At Paragon Primary and Paragon Preparatory, students are challenged to meet some of the highest standards in education. Our core curriculum is designed in such a way that Paragon students will excel in high school regardless of whether they choose to continue with a private school education or transfer to a public school after eighth grade. The Paragon music, art and athletic programs ensure that our students are provided a well-rounded educational experience and are introduced to a variety of subjects they might wish to pursue in high school. For more information on each of our courses, click on the drop-down links below.
The core curriculum follows the goals and objectives developed by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in each of these four areas:
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
In Grades K-2, a comprehensive Language Arts program emphasizes reading, writing, research, listening and speaking, and oral and written conventions. A main objective of a balanced reading program is for students to understand how English is written and printed. Students learn the relationships between letters and sounds as they learn to read and spell. A variety of grade and skill leveled texts will be used to help children develop both fluency and comprehension. Students will learn to express themselves through writing using elements of the writing process. Students will develop legible handwriting and learn when to use appropriate capitalization and punctuation. Students will learn correct spelling of words using phonics patterns and high frequency words. Students are also expected to listen carefully to other speakers and speak clearly using conventions of language.
At all grade levels students will learn to problem solve by forming a plan, determine a solution, and evaluate the reasonableness of the solution. Students will use appropriate tools such as manipulatives, real objects, paper & pencil, and technology to solve problems. Techniques such as mental math, estimation and number sense will be taught. Students will learn to communicate how they solve problems. The main focus for grades K through 2 are as follows:
Kindergarten students are learning to understand counting and cardinality, understand addition as joining and subtraction as separating, and comparing objects based on attributes.
First Grade students are learning to understand and apply place value, solve problems involving addition and subtraction, and composing and decomposing two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids.
Second Grade students are making comparisons within the base 10 place value system, solving problems with addition and subtraction within 1,000, and building the foundation for multiplication.
Recurring themes in science include observing patterns, cycles, systems, and change and constancy. In all grades, students will use the scientific method and inquiry, identify and demonstrate safe practices, use tools to collect and record information, and understand major concepts and vocabulary in the areas of physical, earth and life sciences. Topics covered may include scientific investigation and reasoning, matter and energy, force, motion, and energy, Earth and space, and organisms and environments.
In grades K-1, the study of self, home, family and classroom establish the foundation of responsible citizenship. In second grade, a deeper study of the local community, with a focus on significant individuals and history of the community and state, are explored. All students will build a foundation in history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, technology, society and social studies skills. Grade level appropriate content will emphasize the importance of patriotism, the free enterprise system, and the democratic values of both Texas and the United States.
Paragon Preparatory and Primary both have all students on an individualized math supplement program. Accelerated Math, from Renaissance Learning, is a computer-generated program that helps students to identify skills that may need reinforcing. The program will also allow those who are ready for enrichment to go ahead of the taught curriculum. Accelerated Mat is a required component of all Paragon math students.
The primary focal areas in Kindergarten are understanding counting and cardinality, understanding addition as joining and subtraction as separating, and comparing objects by measurable attributes. In Kindergarten, instructional time should focus on two critical areas which are representing and comparing whole numbers, initially with sets of objects and describing shapes and space. Students use meanings of numbers to create strategies for solving problems and responding to practical situations involving addition and subtraction. Statements that contain the word “including” reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase “such as” are intended as possible illustrative examples. Students must develop a robust of number sense and fluency. This skill includes carrying out procedures, flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately during problem solving. As students develop procedural fluency, they must also realize that true problem solving may take time, effort, and perseverance. Students in Kindergarten are expected to perform their work without the use of calculators. Students will also become successful problem solvers and use mathematics efficiently and effectively by solving problems in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution. Students will select appropriate tools such as real objects, manipulatives, algorithms, paper and pencil, and technology and techniques such as mental math, estimation, number sense, and generalization and abstraction to solve problems. Students will effectively communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations such as symbols, diagrams, graphs, computer programs, and language. Students will use mathematical relationships to generate solutions and make connections and predictions. Students will analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas. Students will display, explain, or justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.
The primary focal areas in Grade 1 are understanding and applying place value, solving problems involving addition and subtraction, and composing and decomposing two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids. Students use relationships within the numeration system to understand the sequential order of the counting numbers and their relative magnitude. Students extend their use of addition and subtraction beyond the actions of joining and separating to include comparing and combining. Students use properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction to solve problems. By comparing a variety of solution strategies, students use efficient, accurate, and generalizable methods to perform operations. Students use basic shapes and spatial reasoning to model objects in their environment and construct more complex shapes. Students are able to identify, name, and describe basic two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids. For students to become fluent in mathematics, students must develop a robust sense of number and fluency. These skills include carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately. As students develop procedural fluency, they must also realize that true problem solving may take time, effort, and perseverance. Students in Grade 1 are expected to perform their work without the use of calculators. Students may be successful problem solvers and use mathematics efficiently and effectively in daily life by applying problem solving to everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution. Students will select appropriate tools such as real objects, manipulatives, algorithms, paper and pencil, and technology and techniques such as mental math, estimation, number sense, and generalization and abstraction to solve problems. Students will effectively communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations such as symbols, diagrams, graphs, computer programs, and language. Students will use mathematical relationships to generate solutions and make connections and predictions. Students will analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas. Students will display, explain, or justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.
