Academic Guideline for Vincent Smith School

Lower School: Grades 1-6   

Upper School: Grades 7-12   

Art: All grades   

Music: All grades   

Phys. Education: All grades   

Clubs: All grades   

Related Services: All grades   


Students in the Lower School carry the normal required courses under programs set forth for New York State. Great emphasis is placed on language arts and math. Students also take two periods each of physical education and art per week.

In the Middle School, students are required to take English, math, social studies, science, health, physical education, foreign language (or reading), art, and computers.

High School students must meet the following criteria for graduation.

A minimum of 22 credits, including the following units:

  • 4 credits in English
  • 4 credits in social studies
  • 4 credits in mathematics
  • 4 credits in science
  • 3 credits in foreign language
  • 1-1/2 credits in art
  • 1/2 credit in health
  • 2 credits in computers
  • 2 credits physical education
  • Credit requirements of transfer students will be evaluated upon admission.

Jump Start Math Program

Jump Start Math is a research-based program using a guided discovery approach for students to learn math.  The lessons are multi-sensory, including concrete materials, whole class or group discussions and paper and pencil.  The program integrates a variety of games, activities and extensions based on the wonder of mathematics in the classroom for students to explore and as a means for practicing, applying and extending mathematical skills and concepts. The Program starts December 1st and is for grades 1-8.

Reading Program

The remedial reading program is an effective part of the School curriculum. This program is guided by our reading specialist and assisted by the classroom teachers. To assure continued growth and progress in reading, the students are given systematic instruction. Students progress from one reading level to the next higher level at their own individual learning rates. The home attitude towards reading greatly influences reading interests and activities. Students tend to become eager and able readers when reading is enjoyed and respected by the family. It is essential that parents encourage their children to engage in recreational reading outside of School requirements. Learning the skills is of little value if not accompanied by extensive reading outside of School and during vacations. The reading program at Vincent Smith uses a multi-sensory approach, which provides help in the following areas:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Oral expression
  • Decoding skills
  • Graphomotor skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Study skills
  • Spelling

Our remedial reading program is available for those students who are found to be in need of reading assistance. Pupils work on individualized, prescriptive programs in small groups of one to four, for a minimum of two days a week. Each period is forty minutes in length. In addition, the special and regular teachers coordinate their efforts mutually to reinforce the above skills.

Overcoming Obstacles Program

The Overcoming Obstacles program provides students with academic and life skills instruction, including communication, decision-making, goal-setting, problem-solving, conflict resolution, empathy, teamwork, and time management. The program includes specific skills in each lesson, along with learning objectives and multi-sensory activities, and addresses all the appropriate age levels at Vincent Smith.  It is organized into elementary, middle, and high school levels, which helps to reduce redundancy over the years in using the same program. 

Related Services

Special services, as prescribed on the student's Individualized Education Program, are offered during the course of the school day. On-site services with specialized instructors include:

  • Speech/language therapy 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Counseling 
  • Resource room

Home school districts are responsible for the initiation of services and the Vincent Smith School will schedule appropriate times. Specific classrooms are reserved for these special education teachers. Every attempt is made to schedule special services so that they do not interfere with core academic classes. On occasion, art, computer, and music classes may need to be adjusted as to accommodate these services.

Physical Education Program

Physical activity is essential to healthy physical, social and mental growth. A scheduled program of physical education at all grade levels is required by New York State Education Law. Students at Vincent Smith are required to attend two periods of physical education per week (unless otherwise directed by a physician).

Art Program

Art is required by New York State Education Law for the Lower and Middle School students. All students in the High School are scheduled to complete one and one-half credits of art prior to graduation. The aims of the program are to contribute to the development of art skills, appreciation, and personal enjoyment for our students. At times, the classroom teacher combines the art program with other classroom work. A competitive Student Art Show is sponsored every spring. Both faculty and peers judge the work by category, and prizes are awarded. Art is also offered as an extracurricular activity each day.

Computer Science Program

The Vincent Smith School continues to update and upgrade its computer equipment and peripherals. Students in all grades are required to take computer lab weekly, and computers is offered as an extracurricular activity each day. Additionally, subject teachers incorporate computer science as part of their classes, via term papers and projects.

Standardized Tests

A coordinated testing program is in effect at the Vincent Smith School. Each spring, all students take the Group Mathematics Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GMADE) and the Group Reading and Assessment Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE).

Grading Policy

In order to achieve academic success, students must be aware of the criteria for grading all work. Each academic grade has been tabulated based on the following:

  • Homework 15%
  • Classwork 10%
  • Notebook 15%
  • Tests, Projects and Quizzes 60%