Curriculum & Grading Policy
10X008 Academic Policy 2023-2024
Exemplary Education at PS 8
The teachers at P.S. 8 Isaac Varian strive for excellence in everything that they teach. Our dedicated staff draws from various curricula to compose a series of lessons that supports each student academically. Each class has a common starting point that the teacher uses to differentiate and individualize to meet the specific needs of her or his students. More detail on each subject's curriculum can be found below.
For English Language Arts, P.S. 8 uses the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program, designed by Lucy Calkins. The students engage in a rigorous study of literature and informational texts to understand how authors provide compelling ideas, and analyze stories to find themes and make personal connections. Students then use this knowledge to master their own writing skills, creating exciting narrative tales and nonfiction articles and books.
Children in Kindergarten and first grade use the Fundations program as well, which helps them learn letters, phonics, and the basic spelling principles.
P.S. 8 uses the enVision Math program in all grades. Through hands-on activities, videos, and real-world examples, students learn not just how to add and multiply, but also analyze a problem and think critically. Combining memorization of facts with thinking skills, our students will be ready for any mathematical problem they encounter in life.
Our school is also involved in the Algebra for All initiative, which focuses on providing students with exposure to and a basic knowledge of algebra before entering middle school. Pioneered in grade 5, soon every grade will mix algebra lessons into the current math curriculum.
The inquiry-based science curriculum at PS 8 utilizes a mix of instruction, research, and hands-on experimentation. Following the new Next Generation Science Standards, classroom teachers work alongside specialized science lab instructors to provide quality science education. Throughout their years at the school, students learn both the physical sciences (i.e. properties of matter, earth materials, forces and motion, energy and sound, etc.) and the living environment (i.e. animal and plant diversity, biomes, animal and plant adaptations, food chains, etc.).
The Passport to Social Studies curriculum used by NYC schools is a comprehensive instructional resource that integrates the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and the New York State K-8 Social Studies Framework to support strong social studies teaching and learning. Throughout the grades, students learn about their place in the world, from the communities around us to the history of NYC and the state of New York. This program challenges students to think like historians and encourages them to raise questions, think critically, consider many perspectives, and gather evidence to support ideas through the practice of chronological processing, decision-making, and historical research and analysis. These real-world skills will serve students well as participating citizens of a democracy.
Our school has decided to help the DOE pioneer their new Computer Science for All (CS4All) initiative by incorporating the Software Engineering Program Junior (SEPjr) curriculum. In each grade, students explore how technology supports and controls the world around them, write programs using the Blockly language, code robots to explore physical space, use Scratch and Scratch Jr. to create videos and games, and use learn how machines work through physical computing.
The art team has worked hard to bring the world of artistic expression to the students. The multicultural and community-focused approach allows for students not just to create art, but to study artists and styles that they can relate to and connect with. Units include focuses on artist studies, communities and the world around us, urban and pop art, and literature-based illustration. Throughout the grades, students practice fine motor skills, as well as principles of art, such as lines, shapes, contour, etc.
As an added bonus, student work is organized and spread throughout the building, converting the school into a massive art museum.
Physical Education & Health
The physical education team's goal is to promote a love for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. Students engage in physical activities as well as learning how nutrition and fitness affect and help their growing bodies. Students are able to learn teamwork, respect, and good sportsmanship through sports, including soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and more. Additionally, the team modifies activities and finds engaging fitness routines to meet the needs of the individual students, particularly our special needs population. At the end of the year, the physical education team also runs our highly popular Field Days in which classes engage in a series of competitions, much like the Olympics, as a showcase of sportsmanship.
Student Support Services
At P.S. 8 Isaac Varian, we believe that every child learns differently, which is why we have a full range of support services and staff to help each student achieve success.
No matter what educational difficulty your child may be facing, our highly trained and dedicated staff will provide individualized supports to help get him or her on track. If you believe your child needs support, don't hesitate to schedule a meeting with your teacher today!
As an added benefit, P.S. 8 is lucky to have a Montefiore School Health Clinic in the building. This facility offers a wide range of services at no cost to you. Read to the right for an idea of their services, or follow this link to find out more.
Services Provided by P.S. 8
- Occupational Therapy (OT)
- Physical Therapy (PT)
- English as a New Language (ENL/ESL)
- Hearing and Audiology
- Response to Intervention (RTI)
- Academic Intervention Services (AIS)