How We Teach

Language Arts/Reading

A. Teachers, working in grade level teams, plan curriculum calendars to pace instruction of skills and events. The Open Court text is a key teacher resource.

B. Students are grouped heterogeneously in their classrooms. During Language Arts instruction, teachers group students according to skills needs from their day-to-day observation of student work and informal assessments.

C. Teachers provide students with a broad array of fiction and nonfiction leveled readers. Friendly baskets are in some K-3 classrooms to assure that students choose texts at their independent level during their free reading time.

D. A reading assessment is administered Fall and Spring to 1st-5th grade students.

E. Teachers are building classroom libraries with the help of donations and classroom library monies.

F. All students in grades 2-5 participate in the Accelerated Reader Program. Many teachers send student AR reading reports home with progress reports and report cards.

G. Kindergarten and Grade 1 students participate in a 30- week take home book program.

H. Parent education about reading is a priority. Several issues throughout the year in the parent newsletter share strategies for supporting students at home in reading.


A. Teachers, working in grade level teams, plan curriculum calendars to pace instruction of concepts and skills.

B. Real life situations and the use of manipulatives are integrated with skill development, drill and practice, learning of specific facts and problem solving strategies, and writing in math.

C. The math curriculum emphasizes: a beginning of the day math meeting; the lesson; written practice; facts practice; and assessments.

D. The History/Social Science program provides students with basic knowledge of history and geography, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the present social, economic, environmental, and political culture.

E. The program includes an awareness of history and perspectives of people of different times, places, and cultures.

F. All students including GATE, EL, and Special Education, participate in a variety of activities integrating social studies with other areas of curriculum.

G. The state-adopted Houghton-Mifflin text for History/Social Science is used at San Miguel.

H. Students take part in field trips that support social studies units.


A. The San Miguel science curriculum is based on a framework of earth, physical, environmental, and life science.

B. Individual teachers also develop science units at each grade level to supplement district-provided materials and curriculum.

C. Students take part in field trips that support science units and enhance the learning experience.

D. The Environmental Volunteer Science Program, sponsored by the Parent Association, provides docents, classroom presentations, and field trip opportunities at most grade levels.

Visual and Performing Arts

A. Art and music are integrated with other curricular areas

B. Theatre, vocal music, and fine arts classes are available to all students.

Physical Education

A. Physical Education is in alignment with the state frameworks.

B. Kindergarteners have one hour of movement exploration and motor perception weekly.

C. The classroom teacher teaches physical education, in grades 1-3.

D. A physical education instructor teaches co-ed physical education to grades 4-5 for 120 minutes a week.

E. An adaptive PE specialist delivers adaptive physical education instruction weekly to those qualifying students.

Safe Schools, Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Education

A. The school participates in Red Ribbon Week activities including a variety of instructional and supplemental activities to support positive choices by students, related to drug and tobacco use.

B. Programs are provided which promote positive choices and healthy lifestyles to minimize drug use. San Miguel has a Environmental Volunteers Program, and an active Recycling Program, all of which support healthy lifestyles as well as respect for self and the environment.

C. The Neighborhood Resource Officer, provided by the City of Sunnyvale, holds assemblies to promote drug awareness, safety, conflict resolution, and respect (Drug Awareness, Safe Ways to School, Conflict Resolution, and Fire Safety). Additionally, the officer meets with students who habitually disregard laws and school rules.

D. The Columbia Neighborhood Center provides low cost or free counseling and medical services for our students and their families.

E. Our school participates in and implements a Zero Tolerance Policy.

F. Student attendance is monitored with assistance from the District social worker and the School Attendance Review Board.

G. Class meetings are held in most classrooms to solve conflicts. PeaceBuilders curriculum is taught in all grades.

H. Students frequently work with the teacher to develop class rules.

I. The principal discusses school rules and sexual harassment policies twice yearly in assemblies and through classroom presentations.

Special Education

A. Students with special needs resulting from a handicapping condition and/or achievement levels significantly below those of the majority of students, have equal access to the curriculum provided for all students.

B. Special services support and extend activities that enhance students' participation in the regular program. San Miguel's special education program provides for the following services: Resource Specialist Program, two Special Day Classes, speech and language services, Adaptive Physical Education, Resource Specialist working with students with students with non-verbal learning disorders, and Occupational Therapy through our SELPA and services for hearing impaired.

C. Those students who are identified through the established referral and screening process as having learning disabilities are assigned to the Resource Specialist on a pull-out basis for specific learning assistance, as specified on their Individual Education Plans (I.E.P.). The pullout program is designed to assist the student, so he/she can participate with success in the regular education curriculum. Small group work and activities such as "think-pair-share," the "hot seat" and literature circles are strategies used to ensure students have access to critical listening and thinking activities.

D. Mainstreaming is supported within the regular classroom and within programs and services through the District when assessments identify a need that cannot be met at San Miguel.

EL Program at San Miguel

In order to support English-as-a-Second-Language students, we have established an EL program that supports their needs Some of these measures include, but are not limited to, the following:

A. Rosetta Stone: This is a software program that works specifically on English Language Development. Students see pictures on the screen, listen to the spoken word that matches the picture, and have opportunities for repeated practice in listening and speaking targeted vocabulary words. This is then transferred to paper, and they get to practice writing and reading the words, as well. This multi-sensory approach, that incorporates listening, speaking, reading and writing, has proven to be a very successful tool in teaching a new language to students. The activities progress in their level of difficulty, to challenge students, and keep them learning.

B. English for Everyone: As English learners are at differing stages of language proficiency, it is important that they receive instruction at the appropriate level. In grades Kindergarten through third, teachers regroup students for 30 minutes, Monday through Thursday, according to the students' level of English Language Proficiency. Targeted instruction is delivered at this time. The teacher's focus is on the students' needs, based on the English Language Development Standards. In grades 4 and 5, this is done within the classroom itself, and the teachers employ a variety of strategies that help the students with English language acquisition.

C. Parents attend parent involvement workshops.

D. A full time EL Coach coordinates all of the services supporting the EL students.

Gifted and Talented

A. The GATE program at San Miguel is planned and organized as integrated, differentiated learning experiences within the regular school day, per District guidelines. The services are supplemented with differentiated activities related to the core curriculum. Each teacher provides classroom "extension activities".

B. Classes provide math packets and/or higher level math texts used for higher level thinking skills, projects, and activities. Volunteer parents may work with GATE students. The students may be assigned individual projects. Field trips and after-school activities may supplement the GATE program, as funds permit.