Curriculum at Festival Foothills Elementary School
We teach our students about the importance of education, and we aim to help them in every way we can to enjoy learning.
Arizona is working to implement new standards in English language arts and mathematics, called Arizona’s Standards. The Arizona Standards will ensure your child has the academic knowledge and skills to be successful in college, career, and life. Academic standards set the expectation for what students need to know and be able to do in each grade and subject. They form the foundation of what teachers teach and students learn in the classroom.
The new standards are important because they will not only improve what your child learns, but how he learns by teaching critical-thinking, problem solving, and effective communication skills. They will also better prepare your child to compete for the jobs of the future with students from around the world.
The new standards and future assessments will also be consistent across states, which means that as families move to a new state or to a new school district, their teachers will be able to better assess your child’s abilities and know where he/she may need support in a way that is not possible now.
Arizona K-12 Academic Standards - English Language Arts
Arizona K-12 Academic Standards - Mathematics
Teachers follow the set state curriculum standards for each subject matter. Check out a listing of all state standards.
In this age of accountability, assessments have become an integral part of an educational system. We use assessments for varying purposes; however, their primary purpose is to drive instructional decisions. It is important that parents have a basic understanding of the assessments used.
AzMERIT replaces AIMS for reading, writing, and math for third, fourth, and fifth grade students. It is a computer-based test, which provides engaging questions and measures critical thinking skills for college and career readiness. The assessment is aligned to the state learning standards, which detail what students should be able to do at each grade level. We administer the AzMERIT during the spring testing window. Check the school calendar for specific dates. For more information, please visit the Arizona Department of Education website.
AIMS – Science
Although the other state testing areas moved to AzMERIT, science remains with AIMS. At Festival, only fourth and eighth graders will participate in this test during the spring testing window. For additional information, please visit the Arizona Department of Education website.
Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is an assessment used in grades K-5 to determine if students are on track for success in reading. We give the assessment to all students at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. Students who do not meet the core standards for reading will be progress monitored on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. At the end of the year, all students who meet benchmark will receive a gold medal in reading. To learn more, please read the Parent Guide to DIBELS Assessment.
Given multiple times a year in the content areas of reading and math to determine if first through fifth grade students are mastering the standards taught during the quarter as well as to determine if third through fifth are on track to passing state assessments. In addition to the quarterly checks, we give a pre and post-test at the beginning and end of each school year as a measure of growth.
Math Fact Fluency
Although math is much more than basic skills, those basic skills are necessary at an automatic level. We encourage students to master basic math skills benchmarks identified for the grade level.
District Formative Assessments (DFA)
We use weekly or bi-weekly, mini-formatives to determine if students have mastered the essential standard taught during that learning period. We base instructional groupings as well as recommendations for extra tutoring on the outcomes of these assessments.
Move On When Reading
Festival Foothills Elementary staff is committed to working in partnership with you to ensure that your child receives the best education possible. The Arizona State Legislature also recognizes the importance of ensuring that your child and every child have acquired the basic skills necessary to be a contributing member of our community.
With that in mind, the legislature passed House Bill 2732 in 2010, which requires all students in third grade by 2013-2014 to be reading proficiently before being promoted to 4th grade. Specifically the law states:
“A requirement that a pupil not be promoted from third grade if the pupil obtains a score on the reading portion of the AIMS test, or successor test, that demonstrates that the pupil is reading far below the third grade level.”
Students currently enrolled in kindergarten, first, second and third grades are under the requirements of this legislation. We encourage you to continue to work collaboratively with your child’s teacher to ensure that he/she is acquiring all the skills and strategies he/she will need to be a successful reader. Your child’s teacher will continue to provide you with timely updates on his/her reading progress. If you would like additional information regarding your child’s progress, please contact your child’s teacher.
We look forward to working together to ensure that your child and every child at Festival Foothills Elementary becomes a proficient and successful reader.
For more information about “Move on When Reading,” please go to the Arizona Department of Education’s website.