Curriculum

Lead-in Curriculum Statement

Our rigorous academic curriculum follows guidelines established by the Diocese of Camden Office of Catholic Schools.  Those guidelines build on the strong academic tradition of Catholic schools, incorporate national and state curriculum standards, and allow us to bring the Gospel message of Jesus into all facets of learning.  We believe in educating the whole person.

Saint Mary School Curriculum

The curriculum of Saint Mary School is a rigorous curriculum designed to ensure that each student builds an academic foundation that will prepare them for high school, college, and beyond. The cooperative and supportive relationships among students, faculty, parents, and administration allow students to develop to their full potential academically, spiritually, and individually.

Religion
The mission of our school is that our students are “Learning and Living in Christ” and the purpose of our students’ daily religion classes is to teach Christ’s message. Students will also share Christ’s message through class liturgy, retreat days, prayer services, and community service. Students in second grade are prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Students in seventh grade begin the two year preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which they receive in eighth grade.
Mathematics
St. Mary School uses the Common Core Standards as a foundation for our Math Curriculum. These standards focus on developing the critical thinking skills, analytical skills, and problem solving skills that students need to become successful. Saint Mary School has worked with the Alliance of Catholic Education, (ACE) staff of the University of Notre Dame, to build upon the Common Core Standards to provide a curriculum that is deeper and more meaningful at each grade level. An Advanced Math Program is offered to students in grades sixth through eighth. The use of grade appropriate technology including SmartBoards and manipulatives at each grade level enriches our Math Curriculum.

Language Arts
The Language Arts Curriculum at St. Mary School uses the Core Curriculum Standards as a foundation for our curriculum. Our language arts curriculum integrates reading, speaking, listening, comprehension, writing, and grammar using a variety of instructional strategies. Our reading curriculum is skills based and focuses on text complexity at grade appropriate levels with increasing difficulty through both fictional and informational text. Writing and grammar skills are developed from kindergarten and include narrative, opinion, persuasive, and informative writing. Students write research papers at grade appropriate levels. Students in the Middle School grades are guided through the steps to develop an effective research paper in the MLA style during eighth grade as preparation for high school. Vocabulary, phonics, and spelling are taught through an array of grade appropriate strategies. The use of technology and SmartBoards in each classroom help to develop academic skills. Our curriculum provides students with the opportunity to gain a strong general knowledge and vocabulary base which will allow them to become successful and independent life-long learners.

Science
Our Science curriculum has been developed in collaboration with ACE to provide a hands-on science program for our students. Skills taught will center on scientific observation, classifying, measuring, predicting, and scientific investigations to provide students with the scientific skills and knowledge they need to apply concepts and utilize scientific knowledge in a meaningful way. Our on-site Science Lab, available to all grades, provides students the opportunity for discovery and experiments that lead to a greater understanding and curiosity of science.

Social Studies
The Social Studies curriculum at St. Mary School is designed to promote the knowledge, skills, and attitude that students require to function as active citizens in our society. The students in the younger grades will focus on community, citizenship, map skills, geography, and symbols of America. Students in upper grades will receive instruction in United States History, European History, World History, Current Events, and Geography.
Spanish
St. Mary School has a Foreign Language curriculum that is taught in grades K – 8 by our Spanish Teacher. The program is designed to develop a positive attitude towards the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture from an early age. Our curriculum entails a comprehensive approach to foreign language through listening skills, speaking, reading, and writing.
Computer Science
All students in St. Mary School receive formal computer education classes taught by our Computer Teacher who comes to us from Computer Explorers. The curriculum includes an introduction to various basic computer skills, software that supports grade level curriculum, keyboarding skills, word processing, and presentation skills. Students will learn basic computer terminology and be able to identify computer components. Spreadsheets and the use of databases will be taught at grade appropriate levels along with the tools necessary to conduct research and complete projects.

Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
The Health curriculum is designed to teach concepts and skills to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for all students. All students will study strategies for personal health and safety, character building traits, how emotional and social well-being impacts physical health, and learn effective decision making skills to foster a healthy lifestyle. Older students will also learn about the hazards of drugs, alcohol, and other illegal substances and take part in a DARE program.
Physical Education also begins in kindergarten and works to develop fine and gross motor skills for participation in a variety of physical activities. Students will learn how communication skills and effective strategies are used in games, sports, and other active situations. Specialized sports skills, concepts, positions, good sportsmanship, and safety are taught at grade appropriate levels.
Visual Art
Students in every grade will participate in our Art program taught by our Art Teacher. The program consists of the study of art history, various artists, and mediums. Students will work in different media such as drawing, painting, and craft to develop and explore each student’s individual talents.
Music
Music education at St. Mary School begins in kindergarten. During the course of their education at our school, students are exposed to theory, history, styles and elements of music. Beginning in fourth grade, students may also choose to play a musical instrument and be a member of the St. Mary School Band.

H.O.T – Higher Order Thinking Program
This program is offered to advanced students and provides enrichment activities to students who qualify.

All Classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards and computers, and our Computer Lab is available for classes to use.