The primary focal areas in Grade 2 are making comparisons and extending the base-10 notation place value system, solving problems with addition and subtraction within 1,000, and building foundations building for multiplication and division. Students develop an understanding of the base-10 place value system and place value concepts. The students’ understanding of base-10 place value includes ideas of counting in units and multiples of thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones and a grasp of number relationships, which students demonstrate in a variety of ways. Students identify situations in which addition and subtraction are useful to solve problems. Students develop a variety of strategies to use efficient, accurate, and generalizable methods to add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers. Students use the relationship between skip counting and equal groups of objects to represent the addition or subtraction of equivalent sets, which builds a strong foundation for multiplication and division. As students develop procedural fluency in all operations, they must also realize that true problem solving may take time, effort, and perseverance. Students in Grade 2 are expected to perform their work without the use of calculators. Students may be successful problem solvers and use mathematics efficiently and effectively in daily life. When possible, students will apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students will use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution. Students will select appropriate tools such as real objects, manipulatives, algorithms, paper and pencil, and technology and techniques such as mental math, estimation, number sense, and generalization and abstraction to solve problems. Students will effectively communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations such as symbols, diagrams, graphs, computer programs, and language. Students will use mathematical relationships to generate solutions and make connections and predictions. Students will analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas. Students will display, explain, or justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.
The primary focal areas in Grade 3 are place value, operations of whole numbers, and understanding fractional units. These focal areas are supported throughout the mathematical strands of number and operations, algebraic reasoning, geometry and measurement, and data analysis. In number and operations, students will focus on applying place value, comparing and ordering whole numbers, connecting multiplication and division, and understanding and representing fractions as numbers and equivalent fractions. In algebraic reasoning, students will use multiple representations of problem situations, determine missing values in number sentences, and represent real-world relationships using number pairs in a table and verbal descriptions. In geometry and measurement, students will identify and classify two-dimensional figures according to common attributes, decompose composite figures formed by rectangles to determine area, determine the perimeter of polygons, solve problems involving time, and measure liquid volume (capacity) or weight. In data analysis, students will represent and interpret data.
The primary focal areas in Grade 4 are use of operations, fractions, decimals, and describing and analyzing geometry and measurement. These focal areas are supported throughout the mathematical strands of number and operations, algebraic reasoning, geometry and measurement, and data analysis. In number and operations, students will apply place value and represent points on a number line that correspond to a given fraction or terminating decimal. In algebraic reasoning, students will represent and solve multi-step problems involving the four operations with whole numbers and with expressions and equations and generate and analyze patterns. In geometry and measurement, students will classify two-dimensional figures, measure angles, and convert units of measure. In data analysis, students will represent and interpret data. Students will communicate information about geometric figures or situations by quantifying attributes, generalizing procedures from measurement experiences, and using the procedures to solve problems. Students will use appropriate statistics, representations of data, and reasoning to draw conclusions, evaluate arguments, and make recommendations.
The primary focal areas in Grade 5 are solving problems involving all four operations with positive rational numbers, determining and generating formulas and solutions to expressions, and extending measurement to area and volume. These focal areas are supported throughout the mathematical strands of number and operations, algebraic reasoning, geometry and measurement, and data analysis. In number and operations, students will apply place value and identify part-to-whole relationships and equivalence. In algebraic reasoning, students will represent and solve problems with expressions and equations, build foundations of functions through patterning, identify prime and composite numbers, and use the order of operations. In geometry and measurement, students will classify two-dimensional figures, connect geometric attributes to the measures of three-dimensional figures, use units of measure, and represent location using a coordinate plane. In data analysis, students will represent and interpret data. Other areas of differentiation include proportionality; expressions, equations, and relationships; and measurement and data. Students will use concepts, algorithms, and properties of rational numbers to explore mathematical relationships and to describe increasingly complex situations. Students will use concepts of proportionality to explore, develop, and communicate mathematical relationships. Students will use algebraic thinking to describe how a change in one quantity in a relationship results in a change in the other. Students will connect verbal, numeric, graphic, and symbolic representations of relationships, including equations and inequalities. Students will use geometric properties and relationships, as well as spatial reasoning, to model and analyze situations and solve problems. Students will communicate information about geometric figures or situations by quantifying attributes, generalizing procedures from measurement experiences, and using the procedures to solve problems. Students will use appropriate statistics, representations of data, and reasoning to draw conclusions, evaluate arguments, and make recommendations.
The main purpose of 6th grade mathematics is to serve as a bridge between elementary math and Algebra 1. The course has two main focuses. The first is to make sure that the students’ arithmetic skills are in place. Throughout the year, the students will use Accelerated Math to continually test and strengthen their math foundation. The second focus is to make the transition to more advanced mathematical topics such as algebra and geometry. Students will begin developing abstract reasoning and symbolic manipulation skills. They will extensively practice operations with integers. Some other key topics of the course include solving equations and inequalities, proportional reasoning, linear and non-linear equations, and rules with exponents. The goal of this course is not only for students to learn the necessary skills to advance in mathematics, but to master the understanding that is needed to apply, analyze and synthesize those skills. In sixth grade, they not only learn how to perform math skills, they will also learn when to use them and why we use them.
