Welcome to Primary School
Dear ANS Family,
It is a pleasure to welcome you to American Nicaraguan Primary School. You will find our campus within the beautiful city of Managua, where a culturally and ecologically rich environment provides a fascinating place for teaching and learning.
If you care about building community and taking care of this precious mother Earth, then a visit to our campus will find you among kindred folks. You will see children walking to their classroom among a diversity of trees and plants. Adults are mindful of their pace to honor the journey of being a child. Active learners are taking the roles of being a scientist or mathematician or historian as our students grow their learner identities as doers, thinkers, innovators, and go-getters. Children sit back-to-back reading a book because the love of literacy is one of our most valued gifts to our children.
Our students excel academically in our English academic program. Classroom teachers are highly skilled within the most current methods of American curriculum and education. Students develop high levels of Spanish skills at all grade levels with our Spanish literacy program. We are proud to be an inclusive school because we know that students learn more within a diverse and accepting learning environment.
We value the partnership with parents. The teacher will keep you informed about what students are working on in the classroom because we know how important it is for parents to extend this learning to the home environment. At the end of each school day, parents pick up their children in the classroom to celebrate daily achievements and talk with the teacher.
Primary school is one of the most precious times with our children. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.
ANS Primary School Principal
Primary School Faculty & Staff
Primary School Principal
|Course / Grade||Teacher(s)|
|Pathways||Brianne Sheets | Marcela Pichardo | Marcela Morales
|K5 Team||Lorena González | Vivian Espinoza | Karen Zielke | Karen Velásquez – Spanish Lead|
|First Grade||Jason Kittles | Claudia Romero | Daniela Carrión | Damaris Valdivia – Spanish Lead|
|Second Grade||Valerie Wheelock | Dámaris Silva | Ana C. Rodríguez | Nancy Spellman | Eva Pérez, Karla Rodríguez – Spanish Leads|
|Third Grade||Stephanie Jalil| María Morice | Heather Fagan | Yésika Lizárraga – Spanish Lead|
|Fourth Grade||Karen Genet | Cookie Reyes | Jenny Harding | Claudia Molina – Spanish Lead|
|Fifth Grade||Dana Ramos | Jackeline Lacayo | Gema Pereira| Alyssa Broadbell | América Ortega, María Navarrete – Spanish Leads|
|Specials||Yeymi Guerrero (Technology) | Dennis Aguirre (Music) | Elsie Fiallos (Art) | Hugh Cash (PE) | Pepe Brenes|
|Support Services||Claudia Alemán | Darlene Romero | Roberta Belli | Amanda Valle | Luby Rodríguez | Claudia Rodríguez | Lizette Richardson | Kelly Kelley|
ANS students explore social studies concepts through the 3C Framework – College, Career, and Civic Life. Students practice the work of being a communication Historian, Geographer, Economist, and Citizen in this inquiry-based model of learning and teaching:
- Developing questions: – Pose compelling questions about real-world problems like “Why do we need rules?”
- Applying disciplinary tools and concepts – Study the problem through the four core disciplines of social studies – civics, economics, geography, and history.
- Evaluating sources and using evidence – Gather information from various sources and evaluate the relevance of that information.
- Communicating conclusions with others – Share their new understandings and evaluate their skills, knowledge, and abilities.
We are mathematicians! Our ANS math program focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematical concepts, proficiency with essential skills, and solving complex and novel problems.
The Bridges math program is a comprehensive K–5 curriculum that equips teachers to fully implement the AERO Standards for Mathematics in a rigorous, coherent, engaging, and accessible manner to all learners.
Bridges blend direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration. It taps into the intelligence and strengths of all students by presenting material that is as linguistically, visually, and kinesthetically rich as it is mathematically robust.
Eight Mathematical Practices for Students
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
- Model with mathematics.
- Use appropriate tools strategically.
- Attend to precision.
- Look for and make use of structure.
