PRE-KINDERGARTEN - 8TH GRADE
The curriculum of St. Gregory the Great Catholic School is grounded in our Catholic identity. Weaving together a rigorous academic curriculum, along with a Catholic foundation and focus, our school offers an education that forms a student’s physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual development. Catholic Curriculum Standards developed by the Cardinal Newman Society are integrated into all of St. Gregory’s subject areas from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Excellence is encouraged and expected in all areas of our school.
The goal of the religion curriculum is to instill in students an enthusiasm for living and loving their Catholic faith. Our curriculum presents the students with a comprehensive study of the Catholic Church rooted in Catholic values. From year to year the students are exposed to Scripture that relates Catholic beliefs, sacred Tradition, and faith to their lives. A large component of our religion classes is community service. Through many projects and events, students participate in helping the parish and surrounding communities. St. Gregory students participate in planning weekly school liturgies, Sunday liturgies, and prayer services. Students in second grade prepare for and receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion while the eighth grade class prepares for and receives the sacrament of Confirmation.
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts curriculum encompasses many components: reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, and speaking and listening. The main objective for St. Gregory’s ELA program is to instill a love of reading and writing. Using anthologies and novels, students are exposed to different genres from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and in this manner, students discover what they enjoy. Using the Renaissance Learning program, we determine reading levels for individual students and target our instruction to provide optimal learning.
Students begin writing activities as early as PK-3. As a student progresses through each grade level, writing activities provide practice in vocabulary usage, spelling, and all elements of grammar. Through essay writing and research projects, writing is a cross curricular activity that occurs in all grade levels.
Mathematics instruction is designed so students become confident mathematical problem solvers who can think, reason, and communicate processes and results. Computational skills and number concepts are essential components of the mathematics curriculum; by the end of the middle grades, students have a solid foundation in number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement, and statistics. Renaissance Learning’s STAR math program is used each quarter to gauge where each student stands with respect to the standards. Using this data, teachers target strengths and weaknesses for each child and are able to focus the curriculum accordingly. In fifth through eighth grades, there is an advanced math program for students that meet specified criteria. Seventh and eighth grade students may also have the opportunity to earn high school credit for algebra and geometry.
The science curriculum uses current technology to deepen the understanding of science concepts. The students are asked to inquire, think, predict, analyze, and apply their knowledge to create connections between what they know and real-life experiences. Thinking critically is an important component of the science curriculum from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. In the younger grades, students are exposed to all strands of science: nature of science, earth science, life science, and physical science. In the upper grades, the content is more focused and expands upon specific strands covered at each grade level: sixth grade - earth science, seventh grade - life science, and 8th grade - physical science.
Another important part of our science program is the STEAM laboratory for kindergarten through eighth grade. The STEAM Laboratory is a special class that is cross curricular and multi-faceted. Coursework and curriculum in the STEAM lab is differentiated for each grade level, allowing students to build upon their knowledge each year, preparing them for higher education. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) is an integrated course taught through inquiry-based learning, teaching students to acquire knowledge through experience, exploration, critical thinking, and real-world problem solving. It is predominantly an engineering design course in which it implements grade level science content, technology as a learning tool, and artistic and mathematical reasoning and problem solving. In the STEAM lab, students are exposed to scientific inquiry, engineering, drafting, 2D and 3D model design, 3D printing technology, and robotic coding and programming.
Social studies encompasses a wide range of topics that expands a student’s global view and knowledge base. Lessons, in all grades, are designed around geography, people, places, events, government, and economy. Through each year of social studies, students develop their abilities to think and reason as they become globally aware citizens with a democratic disposition.
Each week, students participate in an integrated technology program. Technology skills are taught as part of the curriculum with collaboration between our technology resource teacher and classroom teachers. Students visit the technology lab where they work as individuals or in groups to complete classroom projects. Pre-kindergarten through fourth grade have iPads, and Chromebooks for their use. In fifth through eighth grades, students participate in a 1:1 technology program where they use the Google for Education products, such as Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Classroom, and a school-issued Gmail account. All classes from K-8 have access to digital textbooks for the majority of their subjects.
We strongly believe that curriculum and content must drive instruction, not technology. However, mobile technology devices are changing the way we think and learn. As educators, we have the responsibility of ensuring that our students thrive in the 21st century. Our students have access to volumes of information, use critical thinking skills to evaluate the information, and develop new ideas. They use technology to creatively and efficiently create products that encompass 21st century learning skills.
Fine arts education is an essential part of our school curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to express themselves through music, visual arts, and drama. These classes are included in our rotation of specials classes with drama class available beginning in third grade.
Drama - Students learn about theater history, character development, and acting as well as work on developing skills that will work hand in hand with public speaking, to increase self confidence.
Music - Classroom music instruction exposes students to a variety of musical genres, as well as basic music theory elements. Students listen to and analyze music critically, using specifically learned musical terminology. Students also begin to apply basic music theory skills through grade level appropriate exercises and/or projects. Students sing a varied repertoire of music with a focus on modern praise and worship music. Beginning in first grade, students may participate in our violin program and in third grade students may enroll in the full band program.
Visual Arts - Art History is introduced through projects that employ the artist’s style and medium in an advanced complexity of execution. More advanced and complex art elements are reinforced in projects such as line, shape, form, color, texture, space, and value. Tools and techniques are used and reinforced in projects such as cutting, ruler use, paint brushes, weaving, wax resist, armature, and plaster.
Spanish classes are offered to all students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The curriculum covers the areas of listening, oral, reading, and writing skills. Through this course of study, students attain a deep knowledge of Latin and Spanish cultures. Through the use of songs, poems and stories, students in the primary grades learn basic vocabulary, greetings, expressions of courtesy, numbers, and colors. The upper grades use thematic units to learn about families, geography, the arts, and idiomatic expressions, along with grammar and writing. Differentiated instruction based on knowledge of the Spanish language is provided.
Physical education classes assist in the development of physical, motor, and developmental skills, while teaching the importance of teamwork and providing lifetime fitness skills. In the primary grades, themes are used to begin developing competence in physical skills: locomotive, non-manipulative, and manipulative. After specific skills are developed, students use these skills in game play according to age and ability. Intermediate grade level students are exposed to fitness circuits and more complex and integrated movement patterns and games that focus on individual and team sport skills. During each class students are encouraged to live a healthy and active lifestyle through formal and informal instruction.