The Armenian Sisters’ Academy follows the Common Core State Standards in social studies. Students learn about their community, the founding of their state, the history and geography of their country, and the world’s major civilizations. In addition, through a subscription of the Junior Scholastic magazine, students keep up with current events through grade-appropriate, high-interest articles. The school also runs a “Morning Assemblies” program during which time students have the opportunity to present and learn about the country’s major holidays through research and a variety of live presentations.
The Armenian Sisters’ Academy follows the Common Core State Standards in the area of English Language Arts (ELA). Our students learn how to use multiple strategies for reading comprehension of short stories, novels, poetry, and a variety of nonfiction texts. In addition, our students learn critical thinking and text analysis skills, and how to communicate effectively through writing for multiple audiences and a variety of purposes. We teach students common spelling rules and patterns, how to effectively decode vocabulary through context clue strategies, roots and prefixes/suffixes (affixes), and the basics of grammar, usage, and mechanics. We administer the IOWA Test of basic skills to assess the quality of learning at ASA and through the use of Accelerated Reader, ELA teachers monitor and manage students’ independent reading.
The Religion Department at ASA follows the Armenian Catholic church’s guidelines for teaching lessons. The Bible and Catechism books are the primary sources for the department to teach religion, in addition to teaching the Holy Trinity, hymns, the Ten Commandments, and the history of Armenia’s Christian traditions. Students learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ, the saints, the Sacraments, and several of the most important prayers of our Christian and Catholic faith, including the Hail Mary, Our Father, and the Nicene Creed, and the prayers we recite before and after each meal. Each morning, before the start of the school day, the student body collectively prays under the leadership of Sister Lucia, and each month the students celebrate mass. During major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the department organizes a special program of prayers and caroling to help celebrate our Christian values. During Easter, the department organizes a play demonstrating the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life and also plans the Stations of the Cross prayer assembly. In May, the eighth grade graduating class attends a Holy Spirit Retreat where they continue to explore and strengthen their Christian faith and spirit. The Religion Department aims to fill their students with the inspiration and values of our Christian faith and to view Jesus Christ as our role model and savior.
The Physical Education Department at ASA follows “The President’s Challenge” for physical activity and fitness. “The President’s Challenge” also provides an awards program that all of our students participate in regardless of their strengths or weaknesses. In addition, the department also follows the California State Standards for P.E. All grades learn coordination, sportsmanship, and teamwork through various activities and what the Coach likes to call “traditional games with a twist.” These include self-esteem activities, team building activities, in addition to learning proper sportsman etiquette.
Each class has P.E. twice a week. Kindergarten has two periods of 35 minutes each, and the 1st-8th grades have two 45 minute classes per week. For the latter, we offer the following sports: basketball, volleyball, badminton, flag football, and track and field. In addition, students jump rope and participate in regular exercises, such as stretching, and practicing speed and endurance.
The After School Sports Program includes soccer, basketball, and chess. Our Crusaders participate at the KAHAM games organized by Homenetmen, and our teams participate in table tennis, and track and field, in addition to soccer, basketball and chess. We also participate in numerous friendly games with both Armenian and American clubs throughout the year.
The P.E. Department likes to remind its students inspirational words spoken by legendary John Wooden: “Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others and try to be the best you can be. Success is the byproduct of that preparation.”
The Mathematics Department at ASA is dedicated to increasing students’ appreciation and awareness of math as an integral part of their daily lives. Students will come to understand that the concepts, formulas, rules, definitions, and properties they learn as part of the curriculum have real-life applications. In addition, mathematics teaches skills, such as analytical thinking, logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and attention to detail, which proves itself useful outside of the classroom. The math department follows the Common Core program called “Go Math!” from grades K-6, and the 7th and 8th grades follow a traditional math program, pre-algebra and algebra respectively, utilizing textbooks from the McDougal/Littell publishing company.
The goal of the Science Department at ASA is to encourage students to explore the natural world through hands-on activities and experiments. The curriculum for students in 1st-4th grades engage in project-based learning, working on projects once a month as a culmination for the chapter they are covering. Students in 5th-8th grades conduct lab experiments weekly in our state of the art laboratory where they apply the scientific method in all their experiments to help yield results. Furthermore, ASA students from 6th-8th grades create their own science projects, with the guidance of their science teacher, to compete in our school Science Fair which takes place in March. All science students at ASA develop their understanding of life, earth, and physical science in theory and practice.
ASA offers a comprehensive Armenian Studies program using the Armenian Prelacy’s textbooks. The program is targeted toward the mastery of the Armenian language, history, and culture. The Armenian Department’s course objectives include reading in Armenian fluently, increasing comprehension skills, oral expression, and ensuring that all students are writing at grade level. Additionally, the department focuses on Armenian vocabulary enrichment, and teaching students about Armenia’s history.