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
We are readers and writers! Our literacy program is designed to get students thinking, talking, reading, and writing about the text in a way that supports learning and fosters a love of reading and writing. We integrate the best practices of literacy instruction with the use of the following curricular approaches.
Balanced Literacy Framework:
Balanced Literacy values that students have ownership of their learning with a menu of engaging, balanced literacy instruction. On a typical day, each class has an ELA Block for reading and writing instruction. Reading Instruction includes Shared Reading, Read Alouds, Guided Reading, and Independent Reading in the Balanced Literacy Model.
Explicit instruction of foundational skills ensures mastery of essential reading and decoding skills. In whole group instruction, teachers teach and model fluency and comprehension strategies that good readers use. Using the workshop model, students spend most of the class engaging in purposeful and accountable reading.
The writing process is taught through modeling writing in whole group lessons, collaborative writing in small groups or pairs, and independent writing with teacher support. Teachers have opportunities for writing conferences with students. Using the workshop model, students spend most of the class engaging in purposeful and accountable writing.
The phonics program taps into kids’ skills and energy for tackling the fabulous challenge of learning to read and write. Children learn phonics concepts and strategies to keep pace with students’ reading and writing and helps them understand when, how, and why they can use phonics to read and write. Our phonics program builds these skills:
- Concepts About Print
- Phonological Awareness
- Letter Knowledge
- Word Knowledge/Word Solving
- High-Frequency Words
Vocabulary and Spelling:
Word studies actively engage and motivate students to explore words and their patterns creatively throughout meaningful reading and writing lessons.
We are Scientists! Classroom teachers engage students in a dynamic science program that emphasizes being a Scientist using the 3D Model of the NGSS Standards.
Students practice the real work of being a Scientist in this inquiry-based model of learning and teaching:
- Asking questions and defining problems – Scientists ask each other questions about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations.
- Ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural and designed world(s).ç
- Ask and identify questions that an investigation can answer.
- Define a simple problem that can be solved by developing a new or improved object or tool.
- Developing and Using Models – Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and physical scale models (e.g., a toy car) to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system.
- Distinguish between a model and the actual object, process, and events the model represents.
- Compare models to identify common features and differences.
- Develop and use a model to represent amounts, relationships, relative scales (bigger, smaller), and patterns in the natural and designed world(s).
- Develop a simple model based on evidence to represent a proposed object or tool.
- Planning and Carrying Out Investigations – Scientists share their new understandings and evaluate their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Scientists make posters, write articles, participate in debates, take tests, and prepare multimedia presentations.
- Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.
- Evaluate different ways of observing and measuring a phenomenon to determine which way can answer a question.
- Make observations (firsthand or from media) and measurements to collect data that can be used to make comparisons.
- Make observations (firsthand or from media) and measurements of a proposed object, tool, or solution to determine if it solves a problem or meets a goal.
- Make predictions based on prior experiences.
- Constructing Explanations and Designing – Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships, allowing results to be communicated to others.
- Record information (observations, thoughts, and ideas).
- Use and share pictures, drawings, and writings of observations.
- Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns and relationships in the natural and designed world(s) to answer scientific questions and solve problems.
- Compare predictions (based on prior experiences) to what occurred (observable events).
- Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended.
Pathways is a model for learning where we, as a community, honor natural curiosity as the driver for all early learning. In the Pathways classrooms, children learn in a nurturing environment for play-based learning. Our experienced teachers personalize learning for each child through careful observations of each child’s development and then partner with parents to work together at school and home to help our youngest learners grow.
We believe that children and parents benefit from a two-year relationship with their Pathways teacher, so our classrooms include both 3 and 4-year-olds. With a family approach to learning, all children benefit from helping each other.
We also believe that children at this young age have important work to grow their brains to be thinkers and doers and that they learn best through play organized our these three components:
- Sunshine – Children at this young age thrive in a joyful, fun-filled environment where their days are filled with laughter, song, and love.
- Barefoot – Children connect best with real and authentic learning experiences that are grounded in nature, family, and community.
