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Curriculum Overview

As students at Pacific Northern Academy are challenged academically, they grow into exceptional learners and independent thinkers. The curriculum at PNA encourages critical thinking and development of a global perspective. A real connection is made between school life and the world around them. Students develop sophisticated problem-solving skills, applicable to academics and to life. The results of a PNA education are students who are prepared to take on the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century.

Language Arts

Pacific Northern Academy utilizes a blend of proven language arts programs and strategies to help students become exceptional readers and writers.
Beginning in the earliest grades, students are given opportunities to explore books and participate in read-aloud sessions. Daily Guided Reading sessions allow for each lower school student to be challenged in reading individually. Words Their Way provides foundational activities for decoding and vocabulary skills. Literature appreciation and genre and author studies occur at all grade levels.

Students at Pacific Northern Academy are taught the 6+1 Traits for Writing Skills and participate in Writer’s Workshop to develop comfort with the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Strong focus is placed on writing mechanics and grammar. Students utilize D’Nealian Manuscript and Cursive for handwriting and also All the Write Type for typing.

Mathematics

PNA uses The Math Learning Center’s Bridges in Mathematics Program for Early Kindergarten though Fourth Grade. The Bridges curriculum offers a unique blend of problem solving and skill building in a clearly articulated program that moves through each grade level with common models, teaching strategies, and objectives.

The Bridges curriculum features a combination of whole-group, small-group, and independent activities.

Lessons incorporate increasingly complex visual models –seeing, touching, working with manipulatives and sketching ideas—to create pictures in the mind’s eye that help learners invent, understand, and remember mathematical ideas. Computation skills are also reinforced.

By encouraging students to explore, test, and justify their reasoning, the curriculum facilitates the development of mathematical thinking.The Bridges curriculum can be adapted to meet the needs, strengths, and interests of individual students.

From Bridges, students progress to Core Connections 1, 2, 3 and Algebra, which are all published by College Preparatory Math (CPM). An innovative middle school and high school program, CPM’s teaching strategies rely on the recommendations of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and are solidly based on the methodological research in teaching mathematics. The research-based principles that guide the courses are

  • Students should engage in problem-based lessons structured around a core idea.
  • Guided by a knowledgeable teacher, students should interact in groups to foster mathematical discourse.
  • Practice with concepts and procedures should be spaced over time; that is, mastery comes over time.

PNA's math program is created to meet the needs of the individual child. Therefore, middle school students can progress through Geometry and Algebra II.


Social Studies

The Social Studies program at Pacific Northern Academy is designed to help students understand the relationship of individuals to the broader community and how this relationship has evolved from early civilizations to the present day. Our youngest grades focus on community, the middle grades follow a chronological path from the ancient world through the Renaissance, and then the emphasis is placed on Alaskan and United States History.

Throughout the curriculum, an emphasis is placed on cultural awareness and global perspectives. Our students become “real” social scientists by using the following inquiry process and skills: exploring, observing, applying and connecting knowledge; designing and conducting investigations; constructing relationships and conclusions ; thinking critically; taking multiple perspectives and communicating information.

Pacific Northern Academy’s Middle School Social Studies program is designed to prepare students for success at the high school level and beyond. Under the rubric of “Humanities,” it is an integrated program where students gain skills and knowledge in geography, history, civics, and culture. The program is built on the philosophy that inquiry skills are the basis for learning in the field of Social Studies. Students further develop the skills learned in their Lower School years - exploring, observing, applying and connecting knowledge; designing and conducting investigations; constructing relationships and conclusions; thinking critically; taking multiple perspectives and communicating information. Research, oral presentations and literature study play increasingly significant roles in assisting students as they encounter the increasingly sophisticated topics of Middle School Humanities.

PNA’s program is strongly influenced by the National Standards for History.


Science

Pacific Northern Academy’s Lower School Science Program is built on the philosophy that strong inquiry skills lay the foundation for learning science. Our students engage in developmentally appropriate lessons and learn by: exploring, observing, applying and connecting knowledge; designing and conducting investigations; constructing relationships and conclusions; and communicating information.

Students should understand and be able to apply the processes and applications of scientific inquiry and the concepts, models, theories, universal principles, and facts that explain the physical world, life sciences, and earth and space sciences.We also believe students should understand the relationships and history among science, technology and society.

Pacific Northern Academy’s Middle School science program is designed to prepare students for success at the high school level and beyond in science. It is an integrated program where students gain skills and knowledge in life science, physical science, earth science and chemistry. The program is built on the philosophy that inquiry skills are the basis for learning science. In addition to the science process skills developed in the lower school years middle school students also develop experimental design skills, home measurement skills, use computers and technology, and develop lab techniques. Science process skills and problem solving skills are emphasized. Laboratory experiments are performed and students practice skills in formal data taking and laboratory report writing.

The science program at Pacific Northern Academy is based on the benchmarks of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Pacific Northern Academy

9251 Lake Otis Parkway     Anchorage, Alaska 99507     Phone: (907) 333-1080     Contact Us     Site Map

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