The curriculum follows a definite progression, building on skills and abilities acquired at each level. At appropriate levels and within the context of a literature-based, thematic approach, children are taught reading, handwriting, spelling, composition, grammar, history, geography, government, art, and music. Children master basic math facts and skills and learn to apply these to higher-order mathematical thinking. Science, health education, conflict resolution, and physical education are also taught. Content to be mastered and expectations for students are clearly defined in the grade level standards adopted by the Palo Alto Unified School District. Other learning tools, e.g., research skills, outlining, note taking, and reporting (oral and written) are included. Although classroom instruction is student-centered, classroom activities are teacher-initiated, facilitated, and supervised. Best instructional practices are employed throughout the school day that include, but are not limited to; explicit direct instruction, inquiry, interactive modeling, whole group, flexible small group, and individual instruction/conferring, and use of the workshop model.
The following provisions have been made to assure optimum instructional/study time in the classroom with the least amount of disruption:
- Visitors are permitted in classrooms only during organized open-house days (three days each year are scheduled for this purpose) and specially schedules events. (See Calendar for dates.)
- Field trips and assembly programs are scheduled to support the curriculum. Parents are an essential part of field trips, parties, plays, etc.
Human resources which supplement the work of the classroom teacher are either part of the District wide support staff and special service programs, or they are carefully planned, specifically focused extensions to the concept of one teacher being primarily responsible for every aspect of the students’ learning. Both types of programs support and enhance the learning of students. District wide supplemental support programs include Special Education and related services, music instruction, library/media skills instruction, and SPECTRA Art. Locally developed supplemental support programs include the following:
- The Hoover kindergarten program utilizes parent volunteers who assist in a variety of ways during the daily instruction. It is essential that every parent of a kindergarten student volunteer in the classroom. Grandparents, other family members or nannies may substitute for parents if necessary. If situational hardship prevents this important commitment, the parent(s) should contact the teacher.
- Hoover also has a full-time Reading Specialist who provides one-to-one instruction and small group interventions to students in first and second grade needing additional support in reading. This intensive accelerated program is available through teacher referral.
- Hoover now has three Instructional Assistants who either has a teaching credential and/or have been trained to work with children utilizing our current curriculum. There Instructional Assistants are funded through PiE.
- The Hoover Art Program utilizes two art instructors to provide students in grades K‑5 with art every other week. This program is funded by Partners in Education (PiE).
The use of qualified parent volunteers and community resource persons for one-time or short-term enrichment of the classroom program also is an option and takes place in many classrooms.