Offering rigorous curriculum and a full spectrum of the arts, Polaris staff are trained to meet the academic and affective needs of highly gifted students. An enriched and extended Denver Public Schools curriculum framework provides the foundation for learning experiences in which students are encouraged to achieve excellence in areas of strength and supported to make continuous improvement in all academic areas. We utilize many supplemental curriculum resources, many of which are designed specifically for gifted learners.
- High interest topics and learning activities
- Time for exploration
- Technology integration
- Inspire wonder and curiosity
- Encourage questions
- Use of real artifacts when possible
- Structures that address social and emotional needs
- Expert guest speakers
- Arts integration
- Promote higher order thinking
- Integrate and encourage the use of authentic high-level vocabulary
- Student centered projects
- Rich literature
- Respect and love
Polaris offers creatively integrated curriculum and individual differentiation to help meet the unique needs of this population of learners. Students are grouped and regrouped flexibly on the basis of demonstrated educational need. Acceleration and compacting allow us to ensure that each student experiences success and just the right amounts of challenge!
Students are often involved in long-term projects that may integrate rigorous research, science, math, language arts and the visual/performing arts. In addition to Denver Public Schools social studies topics, we add additional units that allow our students to experience “a trip around the world and back in time” during their elementary years.
The Polaris Program weaves the arts and technology into all curricular units. Our goal is for students to learn, to love learning and to be confident in their knowledge
Visual Art, Music, Physical Education, and Library
We are proud of our specials! Experts in their disciplines, our specials teachers play a critical role in helping our students become well-rounded collaborators, communicators, learners and thinkers. In their classes students learn to work together, to imagine, to create, to explore, to research, to appreciate beauty, and to look more closely. Please see the individual teacher websites for more information about programing and emphases.
At Polaris we utilize a Genre Study inquiry based approach to literature. Students are first immersed in a particular genre, then they begin to call out notable characteristics of the genre. Keeping charts and records of reading, students learn about how genre overlap and how and why “rules are bent”. Most importantly, as students engage in rich inquiry and discussion, they learn to think, to listen, to make claims and support those claims, to allow their thinking to change, and most importantly, new-found knowledge and confidence allows them to love reading more and more! Writing is also incorporated as students try their hands at writing in a particular genre. Additionally, reading and writing are integrated into science and social studies. Writing is taught as a discipline of beauty, of communication and as a vehicle to demonstrate learning and knowledge. Rigorous expectations, authentic tasks, and expert teaching ensure that students attain this valuable skill.
Science and Social Studies:
Our science and social studies units are characterized by deep discussion, arts integration and hands-on learning. In addition to the topics listed below, we include other relevant topics related to national observances and holidays.
|Grade 1||-US Geography, notable people, places, holidays, and patriotic symbols
-Australia: Geography, economy
-Polynesian Islands: Family and cultural traditions
|-States of Matter (solids and liquids)
-Pebbles, sand, and silt
|Grade 2||-Present day and ancient Mexico, Central and South America: Traditions, similarities and differences with the US, map reading, geography||-Insects and plants
-Force and motion
-Rainforest animal habitats
|Grade 3||US regions and civics, Asia||-Rocks and minerals
-Properties of matter
|Grade 4||Colorado History, Geography, Economics and Government, Election process||-Ecosystems
-Objects in the Sky
-Fossils and classification
|Grade 5||Ancient Greece, European Explorers, American Revolution, Constitution, Bill of Rights||-Properties of powders
-Human body systems
At Polaris, our core curriculum resource for math is Math in Focus. It is the U.S. edition of Singapore’s top-ranking math program. It follows the same scope, sequence, and pedagogy as its Singapore edition. The program utilizes Common Core Standards.
Math in Focus follows the pedagogical framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education: emphasizing concept mastery, a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach, metacognitive reasoning, and the use of model drawing to solve and justify problems.
Singapore math is more than isolated strategies and model-drawing techniques. It is a carefully sequenced curriculum that has led Singapore students to international success.
What does Math in Focus bring to our classrooms?
- A visual and balanced approach. Math in Focus is highly visual, following a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progression.
- A focus on number and operations. Math in Focus is sequenced in a way that ensures students develop and maintain strong number sense. Students spend the majority of the first half of the year studying number. This provides the foundation necessary to move on to more complex and abstract thinking.
- An emphasis on problem solving using model-drawing. Math in Focus utilizes model-drawing strategies that help students solve both routine and non-routine problems.
- A recognition of the importance of attitudes and metacognition. The Singapore Ministry of Education’s mathematics framework emphasizes the importance of attitude and the ability to self-monitor while problem solving to achieve success in math. Math in Focus provides students with the tools they need to break down complex concepts and problems, which in turn develops positive attitudes.
Additionally, at Polaris, we ensure that students keep progressing to new standards. Our goal is to provide support where needed and to compact the curriculum and provide acceleration as needed by individual students.