Special Studies

Computer, library, physical education, art, music, and Spanish

Special Studies Photo Pic2

The students learn the basics of the computer beginning in Pre-Kindergarten (K1).  As they progress throughout the grades, the youngsters are taught to start, save, print and exit computer programs.  They learn to use a word processor and a desktop publisher effectively and to type using home row positions.  They are able to access the Internet and use a search engine for information, sound and pictures.  They produce PowerPoint presentations and use a digital camera to incorporate pictures into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.  The use of spreadsheets, charts, and graphs is developed for application in several subject areas.  Reinforcement software is used in the computer lab as well as in individual classrooms.

In physical education class students in grades Pre-Kindergarten (K1) through two are taught locomotor, fine motor, and gross motor skills that prepare them for sports.  Grades three through eight learn the skills and rules of various sports with the intent that these sports may be enjoyed for a lifetime.  Cardiovascular endurance and physical strength are promoted to improve the overall health of the child.

Art classes for grades Pre-Kindergarten (K1) through two engage the student in drawing, painting, designing, printmaking, sculpting and construction.  These activities involve the process of selecting, arranging, and decision-making.  Children become acquainted with works by various artists.  Students in grades three, four, and five continue to work with visual arts introduced in the lower grades while increasing their skills in working with art media to express ideas, feelings, and values.  Students identify themes and symbols that different cultures use to portray common themes.  Grades six through eight build on previous skills and learn to distinguish among art from major cultural areas of the world and from different time periods.

The music curriculum in the primary grades fosters participation in both individual and group singing, moving to rhythms, listening experiences, and singing games.  These experiences are continued and developed through the middle grades.  During the junior high years, singing, music theory, and the opportunity to understand different music forms is expanded.  All students learn liturgical music for our monthly liturgies.

A program of conversational Spanish is presented to students in grades Pre-Kindergarten (K1) through eight.  Beginning with the introduction of numbers, color words, the names of common objects, and simple phrases, the children build on their knowledge to carry on conversations.  Spanish culture and customs are also introduced and studied. Most 8th grade students who take Spanish enter high school at the Honors 2 Spanish Level.

Students with special education needs have access to the learning center where they may receive extra help in small group situations.  The learning center teacher coordinates her instruction with the classroom curriculum when implementing the individual education plan of the student.

guidance counselor is on staff to meet with students individually or in small groups.  Classroom teachers frequently meet with parents and/or students to discuss academic, emotional, and behavioral issues.  Programs are in place to address the topics of sexuality, substance abuse, character development, health, and safety.

Field trips are planned for each class throughout the year to coincide with the curriculum.  Students may visit a historical site, attend a play about a story or book they have read, or view exhibits of science or social studies topics covered.

The use of LEGO’s is integrated throughout the curriculum at all grade levels.  Students use them as manipulatives for math, construct vehicles for science experiments, develop computer programs to operate robotic devices, and build social studies displays.

The school library is accessible to all students.  The children in Pre-Kindergarten (K1) through grade six visit the library as a class once per week to receive instruction in library science and to borrow books.

Students in grades two through eight are administered the NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Test three times per academic year. Results are communicated to the parents in June.  Students’ scores are consistently within the top twenty-five percent of those students tested nationally.

Many opportunities are available to enrich and expand the curriculum and to develop a youngster’s special talents.  Among the activities are:  musical productions, plays, Grandparents’ Day, Veterans’ Awareness Day, outreach to those less fortunate, special academic projects, Cultural Arts programs, participation in Liturgical celebrations, and the “Buddy” program.