Saint Mary Academy Curriculum
Language Arts is made up of reading and writing. In grades K-5 at Saint Mary Academy, teachers utilize the Benchmarks Literacy program which includes short, mini lessons on skills and strategies, guided reading groups at students’ reading levels, and Daily Five Centers at grades K-2 to practice skills by reading to self, reading to buddies, working on writing, listening to reading, and word work. Students in 3-5 read independently and in groups with peers to practice skills while the teacher works with small groups. Students also engage in reader’s theater to develop fluency and public speaking and word work to develop phonics and spelling skills. Students are individually assessed to determine strengths and needs in reading. Benchmarks Literacy also has a writing component with mini lessons and independent and small group writing time to develop writing skills, grammar skills and mechanics. Students in grades 3-8 learn Greek and Latin roots for vocabulary.
In grades 6-8, students explore literature through mini lessons, literature circles, novel studies and the use of signposts (lifelong strategies for fiction and nonfiction text). In writing, students learn how to compose personal narratives/memoirs, reports, essays, research papers, and persuasive pieces. Writing and reading skills are also embedded in the content area work - science, social studies and religion.
Students in K-5 develop conceptual understanding of skills, automaticity of math facts, math reasoning and communication of thinking, and flexible strategies for problem solving. We incorporate hands on learning and give students opportunities to build and explore with manipulatives to understand math concepts before teaching them a standard algorithm. Students in sixth grade work on building on the basic skills taught in K-5. Students in seventh grade take pre-Algebra and eighth graders take Algebra.
Our K-5 science program follows the guide of the Next Generation Science Standards approach of exploring concepts through hands on experiences first. After this exploration and discovery, students deepen their understanding through reading, videos, and teacher direction. Students experience hands on and collaborative learning throughout each unit.
Middle school Science begins each unit with working through information in the interactive science book and with direct teaching. Students conduct labs and hands on experiences to enrich the learning for students.
Social Studies K-8 instruction includes an inquiry approach, with students exploring the the content and answers to inquiry in a variety of ways (projects, collaboration with peers, research, discussion, videos and the new text series that was chosen by Saint Mary Academy.) The framework includes topics for exploration at each year with a focus on engaged citizenship.
Students participate in daily prayer, reflection, and specific Catholic Doctrine teaching at all grade levels. Each grade level has a Stewardship focus. Grade levels participate in a variety of activities to address community needs based on the stewardship focus. In collaboration with Saint Bernadette, students have opportunities to participate in weekly liturgy, the stations of the cross, adoration, and reconciliation. Sacramental preparation occurs at grades 2 (Reconciliation and First Eucharist) and 8 (Confirmation).