CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The Saint Luke Curriculum encompasses sequentially ordered learning experiences for students. The total curriculum includes the development of Catholic values and attitudes, as well as the attainment of knowledge and skills necessary for the student’s spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, and physical development.

The basic curriculum for the school (but not necessarily for each grade level) includes the following subjects: Religion, Reading, Language Arts (English, Spelling, Handwriting), Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts (Art, Music, Band), Foreign Language (French and Spanish), Health and Safety, Physical Education, Technology Education, and Library.

Saint Luke School is accredited by the Virginia Catholic Education Association and follows the curriculum guidelines established by the Diocese of Arlington. Each subject area has a minimum and maximum number of minutes it should be taught on a weekly basis. These minutes vary according to grade level and copies of the weekly schedule for each faculty member are sent to the Diocesan Office annually. The Guidelines are re-evaluated on a schedule established in the Diocesan Office.

Religion

Catholic education refers to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help all believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, in order to build up the body of Christ. (CF. CCC 4)

Grade & Theme

Kindergarten –  Develop the Roman Catholic identity for each individual student, within the family and our Parish.

Grade 1 – Introduce the faith. The student will be helped to come to knowledge of God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Grade 2 – Help the student begin to understand the sacramental life of the Church especially the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Grade 3 – Understand the Church as a community of faith to which he/she belongs by virtue of Baptism.

Grade 4 – Understand that the Christian life means being a witness to the Gospel message.

Grade 5 – Experience the presence of Christ in the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Creed.

Grade 6 – God’s saving actions are manifested in salvation history and fulfilled in Jesus.

Grade 7 – Confirm God’s saving action in salvation history culminates in the person and the ministry of Christ.

Grade 8 – Assure the meaning of the Church and its mission in the world and the student’s responsibility to participate in that mission. The Bishop and the Diocese of Arlington select the date for the sacrament of Confirmation. Sacramental preparation process and time frame is determined by the Director of Faith Formation.

The traditions and celebrations of the Catholic church are observed through:

  • Regular attendance at school liturgies.
  • Observation of Holy Days of obligation, Feast days, and prayer services.
  • Daily prayer both as a school community and in individual classrooms.
  • Special celebrations such as: Seder Meal, May Crowning, Stations of the Cross, Advent Wreath Blessing, and All Saints Day.
  • Awareness of Liturgical Season.

Students attend Mass as a school community once a week. The Director of Liturgy teaches liturgical music during the year. All children participate in a Seder Meal on Holy Thursday. An Advent Wreath blessing ceremony is organized.  A living rosary and May Crowning take place after our second grade students receive First Holy Communion. Throughout the year, all students participate in various community outreach programs.

Language Arts

Saint Luke School follows a balanced approach to reading and the language arts. This approach, consistent with current research in literacy learning, integrates systematic skills instruction in phonics, spelling, and grammar with reading and writing in a variety of genres. Grades K – 6 utilize the Reading Wonders program. Students develop:

  • Phonemic awareness by identifying sounds and patterns in word recognition.
  • Strategies for word recognition, paragraph content, and comprehension.
  • Skills for the writing process including writing, revising, and collaborative peer editing.
  • An active and ever-expanding vocabulary through literature, writing, and practice.
  • An appreciation for various genres of literature including poetry, plays, biographies, novels, short stories, etc.
  • The necessary skills to express themselves through the written and spoken word in all of their subjects.

Social Studies

Understanding one’s place in the world is the crux of social studies. In that vein, the curriculum begins by answering basic questions of self, family, and neighborhood to a more complex context of historical, cultural, social, economic, and political perspectives.

Grade & Theme

Kindergarten – Self, family and “where we live”

Grade 1 – Neighborhood and local community (school, city, town, county)

Grade 2
– North American communities

Grade 3 – United States Geography

Grade 4 – Virginia Studies – past and present

Grade 5 – World Geography

Grade 6 – Ancient History to Renaissance

Grade 7 – United States History- Native Cultures to Reconstruction

Grade 8 – United States History- 1877 to the present

Science

The objective of the science program at Saint Luke is to afford all students (K-8) the opportunity to explore the world around them through scientific inquiry. The LabLearner program is a hands-on, fully integrated curriculum that is entirely lab-based. Students in elementary (K-2) and intermediate (3-5) grades explore Physical, Earth, and Life Sciences. Students in Middle School (6-8) concentrate their area of study to Earth Science (6), Life Sciences (7), and Physical Science (8).

The student will:

  • Cultivate a love, curiosity, respect, and stewardship of God’s infinite creation.
  • Recognize we share the responsibility to respect the sanctity of all human life and the dignity of the human person.
  • Develop scientific inquiry skills to be used both in individual and cooperative learning environments.
  • Maximize hands-on opportunities for students to explore, discover, and experience the universe.
  • Use scientific materials and equipment.
  • Incorporate mathematical tools to organize and interpret data.
  • Integrate technology to prepare students to be able to effectively succeed in today’s society.
  • Achieve scientific literacy and an understanding of the role science plays in our daily lives through utilization of cross-curricular instruction.

