Back to Basics Education

Happy Valley provides a “Back-to-Basics,” traditional program that is aligned with Arizona State Standards and National Content Standards (NCS).  We participate in statewide testing programs each year, as well as school wide regular assessments to monitor student achievement.

We believe that every child has the capacity to learn and is best served by “direct instruction” in the basic skills of reading, writing and math.  Our approach has been affirmed by many studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and other independent research.  The proven success of our program is based upon:

  • An intensive, “phonics first” reading program, beginning in kindergarten
  • Mastery-based learning which requires teaching, testing, re-teaching and re-testing, until students master the concepts presented at a passing level
  • Minimized homework consisting of practice in reading each day, memorization of math facts, and review of spelling and vocabulary
  • Parents may request additional work for extra practice at home

Curriculum materials used include:

  • Our own copyrighted phonics and math programs
  • McGuffey Readers
  • Harcourt Publishers for reading, some math, science, health, social studies, and other subjects.
  • Excel Math and Sadlier-Oxford for math, vocabulary and grammar texts.
  • A variety of enrichment materials and resources.

Standardized assessments enable the school to place students in classrooms that will best serve their needs.  All classes at each grade level use the same core curriculum; however, based upon standardized test performance, students may be placed in a faster or slower paced class.  Faster paced classes explore higher level and enriched materials, while those students who would benefit from a slower paced presentation of materials are given the extra time and assistance they need to master concepts.

Direct Instruction, Demonstration and Guided Practice

Classroom teachers present concepts using direct instruction.  Concepts are taught and demonstrated by the teacher, then students practice and show understanding through guided practice.  Teachers also model character, organizational skills, time management and positive relationship building through everyday classroom practices.