Arbor Heights Elementary

Arbor Heights
Arbor Heights Elementary School


Arbor Heights Academic Overview

At Arbor Heights, we offer a comprehensive elementary experience for students in grades PreK–5 that blends project-based learning with an environmental STEM focus. 

In addition to our grade-level classroom educators, we have seven specialist educators.

  • 1 Art Specialist
  • 2 P.E. Specialists
  • 1 STEM Specialist
  • 1 Music Specialist
  • 1 Instrumental Music Specialist
  • 1 Librarian & Media Specialist

We use a variety of evidence-based curriculum resources including:

  • Collaborative Classroom (Literacy)
  • enVision (Math)
  • Amplify Science 
  • Storypath (Social Studies) 

Field trips, outdoor experiences, IDEA Lab projects, robotics, and gardening by grade level round out the Arbor Heights experience. 

Balanced Literacy

Arbor Heights follows a Balanced Literacy program that combines reading and writing skills. Reading practices include interactive read alouds, phonics instruction, shared reading, and guided reading. Writing practices include mini-lessons, shared reading, and word work. (Writing genres include Narratives, Informational Texts, and Argument/Opinion.) This model allows teachers to confer one-on-one with students and to differentiate instruction to accommodate all levels of readers and writers.


In addition to their classroom science instruction, Arbor Heights students come to E-STEM class weekly to build skills and enthusiasm for E–STEM with our E–STEM teaching specialist, Ms. Waldron.

Students will participate in: group challenges, engineering projects, fair test investigations, inventions, science stations, growth mindset lessons, data collection, observation activities, extensions of their in-class science topics, work in the garden, and more.

Trimester Themes

  • Fall (NGSS Practices)
  • Winter (Energy and Innovations)
  • Spring (Diversity and Interconnectedness: Service and Application)

How to Get Involved

I’m always looking for ways to involve the community and boost student learning!

  • Volunteer to go on a short field study with a class, help in the garden, or with a class project (make sure you’ve completed your volunteer paperwork)
  • Come speak about a STEM topic, career, or teach us a STEM skill.

Throughout the year we learn about Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and science & engineering practices.


K–5 classes at Arbor Heights use the curriculum resource Eureka Math which aligns to the Common Core State Standards.  It offers differentiated opportunities for students approaching grade level and those working above grade level. Classrooms also use Number Talks on a regular basis. Number Talks allow students to think flexibly about computation strategies and to share their mathematical thinking with others.

Physical Education

Arbor Heights is committed to providing a quality Physical Education program that builds knowledge, fitness, movement skills, social well-being, and confidence so all students can enjoy a healthy active lifestyle. Arbor Heights Physical Education (P.E.) is a success-oriented program. Having students focus on what they can do as opposed to what others can do. Students are trying to improve their own skill level at their own pace. We work on specific fitness activities when students are in P.E.

K–2 students work daily on their fitness activities. Grades 3–5 students begin the year with a fitness assessment. The areas we assess are Muscular strength (push up), Muscular endurance (curl up), Flexibility (sit and reach), and Cardio respiratory endurance (Shuttle run). Students will then conference with the P.E. teacher to set goals in each area. We then work each day to improve our scores, working toward personal goals. In May, we asses again to see if we reached our goals. Arbor Heights’ students come to P.E. every other day. Arbor Heights P.E. uses developmentally appropriate progressive motor skills K–5. In addition, team, individual, and lifetime activities that build the habit of an active lifestyle are used. The P.E. environment helps improve social relationships and emotional well-being through active engagement in physical activity.

Social Studies

Students receive instruction in Social Studies that aligns with our Washington State Standards. Concepts build upon one another as students progress through the grades.

Unit: Building a Classroom Community

First Grade
Unit: Our Families & Families Around the World

Second Grade
Unit: Communities

Third Grade
Unit: Community Problem Solving

Fourth Grade
Unit: WA State History and Pacific NW Coast Native Americans

Fifth Grade
Unit: United States History, including Geography and Geology

Special Education

At Arbor Heights, we offer a continuum of special education services with three tiers of support:

  • Resource Room
  • Access
  • Focus (self-contained)

In addition to special education teachers and instructional assistants, our students often work with occupational and physical therapists and speech-language pathologists depending on each child’s unique set of needs.

All of our special education students, regardless of the program they are part of, have access to their general education peers and curriculum, as appropriate.  We value the diversity that inclusion brings to our community.

Resource Room

The resource room serves students with mild-to-moderate learning and social challenges.  These students receive specially designed instruction (SDI) and modifications to help them keep up with grade-level expectations and individual IEP goals. SDI is provided in both the special education setting and in the child’s general education classroom, according to their IEP.


The Access program serves students with academic, social, and motor-skill challenges that need more intensive support than the Resource Room. The Access program has a ratio of 1 teacher + 3 instructional assistants to 10 students. Students spend a majority of their day in their general education classroom, both with and without support from the special education staff.


Our Focus classrooms serve students with a variety of challenges—academic, social skills, motor skills, self-help, and communication—and benefit from the high staff-to-student ratio and small class size. These students participate with their general education peers during portions of the day during specialist classes such as PE, Art, Music, E-STEM.

Learn more about Special Education Services  at Seattle Public Schools.

Technology Resources

The following resources are available for student use at Arbor Heights:

  • iMac Computer Lab
  • Chromebook carts
  • Student computers in each classroom
  • iPads and laptops

Visual Arts

Our Visual Arts program encompasses the study of both Visual and Performing Arts. Throughout the week, all students in grades PreK–5 attend a specialized class with our Visual Art Specialist, Kim Sandler. 

Ms. Sandler introduces students to the seven elements of art beginning in kindergarten, which progresses in-depth at each grade level. Students work with various art mediums, learn about different artists and discover how art teaches us about our world.

We showcase student artwork throughout the school, and at the end of each school year, every student brings home their personal art portfolio.