The school’s major philosophies and strategies are:
Shared decision making - Dobson Academy has adopted the Ball Foundation's School Design Collaborative (SDC). SDC facilitates shared decision making among all school stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, staff, and students for the purpose of increasing student achievement and parent satisfaction.
Professional development - Regular and sufficient time is provided for teachers and administrators to develop skills, further their learning, and work collaboratively with colleagues. Teachers, working in grade-level teams or content teams, use professional development time to plan for instruction, interact with parents, and participate in ongoing training.
Student as individual and teacher as facilitator - Each student has unique talents, skills, interests, and ways of learning. Recognizing that fact, teachers at Dobson adapt their instructional practices to meet the needs of individual students.
Response to Intervention (RtI) - The purpose of RtI is to frequently assess students, professionally discuss the data collected and then structure strategies to meet students’ learning needs using effective, research-based instruction and/or interventions.
Community collaborations and volunteers - Dobson's volunteer program strives to foster a closer relationship between the school and the community. Volunteers work directly with students in the classrooms and serve on teams involved with the development and implementation of school programs.
Technology - Our school is dedicated to ensuring that students learn to use technology and that teachers and staff use technology to communicate, share information, conduct business and improve strategies for tracking student progress and reporting to parents.
Market research response - The school receives regular feedback from constituents, mainly through parent satisfaction surveys given two times per year. This feedback is used to create and direct student programs, communications and operations.
Focus on literacy and numeracy – Our school-wide literacy focus helps to ensure strong proficiencies in reading, writing and mathematics.
Regular homework - The purpose of homework is: (1) student drill, practice and study; (2) to help students develop personal responsibility; and (3) to inform parents about what and how their children are doing at school.
Discipline- Dobson Academy’s school-wide discipline program is based on the “Three B’s”:
sBe Safe sBe Respectful sBe Responsible. We expect high standards of dress and behavior.
Accountability- Exams, grading, and reports are essential so that each student may come to know his or her own gifts and areas for improvement. Classrooms are balanced to encourage accountability, but we teach to a higher standard and expect that all students will achieve.
Our program is designed to challenge the intellect as well as to teach fundamental skills. We believe that this program helps students develop a sense of pride and strong self-respect. Teacher credentials, certification(s) and years of experience are posted in the main office in a binder that also includes Board notices and minutes of the Board meetings.
All classes will focus on Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.
Reading and Phonics: Primary teachers use Wilson Fundations program to supplement phonics instruction. Teachers also use Junior Great Books and Harcourt Trophies, as well as library and trade books to enhance whole group, small group and individual reading, building high level thinking skills as they read quality literature. Our library and library services give students an opportunity to check out books that are matched to their interest and their reading range. Children are challenged by the Accelerated Reader Program by setting reading goals and taking comprehension tests to measure their proficiency on the AR books.
Penmanship: We use the Zaner-Bloser penmanship program. All aspects of penmanship are taught, with cursive writing introduced no later than third grade, based on the child’s ability.
Writing/Grammar: The writing program includes daily practice and drill in grammar, its rules and usage. Study and research skills are emphasized. Creative writing and poetry are an integral part of the Strategies for Writers program.
Vocabulary/Spelling: Spelling words are considered a written vocabulary and provide a solid foundation for reading. Students are expected to learn how to read the words, as well as know their meanings and spellings. Students learn, rather than memorize.
Mathematics: Math is taught daily and receives a great deal of emphasis. There is a balance between conceptual understanding, connections to prior knowledge, skill proficiency and problem solving. Students learn through the use of manipulative materials, as well as through the textbooks. Kindergarten through sixth grade use the Math in Focus: Singapore Math textbooks series. Seventh and eighth grade students use the Pearson Common Core series. The upper grades will expand their use of Accelerated Mathematics. This program fits into our overall problem solving and hands‑on mathematics emphasis.
History/Geography/Civics: Social Studies emphasizes the study of history and geography. Memorization of important geographical and historical data is required. Current events are also presented. We use Harcourt textbooks in kindergarten through sixth grade classes. The Prentice-Hall series is used for Social Studies and Civics in our seventh and eighth grades.
Science: Science features a hands-on approach, emphasizing discovery and scientific method. Students receive instruction in physical, earth and biological sciences. The Prentice Hall Science Explorer series is used in our seventh and eighth grades.
Physical Education: Each child participates in a structured physical education program unless excused for medical reasons. The program emphasis is on skill development, utilizing the dynamic curriculum developed by Dr. Robert Pangrazi of Arizona State University.
Art: Art history, production and appreciation form the basics of the program. An art specialist teaches students art concepts utilizing a variety of mediums.
Music: We provide a structured general music appreciation program for all grade levels. A music specialist focuses on music production, and history to give students a balanced approach to music.
Technology: Students in all grades receive instruction aligned to state standards. Students will learn fundamental operations and concepts, use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity and creativity and to construct technology-enhanced models, prepare publications and produce other creative works. Technology-based research tools are used to locate and collect information as well as evaluate and analyze information from a variety of sources.