Oracle School District – May 2014

Students soar at the Oracle School District

Five/Six classes hike to the Romero Pools in Catalina State Park.

Five/Six classes hike to the Romero Pools in Catalina State Park.

The Oracle School District is proud to offer accelerated combination classes for grades three through six. Several years ago the Oracle School District staff set out to develop a program that would meet the needs of students that showed outstanding academic aptitude by excelling in the classroom and on the assessments the district uses to monitor the academic progress of students. One approach is to differentiate instruction thereby offering multiple curriculums within the same classroom setting. While this is certainly a best practice and something the district still does, we discovered that the optimal way to meet these top students’ needs was to design a unique curriculum that allows them to reach their absolute highest academic level.

Mountain Vista School offers two accelerated combination courses, one each in grades three and four and grades five and six. Students that qualify for these classes generally work one academic grade level above their normal age grade level and participate in several project based lessons throughout the year. Students in these ultra-challenging classes study water conservation, archaeology, participate in student led parent teacher conferences, organism life cycles and solar energy production. In addition to these challenging, hands on projects, all of the combination students are trained in presentation software and presentation techniques. Each combination class has twenty to twenty five students that will ultimately enter high school with credit in both Algebra I and Geometry and are ready for placement in their respective high schools’ Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs.

This year the five/six class constructed solar ovens which they used to cook their meals at an annual overnight field trip to the Catalina State Park. Students from the class also got to demonstrate and explain their ovens to the Oracle Governing Board. Next year the five/six class will be official presenters at the Catalina State Park Solar Energy Expo! These classes prove that with hard work and ingenuity even small schools can provide big opportunities for their students.