- Outdoor mapping – Children at this young age are fascinated with nature and how the world works, so we want them to explore, discover, question, and research their world.
We believe that children at a young age have inherent abilities to learn a new language through real and meaningful experiences. Most of the child’s day is in English where our language learners are immersed in an English environment with poems, songs, books, and playful experiences that give our children natural ways to learn the new language. Some of the days, children are in Spanish to experience this same immersion experience in Spanish.
Especially in the youngest school years, we believe that parent engagement should be personalized to ensure partnership in an asset-based understanding of the developmental progressions. With StoryPark as our communication tool, teachers and parents both contribute to telling each child’s story as a learner. Parents receive ReadyRosie videos that are tailored to the modeled moments that help parents learn how to support their child at home.
Big Questions Day
Questions that inspire our work to provide space and time for students to think:
- How can student agency be maximized as a powerful tool for learning?
- How can we create sustainable structures that provide teachers professional time to collaborate and prepare high-quality lessons?
- How might our Tiger Traits and Core Values inspire the design of Big Questions Day?
- How can we create time and space to make sense of phenomena, generate questions, and solve problems using the three dimensions of science together?
- Building Community – When students feel a profound sense of belonging, they can achieve more than we ever thought possible.
- Campfire Meeting – Whole group routines that celebrate our collective identity as defined by our Tiger Traits and Core Values
- Tile wall that expresses who we are over time as a school
- Wonder wall to gather our questions that we are thinking about
- Wellness – A good education promotes mental health, happiness, resilience, and academic achievement.
- Wellness studio time – an eclectic choice of studio time where adults and students seek peace, balance, and companionship
- Yoga, Cooking, Puzzles, Nature Walks, Poetry, Embroidery, Origami
- Brain Power – incorporate brainpower into the Campfire Meeting to support mindfulness and self-calming strategies
- Wellness Center – a place to seek peace, balance, and companionship in our work to regulate our emotions throughout the week
- Wellness studio time – an eclectic choice of studio time where adults and students seek peace, balance, and companionship
- Agency – Choice and real opportunities to design one’s own learning experiences within a passionate learning community
- Studio-Based Specials – students seek the answer to their big questions through self-designed projects and work in art, music, maker space, and production studies with the guidance of teachers and peers
- Science Lab – using the science and engineering practices, students seek answers to their big questions through phenomena-based learning that provides the anchor experiences that support the science work in the classroom.
- Independent Reading Projects – Where reading is valued, children set big questions to seek independent reading projects.
- Solid fundamentals (K-1), Solid proficiency in comprehension (2-3), Reading to change the world (4-5)
- School-wide Chores – Helping my community work helps me feel a strong sense of belonging in my community.
- Examples: Counting money in Tiger Store, Gardening, Shelving books, Organizing sports equipment, Pencil Sharpening, Buddy Reading, Postmaster, Bookbinding, Sweeping, Cutting materials, Assembling kits, Calendar board, Weather forecast, Nature watch board, Global stewardship board, Musical instruments cleaning, Chess boards manager, Student Ambassador for Visitors
- Chores’ Board – structure to notify students of available chores
Physical education enriches the whole student both mentally and physically. Students have 30 minutes of PE every day. All students learn essential locomotor, non-manipulative and manipulative skills and gain knowledge of healthy components such as fitness and nutrition to equip students with the skills needed to become active and healthy, lifelong movers.
In the spirit of teaching and learning in a mission-driven school at ANS, we are leaders in excellence in inclusive practices and serving children with disabilities. ANS believes that every child has the right to learn within an inclusive community where children share the same needs to be challenged, contribute, and be respected for who they are.
Inclusion Services – Inclusion serves children with mild and moderate needs that require small group or individualized instruction. These services may be provided in the regular classroom or a small group instructional setting.
Data Wall Meeting – A data wall meeting will drive the review of data and design of extra instruction intervention. The administration facilitates these meetings in which all teachers take part in prioritizing students for inclusion support and extra instruction intervention time.
