Program

Lower School

Our Lower School (K-5) academic goals are guided by the Virginia Standards of Learning. Reading, oral language, writing and math are key priorities and are taught by trained faculty in grade-appropriate 30-60 minute sessions. Small group lessons are conducted for all subjects in a structured, supportive environment.

Our reading curriculum includes a variety of programs and activities, depending on students’ needs. Students read a wide variety of materials to expand their knowledge and broaden their horizons. Students take regular trips to local libraries, and read for 30 minutes each night as homework. Our writing curriculum incorporates Handwriting without Tears™ and a variety of supports to assist in letter and word formation. Students use graphic organizers and a structured process to assist in developing writing skills. Students write and type using laptop computers provided by the school. Math focuses on problem solving, using manipulatives and real life examples. The emphasis is on understanding concepts versus rote memorization.

Science and social studies focuses on increasing our student’s knowledge by using a wide variety of mediums to teach the information in an engaging way. Each subject is taught in 2-4 week units that include field trips, experiments and hands-on activities. Recent field trips have included trips to the Capitol in Washington D.C., Mount Vernon, The Kennedy Center, The National Air and Space Museum, The Adventure Theater at Glen Echo, the National Building Museum, a cherry blossom boat cruise on the Potomac River, and the Washington Monument.

Art, drama, music, and yoga have professionals who teach each subject 1-2 times per week. Students frequently perform for their peers and parents.

The Newton School provides laptop computers for all students. The 25,000 square foot facility has wi-fi so students may access educational school programs or use the internet from any location in the building.

Middle School

The Newton Middle School (grades 6-8) is designed to prepare students for a variety of high school opportunities. The primary goals of our program are to further academic skills and learning, foster independence and responsibility, and sharpen study habits and organization skills.

Our academic program is guided by the Virginia Standards of Learning. Students in our middle school take the core subjects of Reading, Writing and Math every morning in 45-60 minute blocks, following the same schedule each day until 1pm. Science or Social Studies are taught each afternoon along with electives.

In reading, students typically participate in reading groups incorporating read aloud opportunities and group discussions. The focus is to develop comprehension skills and critical thinking abilities. With our small class sizes and supportive culture, each student is able to share his or her thoughts and opinions with peers and use these discussions to develop higher order thinking skills.

Writing is an important aspect of our program; there is a dedicated Writing subject block every day for our middle school students. Our curriculum incorporates graphic organizers, webs and other supports to assist with idea generation and organization. Students are taught to proof-read and edit their work through visual checklists and teacher support. Students write and type using their laptops which are provided and maintained by the School.

Our Mathematics program is unique in that it is highly differentiated to meet the needs of each of our students – for those who excel in math and for those who struggle with the concepts and processes. The Newton School goes to great lengths to group our students at appropriate levels and customize the content for each type of learner.

Science and Social Studies are taught using a multi-media approach incorporating videos, visuals, manipulatives, textbooks, and traditional written work. Experiments are a key focus of our science curriculum as are special projects in Social Studies. We find this approach makes the content tangible and relevant for the students.

Middle school students participate in two movement blocks each day, usually interspersed between core academic blocks in the morning. Movement consists of small group physical activity in one of the designated areas of our 10,000 square feet of gym space, which includes trampolines, a foam pit, a ball pit, a basketball court, a sports room, and an obstacle course. We believe that this physical activity enhances the overall school experience through increasing motivation, social opportunities and self-regulation.

Art, Drama, Music and Yoga are taught one to two times per week by professionals who are experts in their subjects. Students enjoy expressing themselves through painting and other visual arts as well as through performing. Parents and peers are frequently invited to see their creativity in action at shows and performances.

Weekly field trips are a unique and special aspect of the curriculum at the Newton School. The outings provide hands-on, real world learning experiences. Middle school students have participated in private tours to the Capitol, the Washington Monument, The Fairfax County Courthouse, and The Howard B. Owens Science Center; they have attended musicals and dramatic performances at The Kennedy Center and Imagination Stage; and the students have participated in team-building events at Adventure Links and nearby sports facilities.

Middle school students typically spend from one to two hours per night on homework, depending on the grade level and course work. Students are provided with a single binder with all internal components to ensure they are using a structured system to keep them organized at school and home. As well, each student participates in a weekly Organizational Skills class to increase their Executive Functioning skills such as time management and planning, further preparing them for the demands of high school.

Technology is another important part of our program. The Newton School provides laptops and Wi-Fi access for all middle school students. Laptops are consistently equipped with Microsoft Office, Inspiration, typing programs and other specialized software. Laptops remain at school at all times, though the students can access most programs at home as well. Some textbooks are available online and may be accessed at school and home as well.

Across all subject areas and activities, the core aspects of our program are small group instruction, personalized attention, and a culture with respect and support. It is our goal at The Newton School to develop confident, socially-adept, well-rounded young men and women who are prepared to thrive in the high school environment.

Movement

The 10,000 square foot in-house gym areas provide multiple opportunities for movement throughout the day. Physical activity, social skills, organization, teamwork and more, are taught and reinforced through activities occurring in the gyms, in between classroom lessons. With this approach, we believe that students are more alert and attentive, and that they remain more engaged throughout the school day.

Social Curriculum

The Newton School incorporates a school-wide social curriculum called “Social Stars” into the school day. Developed by Speech and Language Pathologist exclusively for The Newton School, the program directly teaches social understanding covering topics such as referencing, flexibility, building on the ideas of others, social perspective, conversational skills, and body language. Students work directly with a Speech and Language Therapist twice a week in small groups, and then practice their skills in the classroom, movement and other school activities. The “Social Stars” program helps create a positive, friendly environment and extends learning beyond traditional academics.

Typical Day

8:30am Arrival/Morning Work
8:45-9:45am Reading
9:45-10:15am Movement
10:15-11:15am Writing
11:15-11:45am Movement
11:45am-12:30pm Math
12:30-1:00pm Lunch
1:00-2:00pm Science or Social Studies
2:00-2:30pm Art/Yoga/Drama/Social Group
2:30-3:00pm Academic Review
3:00-3:15pm Current Events
3:15pm Dismissal

The curriculum also includes frequent, age-appropriate field trips during school hours. Transportation is provided by the school.

Our annual calendar closely follows Fairfax County Public Schools’ schedule.