General Studies

An Academic Foundation that Supports Individual Achievement

Valley Beth Shalom Day School is dedicated to create 21st Century learners who can work collaboratively and independently, communicate effectively, think critically and creatively, and problem solve effectively. We are preparing our students to be responsible risk takers in a safe environment, equipped with the skills of flexibility, adaptability, and motivation, ready to succeed in our rapidly changing global age. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum, and learning takes place utilizing our Innovation Lab as an extension of the classrooms. Each student’s unique learning style is addressed through small group differentiated learning instruction. Our highly academic general studies curriculum goes beyond the California State and Common Core Standards, offering students an enriching learning experience, from accelerated class opportunities to individualized student support. We offer enrichment specialists in science, technology, library, physical education, and the arts. Field trips and overnight trips broaden the curriculum beyond the classroom. 

Language Arts

The language arts curriculum develops the communication skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking. A wide range of experiences, teaching techniques and strategies, and the use of technology help learning come alive throughout the grade levels. 21st Century learning strategies including, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking are employed throughout the lessons.


A comprehensive, balanced literacy approach encourages students to become motivated readers and derive knowledge and meaning from what they read. Our individualized approach allows each student to reach his/her potential.  Students learn reading strategies that help build sequential skills, decode unfamiliar words, read fluently, develop reading comprehension skills, including the ability to analyze and infer, and appreciate and enjoy fine literature.


Using a hybrid of formalized writing instruction and the Writer’s Workshop model, our program includes developmental and inventive writing in the younger grades building toward expository, narrative, persuasive and research assignments in the upper grades. The use of rubrics and portfolio assessment guides students through the writing process. Grammar and spelling instruction are an integral part of the writing curriculum. An individual portfolio follows each student from kindergarten to sixth grade documenting writing growth.


The mathematics program, based on GO Math! curriculum, creates a strong conceptual foundation for application to real world problem solving. Students learn sequential skills allowing them to think critically and master concepts.  Students are supported as they progress from concrete to abstract content through the use of models, technology integration, and multi-approach methodologies.  Depth of understanding is reinforced through the use of math talk and write math prompts to support verbal and written communication about mathematical concepts.  Abstract thinking and reasoning become a cornerstone for the upper grade instruction. Pre-Algebra is taught exclusively in the accelerated, sixth grade math class.

Science and Health

Science instruction engages students to learn about our natural world through inquiry and hands-on discovery in our interactive Science Lab. Students learn the scientific method: observing, classifying, communicating, predicting, making hypotheses, collecting, recording and interpreting data in each unit of study. Health education integrates with the science curriculum.

Social Studies

Social sciences builds a foundation of our world through the understanding of past events, geography, government, law, economics, cultures, and science. The Social studies curriculum focuses on decision making and its impact. Students engage in critical thinking, collaboration, simulations, and performance tasks.  Texts and primary resources are used as references to help make history and culture come alive and support students as active participants and global citizens in the democratic process.