St. Luke’s has a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding STEAM school. Our rigorous programs prepare our students for success in high school and beyond while instilling Christian values. Curriculum guidelines are taken from the Diocese of Providence and are guided by national standards and core curriculum standards. We seek to develop each child’s spiritual, intellectual, and social potential through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum. Intellectual curiosity and independent thinking are characteristics of the academic program in which both the process and product are valued. An integrated curriculum allows students to learn material in great depth as well as to see the natural connections that exist among subjects. This makes learning meaningful and lasting. By building a solid academic foundation in language arts, mathematics, scientific inquiry, social sciences, technology, and the humanities, our students enter high school ready for success.
Most importantly, the spiritual development of our students is the foundation of all we do. Our Christian education is not just a forty-five minute class; rather it is a way of life that permeates every discipline of the curriculum. Our programs are designed to meet the needs of all students and to strengthen our Christian community and faith life.
The primary goal of the Religion program is to enable students to grow in their knowledge and love of God. Our Religion program consists of three components: Religion, Family Life, and Circle of Grace.
The Religion component calls for lifelong faith formation while fostering Catholic beliefs, traditions and values. As faithful Catholics we face many challenges in the world we live in. Therefore, at St. Luke’s School we focus on the following: Daily prayer, acknowledging our dependence on God, living a moral life of integrity, loving and supporting our Church, respecting the dignity of life at all ages and stages, and valuing the Eucharist.
The Family Life component is a ten week program that is taught in addition to the daily core Religion program. It focuses on the theological concepts and principles of Catholic moral teaching and is based on the eight characteristics of moral catechesis.
Circle of Grace is taught in the fall of each school year to students in Preschool-grade 8. The goal of Circle of Grace is to educate and empower students to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.
100 minutes per week of instructional time in Preschool
150 minutes per week of instructional class time in Kindergarten through grade 8
Daily morning prayer with the Pledge of Allegiance, grace before and after meals, afternoon prayer before leaving for the day.
FAMILY, PARISH & SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP
The family is the first place where faith is learned, lived, and interpreted. The National Catechetical Directory tells us that “parents catechize informally but powerfully by example and instruction” (NCD, #229). The parish and school communities assist parents in their role as catechists through liturgy and daily instruction. Together, we form a partnership and share in the responsibility of forming children in the four pillars of the Catholic faith: Creed, Sacraments, Christian Life, and Prayer.
RELIGION ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS
The Religion Achievement Standards are the same for each grade level. They provide the instructional framework for the content of our faith. They are clear, precise statements of what the learner is to do to demonstrate competency at the end of a learning period around the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, namely, Creed, Sacrament, Christian Living and Prayer.
CREED (What We Believe):
Present an understanding of the human need for God based on revelation and faith.
Read, understand, interpret, and apply Scripture to life.
Illustrate basic understanding of doctrine and dogma in light of the creed.
Recognize the Trinity as God.
Illustrate a basic understanding of the Church.
Demonstrate an appreciation of prayer as the primary way we come to know God and the community as the context for sharing faith within and beyond.
Exercise responsible stewardship for the gift of creation.
SACRAMENTS (How We Celebrate):
Demonstrate the importance of sacraments, with an emphasis on the centrality of the Eucharist, in the life of Catholics.
CHRISTIAN LIVING (How we Live):
Examine a variety of Christian vocations as a response to the baptismal call.
Acknowledge and affirm the dignity of the human person and community.
Apply Catholic principles to interpersonal relations.
Know, critique, and apply social justice principles to personal and societal situations.
Engage in service to the community in response to the Gospel call.
Develop a moral conscience informed by Church teachings.
PRAYER (How We Pray):
Know and participate in the Catholic tradition of prayer.
St. Luke’s School provides students with a solid Language Arts curriculum that develops a strong foundation in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. Essential skills are fully integrated through all content areas and enable students to become effective readers, writers, speakers, communicators, and listeners.
Teaching methods are differentiated in order to support the needs of all students. Literature circles, journal writing, process writing, book reports, book dioramas, class blogs, reading logs, STAR testing, flexible reading/writing groups, and student-led portfolio conferences (grades 4-8) are just a few of the ways student learning is enhanced. Each classroom is a language-rich environment with access to a wide variety of print and non-print materials for reading and writing.
The focus of Language Arts at the Preschool level is on developing expressive language, creating an awareness and understanding of the purpose of print, beginning letter recognition, and enjoyment of stories and books.