7th Grade Algebra
Some seventh grade students are ready to delve into a full course of Algebra I. Other students benefit from the slower pace of Introductory Algebra. Students at both levels are provided opportunities to continue skill review as well as problem solving. The TI-Nspire graphing calculator enables both levels to discover and make connections with more abstract topics. Successful completion of the Algebra I course earns the student an honors level high school Algebra I credit, which is the prerequisite for higher levels of mathematics.
8th Grade Geometry or Algebra I
For the eighth grade year, two mathematics courses are offered. Those students who have successfully completed Algebra I as seventh graders will study Geometry with Algebra review. This course is mainly approached inductively; that is, students are guided through investigations to conjecture topics before they use them deductively in proofs. Successful completion of this class earns an honors level high school Geometry credit. Algebra I topics are thoroughly reviewed for deeper understanding. Successful completion of this class earns the student an honors level high school Geometry credit. The other math course offered in eighth grade is the continuation of Algebra I. This course begins with a review of basic algebra topics and continues with an in-depth study of functions to prepare students for Geometry the following year. Successful completion of this course earns the student an honors level Algebra I credit.
The purpose of the Social Studies curriculum at Paragon is threefold. First is the conveyance of content. By the time they graduate, Paragon students will have acquired a wealth of information about their world. Although this is a worthy educational goal, alone, it is not sufficient. Our job is not complete unless we have provided our students with the tools they will need for further academic success. Teaching our students to be students, therefore, is our second goal. Our third goal is to develop character in our students. We want them to be independent, self-motivated, intellectually curious, and to understand that they are in charge of their academic, political, and economic destinies.
In third grade Social Studies, students learn how diverse individuals have changed their communities and world. Students study the past and present effects that inspiring heroes have had on communities. Students develop an understanding of the economic, cultural, and scientific contributions made by individuals. Students learn and apply the research process as they study self-selected topics related to Social Studies such as immigrants to the U.S., National Parks, American heroes, local heroes, and more.
In fourth grade Social Students, students examine the history of Texas from the early beginnings to the present within the context of influences of North America. Historical content focuses on Texas history, including the Texas Revolution, establishment of the Republic of Texas, and Texas’ subsequent annexation to the United States. Students discuss important issues, events, and individuals of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Students conduct a thorough study of regions in Texas and North America resulting from human activity and from physical features. The location, distribution, and patterns of economic activities and settlement in Texas further enhance the concept of regions. Students describe how early American Indians in Texas and North America met their basic economic needs. Students identify motivations for European exploration and colonization and reasons for the establishment of Spanish settlements and missions. Students explain how American Indians governed themselves and identify characteristics of Spanish colonial and Mexican governments in Texas. Students identify the contributions of people of various racial, ethnic, and religious groups to Texas and describe the impact of science and technology on life in the state. Students use critical-thinking skills to identify cause-and-effect relationships, compare and contrast, and make generalizations and predictions.
The fifth grade Social Studies curriculum is a survey of United States history from the earliest Americans through the Revolutionary War, focusing on the ways that geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, and science/technology have shaped our country. Harcourt Publishing’s Horizons is the primary text, supplemented by various primary source materials and on-line learning materials. Because of our low student/teacher ratio, the curriculum is flexible and can incorporate current events, individual questions, and class interest; however, there are a few basic topics that a Paragon student should anticipate covering throughout the year. During the first trimester, we will focus on geography of the United States and the Ancient and Native Americans. During the second trimester, we will move into a study of the English Colonies, focusing on the Spanish, French, and English exploration and early settlement of the United States. In the third trimester, we will study the French and Indian War, British supremacy in North America, and the Revolutionary War, culminating with a study on America’s independence from Britain.
The thematic focus for sixth-grade Social Studies includes the study of world history, world geography, and world cultures. This academic class helps students understand that the world, in all its diversity, still conforms to certain systems and can be looked at, compared, analyzed, and evaluated through those systems. The five themes of place, location, movement, region, and human-environmental interactions can be applied throughout the globe. In addition, when these themes are paired with sound geography skills, they will empower students to become better citizens of the world. The students will look at world events and their impact on countries, cultures, environments, and individuals. This class will examine the world chronologically and thematically, focusing on the historical development of phenomena, the rise, and fall of civilizations and their unique contributions to humanity, and the universal elements these civilizations have in common throughout time.
Units of Study include:
- Five Themes of Geography
- Geography review
- Map & Graph skills review
- Interpret data from chart, graphs, and maps
- Create charts, graphs, and maps
- Demographic terms
- Elements of Culture
- Types of Governments
- Types of Economies
Civics and Economics is a study of the fundamentals of the United States government and economy and begins with a rigorous examination of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Students learn the functions and organization of the three branches of government and how the system of checks and balances governs their interaction. Students are immersed in a study of the free market economic system with particular emphasis on stock market fundamentals and portfolio management. The year culminates with an entrepreneurial project where students organize and operate their own for-profit companies.
This course focuses on the relationship citizens have with their nation, with particular emphasis on the development of the United States from the earliest times to the present. Major topics include the Revolutionary War, Civil War and Reconstruction, Civil Rights, Immigration & Urbanization, The Great Depression, and World War II.
