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Core Academics and Enrichment Activities
Go into Joaquin Miller classrooms, and you’ll find students stimulated by a curriculum that focuses on the basics while integrating visual and performing arts, social science, and computer skills. Students thrive, thanks to the behind-the-scenes work of a dedicated principal and teaching staff that works collaboratively to ensure that every student is given an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.
Here is some more information about the core curriculum and enrichment activities available to our students.
- Math, English Language Arts and Science
- Physical Education
- Art and Music
- Living History and Diversity
- Foreign-language Instruction
- Enrichment Activities
OUSD elementary schools use the Open Court Reading program, designed to enhance students' reading instruction and expand reading skills by systematically and logically presenting concepts and strategies. Open Court Reading is a literature-rich reading and language arts program that instills passion in children for lifelong learning and a love of reading.
enVisionMATH California is built on a strong research base and authored by the nation's top math experts and educators. It is centered around interactive and visual learning and differentiated instruction to address the specific needs of all student populations whether they be on level, struggling or at-risk learners, the gifted and talented, those with learning disabilities, or the 25% of California's children who are English learners and challenged to master math and other subject content at the same time they are becoming proficient in English.
The OUSD Science Department supports FOSS (Full Option Science System), a research-based science curriculum for grades K–8 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley. Program materials are designed to meet the challenge of providing meaningful science education for all students in diverse American classrooms and to prepare them for life in the 21st century. Students learn about plants and animals, air and weather, balance and motion, earth science and other formative scientific concepts.
The Joaquin Miller philosophy about special needs and gifted students stresses inclusion and flexibility of teacher curriculum that lends itself to tailoring for students’ specific needs. Parent volunteers and aides are indispensable in providing one-on-one help for students as well as working with above-level students, freeing teachers to work with kids who need more attention.
Adjunct staff that would not be funded by the district (such as the librarians, motor development and computer coordinators, classroom assistants, song flute instructor) are funded by the JM-PTA.
Students’ gross-motor development is achieved through a well-balanced physical education program through a contract with Rhythm and Moves, another program funded by the JM-PTA. This learning extends beyond the official “P.E.” period into recess, where kids learn a variety of playground games while honing their conflict-resolution skills.
Rhythm and Moves is located on the peninsula and has provided instructors to over 100 schools in the Bay Area. These instructors have been well trained in an established curriculum that inherently provides opportunity for every type of learner, providing an incredible opportunity for our children to learn the fundamentals of movement and develop a liking for physical activity.
Joaquin Miller is fortunate to have a seasoned instructor for these classes. Noel Lingad has been with Rhythm and Moves for several years. Coach Lingad is at Joaquin Miller three days a week, allowing every class to have PE twice a week. He will also continue our Jr. Coach program for fifth grade students – a valued Joaquin Miller program.
Art is an important part of the curriculum at Joaquin Miller. We have on our staff teachers trained specifically to teach art, and we also feature “on-site” field trips with the Junior Center of Art and Science, which teaches children how to paint “in the style” of famous artists. We also incorporate Monart techniques in the classroom, and all teachers strive to incorporate art into the rest of the classroom curriculum. For example, children doing a unit on mammals will not only read, write and talk about mammals, but they will create posters as well.
All Joaquin Miller students participate in Khadra dance, and African Dance is a more recent addition to the music curriculum. The PTA funds recorder classes for all 3rd graders. Additional music education is offered through the after-school enrichment program (see below).
A great source of pride at Joaquin Miller is our dedication to multicultural education, as evidenced by our adopted mission to promote understanding and respect for each person's self- worth, human rights, ethnic and cultural heritage and to eliminate all forms of discrimination through multicultural activities and instructional assistance.
Over the years, teachers and parents in the JM Multiculturalism and Diversity Committee have developed our Living History program, featuring multicultural curricula and instructional activities designed to cultivate and maintain high academic standards.
Foreign-language instruction is not offered as part of the regular curriculum, but some language classes are regularly offered through the school’s enrichment program (below).
Enrichment classes are offered, for a fee, to supplement and enrich the education of our children. The classes in this program enhance the learning experiences of those students who choose to participate. Classes are presented in several sessions. Some classes are repeated, while others are only offered once a year. Registration fees vary and are individually set for each class. Class offerings change each session and may include, but not be limited to foreign languages, drama, visual arts, sewing, carpentry, music, cooking, science, photography, and chess.
The PTA Music Program is coordinated by the Chairperson of the PTA Music Committee, assisted by other volunteers. Students in grades 3-5 learn to play musical instruments, some of which may be provided by the school district, upon availability. Students present and perform in musical concerts, twice during the school year. After-school fee-based sports classes give students an opportunity to practice their skills at playground games as well as other sports, while building teamwork and self-esteem.
One of the most visible community outreach efforts is the Books for the Barrios program at the school, in which kids are actively involved in collecting books for children from lower income communities. Good Cents for Oakland is a great local program in which the kids have a penny drive and vote as a school on whether to support food, shelter, health, safety, education or youth programs, and then choose a non-profit that addresses their issue in Oakland.
We also participate in food drives and usually adopt a school from a low-income community around the holidays. In past years, Safeway scrip has been distributed to families in need. Students occasionally take on other community activities, such as creek restoration projects. We also have a Green Team and an active environmental club for upper grade students.
Joaquin Miller Community
Our own school community is also made stronger though Wolverine Pride assemblies that foster school spirit. Joaquin Miller is also part of the Caring School Community® (CSC) program, a nationally recognized, research-based K–6 program that builds classroom and schoolwide community. It focuses on strengthening students’ connectedness to school—an important element for increasing academic motivation and achievement and for reducing drug use, violence, and delinquency.
Principal Paulette Smith's vision for Joaquin Miller students includes fostering confidence and compassion as we nurture the potential and curiosity of each individual in a safe, respectful learning environment.