Recognizing the important of science in the aforementioned objectives, students at Saint Luke participate in an annual Science and Engineering Fair. Students in grades K -1 submit class projects and students in grades 2-8 submit individual projects. Winners of the Middle School competition move on to compete in the Diocesan Fair sponsored by the Arlington Diocese.

Mathematics

In accordance to our commitment to S.T.E.M., Saint Luke School provides a minimum of 60 minutes of mathematics instruction per day for students in grades K-5 and 45 minutes per day for grades 6-8. There is considerable emphasis on the integration of mathematical concepts in the science and technology curriculum. In addition, students are assessed using Accelerated Math and Terra Nova standardized testing. In keeping with the National Council of Mathematics Guidelines, all students are taught to use calculators. In the fall of 1995, the students began to use calculators for designated portions of their standardized tests.

The normal progression of math places the emphasis on multiplication tables in the third grade. The primary thrust of fourth grade math is long division, as well as two and three digit multiplication. The four operations of fractions are in the fifth grade and the conceptualization of decimals is taught in the sixth grade.

The Middle School mathematics curriculum offers the following programs:

  • Mathematics 6 for all sixth graders
  • Introduction to Pre-Algebra and Pre-Algebra for seventh graders
  • Introduction to Algebra I and Algebra I for eighth graders

To increase interest in mathematics and problem solving skills, students are given the chance to participate in contests such as the American Mathematics Competition, Virginia Math League, and the Oakcrest Math Bowl. Saint Luke School has been the winner of the Oakcrest Math Bowl five of the seven times that the competition was held at the Oakcrest School. Every year several middle school students make it to the Honor Roll of AMC-8 (American Mathematics Competition) and participate in AMC 10 High School Mathematics Competition. One hundred percent of our Algebra I students enter advanced math level courses in prestigious high schools around the metropolitan area.

Foreign Language

French and Spanish

Awareness of cultural diversity and command of a foreign language are marks of a well-educated person. All students at Saint Luke School study both French and Spanish from kindergarten through second grade. Upon matriculation to third grade, students select a desired language to study. The curriculum begins with vocabulary development and culture. This foundation is then augmented with grammar, writing, conversation, and literature. Following graduation, students are placed in high school level II, II Honors, or III based on the National Exam scores and classroom performance.

Kindergarten: 45 minutes per week

Grade 1-2: 60 minutes per week

Grades 3: 135 minutesper week

Grades 4-5: 135 minutes per week

Grades 6-7: 180 minutes per week

Grade 8: 225 minutes per week

7th and 8th grade students who qualify are inducted into the National French/Spanish Junior Honor Society. This promotes language proficiency, continuity of studies, cultural understanding, and friendship.

Technology

Computer classes at Saint Luke School are offered from Kindergarten through eighth grade and are designed to increase student confidence, skills, and creativity by fostering mastery of basics, student exploration, and learning culminating in the production of a series of upper school projects and collaborations.  Technically, we focus on the key areas of file management, keyboarding, application usage, data analysis, and equipment usage, as well as safe and appropriate internet surfing. Creatively, we focus on synthesizing, gathering, and organizing digital assets such as images, sounds, video and data into our projects for use in computer lab projects and for class assignments. Students use a wide range of applications including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as well as Adobe Flash, Fireworks, and Photoshop.  In addition, students learn basic programming starting with block programming using Scratch and advancing to web programming using HTML.  Students get the opportunity to combine all their skills by implementing complex yet fun challenges using robotics.

Music

K – 8: The music instruction curriculum develops understanding and appreciation for music both in theory as well as performance.

Students will:

  • Recognize and repeat rhythmic patterns.
  • Identify musical notes, notation, and dynamics.
  • Identify different musical genres.
  • Perform choral selections.
  • Play and perform instruments.

Arts

K – 8:  The Art instruction curriculum develops age appropriate skills in all media.
Students will:

  • Understand and apply media, techniques and processes.
  • Use knowledge of structures and functions.
  • Choose and evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Apply the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
  • Reflect on and assess characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.
  • Make connections between visual arts and other disciplines.

Physical Education

K – 8:  The Physical Education curriculum is designed to promote and model lifelong wellness by teaching health concepts and physical fitness activities. Students will:

  • Demonstrate responsible personal and social behavior that promotes respect for God and differences among people in physical activity settings.
  • Develop gross motor competency.
  • Identify and participate in rules of fair play and team cooperation.
  • Participate in a variety of sporting and physical activities.
  • Describe and live a healthy lifestyle through appropriate food and activity choices.

Students participate in physical education twice a week.