subject overview

Communication Arts

The foundation of North Side Community School's literacy program is intensive work on reading and writing. We use an established, successful curriculum (currently Harcourt Brace's Journeys) capable of meeting the needs of our students. The program stresses the natural, creative, pleasurable, and meaning-making process of reading. Our teachers take a direct instruction approach to literacy acquisition. They use phonics and other skills to overcome vocabulary challenges. We regularly incorporate guest readers and one-on-one learning time into our day.


Math basics are stressed, using Singapore Math as the established curriculum, with an emphasis on practical applications and problem-solving. Research supports the need for regular and repeated instruction and practice in basic concepts, memorization of math facts, a focus in the early grades on thinking/conceptualizing mathematically, extra attention to multiplication and division, fractions, and all functions with long numbers in the intermediate grades.


North Side aims to instill a love of music and the arts in our students. We believe music is as natural a form of human expression as speech. Through music instruction and performance, children develop language skills, the power of self-expression, the ability to discipline their senses and minds, the capacity to work together, and an appreciation of the beauty of choral and instrumental music. All students receive instruction in music every week. During the extended school day, select students in 2nd-5th grade are part of the school choir and chimes ensemble. 


North Side combines freedom of artistic expression with core knowledge of art elements to create endless creativity in the art room. Our classes expand creative thinking skills, build self-discipline, and develop gross and fine motor skills. We help students discover how art impacts their everyday lives. Our primary focus is to broaden students' awareness of line, shape, form, color, value, texture, space, pattern, balance, emphasis, rhythm, proportion, and unity.  Each project is developed based on one or more of these elements, helping students develop a keen awareness of the importance of each. Students are exposed to the impact of art history and develop positive critiquing skills when referencing a work of art.