A brief overview of our curriculum
Kindergarten through 8th grade integrate Sadlier Inc.’s We Believe Series (2004 edition) throughout the religion curriculum. Our religion program includes a developmental study of religious truths and Sacred Scripture, Sacramental preparation, participation in worship, congregational singing, practice in Christian living, and growth in Christian ethics and morality. Through the practical application of our daily living, religion becomes the unifying force in our school.
St. Agnes School’s religion curriculum is further supplemented with the weekly preparation of the children for the Sunday liturgies. Throughout the school year, the students attend Eucharist regularly. Students in grades 3–8 plan these liturgies as well as other para-liturgies for the entire school. Monthly school Masses are celebrated with the parish community as well.
In addition, a program for enhancing family life education is also taught. As part of our religious formation program, Family life is taught from 4th through 8th grade. The Benziger Family Life Program is used to forge a strong and unique partnership between families and school. Family Life instruction encompasses the moral educational needs of youth with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the practice of Christian virtues.
Students explore novels, short stories, essays, and poems to provide practice in each of the language arts: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students write a variety of responses to literary works including formal and informal responses and essays, narratives and poems to develop critical thinking and literary appreciation. The language arts curriculum, in grades 3 – 8, is taught as an integrated course: reading strategies, vocabulary, grammar, and essay writing center on a core literary work. The 6+1 Trait® Writing Program, which focuses on idea, organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency and conventions, forms the foundation of the writing program.
Reading/Literature – Children in grades kindergarten through second grade use the Rowland Reading Foundation program: Superkids, which integrates phonics, reading, writing, spelling, and grammar. Phonics-based online reading programs such as A-Z Reading and RAZ Kids are used in 1st and 2nd grade to reinforce skills. Students in grades 3 and 4 use basal texts and class sets of literature novels are also used in the 2nd – 8th grade levels. Reading instruction is supported throughout the curriculum.
Accelerated ReaderTM, a program designed for 2nd grade and beyond to enhance and improve reading accuracy, comprehension, and skills is an integrated part of the curriculum. Students are assessed and then read at a particular level based on that assessment. Students take a test after reading each book and progress through the various reading levels as their skills improve.
Houghton Mifflin publishes the math series used in grades K through 5 and McDougal- Littell publishes the series used in grades 6 through 8. At the 8th grade level, algebra is taught. McDougal-Littell publishes the textbooks and associated materials used by most students. Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Math program materials are used for the accelerated algebra course taken by some students. Mathletics is a web-based application used to supplement instruction during the year as well as maintain and deepen skills over the summer break. The mathematics program includes:
- Number fact recall
- Appropriate use of calculators to enhance learning
- Number sense
- Mental math
- Problem solving
- Conceptual understanding
- Process and conclusion communication
- Computer applications to enhance learning
- Other grade-level-appropriate content areas
The science curriculum allows students to discover the many ways that science affects their lives. St. Agnes School incorporates the following textual programs: kindergarten through 5th grade use the 2007 edition of Houghton Mifflin (California edition) series. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grades use the 2007 publication of Prentice Hall (California edition). In addition, students conduct labs and experiments to better reinforce science concepts. Students in grades 6 through 8 are required to participate in the annual school science fair.
Physical education provides children with the opportunity to acquire and develop gross and fine motor physical skills, confidence and camaraderie, as well as physical and mental well-being. Organized classes of activities, exercises and seasonal sports are taught according to students’ abilities and needs. Extra-curricular sports activities such as basketball and track are available to all students through the parish CYO program.
Art and Music
Each classroom teacher integrates art throughout the curriculum. Music instruction takes place in the music classroom by a specialized teacher. Students are offered music theory, musical understanding, and appreciation through the use of tuned and un-tuned Orff instruments, in addition to vocal training instruction. Liturgical music is taught at all grade levels. English hand bells are offered as an optional part of the music instruction as an extra-curricular activity in 5th grade. Choir is offered as an extracurricular activity for grades 2 through 8.
St. Agnes School offers a Spanish program where the emphasis is to develop basic conversational skills and expose students to the language and culture of Hispanic and Latin American people. Students in grades 4 through 8 have a Spanish book to guide and enhance their command of the language.
The purpose for incorporating the use of computers into the school curriculum is to reinforce, augment and enrich core curriculum, and to develop computer literacy; that is, the skills and knowledge necessary to survive in a society dependent on technology for handling information and problem solving.
The computer lab is equipped with iMac computers. Ten notebook computers are also available for classroom use. Interactive whiteboards, projectors, and document cameras have been purchased for every classroom.
Educational software is available in the areas of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science for levels K through 8. The curriculum provides students with additional learning in all academic areas. Keyboarding in grades 3 through 8, word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation skills for those same grade levels are integrated throughout the curriculum. It is the expectation of the school that teachers and instructional assistants will collaborate with the technology coordinator in both planning and scheduling to provide for the integration of instruction at all levels of the curriculum.