A Parent’s Guide to the Academic Program Sacred Heart Schools 2012-13
The Primary School
• Kindergarten • First Grade • Second Grade
The Lower School
• Third Grade • Fourth Grade • Fifth Grade
The Middle School
• Sixth Grade • Seventh Grade • Eighth Grade
Table of Contents
A Sacred Heart Education
The Academic Program: Overview and Principles
The Primary School: Kindergarten, First and Second Grades
The Lower School: Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grades
The Middle School: Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grades
General School Information
A Sacred Heart Education
In 1804, when the Religious of the Sacred Heart first wrote the Plan of Studies, they formulated a program of education that would give life to the vision of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. St. Madeleine Sophieâ€™s passion was to provide each child an opportunity to learn and grow in every dimension of what it means to be a human being. On June 23, 1876 that tradition found roots here in Chicago in what would become Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road. Since then our educational experience has had at its core a belief that children prosper when they are nurtured and educated in a supportive community that models the values of faith and life-long learning. Today Sacred Heart Schools is proud to be part of a Network of over 150 Sacred Heart educational institutions around the world. While each local learning community gives unique character to the mission of Sacred Heart, the Network of 22 schools in the United States articulates our common mission through the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education. Each of these Goals expresses values we feel are essential to what it means to profit from a Sacred Heart Education: faith, intellect, service, community, and personal growth. The Goals are integral to our life hereâ€”informing our choices and guiding our decision making. With this rich heritage as our pedigree, we have developed a curriculum that is both challenging and supportive of a diversity of learners. Within each academic division of the Schools, effort is made to apply developmentally appropriate methods to address the needs of students. There is particular benefit
in our separating the boys and girls into gender specific classrooms beginning in first grade. This allows curriculum and classroom management to be structured in ways that best support the individual learning styles of boys and girls. An enrichment program, learning assistance program, and a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities complement the core curriculum that includes instruction in French, Spanish, technology, art, music, physical education, and religious education at every grade level. As you review the information on the academic program here at Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago, I invite you to consider the words of Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ, a Sacred Heart educator of the late nineteenth century: “We bring up children for the future, not the present… Our education is not meant to turn out the children small and finished, but seriously begun on a wide basis.” Thank you for taking the time to explore our more than 200-year-old mission of educating the head and the heart flourishing here on Sheridan Road in a very contemporary learning community.
Nat Wilburn Head of Schools
Sacred Heart Schools are independent, Catholic, single-sex elementary schools committed to providing academic excellence within the context of a Christian, faith-based community. Our educational mission is deeply rooted in the more than 200-year tradition of the Society of Sacred Heart and shared with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools located in 30 countries, including 22 schools in the United States. The essence of this tradition is the total development of each child – spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical – and is based on the following five goals:
• A personal and active faith in God • A deep respect for intellectual values • A social awareness which impels to action • The building of community as a Christian value • Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom These five “Goals and Criteria” form the framework of a Sacred Heart education.
Academy of the Sacred Heart Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Academy of the Sacred Heart New Orleans, Louisiana
Academy of the Sacred Heart St. Charles, Missouri
Carrollton School of the Sacred
Princeton, New Jersey
The Regis School of the Sacred Heart Houston, Texas
Sacred Heart Schools Atherton, California
Heart Miami, Florida
Sacred Heart Schools
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Schools of the Sacred Heart
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Schools of the Sacred Heart at
Greenwich, Connecticut New York, New York
The Network of Sacred Heart Schools in the United States
Country Day School of the Sacred
Heart Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred
San Francisco, California Grand Coteau Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart Bethesda, Maryland
Heart Houston, Texas
Stuart Country Day School
Villa Duchesne/Oak Hill
Forest Ridge School of t足足足he Sacred Heart Bellevue, Washington
Josephinum Academy Chicago, Illinois
Newton Country Day School Newton, Massachusetts
Princeton, New Jersey St. Louis, Missouri
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred
Heart Lake Forest, Illinois
Sprout Creek Farm
(Associated with the Network) Poughkeepsie, NY
Language Arts The language arts—reading, writing, speaking,
and listening—are central to all learning. They are the abilities that enable one to think logically and creatively; express ideas; and search for, organize, evaluate, and apply information. The Sacred Heart Schools language arts curriculum enables students to become literate individuals who use language successfully for learning and communication in personal and public contexts.
Academic Program Subject Area Overviews The following priciples guide our development of curriculum in each subejct area.
Reading provides students with a means of accessing the ideas and experience of others. At Sacred Heart, students become familiar with exemplary authors and literary works through a sustained study of literature, both classical and contemporary. Students develop effective reading strategies focusing on both comprehension (understanding) and analysis (interpretation) of a wide variety of literary styles. Students come to recognize that reading is not only a means of acquiring knowledge, but also a pleasurable activity that enhances their daily lives. Writing enables students to explore, shape, and clarify their thoughts and communicate them to others. Frequent writing practice across a variety of situations enables students to expand both their knowledge base and their critical thinking skills. At Sacred Heart, the teaching of writing emphasizes ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions (grammar and mechanics), and presentation. These characteristics are first introduced in the Primary School and then developed throughout the elementary years. Teachers and students share a common vocabulary to compose, revise, and assess written work. Writing is an integrated aspect of all subject area curricula.
Through listening and speaking, students communicate and receive experiences, information, and opinions and learn to understand themselves and others. Oral language is the foundation of literacy, and many of the skills used in reading and writing are first learned and practiced through oral language. Opportunities are provided across the curriculum for students to develop confidence in their oral language and active listening abilities. In nurturing the skills of careful listening and thoughtful response, Sacred Heart strives to create a school community that models attitudes of respect and civility. Throughout the language arts curriculum, as students describe, construct, modify, and integrate ideas, they develop a life-long love of learning through reading, writing and discourse and recognize that language – both oral and written – is a tool of access to the world at large. This is accomplished within classroom environments that encourage children to open themselves to others’ viewpoints, to be creative, and to persevere. Setting high and challenging literacy expectations is one step toward assuring that all students will have the language skills needed to live productive and successful lives.
The Sacred Heart mathematics program strives to prepare students who are mathematically literate and who value mathematics and appreciate its role in society. The program proceeds from the understanding that students are curious, active learners who learn best when they solve meaningful problems rooted in real life. Our goals for students are five-fold: 1. To make mathematical connections, both
in relating concepts and procedures from different topics in mathematics to one another and in relating mathematical concepts to other disciplines 2. To develop mathematical fluency (efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility; in other words, strong computational skills and number sense) 3. To use the language of mathematics to communicate effectively 4. To problem-solve capably 5. To engage mathematics with a confident, positive attitude The Sacred Heart mathematics program addresses six content strands: numeration; operations and computation; probability and statistics; geometry; measurement; and patterns, functions and algebra. Throughout the math curriculum, students are encouraged to share, explain, and discuss their mathematical thinking. They work alone and in groups to solve challenging tasks. Manipulatives, math games, and appropriate technology are used to connect conceptual with procedural understanding. Home practice reinforces skills developed in the classroom. Mathematics is presented as an active process in which students explore, analyze, and apply knowledge, a process requiring both students’ hands-on and minds-on commitment.
Science is the quest for understanding of the natural world and is an area of the curriculum in which student inquiry and discovery can truly flourish. Science at Sacred Heart proceeds from the belief that children have an innate curiosity about their surroundings — a desire to explore, figure out how things work, and find answers to
their questions. The curriculum nurtures this curiosity by giving students opportunities to investigate phenomena, predict outcomes, and construct explanations in real-world contexts. Sacred Heart believes that learning science is an active endeavor involving content (what we know) and process (how we come to know it). In other words, science learning should combine both intellectual study and hands-on problem solving in order to build a foundation of experience and understanding upon which later learning can be based. Lab work and experimentation are woven throughout the Kindergarten through eighth-grade program. Sacred Heart faculty members serve as guides and coaches in this process, and students learn individually and in groups. Throughout their elementary school years, students explore basic concepts in physical, earth, and life sciences, apply appropriate technology to their investigations, and integrate reading, writing, and mathematics into the course of study. The aim of the science program is to develop students who: • Are confident and curious; • Engage the process of scientific inquiry with understanding and enjoyment; • Frame meaningful questions, apply the scientific method and, through persistence, arrive at answers supported by evidence; • Are scientifically literate, can knowledgeably discuss matters of scientific concern, and can appreciate ethical and social dimensions of scientific applications.
Social studies is the study of human behavior within social and environmental context. As such, it encompasses elements of several disciplines,
among them history, geography, and government and civics. In social studies, students confront big questions. What defines a culture or a nation? How are values and traditions constructed and transmitted? What responsibilities do people have to themselves and to society at large? What is humankind’s place in the world? Social studies helps students understand their roots, recognize the commonality of people across time, appreciate the delicate balance of rights and responsibilities in society, and develop habits of thoughtful analysis. History is at the core of the curriculum. Through the study of history, students develop a better understanding of their own society, as well as the cultures of others. History enables students to see how people in different times and places have grappled with the fundamental issues of truth, justice, and personal responsibility, to understand that choices have real consequences, and to realize that events are shaped by the ideas and actions of individuals. The study of geography provides students with an understanding of the human and physical characteristics of the earth’s places and regions and how people of different cultural backgrounds interact with their environment. Geographic themes include location, human environment, movement and region. Geographic skills include the ability to use maps, globes, almanacs, and atlases and to interpret graphs, tables, diagrams, and pictures. In government and civics, students begin to develop the requisite knowledge and skills for informed participation in public life. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of politics, government and good citizenship. Students come to a basic understanding of the values and principles of
American constitutional democracy and are encouraged to become active citizens in their communities. The social studies program at Sacred Heart assists students in establishing habits of careful inquiry, supported by a sound knowledge base and a firm commitment to personal responsibility through good citizenship. Students grow in their appreciation of the diversity of human experience, culture, and values.
The program’s foundation is rooted in the understanding that every child comes to us with an innate awareness of God’s loving presence. The goal of the curriculum is to create an environment that honors and encourages every child’s individual formation in faith. The program is firmly grounded in the Judeo-Christian and Roman Catholic tradition, but models for children the respectful attitudes we wish our students to have for people of all faiths and beliefs. Children participate in classroom prayer and reflection, attend weekly religious instruction and Chapel, and participate in seasonal liturgical services and all-school Masses. From time to time, Chapel includes the opportunity for students to learn about and experience the worship practices of other faiths. Sacramental preparation is provided for Catholic students. For non-Catholic children, the curriculum is presented as content rather than belief. Both students and adults in the community are challenged to live values-centered lives that include genuine service to others. The commitment to help others articulated in the Goals and Criteria
of Sacred Heart Education is most clearly seen in our Service Learning Program, which provides opportunities for students at all grade levels to contribute positively to the community. Morality, social justice, ethical decision-making, and the formation of conscience are explored throughout the religion curriculum. Our hope is to help students evolve from the simple beliefs of childhood to the beginnings of a mature and personal faith during their years with us. Our goal is to help children experience God as a loving Creator and to know deeply that there is hope and meaning in life.
