The Language Arts program of the Abington Heights School District is intended to build a lifelong appreciation of the English language in all its forms and to develop the skills necessary for success in all subject areas. Learning to read is seen as a complex process of constructing meaning from print – not merely learning a set of isolated skills. Skills should be taught within a meaningful context, and there should always be a balance between skills instruction and application. While students are always encouraged to write, even if they make mistakes, correct grammar, spelling and usage are expected on final drafts. Daily opportunities should exist for actual reading and real writing. There should also be a balance among the types of reading and writing assignments in which students take part (narrative, informational, persuasive). Although students come to school from diverse backgrounds and with differing levels of motivation, all students can learn to read and write. We recognize that students learn at different rates and in different ways. We know that the classroom atmosphere should meet the cognitive and affective needs of the learners. In order to best meet the needs of all learners, multiple types of approaches and materials should be utilized. The interrelationship of the language arts should always be stressed.
Because language can neither be learned nor evaluated in a fragmented way, holistic, performance-based means of assessment should be used as the true indicators of student ability. Monitoring of student progress should be ongoing and results should guide instruction. Teachers who are knowledgeable of the reading and writing processes are essential. Staff development activities which reflect current research about reading and writing must be available to all teachers in order to ensure the most effective classroom instruction. Effective instruction requires that each teacher achieve a balance between developing an individual teaching style and incorporating specific methods supported by research to help students master state and local curriculum standards.
We believe that literacy skills are the keys to opening the doors for productive, meaningful citizenship. Our ultimate goal, as a school system, is to produce students who have the ability to read and write independently and the desire to do so frequently.