iii. Our Academics
Providing the highest academic instruction is part of our mission. We have many programs through which we foster the development of our children.
Our Pre-K program is centered on providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students. We develop stimulating activities that students can participate in, which relate to monthly themes. Our monthly themes are on a three-year rotating schedule so that students who are in Pre-K for multiple years are exposed to new material each year. All activities are developmentally appropriate for children in our program. We use a variety of materials when teaching different concepts to enrich our students' experiences. Providing students with these hands-on experiences help them to actively be involved in their own learning. This results in students internalizing concepts, which they can apply to new information later in life. This solid foundation that is created for our students, empowers them to strengthen their metacognition, creativity, and builds self-confidence.
Furthermore, our activities are based on prominent research that has strongly proven that hands-on experiences help create connections for children, which promotes intelligence.
Based on a large body of research that shows that worksheets are not effective or developmentally appropriate, our pre-K program does not implement the use of worksheets.
SVA has adapted California’s Department of Education’s age requirement for kindergarten students. Students must turn 5 years of age on or before September 1, 2019 to be eligible for kindergarten for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Elementary & Middle School:
We offer multi-level classes in elementary and middle school. When students enroll in kindergarten, they enter a KG/1st grade multi-level classroom where they will spend the next two years covering materials from both grade levels. A two-year unit rotation guarantees that students do not repeat the same material. At SVA, we believe that there are great benefits to multi-level classes. When teachers plan their two-year unit rotation, they plan their lessons based on teaching to the highest students and scaffolding to the lowest in order to meet all academic needs. Moreover, research shows that younger children gain self-confidence and maturity by being exposed to older students, while older students learn to be positive, mature role models for the younger students.
At Silicon Valley Academy, the California State Standards, Common Core Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards are used as guidelines for the skills and concepts that are taught at each grade level. Our teaching strategies empower the teaching staff to bring this content “to life”. The textbook is a resource, along with field trips, artifacts, videos, children’s literature and the internet to help teach information and concepts. The content is the ‘what’ we teach; the GLAD strategies are the ‘how’ we do it. These strategies go beyond finding the right answers, a typical textbook activity, to developing critical thinking skills. Students are actively involved in their learning process and develop a love for learning!
- Integrated Thematic Learning
- Thematic Standards-Based Units
- Multi-Leveled Classes
- Multiple Learning Styles
- Cooperative Group Work
- Hands on Projects and Field Trips
- Ongoing Assessments
- Home School Connections
- Quran, Arabic, and Islamic Studies Instruction
Accelerated High School:
Our accelerated high school provides a one-year independent study college preparation program as an opportunity for learners who want to proceed at an accelerated pace toward higher education with the support of their Islamic community. Students not only master academic content, but also learn strategies that facilitate metacognition and recall.
The first semester is the student’s freshman year in high school and the second semester is their sophomore year. In the spring, our students take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). The CHSPE evaluates whether a student has all the mathematics and Language Arts knowledge and skill expected of a high school graduate. This test is offered by the California Department of Education three times a year: in the middle of March, in early June, and in October. When the test is passed, students are issued a certificate by the California Department of Education that is the equivalent of a high school diploma for community college entrance. Students can then use that certificate to enroll as full-time freshmen in the community college of their choice.
Enrollment - Enrollment in SVA’s Accelerated High School Program is given only to students who have completed all three years of middle school at SVA. Students must also meet SVA’s academic, social and emotional standards to qualify for the accelerated program. Please note that SVA does not offer the accelerated program every year. Program availability is dependent on staffing resources and the number of qualified students.
The following music video was an upper grade Arabic project where we focused on the principles of cleanliness and respecting the caretakers who support us at Silicon Valley Academy.
We have a cross-curricular approach to inspire Islam in the hearts and minds of our students. Islamic principles are addressed and made relevant within social studies, science, and literature classes through discussions and making connections. Integrated thematic units, including related Quran and Hadith, foster the development of moral and spiritual intelligence, academic knowledge and higher level critical thinking.
Our approach to “Islamic” studies offers children a way to relate Islam to the world around them and assimilate this into their daily lives. Students are exposed to a broad spectrum of experiences helping them to develop the ability to discriminate between what is beneficial and what is harmful.
Most importantly, we work to create a safe, caring and nurturing setting. This allows Islamic values such as cooperation, generosity, self-discipline, consideration and responsibility to be assimilated and practiced. In following the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, we are open to all who want to learn.
We have enhanced our Islamic studies program by developing new curriculum which links authentic Hadith, Quranic Ayahs, and stories of different prophets to the California content standards for each grade level. This will be reinforcement for our children to apply Islam into every aspect of their learning and their life, thus turning “Islamic Studies” into Islamic action. As a result, students will be studying about various aspects of Islam throughout the day, not just for a 50 minute block period of time.
Home/school connections may be used to help provide families an opportunity to share their perspective with their children. An example of a home/school connection could be: sketch and/or write about how your family prays at home.
Morning Assembly - Students kindergarten through 8th grade begin the day at 8:20am with a morning assembly where they recite the morning dua, Surah al-Fatiha, and hear a brief piece of Islamic advice. It is nice to see the whole school together along with parents who stay for the extra blessings.
Dhuhr - 2nd through 8th grade students perform dhuhr prayer daily in their classes. Prayers are led by a student in each class.
Salat ul Jummah - Students in 2nd through 8th grade gather every Friday for a special children’s' Salat-ul-Jummah. Khutbas are often catered to issues that have come up among the students over the week.
Arabic and Quran:
SVA teaches Arabic to inspire students to study and develop an understanding of the Quran. The goal of Arabic instruction is to motivate students to look deeper into the meaning of the Quran and ponder upon its verses. The multiple meanings of Arabic words and roots of these words are explored in order to give children the sense that Arabic is not easily translated and that a proper understanding of the Quran can only take place when the original language of the Quran is analyzed. The appreciation of the rich and meaningful language of the Quran encourages students to delve more deeply into the Arabic language.
The memorization of surahs, as well as Quranic recitation with Tajweed, is taught in a way that students may work at a pace that is comfortable and enjoyable. Our goal is for students to be inspired, not burdened. Furthermore, students take time not only to develop a general understanding of the meaning of the Quran, but also to reflect in writing what each surah means to them and how they may apply their newfound knowledge to their everyday life.
The approach used during these studies is positive and stimulating. Students are actively engaged in their learning. The environment will be one of love and inspiration for all students, regardless of their ability level or modality of learning. Arabic and Quran teachers scaffold for individual students’ level and accommodate students' pace of learning. Teaching staff may assign 5 to 10 minutes per day of review of surahs outside of school hours, with support of www.tanzil.net.
We are not a hafiz school and do not wish to be one. Our intention with Quran and Arabic is to provide a meaningful experience where all students are inspired to study and read the Quran to better themselves and continue this venture throughout their lives.