Middle 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 six –through eight, we have adopted the “Finding God” series by Loyola Press. This curricular program, “presents the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church through active-learning techniques that allow children to participate, learn, and grow in faith and discipleship. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, the Finding God program engages the whole child-mind, heart, body, and soul-uniquely guiding children to practice prayer and reflection, to explore scripture, and to find God in all things.

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. The middle school mathematics program develops the students’ problem solving skills, improves their conceptual understanding, and provides students with the tools they’ll need for ongoing success in Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry depending on the level of each student.

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.

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 grades 6-8, the school has recently adopted the latest cutting-edge digital curriculum published by McGraw Hill which engages students in literature exploration with an expanding digital library with 900+ fiction/nonfiction texts and excerpts. This rich, Common Core aligned program inspires students to become critical thinkers and offers extensive, robust, literature-based comparative writing practice and has ample grammar practice and vocabulary instruction embedded into the program.

SCIENCE

In grades 6-8 the students are engaged in learning earth, life, and physical science through the “California Science Explorer” program. As part of the curriculum, the students learn the same practices mentioned above which develop their skills as scientists and engineers.

The program provides a number of hands-on lab experiments which provide the practice of real world science experiences. It is the plan to adopt the new “Science Alive” curriculum for our middle school students which emphasizes the Next Generation Science Standards when it is completed in early 2018.

SOCIAL STUDIES

We have adopted the Teachers Curriculum Institute’s 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. 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

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. Our students may also participate in our school choirs as well as our new band program.

MIDDLE SCHOOL ELECTIVES

The elective classes for middle school were developed to provide an opportunity for students to explore courses within their interests. In sixth grade, the students are all enrolled into the study skills course the first trimester and then have choices of theater, and art for the next trimesters. In both seventh and eighth grades, students can opt for art, theater, newspaper, or the school yearbook.

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 middle school, there are designated periods for either push in or pull out services.

ONE TO ONE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL

The middle school students at Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School have the privilege to be issued their own laptop device in an effort to enhance their education and prepare them for 21st century learning.

TECHNOLOGY

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School is blessed to have a wealth of technological resources which enhance instruction and learning. In grades 6-8, each student is issued their own laptop computer to explore their learning both in the classroom as well as in the home setting. Both teachers and students use technology for instruction/learning, varied assignments, creative projects, collaboration, research, and assessment.

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.