The Paragon Science Department strives to design relevant and inspiring curriculum at every level. Our goal is to provide each student with a wide variety of science topics that will be useful for them in the coming years of their education while challenging them to find areas of growth for the future. Students learn through scientific inquiry to develop scientific literacy. Our students design and implement laboratory activities to reinforce their learning. Students become proficient with scientific technology used in the laboratory.
The Paragon Primary science curriculum has been rebuilt so that it is based on the “Next Generation Science Standards” (http://www.nextgenscience.org/). The units are designed to jigsaw together in a three-year whole that will cover to mastery all topics for grades 3-5, as well as include introduction to and practice with the same topics as they appear in middle school. The goal is to have students ready for the accelerated middle school classes at Paragon Prep. In third grade, while continuously maintaining a focus on the steps of the scientific process, we will spend the first trimester studying an introduction to physics: the properties and states of matter and the different forms of energy and energy transfer. During the second trimester, we will shift our focus to an introduction to geology and meteorology as we study Earth. Our topics will include the chemical and physical properties of Earth materials, changes to Earth’s surface – both slow and rapid, weather and climate, fossils, and energy sources (renewable, non-renewable, and alternative). As we move into the third trimester, our focus will shift again, this time to an introduction to biology. We will study structural and behavioral adaptations, learned and inherited traits, animal life cycles, the characteristics of ecosystems and biomes, and the impact of humans and how we can protect our natural resources.
The Paragon Primary science curriculum has been rebuilt so that it is based on the “Next Generation Science Standards” (http://www.nextgenscience.org/). The units are designed to jigsaw together in a three-year whole that will cover to mastery all topics for grades 3-5, as well as include introduction to and practice with the same topics as they appear in middle school. The goal is to have students ready for the accelerated middle school classes at Paragon Prep. In fourth grade, we will continue our studies of physics, geology and meteorology, and biology as we delve deeper into each subject. During the first trimester study of physics, we will maintain a focus on the scientific method as we study scientific tools and the SI measurement units, mixtures, solutions, and compounds, relative and absolute density, and buoyancy and the Archimedes Principle. As we move into the second trimester, our focus will shift to geology and meteorology with in-depth studies of waves (sound and electromagnetic), energy transformation, the characteristics and cycle of the sun, Earth, and moon, solar systems and galaxies, and EM astronomy. When we move to biology during the third trimester, we will study compost and soil components, soil analysis and horizons, plant structure and adaptations, plant life cycles and reproduction, food chains and webs, and the interactions of populations and communities.
The Paragon Primary science curriculum has been rebuilt so that it is based on the “Next Generation Science Standards” (http://www.nextgenscience.org/). The units are designed to jigsaw together in a three-year whole that will cover to mastery all topics for grades 3-5, as well as include introduction to and practice with the same topics as they appear in middle school. The goal is to have students ready for the accelerated middle school classes at Paragon Prep. In our final year of primary science (fifth grade), we will focus more on physics and biology with an introduction to chemistry. During the first trimester, while maintaining a focus on the scientific method, we will delve deeper into SI measurement units and conversions, as well as study atoms to molecules, the periodic table, force and motion, and Newton’s Laws. During the second trimester, we will study simple machines and work and power before shifting to biology to study the human body systems, traits, and heredity. In the third trimester, we will continue our study of biology as we focus on plant and animal cell structures, and phylogenetic classification. We will compare and contrast plant and animal structures and life cycles and do some comparative anatomy dissections, as well.
6th Grade Earth Science
The focus in grade 6 is Earth science. There is a strong emphasis on the scientific method, lab safety and equipment use. The major topics include natural resources, energy, water, plate tectonics and the interior of the Earth, the atmosphere, weather, climate, and space. Necessary skills such as note taking, graphing and metric conversions are integrated into the science curriculum. Multiple labs and hands-on activities are an important component in every unit. Major projects are included in several units throughout the year including earthquakes, weather, and space.
7th Grade Biology
The major science units in Grade 7 include topics such as an introduction to microscopy; the cell and its processes; evolution and classification of living organisms; an introduction to microbiology; heredity and genetics; and plants and animals. Students study important laboratory techniques including preparing microscope slides, antiseptic techniques, and dissection. The scientific method is used to guide discoveries. Guided lab activities support the development of skills in observation, synthesis, and evaluation. Students complete projects for most units including infectious disease, cellular processes, animal adaptation and classification, and genetic disorders.
8th Grade Intro to Physics and Chemistry
During the first half of the year, students focus on an introduction to chemistry. Units include matter and energy; the physical properties of matter; atomic structure; the Periodic Table; atoms and bonding; introduction to stoichiometry, chemical reactions; and mixtures, solutions, acid and base chemistry. Students then study physical science concepts including force and motion, work, power, energy and simple machines. The use of the scientific method is stressed again during the eighth grade year. Our physics study culminates with our unit on amusement park physics. Students then apply their knowledge to design and build trebuchets to be launched at the park.
