Instructional Programs

Instructional Programs

Throughout school life, in all learning areas, the arts are engaged to educate through all the senses.  That is, the visual arts stimulate and image the total sensory life.  Art has structure, within a broad dominion, a vast history, a varied technology.  The structure of art incorporates its history in many cultures, media, techniques, and creative problem solving.  At the center is the structure of art principles (unity, variety, contrast, etc.) and art elements (color, texture, line, form, mass, etc.).  Art structure can be taught in any period of childhood development, using any personal approach that is honest.  The effectiveness of the elementary art education program is directly related to the environment within which the program operates.

Nevertheless, as important as any objective of the elementary school is that the child shall become creative and shall learn to admire and seek beauty.  Therefore, art is seen in both its creative (performing) and aesthetic (appreciative) aspects as an essential element of the total school curriculum.

All elementary students will receive one period of art instruction per four-day cycle.

The elementary music program consists of one 35 minute period of General Class Music per child per week. During the year the following six basic areas of music are covered:

  • Singing
  • Creative Music
  • Rhythm
  • Music Reading
  • Music Appreciation
  • Music Theory
  • Singing and rhythm receive the most emphasis.

In 3rd and 4th grade, the students have the opportunity to join Chorus. The Chorus will present one evening concert a year.

The music program enables children to develop:

  •  An awareness, enjoyment and appreciation of music through participation in a wide variety of musical 
  • Activities and experiences. 
  • A proficiency in basic musical skills    A
  • An understanding and awareness of various musical styles and forms; and cognizance of different musical heritages through interdisciplinary activities with classroom studies.

Creativity and improvisation are encouraged through singing, playing instruments, and movement.  While the development of the singing voice is essential and is emphasized at all grade levels, we also use a wide variety of pitched and un-pitched instruments to reinforce basic rhythm and note-reading skills.

Instrumental music is introduced in 3rd grade with a soprano recorder and extended through 4th grade with formal instruction and band.  

The Library Media Program introduces students to the finest in children’s literature, while, at the same time, seeks to develop those basic skills of inquiry and analysis that are essential to the well-rounded individual.

Students have an opportunity to visit the library with their class on a regularly scheduled basis where they are introduced to the literature and/or information resources appropriate for their level.  They are given the opportunity to borrow 2 books every class visit.

In addition, when the schedule allows, the library is also available to students who need further help selecting reading material or finding information using our various print and electronic resources.

Parents can help make their child’s library experience even more rewarding by helping their children in the following ways:

Show interest in your child’s library books.  Research shows that the single most important factor in learning to read is being read to regularly from a young age.  Help your child learn to love books by sharing those he/she has brought home.

Help your child remember what day his/her class visits the library.  With some help, your child will learn to become responsible for returning his/her books on “library day.”

Help your child find a special place to keep library books.   By finding a safe spot for the books, they are less likely to become lost or damaged.

Communicate with the library staff. 
If you have a question about the books your child is selecting, or if your child has a special interest and would like a book on that topic, or if you just want to recommend a good book that the family can share, please write a note or call the library.  The library staff is here to support your child’s total reading experience and wants to do all we can to make it as rewarding as possible.

Chromebook computers can be found in our classrooms. The ratio of Chromebooks to students is 1:1, with charging towers or Chromebook carts in each room. Computer projects may include word processing to produce stories, poems, reports, and newspapers, and a large portion of student work on the computer is for research.

Classroom computers are maintained and kept in working order, and teachers are provided with appropriate software for use in the classroom. We have also built a library of computer software that aids teachers in all subject areas.

Language is the common basis for communicating and the foundation for learning.  Students grow in communication skills through listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students at Warwick learn to use language to communicate emotions, ideas, opinions, experiences, and information.  Our students also learn to use language arts skills to gain information; to discover meaning and relationships of ideas; to make judgments and solve problems.

Emphasis is placed upon instruction that recognizes and develops the connections among listening, speaking, reading and writing, rather than by instruction that isolates and fragments them.