The study of world languages is a logical extension of the global vision that has been an essential aspect of Sacred Heart education from its earliest days. With 150 schools spread across six continents, the Sacred Heart Network understands, in the most fundamental way, the importance of communication among people of diverse backgrounds. The study of a language other than one’s own enables students to interact and communicate with others while gaining a greater understanding of the perspectives, practices, and products of different cultures. At Sacred Heart Schools, the development of positive student attitudes toward cultural diversity is strongly supported by the study of world languages. World language study in the early grades also sharpens students’ intellectual abilities and is associated with higher performance in basic and higher order thinking skills. As students improve in the principal uses of the second language – speaking, listening, reading, writing, and understanding – these skills transfer to their native
language, as well as to other disciplines. Memory and recall are enhanced, in addition to cognitive flexibility, creativity, and divergent thinking. Early exposure to world language study can have a positive impact on student performance across the curriculum. Finally, learning a world language lays the foundation for strong self-concept and lifelong enhancement of learning. Children who study world languages at the elementary school level have been shown to have a greater sense of achievement and satisfaction in school. This positive attitude transfers to later learning by facilitating the acquisition of subsequent languages and by motivating additional study in the history, geography, art and music of world cultures. World language study opens the mind and imagination to widening spheres of experience and new intellectual and artistic adventures. At Sacred Heart, the world language programs capitalize on the Schools’ French heritage by beginning the study of French and Spanish in Kindergarten. French and Spanish are offered through second grade. French is the focus of the program through fifth grade. At the Middle School level, students are given the option of continuing in French or beginning a new study of Spanish. Whichever language is chosen, course work continues through eighth grade. Throughout their nine years of world languages, students are prepared for the more rigorous study they will encounter in high school, as a solid foundation is laid in communicative proficiency: oral fluency, aural comprehension, and written expression. Equally important, the program integrates the study of language with the study of culture: daily life, history, literature, and art.
Education in the arts is an essential aspect of each child’s Sacred Heart education. The arts program helps students develop self-confidence and the ability to discover new ways to express their creativity. In light of this philosophy, we believe that the working process holds greater importance than the final product. The visual arts program provides children with the opportunity for self-expression through visual communication. The program emphasizes creative problem solving, imaginative thinking, and individual and cooperative learning situations. Students explore concepts through hands-on art activities that help them develop the capacity for independent thought and action. The art program encourages each child to use his or her imagination freely, employing a variety of media and tools. Student art is proudly displayed throughout the campus. The music program nurtures the natural creative impulse in each child through a wide range of vocal and instrumental activities. The program consists of three primary activities: singing, instrument playing, and musical academics. Singing is taught as a form of personal expression, for enjoyment, and as a form of prayer. Instrument playing accompanies singing and is used as a practical expression of other music skills, such as keeping time and music reading. In the academic portion of class, students explore the history of Western music, orchestral music of other countries, American folk music, and African-American spirituals. Children learn to enjoy music and to participate with confidence. Children at all grade levels participate in performances.
The Technology program is designed towards shaping each student into an efficient and responsible user of technology tools and resources. Given the ubiquity of technology in our daily lives, the computer program is structured around making students aware of the educational benefits and accountabilities associated with the use of this resource. Beginning in the Primary School and continuing into the Middle School, students use software and hardware to complete projects for their content area courses - with the guidance and instruction of the content teacher and the computer instructor for Lower and Primary Schools; or technology integration specialist in the Middle School. Emphasis is placed on students becoming proficient users of different types of software and astute researchers with the Internet and electronic databases provided in computer labs and Library. Students are encouraged to become independent problem-solvers and to develop a knowledge base so that they can adapt comfortably to new technology. To the greatest extent possible, a “hands-on” and “in context” approach is utilized so that computer skills become practical and meaningful to students. The use and understanding of technology is integrated throughout the curriculum with computers in every classroom and the availability of several mobile laptop carts. This is further supported by scheduled time in the computer lab. Students use the Internet, email, and a school-wide computer network to conduct research, collaborate, and communicate. Students use a wide variety of tools such as laptops, ipads, digital cameras/ camcorders, and digital microscopes to enhance their learning experiences.
The most important goal of the Technology program is to build students confidence so that they will become independent lifelong learners with computers and other forms of technology. Ultimately, the objective is to help students view technology as a “transparent” tool that can truly assist them in accomplishing tasks and guide each student in becoming a good digital citizen.
The intent of physical education is to motivate students to maintain and improve their personal health and fitness. Physical well-being is directly linked with academic learning. The healthy, physically active child is more likely to be intellectually motivated and alert. Finally, physical education promotes the social skills that are increasingly viewed as essential for success in school. A quality physical and health education program is an integral part of each student’s total education. Physical education at Sacred Heart offers activities that allow students to make developmental transitions from childhood to adolescence. Games and sport are viewed as a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Competition is put into proper perspective, and every student is encouraged to develop a positive self-image and to relate to others in encouraging ways. The program helps students develop an acceptable level of fitness, a broad spectrum of physical skills, and the enjoyment, understanding, and self-confidence needed to motivate a lifetime of active participation.
The primary School: Kindergarden First Grade Second Grade
The Primary School: An Introduction “Coming to a Sacred Heart school, you have entered into a family and have come to a home.” So begins Life at the Sacred Heart, the long-standing School Rule for Sacred Heart students around the world. This is an especially appropriate description of the Primary School, in which our youngest students are first introduced to the family of Sacred Heart. During these first three years, students come to know their new school family and, in time, begin to think of Sacred Heart as a true home. When students come to the Primary School, they enter a nurturing community. Instilling confidence, independence, and a sense of security is a particularly important focus of the early years at Sacred Heart. Teachers and administrators work to know each child individually and to provide the kind of daily encouragement that allows children to flourish. Faculty members recognize that early learning progresses through stages that cannot be rushed and that no two children learn in exactly the same way or at precisely the same pace. For this reason, careful attention is given to using varied instructional approaches that provide for individual progress and ensure that every student develops a firm foundation of core skills. The Primary School strives to develop in students a genuine concern for others. Kindness, respect, responsibility, and thoughtfulness are qualities that the faculty seek to encourage. Adult modeling of these traits is, of course, the most effective way of helping children to incorporate these values, but they also are reinforced in the stories we read during circle time, in the way we greet each other as we pass through the halls, in our relationships with our Middle School buddies, and in our play during recess. The value of community and each child’s responsibility to live each day with kindness and consideration are principles we work hard to convey during the primary years. Parents are an integral part of the educational process in the Primary School. Communication between parents and teachers is open and ongoing throughout the year. It is especially important that young children have a sense of continuity between home and school. For this reason, regular opportunities to volunteer in the classroom are offered to Primary School parents. Parents are invited to help with weekly activities like literacy and math centers, science experiments, and art projects. Parents also read to classes, join the children on field trips, and share special skills and interests. The Primary School is a happy place full of laughter and learning. Our hope is that children leave the Primary School with confidence in their abilities, knowledge of themselves as learners, a sense of joy in and responsibility for our community, and the security that all adults are working together to help them grow to be their best selves.
Meg Steele Head of Primary School
Class Size and Structure
The Kindergarten is comprised of five coeducational classrooms with approximately 14-16 children in each section. Classrooms are homeroom-centered for the core subjects of language arts, social studies, math, and science. Children move out of their selfcontained classrooms to special facilities for music, art, library, physical education, movement and religion. World languages are taught by specialists in the classroom.
The primary School Kindergarden Quick Facts
One lead teacher heads each of the five Kindergarten classrooms. These five teachers form a collaborative team that meets weekly to plan activities, develop curriculum, and ensure a consistent experience for all Kindergarten students. There is one teaching assistant per class in Kindergarten. At the Kindergarten level, the children have specialist faculty for French, Spanish, music, art, physical education, movement, religion, and library skills. Kindergarten students also benefit from services provided by the Head of Student Life, the Campus Minister, the Outreach Coordinator, and the Athletic Director. The Child Study Team, led by the Division Heads, provides comprehensive strategies for meeting the individual learning needs of students. The enrichment coordinator works closely with classroom teachers to supplement the curriculum for children who are working at an accelerated pace and who will benefit from further academic challenges. A reading specialist in the Primary School and three learning specialists in the Lower
and Middle Schools support students in the classroom environment with teaching modifications and special pullout groups when appropriate. We are sensitive to the fact that during their time with us some students may experience significant life changes, like death, divorce, or illness of family members, and will benefit from the guidance of the school counselor. The school nurse helps to identify specific health issues like hearing or vision problems and recommends appropriate intervention. The Child Study Team serves as a significant resource for teachers as they seek effective strategies to maximize learning opportunities for each child.
In the Kindergarten, the school day begins at 8:30am. Dismissal is at 3:00pm, Monday through Thursday; 2:15pm on Friday. Kindergartners who carpool with older students may have recess for extra play time or may stay in their classrooms with their teachers engaged in meaningful activities until the 3:15pm or 3:30pm dismissal. There is one 30-minute lunch period, two 30-minute recess periods, and one 20 - 30-minute rest period daily. Children may nap during the rest period or select a quiet activity such as reading or drawing.
The Primary School uses a six-day continuous cycle for instructional scheduling. The One through Six Day schedule rotates through the school calendar, taking into account in-service days, holidays, and unexpected school closings. It insures that classes that tend to fall on Monday/Friday holidays are not shortchanged, as they often are in more
traditional schedules. In addition, it allows for equal scheduling of the special subjects (art, French, Spanish, library, music, physical education, and religion) and increases instructional time for the core subjects (language arts, math, social studies and science).
Parents are asked to read with their children nightly. Teachers occasionally assign simple projects or activities to be completed at home.
Generally, at least one special after school activity is offered to Kindergarten students each weekday. Activities include arts and crafts, Legos, cooking, Mad Science, drama club, math games, yoga, chess, piano, and voice lessons.
Report Cards and Conferences
The academic year in the Primary School is organized by semesters. Each semester, the reporting sequence moves from an initial progress report, to a parent-teacher conference, and concludes with a report card. Kindergarten report cards are narrative-based. Teachers are always happy to speak with parents between conferences and can easily be reached via email.
