St. Michael School is aligned to the standards of the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Common Core State Standards. These standards identify the material that a student is expected to know and master when they complete a grade level. St. Michael School has already been incorporating many of the aspects of the Common Core into our teaching philosophy for many years. Teaching the students to think critically and defend their opinions with text-based arguments or to be fluent in the mastery of fractions or multiplication has already been featured in our curriculum and aligns well with our philosophy.
St. Michael School believes that all out students deserve a rigorous and challenging education that meets their individual needs. Teachers and staff nurture the talents and strengths of their students while helping them to develop all the skills necessary to become well-rounded students. The foundation of our educational program is the gospel directive given by Jesus to the apostles to go forth and teach. It is the teachers’ mission to reflect the love and caring that Christ had for all his children, and to provide a safe and encouraging educational environment.
The purpose of the St. Michael School religion curriculum is formation of the Catholic faith and Christian values, teaching students to live out those values in their daily lives. Our students, by graduation, have a strong understanding of the values of love, respect, forgiveness, honesty, compassion, and service to others. They also know the difference between right and wrong and are able to make good life choices. Additionally, they have a clear understanding of the value of Christian family life. The program is designed to be grade and age appropriate. Doctrine and values are communicated using vocabulary, concepts and methodologies that are gradual and build from Kindergarten through grade eight. Weekly liturgies expand on and reinforce the values taught in the classroom.
The mathematics curriculum strives to prepare students for graduation and beyond through a process of introduction, development, reinforcement, and mastery, sequentially through grades K-8. Basic math computational skills, problem solving techniques, critical thinking, and reasoning skills are taught using various techniques. These include directed instruction, drill, co-operative learning, use of manipulatives, and review of previously learned material. Learning styles and special needs are taken into consideration, and opportunities are available for more advanced students. Additionally, pre-algebra is available to students in grade seven, and algebra is available in eighth grade.
The language arts program provides a balanced approach to those skills that enable our students to become fluent readers, proficient writers and effective communicators. Our goal is to develop critical thinkers who can apply these skills in other content areas. Understanding that children have different needs, abilities and learning styles, materials and activities are chosen to reach a broad spectrum of learners. The use of one balanced reading series for grades Kindergarten through five provides a continuum of skills that can be reinforced and enriched. It also develops a strong base for the middle school program which develops students’ skills in literary analysis, writing, speaking, and research.
Our science program prepares students for success in high school science classes. By the time they graduate, students will have a practical knowledge of science content and critical thinking skills to help them in their daily lives. They will learn that as individuals created by God, they must take care of their bodies and also take pride in protecting their environment. The curriculum reflects the mission of the school by fostering an awareness of global environmental issues. Fieldwork provides the students with hands on opportunities to work with environmentalists and scientists. The science lab provides opportunities for practical application of science at the middle school level. Additionally, middle school students compete in an annual science fair at both a local and state level.
The social studies curriculum reflects the importance and significance of community in our country and worldwide. Students, by the time they graduate, will understand their role in the country and community in respect to the world through geography, citizenship, mapping, and critical thinking skills. Our goal is to develop students who become contributing members of today’s society on both a local and worldwide level. Projects, guest speakers, field trips and enrichment activities are all utilized to teach our students the diversity and interrelationships of the global community. At the middle school level, students participate in an interdisciplinary program which uses history projects as a way to improve their research, analytical and communication skills.
The Art curriculum encourages students to build upon previous instruction and skills, share knowledge and challenges the students to do their best. Creating both two-dimensional and three dimensional artwork, students gain an appreciation of different styles, artists, their artwork and art history. They are asked to describe, evaluate, interpret and respond to their own and others artwork. By the time they graduate, they know and use the elements and principles of art. The curriculum challenges students to recognize, develop and share their God-given gifts and talents.
The music program prepares students for the way music affects their lives. By graduation, students have a general knowledge of the elements of music, evaluating music, music history and culture, and music performance. Because music is such an integral part of the worship in the Catholic Church, the music program is connected to our liturgies and services. The learning that takes place in the classroom is carried into our worship services.
All students have grade appropriate hands-on access to as much technology as practical. Technology is incorporated into the content areas through the use of PowerPoint presentations, research projects, reports and presentations.
Our PE curriculum is a sequential progression of learning experiences which contribute to the total developmental needs of each student so that they may embrace the inclusion of wellness into their lives. Students will be able to make positive choices to perform adequate physical activity, develop good eating habits, manage stress, and avoid destructive behaviors. Students participate in a variety of activities which stress the development of fitness, basic skills, teamwork and sportsmanship.
The study of Latin has been proven to improve SAT scores, reading, grammar and vocabulary skills, math problem skills, and knowledge of ancient history and culture. Having a grasp of Latin also aids in the learning of other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian), which derive more than 80 percent of words from Latin. Latin provides many root words for the modern sciences, and it critical to understanding the language of law, politics, logic, and theology. Offering the study of Latin to grades 6 through 8, St. Michael School’s outstanding program challenges students with vocabulary, declension and grammar. Emphasis is placed on classroom interaction. Students take the National Latin Exam at the end of Grade 8.
The study of the French language provides an experience that broadens students’ awareness of a different culture. It strengthens their intellectual process, develops their skills in communication, and enables them to live in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual world. For grade levels K-5, the class is conducted primarily in French. Emphasis is on listening and speaking through participation in activities, games, songs, rhymes, dance, repetition, stories and role-play. Reading and writing in French is expected in grades 3, 4, and 5. In grades 6 – 8, class is conducted in French to the fullest extent possible to encourage proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.