PART V - CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
St. Josaphat School’s instructional program follows the Archdiocese of Chicago’s curriculum, which is based on state standards and designed to meet the developmental, academic, and spiritual needs of each student. Teachers in grades K-4 deliver instruction in self-contained classrooms with grade level team teaching. Students in grades 5-8 receive instruction in departmentalized classrooms.
Religion: As a Catholic school, growing in the understanding of the Catholic faith and in a personal relationship with God is the heart of the school. The religion curriculum includes a study of sacraments, scripture, morality, and liturgy. As active members of the Church, students prepare weekly liturgies and participate in service projects.
Reading: The reading curriculum is designed to develop students’ skills in the real-life setting of literature. Using novels, short stories, non-fiction, poetry, and other pieces of literature, teachers guide students in the essential skills of comprehension, including using context to determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary, identifying key parts of the piece, summarizing, predicting, making inferences, making connections, and asking questions.
Language Arts: The language arts curriculum has a two-pronged approach to writing. Students learn about sentence construction and parts of speech, which in turn assists them to become more effective writers. To develop proficient writing skills, students at every grade level journal on a consistent basis and select pieces for writing projects to revise and edit. Students are given the time and support they need to create a high quality piece of writing. Complementing the writing and grammar lessons are spelling and vocabulary. Furthermore, students’ communication skills are honed as they practice public speaking.
Math: Students develop lifelong critical thinking skills in math classes. Teachers use a problem-based instructional approach, which allows students to explore a variety of means to solve problems. While students do practice basic facts and skills, the emphasis of the math instruction is on how to use those facts and skills in solving more complex problems that are rooted in real-life settings.
Science: In science, students learn about the natural world and how to use the scientific process to build on their understanding. In the primary and intermediate grades, teachers guide the students through investigations, demonstrations, and experiments. By the time students reach junior high, they work on developing their own questions and scientific methods of testing those questions in the junior high science lab.
Technology: Technology is integrated into every content area. The technology teacher works with every grade level to develop competencies, including effective internet searches and the use of basic programs. Often the instructor works with classroom teachers to integrate content from other subjects while teaching these skills. Laptop carts throughout the school enable students to apply computer skills in every subject.
Social Studies: In social studies, students learn about their own community, their nation, and their world. They use critical thinking skills to examine multiple perspectives, analyze cause and effect relationships, and look for common themes across cultures. Students study civilizations from ancient to present day.
Foreign Language: St. Josaphat School is in compliance with the program's foreign language requirement. Spanish is taught at all grade levels. Students in grades 7 and 8 receive 135 minutes of Spanish instruction per week throughout the entire school year. The guiding philosophy of the Spanish instruction is to engage the students in meaningful conversation and writing, so they have a working use of the language. Together with the instructor, the students tell and write stories as a means of practicing speaking, listening, reading, and
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