The Language Arts Curriculum at Warwick Valley Central School District integrates the skills of communication using a literature-based reading program and a process writing approach which includes the Houghton-Mifflin literature series.  A variety of literary selections and authentic novels written by well-known authors are also included within the Language Arts Program.


Process Writing is a natural way of writing in which students learn and move through several stages.  It’s a method of learning in which children connect ideas through gathering, sorting, preparing, sharing and discussing information, and fine tuning their efforts into a publishable form.

 Process Writing is usually based on the following guidelines:

  • Students write every day and writing becomes a natural part of the  curriculum.
  • Students’ writing comes from personal experiences, shared stories, and/or researched information.
  • Students learn to write for specific purposes and audiences.
  • Writing is integrated into science, social studies, reading, math, music and art instead of being isolated as a separate subject.
  • Students learn that writing is a holistic process that connects:
    • Pre-writing (gathering of ideas, planning)
    • Drafting (beginning to assemble the ideas)
    • Revising (improving what has been written)
    • Editing (searching for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation)
    • Publishing (sharing a final piece with an audience)

As the students mature and develop as writers they learn that assessment is designed to help them write better.  The guidelines for rating these student writings emphasizes: 

      • The development of a topic using a logical plan of  organization;
      • The development of ideas through use of examples, reasons, and details;
      • The use of a variety of sentences;
      • The use of appropriate and correct language;
      • The use of acceptable spelling, punctuation and grammar, so that it does not interfere with communication.

    As a parent, allow your child to see you engage in various writing activities.  Share lists, notes and letters written at home or on the job.  Discuss the importance of writing so that others will comprehend what has been written.  Read many different kinds of books with your child on a regular basis.  When children are exposed to a variety of literature, they are also being exposed to many different forms of writing.

    Encourage your child’s writing and be supportive of his/her progress.

    The Warwick Valley Central School District’s reading program is a Common Core standard reading series published by Pearson.  This series contains literary selections written by well-known children’s authors.  All students will begin the Pearson program progressing at their instructional pace.

    Our primary goal is to teach every child, from the physically gifted to the physically challenged, how and why they should keep themselves healthy and fit.  In our physical education program, we provide learning experiences which are developmentally appropriate and will teach children how to be physically active in ways that increase physical competence and self-esteem. We achieve this by:

    1. Our physical education curriculum includes a balance of skills, concepts, game activities, rhythms, and gymnastic experiences designed to enhance the cognitive, affective, and physical development of every child. 
    2. We provide experiences that encourage children to question, integrate, analyze, apply cognitive concepts, and gain a wide multi-cultural view of the world.
    3. Throughout the year we teach activities that allow children the opportunity to work together to improve their emerging social and cooperation skills. These activities also help children develop a positive self-concept.
    4. The New York State Physical Fitness Test is used as part of the process of helping children understand, improve, and/or maintain their physical fitness.
    5. Children are taught exercises that can keep the body in proper alignment, thereby allowing the muscles to lengthen without placing stress and strain on the surrounding joints, ligaments, and tendons.

    Some things that parents/guardians can do to help us achieve our goals are:

    1. Make sure your child is prepared to participate with appropriate footwear, loose, but not baggy clothing,
    2. Protective eye wear should be worn, and no dangling jewelry for safety purposes.
    3. Encourage your child to at least attempt the activities on a given day. When it is absolutely necessary to dismiss your child from physical education, please list specific activities that your child can participate in as it is against New York State regulations for a child to not attend a physical education class.
    4.   Attend as many sporting events as possible with your child. It is very difficult for a child to grasp the whole picture of a sporting event, or how all of the small pieces fit together to make up the whole without visualizing it.

    Students use the Pearson ENVISION Mathematics series by Pearson.  In addition to developing basic number concepts and skills, this series offers remedial and enrichment materials as well as problem solving activities for students at all levels.

    A formal testing program is an integral and on-going part of the ENVISION series. Chapter and quarterly tests are given throughout the year to assess individual student progress.  Upon completion of each level, a comprehensive test of skills is administered to all students in Grade 1 and above.