Parent Volunteer Opportunities
Parents are invited to volunteer regularly for reading and literacy activities in the classroom and as mystery readers. In addition, parents serve as chaperones for field trips, holiday parties, and community service activities. There are two room parents for each classroom, a room parent
coordinator for Kindergarten, and a room parent coordinator for the school. Parents also assist the Schools through participation in Parents of the Heart (the parent volunteer organization), the Parent Athletic Advisory Committee, the Fine Arts Advisory Committee, the Diversity Council, the community service program, and the Board of Trustees and its related committees.
The primary School Kindergarden Curriculum
The Kindergarten provides developmentally appropriate experiences in reading, writing, and oral language skills. The print-rich environment of each classroom works to foster both competency and enjoyment in our youngest students’ emerging relationship with language. Children are read to daily and begin to explore basic literary elements of shared stories. The phonics program provides a thorough understanding of the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. Self-selected reading, differentiated learning groups, literacy centers, and book reports for home reading enhance the program. Our writing segment introduces, in age appropriate form, the Six + 1 Traits of Good Writing: organization, ideas, word choice, voice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation. Through daily journaling and writing workshop activities, the children learn to transform their writing from pictures and symbols to letters, words, and sentences. Handwriting (printing) skills are introduced in Kindergarten.
Texts and Instructional Programs:
“Super Kids,” a phonics language arts program. Multiple resources including a comprehensive selection of age-appropriate literature is used throughout the year. Full Option Science System, University of California at Berkeley and Delta Education.
The Kindergarten uses an active, hands-on approach to mathematics. The program develops problem-solving skills and extends the children’s understanding and enjoyment of numbers. Special emphasis is placed on counting, sorting and classifying; relating numbers to quantity; time and money; forms of measurement; the language
of math; and basic concepts of addition and subtraction. Texts and Instructional Programs: Everyday Mathematics developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project
FOSS Science (the Full Option Science System) is a science program for young children developed at the University of California, Berkeley with the support of the National Science Foundation. Based on the philosophy that students best learn science by doing science, the program encourages a handson, inquiry-based approach to learning. Students explore units in “Trees,” “Wood,” and “Paper,” developing an understanding of the natural world through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. Science is scheduled regularly in each sixday rotation. In addition, science-related activities are integrated into the language arts and math programs, increasing students’ exposure to the subject. Texts and Instructional Programs:
Full Option Science System
Thematic units provide the impetus for learning in all areas of the Kindergarten curriculum. Children are called to a fuller awareness of the world around them and the variety of communities in which they share. Units include “I Am Special,” “Our School,” and “Transportation.” In addition, children explore seasons and holidays. The program incorporates art, music, and appropriate children’s literature. Social studies is scheduled regularly in each six-day rotation. In addition, social studies-related activities are integrated into the language arts program.
Students begin their study of French and Spanish in Kindergarten. The programs emphasize conversational skills through the development of correct pronunciation, vocabulary, aural comprehension, and cultural awareness. Games, songs, and dialogues encourage the students to take risks with language while having fun. Vocabulary introduced includes: greetings, commands, numbers, classroom objects, colors, days, months, seasons, gender of nouns, likes and dislikes, verbs (infinitives), holidays. French and Spanish are scheduled twice each in every six-day rotation.
The art program provides children with experiences in both self-expression and cooperative learning, while also offering practice in basic visual and motor skills through the use of drawing media, brushes, and other art tools. Experimentation and creative thinking are fostered as children learn to explore their imaginations in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere. Art is scheduled one and a half times in each six-day rotation.
The Kindergarten music program works to develop an enthusiasm for singing within each child. Children learn short songs revolving around thematic units of study and develop rhythmic sense by learning to keep a steady beat with large motor movement. The class also enjoys read-aloud stories with musical themes. The Kindergarten performs in one concert each year. Music is scheduled once in each six-day rotation. In addition, students gather weekly as a grade for a singing practice.
Physical Education and Movement
Gross motor development and physical activity are beneficial to all areas of learning. Kindergarten Physical Education focuses on fitness through play and games of low organization. In addition, Kindergarten movement class, taught by the Music teacher, brings a creative dimension to the studentsâ€™ activities. In both classes, developing a habit of lifelong fitness, self-confidence, positive self-image, and peer group acceptance are carefully nurtured. Physical Education is scheduled twice in each sixday rotation; Movement is scheduled two times in each rotation. Students also have twice daily recess.
The Kindergarten religion program is designed to help each child develop a personal experience of faith and a relationship with God and the community. Because children learn best through hands-on experience, lessons are presented utilizing childrenâ€™s literature, Bible stories, songs, and art projects. Instruction utilizes concepts from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Children participate in weekly Chapel with their Division, as well as monthly Masses with the entire school, enabling them to celebrate faith as it is lived in the liturgical year, its seasons, and Holy Days. Religion is scheduled twice in each six-day rotation.
Kindergartners visit the library once in each six-day rotation for a read-aloud and to check out books for home reading.
Primary School students are introduced to the concept of working together to help others as they learn about the variety of people living in their
world â€” at school, in their neighborhoods, and around the globe. Students are encouraged to respect themselves through making good choices and to develop helpful and supportive attitudes toward their peers, their teachers, and all others they encounter. Kindergarten students participate in several service projects throughout the year, including the Howard Area Christmas Basket Project and food drives for Ignatian Services and Care for Real. They learn to be stewards of the earth as they study wood with its products and recycling options. Kindergarten students volunteer to make heritage quilts for International Night.
Class Size and Structure
There are four single-sex, self-contained classrooms at each grade level: two designated sections for boys and two sections for girls. Approximately 18-20 students are in each section. (Exact numbers vary from year to year, depending on the way in which attrition is balanced by the addition of new students.) Boys and girls share coed recess and lunch periods. Field trips are coeducational, and a coed academic period is scheduled once during each six-day rotation, giving boys and girls the opportunity to work together cooperatively in an academic setting.
The primary School First and Second Grade Quick Facts
One lead teacher heads each of the four classrooms at grade level. These four teachers form a collaborative team that meets weekly to plan activities, develop curriculum, and ensure a consistent experience for all students in the grade. Teaching assistants support the work of the lead teachers by facilitating small group, large group, and individual student instruction. There is one teaching assistant per class in first grade; in second grade, two teaching assistants are shared by the four classes. As in Kindergarten, children have specialist faculty for French, Spanish, art, music, physical education, religion, and library skills. In addition, a teacher for technology is added, beginning in first grade. Students also benefit from services provided by the Head of Student Life, the Campus Minister, the Outreach Coordinator, and the Athletic Director. The Child Study Team, led by the Division Heads, provides comprehensive strategies for meeting the individual learning needs of students. The
enrichment coordinator works closely with classroom teachers to supplement the curriculum for children who are working at an accelerated pace and who would benefit from further academic challenges. A reading specialist in the Primary School and three learning specialists in the Lower and Middle Schools support students in the classroom environment with teaching modifications and special pullout groups when appropriate. We are sensitive to the fact during their time with us some students may experience significant life changes, like death, divorce, or illness of family members, and will benefit from the guidance of the school counselor. The school nurse helps to identify specific health issues like hearing or vision problems and recommends appropriate intervention. The Child Study Team serves as a significant resource for teachers as they seek effective strategies to maximize learning opportunities for each child.
The school day begins at 8:30am. Dismissal is at 3:15pm, Monday-Thursday. There is an early dismissal at 2:30pm on Friday. There is one 30-minute lunch period and one 30-minute recess period daily.
The Primary School uses a six-day continuous cycle for instructional scheduling. The One through Six Day schedule rotates through the school calendar, taking into account in-service days, holidays, and unexpected school closings. It insures that classes that tend to fall on Monday/Friday holidays are not shortchanged, as they often are in more traditional schedules. In addition, it allows for more equal scheduling of the special subjects (art, technology, world language, library, music, physical education, and religion) and increases instructional time for
the core subjects (language arts, math, social studies and science).
In first grade, parents are asked to read with their children at least 15 minutes each day. Teachers assign approximately 10 minutes of additional homework daily and periodically assign simple projects to be completed at home. In second grade, students are expected to complete approximately 20 minutes of homework each night, in addition to 20 minutes of independent reading. A few long-term projects are also assigned.
First and second graders are offered the chance to participate in a wide variety of after school enrichment activities. These include: Athletics • developmental basketball (boys and girls) Other • chess • dance • drama club • cooking • math games • lego building • yoga • Mad Science • scouting (boys and girls) • Taekwondo • drumming, piano, and voice lessons are also offered.
Report Cards and Conferences The academic year in the Primary School is organized by semesters. Each semester, the
reporting sequence moves from an initial progress report, to a parent-teacher conference, and concludes with a report card. Students in first and second grade receive a non-graded checklist report card with a narrative from the teacher addressing academic, social, and emotional progress during the semester. Teachers are always happy to speak with parents between conferences and can easily be reached by voice mail and email.
Parent Volunteer Opportunities
Parents are invited to volunteer regularly for reading and literacy activities in the classroom. In addition, parents serve as chaperones for field trips, holiday parties, and community service activities. There are two room parents for each classroom and a room parent coordinator for the school. Parents also assist the Schools through participation in Parents of the Heart (the parent volunteer organization), the Parent Athletic Advisory Committee, the Fine Arts Advisory Committee, the Diversity Council, the community service program, and the Board of Trustees and its related committees.
The curriculum is based on the philosophy that reading, writing, listening, and speaking are most effectively taught to Primary School students when integrated with the study of phonics and the writing process.
The primary School First and Second Grade Curriculum
Literature and reading play crucial roles in our first and second grade classrooms. Children are read to daily and have opportunities for both teacherguided and self-selected reading. From the more accessible books of Dr. Seuss, Cynthia Rylant and Robert Munch in first grade to the increasingly complex Junior Great Books series in second grade, students are introduced to engaging children’s literature that accommodates the varying levels of literacy common among young readers. The use of phonics, as well as multi-sensory techniques, assists children in developing strong decoding, comprehension, and reading fluency skills. Whole group, small group, and individual work are all utilized in the classroom. In the Primary School, children and teachers spend their days together immersed in literature, loving all that stories, books and print bring to their lives. Writing is taught as a process. Children come to understand that ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions (grammar and mechanics), and presentation are all important aspects of good writing. Through daily journaling, Writer’s Workshop, and Literacy Centers, children gain confidence in their writing, from composing simple, clear sentences to more detailed paragraphs. They express themselves through short stories, poems, personal narratives, persuasive and informative pieces, and research reports. The writing program is supported by instruction in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and handwriting.
