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Don Benito Basic School Program – Pasadena Schools

Don Benito Basic School (DBFS) uses a curriculum that will lend itself to teaching the Common Basic National Standards as specified by the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) for use in all of its language arts elementary schools , math, science, social studies, music and art. Don Benito offers additional art classes in conjunction with the Armory Center for the Arts and the My Masterpieces art program, which through projects and excursions connects Pasadena’s rich artistic resources with the student learning. The goal is to create critical thinkers who will be ready to step into the digital world of the 21st century.


iReady and Ready Math by Curriculum Associates:

This program has a consumable and online component. Lessons in Ready Mathematics use an inquiry-based, effective, gradual-release teaching model, with a balance of conceptual understanding and procedural fluency to build confidence and mastery of common core mathematical standards. At the start of the year, all students are assessed with a diagnosis that indicates the current level of the student. This allows teachers to focus on particular skills or relearn skills that students may not have mastered in previous grade levels with access to all lessons for K-8 students and teachers. year. The program has a component that emphasizes teaching with classroom and small group activities that provide teachers with best practice models for teaching a skill. Students are engaged in using technology and guided interactive tutorials to build understanding. Students use Chrome books to solve iReady problems for up to 45 minutes per week, while teachers work with small groups of students. Teacher progress monitors frequently to differentiate instruction.

math club

4th and 5th graders have the opportunity to participate in the Math Club led by one of our resource teachers. This club offers an acceleration of mathematical concepts to further challenge and engage our advanced students. Students have the option of taking an assessment that will determine their eligibility for Math Field Day teams. The Math Field Day contest usually takes place on a Saturday in late March or early April.

English language arts

Balanced Literacy Approach

This approach to teaching literacy ensures that our students are appropriately challenged at their individual reading levels. Each teacher will assess their students to determine their level of independent reading at least 3 times a year. Reading levels are on a continuum from Pre-A level (pre-Kinder) to Z level (8th grade). You will see our teachers working in small groups, students in flexible seats and students reading for fun! Each class has a class library of 375 books. During guided reading instruction, teachers work in small groups of up to 6 students with similar reading levels while other students are in small groups to write, word work, read independently, read with a partner or in a listening centre. The books our teachers use for guided reading groups can be found in our level reading room (Room 30A) with over 5,000 books! Teachers will use these manuals to teach skills and meet standards.


STEMScopes by Accelerated Learning

PUSD partners with leading science institutions located in the Pasadena area to improve science education in the classroom. The K-5 science curriculum is aligned with California standards and introduces students to facts, concepts, principles, theories, and experimental skills through physical science lessons, Earth and life. In sixth grade, students learn earth science and in seventh grade, they learn life science, which includes health education. In eighth grade, students focus on physical science. High school science includes content streams in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Advanced-level, or college-level, courses are offered in chemistry and other subjects.

STEMscopes K-12 creates a student-centered blended STEM learning environment where teachers can teach, engage, and accelerate their diverse students. This program aligned with next-generation science standards provides teachers and students with digital resources, additional printed materials, and practice kits to accommodate individual teaching styles while increasing engagement, rigor, and achievement students. This program uses the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate). Resources for parents and students are also available in Spanish for K-5.

science center

The Science Center is where students have the opportunity to get hands-on experiences related to the science curriculum. Students are guided in developing problem-solving and scientific thinking skills as they apply the scientific method to both prepared experiments and those of their own creation. Our goal is for all students to attend the science lab at least once a month.

social studies

Don Benito uses the social studies curriculum published by Houghton Mifflin. More specific and detailed information about social studies content for each grade level can be found in the Content Standards published on the California State Board of Education website.


Chromium books:

As an academic institution, we recognize the negative ramifications of excessive exposure to computers or “screen time”. Students in the class are not on chrome books at the same time unless they are taking an online assessment. Our goal is to integrate technology into the core curriculum in an authentic setting and foster digital citizenship while using chrome books as a learning tool. Students who do not follow the technology expectations outlined in the PUSD Parent-Student Handbook will lose their privilege.

Don Benito is fully equipped with a 1:1 chrome book to pupil ratio.

Instruction integrates technology into the curriculum and grade level standards.

Students learn:

• Technical skills, such as operating a computer and using various software packages for reporting, analysis and presentation purposes;
• Research skills;
• Coding and keyboarding skills.

Students also have the opportunity to apply these skills to the projects they are working on in their classes.

Physical education

SPARK and peaceful playground

The SPARK physical education program is research-based and proven to promote physical activity and nutrition. This program engages our children through dance, movement, games and organized sports while ensuring our students learn the importance of safety.

To further promote physical activity and reduce behavioral issues, our school offers a quiet play area where children play games with the permanent patterns painted on our upper play area.

PE instruction only occurs during the first 2 hours of the day due to excessive heat. Additionally, research shows that students are more focused and ready to learn after engaging in physical activity.


Elections Don Benito:

Don Benito Grade 5 teachers will add electives to their weekly teaching. Students will choose elective courses each term. Electives vary, but may include: Newspaper Writing/Journalism, Intro to Spanish, Dance and Movement, Chess, Drama, etc.

Social-emotional learning

Second Stage Program by Committee for Children

This universal classroom program is designed to teach children how to understand and manage their emotions, control their reactions, be aware of the feelings of others, and have the skills to solve problems and make responsible decisions. Each grade level kit includes short, easy-to-teach weekly lessons, engaging songs and games, daily activities, and take-home materials to reinforce learning.

Towards a non-use of tobacco: for students in grades 4 to 5 ONLY

Towards No Tobacco Use (TNT) is an age-appropriate tobacco prevention program that has been shown to reduce tobacco use and experimentation among preteens. This program has been endorsed by the Pasadena Unified School District to teach students how to prevent tobacco use. The program primarily emphasizes changing perceptions of the immediate physical consequences of use, changing normative beliefs and perceptions of the prevalence of use, and teaching decision-making, effective communication and assertive refusal skills to increase self-efficacy to not start using. Additionally, students learn active listening skills, ways to build self-esteem, and effective communication skills.

7 Habits of Happy Kids, by Sean Covey

Last year, our students read this book which explains the 7 habits of happy children through the fantastic stories of the 7 oak gang. The seven habits are: (1) be proactive, (2) start with the end in mind, (3) put things first, (4) think win-win, (5) seek first to understand, then be understood, (6) create synergy and (7) sharpen the saw. To reinforce and promote these 7 habits, our students won “golden tickets” for exhibiting the habit of the month.

Have you filled a bucket today? : A Guide to Everyday Happiness for Bucket Kids by Carol McCloud

This year, DBFS is adding an extra layer to its social skills curriculum with Carol McCloud’s Bucket Filling Basics. Our students will learn that everyone has an invisible bucket. Your bucket contains your good thoughts and feelings about yourself. When it is full you are happy and when it is empty you feel sad and lonely. We want our children to learn how to fill other people’s buckets by caring for someone, saying or doing something nice, or even smiling at someone. In turn, they fill their own buckets. On the other hand, we can dip into other people’s buckets by making fun of someone, saying mean things, or even ignoring someone. The good news is that we all have a lid. Your lid is the thoughtful, clear-headed part of you that protects what’s in your bucket. It lets you understand that when other people sink into being indifferent or mean to someone, they are the ones who have the problem. Our goal is to encourage our children to be bucket fillers.

Don Benito Fundamental School, 3700 Denair St., Pasadena, (626) 396-5870 or visit

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