OCASA Elementary provides a safe, welcoming, and enriching learning environment for students, families, and teachers. Physical spaces cultivate a sense of curiosity and creativity in students. Learners will experience a resource-rich environment including core academic subjects and electives such as art, music, and STEAM, as well as after-school programs. OCASA Elementary offers opportunities for students to explore their interests through our Inquiry Arc program.
The learning environment at OCASA emphasizes a small learning community, mixed-age classrooms, family engagement, limited and meaningful homework, a dress code, flexible physical space, and resource-rich learning with a heavy emphasis on technology.
There are a number of benefits associated with small schools, including increased student engagement, positive interpersonal relationships, and higher academic achievement. By maintaining limited enrollment at each grade level, OCASA Elementary is an inclusive community for students and families. Each student will receive the time and attention needed to flourish personally and academically. Elementary classes will be no larger than 32 students. Each classroom will be staffed with a Lead Teacher and have support from an Instructional Assistant. This model ensures that each student will receive the time and attention to flourish personally and academically.
Mixed-Age ClassroomsOCASA Elementary groups students from multiple grade levels into mix-aged classrooms to allow teachers to focus on students’ specific needs for remediation, grade-level work, or enrichment. A mixed-age classroom:
- Fosters a natural and family-like setting: contributes to a sense of community.
- Provides an opportunity to build relationships with peers, teachers, and families for an extended period of time.
- Meets the developmental needs of individual children at all the various developmental levels.
- Affords the opportunity for children to experience being one of the youngest and oldest children in the classroom.
- Offers chances for older children to learn to become more nurturing with younger children.
- Allows a child to interact at different social levels.
- Creates a more diverse peer group for children.
- Encourages teachers to remain working at the same school, because of deeper attachments to the children in their care.
- Facilitates peer modeling: older peers are able to model classroom routines and expectations for younger peers.
- Limits the likelihood parents will compare children, and enables parents to understand developmental differences among children.
- Encourages parents to develop sustained relationships with teachers and other parents.
TK, Kinder and 1st Grade Students
2nd and 3rd Grade Students
4th and 5th Grade Students
Inquiry Arc Projects
Students who engage in hands-on, physical learning exhibit a higher level of concentration and increased self-esteem, which positively impacts cognition. Additionally, students understand most deeply and are motivated to learn when concepts are embedded in a larger context. OCASA Elementary creates hands-on, thematic learning experiences each semester called Inquiry Arcs. Inquiry Arcs are discrete units of study that utilize inquiry to drive learning and build students’ agency. They provide broad context and room for exploration around an interdisciplinary theme, and allow students to identify patterns and connections in their learning. Students at OCASA Elementary have meaningful time for tinkering, prototyping, and building through our on-campus lab spaces, as well as resource-rich experiences in music and the arts. Finally, OCASA Elementary’s holistic approach to assessment through expositions and documentation allows students to see the real-world significance in their learning.
OCASA Elementary provides a comprehensive TK-5 academic program that meets all State of California standards.
Reveal Math®, a balanced elementary math program, develops the problem solvers of tomorrow by incorporating both inquiry-focused and teacher-guided instructional strategies within each lesson.
In order to uncover the full potential in every student, Reveal Math champions a positive classroom environment, explores mathematics through a flexible lesson design, and tailors classroom activities to student need. These guiding principles allow students to take ownership of their mathematical journey!
Irvine Math Project
The Irvine Math Project created by the UCI Irvine School of Education partners with local schools and districts to design hands-on, research-based professional development, standards-based curriculum guides, and unit plans aligned to the Common Core for K-12 mathematics teachers. The Irvine Math Project provides a different approach for mathematics instruction in a broad range of schools & districts in the Orange County, San Diego, and LA County areas. The Irvine Math Project team is comprised of classroom practitioners, math content experts, and math education researchers.
Bridges in Mathematics
Bridges in Mathematics is a comprehensive K–5 curriculum that equips teachers to fully address state standards in a rigorous, engaging, and accessible manner. Students gain a deep understanding of concepts, proficiency with key skills, and the ability to solve complex problems. The curriculum is composed of three distinct but integrated components: Problems & Investigations, Work Places, and Number Corner.
English Language Arts & Social Studies
We want all students to build knowledge while exploring our world through literacy. Literacy is the key to understanding—across time, borders, and cultures—and will help students recognize and embrace the role they play in the world they are creating.
Wonders is an evidence-based K–5 ELA program that empowers students to take an active role in learning and exploration. Your students will enjoy unparalleled opportunities to express and assess themselves through reading, writing, and speaking. They will encounter the right content at the right moment in their learning journey to promote strong educational outcomes for all.
Read Naturally's research-based reading interventions have helped millions of students become fluent readers and make solid gains in comprehension and vocabulary. Check out our transformative products — available for fluency, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, phonemic awareness, and assessment!