At the Armenian Sisters’ Academy, the Western Armenian dialect is taught. Lessons are made more effective and interesting to the students through projects, activities, and plays. Students also compete in vocabulary, spelling, and history competitions. Also, in order to strengthen cultural awareness, we organize cultural events and presentations each month, such as a Vartanantz and Armenia’s Independence Day’s assemblies.
The Armenian Department rewards students with an Armenian Language Certificate Award at the end of the year for those students who earn “As” all three trimesters. The department also awards students with an Armenian author’s sticker (i.e. William Saroyan, Barouyr Sevag, Hovhannes Toumanian, and Komidas) at the end of each trimester. When students collect three stickers, they are awarded a medal on behalf of the Armenian department during the Awards Assembly at the end of the year.
In today’s global society, being able to communicate in a language other than one’s own broadens students’ opportunities as well as increases their understanding and respect for cultural differences. As such, ASA offers Spanish to the student body. Spanish is taught once a week to students from second to eighth grades. This program focuses on learning basic listening, speaking, reading and writing techniques. The main objective of the program is so that students have a strong foundation in the target language by the time they graduate eighth grade. This way, they are ready to continue their Spanish learning experience when they go on to high school.
Students are introduced to a variety of vocabulary words and phrases through repetition, songs, prayers, projects and role play. Some of the main vocabulary topics that second and third grades cover are greetings, stating personal information, parts of the house and household items, numbers 1-20, colors, shapes, parts of the body, family, clothing, classroom objects, people and places at school, days of the week, times of day, months and food.
Fourth and fifth grades’ curriculum is designed to continue to expand their vocabulary as well as conversational skills. New vocabulary includes occupations, places in the community, transportation, celebrations, dates, telling time, and feelings and emotions. Students also learn how to construct basic sentences and conjugate basic verbs, such as “to be,” “to go” and “to have.”
Students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades continue to increase their vocabulary and develop their reading, writing, and grammar skills, including learning the gender and singular/plural nouns, adjectives, possessives, subject pronouns, regular and irregular verbs, and the conjugation of said terms including making comparisons. Topics for middle school include understanding the familiar and formal, numbers zero to increments of millions, the weather, days, time of day (i.e. morning, noon, night), months, sports, clothing, community and occupations, foods, likes and dislikes. While sometimes there’s overlap between what grades levels are working on, the scope and depth of the material will depend both on their age as well as skill level.
Students K-8 study in the computer lab once a week for the entire length of the academic year. The computer lab consists of 30 computers running on network setup. The student workstations are Dell Optiplex 3040 with Windows 10 Operating System.
Our students learn progressively, first learning the network login to their accounts and then the keyboarding skills with Typing.com online learning service. Gradually they learn more about Google (e-mails, e-mail management, Drive management, Apps, Google classroom), coding, Programing, 3D design, and Robotics.
The Computer Science Department strives to utilize cutting edge technology throughout the campus. We are educating our students in being knowledgeable, competent digital citizens of the community. Our students grow their knowledge and understanding of the profound necessity and importance of technology. Our goal is to create a dynamic digital-age learning culture and to provide our students the appropriate tools and a learning-centered environment.
The Music Department at ASA teaches students an appreciation of music through learning and signing Armenian and American national songs, in addition to common folksongs and holiday songs. Music is taught from Pre-School until 6th grade, with classes meeting once a week, and is also an elective.
Orange and Blue Pre-School classes and Kindergarten students learn basic children’s songs, including holiday and seasonal songs, in both languages.
First grade students learn music appreciation and how to enjoy different kinds of music, both in English and Armenian. The emphasis at this grade is to develop a singing voice and get introduced to the elements of music.
Second grade students are introduced to Armenian traditional music. They become more proficient in simple rhythm. Students also learn simple musical notes and the musical alphabet.
Third Grade students learn cannons in echo style, how to spell notes and become proficient in clapping rhythms.
Fourth grade students learn patriotic songs in both English and Armenian. They also learn Armenian classical music. In addition, they are introduced to contemporary music, such as hip hop, rock and jazz.
Fifth grade students are introduced to Armenian folk musical instruments, after which comparisons are made between them and contemporary instruments used in Europe. They also continue to learn and perform traditional Armenian and non-Armenian music at different school events.
Sixth graders further develop their understanding and appreciation of music. Also, they are taught music dynamic and articulation signs.
The Art curriculum at ASA follows the California State Standards for Visual Arts, and encourages and teaches kids important virtues, helps them succeed in other parts of their lives and helps them advance in their academic achievements. The students are taught about working hard when creating art, constantly encouraged to go back and fine tune their previous efforts to successively get closer to something they can feel proud of. It is geared towards encouraging students to pay attention to details, and teaches them how to solve problems to overcome challenges and obstacles, by incorporating their observation and making associations between what they see and hear and communicate visually by using different mediums, color choices and styles. Students are able to communicate their intentions with their approach, and how they feel about what they have created.