Instructional Program


Our instructional method focuses on individual differences, capabilities, and needs of all children. Our strategy is the continuous diagnosis, assessment, and evaluation of students in order to maintain a very high level of performance. Teachers differentiate their instruction using a variety of strategies and tools to address the academic and social/emotional needs of each individual student.


English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Studies

The Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy (CA CCSS) are divided into 4 strands:Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. They were designed with an expectation that the development of every student’s literacy skills should be an integrated model of literacy across all subject areas. The CA CCSS emphasize having students closely and attentively read and analyze critical works of literature and an array of nonfiction text. Comprehension activities focus on depth and complexity, use of technology, and evidence-based analysis of text. Students use research and technology to sift through the staggering amount of digital information available and engage in collaborative conversations, sharing and forming viewpoints through a variety of written and speaking applications. Learning is interactive, and teachers facilitate deep understanding as students discuss and analyze information together. To learn more about the CA CCSS for English Language Arts & Literacy, please visit:


The California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CA CCSSM) reflect the importance of three guiding principles: focus, coherence, and rigor. The principle of “focus” means that the instruction needs to focus deeply on the standards that are emphasized so students can gain a strong foundation for conceptual learning, a high degree of procedural skills and fluency, and the ability to apply what they learn to solve mathematical problems anywhere. The principle of “coherence” arises from mathematical connections. Most connections are vertical, as the standards support a progression of increasing knowledge, skill, and sophistication across the grades. The principle of rigor requires that conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application be approached with equal intensity. The CA CCSSM consists of two types of standards: Mathematical Practice Standards (identical for each grade level) and Mathematical Content Standards (different for each grade level). Together they focus on learning mathematical content in the context of real-world situations, using mathematics to solve problems, and developing “habits of mind” that foster mastery of mathematics content as well as mathematical understanding. A number of California-specific additions to the standards were incorporated in an effort to retain the consistency of past standards. Students in K-5 use the program Math Expressions as the core instructional program to address the CA CCSS. To learn more about the CA CCSS for Mathematics, please visit:


The North School Library Media Center is an essential part of the school program that provides curriculum support and offers a variety of information resources and learning experiences as well as literature appreciation to the students, faculty, and staff of the North School community.To maintain the excellence of the collection, North parents support an Adopt-a-Book Club.Students are encouraged to adopt a book that they may select from a wide range of possibilities.A bookplate recognizing the donation is placed permanently in each book. To learn more about the California Model School Library standards, please visit:


Because of the continuing explosion in scientific and technological knowledge, emphasis in this area of education is changing from the application of science, to the nature of science and the process by which knowledge is gained.Science is taught through a balance of hands-on activities and textbooks.Students in grades K-5 use the hands-on Full Option Science System (FOSS) program.Throughout all grades, each student is exposed to life, earth, and physical science.We urge parents who work in science-related fields, or who know of those who do, to contact us if you are willing to share your expertise with the children. In order to view the Next Generation Science Standards, please visit:


Using the basic purpose of the social studies program is to focus on increasing each student’s interest, knowledge, and understanding of human behavior and social interaction.The social studies program is enhanced at all grade levels with field trips, docent visits, projects, artifacts, and children’s literature.

Goals of the program include the following: 1) acquisition of basic knowledge, 2) understanding of concepts from the various social sciences (geography, history, economics, sociology, and political science), 3) development of investigative and process skills, and 4) knowledge of multicultural education. In order to view the California Social Studies Content Standards, please visit:


This math and science enrichment program is based on local standards, which are the Hillsborough Essential Outcomes, and grade level state standards. All students in grades 3-5 visit the Innovation Lab (I-Lab) where they are provided instruction in how to become critical, creative reflective thinkers; problem solvers; collaborative contributors; intelligent innovators; effective communicators; ethical citizens; and self-directed, enthusiastic, caring individuals using math and science as the conduit. This dedicated Innovation Lab (I-Lab) time gives students time to work on projects that require depth and complexity and expand on higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.


North School has a computer lab, multiple laptop carts, I-Pads, and computers in the classroom.

In the Classroom

Each classroom has at least 3 computers, a printer, a document camera, and a SMART Board. Students in 2nd-5th grades also have class sets of SMART interactive response systems to measure student achievement in real time. Students use the internet both in the classroom and in the computer lab. Students also visit pre-screened websites via the County Web Portal (aka EdStop1). The Web Portal can be found at: and passwords are available through your classroom teacher. This is also a great tool for students to access at home.


