Walter Hays School Sign

Classroom Enrichment Programs

The following enrichment programs are funded primarily by Partners in Education dollars, some Site Council funds provided by the State, and School discretionary dollars. Program selections, evaluations, and priorities are developed with parent and staff participation through the Walter Hays Site Council and PTA.

Classroom Aides:  Walter Hays maintains classroom aides in all classrooms (full-time Special Day aides are funded by the district). Teachers describe this support as an integral part of the student-centered teaching approach in our classrooms. Aides lead small group activities, tutor one-on-one, and oversee and correct student work, although their tasks vary according to grade level, specialties, and teacher preferences.

Jr. Museum Science:  Walter Hays contracts with the Palo Alto Jr. Museum and Zoo for hands on science instruction as a supplement to the science taught by our classroom teachers. The classroom teacher is present during these labs, which include the following subjects: magnets, electricity, solar energy, mixtures and solutions, rocks and minerals, fossils, animal studies, sandy beaches, marshes and mud flats, the kelp forest, and the open ocean.

Spectra Art:  PAUSD offers the award winning Spectra Art program to new teachers. The docent teaches the art class and demonstrates grade-level appropriate instruction and projects. At Walter Hays, we have expanded this program to include art instruction for students in all K-5 classrooms on a monthly basis.

Reading Help:  Reading assistance is provided for children who fall below grade level benchmarks in grades 1-5. In grades 1-2, a reading aides work with those reading below benchmark. In grades 3-5, the PAUSD funded Academy Program, offers assistance to those reading below benchmark for one hour, three days per week. The program involves small groups of students with matched abilities. The focus is on individual, silent reading, with students learning various reading strategies and developing self-confidence.

Oceans Week: In cooperation with the Jr. Museum Science instructors, Oceans Week classroom activities take place during the spring of the school year. Each grade specializes in an ocean unit, with art, science, language arts, and field trip activities geared to their specific area of study: K-1st: rocky shores, 2nd: sandy beaches, 3rd: marshes and mud flats, 4th: kelp forest, 5th: open ocean. Oceans Week also includes an all?]school Hat Parade and a classroom Open House.

School Resources

Technology: Technology plays an important role in the Walter Hays student’s academic life. The staff, assisted by knowledgeable parents, provide ongoing computer skill development and usage for grades K-5 on equipment located in the computer pods, laptop and ipod carts, classrooms, and library. The computer pods and laptop carts are equipped with enough computers to allow entire classes to learn skills as a group. Activities use computers and ipods as a tool to enhance skills in language, reading, reading comprehension, math, science, social studies, problem solving, word processing, presentation creation, and keyboarding. Students learn to use telecommunications and electronic reference materials as additional sources of information and gain the skills to use print and electronic research databases to create both written reports and electronic presentations.

The Library Media Center: The Library Media Center plays an integral part in the education of the students at Walter Hays, a role that is facilitated by its central location in the building. The more than 20,000 volumes are a balanced collection of picture books, longer fiction, reference and non-fiction books. A curriculum based CD-ROM, books on tape, and videotape collection, connection to the Palo Alto City Library, and Internet access gives students opportunities to research reference questions using current technologies.

Library Media Teacher: The Walter Hays library is staffed by a full time library media teacher who provides reading guidance to students and parents and instruction to students in library, reference, and research skills using both print and technological sources. The library media teacher also directs a dedicated corps of parent volunteers who keep the library running efficiently by handling many of the daily operations. Students have continuous access to the library for both curriculum and pleasure reading needs. Parents and children are responsible for replacing lost or damaged library materials. Students may donate a book, CD or magazine to the library in honor of their birthday or any other occasion. Please see the library media teacher for information.

District Instructional Resources

District P.E. and Music Traveling Teams:  P.E. and Music Traveling Teams are specialized teachers who deliver P.E. and music instruction to all schools throughout the district. Our students receive 30 minutes of P.E. instruction for grades 1-3 per week and an average of 35 minutes twice a week for grades 4-5 per week. Our music team for grades 1-3 delivers 30 minutes of musical rhythm, exploration, theory and history each week. Instrumental Grades 4-5 receive 40 minutes of general music, recorder, violin, viola, cello, clarinet, trombone, trumpet or flute instruction twice a week. These Traveling Teams also supply “release time” to teachers for lesson plan preparation. Special attention is given to allow grade-level teachers common release periods to encourage idea exchanges.

Student Study Team:  The Student Study Team meets with parents and teachers to discuss the needs of and recommend appropriate interventions for individual students about whom there may be concerns. This team includes the school psychologist, the resource specialist, the speech language teacher, the classroom teacher, and the principal. Parents and teachers may request a student study team meeting by either contacting the resource specialist or the school principal.

Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Teams:  IEP Teams analyze the special education needs at each school in the District. Coordinated by our Resource Specialists, Walter Hays has programs to provide language-speech assistance, special education programs and other services deemed necessary to fill the needs of individual students. The Resource Specialist provides assessment and consultation to parents, to staff, and in some cases to students.

Special Needs and Low Achievers Tutoring:  Individual or small group instruction is provided for 2nd through 5th grade children identified as needing extra help. Identification is made either through performance on a standardized achievement test, which is given in the fall, or through teacher recommendation. These children would not qualify for the type of assistance as described in an IEP but would benefit from some additional assistance in order to participate more fully in the classroom setting. Instruction is provided by classroom aides and some outside tutors all of whom have received in-service training specific to tutoring.