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god’s children in extraordinary variety

Academics

academicsExcellence in education can only be achieved through the combined efforts of dedicated faculty and staff, students committed to the learning process, and supportive parents. Here at St. Thomas the Apostle, we intend to maintain the high academic standards established by the Sinsinawa Domincan Sisters over 125 years ago while continuing to explore opportunities for improvement to our programs.

Pre-Kindergarten

Our Pre-Kindergarten program is a full day (8:00am-3:15pm) and is offered for three and four-year-olds. It provides St. Thomas the Apostle’s youngest children the opportunity to grow in a positive Christian atmosphere. The program is designed to meet the needs and interests of each child based on the following ideals:

  • Enabling children to be aware of God’s love for them
  • Providing a happy and caring environment that nurtures growth and respect for self and others
  • Creating opportunities for each child to act and interact in a positive atmosphere
  • Teaching with kindness, encouragement and direction
  • Helping each child develop fine and gross motor skills
  • Promoting literacy and critical thinking skills.

We believe all young children can learn naturally in a social environment.  Our program is based on the premise that children gather knowledge through discovery in free play as well as through social interactions with other children and adults.  STA’s youngest students use hands-on activities to learn through meaningful experiences and by making relevant connections to the world around them.  Teachers act as facilitators, helping children become responsible for their learning and at the same time providing opportunities for them to refine their social skills.

St. Thomas the Apostle follows NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) guidelines for low student/teacher ratios.  Classes are taught by a degreed, licensed Pre-Kindergarten teacher supported by a teacher assistant.

We consider it a privilege to be entrusted with the development of each child enrolled in the Pre-Kindergarten program at St. Thomas the Apostle. We strive to foster each child’s individual cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth as we prepare them for the more structured learning environment in the primary grades. STA parents are encouraged to take an active part in their child’s Pre-Kindergarten life. We cannot replace you as your child’s primary teacher, but we can work with you to give them the foundation for a love of learning.

Kindergarten – 8th Grade 

In order to establish consistency and help students easily build upon concepts they have previously learned, St. Thomas the Apostle School has a consistent curriculum for its Kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms. Content and instructional strategies may vary in order to be age appropriate, but our cohesive curriculum allows students to be successful. This curriculum is outlined below.

Catholic Faith
All students at St. Thomas the Apostle receive daily religion instruction. Please visit our Spirituality and Faith Formation page to learn more.

Everyday Math
Everyday Math, developed by the University of Chicago, is a 21st century math program built around two key principles. The first is that math instruction is grounded in students’ everyday experiences. Math is not numbers on a page, but a crucial part of students’ lives. They use hands-on materials and everyday problems to approach Common Core SS for math. The second is a spiral curriculum. Important content does not appear once in our math curriculum and then disappear, but emerges and re-emerges multiple times in children’s educational careers. The spiral curriculum allows teachers to easily differentiate based on students’ learning needs and ensure that all students learn necessary math content.

For more information about Everyday Math, visit their website.
STA currently uses the EM4 edition of the curriculum.

FOSS Science
FOSS Science takes science away from pictures and diagrams in a text book and into hands-on, real world student experiences through regular in-class experiments. It is an inquiry-based science curriculum, asking students to use the scientific method to answer fundamental questions in each science unit. Each grade studies three science units a year focused on physical science, earth science, and life science. All FOSS science units are based on Next Generation Science Standards.

For more information about FOSS Science, visit their website.

Reading Workshop
Our school believes students best develop as readers by regularly reading challenging age-appropriate texts on topics that engage the students. Our reading curriculum focuses on the development of crucial reading skills like, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and other Common Core aligned skills. Students develop as readers through reading independently, reading with a partner, listening to reading, participating in group discussions on texts, and developing their spelling and vocabulary skills. There is equal emphasis on fiction and non-fiction texts.

Writer’s Workshop
All students at St. Thomas are writers. Every student practices writing daily with structure and individual guidance from the teacher. Students in all grade levels focus on the three major strands of writing: informational, persuasive, and narrative. Students work on and develop pieces over the course of a trimester, which are then published and shared.

Social Studies
St. Thomas the Apostle uses Pearson’s myWorld curriculum to teach students about our country, our world, and our history. Students focus on various themes each year including community, government, world history, and geography. Students learn crucial social studies reading skills such as analyzing an argument and understanding different points of view.

 

 

 

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