Cursive is introduced in second grade. Texts and Instructional Programs: Four Blocks Reading (grades 1 & 2); Six +1 Traits of Good Writing (grades 1 & 2); Recipe for Reading by Nina Traub (phonics and spelling, grade 1); Superkids (language arts, grade 1); Sitton Spelling and Word Skills (language arts, grade 2); Zaner Bloser Handwriting (grade 2); Junior Great Books Anthologies & Workbooks (grade 2). A wide variety of authentic children’s literature is used in the classroom.
The Primary School curriculum is designed to actively engage younger children in doing mathematics. The classroom environment encourages students to explore, develop, test, discuss, and apply ideas. The framework of the curriculum is organized around six strands: numeration; operations and computation; probability and statistics; geometry; measurement; and patterns, functions and algebra. Students use related workbooks, reference texts, “study links”, and other materials which connect activities at school and home. Throughout the year, supplementary materials, manipulatives, and games are used to ensure mastery of concepts and practice of basic skills. Whole group, small group, and individual work are all utilized in the classroom. Important areas covered in first and second grades include: basic addition and subtraction (through three digits and re-grouping); estimation; place value; number patterns through 100; measurement standards for height, weight, length, temperature, money, and time; classification of two- and threedimensional figures; classification of geometric shapes; fractions as part of a whole; fractional notation and vocabulary; perimeter and area of simple shapes; mental math.
Texts: Everyday Mathematics, Journals 1 & 2 developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project.
Instructional Program: Full Option Science System, University of California at Berkeley and Delta Education.
As in Kindergarten, the first and second grades use the Full Option Science System, an elementary school science program developed at the University of California, Berkeley with the support of the National Science Foundation. This program, based on the philosophy that students best learn science by doing science, encourages a hands-on inquirybased approach to learning. Students explore units in life science, earth science, and physical science, developing an understanding of the natural world through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. Science is scheduled regularly in each sixday rotation. In addition, science-related activities are integrated into the language arts and math programs. Units include: new plants (students observe plant structure and learn ways to propagate new plants from seeds, roots, bulbs, and cuttings); insects (students observe and compare structures and behaviors in different stages of the life cycle); air and water (students explore the properties of air and water, use basic weather tools to gather information, and observe the movement of objects in the air and sky); pebbles, sand and silt (students identify properties and use them to classify rocks and soil); solids and liquids (students describe properties of liquids and solids and learn that materials can exist in different states); balance and motion (students investigate stable and unstable systems using systematic explorations to test questions and produce desired outcomes).
Thematic units provide the impetus for learning in all areas of the curriculum. In first grade, social studies centers on the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the similarities and differences between rural and urban communities. Students develop an understanding of the concept of interdependence and an appreciation of the many people who affect their lives. In second grade, students engage in a study of world geography. As students “travel around the world,” they study a country on each continent and gain a greater understanding of world neighbors and their cultures. Students at both grade levels focus on the acquisition of map skills and simple research techniques. Social studies is scheduled regularly in each six-day rotation. In addition, social studies-related activities are integrated into the language arts program, increasing students’ exposure to the subject.
Students continue their study of French and Spanish from Kindergarten. The program emphasizes conversational skills through the development of correct pronunciation, vocabulary, aural comprehension and cultural awareness. Games, songs, and dialogues encourage the students to take risks with language while having fun. Vocabulary introduced includes: greetings, commands, numbers through 60, classroom objects, colors, days, months, seasons, gender of nouns, likes and dislikes, verbs (infinitives), holidays. French and Spanish are scheduled twice each in every six-day rotation.
The art program provides children with the opportunity for self-expression through visual communication. Students explore concepts through hands-on art activities that help develop the capacity for independent thought and action. Activities include: drawing skills (pencil and charcoal); basic color theory; pastels and watercolor; artwork of historic cultures; and study of significant artists. Students assemble and use a sketchbook for their Primary School years. Student art is displayed throughout the year and at the yearend Art Fair, a school-wide celebration of the visual arts. Art is scheduled twice in each six-day rotation.
Students continue to improve their pitch-matching abilities through singing games and simple partsinging. Basic instruments are used to develop a strong sense of beat and rhythmic pattern. The introduction of hymnals, as well as folk music from world cultures increases the children’s repertoire of familiar music. Students are acquainted with ageappropriate classical music and take part musically in school liturgies and special performances throughout the year. Music is scheduled twice in each six-day rotation.
Physical education provides every child with a safe and accepting environment in which to develop fitness, sportsmanship, and game-playing skills. Hand-eye and foot-eye coordination is fostered through games emphasizing throwing, catching, and footwork. Motor skills are developed through activities and games incorporating skipping, hopping, jumping, and galloping. Yoga and stretching exercises help children develop agility,
flexibility, and muscle strength. Games of low organization offer the students an opportunity to apply their emerging skills and promote positive group interaction and peer acceptance. Sports, games, and health are included to foster a wellfounded physical activity education program. Physical education is scheduled twice in each sixday rotation. Students also have daily recess.
Students are formally introduced to the computer lab in the first grade. Students also work with the technology teacher on in-class projects, integrating tech with daily activities and learning skills as needed. Children learn the basics of computer usage, as well as how to navigate the Schools’ computer network. They are acquainted with touch-typing and proper fingering format through Kid Keys. Students become familiar with basic word processing techniques (spell check, text formatting, cutting and pasting, and the use of drawing tools and clip art) in order to create slide shows and write, illustrate, and publish short stories and poems. A variety of software is available to younger students including numerous math and word games. Digital cameras, camcorders, scanners, and color printers also are located in the lab. Technology is scheduled once in each six-day rotation in the first grade and one and a half times in the second grade.
The children continue their exploration of faith and spirituality as they learn about God as a loving Creator and the giver of gifts, including God’s gift of Jesus to the world. Bible stories and appropriate literature from a wide variety of sources are used to support classroom themes. Instruction utilizes concepts from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Feast days and liturgical seasons are explored each week. The children learn more about the spirituality and traditions of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, particularly Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne. Throughout the year, children have opportunities for self-expression through prayer, worship, art, and music activities. Children also participate in weekly Chapel with their Division and monthly Masses with the entire school. In second grade, the religion program provides preparation for Roman Catholic students to celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist (First Confession and First Holy Communion). Classroom teachers, as well as the Primary School religion teacher, work together to provide a strong experience for the children, both in terms of learning about their faith and the lived experience of being a Christian. Students actively participate in two “teaching Masses,” and parental participation is encouraged through two parent meetings, family liturgical celebrations, and a day of retreat for children and their parents. While only those students who have been baptized into the Roman Catholic faith may receive the Sacraments, every effort is made to include non-Roman Catholic students in the preparation process in appropriate ways. Religion is scheduled twice in each six-day rotation.
Students visit the library once in each six-day rotation for a read-aloud and to check out books for home reading. Simple library and research skills are introduced.
Primary School students are introduced to the concept of working together to help others as they learn about the variety of people living in their world — at school, in their neighborhoods, and around the globe. Social justice issues are explained to the children at their level of understanding. Students are encouraged not only to respect themselves through making good choices, but also to develop helpful and supportive attitudes toward their peers, their teachers, and all others they encounter. First and second grade students participate in service projects throughout the year, including the Howard Area Christmas Basket Project and food drives for Ignatian Services and Care for Real. In addition, first graders: • collect school supplies for Care for Real and visit this neighborhood pantry • help with coat and food drives • make posters promoting Earth Day • make sandwiches for people who are homeless or underserved. Second graders: • help with coat and food drives • work with Children of the Heart, an on-campus parenting program for neighborhood mothers and babies, learning about children and adults from many cultures; • help collect early childhood materials for the Children of the Heart program; • volunteer to make decorations for International Night; • make lunches for various shelters.
The Lower School: Third Grade Fourth Grade Fifth Grade
The Lower School: An Introduction The Lower School forms the bridge between early learning in the Primary School years and increasingly rigorous academic curriculum in Middle School years. In Lower School students, we see the development of the creative use of their imaginations joined with an enthusiasm for school and their place in our community. Their increasing sense of personal accomplishment in harmony with their growing awareness of their own learning styles becomes a focus as they begin to grow in knowledge and compassion, awareness and self-esteem. Lower School students are curious, connected, competent and eager to communicate. Often that communication is punctuated with humor and insight, demonstrating their joy in the learning process itself. Their curricular learning shifts from the basics of â€œlearning to readâ€? to the lifelong process of learning and sharing that learning with others. A common thread throughout the Lower School years is the development of critical thinking skills in all the academic subjects, ranging from an inquiry based approach in science to shared inquiry discussion in literature. There is never a dull moment in Lower School as students proceed through the study of foundational curricula such as math and language arts, science and social studies. Our heritage language of French, including the study of language and culture, and religion, which provides the opportunity to grow in faith, are among special area classes students also take in Lower School. The whole child is further nurtured with class opportunities in physical education and wellness, visual arts and music, and computer technology. These special area classes enable individual students opportunities for service to community and environment, the development of cultural awareness, creative expression, the development of personal fitness and health awareness and understanding of skills applications in technology. At the heart of their curricular experience is differentiated instruction that allows us to celebrate a diversity of learning styles and needs in an environment especially suited to young learners. Fundamental to our entire learning process is the affirmation of the respect for and value of each student as articulated by our foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.
Mary Ann Ligon Head of Lower School
Lower School Quick Facts
Class Size and Structure
There are four single-sex, self-contained classrooms at each grade level, two designated sections for boys and two sections for girls. Approximately 18 â€“ 20 students are in each section. (Exact numbers may vary slightly from year to year, depending on the way in which attrition is balanced by the addition of new students.) As in first and second grades, boys and girls share coed recess and lunch periods. Field trips are frequently coeducational, and a coed academic period is scheduled once each week, giving boys and girls the opportunity to work together cooperatively in small groups.
School and three learning specialists in the Lower and Middle Schools support students in the classroom environment with teaching modifications and special pullout groups when appropriate. We are sensitive to the fact during their time with us some students may experience significant life changes, like death, divorce, or illness of family members, and will benefit from the guidance of the school counselor. The school nurse helps to identify specific health issues like hearing or vision problems and recommends appropriate intervention. The Child Study Team serves as a significant resource for teachers as they seek effective strategies to maximize learning opportunities for each child.
One lead teacher heads each of the four classrooms at grade level. These four teachers form a collaborative team that meets weekly to plan activities, develop curriculum, and ensure a consistent experience for all students in the grade.
