Curriculum and Instruction
Students at the elementary level are taught to appreciate that all subjects are connected to each other. To effectively integrate subjects, teaching units are planned around specific themes. All subjects – language arts, science, math and social studies – are tied to the unit theme. The development of a thematic unit allows students to explore a subject in greater depth, making connections across all subject areas. All curriculum – kindergarten through grade 12 – is aligned with the Common Core Standards.
Language Arts Curriculum
PHS has an intensive program in the language arts. The reading program used in the kindergarten through 5th grade is the Rigby Literacy program (Harcourt). This program uses a combination of whole language and phonics instruction to teach students to read. Vocabulary development, spelling, and writing are emphasized across the curriculum. Elementary students read quality short stories and novels that complement the thematic units they are studying. Spelling and vocabulary words come out of these books and from the units being studied. At all levels, the writing program encourages creativity, clear communication, and helps students become comfortable with the steps of the writing process.
Science an Social Studies
The emphasis in science and social studies is on hands-on, discovery learning. Teachers make use of a variety of resources – the Internet, books, educational videos, guest speakers and field trips – for teaching these important subjects. Problem solving and higher level thinking skills are a focus for development.
The Saxon math curriculum is the one used at all levels, from kindergarten through high school. this math curriculum includes a variety of learning strategies – including the use of math manipulatives, math projects and some rote memorization and drills in basic math facts – to ensure that students are successful in mathematics.
Art, Music, Physical Education and Health
All subjects are an important part of the teaching program at PHS. Art, music, P.E. and health are integrated into the curriculum, helping to “round out” the student’s educational experience.
Students are tested regularly in all subjects. The teachers use tests to help assess student learning and to accurately evaluate student achievement. The ACT Aspire Test, a standardized test, is administered in grades 4 through 8, at the end of each school year. This makes it possible to accurately compare the achievement of our students with students in other schools.
Teachers at PHS are free to assign homework as they see the need. Homework at PHS is intended to enrich and reinforce the learning at school and is not meant to be a burden on parents or students. Homework assignments may include anything from selecting a “Show and Tell” item to doing a reading or math assignment or special project.
Students are often grouped in classes made up of at least two grades each. Mixed-aged classes benefit the students both educationally and socially. Older students help younger students through tutoring and modeling. Younger students are motivated by their respect for older students and their desire to be like them. All students learn to work cooperatively in a “real-life” situation where there are people of differing ages, abilities and interests. Gifted students are not held back but are encouraged to learn as much as they can. Slower students are given extra time needed to master important skills. Students excel in an environment where individual needs and abilities are recognized and respected.
Computers & Technology
Students have daily access to computers at PHS. Currently all classrooms have Internet access and access to laptops. Also, a computer lab operates with a class set of computers. Each high school student is provided with a laptop computer for his or her use for the school year. Each classroom is furnished with a multimedia projector and a document camera.
Along with this school website, the school has a Facebook page for sharing photos and for communication between alumni and current members of our school community.