FOSS (Full Option Science System) is a research-based science curriculum for grades K-8 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. FOSS has evolved from a philosophy of teaching and learning that has guided the development of successful active-learning science curricula for more than 40 years. The FOSS Program bridges research and practice by providing tools and strategies to engage students and teachers in enduring experiences that lead to deeper understanding of the natural and designed worlds.
Science is a creative and analytic enterprise, made active by our human capacity to think. Scientific knowledge advances when scientists observe phenomena, think about how they relate to what is known, test their ideas in logical ways, and generate explanations that integrate the new information into understanding of the natural and designed worlds. Engineers apply that understanding to solve real-world problems. Thus, the scientific enterprise is both what we know (content knowledge) and how we come to know it (science practices). Science is a discovery activity, a process for producing new knowledge.
The best way for students to appreciate the scientific enterprise, learn important scientific and engineering concepts, and develop the ability to think well is to actively participate in scientific practices through their own investigations and analyses. The FOSS Program was created specifically to provide students and teachers with meaningful experiences through engaging with this active participation in scientific practices.
NWEA MAP Growth
NWEA MAP Growth is the most trusted and innovative assessment for measuring achievement and growth in K–12 math, reading, language usage, and science. It provides teachers with accurate, and actionable evidence to help target instruction for each student or groups of students regardless of how far above or below they are from their grade level. It also connects to the largest set of instructional content providers, giving educators flexibility in curriculum choices.
The English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is the mandated state test for determining English language proficiency (ELP). It is administered as an initial assessment to newly enrolled students whose primary language is not English, as indicated on a home language survey; and annually as a summative assessment to students who have been previously identified as EL students. The ELPAC is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards (PDF).
The ELPAC is delivered via a computer-based test delivery platform. The four domains (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) will be administered on the computer except for the Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two, which will remain as a paper-based test.
Physical Fitness Test (PFT)
The physical fitness test (PFT) for students in California schools is the FITNESSGRAM®. The main goal of the test is to help students in starting life-long habits of regular physical activity.
Students in 5th Grade take the fitness test. The test has six parts that show a level of fitness that offers a degree of defense against diseases that come from inactivity. The test results can be used by students, teachers, and parents.
At OCASA, we focus on STEAM learning which incorporates science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The Plus in our program involves looking at our world through a multicultural lens in STEM, as well as a Spanish culture and language program. Each class, except Peaceful Playground, meets two days a week. Peaceful Playground meets five days a week. All STEAM+ electives strive to be hands-on, innovative lessons tied to other subject areas and our Inquiry ARC theme.
In our STEM classes, the Engineering Design Process is utilized. Students are challenged to build, create and problem solve rather than simply learn rotely through a textbook lesson. Each unit has a multicultural connection, focuses on a different field of engineering, looks at the impact of innovation on our world, and promotes learning through failure and trying again. Some favorite units include activities with robotics, computer programing, and stop-motion video production.
Students have access to multiple other learning spaces beyond the STEM classroom. Our Maker Space, which includes the opportunity to interact with building tools like saws, hammers, laser engravers, 3-D printers, and many other tools is one such space. We also have an outdoor garden and multiple planters that students built and assist with tending.
The Visual Arts program is designed from the California State Standards to enable students to achieve visual arts literacy and develop technical artistic skills regardless of style or genre. This type of literacy and skill set prepares students for a lifelong appreciation and understanding of the Visual Arts. The Art Elements and Principles of Design are a part of the visual art experience throughout the art-making process. In addition, students study various artists who made or make contributions to the art world, and they develop an understanding and appreciation of the historical and cultural context in order to make connections across all subject areas. The program will include traditional fine arts such as drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking, fiber arts, sculpture, mixed media, and folk art.
Performing Arts and Music
The Performing Arts Program enables student acquisition and use of technical language unique to performing and visual arts. Students develop the necessary skills for communicating effectively through performance and creative expression. Students do this by developing an understanding of and appreciation for the historical context and cultural Dimensions of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Art. Students assess, analyze, and critique artistic works and performances by effectively communicating the aesthetic and technical features of Theatre Arts. This work is purposefully connected to other subject areas and our Inquiry ARC.
The OCASA Spanish Language and Culture program provides students with an introduction to Spanish. Students build novice skills and confidence in speaking and listening in the Spanish language. Students are exposed to the culture, traditions, and influential people of the Spanish-speaking world. Videos, hands-on projects, virtual field trips, and authentic materials/regalia are used to enhance students' language acquisition.
After School Program
At OCASA, our After School Program is known as Beyond The Stars. We consist of a highly qualified staff that provides students with the opportunity to participate in additional tutoring and enrichment activities. The Beyond the Stars program strives to maintain an academic environment that allows students to learn in a fun and engaging way. Our team communicates with lead teachers to provide students with the most up-to-date curriculum and supports to ensure student success.