    To supplement the ENVISION series, students use the “hands-on” materials suggested by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  Skills and concepts are developed through individual and small group instruction.

    A metric measurement curriculum, computer education, and the fundamentals of probability and statistics are also components of the mathematics program.

    The Science Program teaches learning outcomes in the physical, life, and earth science areas.  As a basis for instruction, the program series provides scientific knowledge and designs for hands-on process experimentation at all levels.

    Scientific attitudes and inquiry are emphasized and many lessons are supported through projects, software, CD ROM, and technology.

    An annual Science Fair is held to promote an understanding of the scientific method and phenomenon.

    The Social Studies Curriculum for the elementary student encourages interdisciplinary learning organized around five perspectives:  social, political, economics, geographic, and historic.  The key concepts include:

    • Change as basic in things, event, and ideas.
    • Citizenship as members in a community with expected behaviors and responsibilities.
    • Culture as a way of living that a society develops to meet its needs.
    • Empathy as the ability to understand others.
    • Environment related to natural and created surroundings.
    • Identity as an awareness of attitudes and capabilities.
    • Interdependence related to reliance and connections with others.
    • Scarcity based upon needs and wants  
    • Technology as related to tools and methods in developing resources.

    The district builds citizenship skills and a multicultural awareness in our students by including activities, information and experiences about racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic diversity.

    The Social Studies Program initially focuses on helping the students develop awareness of themselves as growing and changing individuals and the need to develop social interaction skills.  Students explore roles and responsibilities within families, schools, rural, urban, and suburban communities as well as global communities.

    The Warwick Valley Elementary Social Studies Program emphasizes gathering, using, and presenting information from a variety of resources including children’s literature and authentic experiences.  Interdisciplinary planning and instruction is encouraged to develop connections in learning rather than isolated fragments.

    The Warwick Valley Central School District provides an extensive assistance program in a variety of academic areas for students who are experiencing difficulties.  The program is supported with federal, state and local funds.

    The purpose of the program is to progress monitor student achievement in mathematics, reading, and writing.

    Students are provided with intensive small-group instruction. Students who participate in the program are selected on the basis of New York State Pupil Evaluation, Universal Screenings, and classroom performance. RTI has three levels of intervention. Tier I provided by the classroom teacher; Tier II provided by our RTI specialists; and Tier III is provided by special education specialists.

    Children suspected of having physical, mental or emotional handicaps are referred for an evaluation to the school District’s Committee on Special Education.

    When a child is recommended for special education because of an educational handicap, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed which specifies the services to be provided and the approach to be used to effectively address each child’s needs.

     The Committee on Preschool Special Education also exists to address the needs of handicapped children from ages three to five years old.

     Parents having preschool children suspected of having a handicapping condition are urged to contact the Office of Pupil Personnel.  This will assist the special education department in addressing the child’s needs now, as well as for future planning when the child is of school age and ready for Kindergarten.

    Warwick’s Psychologists and Guidance counselors play a major role in the areas of prevention, intervention and remediation of school problems.  The school psychologist and counselor function as a diagnostician in the identification and evaluation of children with specific emotional, social, behavioral and learning disorders.  They provide short-term individual or group counseling to students who are experiencing emotional difficulties as they relate to the school environment or academic expectations.  In addition, they act as a resource to staff members and parents in assisting and supporting them in working with children and helping make use of appropriate community services.

    Speech therapists work with youngsters who have a variety of speech and language disorders.  Students having mild to severe articulation disorders are also seen.  Therapists serve students classified by the Committee on Special Education as well as students who have special needs at the building level.

    A partner in Education (P.I.E.) is a program open to all families in the district with children in Grades K through 6th.  It conforms to all the guidelines and criteria of the district but achieves goals through an experiential approach and is double-graded with an integrated curriculum, numerous subject areas and incorporating hands-on learning experiences.  A cooperative learning approach encourages student and parent participation as partners in education.