The English curriculum at Paragon is designed to extend students’ appreciation of literature and writing, while also introducing the structures and purposes of varied written forms at the appropriate developmental levels. Vocabulary and grammar skills are coordinated through the writing process and applied to all aspects of the English curriculum. Paragon students read and respond to a range of literature: novels, essays, poetry, short stories, and drama, while also creating individual texts within each genre. Because students take their skills in written and oral communication outside the classroom, they constantly evaluate their own language, and that of others, for appropriate audience, purpose, and tone. Students discover personal connections with text while learning to support those ideas with concrete details. All grade levels incorporate the mechanics and usage of written and verbal expression within appropriate context.
The third grade English Language Arts and Reading curriculum focuses on strengthening students’ reading, writing, and oral language skills. Students are assessed at the beginning of the year with the DRA to determine areas of strength and weakness related to reading. Throughout the year, students read a wide variety of grade-level and above literary and informational texts, including Newberry Award-winning novels, Scholastic Storyworks magazines, and Time for Kids. Writing skills are enhanced through programs such as “Write from the Beginning” and “6+1 Writing Traits.” As vocabulary is key to success in both reading and writing, students engage in daily vocabulary exercises from Daily Language Review, grade 3 and Worldy Wise 3000 series grade 3 to build on prior knowledge, enhance reading comprehension, and support new grammar and mechanical skills learned in class.
The fourth grade English Language Arts and Reading curriculum builds on the third grade curriculum and continues to focus on strengthening students’ reading, writing, and oral language skills. Throughout the year, students read a wide variety of grade-level and above literary and informational texts to enhance skills in addressing author’s purpose and expository writing, including but not limited to Newberry Award-winning novels and the Scholastic Storyworks magazine. Writing skills are enhanced through programs such as “Empowering Writers,” and “6+1 Writing Traits.” In addition, students create poetry, write and delivery persuasive speeches, and create storybooks to develop their storytelling skills. As vocabulary is key to success in both reading and writing, students engage in daily vocabulary exercises from Daily Language Review, grade 4 and Worldy Wise 3000 series grade 4 to build on prior knowledge, enhance reading comprehension, and support new grammar and mechanical skills learned in class.
The fifth grade English Language Arts and Reading curriculum completes the primary ELAR studies and prepares students for the rigors of the middle school English classes. The focus remains on strengthening students’ reading, writing, and oral language skills. Students read a variety of grade-level and above literary and informational texts, including but not limited to Newberry Award-winning novels, the Scholastic Storyworks magazine, and Time for Kids. Within the contexts of these texts, students study a variety of literary devices such as alliteration, personification, and idioms, and enhance expository writing skills. In addition, creative and process writing skills are practiced throughout the year using the program “Empowering Writers.” New to fifth grade, a theatrical element is added to the curriculum whereby students are encouraged to create stories, convert them to scripts, add music, costume, and props, and then perform their stories for their classmates. As vocabulary is key to success in both reading and writing, students engage in daily vocabulary exercises from Daily Language Review, grade 5 and Worldy Wise 3000 series grade 5 to build on prior knowledge, enhance reading comprehension, and support new grammar and mechanical skills learned in class.
The sixth grade English curriculum focuses on grammar and writing non-fiction works in response to literature. Students learn and use the writing process of brainstorming, organizing, pre-writing, editing, revising, and publishing final papers. Students are challenged to answer more than who, what, where, and when by developing logical how and why opinions with supporting evidence. Students learn the elements of a story – literary devices – and how to use figurative language to improve their writing. While reading selected texts, students practice their learned reading strategies to analyze the authors’ purposes through style and literary devices. Students master writing well-developed paragraphs showing critical thought. Sixth-grade novels include Walk Two Moons, The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Yearling. Students also select individual novels to read and review each trimester.
The seventh grade English curriculum focuses on varied types of written responses to literature with an introduction to analytical writing. Students read from all genres of literature, including classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm, plus a Shakespearean drama and selected contemporary novels and short stories. While reading selected texts, students use close reading strategies to analyze the authors’ purposes through style and literary devices. Students begin seventh grade writing well-developed paragraphs and move into multi-paragraph essays by the end of the year.
The eighth grade English curriculum continues to focus on varied types of written responses to literature with further exploration of analytical writing. Students read from all genres of literature, including classics such as The Crucible and Fahrenheit 451, plus a Shakespearean drama and selected contemporary novels and short stories. While reading selected texts, students develop more refined and personal close reading strategies to analyze the authors’ purposes through style and literary devices. Students begin eighth grade writing well-developed multi-paragraph essays and by the end of the year are ready for success in any ninth grade pre-AP or IB English courses.
The limits of one’s language are the limits of one’s world, to borrow from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. At Paragon, students expand their worlds by encountering the languages of the ancient and modern Romance world in two complementary phases. Paragon Primary offers students introductory conversational Spanish in grades 1-5 to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in a foreign language, while grades 7 and 8 at Paragon Preparatory dive into a thorough and lively exploration of literary Latin. The foreign language program allows students to develop higher order cognitive skills, supports content area instruction, promotes global awareness and cross-cultural understanding, and develops proficiency in all aspects of Spanish and Latin, respectively, with each year of study.
The Spanish curriculum for our early grades focuses on developing receptive and expressive language skills while using music, dance and art in each unit. Our K-2 classrooms provide a comfortable environment where our students are able to take risks and participate. By the end of second grade, students’ basic writing and reading skills in Spanish begin to develop.
