- What is the school's philosophy?
- What is the class size?
- Do you have an age cut-off for entering Kindergartners?
- Do you offer day care?
- What is your curriculum?
- How do you teach basic skills?
- How do you evaluate student progress?
- What is the homework like?
- What do you do to promote relationships among students?
- Where do your graduates attend high school?
Archway School introduces children to a world of learning and limitless possibilities, providing the bridge between childhood and young adulthood. It is a place where the individual can shine in an environment bursting with creativity, with respect for individual learning styles, and with a true commitment to active learning--a place where children discover their strengths and harness the confidence to be independent, self-motivated, and accomplished learners.
Our maximum class size is 16 students.
No. We make our decisions based on the maturity level of applicants at the time of their visit (see Admissions). In practice, it is rare that we admit a new kindergarten child who is younger than five (by September 1st).
We have an excellent before and after school program at both campuses, on the Upper Campus from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and at the Lower Campus from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The popular program offers outdoor playtime, an afternoon snack, homework help, arts and crafts, and an array of special activities, which in the past have included computers, drama, studio art, cooking, and chess. Parents can choose drop-in care at $10 per hour, or pay for a package of 3 or 5-days/week for the school year.
We have constructed our own rich program, using the most recent California State Frameworks as a foundation. Teachers bring meaning to the content by including topics of personal interest to the students and to themselves. Our curriculum is designed to be rigorous yet flexible, thought-provoking, and engaging.
Our math program emphasizes thinking skills. Teachers use units from the Investigations and Math By All Means series, among others, to explore arithmetic, measurement, geometry data, statistics and probability. Students learn to compute accurately and to develop problem solving skills using a variety of strategies. Our middle school uses College Preparatory Mathematics, a state and nationally recognized program that emphasizes algebraic thinking.
Language skills are taught using high-quality children's literature, with an emphasis on comprehension, literary analysis, and exposure to a broad range of genres. Teachers adapt their approaches to reading instruction to suit the learning style of each child. Students write daily for a variety of purposes and leam to employ a wide range of forms, including narrative, expository, biographical, poetic, persuasive, and letter writing. Specific skills (phonics, spelling, paragraph formation) are integrated within daily language instruction.
Our science program is designed to engage children's intellect and imagination. Students learn to ask their own questions, design investigations, carry out experiments, make observations, draw conclusions, and report on their results. Teachers draw from a variety of published resources such as Lawrence Hall of Science units and the Prentice-Hall Science Explorer series, which are designed to be engaging and hands-on.
In addition to this summary, there are several other major program areas, including social studies, the visual and performing arts, PE, computers, Spanish, and our extensive life skills and values curriculum. Upper School students can choose from a variety of electives, including dance, creative writing, cross country running, chess, drama, cooking, documentary making, and computer animation.
Teachers spend the first month of school identifying each child's ability level in reading, writing, and math, and use that assessment to set goals and plan curriculum for the year. We use a developmental approach, meaning that our primary purpose is to support each student's growth toward his or her "next step," regardless of age.
Q: How do you evaluate student progress?
The school year is divided into four marking periods for the purpose of assessment. We use conferences, written comments, and letter grades (in 5th-8th grade) to provide information to parents. Progress reports are sent home twice a year in the 1st and 3rd quarters and a more comprehensive report card is sent home at the end of each semester. Students in grades 3-8 take standardized tests in the fall. We use results as one component in identifying individual student needs. The objective data provided by these tests complement our other means of evaluation.
Homework is relevant and supports classroom instruction. Archway does not believe in overburdening students with homework, but acknowledges the necessity of homework as a tool to build independent learners. The time spent varies with the age of the children, ranging from very little in kindergarten to about one to one and a half hours daily in the upper grades. Parents are expected to provide a suitable place for students to work and to assist as necessary with time management.
Archway's inclusive, warm and nurturing environment is the foundation. Our graduates stand out for their generosity of spirit and acceptance of all people. Our faculty and staff model kindness and respect every day. They make time for children to express themselves and are always there to guide and support. Teachers showcase the unique contributions of each member of a class, and emphasize deferring judgment and accepting differences.
Cooperative problem solving in all areas of the curriculum allows students to teach and learn from one another. Teachers work closely with parents to encourage budding friendships among classmates. We monitor student play closely (especially on the playground) and model conflict-resolution techniques. Faculty and staff are available for one-on-one, "quality time" throughout the school day. Values are given center stage, and we talk about fairness and right and wrong. On both campuses there is an emphasis on community and multi-age relationships in order to engender the kind of collaborative spirit that students can use throughout their lives.
Recent graduates have attended Athenian, Bentley, Bishop O'Dowd, CPS, Head Royce, Maybeck, Orinda Academy, St. Mary's, Holy Names, Berkeley High's Communication Arts and Sciences Program (CAS), Lick Wilmerding, Oakland Tech, and Piedmont High School. We offer high school counseling and preparation to our 8th graders through our advisory program.