The school day begins at 8:30am. Dismissal is at 3:15pm, Monday â€“Thursday. On Friday, there is early dismissal at 2:30pm. There is one 30-minute lunch period and one 30-minute recess period daily.
Children in the Lower School have specialist faculty for visual arts, music, world language, physical education, religion, technology, and library skills. Lower School students also benefit from services provided by the Head of Student Life, the Campus Minister, the Outreach Coordinator, and the Athletic Director.
The Lower School uses a six-day continuous cycle for instructional scheduling. The One through Six Day schedule rotates through the school calendar, taking into account in-service days, holidays, and unexpected school closings. It allows for more equal scheduling of the special subjects (art, technology, world language, library, music, physical education, and religion) and instructional time for the core subjects (language arts, math, social studies and science).
The Child Study Team, led by the division heads, provides comprehensive strategies for meeting the individual learning needs of students. The enrichment coordinator works closely with classroom teachers to supplement the curriculum for children who are working at an accelerated pace and who would benefit from further academic challenges. A reading specialist in the Primary
In Lower School, homework provides an opportunity for students to review skills learned, practice concepts, develop their organizational skills and read independently. Time spent will vary from day to day and student to student.
In third grade, students normally are assigned 30 minutes of homework each night, which includes independent reading and practice of math facts. In fourth grade, nightly homework ranges from 40 – 45 minutes. In fifth grade, 60 minutes of homework is assigned nightly, including minimal homework in special area subjects.
Lower School students are offered a wide range of seasonal sports and other enrichment activities after school and on weekends including: Sports: • Basketball teams (coed, grades 4 & 5) • Cross-country team (coed, all grades) • Track team (coed, grades 4 & 5) • Volleyball team (girls, grade 5) Other: • band (grades 4 & 5) • book club • Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts • chess • cooking • creative writing • drama club • liturgical choir (grades 4 & 5) • math games • yoga • knitting • drumming • guitar • piano • voice lessons
Report Cards and Conferences
The academic year in the Lower School is organized by semesters. Each semester, the reporting
sequence moves from an initial progress report, to a parent-teacher conference, and concludes with a report card. Students in third and fourth grades receive a non-graded checklist report card with a narrative from the teacher addressing academic, social, and emotional progress during the semester. Students in fifth grade receive traditional letter grades with an accompanying teacher narrative. Teachers are always happy to speak with parents between conferences and can easily be reached by voice mail or email.
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is administered in the spring. Parents are mailed results of their child’s nationally normed scores.
Parent Volunteer Opportunities
Parents serve as chaperones for field trips, holiday parties, and community service activities. There are two room parents for each classroom, and a room parent coordinator for the school. Parents also assist the Schools through participation in Parents of the Heart (the parent volunteer organization), the Parent Athletic Advisory Committee, the Fine Arts Advisory Committee, the Diverstiy Council, the community service program, and the Board of Trustees and its related committees.
The development of reading, writing, and analytical thinking skills are the principal goals of the Lower School language arts program.
The Lower School Curriculum
Literature plays a crucial role in each classroom, and students are exposed to an ever-widening circle of authors and literary genres, especially through the Lower School’s use of the challenging Junior Great Books program. Beyond Junior Great Books, the specific selection of literature varies somewhat from year to year, but in the past has included such authors as Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Lois Lowry, and C.S. Lewis. Students learn to evaluate literature through the exploration of standard literary elements such as plot, setting, point of view, character, conflict, and theme. Basic comprehension skills covered include recognizing main ideas, supporting details, understanding cause and effect relationships, making inferences, predicting outcomes, and drawing conclusions. Students learn to use the dictionary and thesaurus and are asked to apply these reference materials in practical situations. In writing, students continue to use the Six +1 Traits curriculum: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions. Students begin to write with an awareness of their intended audience, for a variety of purposes, and in a range of styles – descriptive, expressive, narrative, persuasive, expository, and informational. Several pre-writing strategies are taught (story maps, graphic organizers, Venn diagrams, and brainstorming), and students utilize a writing process that includes pre-writing, drafting, sharing, revising, editing, and publishing. Note taking and outlining are introduced to assist in research. Correct use of spelling, grammar, and punctuation is emphasized for effective writing.
Texts and Instructional Programs: Six +1 Traits of Good Writing (all grade levels); Junior Great Books (at various grade levels); Houghton-Mifflin English Text (grades 3 & 4); Sitton Spelling (grades 3 & 4); Zaner Bloser Handwriting (grades 3 & 4); Vocabulary through Literature Workbook (grades 4 & 5); Tales with a Twist (grade 5).
The Lower School mathematics curriculum develops students’ self-confidence, as well as their disposition to seek, evaluate, and use quantitative and spatial information in solving problems and making decisions. The program’s objectives are threefold: understanding concepts and the relationship of numbers; skillful computation; and facility in problem solving. The use of manipulatives deepens understanding through a hands-on approach. Calculators are introduced as tools. Whole group, small group, and individual work are all utilized in the classroom. Important goals during the Lower School years include an understanding of: numbers and numeration; operations and computation; data and chance; measurement and reference frames; geometry and patterns; functions and algebra. Content areas include basic arithmetic operations (through multiplication and division); place value; rounding and estimation; fractions and decimals. Students use patterns, symbols and models to problem solve and will learn to communicate strategies for their mathematical thinking. Mathematics is scheduled daily. Texts: Everyday Mathematics, Journals 3 & 4 developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (grades 3 & 4); Scott Foresman & Addison-Wesley Mathematics: (grade 5).
The Lower School believes that learning science is an active process. To further that end, Lower School science includes opportunities for students to pose questions, construct explanations, test hypotheses, and communicate ideas to others. Lower School students make use of dedicated laboratory space where strong emphasis is placed on hands-on lab activities where students are encouraged to think and act scientifically. Students also learn proper handling and care of scientific tools and materials. Science is scheduled two to three times in each six-day rotation. In addition, science-related activities are integrated into the language arts and math programs. Third grade units include: the human body (students investigate how different tissues work together to provide movement, protection and structure); water (students explore water in its three different states – solid, liquid, and gas); and physics of sound (students consider sound as the product of a vibrating object and test variables that determine pitch and amplification).
elements, compounds and mixtures); and changes over time (students research plant and animal development over time through fossil records and begin to understand symbiotic relationships in nature). Texts and Instructional Programs: Full Option Science System, University of California at Berkeley and Delta Education (grades 3 & 4); Discovery Works published by Houghton Mifflin (grades 4 & 5)
The third grade social studies curriculum focuses on the history of the United States from the first Native Americans through the Colonial Period. Among the topics studied are the customs and cultures of Native American tribes, European explorations and conquests of the New World, the foundation and growth of the North American colonies, and the creation of the American nation.
Fourth grade units include: animals (students examine the ways that animals meet their basic needs, and some similarities and differences among animals); weather and climate (students examine the changes in the Earth’s atmosphere that affect daily weather conditions); and electricity and magnetism (students compare electric and magnetic phenomena).
The fourth grade curriculum is centered on the study of Illinois from early Native American settlements to the present. Students examine the state’s topography, climate, and people. Topics include the difficulties of life on the frontier; railroads and early Illinois industry; Illinois in the Civil War, World War I and World War II; immigration; and the state’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. As part of the Illinois History Fair, students complete a research project on people, places, or events in state history.
Fifth grade units include: cells (students explore parts and functions of plant and animal cells, identify microorganisms and understand the process of mitosis); matter (students observe characteristics of matter and classify matter as
The fifth grade program covers the history of the United States from the American Revolution through the late 19th century. Topics include the U.S. Constitution, systems of government, the Industrial Revolution, Westward Expansion, the
Civil War and Reconstruction, and the impact of immigration on the growing United States. At all grade levels, students continue to develop map skills, expand their understanding of geographic terms, and learn the proper use of almanacs, atlases, and the Internet as reference sources. Hands-on projects, group simulations, and the integration of art and music make learning more accessible. Field trips to Chicago’s many museums and landmarks enrich the students’ historical knowledge. The formal study of current events begins in the fifth grade. Social studies is scheduled two to three times in each six-day rotation. In addition, social studiesrelated activities are integrated into the language arts curriculum. Texts: Trade books by unit (grade 3); Illinois Our Home published by Gibbs Smith (grade 4); Build Our Nation published by Houghton Mifflin (grade 5)
The lower school language program is a communicative approach to learning a second language. The foundation of this program is a progression of partner conversations, which allows students to have a meaningful exchange in French. The interactive activities require students to exchange information in the target language. Students find it rewarding and fun to be able to use authentic language. There is also a student activity book with written and interactive activities to reinforce the vocabulary and structures used in the conversations. French is scheduled two to three times in each six-day rotation.
The visual arts program provides children with an environment for creative self-expression. Students use a variety of art media to explore two and three dimensional art forms. They develop an awareness and appreciation of a wide range of artistic styles, the work of local and international artists, and the arts of diverse global cultures. The gradual integration of technology into the visual arts program fosters a 21st century approach to design and composition. The children learn to create works of art that express individuality, openness, and tolerance. Student artwork is displayed in exhibits on www.Artsonia.com, the online children’s art gallery, and during the annual Sacred Heart Schools evening of the arts, Gallery Night. Effective student communication through the visual arts is evident throughout the academic school year in the corridors of our schools. Art is scheduled twice in each six- day rotation.
In the Lower School, students become aware of the basic building blocks of music. Elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, tone color, and dynamics are explored through both academic study and performance. Students begin to perform works of increasing difficulty involving more sophisticated part-singing. Good vocal technique is stressed, including proper breathing and vowel formation. Hand bells and recorders are introduced. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of many music genres ranging from African-American spirituals to music from the Renaissance. Lower School students perform in at least one concert each year. Music is scheduled two to three times during each six-day rotation, in grades 3 - 5.
Texts: We Are the Church published by Sadlier (grade 3); God’s Laws Guide Us published by Sadlier (grade 4); We Meet Jesus in the Sacraments published by Sadlier (grade 5)
Physical education provides children with a safe and accepting environment in which to develop fitness, sportsmanship and game-playing skills. Students develop self-confidence and participate in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. They are introduced to cooperative aerobic games and a variety of team sports, including field hockey, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and volleyball. Students learn the correct use of free weights for upper body strength. Aerobic conditioning continues through running and jump-roping activities. Yoga and stretching exercises help children develop flexibility and muscle strength. The students learn to make informed decisions regarding their personal wellbeing and to practice healthy behaviors. Major health topics include nutrition, personal hygiene, building healthy bones and muscles, and dental health. Physical education is scheduled two times in each six-day rotation. Lower School students use laptop computers in the classroom and the computer labs. The focus of the program is to use technology to enhance learning in the core subject areas and to introduce students to technology that will prepare them for the demands of Middle School. Students refine their word processing and desktop skills using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, and Timeliner. They begin to formally develop keyboarding skills using Type to Learn and Type through Time. Using Excel, students create charts and graphs, as well as spreadsheets with embedded formulas. Students design multimedia presentations in Power Point and Windows Movie Maker. Beginning in fourth grade students are introduced to e-mail through Microsoft Outlook. Technology is scheduled twice in each six-day rotation.