IST Meeting – A meeting to review a student’s progress or to review a request for an evaluation for Inclusion Support. A parent or teacher can request an IST Meeting by contacting the administration.
Inclusion – Inclusion means that all students have the right to feel safe, supported, and included at school. All students own this right in the regular classroom as much as possible.
Learning Lab – The Learning Lab provides specialized instruction for students with a range of needs, including autism or other health impairments. The Learning Lab offers a highly structured learning environment and individualized behavior management strategies.
STAR Classroom – The STAR Program (Students Transitioning to Academic Readiness) is designed to support the academic and social success of our currently enrolled ANS students who are on the autism spectrum. We believe that students on the autism spectrum will learn best when they learn and play with their classmates in the regular classroom for most of the day. Still, we also believe that our students with autism will benefit from receiving specialized instruction for part of their day. In a setting with reduced sensory input and social demands, we can better support students to learn to self-regulate their emotions, actions, and attention to assure that they are growing in their communication, social, literacy, and math skills. A full description of the STAR classroom can be found here.
ANS values academic bi-literacy! All students grow and learn their language and literacy skills in English and Spanish from our youngest learners through the 12th grade. If your child is new to our school or they are still learning English or Spanish, your child will benefit from the immersion experience of learning the language in our program. You can help your child open their hearts and minds to this new immersion experience by encouraging them and letting them know it’s expected that they won’t understand much at first. But over time, they will begin to understand more and more. Our brains have a natural ability to make sense of a new language when we have a powerful purpose of understanding and expressing ourselves.
Why is the teacher speaking only Spanish or English when all students haven’t learned the language yet?
We believe that when children feel a powerful purpose in using their new language, their brains will make faster progress in making sense of the new language. That’s why teachers will model being faithful to the language of instruction because we know that it’s the best way to help your child learn and take risks with their new language.
Will the students still receive ELL and SLL support?
In August, the Language team will screen students to determine eligibility for language services. By the first week of September, the ELL and SLL Language Team will have identified students, notified parents, and begin their ELL or SLL support for students who are still learning English or Spanish.
If your child is identified as being eligible for ELL or SLL services, it is required that the student receives this service to support their academic needs adequately. To participate in our ANS program, ELL or SLL services cannot be waived.
There is an additional charge for ELL services, and the Business Office will notify parents of the amount. In most cases, the Spanish Lead at your child’s grade level will provide Spanish Language Learning – SLL support as well to support your child’s success in learning Spanish. Suppose the school finds it necessary to hire an additional teacher to meet the needs of our students who are eligible for SLL. In that case, there will be an additional charge for SLL services as well, and the Business Office will notify you of the amount.
How will my child be graded in their immersion classes?
Because ANS is a standards-based school, we will evaluate your child’s mastery of the literacy standards in both English and Spanish, and the other subjects will be assessed in English. Because you can see your child’s literacy grades in both Spanish and English, the best indicator of their literacy skills will be in their primary language. As the child’s developing language grows, their ability to demonstrate mastery of the academic abilities will grow. For children beginning in the younger grades, we expect that students achieve full academic bi-literacy in demonstrating knowledge of the standards in both their primary language and their developing language by third grade.
The student is in the early stages of acquiring the language, so grades are not reported for literacy in developing language.
- Level 1: Entering
- Level 2: Emerging
The student is growing their language skills, but we expect that mastery of standards reflects the child’s language development.
- Level 3: Developing
- Level 4: Expanding
- Level 5: Bridging
While ANS does not have a formal program or designated personnel to provide gifted services at this time, we can develop collaborative plans that support appropriate differentiation options in the classroom as needed.
Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) – A plan written by the IST team to address goals and plans for a student who meets the eligibility criteria for Gifted Education.
Curriculum Extension – Allows students with ALP’s to apply the classroom curriculum to challenging and enriching skills. Curriculum extensions can be completed individually or in small groups.