St. Joseph Catholic School’s curriculum is based on the State Common Core Standards. Building on this core academic content, the instructional program also works to develop the essential skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Some of our curriculum highlights include:
• Strong Faith Formation Program which intertwines daily instruction, prayer, and reflection to deepen students’ Catholic identity. The program also includes:
- Weekly Mass led by the children
- Confession offered during the school day every Wednesday for grades 3-8
- Participation in a Service Program for grades 7-8 (including work in a local soup kitchen)
- Adoration devotions
- Weekly classroom visits by the priests
- Opportunities to become altar servers for all 5-8 grade students
- Parish Youth Group
• Math Program implemented in 2008-2009 of Envision Math K-5 math program. Using a Singapore Approach this program will focus on:
- A precise framework of concepts and skills
- Concepts and skills taught in depth to allow for mastery
- Use of a concrete-to visual-to abstract development of concepts using model drawings to connect visual representation to problem solving
- Emphasis on problem solving considered central to all mathematics study
- Pre-Algebra/Algebra program at the middle school level.
- Opportunity for the eighth graders to participate at the local high school for advance math course.
K- 8 Writing/Composition and Reading Programs developed by and supported through the work of Lucy Calkins and the "Teachers Reading and Writing Project” of Teachers College Columbia University. Through these K-8 programs explicit writing and reading instruction is delivered daily in a planned and sequential way, developing within students writing skills in a variety of genre.
• Technology is embedded throughout the curriculum to maximize learning opportunities in all content areas. This is supported through:
- Technology Integration Specialist, a teacher who works with teachers in planning and designing lessons and with students in classrooms to support technology integration into the instructional program.
- Smart™ Boards (interactive whiteboards) and document cameras in every classroom.
- COWs (Computers On Wheels laptop mobile labs) in each classroom as well as the library
- Wireless school campus
- Every teacher has a laptop to facilitate instructional planning and parent communication.
- RenWeb™ student data software system allows parents to access lesson plans, homework, grades, behavior reports, announcements, lunch menus, and other grade specific information from any location via the web.
• Science in K-5 is based on the Delta Science Modules and anchored in science concepts and process skills. Individual student “Science Notebooks” are used in grades 1-5. These notebooks help build observation, critical thinking, and writing skills. These skills are continued throughout grades 6-8. Scientific inquiry skills, experiment safety, moral responsibility, and historical practices are emphasized each year. Class discussion also includes helping students realize their responsibilities as Christian scientists.
• Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) standardized testing is administered three times a year. This computer adaptive standardized test dynamically adjusts to each student’s performance level providing a better indicator of students' true achievement and academic needs. Using this test data, teachers can identify the skills and concepts individual students have learned; diagnose instructional needs of individual students; and monitor academic growth over time.
• Arts offerings include weekly lessons in music, Band and Spanish classes for all K-8 students. Band is opened to all 4-8 graders with small group lessons beginning during the school day on Wednesdays. The fee for band is $20.00 plus the cost of instrument rental.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and the most studied foreign language due to the growing population in our country. It is also the primary language of 21 countries. Multiple studies have shown that being exposed to a foreign language from a young age will maximize its acquisition and minimize the effort that it takes to acquire that skill.
• Modified block scheduling for middle school students (6th-8th) provides a structure that increases student learning and helps develop key work habits, such as goal setting, planning, prioritizing, and managing time. Block scheduling also provides more time for:
- guided application of skills through hands-on activities, labs, and technology.
- in-depth study of more complex concepts and processes.
- students to ask questions and receive one-on-one help.
• Pre-K Program is a pre-school program for three and four year-olds. The program is based on the Illinois Early Learning Standards and offers opportunities for academic, social, spiritual and physical development.