Hamilton Curriculum Overview

While Hamilton students have great overall cognitive ability, they often struggle with acquiring reading, spelling, written expression, math, organization, and study skills due to dyslexia, executive function weaknesses, or other learning differences. We believe that our students can learn these skills to function well and excel in school and life.

Our curriculum is designed to teach specific skills and compensatory strategies so our students can master these critical academic skills. Hamilton students typically have small-group academic classes where teachers use specialized methods (i.e., Orton-Gillingham, Teaching Basic Writing Skills/ The Writing Revolution, and Read Live) to offer students consistent opportunities to reinforce their reading, writing, and math skills. Language arts is the heart of the curriculum and is designed to help students expand their reading decoding and fluency, handwriting, spelling, grammar, and written expression skills. Generally, students are taught in small instructional groups that are ability-matched. Hamilton School’s class sizes range from four to 10 students.

Hamilton Curriculum

The Hamilton School’s instructional methods are designed to teach children academic skill so that they “learn how to learn”. Skills are directly and systematically taught, reinforced, and retaught throughout the program and at grade level.

We believe that children with identified learning differences learn best through direct, systematic teaching using a multisensory approach. All subjects reflect the importance of the kinesthetic and tactile modalities to reinforce and bond the visual and auditory pathways for learning. The instruction, primarily hands-on and experience-based, is complemented by field trips, multimedia technology, music, and drama. While Hamilton teachers do not always cover the quantity of content, frequently, the content curriculum for each grade parallels the content within the corresponding Wheeler grades. Teachers meet regularly with their grade level teams and vertically within the Hamilton School division to plan, develop, coordinate, and revise curriculum.

Hamilton Lower School students are exposed to a rigorous set of academic classes, including language arts, math, social studies, and science. All Hamilton Lower School students have a daily reading class, an Orton-Gillingham class 3x/week, and regular written expression classes. In addition to the content inherent in the courses, these courses are designed to teach and practice reading, writing, and study skills. One advantage of the Hamilton School model is that teachers who teach Orton-Gillingham are often the same teachers who teach math or social studies, so skills taught in isolation can also be practiced and reinforced within content classes.

In middle school, students face an increased amount of work to accomplish and thus must learn to work more efficiently to be successful. At many schools, it is challenging to practice skill development because of the extent of work that needs to be accomplished. Students with identified learning differences must receive consistent practice and opportunities to hone their reading, writing, and study skills.
The Hamilton Middle School is located within the general Wheeler Middle School building, and each class has a maximum of eleven students. In each Hamilton Middle School class, the students have one teacher who is their advisor, social studies teacher, and language arts teacher. In this way, teachers are able to develop close relationships with students and guide them as needed.

Most Hamilton Middle School students have learned to read but often struggle with reading fluency and integrating the study skills necessary to complete multi-step and long-term assignments. Our curriculum and class meeting schedule are designed to create consistent opportunities for our students to develop the skills necessary for reading, writing, and math and learn through repeated practice and the use of assistive technology. In doing so, our students can engage with our dynamic and comprehensive Middle School curriculum at each grade level.