Academics at St. Mary Catholic Elementary Schools
St. Mary Catholic Schools provides an outstanding education to students from Pre-3 through high school. Our dedicated faculty and administrators are committed to meeting the academic needs of every student across the educational spectrum. SMCS’s accelerated opportunities, solid college-prep course selections and high expectations motivate and challenge students, and learning specialists provide support where needed.
In conjunction with our commitment to providing an educationally robust, faith-based education, the St. Mary Catholic Elementary Schools (SMCES) curriculum includes a strong foundation in the traditional elements of a well-rounded education.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
These courses offer students an opportunity to explore new ideas and experiences in areas that reach beyond the basic curriculum. Teachers dedicated to one subject travel to each elementary school and the middle school to provide instruction in these areas, and we have devised a system of rotating the classes among the schools to ensure that all of our students get an approximately equal number of days with these teachers.
- Computer Skills
- Library/Media Center
- Spanish (grades 4-5)
- Physical Education
- Enrichment Program: in addition to our rich curriculum, a large variety of after-school and summer courses are available. (More Information)
- Move to the Groove: an award-winning program that was started as part of the system’s health and wellness initiative. Students, faculty and staff gather in the school gymnasium regularly for a little fun and exercise through choreographed moves set to energetic music. (More Information)
- Project Lead The Way: a STEM-based program for student education in science, technology, engineering and math. (More Information)
In order to strengthen the partnership between a child’s home and the school, parent/teacher and parent/teacher/student conferences are scheduled during the school year. In addition, parents/ guardians are encouraged to confer with the teacher at any time during the school year. Appointments should be made directly with the teacher.
In conjunction with a commitment to the education partnership between home and the school, progress reports are distributed quarterly. Progress reports indicate proficiency on identified benchmarks.
Elementary-Level Learning Specialists
St. Mary Catholic Schools (SMCS) is proud of the educational support provided to K-12 students through its collaborative pupil services program that proactively helps educators assess student needs and apply learning strategies at a critical stage of educational development. The program includes two elementary-level learning specialists with specialized training and certification in speech and language pathology and K-9 special education and a graduate degree in educational leadership, respectively.
Elementary-Level Reading Specialists
Because the ability to read is crucial to educational success, SMCS has a reading specialist at the elementary level who works with teachers, administrators, students and parents to ensure student proficiency in reading. Support involving the reading specialist is based upon students’ individual requirements as determined by teacher observation, additional testing and consultation with parents.
These professionals work as a team with the guidance counselors, reading specialists and classroom teachers to develop and implement a wide-reaching learning assistance program. The program supports student achievement and allows for a successful transition of services from one school level to the next. The pupil services team is committed to joining forces with classroom teachers and parents to support and enhance students’ individualized education experience.
At SMCS, we strive to address the education and technology needs of our students, while remaining committed to a solid academic program. We recognize and take seriously the fact that, during elementary school years, students develop skills and behaviors that serve as a foundation for future learning.
SMCS elementary students use computer applications for age-appropriate tasks, and each campus is included in the system’s technology plan that includes interactive whiteboards, wireless capabilities, automated response systems, audio/ visual enhancements and integrated curriculum. Our technology teachers instruct students on keyboarding skills, Microsoft Office® software, ethical computer use and acquiring and evaluating information on the internet.
- Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) by NWEA
- Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Parent Toolkit (MAP Explanations)
St. Mary Catholic Schools uses the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests to track the scholastic progress of SMES students in grades 1-5. Students in grades 2-5 complete tests in reading, language usage and mathematics, and first grade students participate in Primary MAP which includes reading and math.
MAP is a computer-based assessment program that uses questions of increasing difficulty based on the student’s current academic level and shows an individual’s progress over time. MAP tests are administered in the fall and spring of each school year, and the data helps educators gain an understanding of each child’s current academic level in comparison to that of the 5.1 million students who take the tests nationwide. The assessment provides nearly immediate data that is used to assist teachers in:
- Individualizing student instruction
- Identifying student strengths, for both individuals and groups of students
- Pinpointing topics that need to be reviewed or reinforced
Information for Growth: Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Education (ACRE) is an assessment tool from the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) that is administered to students in Grade 5. This measures the strengths and weaknesses of the religion curriculum so that refinements can be made.
St. Mary Catholic Schools believes in nurturing the emotional and psychological health of every student. At the elementary level, our professional school counselor makes regular visits to each elementary school, providing classroom guidance, curriculum and individual sessions for students and families.
Anti-bullying, personal safety and self-esteem programs are an important part of the counselor’s presence. Through SMCS’s K-12 comprehensive counseling program, counselors meet annually with all students in grade 5 along with their families to focus on academic and personal development, as well as age-appropriate career planning.