As a parent, how do you evaluate a school’s effectiveness and whether or not it offers the best learning experience for your child? Education experts generally agree that successful schools share some common characteristics including:
- High expectations for every student;
- Rigorous curriculum and fair assessments;
- Strong school leadership;
- Qualified teachers in every classroom;
- Sufficient resources that help all students achieve;
- Parent and community support; and,
- A safe, healthy learning environment.
Excellence 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.
Our preschool program, offered for three and four-year-olds, 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 and relaxing atmosphere
- Teaching with kindness, encouragement and direction
- Helping each child develop find and gross motor skills
- Promoting reading, writing and math readiness skills
- Promoting 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 preschool teacher supported by a teacher assistant.
We consider it a privilege to be entrusted with the development of each child enrolled in the prekindergarten 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 prekindergarten 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
Traditionally, the classroom curriculum at St. Thomas the Apostle has included rigorous lessons, a focus on meaningful reading skills and analysis, effective writing, and critical thinking– all topics found in the Common Core for State Standards. While we believe in a balance of the arts and sciences, reading, math and science get greater attention with more time, hands on learning and an emphasis on thoughtful assessment and problem solving.
Literature classes are supplemented with Accelerated Reader, an on-line reading management software program, Simple Solutions Grammar and Writing Mechanics daily review, and an expectation that students read at home every night. Our intermediate grades enjoy the Great Books program that engages classes in a Shared Inquiry discussion of ideas and experiences found in major literary works. Teachers utilize the highly regarded Foss Science Program along with Everyday Mathematics (developed by the University of Chicago) which is complemented by Simple Solutions daily mathematics review. Our students are engaged in a social studies program enriched with actual and virtual field trips, guest speakers, and excursions in the community.
At St. Thomas the Apostle, we think it is important to promote each student’s personal gifts and talents on all levels – academic, artistic, and athletic. Technology skills and applications are incorporated in the educational experience with the support of weekly computer classes for grades K-8. Students also begin the process of learning Spanish as a second language through the foreign language program for Prekindergarten through 8th grade. Creativity and self-expression are encouraged through an Art and Music program for all. Physical activity is an important component for learning in addition to promoting personal health and well-being. All students have recess, weekly physical education classes, and optional participation in an intramural sports program.
All of this takes place in a faith-based environment where Christian values are integrated in every aspect of student life, in the classroom and beyond.