For success in today’s global economy, students need a well-rounded education that builds effective communication, mathematical, scientific, and reasoning skills. At the Academies of Math and Science (AMS), our curriculum helps students develop critical skills that set them on the path to lifelong success. We employ challenging, research-based, and field tested curricula that consistently meets Arizona state standards and exceeds parent expectations.
We believe that smart students are well-rounded. Not only do we consistently perform well above average in state exams, but we also offer students a balanced education that includes technology, computer science, engineering, foreign languages (Russian and Mandarin), music (piano, guitar, choir, and theory), art, and character development.
The Academies of Math and Science curriculum infuses critical thinking and mathematical skills into every grade level. Beginning in kindergarten, AMS students develop skills in number sense, algebraic operations, measurement, data analysis, mathematical thinking, and geometry. Our program, Saxon Math, coupled with the math integration into our science program, teaches our students to apply math skills outside of the classroom and learn the relevance of math in today’s world.
The AMS science program is thorough and challenging at all grade levels. AMS students immerse themselves in earth science, physical science, and life science studies with an emphasis on how to use the scientific method to understand, explain, replicate, question, and design their own inquiries in different scientific fields both inside and outside of the classroom. Our robotics club, science Olympiad team, and long-standing participation in the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) provide students the opportunity to experience relevant real-world applications of scientific knowledge built in the classroom.
The AMS language arts curriculum encompasses all the necessary skills students need to become effective communicators and scholars, and helps students develop a lifelong love of learning. Our program emphasizes decoding, comprehension, writing, speaking, and listening. Students explore a range of genres including poetry, plays, autobiographies, realistic fiction, non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction, folktales, and many more. Our writing program encourages students to hone their written skills in both fiction and nonfiction. Our students often go on to become award-winning writers in local writing competitions across various genres.
In the 21st century, modern students must be global thinkers. The AMS social studies program explores both historical and contemporary global events, world history and U.S. history, geography, governments and economics. Students learn about the influence of past cultures on current events and culture. AMS students study a range of cultures and history from around the globe and in the United States, and explore how a wealth of cultures have shaped our country into the nation it is today. Students gain an understanding of their role in their community, and learn how strong communities are built upon their own effort and partnership with others. Government lessons focus on the identification, interpretation, and analysis of US and international government and economic functions.
An integral part of our curriculum, the AMS art program is structured in levels centered around the 14 elements and principles of art and design. Art projects at all grade levels introduce or reinforce critical concepts and vocabulary while offering students practice in various media and techniques. Hands-on practice encourages the mastery and retention of core concepts. The art program reinforces other curriculum areas by providing a real world connection between math, language arts, science, social studies, and the arts. For example, younger students explore patterns and symmetry through a pattern bugs project. Older students create visual models and sculptures to represent different concepts in science or social studies.
The AMS music program provides students with a broad knowledge and appreciation of music. Most students attend music classes twice per week. Students in grades three and up learn how to play either the guitar or piano. Students perform in semester recitals that demonstrate new and developing skills to the community at large. In addition to learning how to play music, students are taught the history of music from a variety of different cultural perspectives. And, students learn audiation, the ability to think in musical terms. This skill helps students understand and appreciate the core concepts at work in their favorite music. By learning the language of music, students develop a lifelong relationship with music.
Technology, Computer Science, and Engineering
At AMS, teachers use multiple software applications to provide instruction in core subjects, and students have opportunities to actively and responsibly participate in Internet research projects and related activities. At all times, emphasis is placed on applied digital skills, responsible digital citizenship, and design thinking. Through their experiences in technology-related academic work, students come to see themselves as creators with technology, not just passive consumers. Additionally, all K-5 students take a technology course where they learn practical tech skills including keyboarding, computer applications with Google and Microsoft products, coding, and robotics. Middle school students take academic courses in computer science and engineering. Our 6th graders take an introductory course to familiarize them with the basics of both areas of study, and our 7th and 8th graders then choose a track based on their interests with year-long classes focused on either computer science or engineering. Computer science classes teach multiple programming languages, robotics, web and game design and advanced topics such as wearable computing and artificial intelligencew. Engineering courses include topics such as mechatronics (electronics, mechanisms, and automation), invention, innovation, and technological systems. Our goal is to create lifelong learners who are aware of the broader impacts of technology in our society and who will be excited to continue their studies in a STEM/CS field of their choosing.
AMS understands the importance of maintaining a healthy mind and body. As such, Physical Education (PE) is a central part of our program. All grade levels participate in PE on a weekly basis. Students in play a variety of games that require the use of both large and small motor functions. AMS students build cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, and build an appreciation of physical fitness. Students learn the traditional rules of a number of sports and are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities. The ultimate goal of the AMS PE program is to foster teamwork in a safe and fun environment while building physical fitness and an appreciation for healthy living.
AMS provides students with opportunities to develop and expand their language skills through a comprehensive foreign language program. Learning a second language is an essential part of any education as it enhances both language skills and logic abilities. Students in all grade levels are given the opportunity to take Russian or Mandarin. In addition to instruction provided by a fluent speaker, the AMS Mandarin and Russian program includes the exploration of the food, music, videos, and literature of Russian and Mandarin speaking populations.
Special Education (SPED)
The Academies of Math & Science fully comply with the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and strive to provide meaningful participation for every student with disabilities in the general education population under our inclusion model. The inclusion of SPED students in our full academic program is facilitated through direct services, consultation, and support offered Special Education Teachers and Special Education support staff.
Homework is an essential part of our school program. Students are assigned homework daily (amount varies from grade to grade). Homework reinforces and extends learning initiated in the classroom, instills a good work ethic in students, and builds critical project completion habits.
Increased Instruction: School Day, School Year
The Academies of Math and Science operate on a 200-day school calendar with one hour of additional instruction built into each day. Compared to other schools with less instructional time, and typically 180 days in the school year, AMS provides students, parents, and communities the additional time needed for rigorous academic growth. With every additional hour and every additional day, AMS students develop a lifelong love of learning, and outperform students in surrounding schools.
By the time they graduate 8th grade, students that attend an AMS school starting in Kindergarten will have participated in an additional:
- +350 instructional hours per year
- +47 non-AMS length school days (based on the standard 7.5-hour day, compared to the AMS 8.5 day) per year
- +2 full non-AMS school years (180-day calendar, compared to the AMS 200-day)
- +26% increased schooling compared to a non-AMS school
“The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss