Elementary School

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CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac Catholic School provides a Christ-centered, challenging, comprehensive, and relevant curriculum for all students.

A continuum of learning is achieved through the use and development of adopted national, state, and Diocesan grade-level curriculum standards for the achievement of the School-wide Learning Expectations. The criteria set forth in these standards are accomplished through various curricular resources which are inclusive, challenging, and significant for optimal instruction of the students.

Based on the school’s philosophy, we have the opportunity to create a curriculum uniquely designed for the aptitude and abilities of our students to support high achievement of all.

Among the unique features of the curriculum are:

RELIGION

The religion curriculum at Saint Jeanne’s combines scripture, Catholic doctrine and traditions, social justice, and the preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Liturgical and para-liturgical services are celebrated in accordance to the church and school calendar. In addition, our campus ministry program is preparing appropriate grade-level retreats as a part of the formation of our youth to inspire them to “go out to all the world, and share the good news.”

In grades pre-school through five, we have incorporated the Blest Are We Faith and Word series published by Benzinger. In this spiral-thematic curriculum, there are six standard themes – one in each grade level – and the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are incorporated into the unit structure at each grade level.  Scripture, the foundation of every chapter, leads to a presentation of Catholic doctrine – statements of belief, worship, morality and prayer. In addition, inspiring stories are included to bring Saints and other important Catholic figures to life.

MATHEMATICS

The mathematics curriculum at Saint Jeanne’s supports the goals of the rigorous Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. We have implemented research-based programs which focus on classroom learning, discussion, and practice. The curriculum balances conceptual understanding, visual learning, and problem solving skills. In grades K-5, we utilize an authentic Singapore Math program which has problem solving as the center of math learning and concepts are taught with a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression through real-world, hands on experiences.

The school levels the math classes in grades 3-8 (grade level, accelerated, and advanced) in an effort to better meet the needs of the students.

Saint Jeanne’s also provides enrichment in the area of mathematics. The school has implemented the Accelerated Math Program in grades 1-8 to improve student’s proficiency in various math skills/objectives. In addition, students in grades 3-8 also have the opportunity to take part in an after school Math Support Program which provides additional instruction and support.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School successfully implements a multiplicity of researched-based resources to provide a challenging, comprehensive, and relevant curriculum for each student.

In grades K – 5, we have implemented Pearson’s Reading Street Curriculum which prioritizes effective strategies of instruction to support higher levels of reading and writing skills. The program provides accessible rigor while increasing the text complexity in reading a balance of appropriate fiction and informational texts. The curriculum contains resources for foundational phonemic awareness, reading fluency, building up of content-area knowledge, as well as the emphasis on close reading (reading analysis), for a higher level of comprehension. It integrates media and 21st century skills and also incorporates a daily focus on writing skills highlighting informative/explanatory, argumentative/opinion, and narrative writing.

As an enhancement to the Language Arts Program the school has also administered the Accelerated Reader Program, Reading A-Z, and Razz Kidz programs which are all designed to provide the students with other opportunities to improve their reading fluency and reading comprehension, as well as expand their vocabulary.

In the area of writing, grades K-8 have also implemented the Step Up to Writing Curriculum which is a rigorous, comprehensive resource of writing strategies that develop the students’ ability to create thoughtful, well-written compositions. This program focuses on the complete writing process and provides instruction to teach each phase of writing.

In addition, Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School has adopted the Zaner Bloser Handwriting Program for grades PK-5. Research has shown that improved handwriting skills has benefits for cognitive development and motor skills and can lead to improved writing skills and reading comprehension.

SCIENCE

Saint Jeanne’s has recently adopted the new “Science Alive” curriculum for grades K-5. This program is based on the Next Generation Science Standards which reflect the “interconnected nature of science as practiced and experienced in the real world.” The series introduces students to a series of practices which help them learn how scientists and engineers work. In this process, students learn how to: obtain, evaluate and communicate information, ask questions and define problems, develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, use mathematics and computational thinking, construct explanations and design solutions, and engage in a debate from the evidence. “Science Alive” also has the Common Core State Literacy Skills embedded, emphasizing reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills while guiding students in developing their scientific knowledge.

SOCIAL STUDIES

The social studies curriculum at Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School has recently been updated in grades K-5. We have adopted the Teachers Curriculum Institute’s online “Social Studies Alive! “Program which teaches students about the world around them in ways that make them excited and motivated to learn. Like the Middle School TCI “History Alive!” program, this interactive program teaches students the skills of small group collaboration, step by step discovery, graphic note-taking, collaborative projects, writing assignments, critical thinking challenges, and problem solving skills. The school now has comprehensive social studies program which appropriately spirals from kindergarten to eighth grade. As an added enrichment experience, each grade level also plans study trips which correlate with the standards that the students are learning.

SPANISH

We are proud to offer the students the opportunity to learn a world language and an appreciation for other cultures at Saint Jeanne’s. The Spanish Curriculum in grades K-3 emphasizes learning objectives and strategies which engage students to make a connection to Spanish. The children acquire the language skills through thematic, integrative approaches that incorporate the content of the general curriculum and use tasks appropriate to their developmental level. In grades 4-8, we have recently adopted the Rosetta Stone Foundational Program which enables students to develop everyday conversational skills through on-line practice and provides students with instant pronunciation feedback and live tutorials. This curriculum has now given the students an opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Students in grades 7-8 who effectively progress through the program will be able to receive high school credits for their world language coursework.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

As part of our well-rounded curriculum, Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School offers a dynamic physical education program in grades pre-school through eighth grades. The ever-popular research-based SPARK PE program provides an inclusive, fun, active, and health-conscious approach to teaching students physical fitness. As an extension to the PE program, Saint Jeanne’s has an active Sports Program for grades 5-8 and compete with local private schools.

ART

Saint Jeanne’s Art curriculum in grades K-5 is based on the principles of the Arts Attack program. This award-winning video based curriculum is designed for the teacher to have students watch and learn from the artist, and then create their own masterpiece. The goal of the art program is to teach every child how to express himself/herself through art and learn to see and experience the world in a different way. Students in grades 6-8 have the option of taking the Art Elective class which offers the unique opportunity for learning more advanced techniques and skills.

MUSIC

The Fine Arts department at Saint Jeanne’s includes Music, Art, and Theater opportunities so that our students are able to participate and appreciate in the aesthetic and performing arts. Students in grades K-5 have weekly music classes to learn the elements and history of music and also participate in musical activities. Students in third grade learn to play the recorder. Our students may also participate in our school choirs as well as our new band program.

SAINT JEANNE DE LESTONNAC ENRICHMENT PROGRAM

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School is blessed to have a school enrichment program which offers additional support to our K-8 students who have individualized learning needs. In grades K-5 qualified students have pull-out periods for focused individualized or small group learning. In middle school, there are designated periods for either push in or pull out services.

TECHNOLOGY

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School is blessed to have a wealth of technological resources which enhance instruction and learning. Both teachers and students use technology for instruction/learning, varied assignments, creative projects, collaboration, research, and assessment. Each grade level from first through fifth have their own I pad cart with 25 I pads to share between their grade for their workshops, research projects, exploring our online curricular materials and resources, collaboration, and varied assessments.

In addition to the laptops and Ipads, each classroom has 3-6 desktop or Mac computers for student use. The school also has a computer lab, and Mac lab for additional technology instruction/classes. Teachers also have access to their own computers, projectors, document cameras, Mac TVs as well as mimeo devices in the middle school which enhance solid instruction.