Lower School students are provided with opportunities to experience God in meaningful ways as they explore, question, and grow in an atmosphere of acceptance and friendship. This process involves time for reflection and opportunities for sharing in celebrations of the Christian community. The life of the early Church, the Ten Commandments, and the Sacraments, along with feast days and liturgical seasons are studied, and children learn the traditional prayers of the Church. Students become familiar with the themes of Jesus’ teachings and the Holy Spirit as gift and guidance. The spirituality and traditions of the Society of the Sacred Heart continue to play an important role in the developing faith of each child. Children participate in weekly Chapel with their Division as well as monthly Masses with the entire school. Religion is scheduled two to three times in each rotation.
Students visit the library once in each six-day rotation for a read-aloud and to check out books for home reading. Library and research skills are taught.
Lower School students continue to work together to help others as they learn about the diversity of people living in their world — at school, in their neighborhoods, and around the globe. Social justice issues are explained to the children at their level of understanding. Students are encouraged
not only to respect themselves through making good choices, but also to develop helpful and supportive attitudes toward their peers, their teachers, and all others they encounter. Lower School students participate in several service projects throughout the year, including the Howard Area Christmas Basket Project, a food drive for Ignatian Services and Care for Real, and a coat drive for neighboring agencies. Third grade students: • make sack lunches for a homeless shelter; • organize a shoe drive to donate shoes to people in our neighborhood and globally. Fourth grade students: • learn about children who are sick and hospitalized at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital • participate in Math-a-thon for St. Jude’s to raise money for research. • participate in school drives to collect toiletries for people who are homeless, • collect food and clothing to be distributed in our neighborhood to those in need. Fifth grade students: • participate in Make-A-Wish Foundation projects, • hear from a Make-A-Wish representative and then plan and carry out projects to raise money to help children who have serious illnesses and promote awareness of the foundation, • participate in school drives to collect toiletries for people who are homeless, • collect food and clothing to be distributed in our neighborhood to those in need, • clean up parks and beaches near school.
The Middle School Sixth Grade Seventh Grade Eighth Grade
The Middle School: An Introduction The philosophy of the Middle School at Sacred Heart, both Hardey and the Academy, emanates from the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education. It directs that our mission is to educate the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially and morally. As such, the Middle School is structured to meet the unique needs of young adolescents in a variety of ways. Through daily prayer, weekly chapels and assemblies, periodic liturgies and prayer services, sacramental preparation, and a diverse but Catholic-centered Judeo-Christian religion curriculum, the students are encouraged, regardless of their faith background, to recognize the spiritual dimension of their personality and to grow in a personal and active faith in God that is relevant in today’s world. By way of a challenging and appropriate curriculum, Middle School students strengthen their basic skills, while being guided into more complex and higher levels of investigation. This provides students with a strong foundation for their continuing education in secondary school and beyond. Throughout the curriculum, the focus on developing a love of learning and applying knowledge to moral, intellectual, and social questions is maintained. In order to more fully foster the understanding that we are members of an interdependent world, the community service program in the Middle School also is given the attention and importance it so clearly deserves. Students are participants in an ongoing program of involvement in our neighboring community, serving the needs of the elderly, the very young, and the disadvantaged. A process of discussion and reflection helps to develop and maintain the desire to make a difference in our world. The extracurricular program — athletics, arts, and special interest clubs — is intended to provide the students with intraand inter-scholastic opportunities to develop the skills of team building and leadership within our community. Integrity and humility are the linchpins of a program that allows our students to develop proper respect for themselves and others. The Middle School advisory program is structured to provide further opportunities for Middle School students to grow in self-understanding in light of the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Schools. This program provides for one-on-one meetings between a student and a faculty advisor, as well as small group advisory meetings. For the students, the program fosters courage and confidence, and nurtures, guides, and facilitates communication between the student, faculty, and parents. Across the spectrum of experiences, the Middle School program focuses on each student as an individual with unique academic, social and emotional needs. Our goal is to honor each individual student’s needs and to best assist him or her in growing into a young woman or man of the Sacred Heart.
Stephen G. Puricelli Head of Middle School
In the Middle School, students move out of the self-contained classrooms of the Primary and Lower Schools into a departmentalized classroom structure that features academic specialists for each subject area. There are four sections of students at each grade level: two sections of girls and two of boys. Each section comprises approximately 18-20 students. (Exact numbers may vary slightly from year to year, depending on the way in which attrition is balanced by the addition of new students.) Students share coed recess and lunch periods. Field trips and community service activities are frequently coeducational as are many extracurricular activities, giving boys and girls opportunities to work and socialize together on a regular basis.
The Middle School Quick Facts
Students have specialist teachers for each academic area, ranging from the core subjects of language arts, social studies, math, and science to the special curriculum areas of visual arts, music, French or Spanish, physical education, religion, formations, and technology. Selected faculty members at each grade level serve as advisors to small, single-gender groups of students, meeting with them daily to explore topics of special interest to Middle School children. Each week, the grade-level advisors meet together as a team to plan activities, share their insights and ensure a consistent, thoughtful experience for all students at grade level. Middle School students also benefit from services provided by the Head of Student Life, the Campus
Minister, the Outreach Coordinator, and the Athletic Director. The Child Study Team, led by the division heads, provides comprehensive strategies for meeting the individual learning needs of students. The enrichment coordinator works closely with classroom teachers to supplement the curriculum for children who are working at an accelerated pace and who would benefit from further academic challenges. A reading specialist in the Primary School and three learning specialists in the Primary, Lower and Middle Schools support students in the classroom environment with push-in teaching and observation, teaching modifications and special pullout groups when appropriate. We are sensitive to the fact that during their time with us some students may experience significant life changes like death, divorce, or illness of family members, and will benefit from the guidance of the school counselor. The school nurse helps to identify specific health issues like hearing or vision problems and recommends appropriate intervention. The Child Study Team serves as a significant resource for teachers as they seek effective strategies to maximize learning opportunities for each child.
The school day begins at 8:30am. Dismissal is at 3:30pm, Monday â€“ Thursday. On Friday, there is an early dismissal at 2:45pm. There is one 30-minute lunch period, one 10-minute and one 15-minute recess periods daily. The Middle School operates on a five-day, Monday - Friday schedule.
Middle School students can expect approximately one to two hours of homework each night,
depending on their individual learning style. Report Cards and Conferences The academic year in the Middle School is organized on a semester basis. Each semester, the reporting sequence moves from an initial narrative progress report, to a student/parent/ advisor conference, and concludes with a report card. Students in Middle School receive traditional letter grades with accompanying teacher narratives. Teachers are always happy to meet with parents between conferences if requested.
Extracurricular Activities Fall Team Sports: • Cross-country • Volleyball • Soccer
(coed) (girls) (boys)
Winter Team Sports: • Basketball • Volleyball
(both boys and girls teams are organized by gender and grade level) (boys)
Spring Team Sports: • Track • Softball • Baseball (boys) • Soccer Other Activities: • acting • band (6th grade) • chess • debate • fashion illustration • literary magazine
(coed) (girls) (girls)
• • • • • • • • •
liturgical choir math club musical Science Olympiad sewing Student Council yearbook yoga Drumming, guitar, piano, and voice lessons are also offered
Each year students in the Middle School audition for, rehearse, and perform a full-scale version of a popular American musical. Recent selections have included Grease, Wizard of Oz, 1776, and Alice in Wonderland.
Standardized Testing The Iowa Test of Basic Skills is administered in the spring to students in sixth and seventh grades. Parents are mailed results of their children’s nationally normed scores. Students in eighth grade test at many of the high schools to which they are applying.
Parent Volunteer Opportunities
Parent volunteer opportunities in the Middle School center primarily around community service activities, and the graduation receptions. There are two room parents for each grade level, and a room parent coordinator for the school. Parents also assist the Schools through participation in Parents of the Heart (the parent volunteer organization), the Parent Athletic Advisory Committee, the Fine Arts Advisory Committee, the Diversity Council, the community service program, and the Board of Trustees and its related committees.
Sixth grade language arts is closely tied to the social studies curriculum. The students study the ancient world and read ancient literature, beginning with myths from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. They go on to read The Children’s Homer, a young person’s prose re-telling of the Iliad and the Odyssey. At the end of the school year, students are introduced to the works of Shakespeare. Independent reading is required. Students read one novel per month and write an essay about certain aspects of the book: conflict, character, setting, or theme. The outside reading books also are closely allied to the social studies curriculum and include additional myths as well as novels about life in the ancient world. The students do a great deal of creative writing, including creating their own myth and several pieces of historical fiction.
The Middle School Curriculum
Sixth grade texts: Novels and plays often incorporated are: Greek Myths by D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar; The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum; The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare; Outside reading Hardey Six: Odysseus in the Serpent Maze by Jane Yolen; Beowulf, A New Telling by Robert Nye; The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan; The Death of Osiris, an Egyptian myth; Outside reading Academy Six: Odysseus in the Serpent Maze by Jane Yolen; Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff; The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan; The Death of Osiris, an Egyptian myth.
World history, geography, and current events are the integral parts of the sixth grade social studies curriculum. Emphasis is placed upon gaining an understanding of the development of civilizations and cultures and their contributions to world history. The course focuses on the influence of
geography on history, as well as the impact of that history on current events. In addition, the course continues the development of study skills, map skills, and critical thinking skills. The class will study the following units: Geography and History, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Eastern River Valley Civilizations, the Phoenicians, the Hebrews and Greece and Ancient Rome. Texts: Human Heritage published by Glencoe/ McGraw-Hill (grade 6); New York Times Up-Front Magazine (grade 6)
Seventh Grade Humanities
The language arts processes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking will be taught in an integrated and inter-related manner alongside of the social studies curriculum. Course components include the study of rich and varied literature including expository texts; writing in the genres of narrative, persuasive, expository, descriptive, responses to literature and summaries of reading materials; direct instruction in language arts skills and strategies; a balance of oral and written language activities; and ongoing diagnosis and assessment. Each novel will correlate with the Social Studies curriculum, enabling the best learning and knowledge retention for students. In seventh grade, students continue the chronological study of world history, world geography, and current events. We begin our journey with ancient Rome from its early days as a kingdom, to its days as a republic and finally, the days of empire. After the fall of Rome in 476 it’s on to a brief survey of the early Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, and the history and contributions of the Germans, Franks, Irish, Anglo‐Saxons, and Vikings to western civilization. Students explore the origin
of feudalism with its castles, knights, damsels in distress, and serfs along with the role of the Church during the Middle Ages in the everyday lives of the people. Finally, we explore the lasting influence of the Byzantine Empire, the Arab Empire, and the emergence of Russia.
