and churches of students in providing an education that is grounded in the Judeo-Christian values of the Bible, as reflected in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Valley Christian Schools is committed to a Quest for Excellence™ in all of its educational programs, and provides a comprehensive kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum with a rigorous college preparatory program. Firmly founded on Christian values, Valley Christian Schools challenges youth to aspire toward lives of character, service and influence while pursuing their individual Quests for Excellence. valleychristian


To support VCS, please call the Extend the Gift Development Office at (408) 362-7644 or visit

Elementary (408) 559-4400 | JH (408) 513-2460 | HS (408) 513-2400 | (408) 513-2500 | 100 Skyway Drive, San Jose, CA 95111