TOPS K-8 School


TOPS K-8 Academics

Reading & Writing 

Strong reading and writing skills are important across all subject areas and are a focus of instruction through all grades at TOPS. Elementary students participate in the district literacy curricula Being a Reader, Being a Writer, and Making Meaning through the Center for the Collaborative Classroom (CCC). Students build skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, phonics, and vocabulary, including practice with short stories and non-fiction reports, and learning publish their writing. Middle school students refine their reading skills and focus on literary analysis with short stories and novels, and more complex writing. 

TOPS teachers encourage daily reading outside of school to build skills and vocabulary for readers at all grades. All grades participate in book checkout from the TOPS library and have access to books from classroom libraries. Students participate in reading and writing programs including in the Global Reading challenge (4th and 5th grade), the national Battle of the Books (DHH students in middle school), Writers in the Schools programming (5th and 6th grade), and younger elementary students participate in small group reading instruction and have access to online reading through a log-in and password from their teacher for Raz-Kids. Our K-3 grades are supported by a Reading Specialist. 

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As a K-8 school, TOPS is able to ensure that our students’ mathematics education is closely coordinated from Kindergarten through Middle School.   Math content at each grade level is guided by the Common Core Standards and supported by district provided materials: Math in Focus (Elementary) and enVision2.0 (Middle School).  Our methods of instruction and additional instructional materials are coordinated by the math teachers and Principal, with support from our Math Specialist.  Upper elementary students may participate in a weekly math lab to play math games and explore math concepts supervised by a teacher.   All 8th grade middle school students are enrolled in Algebra I to facilitate entry into Geometry in 9th grade.   

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Science instruction at TOPS is inquiry based and we use hands-on investigations, field trips, discussions, and computer resources to explore grade level topics:

  • Life science – plants and animals and their interdependence in ecosystems, structures and functions, matter and energy in systems, growth and development in organisms
  • Earth and space sciences – weather, climate, patterns and processes of Earth systems, solar system and stars, human impacts and environmental change
  • Physical science – forces, waves (sound and light), properties of matter, energy, chemical reactions
  • Engineering processes – questioning, observing, modeling, designing solutions, fair testing, redesign

All schools in the Seattle School district are transitioning toward Next Generation Science Standards and will move towards adopting the Amplify science curriculum. TOPS teachers also utilize staff and community resources to explore local and global science topics of interest to TOPS students and offer science-related activities at school including active composting and recycling in each classroom, ecology field trips, gardening, terra-cycling, the LYFE (Live Your Future Earth) student group, science fair, and participation in the global climate change walkout (middle school).

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Social Studies

TOPS students focus on individual, family, community, cultural, and world perspectives as they move from elementary to middle school. Teachers are actively encouraging exploration of human impact on the environment, community resources, rights and responsibilities, cultural heritage of local native tribes, Washington and US government, and more through social studies instruction. 

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All Middle School students have two elective periods in which to take support courses or courses of interest. Courses change quarterly and have recently included music, art, PE, world languages (French and Spanish), leadership, technology, yoga, and study hall.