Students continue to build on themes from prior grades while adding new topics to their repertoire. Students begin to explore maps of Austin, the United States, Latin America and the state of Texas while being introduced to cardinal directions as related to their social studies curriculum. Our third grade students begin to use mini-books for practice in guided reading activities.
As students progress into the fourth grade curriculum, they continue to develop their listening and speaking skills along with their guided reading and writing skills. They begin to link their Spanish lessons’ topics with other academic subjects such as social studies, science, and math. They are introduced to Mexico with its points of interest and aspects of city life. They study other nearby Latin American countries while creating and presenting authentic skits mirroring real life situations, such as ordering in a restaurant, shopping at the market, and having a conversation over Skype.
Students synthesize topics and simple grammatical constructions to provide a sense of connection and purpose to their oral proficiency. Students combine all of these topics to culminate in a final project: planning a vacation in a Spanish-speaking country. Research for the vacation includes planning for the differences in geography, weather, transportation, and communication with hosts in their native languages.
7th Latin 1
In Latin I, students begin their exploration of the most influential ancient tongue by using the popular university-developed Cambridge Latin Course. Presenting vocabulary and grammar in a logical sequence, students apply the material to an entertaining fictionalized account of historical Romans in the doomed city of Pompeii. Integrating medical Latin, Greco-Roman mythology, Roman culture, and comparative English grammar, students master the core concepts of Latin’s inflected structure regarding verbs, nouns, and adjectives while learning vocabulary applicable to both English and future studies in Romance languages such as Spanish and French. Students learn to read, analyze, and translate both constructed and actual Latin, ranging from famous phrases and mottos to actual quotes from Roman authors such building a strong foundation for both Latin II and for students who will continue with Latin studies at the high school level. Junior Classical League competitions, ancient wonders building projects, a costume party, and the National Latin and Mythology Exams allow students to apply their knowledge and produce great achievements. Successful completion of this course earns a student a high school Latin 1 credit.
8th Latin 2
In Latin II, students delve deeper into Latin, encountering advanced grammatical concepts such as participles, relative clauses, passive voice, and the subjunctive mood, allowing further comparative grammar with English and the modern Romance languages. The Latin stories continue in the Cambridge Latin Course as the textbook’s characters have further adventures in Egypt, Britain, and Rome. Meanwhile, students explore the Greek alphabet and Greek vocabulary, Latin legal and scientific root words, and a wide range of derivatives in English and the Romance languages. Regarding culture, students preview the material of their high school world history courses through introductions to ancient civilizations before and around Rome from Mesopotamia to India, as well as the major emperors of the Roman period such as Nero and Constantine. Students also engage in discussion sessions based on colorful readings on Roman daily life. The Latin passages grow in complexity, featuring both constructed passages and actual Latin from ancient and medieval authors such as Julius Caesar, Ovid, Hyginus, Jerome, and Petrus Alphonsi. Finally, students headed for modern languages finish the end of the year looking into Latin’s impact on their future language while students continuing their Latin studies review and preview further topics. Students again participate in JCL events and the National Latin and Mythology Exams, as well as take on engaging projects such as recreating myths in video projects. Successful completion of this class earns a student a high school Latin 2 credit.
“ The world is but a canvas to our imagination” ~ Henry David Thoreau.
The Art studio at Paragon is warmly referred to as “The heart of Paragon.” In the art covering these walls you can feel the pulse of our school – the aliveness, imagination, emotion, and inventiveness. The art studio is a place where all Paragon students will spend time growing, being nourished, exercising their creativity, exploring art history, and learning about themselves. Paragon’s Art curriculum combines art production, art history, art criticism, individual assessment, and aesthetics. Art classes function under the philosophy that every person is an artist and all humans are innately creative beings. People are not “born artists”; rather, drawing, painting, sculpting, and creativity are learned by gaining a certain set of skills and practicing them, just like music, dance, sports, and academics. Practicing art making is vital to children’s growth on many levels. The creative process of making art promotes high level critical thinking skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, observation skills, open-mindedness, creative problem solving, eye-hand coordination, self-awareness, self-expression, self-esteem, contemplative reflection, inventiveness, and flexibility just to name a few. Art is where the hand, the head, and the heart meet.
A solid understanding of basic Art History is essential to approaching and appreciating the Visual Arts. Students will be introduced to several major Art Movements. They will observe a broad range of artworks in order to deduce and recognize the evolution of the styles and techniques. They will also learn about the individual lives and works of master artists who influenced the idea of Art today. Through analysis of different artists and movements in Art History, students will begin to understand how artists respond to their cultures, societies, and the human condition, thus gaining critical thinking skills about creative ways they can respond to present day issues and their own personal experiences.
Art classes explore 2-D and 3-D foundations in various traditional and nontraditional mediums. Students will gain confidence in technical skills as well as their unique creative style. Drawing is a fundamental foundation of Art and a necessary skill in the planning and process of successful Art projects. Students will develop their drawing abilities through the use of various techniques and mediums. Students will realize their own drawing style through confidence that builds with practice. Nearly every art project incorporates drawing either as part of the major objective or by way of sketching for preliminary preparation. Throughout the course of the year, sketches will be assigned regularly and will be kept in the students’ portfolio. The discipline of painting is one of the most prevalent forms of self-expression existing in the Visual Arts. Through the use of various paint mediums, such as watercolor and tempera, students will explore their own styles and discover their own processes of painting. Sculpture pushes the boundaries of creation from a familiar 2-dimensional approach to an advanced 3-dimensional challenge. Students will investigate a new level of reasoning through the sculpture assignments. Students will develop unique approaches to problem solving as the sculpture assignments require the application of creative and critical thinking.
