K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 90 minute reading block.

Materials and Assessments Used

  • The Next Steps for Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
  • Literacy Framework
    • Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Partner Reading, Comprehension, Accuracy and Fluency
  • Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy for Intervention
  • iReady

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Teach essential skills and strategies.
    Effective reading teachers teach skills, strategies, and concepts.
  2. Provide differentiated instruction based on assessment results and adapt instruction to meet students' needs.
    Effective teachers recognize that one size doesn't fit all and are ready to adapt instruction-both content and methods.
  3. Provide explicit and systematic instruction with lots of practice-with and without teacher support and feedback, including cumulative practice over time.
    Students should not have to infer what they are supposed to learn.
  4. Provide opportunities to apply skills and strategies in reading and writing meaningful text with teacher support.
    Students need to be taught what to do when they get to a "hard word."
  5. Don't just "cover" critical content; be sure students learn it-monitor student progress regularly and reteach as necessary.
    Effective teachers adjust their teaching accordingly to try to accelerate student progress.


K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 60 minute writing block.

Materials and Assessments Used

  • The Write Tools
  • Fundations (K-3rd)
  • Words Their Way (4th-6th)
  • Rubrics for Assessment

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Instruction is tailored to meet individual needs
  2. Systematic and Explicit Instruction
  3. Progress Monitoring for growth
  4. Authentic Projects and Assessments


K-6 grade teachers have agreed to a 75 minute math block.

Materials and Assessments Used

  • enVision
  • iReady
  • CML (Continental Math League)

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.
  2. Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children's ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.
  3. Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.
  4. Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.

Science/Social Studies

K-4: Science and social studies are integrated into the literacy block where students are able to use real world experiences and content knowledge to build a strong foundation of all science and social studies standards.

5-6: Due to departmentalization, science and social studies are taught in a specific 70 minute class per day.

Materials and Assessments Used

  • STEMScopes

Important at Stone Mountain

  1. Authentic Experiences for students
  2. Connection to 21st Century Skills
  3. Hands-on experiences
  4. Inquiry based


Differentiation is at the heart of what we believe at Stone Mountain. It ensures that all of our students receive the best education possible.

What is differentiation at SME?

Differentiation is how each and every one of our teachers meets the needs of ALL of our students. Every child is greeted with teachers who believe in helping each child to reach their fullest potential through instruction that is tailored to each student's need. Every child at Stone Mountain is expected to show at least a year's growth. Every teacher embraces each child and their current level of instruction and plans specific and individualized lessons to match and enrich the current level. This process helps all of our students to be successful, show growth and mastery, and set goals for improvement.

What does differentiation look like at Stone Mountain?

Differentiation begins at the very beginning of the school year. In order to meet the need of every child at Stone Mountain, teachers use a variety of assessments to determine both current strengths and areas for growth. We use a variety of assessments to accurately identify each student's needs.

  • Literacy includes iReady, Jan Richardson Reading Assessment, Comprehension Strategy Assessment, Write Tools, Fundations, Words Their Way and other classroom assessments.
  • Mathematics include pre and post testing for units of instruction and iReady.

Once the assessments have been scored and strengths and areas for growth are identified, our teachers and students go to work. Our teachers work collaboratively together and with our students to create pathways for learning that are purposeful and meaningful to each individual. At SME, students are a part of the process.

How do we differentiate?

  • Small group instruction based on students' needs: These groups are flexible and change throughout the year as students progress through their own learning pathway. Once a skill or concept is mastered, students move on to the next skill in their learning pathway. This occurs in literacy and mathematics.
  • Conferring: Throughout the reading and writing processes in the classrooms, our teachers meet with kids individually. This process allows for the teacher to give direct instruction to every child with concepts that are needed at that given point in time. This allows the teacher to give meaningful instruction to each student with lessons that are specific to the child.
  • RTI: We also have two RTI specialists. They collaboratively work with teachers to provide extra support in literacy and math for students who have this as a need.
  • GT: In addition the regular classroom instruction, we also have two GT teachers who work collaboratively with teachers to extend the curriculum and challenge our learners who fall under the Gifted and Talented criteria. In addition to meeting the needs of our GT students, they work with teachers to provide small group instruction for students who need to go beyond the grade level curriculum.
  • Pre and Post Testing: Teachers at SME utilize pre-tests to determine which skills/lessons are already known by each student in the class. Teachers can then group kids for instruction based on their needs. Students may be given extra support or enriched and extended based upon the pre-tests. Post-tests help our students to see the growth and progress that has been made within a unit of instruction.
  • Goal Setting: Students are a part of differentiation at SME. They work with their teachers to set goals for their learning based upon their assessments and daily work. They also work in a variety of ways to track their progress towards their goals.

Differentiation for our students helps each child to reach their fullest potential. It is best practice in instruction. We strive to meet all of our kids' needs in these meaningful and purposeful lessons and units of instruction.



I am so pleased to be your child's art teacher this year. Your child will get the opportunity to explore many types of art and materials this year and create meaningful pieces of art and twice as often as they did last year!

Some of the media we will be exploring this year are clay and glaze, acrylic paint, india ink, oil pastels, pastels, wire yarn and fabric, wood, and embellishments such as feathers, nails, tissue paper, buttons, sparkles, glitter and too many others to list.

Cavenwarts is going strong! What's that? We have divided the table groups into houses, much like the infamous “Hogwarts” in Harry Potter. Each house has 1st-6th grades earning points for the whole house total score. Our house names are Picasso, Matisse, Da Vinci and Van Gogh. We even have a house cup that the winning house will get their photo taken with their whole house! Kids are really excited about it.

