Program FAQs, 3rd–5th Grade
- Arrival time on the second floor from 8 to 8:30 AM (Students have the option of a light Calhoun cafeteria breakfast between 7:30 and 8am.)
- Meeting time at 8:30 AM
- Three morning classes of 45 minutes each
- Lunch and listening to stories read aloud by teachers
- Three afternoon classes of 45 minutes each followed by 30 minutes of flexible time for activities such as grade-wide meetings, rehearsals, student choice time or extension of an in-class project
- Cluster time to have a snack and reconnect with the cluster teacher
Read about Calhoun's Lower School curriculum for 3rd-5th graders, which includes the following subject areas:
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
- Media Arts for 3rd and 4th grades
- Computer for 5th grade
- Life Skills for 3rd and 4th grades
- Life and Study Skills for 5th grade
Every subject is taught by a specialist, but all teachers meet frequently to coordinate projects that incorporate multiple disciplines.
For example, fourth graders raise brook trout for release into Black Rock Forest streams. The project begins with the science curriculum but draws from other disciplines. The trout have to be a minimum size for release. Mathematical measurements take place in conjunction with the study of averages, mean and mode in mathematics. The tank must be kept at a constant temperature and pH, which requires additional measurements. To learn more about the Hudson River—the eventual destination of the fish—each student chooses a river organism to study, makes a model of it in woodshop class and paints the model in art class. Students write about their research which incorporates language arts.
Go to Learning by Doing to see what interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum looks like!
Third through fifth grade classes use the many parks, museums, art galleries and other resources to extend the in class learning. Calhoun considers site-based learning and making connections with the world to be an important part of the curriculum. Trips include community service, performance attendance and neighborhood studies. In addition to day trips, the fourth and fifth graders take an overnight trip to Black Rock Forest.
Physical education occurs three of the six days in the six-day cycle. Outdoor playtime in the park occurs twice each cycle.
The open design of our cluster spaces and the Lower School floor:
- fosters a sense of community
- enables socialization between age levels such as fifth graders mentoring third graders
- facilitates collaboration between teachers to support students’ curricular progress and social-emotional growth
- enables teachers to observe their colleagues’ classes, learn from them, share ideas and develop interdisciplinary curriculum
- facilitates subject specific teacher meetings
- allows teachers to know and interact with all 3rd–5th grade students
Reading each night for 15-20 minutes takes place 3rd–5th grades in one or a mix of three forms:
- Independent reading
- An adult reading to the child
- A student reading to an adult
In third grade, one homework task per six-day cycle is assigned, and in fourth grade, there are two homework assignments per six-day cycle. Fifth graders have homework most days and take a study skills class to establish productive work habits.
Reports are sent to parents twice per year and include a narrative as well as checklist from each subject teacher. Each report reflects a child’s cognitive, social/emotional and physical development.
Calhoun plans a schedule over six days rather than a week to maximize the use of shared space and frequency of specialist activities. In addition, this rotation prevents students from missing the same classes repeatedly due to holidays and special events.
Our teachers are joyful people with interests and passions of their own. First and foremost, they love being with children and enjoy supporting their growth. In addition, our teachers:
- understand child development
- are patient, nurturing and sensitive in their interactions with students
- know how to spark a student’s interest
- enjoy the high morale of the teaching floor, which is reflected by the high rate of retention
- reflect our desire to have men as well as women in teaching roles
- through a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, reflect our desire to have different adult role models for students
- Each year begins with a parent/student/teacher conference to articulate goals, initiate relationships and share practical information.
- Students are delivered and picked-up on the second floor, allowing for exchanges between parents and teachers.
- Teachers respond to voice messages and email.
- A fall curriculum night educates parents about course content, the reasoning behind teaching strategies and the homework expectations.
- Curriculum updates are posted to the grade pages on our website twice a month.
- Parents receive bi-yearly comprehensive student reports with opportunities for parent-teacher conferences.
Calhoun’s food program is designed to expose students to and foster an appreciation for a broad selection of well-prepared foods. Students 3rd–5th grade eat lunch in our newly renovated Calhoun Commons. A healthy fruit snack is served at 2:30pm. (See Eat Right Now)
Children are delivered and picked up in their classrooms on the second floor. Fifth graders have the option of meeting a parent or caregiver in the lobby at dismissal.
Early drop-off is available, 7:30 AM, free of charge, every day of the school year. A light breakfast is available for students beginning at 7:30 AM in the Calhoun Commons.
Calhoun's After School Program (ASP) offers a wide range of choices for after-school activities during two terms, Sept.-Jan. and Jan.-June; all classes involve a fee that is determined by the frequency of meeting times plus any extra materials needed. Snack is offered before classes begin, and, unless otherwise noted, classes end at 4:45pm with extended hours until 6pm available. Cub Club provides daily or as-needed supervised care from 3 to 6pm and includes snack, a place to make new friends plus a variety of entertaining and educational activities.
In 3rd through 5th grades, students who meet certain eligibility requirements and use public transportation to get to and from school may request Student MetroCards, offered by the Office of Pupil Transportation at no charge. The MetroCards provide three trips per day on week days. They do not operate on public school holidays and vacations.
Students may be eligible for free yellow bus service, also offered by the Office of Pupil Transportation. The following criteria must be met:
- The student’s residence must be in the same borough as the school.
- The bus route must have at least eleven students.
- The bus must travel on a route that travels no more than five miles from its first stop, through all of the stops on the route, to the schools.
There is a full time nurse at 433 West End Avenue. Families are contacted when an injury requires attention beyond superficial care, when an injury has occurred that can be taken care of at school or to confirm parental agreement with a student’s request for medication. The school may administer medication with written instructions from the student’s physician, along with signed permission from a parent. The school is required by law to know if students are currently using prescription medication, inhalers or Epi-pens. Additionally, the School requires that a Food Allergy Action Plan be submitted to Calhoun for students with severe or life-threatening allergies.
Calhoun educates parents about the school’s policy of no nuts. While we do our best to keep products with nut traces in them out of the school, we cannot make that guarantee. Students with severe allergies may carry an EpiPen with them as they travel from space to space within the school. Additional allergies are communicated to the classroom teacher for safe handling.
Calhoun has two buildings: The main building at 433 West End Avenue, where 3rd–12th graders are housed, is equipped with a mechanical lift for entry and elevators to the nine floors. The Lower School building at West 74th Street, for 3’s–2nd graders, is not accessible.