Curriculum

ACST promises and delivers a K-12 standards-based curriculum. Using American-based K-12 standards, our teaching is intentionally sequenced to provide a coherent progression for learning. These internationally-benchmarked learning expectations allow teachers to design engaging and focused lessons that build student understanding, knowledge, and skill.


Our written curriculum makes use of the Understanding by Design (UbD) model for unit development. Beginning with the end in mind, our teachers identify desired results, determine acceptable evidence, and design learning sequences that engage students in the process of learning. Standards-based teaching requires carefully tailored assessment practices. Daily learning targets help students monitor their progress toward unit goals. Along the way, there are multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their growing knowledge and skills. Students demonstrate their learning and new understandings through products, projects, and performances.

Early Childhood

ACST’s play-based early childhood program is developmentally appropriate and fun! Our three- and four-year-old explorers discover and learn through structured play and inquiry while building essential social and collaboration skills. Early literacy concepts are developed through interactive reading and writing centers, and phonemic awareness is reinforced through song, rhyme, and kinesthetic movement. Early mathematics understanding is built with hands-on activities. Our youngest learners experiment with science through investigations that highlight the wonder in our natural world. Preschool units of study are aligned to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework.

K-12 English/Language Arts

Literacy for life—that’s our motto. And that’s why our K-12 English/Language Arts curriculum is learner-centered and responsive. Using a reading and writing workshop approach, students experience authentic literacy environments and learn to read and write in a variety of modes and genres. Using a combination of published books, teacher-written models, and student exemplars as mentor texts, our learners develop the ability to read and understand increasingly complex texts and produce clear and coherent writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. Our word-study program begins with a focused phonics instructional progression that leads to differentiated spelling and vocabulary development. Grammar and conventions are taught in authentic ways using student work. In our IB Diploma Programme, students can choose to take Language and Literature at either the Standard Level or the Higher Level. At ACST, our goal is to develop a life-long love for reading and writing in each of our students. Our K-12 literacy units of study are aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards.

K-12 Mathematics

Mathematics is about understanding. Our K-12 Common Core-aligned mathematics program embraces conceptual understanding, problem-solving, and reasoning while developing critical mathematical content and skills. Students are encouraged to try a variety of ways to solve mathematical problems and to explain and justify their thinking. Using the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, learners pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skill, and fluency with equal intensity. Our elementary math workshop model prepares students for tackling increasingly challenging mathematical problems as they move into secondary math courses. In our IB Diploma Programme, students can choose between two newly-developed math courses at either the Standard Level or the Higher Level: Applications & Interpretation, or Analysis & Approaches. Our Mathematics program is aligned to the Common Core Math Standards.

K-12 Science

We are scientists! We are engineers! With our Next Generation-aligned Science curriculum, students develop conceptual understanding, content knowledge, and skills by using the NGSS-aligned science and engineering practices. This robust three-dimensional standard-based approach invites students to experience phenomena-based science learning in carefully sequenced units of study that integrate life, physical, and earth and space science with engineering and technology. This integrated science learning progression leads students to make informed decisions about their many IB Diploma Programme choices in science: IB Biology (SL or HL), IB Physics (SL or HL), IB Chemistry (SL or HL), or IB Environmental Systems and Societies (SL only).

K-12 Social Studies

We are social scientists! Our newly-developed College, Career, and Civic Life (C3)-aligned social studies course progression allows for students to take on the many roles of social scientists: geographers, historians, economists, cultural anthropologists, and global citizens. Within inquiry-infused units of study, students develop conceptual understanding across the many disciplines of social science and use sources to support evidence-based claims. Compelling questions encourage cross-disciplinary investigation, informed civic action, and integrated service opportunities. In our IB Diploma Programme, students can choose between IB History (SL or HL), IB Geography (SL or HL) or IB Business Management (SL or HL). Our social studies curriculum is aligned to the C3 Framework and the AERO Social Studies standards.

K-12 Physical Education And Health/Wellness

ACST provides both physical education and health/wellness classes that are standards-based and sequenced. Using the SHAPE Physical and Health Education Standards, our curriculum is skill-based and developmentally appropriate. Beginning in elementary school, students learn and practice the basics of locomotor skills and movement patterns while building their understandings of healthy living, sportsmanship, and personal responsibility. In the secondary school, students hone their ability to apply movement strategies in game and sport situations as well as broaden their understanding of fitness and health knowledge and skills. Our physical and health education progression begins in Preschool and extends until Grade 10. While our physical education teachers implement a majority of our health lessons, classroom teachers and counselors also play an important role in ensuring that our health and wellness curriculum is effectively learned by all students.

K-12 World Languages

Being multilingual is an important part of our world at ACST. From an early age, our learners are given opportunities to build their proficiency in multiple languages. Using a combination of the AERO World Language Standards and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Can-Do Statements for our non-native students and the Common Core ELA Standards or Queen Rania Teaching Academy Standards for proficient students, our proficiency-based world languages curriculum aims to build communicative abilities for all students. World language learners are given continual opportunities to demonstrate proficiency in the Interpretive modes of Reading and Listening, the Presentational modes of rehearsed reading and writing, and the interpersonal mode of spontaneous listening and speaking in unrehearsed conversation. Students from elementary to high school can become proficient in Arabic or French as an additional World Language and choose to take either a DP Language B course (for non-native speakers available in both SL or HL) or a DP ab. initio course in French or Arabic. Proficient French or German speakers may choose to take DP Language and Literature in their native language.

K-12 Visual, Media and Performing Arts

ACST offers opportunities for artistic and musical expression to all students from preschool through grade 12. Using a sequential and process-based arts curriculum that is aligned to the National Core Arts Standards, teachers provide students with a wide variety of opportunities to develop artistic literacy by creating, performing or presenting, connecting, and reflecting. Students learn music, movement, drama, and speech in the elementary grades using the Orff Approach as well as a wide variety of artistic media, techniques, and processes. In secondary, students have an opportunity to learn a musical instrument and participate in ensembles or further develop their visual artistic knowledge, skills, and processes. Students can choose to continue their Visual Arts learning within our IB Diploma Programme by choosing IB Visual Arts in either a Standard Level or a Higher Level. Our arts programs are aligned to the National Core Arts Standards.

K-12 Social-Emotional Learning

Everyone at ACST is a social and emotional learning teacher. A crucial piece of teaching and learning is considering the whole child to ensure that they are enhancing their capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges. Using the integrated CASEL Framework for Social & Emotional Learning, teachers and counselors deliver sequenced lessons that promote students’ self-awareness, self-management, and decision-making skills. In the middle and high school, Falcon Time allows for small groups of students to learn about social and emotional growth with a teacher facilitator.

Opening Minds

At ACST, our learning is increasingly based on inquiry, where students take an active, rather than a passive role. Instead of the traditional model of a student as an empty vessel needing to be filled with knowledge, we are moving towards putting the student in the driver’s seat as he or she leads the learning.

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