Thank you for supporting the arts and for the awesome children you send everyday!

Jill Caven


Welcome to the Music Room with Mrs. Berndt!

My goal as your child’s music teacher is to provide all learners with musical experiences that will connect with their personal lives.  Every child will be exposed to and asked to demonstrate basic musical skills that we all continue to develop as lifelong learners: 

~  Creating and performing as a soloist and part of an ensemble

~  Playing on a wide variety of instruments and using the voice in a variety of ways 

~  Demonstrating appropriate audience and performance etiquette 

~  Appreciating styles, genres, cultures and historical influences

~  Responding to aural cues and beat 

~  Showing purposeful movement and/or dance

~  Listening to and evaluating music

~  Composing and/or arranging using standard notation or digital technology

~  Discovering an intrinsic appreciation and personal connection to the musical world around us. 

Depending on the age and grade level of your child, you will find a variety of learning In our class.  This year, you will see scarf and streamer dancing, bucket drumming, Boom whackers, ukuleles, recorders, cultural and rhythm instruments, guitars, performance days, listening lessons, beat activities and community singing games, digital composing, dramatic tableau, and more!  Please come visit any time! 

Kindergarten:  The purpose of this year is to expose young musicians to discover a love for music and singing.  We will explore our voices, musical opposites, rhythm instruments, movement, response to conductor cues, and group performance. The use of literature will support our learning.

First Grade: A continuation and development of all of the above, plus…

We will begin to learn basic music notation (reading and writing) and how to turn them into songs, and game play, supported with instrumental accompaniment.   This year, I introduce ‘Performance Day’ for any musician willing to share their talents and musical interests as we practice audience etiquette.     

Second Grade:  A continuation and development of all of the above, plus…Second graders will begin to use music vocabulary to describe tempo, dynamics, and music symbols found in a student song sheet.   Singers will also learn to follow verses and refrains/chorus in the music. This year, 2nd graders are invited to participate in the 2nd & 3rd grade choir enrichment program before school on Mondays and Friday, January - April.

Third Grade:  A continuation and development of all of the above, plus… 

Third graders will be able to comfortably sing their way through a student song sheet, sing and play challenging rhythms, and be able to sing rounds and partner songs.  This year, students will also learn about the families of instruments in the symphony orchestra, and will experience the performance art of dramatic tableau. We will also explore the basics of how to play a few chords on the new ukuleles.   This year, 3rd graders are invited to participate in the 2nd & 3rd grade choir enrichment program before school on Mondays and Friday, January - April.

Fourth Grade:  A continuation and development of all of the above, plus…   

Fourth graders will learn to read and play treble clef notation using the recorder.   In addition, students will learn the basic C chord family on ukuleles, and will be able to sing and play along to simple songs.    4th graders are invited to participate in the instrumental enrichment program before or after school, and may choose a band or orchestra instrument.   I will be offering all 4th, 5th and 6th graders the opportunity to participate in the choir enrichment program before school on Mondays and Fridays, September - December.

Fifth Grade:  A continuation and development of all of the above, plus… 

We will take a deeper dive into the world of music around us, historical influences, and digital composition.    Using ukuleles, students will be able to play along with more challenging songs as well as read chord charts. If there is time toward the end of the year, I plan to introduce basic guitar skills.  Also, as mentioned above, all 4th - 6th graders are invited to participate in the instrumental and choral enrichment programs offered before and after school.  

Sixth Grade:  A continuation and development of all of the above, plus… 

A culmination of all musical skills!   I also plan to use SME’s guitars to develop guitar skills!   It is my goal to collaborate WITH our 6th grade role model musicians for many projects, including hosting  “musical play dates” with younger classes. What a neat way to foster leadership and performance skills using the ukuleles and/or guitars to work with our younger musicians!    Cindy Berndt cynthia.berndt@dcsdk12.org   


In physical education this year we are working on not only growing and improving our motor skills through various sports and activities but also on creating an atmosphere of good sportsmanship, kindness and treating each other with respect. Our goal is to understand the importance of staying active by exploring different ways in which to accomplish this. The students will be participating in several different sports such as basketball, soccer and volleyball as well as cup stacking, team building and cooperative activities.

Kristy Heckman


Welcome to the STEAM Workshop! My name is Mr. Ryan Stanevich. I'm excited to get the 2020-2021 school year started. The STEAM workshop class is going to give the students an opportunity to challenge themselves by using their imagination, critical thinking skills, and ability to work as a team to explore different ways of learning and thinking about the designs and projects throughout the year.

A Little About Me...

I was born and raised in Colorado, and have lived almost my entire life in Highlands Ranch. I've always enjoyed exploring the amazing natural scenic views that Colorado has to offer by either hiking, playing sports, or just driving through the mountains. Even though I was born and raised here, I'm a die hard Chicago Bears, Cubs, and Blackhawks fan. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies concentrated on Elementary Education, and a minor in Multicultural Anthropology. This will be my first year teaching, and I'm looking forward to meeting all of the great kids at Stone Mountain Elementary!

What the Year Will Look Like...

Each student at Stone Mountain Elementary will visit STEAM for 40 minutes for one week, 9 times throughout the school year. We will be exploring a variety of math and science topics while practicing our engineering skills to build confident thinkers in and out of the classroom. All of our students will also have the opportunity to help build and contribute to a new STEAM stream to decorate our school with. We're going to have a blast together this year, see you all soon!

Ryan Stanevich