Art critiques will be held after the completion of each project to exercise analysis skills, apply learned concepts, and allow time for self-assessment. Students will keep a portfolio of their artwork to assess their individual process and growth. All students will keep a sketch book throughout the year where they will complete homework drawing assignments, take notes in class, and complete drawing exercises or practice new skills. All grade levels will meet and exceed Art education standards set for the state of Texas.
The beginning of a student’s art path at Paragon focuses on cultivating an excitement for art. Students gain a strong foundation in art fundamentals, the Elements of Art: line, shape, form, color theory, texture, value, and space. This foundation is then applied to an exploration of prehistoric art and the art of ancient civilizations from around the world. Well-known artists will be introduced throughout the year to allow for connections to be made throughout art history. Students will learn skills to improve their drawing, painting, print making, and sculpting abilities and enhance their fine motor skills. In addition to making art, students will begin learning how to talk about art with in-class art gallery walks and field trips to the Art Museum.
In third grade art, students review and deepen their understanding of the fundamentals of art including the Elements of Art, foundations in drawing, painting, and sculpture. We will begin the year by asking ourselves, “What is art?” and spend the year exploring the answer to this question. We will explore the art of ancient civilizations around the world including Ancient Egypt, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. We will also do several cross-curricular projects throughout the year to enrich lessons learned in Science. Students will complete some contemplative art works as well to enrich their study of mindfulness. In addition, students will take at least one field trip to an Art museum.
In 4th grade we continue to build upon art fundamentals while exploring more ancient civilizations from around the world, including Ancient India, China, the Incas, the Mayans. Then we will move forward on the art history time line to explore the art and traditions of Native American art. We will also do several cross-curricular projects throughout the year to enrich lesson learned in Science. Students will complete some contemplative art works as well to enrich their study of mindfulness. In addition, students will take at least one field trip to an Art museum.
5th grade art focuses on Medieval through Renaissance art. Students will continue to enrich their understanding of the elements of art and color theory as we explore the art traditions of the West. Students will gain new skills such as one-point perspective drawing, more advanced ceramic skills, how to sculpt with plaster, collage, paper quilling and more, while continuing to reinforce skills acquired throughout their Primary art experience. Students in 5th grade art meet once a week, but each art class is potent, and sketch book entries will be assigned to supplement the material they are working on in class.
Most lessons taught in art for sixth grade are cross-curricular lessons in alignment with what students are learning in their World Cultures course. All other lessons focus on strengthening art foundations, and exploring self-expression. Students will be able to look at world events and their impacts on countries, cultures, environments, and individuals. We will examine the world chronologically and thematically, focusing on the historical development of phenomena, the rise and fall of civilizations and their unique contributions to humanity, and the universal elements these civilizations have in common throughout time. Connections will be made between World History, while continuing to strengthen technical foundations, and self-expression. Students create a broad range of artworks for their portfolio.
The 7th grade art curriculum starts chronologically at the end of the Renaissance art movement and concludes in Modern Art. Students will develop an historical understanding of these time periods while creating projects inspired by the Baroque period, Romanticism, Rococo, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Abstractionism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Modern Art, Op-Art, and Pop-Art. They will explore a broad range of mediums while deepening their technical skills as well as their understanding of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.
By 8th grade, most students have experienced art with Ms. Bolt for 4-5 years. In their final year of art, students will solidify and deepen their understanding of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, as well as drawing, painting, sculpting and performance art fundamentals. Students will focus their study on contemporary art, the work of artists who are living and working today, while making connections throughout art history. We will explore different careers in art that the student might pursue as well. We will study advanced drawing, painting, and ceramic techniques. We will explore nontraditional mediums and styles of art making such as found object assemblage, installation art, stop-motion animation, and performance art. Successful completion of this class earns the student a high school Art credit.
The music program at Paragon Primary strives to contribute to the quality of life for all students by developing their capabilities to participate fully in a musical culture. Music provides a powerful means of engaging students in learning and improving their achievements. Fundamental in a student’s overall social, emotional, and cognitive development, music enhances reasoning, inspires creativity, and encourages critical thinking, self-discipline, problem-solving, decision-making, cooperation, and imagination. Our program enables students to learn about themselves, other people, and humanity in general.
The Paragon Primary elementary music program is a strong, diverse, vocal music curriculum that enhances each child’s education while simultaneously establishing an understanding and appreciation of this art form. The purpose of the program is to develop awareness that music is a vital part of each student’s daily life. A comprehensive and logical sequence of developmentally appropriate lessons that closely follow the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards lead our students through musical exploration, cultural enrichment, and personal satisfaction.
The elementary music program is offered to all of our primary students and is designed to provide a myriad of opportunities for active participation and success. Students are regularly engaged in singing, playing instruments, moving to music, learning to read and notate music, creating music, and listening to, analyzing, and evaluating music and musical performances. A carefully selected repertoire is utilized as a framework where students learn to understand and appreciate their own historical and cultural heritages as well as those of other cultures.
