Academics

Core Academics

Our core curriculum of study provides a framework in the academic areas of Religion, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers use their creativity to implement instruction in ways that accommodate students’ different learning styles. Below provides a more detailed description of each core curriculum area.

Religion

The Religion Curriculum approved for use in Archdiocesan Elementary Schools is founded in the National Directory for Catechesis from the USCCB. The Office of Catholic Education collaborates with the Office of Catechetical Formation in developing curriculum and assessments for elementary students. Teachers use a variety of resources in preparing religion lessons. Religious values permeate all areas of the curriculum and are key components of interdisciplinary learning. The Christ Our Life curriculum (Loyola Press) is used in Grades K-8.

Saint Mary Interparochial is an Archdiocesan elementary school and is governed by the policies and procedures of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Current policy for the reception of sacraments states: “Individuals are to receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation in their own parish Church.” 

We take the responsibility of preparing students for their reception of the sacraments of Initiation, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation, but children will receive these sacraments at their home parishes in the loving environment of their worshiping community. Parents are asked to notify the school after their child has received these sacraments.

English Language Arts

The English Language Arts Curriculum (ELA) reflects the Core Standards of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards. In Grades K-2, the Superkids Reading Program (Zaner-Bloser) is used. Vocabulary Workshop (Sadlier) and the Journeys Reading Program (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is used In Grades 3-8. Fiction and nonfiction books/novels are also used with students in every grade level. 

Instruction in English Language Arts has strong foundations in literacy: reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, and visualizing. Skills are further developed in critical thinking, literary evaluation, methods of research, competency in self-expression, and metacognitive awareness. 

English Language Arts includes instruction in reading, writing, vocabulary, phonics, spelling, grammar, cursive handwriting, and library/reference skills. Students will be exposed to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts through curriculum and novels. Integration of language skills across the curriculum is observable.

Mathematics

The Elementary Mathematics Curriculum reflects the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, the ISTE Standards, as well as the recommendations of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. The Sadlier Math curriculum (Sadlier) is used in Grades K-8.

Emphasis is given to the Mathematical practices of problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, precision, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, modeling, using appropriate tools strategically, and looking for and making use of structure. 

The Mathematics Curriculum is divided into ten levels of instruction beginning with Kindergarten and extending to an Algebra I Curriculum. With the exception of honors math students, students are heterogeneously grouped for mathematics instruction. We host an Honors Math program for children in Grades 4 through 8. This program is administered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Science

The Elementary Science Curriculum aligns with the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the ISTE Standards. These standards also closely align science content to literacy skills and mathematics problem-solving. The Science Dimensions curriculum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is used in Grades 1-8.

Science instruction serves as a catalyst for many project-based learning initiatives. Lab experiences and development of process skills become an area of focus throughout the progression of grade levels. Students utilize the 4C Model (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity) when approaching Science instruction and project-based learning.

Social Studies

The Elementary Social Studies Curriculum is based upon Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, the C4 Standards (Civics, College and Career Readiness, and Catholic Identity), and the ten themes of Social Studies established by the National Council for the Social Studies. The HMH Social Studies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) curriculum is used in Grades 3-8. 

Emphases in the Social Studies curriculum include culture; time, continuity, and change; people, places, and environments; individual development and identity; individuals, groups, and institutions;  power, authority, and governance; production, distribution, and consumption; science, technology, and society; global connections; and civic ideals and practices. Students at every level will learn important patriotic topics, documents, and songs. 

Electives and Special Programming:

Electives

Art, Music, Spanish, Physical Education, Library, and STREAM are included in weekly instruction from Kindergarten through 8th Grade. In 8th Grade, STREAM programming transitions into an Entrepreneurship course. Click here for more information about the St. Mary STREAM and Entrepreneurship Program. All electives are 50-minute periods, except Entrepreneurship, which is a 100-minute period per week. 

Library

The school library is staffed by a full-time, certified librarian and houses a collection of over 5,000 searchable items through a web-based catalog. The school library also is used as an area for student research, project-based learning, and collaboration area for all grade levels and subject areas. 

Recess

We value opportunities for students to play and socialize with friends. All students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade has two recess periods per day. Morning recess is approximately 20 minutes in length and allows time for students to use the restroom and eat a snack. Kindergarten has a 50-minute afternoon recess and 1st through 8th Grade have a 25-minute afternoon recess. Middle school students also often use their recess time as an opportunity to meet with teachers individually about homework, assignments, and projects.

Partner Programming

St. Mary Interparochial School has many educational and community partners that help support and enhance the curriculum. Educational and community partners may vary from year to year; however, some programs have become long-standing traditions for select grade levels. To review some of our current educational and community partner programs, please click here

School Supports:

Additional academic and emotional support is available for students, as needed. For students in need of additional Reading support, a full-time Title I Reading Specialist works with students in small groups during various instructional times. The frequency of Reading support depends upon the individual student’s level of need and the school’s capacity for providing the given services. Our Title I Reading Specialist is provided by the auxiliary agency, Catapult Learning

St. Mary Interparochial School also provides inclusive in-class math support, a school counselor, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist (as needed), and a psychologist for psycho-educational testing. This support personnel is provided by the auxiliary agency, CORA Services

Accommodations and modifications are made only for students who qualify for services based on a formal evaluation. Saint Mary Interparochial School will make all reasonable accommodations for learning differences whenever and wherever possible. Saint Mary Interparochial School may not be able to accommodate students who have demonstrated a lack of consistent growth due to significant learning and/or behavioral differences. Teachers and school personnel will be in frequent communication about the growth and development of students receiving accommodations and modifications throughout the school year. 

Best Educational Practices:

Professional Learning

Teachers are required to obtain one hundred eighty hours of curriculum-related professional development every five years. These hours of in-services, workshops, and college classes are monitored by St. Mary Interparochial School and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

Innovation Hub

St. Mary Interparochial School teachers are available to deliver professional development and training in various subject areas to teachers and leaders locally and nationally. St. Mary Interparochial School teachers hold multiple specialized credentials and are innovators in their field. Some credentials include, but are not limited to, SMARTboard Certified, Google Certified Educator, ISTE Educator, MakerBot 3D Printing Certification, Apple Certified Educator, etc.. Please contact us if you are interested in touring our school as an Innovation Hub and/or receiving professional development or training from one of our many talented educators.

Religious Certification

In regards to Religious instruction, teachers are required by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to become certified catechesis and are equipped to understand and teach the Catholic faith to students.

 

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