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Academics

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Siena maintains high academic standards and learning expectations. We have chosen to follow the Common Core and other National standards as the framework for our academic program, with an emphasis on individualized instruction.

Siena teaches literacy by providing individualized daily reading classes offering explicit, systematic instruction in the five essential skills identified by the National Reading Panel: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Utilizing manipulatives, learning software, and hands-on activities, teachers direct and inspire the exploration of language skills.

English and reading are separate courses, part of the key to developing strong writing skills and enthusiastic readers. Reading classes include targeted work on reading rate, accuracy, expression and phrasing.

Through individualized, multisensory instruction, students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and acquire the tools and strategies needed to become successful and independent learners. Teaching is research-based and guided by best practices. Students work to gain study skills and organizational techniques which are embedded throughout the curriculum.

Siena provides first-hand experiences to make learning come alive. Each field trip directly enhances the classroom curriculum. Through active participation and experience our students are provided with an ideal learning environment for inquiry and discovery. Hands on learning, or learning by doing, is one of the most powerful learning tools for our students and we must provide the means for the students to access the curriculum through their senses.

Technology is integrated into classroom learning. It is used to enhance and deepen the learning process. Technology is used routinely and is very transparent in each classroom as a support for curriculum goals. Classes utilize both hardware and software to assist and accommodate the learning of each student.

Siena teachers are caring and dedicated. They undertake ongoing professional development in research-based techniques designed to help students learn, as well as in their primary area of instruction.

Teachers provide individualized guidance and organizational support. Effective and regular communication with parents is a critical element of student success at Siena.

Siena works with our students to develop their level of skills and strategies to succeed and flourish in college. Students learn how to prepare for college through a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Each year, Siena high school students undertake a two week volunteer internship in the Washington DC area. With guidance from Siena teachers, students choose a new internship annually to explore career interests through direct experience. One key area of focus is targeting the formats of writing students will encounter in college and further developing this skill area.

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