Developing the Whole Child

The Bay View Academy (BVA) instructional model emphasizes academic rigor and a theme-based, integrated curriculum approach aligned with state standards and core curriculum frameworks. Instructional planning follows state-adopted and state-approved materials and incorporates skills-focused course work in language arts and mathematics. BVA’s thematic component employs multi-disciplinary units of study in which social studies and science standards form the initial design focus, and language arts, math, and other disciplines like Spanish and the arts are developed to support the main themes. These units may be several weeks long, perhaps longer. These thematic units offer students the chance to delve deeply into content, developing an awareness and understanding of existing connections between ideas and topics. Students have the opportunity to put to use their knowledge and skills in math, language arts, social studies, science, visual and performing arts, languages, and technology by working together in teams, and as individuals, to solve problems, answer important questions, and engage with their community.

Thematic Units - Stimulate and Support Student Learning

BVA thematic units may incorporate project-based learning, demonstrations, simulations, and/or community connections. The project part may use multiple approaches: inquiry-based, wherein students work to answer their own questions about a topic; problem-based, they work to solve a problem presented by the teacher; or service-based, wherein students work to help our community while showing understanding of the topic covered. However, the scope and format of a project is always designed to match the learning needs and developmental abilities of the students. BVA hires highly qualified teachers with grade-level expertise and an understanding of their age group’s developmental learning needs. Thematic units provide a sound learning environment wherein multiple teaching approaches can be employed, providing additional support for at-risk students and English language learners.
See Thematic Units from previous school years.

BVA Thematic Units  2016-2017

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5

Unit 6



Food and Traditions




Motion and Stability


All About Us in Our Community

Stunning Science

(Light and Sound)

Celebrations Around the World

Team USA

Nature Watch

Adventures in Time


Community, Family, & Friends

Dynamic Earth

Maps, Lands & Ancestry

Plants and Insects

What’s the Matter?

Producers and Consumers


This Land is Your Land

Monterey Past and Present

Folk Tales

Wild Weather

Claws and Camouflage

Forces & Interactions



Survive and Thrive

Quest for California

Energy and Waves

Earth’s Changing Surface



Native American Communities


What’s the Matter?


Let’s Start a Revolution

Westward Migration


The First Communities

The Birth of Civilization

Ancient Asia

Human Impact on the Environment


Human Impact on the Environment


Human Impact on the Environment




Earth’s Changing Surface

Natural Hazards

The Building blocks of Life

Web of Energy

Biodiversity in Ecosystems

Seventh Humanities

The Medieval Middle East

Medieval Europe

Medieval China and Japan

Meso-America & Andean Civilizations

The Renaissance & Reformation

16-18th Century Civilizations



Earth’s Place in the Universe

Biological Evolution: Unity & Diversity

Human impact on Earth’s Resources


Newton’s Laws

Ready, Set, GO!




Early Republic

Early American People


Nation Building

Industrial Revolution


Student-Centered Learning Empowers Students

The curriculum is student-centered and allows for student voice and choice. It is structured to provide multiple exposures to content, using direct instruction, group learning, small group study, and individual work. Students may be involved in planning the projects, as well as assessing their success in reaching goals. This authentic involvement empowers students to become proactive about their learning; students bring their personal interests and curiosity into the development of their final products or performances. This allows them to use what they’ve learned in a way that provides a deeper understanding of curriculum content.

Community Focus Improves Learning

One of the Academy’s core commitments is to provide community-focused learning opportunities that are student-focused and encourage the study of student-identified questions and issues. Units and projects are planned to have relevance to students’ lives, drawing in or reaching out to community partners and local experts who provide a context for their questions and learning. Research clearly demonstrates that learning which uses the school’s community as its context results in significantly higher standardized test scores when compared to traditional approaches which use projects and field trips as mere accessories to a text-based curriculum.