Don’t Cry and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Additional reading includes the Creating America textbook, and has included Supreme Court opinions, important speeches, short stories, poetry, relevant websites, newspaper and magazine articles.
The text used in this course is Human Heritage: A World History –McGraw Hill Co. Literature chosen varies each year. Examples of literature that have been read and studied include Julius Caesar, The Bronze Bow, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, The Samurai’s Tale, The Canterbury Tales, Last Girls of Pompeii and a variety of short stories, poems and myths.
The goal of the writing lab program is for students to develop the skills of writing and grammar. In writing lab, the students will explore various writing styles such as personal writing, narrative, descriptive, persuasive and creative writing as well as poetry. Focus is also upon the writing process and several works of writing will be taken from the prewriting process to publication. Writing lab also concentrates on grammar and writing mechanics. Students review and learn the basics of sentence structure and will identify different parts of speech in order to make them more fluent readers and writers.
Eighth Grade Humanities
This course combines the study of American History and literature relevant to and complimentary of the particular history taught. Students will discuss and analyze historical events and relevant and complimentary literature and develop critical reading and writing skills. The expectation is that students will gain sound factual knowledge of American History and become effective analytical thinkers and writers. Beyond complimenting the history taught, the literature will at times also be relevant and compliment the subject matter in Religion and Science classes. Literature chosen varies each year. Required texts for Academy and/or Hardey have included The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Devil in the White City, The Giver, Call of the Wild, Inherit the Wind, Ashes of Roses, To Kill a Mockingbird, Merchant of Venice, Maus, Night, The Secret Life of Bees, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Things They Carried, Mississippi Trial 1955, Warriors
Middle School Writing Lab
At the sixth grade level, students work on strengthening problem-solving skills through individual and group learning and activities. The basics of solving for unknowns will be stressed as this course investigates order of operations, decimal, exponential notation, prime factorization, integers, fractions, percents, pre-algebra, and geometry. Seventh grade concentrates on pre-algebra. The course balances between solidifying the arithmetic that students already know and preparing students for Algebra I. Basic skills for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of all real numbers are strengthened in combination with a comprehensive introduction to variables and algebraic equations. Math at the seventh grade level is grouped by
student learning style, to assist in addressing students’ individual needs. In eighth grade students learn to simplify mathematical expressions and solve several types of linear equations. They work with forms of slopeintercept and graph equations and inequalities. They learn the rules of exponents. Factoring quadratic equations, multiplying polynomials, and functions are covered. Students also will be given the opportunity to diversify and enhance their problem-solving skills through a variety of mathoriented games, logic puzzles, and story problems. Math at the eighth grade level is grouped by student learning style, to assist in addressing students’ individual needs. Mathematics is scheduled daily. Texts: Mathematics-Scott Foresman (grade 6); Holt, Rinehart, Winston; Algebra One Interactions, Course One (grades 7); Algebra One Interactions, Course Two (grade 8)
Sixth grade introduces the beginning units of the spiraled Middle School science curriculum. Students use inquiry and hands-on activities to aid in their understanding of science and the scientific method. Topics include: plant growth and responses; types of plants; ecosystems; weather cycles on earth and in space; sound and light; electricity and experimental design. Students engage in a long-term project in which they design a zoo habitat. The project fosters research and critical thinking skills. Seventh grade focuses on the physical sciences. Students expand their understanding of the scientific method through experimental design, inquiry labs and hands-on experiments. Topics
include: energy and motion; the nature of matter; classification of substances; interactions of matter; and energy resources. Environmental issues are interwoven throughout the curriculum. Students engage in a long-term project in which they design and develop a tool. Eighth grade focuses on the life sciences. Students solidify their understanding of the scientific method through experimental design, inquiry labs and hands-on experiments. Topics include: definition of life; viruses and the structure of cells; cell processes and reproduction; chemical changes; elements and the periodic table; heredity and evolution; classification and taxonomy; bacteria, protists and fungi; plant structure and processes; invertebrate and vertebrate adaptations; ecology; and human body systems. Students engage in a long-term project in which they “evolve” a mammal. Students conduct research on a mammal of their choice and its habitat, and then they predict how and why the animal will change over time as alterations are made to its environment. Texts: Harcourt Science Text and Workbooks B – F (grade 6); CPO Physcial Science (grades 7 & 8)
As children mature and their knowledge base expands, they begin to question many things, among them the authenticity of their faith. At this age, a mature, believing, personal faith will begin to evolve and may replace or enhance the simple beliefs of childhood. As students mature and explore questions that are meaningful to them in their relationship with God, parents and religious educators can help them by combining an atmosphere of acceptance with new opportunities for the discovery of their ever-expanding faith journey.
In the sixth grade students explore the scriptures and lessons of the Old Testament and selected Christian Scriptures of the New Testament. The students will learn to read and understand scripture so that the messages of the Bible might become more relevant to their lives. Students will study the lives and lessons of the early prophets. Throughout the liturgical year, classes will participate in the Church season and prepare for and observe each holiday. The study of the Old Testament will be correlated with the applicable lessons on the early ancient civilizations covered in Social Studies 6. Seventh grade students explore the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its beginnings with Jesus through today, including successes and difficulties. Just as the study of history benefits our participation in society, the study of Church history benefits contemporary faith life; lessons from the past become our starting point for the journey forward. The seventh grade religion curriculum also includes preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation. While a portion of the preparation for this sacrament takes place within the school day (religion class), Sunday morning liturgies at school and other opportunities for dialogue are integral parts of the process. The important role of parents is similarly encouraged through the opportunities that take place outside of the school day, as well as a parent meeting in the fall. Eighth grade students explore morality from the perspective of the Roman Catholic ethical tradition. Students begin to develop the critical skills necessary to develop a moral decision-making process for making ethical choices. Students identify various factors involved in the formation of
conscience and living a values-centered life. They wrestle with the Gospel message of Jesus in the areas of justice, personal integrity, and life issues. Students are invited to grow in awareness of self and of others. Children from other faiths or denominations are educated about the sacraments at the same time as the Catholic students and are invited to witness and participate in their classmates’ celebration of the sacraments. Children participate in weekly chapel with their division, as well as monthly masses with the entire school. Texts: We Believe: We Are God’s People published by Sadlier (grade 6); Liturgy and Worship published by Sadlier (grade 7); Morality published by Sadlier (grade 8); The New American Bible (all grade levels)
World Languages: French or Spanish
The primary aims of the program are promotion of cultural understanding, mastery of basic language skills, and development of competence in comprehending and communicating in a world language. In sixth grade, students elect to either continue their study of French or begin a study of Spanish, with the goal of preparing for the more advanced coursework to be encountered in high school. Students continue in their chosen language throughout their three years in the Middle School. Both the French and Spanish programs strive to develop oral fluency and aural comprehension. Particular emphasis is placed on grammar, spelling, and written expression during the Middle School years. Study of French and Spanish history and culture is promoted through special projects each year.
French texts: Discovering French – Bleu and Discovering French – Bleu Workbook published by Valette/McDougal Littell (grades 6 & 7); teacherdeveloped materials covering the history of French artists and composers (grades 6 & 7); Allez, Viens! and Allez, Viens! Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook published by Holt, Reinhart and Winston (grade 8); L’Histoire de France published by Wade Petersen (grade 8) Spanish texts: ¡Adelante! or ¡Exprésate! published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston (grade 6); ¡ Ven Conmigo! 1 Grammar Workbook published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston (grades 7 & 8); ¡Lee Conmigo! 1 published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston (grade 8); Scholastic’s Magazine’s ¿ Que Tal? ¡Ahora! (grade 8)
The art program provides children with the opportunity for self-expression through visual communication. Students explore concepts through hands-on art activities that help develop the capacity for independent thought and action. Sixth grade students are introduced to papier-maché figure sculpture, Renaissance perspective drawing, and engraved block printing, while students in the seventh grade become acquainted with pastel drawing of living subjects, stained glass window design, coiled pottery based on Native American tradition and technique, and watercolor painting. The eighth grade year is an exploration of ceramics, pencil drawing with an emphasis on light values, and acrylic painting on canvas. Student art is displayed throughout the year and at the year-end Fine Arts Fair, a school-wide celebration of the visual arts.
The Middle School music program has three main components: 1) an academic study of the history of Western music, addressing how the music of the past relates to the music of the present day; 2) an ongoing review of the fundamentals of music theory, with an emphasis on musical form, notation, and the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, tone color, and dynamics; and 3) participation in a group performance. The music performed in the annual concert represents a wide range of choral literature, some of which reflects the particular musical period of study at each grade level. In sixth grade, the history of the Baroque is studied, with specific emphasis on the works of Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach. Seventh graders move on to the Classical period and the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The eighth grade focuses on the 20th century. Modern classical music and elements of pop/rock, jazz, blues, and musical theatre are examined.
Students in the Middle School focus on learning the fundamentals of a variety of team and individual sports, including volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, handball, soccer, and flag football. Emphasis is placed on understanding the rules of each game and developing the basic skills and sportsmanship needed for successful participation. The importance of coordination, strength, flexibility, and agility in all aspects of sport is stressed. Students also spend time working on individual fitness challenges. At each grade level, students complete an in-depth health unit.
Building on the knowledge obtained in the Lower School, the sixth grade students will continue to
build their technology skills, focusing primarily on connecting technology and resources with real life problem solving, research, information analysis, and decision making in their content learning. Using technology as a tool to enhance the learning environment occurs throughout the curriculum in the Middle School. Technology is integrated into the seventh and eighth grade classes as a tool that enhances the curriculum. The Middle School Technology Integration Specialist works closely with the teachers to help them develop and implement opportunities with technology that supports and enhances what the students are learning in their classes. Interactive white boards, blogs, Google applications, digital music players, iPads, digital cameras, and digital story telling are just some examples of technologies that have been used within Middle School classrooms.
