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 or other learning differences. We believe that our students can learn these skills so that they can function well, and even, excel in school and in life.

Our curriculum is designed to teach compensatory strategies so our students can master these critical academic skills. Hamilton students have separate academic classes where teachers use specialized methods (i.e. Orton-Gillingham, Project Read, Lindamood Bel) to teach students reading, written expression and math. 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. Hamilton’s class sizes range from four to ten students.

The Hamilton School’s instructional methods are designed to teach children academic skills so they can “learn to learn.” Skills are directly and systematically taught, reinforced and re-taught throughout the program. LD children usually learn best using multisensory techniques which reflect our kinesthetic and tactile instincts which reinforce and bond with our visual and auditory pathways for learning. Our instruction, largely hands-on and experience-based, is complemented with field trips, multi-media technology, music, and drama. While Hamilton teachers do not always cover the same quantity of content, the curriculum for each grade parallels the content within the corresponding Wheeler grades.

For art, music, physical education, electives, lunch and recess periods, field trips and after school sports and other non-academic programs, Hamilton students are fully integrated with Wheeler students. These combined classes account for more than 50% of a student’s day.

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.

These children 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, largely hands-on and experienced-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 between divisions (Hamilton and Wheeler) to plan, develop, coordinate, and evaluate 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, 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 model is that teachers who teach Orton-Gillingham are often the same teachers who are teaching math or social studies so skills that are taught in isolation can also be practiced within content classes.

In middle school students are faced with an increased amount of work to accomplish and, thus must learn to work more efficiently to be successful. At many schools it is difficult to practice skill development because of the work that needs to be accomplished. For students with learning differences, it is imperative that they continue to hone reading, writing, and study skills.
The Hamilton Middle School is located within Wheeler’s Middle School and usually has 27-28 students in grades six, seven, and eight. We call it a “modified” middle school program because, although students change classes all 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.

Hamilton Middle School students have learned how to read, but often struggle with reading fluency and integrating the study skills necessary to complete multi-step and long term assignments.

The goal of our middle school program is for students to succeed in a challenging independent school curriculum, while simultaneously strengthening their component reading, writing, math, and study skills. Students must understand those areas where they are weaker and advocate for themselves with their teachers.