Offering rigorous curriculum and a full spectrum of the arts, Polaris has a principal and teachers trained to meet the academic and affective needs of high achieving and highly gifted students. An enriched and extended Denver Public Schools curriculum provides the foundation for learning experiences in which students are encouraged to achieve excellence in areas of strength and supported to make continuous improvement in weaker academic areas.
Polaris offers creatively integrated curriculum and individual differentiation to help meet the unique needs of this population of learners. Students are grouped and regrouped flexibly on the basis of demonstrated educational need rather than by age or other limiting data. The individual academic needs of students determine their pace through the curriculum. Students with individual academic/arts passions are offered the opportunity to explore those interests with the guidance of a teacher and/or mentors.
Among the curricular materials available are: William and Mary High Ability Language Arts curriculum, fine literature and Great Books, Six-Trait Writing, Great Source writing and math handbooks, Saxon Algebra 1 and Geometry, McREL’s Challenge Math, EXEMPLARS in math and science, GEMS, FOSS and AIMS hands-on math/science units, Joy Hakim’s history of America series, History Alive units from Stanford University, Interact simulations and the best educational software available.
Block scheduling allows students to study integrated units and language arts in the morning, and then math and science after lunch. Learning in many curricular areas involves the students in long-term projects that may integrate rigorous research, science, math, language arts and the visual/performing arts. Believing that our students should experience “a trip around the world and back in time” during their elementary years, we have determined curricular units of study for each grade level.
Kindergarten: From Polaris School to Polaris in Space
1st grade: Island cultures of the World
2nd grade: Central and South American cultures and rainforest research
3rd grade: Asian cultures and Denver History
4th grade: African cultures and Colorado History
5th grade: Greek and Roman history and early US history
The Polaris Program weaves the arts into all curricular units, and grants frequently fund work with artists-in-residence (visual, theatre, photography and dance). A “Math, Art and All that Jazz” grant in 2001 involved students in grades 1-3 in an architectural study of Curtis Park Historic District, with multimedia displays created as final projects. The same grant funded the creation of a fence mural by 4-6 graders and immersed all students in the composition of jazz. In 2002, an actress worked with several grade levels, with the fifth graders writing a splendid poem displayed in our entry and performed as shadow theatre. Speaking of Dance and Cleo Parker Robinson dancers have worked with fifth graders each Spring. Young Audiences yearly provides a Hispanic dancer to enhance the second grade South American unit, and Cherry Creek dance linked dance to each grade level’s themes during February of 2008. The fifth graders write and perform an opera each year.
Watch this visual summary of two years of arts and science integration at Polaris at Ebert:
Math in Focus – Singapore Math Curriculum
Math in Focus is the U.S. edition of Singapore’s top-ranking math program. It follows the same scope, sequence, and pedagogy as its Singapore edition, My Pals are Here!, but has been enhanced with the addition of a robust Teacher’s Edition, differentiation components, and interactive technology.
What makes Math in Focus the authentic Singapore Math?
Math in Focus is published by Marshall Cavendish Education Singapore, the premier publisher of textbooks in Singapore, and distributed in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Both programs follow the pedagogical framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education: emphasizing concept mastery, a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach, metacognitive reasoning, and the use of model drawing to solve and justify problems.
How does Math in Focus differ from other programs that include Singapore “strategies”?
Singapore math is more than isolated strategies and model-drawing techniques. It is a carefully sequenced curriculum that has led Singapore students to international success.
What will Math in Focus bring to your classroom?
Math in Focus brings the authentic Singapore math pedagogy to U.S.classrooms, and is aligned with Common Core State Standards. Math in Focus is the mastery program for world-class math instruction and results in the U.S.
Behind the Math in Focus instructional success story
- A focused and coherent syllabus. Math in Focus introduces fewer topics in each grade, but teaches them to greater depth. Topics are taught to mastery, so they build from year to year across grade levels without repetition.
- A visual and balanced approach. Math in Focus is highly visual, following a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progression.
- A focus on number and operations. Math in Focus is sequenced in a way that ensures students develop and maintain strong number sense. Students spend the majority of the first half of the year studying number. This provides the foundation necessary to move on to more complex and abstract thinking.
- An emphasis on problem solving using model-drawing. Math in Focus utilizes model-drawing strategies that help students solve both routine and nonroutine problems.
- A recognition of the importance of attitudes and metacognition. The Singapore Ministry of Education’s mathematics framework emphasizes the importance of attitude and the ability to self-monitor while problem solving to achieve success in math. Math in Focus provides students with the tools they need to break down complex concepts and problems, which in turn develops positive attitudes.