The Advisory Program provides further opportunities for Middle School students to grow in self-awareness in light of the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Schools. This program provides a structure for one-on-one meetings between a student and a faculty advisor as well as small group advisory meetings. Approximately 8 – 12 students are assigned to each group. The group promotes a variety of activities including organization, study skills and appreciation of self and others in the community. The advisor fosters courage and confidence, and nurtures, guides, and facilitates communication between the student, other educators, and parents. The students develop a connection within their advisory group, build academic and interpersonal skills, and come to a greater understanding of their
gifts and personal challenges. Advisory is scheduled every morning of the week for 15 minutes and once a week for 40 minutes.
Formations addresses issues unique to the eighth grade year. In the fall, the main focus is the high school admissions process. Special emphasis is placed on the reflective examination of the students’ expectations regarding high school. Throughout the year, but in the winter and spring in particular, the issues of character formation, decision making, community building, and separation from Sacred Heart are considered and discussed. Formations is a non-graded class taught by the Head of the Middle School.
In Middle School, students are taught valuable lessons about gratitude and how to help those in need. Students learn about social justice and explore how people’s lives might be improved. These lessons are taught in classroom settings as well as in real-world settings. In small groups chaperoned by faculty and parents, students volunteer on a regular basis at school-selected service sites on the city’s north side where they experience significant age-appropriate challenges involving tasks that require thinking, initiative, and problem solving. Students are asked to demonstrate responsibility and decision making in environments safe enough to allow them to both make mistakes and succeed. In sixth grade, students accompanied by faculty and parent volunteers participate in an after-school youth learning and leadership program at Centro Romero, a social service agency which serves many of the neediest families on Chicago’s northeast side. Through education, Centro Romero emphasizes the
development of the Whole Family Unit, the creation of community leadership and self-reliance. Sacred Heart students tutor seven, eight and nine-year-old children, helping with homework and reinforcing English language skills through reading, spelling and conversation. In the process, students learn about literacy issues and the challenges of learning in a second language. In seventh and eighth grade, students accompanied by faculty and parent volunteers travel off-campus one Tuesday morning each month to volunteer at one of several pre-selected service sites. Their year-long relationship with the staff and clients at their designated site encourages a sense of partnership and shared responsibility. The sense of reciprocity gained through mutual teaching and learning affords students the ability to better appreciate, respect, and understand people of diverse backgrounds and experience. Seventh and eighth grade service sites include: Inspiration Corporation, where students learn about homelessness and serve people who are exiting homelessness; Children of the Heart, where students work alongside children up to age three years and their parents; Albany Park Association and Howard Area Head Start where students work with preschool age children who are underserved; Misericordia, where students work alongside individuals who are developmentally challenged in the bakery, packaging, art and recycling areas; Ignatian Services, where students learn about our immediate neighbors’ economic struggles and their basic food needs. Students write guided reflections based on their experiences at community service sites. In the eighth grade, students participate in a chaperoned overnight trip to Camp Rosenthal, in Dowagiac, Michigan. They assist in caring for the
camp which serves disadvantaged children from various Chicago Youth Centers. Service Learning activities are not graded.
High School Admissions Counseling
Sacred Heart families benefit from a thoughtful and thorough high school counseling program that guides students through each step of the secondary school admissions process. Families meet with the high school placement counselor who assists them in gathering information on schools of interest, in arranging school visit days, and in preparing students for admissions assessments, interviews, and essays. The Schools sponsor a high school fair each fall, where admissions representatives from more than 40 local and national schools make themselves available to speak with parents and students about their programs. A test review course is offered after school that acquaints students with the nature of the various admissions tests they will encounter at the city’s independent, Catholic, and selectiveenrollment public high schools. As the application process draws to a close and acceptances are received, the counselor is happy to advise on final school choice, as each family deems necessary. Finally, eighth grade students have an opportunity to speak with Sacred Heart graduates who are now freshmen to learn their tips for making a successful transition from Sacred Heart to high school. Throughout the high school counseling process, emphasis is placed on helping students find the school that is the best fit for them. As a result, our students make school choices that reflect their individual interests, learning styles, and ambitions.
Currently, Sacred Heart graduates attend the following high schools:
Berkshire School, Massachusetts Francis Parker Latin School Lawrenceville School, New Jersey North Shore Country Day School The Chicago Academy for the Arts University of Chicago Lab School The Taft School, CT The American School in London, London, UK
Catholic High Schools, coeducational De La Salle Institute Fenwick High School Gordon Tech Loyola Academy St. Ignatius College Prep
Catholic High Schools single sex Mt. Carmel (boys) North Ridge Prep (boys) Notre Dame (boys) St. Patrickâ€™s High School (boys)
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart (girls) Regina Dominican (girls) Resurrection High School (girls)
Selective Enrollment Public Schools, Chicago
Jones College Prep Lane Tech College Prep Lincoln Park High School IB Program
Northside College Prep Walter Payton College Prep Whitney Young College Prep
Culver Academy, Indiana Evanston Township High School New Trier Township High School Senn IB High School
The school year traditionally begins the Tuesday after Labor Day and runs through the end of the first week of June. Short breaks are scheduled for Thanksgiving and President’s Day weekend, while longer breaks are given for the Christmas and Easter/Spring holidays. The Schools also observe Columbus Day, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Memorial Day. There are occasional days off for teacher in-services and parent/ teacher conferences.
General Information Kindergarden - Eigth Grade
At approximately 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Sacred Heart is large enough to provide students with a wide array of curricular and extracurricular opportunities, as well as a variety of approaches to learning. The intimacy of the three divisions (Primary, Lower and Middle), maintain the family-like atmosphere and individual student attention for which Sacred Heart education is known.
Snacks and Lunch
Students may subscribe to the school lunch program or bring their lunch from home. Lunch menus are published monthly. A milk program is also available to all students. Students at all grade levels have a daily snack period. We urge parents to send nourishing, healthy food. Students are asked not to bring candy and soda to school.
Sacred Heart students wear school uniforms. Uniform information, including an approved list of vendors, is sent to enrolled families in the summer before school begins in the fall. The Student Council sponsors regular “Out-of-Uniform Days”
throughout the school year. Gym uniforms are required for students in fifth through eighth grades.
Before & After School Care
Children may be dropped off at Sacred Heart as early as 7:15am and are supervised until school begins. Younger children still in the process of making the transition to Sacred Heart may find an early drop-off challenging. There is no charge for before school care. The Core After School Program is available to all students who require care after the end of the school day through 6:00 pm. There is no charge for this service. In addition, a wide range of after school activities are offered each day to enrich the learning experiences of children at every grade level. There are varying fees for these activities. For examples of specific activities, please see Quick Facts for each school division or the school website, www. shschicago.org.
Students come to Sacred Heart from more than 30 zip code areas in Chicago and the nearby suburbs. Most students travel to and from school in private cars. A volunteer is available to assist school parents in coordinating carpools within their neighborhoods. Parents also organize private school buses. The schools facilitate the buses’ arrival and departure but are not responsible for the organization and arrangements of the bus service. Presently, parents operate a number of private buses primarily serving the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Lakeview, and Roscoe Village. The Schools are served by public bus and elevated transportation. The #151 and #147 CTA buses stop in front of the school building. The Granville “L”
(Red Line) stop is located one and one half blocks from the Schools. Bus passes are available in the school office, September through mid-October, for students age 12 and older.
Field Trips and Class Trips
• Independent Schools Association of the Central States (accreditation) • The State of Illinois (accreditation) • Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools • The National Catholic Educational Association
Field trips are an important part of school life. Use of the city’s resources plays a large part in the total school program and is a valuable learning experience. Over the course of a student’s years at Sacred Heart, he or she will visit most of Chicago’s major cultural institutions. Recent field trips have included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera, the Art Institute, the Field Museum, the Oriental Institute, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Major class trips are organized in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. In sixth grade, students make an overnight camp visit to a “Ropes” course, where they work on building a strong sense of trust and teamwork within the class and with grade level faculty. Seventh grade students and science faculty spend a week at the U.S. Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. Eighth grade students visit Washington, D.C., where they have an opportunity to see their government in action and visit historic sights, monuments and museums in the nation’s capital. Faculty members accompany students on their visit.
The 2.13-acre campus comprises five distinct buildings, totaling nearly 145,000 square feet of instructional, meeting, and office space:
Accreditations, Memberships, and Affiliations
• The Network of Sacred Heart Schools • National Association of Independent Schools
The Sacred Heart Schools campus is located on Sheridan Road, overlooking Lake Michigan in the Edgewater/ Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. The Schools are bordered on the south by Granville Avenue (6200 N) and on the north by Rosemont Avenue (6300 N).
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The Driehaus Center at the Conway House Sheridan North (1929 Building) Sheridan South (2004 Academic Wing) Campbell Gymnasium Building Rosemont Addition
Facility Highlights • Chapel • 14,000-volume library with twelve-station computer center • Double-court gymnasium with locker facilities (9,630 square feet) • Three playgrounds (totaling 17,000 square feet of outdoor play space) • Fully equipped stage for concerts and plays • Lunchroom with seating for 240
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Two music labs Four science labs Three art studios with kiln facilities Two flexible multi-purpose rooms
Technology Facility Highlights
• Interactive Projector/whiteboard in every core classroom (48 Total) • (9) iPad carts (20 devices per cart; 180 iPads dedicated to student use) • (10) Wireless laptop carts (1 Google Chromebook cart) available for use in individual classrooms (176 total laptops) • (1) Mobile interactive whiteboard for use anywhere on campus • Computer Lab for grades 1 - 5 (20 networked workstations) • 10Mbps bandwidth dedicated to internet connectivity with a T1 circuit for backup • Each classroom (K-8) has a minimum of 2-9 laptops for student use • Every computer has access to the school network and internet
Sacred Heart Schools acknowledge the following resources: • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages • Atlantic Canada Curri culum Standards • Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York, NY • Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT • Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley • National Association for Music Education • National Association for Sport and Physical Education • National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment
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National Council for the Social Studies National Council of Teachers of English National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco, CA Stone Ridge Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Bethesda, MD • University of Chicago School Mathematics Project Good academic programs are not static, but in a continual process of renewal. Sacred Heart Schools reserve the right to amend the curriculum and school program described in this guide in order to better serve the needs of the school community.
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s c h o o l s 6250 N. Sheridan Road â€˘ Chicago, IL 60660 www.shschicago.org
Curriculum Guide for Sacred Heart Schools Chicago