The elementary physical education program at North is founded on the California Physical Education and Health Content Standards. The philosophy of this program is that each child will be provided the opportunity to develop efficient movement skills and be physically active in a cooperative learning environment that fosters individual growth and teamwork. The focus is not to create professional athletes, but rather help students' develop fundamental and advanced motor skills, improve their self-confidence and provide opportunities for increased levels of physical fitness. Health-related physical fitness is a vital component of this physical education program and includes; muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and aerobic endurance. Students begin fitness in TK and continue throughout the fifth grade. Each student participates in curl-ups, push-ups, stretching, and various locomotor activities. State law requires that fifth graders throughout California take the Fitnessgram which includes curl-ups, sit and reach, push-ups, and the PACER test. In order to view the California Model Content Standards for Physical Education, please visit:


All K-5 students express themselves through a variety of art media with their individual teachers and in the Parent Group-funded “Art in Action” program.Art experiences are drawn from other curriculum areas (i.e. reading, social studies, language, and music), with ample opportunity for the development of skills in handling tools and materials.The focus is upon creative endeavor and satisfying experiences, rather than on artistic perfection.In addition, the North Parent Group provides funding for school assemblies presented by dancers, musicians, actors, storytellers, or poets throughout the year. In order to view the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, please visit:


Instrumental music lessons are offered to 4th and 5th grade students. Students may choose from a variety of woodwind instruments or brass instruments. One group lesson is taught per week. In order to view the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, please visit:


All K-5 students receive formal vocal music instruction where they learn about pitch, notation, rhythm, and movement.Orff-Schulwerk instruments, as well as non-pitched instruments, are an integral part of grade level instruction reinforcing all musical elements. All children participate in a musical program at least once during the school year. In order to view the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, please visit:


All K-5th grade students receive health education instruction from various instructors including the classroom teacher, the PE teacher, and the school counselor. Content is grade level specific and includes areas such as nutrition and physical activity (K,2,4,5), growth and development (K,1,3,5), sexual health (5), injury prevention and safety (K,1,4), alcohol, tobacco and drugs awareness (K,2,4), mental and social health (K,2,3), and personal and community health (K,1,3,5). For more information on the health standards at a particular grade level please visit:


All 4th and 5th graders receive Spanish language instruction for one hour each week, which is supplemented by an online program called Middlebury that students have access to at school and at home. They learn to communicate in Spanish with greetings, introductions, classroom directions, things pertaining to the classroom, and the weather. The study of Spanish-speaking cultures is also integrated into the lessons. The program is based off of the Realidades textbook and curriculum that is used in the Spanish middle school program. To learn more about the California World Language Content standards and language acquisition please visit:


The Hillsborough City School District (HCSD) has a district-wide giftedness identification system this year using a group ability test called the OLSAT-8 (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test). While there is no formal gifted program, teachers provide differentiation in the classroom for these students based on their needs. The OLSAT-8 is given to students in Kindergarten, second grade, or any students new to the district.


The district screens students new to North who speak a primary language other than English in the home. Children who are admitted to the English Learner program receive individual or small group instruction called English Language Development by their classroom teacher and the school’s English Language Development Specialist in order to help them learn English speaking, reading, and writing skills. In order to learn more about the English Language Development Content Standards, please visit:


North School has a full-time counselor on site every day of the week. The counselor is available to confer with students, parents, and staff. The counselor proactively meets with whole classes, groups, individuals on many social and emotional wellness topics.


Upon referral by the Child Support Team (CST), the Resource Specialist provides assessment for children who appear to have special educational needs.Children who are admitted to the RSP receive individual or small group instruction.


North School has a full-time Speech and Language pathologist onsite.Parents and teachers may refer children with suspected speech or language difficulties to the Speech pathologist for screening.Upon entrance into the program, students receive speech therapy from the Speech and Language pathologist.


North School offers related services such as Occupational Therapy and Adapted Physical Education for students who are eligible.


    • 300 El Cerrito Avenue
    • Hillsborough,
    • CA
    • 94010
  • Phone (650) 342-5193
  • Fax (650) 342-6964

Our schools have received 26 California Distinguished School Awards, 7 National Blue Ribbon Awards, and 29 Kent Awards for Innovative Programs. Our success is due to high quality staff, committed and involved families and community members, a supportive Board, a cohesive vision, and a strong commitment to excellence.
Interested in current district discussions, view Superintendent Reports here.

More than two decades of research findings are unequivocal: the most important aspect of a school in terms of student learning is teacher quality, and our teachers are among the best!

Students in K-2 have access to a reading specialist. 3rd-5th grade students participate in our Innovation Labs where they create and explore. K-5 students participate in music classes, and 4th-8th grade students have access to instrument instruction. Spanish instruction begins in 4th grade, and Mandarin is offered in our middle school. All of our schools have a dedicated counselor, teacher librarian, physical educator, and more!

Through the generosity of donors, the Hillsborough Schools Foundation pledged $3.5 million to our schools for this school year. Last year's Fund-A-Need raised funds for traffic and safety. Thank you!
Interested in current district discussions, view Superintendent Reports here.

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Interested in current district discussions, view Superintendent Reports here.

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