Academics at St. Mary Catholic Middle School
St. Mary Catholic Schools provides an outstanding education to students from preschool 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.
Reaching Full Potential at SMCS Middle School
The curriculum is challenging, hands-on, and exploratory, and our caring and dedicated faculty and staff work for and with students and their families to meet each student’s educational needs. Individualized attention ensures that each student, whether high-performing or struggling, is able to reach his or her full potential. SMCMS has teaching and learning teams, so that the curriculum is shared and reinforced by all teachers across the grade levels.
In order to help students reach their highest potential, intensive math is offered at all middle school levels. Intensive math offers students who have demonstrated mastery of current grade level math an opportunity to challenge themselves with more difficult material. Leveled math courses allow students to progress at an appropriate pace for their level of mastery. Read more about academic placement in courses at SMCMS.
Coursework is differentiated in all classes so that all students are appropriately challenged. All students take music, art, health and physical education classes all year long. SMCMS runs a traditional schedule which is consistent with our high school. An extension of our differentiated learning, this will allow our middle school students who meet certain requirements to attend selected high school level courses.
Curriculum: Grade 6
6th grade students may also participate in band, chorus, and jazz band.
Curriculum: Grade 7
7th grade students may also participate in band, chorus, and jazz band. See below for more information about band. 7th grade students may choose German or Spanish. Students who successfully complete a world language in both 7th and 8th grade may enter the second year of language instruction if they attend St. Mary Catholic High School.
Curriculum: Grade 8
8th grade students may also participate in band, chorus, and jazz band. 8th grade students may choose German or Spanish. Students who successfully complete a world language in both 7th and 8th grade may enter the second year of language instruction if they attend St. Mary Catholic High School.
Students must take a music class, either band or choir or a combination of both. Band students must provide their own instruments and a fee is charged for band participation. The fee includes a private or small group lesson on a weekly basis.
St. Mary Catholic Middle School recognizes the importance of communicating with a student’s family about his or her progress throughout middle school. As a result, there are many ways that parents can stay informed. In addition to the formal notifications listed below, parents/guardians are encouraged to email or phone instructors with questions before they become issues, keeping in mind that teachers are occupied with classroom duties during the school day and may not be able to provide an immediate response.
PowerSchool is an online portal that makes it easy for parents and students to keep up to date with assignments and grades. This internet-accessed program facilitates the flow of information between parents, students and teachers, and is a powerful tool for checking a child’s latest grades, receiving email alerts when new grades are posted and seeing what assignments are missing or incomplete. Students and parents are given access to the program by using secure, privacy-protecting passwords.
Google Classroom, a tool designed strictly for educational purposes, is a free and secure learning network for teachers, students, and schools. All St. Mary Catholic Middle School teachers use this program, which provides a safe way for teachers and students to connect, share content, access homework, participate in discussions, manage due dates, and receive class information.
As part of the system’s comprehensive pupil services program, St. Mary Catholic Middle School has a learning specialist on staff. This professional’s responsibility is to ensure that each student receives the educational assistance necessary to achieve to the best of his or her ability. Using differentiated instruction strategies and working with classroom teachers, the learning specialist helps to create situations in which individuals can learn best. Students benefit from alternative approaches to instruction and modified lesson plans and assessment tools, supplementary materials and new learning strategies.
Students are referred in cooperation with family, teachers and administration, and may work with the learning specialist in one or multiple academic areas.
Academics is the center of SMCMS’ well-rounded educational offerings, and it is reflected in our students’ test taking.
St. Mary Catholic Schools uses Renaissance STAR 360 and FORWARD to track the scholastic progress and our students consistently score well above average in all areas.
STAR 360 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. STAR 360 tests are administered in the fall and winter 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. FORWARD testing is done in the spring of each year. The assessment provides nearly immediate data that is used to assist teachers in:
- Differentiating student instruction
- Identifying student strengths, for both individuals and groups of students
- Pinpointing topics that need to be reviewed or reinforced