Our students will:
- Experience, recognize, respond to, read, notate, perform, and create rhythms and rhythmic patterns in a variety of meters;
- Experience, recognize, respond to, read, notate, perform, and create melodic patterns;
- Experience, respond to, and perform a variety of musical textures and harmonic structures;
- Experience, recognize, identify, and explain aspects of musical form;
- Recognize, identify, and respond to expressive elements of music, including dynamics, tempo, and articulation, and will perform music with appropriate expressive qualities;
- Experience, recognize, and respond to a variety of instrumental and vocal timbres;
- Experience and respond to music of various styles and genres from a variety of world cultures, including music of the classical Western tradition and cannon;
- Respond to musical experiences and create movement, using developmentally appropriate movement and dramatization;
- Employ available technology to augment experiences in the other program objectives; and
- Recognize and apply appropriate music vocabulary as they relate to the other program objectives.
In our primary grades, we focus on literature, movement and music. Students participate in singing, exploring Orff instruments, and moving to music, and begin learning to read music notation.
Our third grade students focus on becoming fluent in reading, performing, and composing rhythms through the use of various percussion instruments.
Our fourth grade students focus on becoming fluent in reading, performing, and composing melodies through sight singing and learning the soprano recorder.
Our fifth grade students focus on sight singing, aural training, music history and learning how to play the ukulele.
Paragon eighth graders may take Speech as an elective. It, like Health, is an 18- week class that meets twice per week. Students will gain valuable public speaking experience and develop self-confidence. Types of speeches include interviews, persuasive speeches, informative speeches, classroom presentations and introductions. Successful completion of this course earns the student a high school Speech credit.
Health is a high school course designed for Paragon Prep students who want to receive high school credit during middle school. To receive credit, students must maintain a 90% average for the duration of the semester long course. Students can expect to have around 5 hours of additional homework a week. The curriculum is dialed back to focus on topics relevant to 13 and 14 year olds. The health of the human body is stressed by learning the anatomy of each system and how to properly care for each system. Systems discussed include the skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, integumentary, and reproductive systems. Human sexuality is discussed as it relates to the functioning of the reproductive system. Mental health and first aid are also covered. Students will have the opportunity to obtain CPR certification.
The Physical Education program at Paragon stresses participation and personal fitness. Students participate in a variety of activities that help develop aerobic conditioning and body coordination. Another important component of the program is outdoor education. Students are introduced to elements of orienteering and outdoor training in conjunction with class trips to local and regional park areas.
Students are required to wear a standard uniform for physical education. Information regarding the uniform may be obtained from the school office.
Paragon Knights athletics has a rich and storied tradition. Paragon has seen sports alumni go on to play college football at the University of Texas, as well as at other colleges. Alumni basketball players have gone on to play college basketball at University of Texas at Dallas, Johns Hopkins, and other schools. Paragon has sent tennis players to play for the University of Texas who were ranked in the top 25 and golfers to play for the University of Louisville.
Championships and Titles Include:
- VARSITY Blackshirt Basketball – 14 varsity championships and 11 tournament titles.
- JV Blackshirt basketball – 12 championships and 9 tournament titles
- Silver team – 5 tournament titles
- White team – 3 tournament titles
- VARSITY Girls Basketball – 5 titles
- JV Girls Basketball – 3 titles
- VARSITY Football – 7 district titles
- JV Football – 6 titles.
- Paragon Tennis – 9 straight Tennis titles
- Paragon Golf – 5 titles
- Paragon Soccer – 5 titles
- Paragon Track – 1 title
- Paragon Volleyball – 2 conference titles, 3 tournament titles
Athletics is open to all students 5th grade and higher. Each sport will hold try-outs, and everyone who comes out makes a team. Players are selected to play on either the Black, Silver or White team (school colors) based on grade, experience and skill level. When possible, the coaches will work to keep players together with their classmates; however, due to numbers, this is not always possible. In such cases, teams will be created based on skill and experience to make sure all team rosters are filled out and each team is given what they need to be successful. Teams compete in the AIPL conference and play in 4-A, 2-A and 1-A divisions.
Sports are offered on the following schedule:
- Boys Basketball
- Girls Basketball
- Track and Field
Each student will have the opportunity to learn from a variety of coaches over the course of a school year and during their time at Paragon. Coaches are trained and experienced in a variety of physical education settings, camp backgrounds, as personal trainers and athletes who excelled in their sport in high school or college.
Paragon attempts to give every student personal training towards improving skills in a sport, increasing strength and conditioning for better health and performance and a fun recreational PE environment to foster a happy and well-balanced life.
Monitoring Our Assignments as a Team
At Paragon Prep, each student must cross the M.O.A.T. before going home at the end of the day. Monitoring Our Assignments as a Team assures that each student has an advisor. Students meet with their advisor twice a day to make sure that all homework and assignments are accounted for and for discussions of class and school events. Paragon Prep’s schedule is designed to help students complete their assignments and properly study for exams. In accordance with that policy, students will have no more than one major exam per day. Staff members also make a strong effort to coordinate their assigned homework load so that the students are given adequate time to finish their assignments. If you have concerns about your student’s academic or social progress at the school, the student’s advisor is available for consultation.