Students in Kindergarten through grade 8 use a basal reader/text or literature anthology (McGraw Hill, Wonders with digital components) along with various literary texts, trade books, novels and informational texts of different reading levels, genres and topics to:
- emphasize phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, writing style, grammar, usage, mechanics, listening, speaking, inquiry, and critical thinking
- evaluate students both formally and informally through assessments, quizzes, homework, class discussion/participation, collection of written work, assessment of oral reading, teacher observations, and projects
Evaluations are intended as formative and summative measures of understanding and provide teachers with an opportunity to scaffold student learning. Collaborative planning, standardized testing results, and learning goals provide continuity of instruction to support student learning.
The mathematics program at St. Luke’s School integrates NCTM standards and Common Core Standards. Each grade level focuses on five domains:
- Number Theory, Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability
- Number Sense
The program prepares our students to be confident and proficient in the study and application of mathematical concepts. The objective of the program is to develop students as problem solvers and logical thinkers who can communicate mathematically and apply math concepts to real life situations. Classes provide practical experience in essential math skills that are a bridge to the real world. This means going beyond memorization and into the world of reasoning and problem solving. This is done in a variety of ways including teacher-directed instruction, large and small group work, cooperative learning activities, and use of technology to reinforce, enhance and challenge students’ understanding. Students use manipulatives, calculators and technology to aid in solving problems.
Math teachers collaborate and communicate with each other to ensure a smooth transition from grade to grade and continuity of instruction.
In the lower grades emphasis is placed on mastery of basic skills, mathematical literacy, and developing a strong number sense.
The middle school program is accelerated, with all 7th grade students taking Pre-Algebra and all 8th grade students taking Algebra I.
The broad purposes and objectives of the St. Luke’s School mathematics program reflect the mission of the school by developing logical reasoning, critical thinking, technological awareness, and cooperative problem solving. Since mathematics is an integral part of daily life, students are equipped to function as competent, contributing members of their communities and the global society.
The social studies curriculum at St. Luke’s School follows the Diocesan curriculum guidelines. The curriculum from preschool to grade 8 includes a comprehensive dive into the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and skills needed to become a productive and effective citizen in our society.
Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade 1: Self & Family
The focus at this level is on understanding the specific roles in the family, school, community and church groups and how one’s basic needs are met through this focus. Through hands-on activities, stories, and real-life experiences, students learn about the family, simple geographic concepts, the need for laws and rules, and the values guiding our life and work.
Grade 2: Neighborhood/Community
The social studies theme in grade 2 takes the study of relationships beyond the family into the local neighborhood and small communities. This focus includes economic and civic learnings, neighborhood life today and throughout history, the differences of neighborhood life in rural, urban and suburban areas, as well as neighborhoods/communities in other countries.
Grade 3: Towns and Cities
The study of towns and cities in grade 3 focuses on the civic, geographic, economic and political features that shape our society. The program promotes understanding of local government, regional geographic factors, and historical background for present day life and work. This focus includes a study of towns and cities in Rhode Island.
Grades 4 and 5: The Regions of the United States
In grades 4 and 5, the regions of the United States is a two-year study of the geography, the economy and resources of New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, South West, Mountain West, and Pacific West regions. The focus includes an emphasis on the historical highlights and contributions of each region. Each year in the spring, students in grades 4 and 5 participate in our school’s United States Fair, a deep learning project that celebrates the 50 states.
Grade 6: A Global View
The curriculum in grade 6 focuses on the beginning of civilization. The study of the Eastern Hemisphere begins with students exploring Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Muslim and Byzantine Civilizations and concludes with the highlights of the economic, social, intellectual, cultural and religious influences of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration. The year-long focus also includes the study of world geography and map skills.
Grade 7: Early American Civilizations to Pre-Civil War Era
Driven by core essential questions, students begin a two-year exploration of American and U.S. History with consideration of the indigenous peoples of the Americas prior to European exploration. Emphasis is placed on the understanding and analysis of historical events in our nation’s history through the critical examination of primary and secondary source documents. Students will study the impact of geography on history, what it means to be an American, and the complexity of the causes and effects of defining historical events that shape our nation. The civics curriculum is embedded into this year’s curriculum, focusing on the development of the U.S. Constitution along with other seminal historical documents.
Grade 8: The United States Civil War to the Twenty-First Century
The second year of the U.S. History curriculum features an in-depth, multidisciplinary simulation of the Civil War in which students explore the many dimensions of human conflict and war through historical documents, literature, data analysis, independent research, and experiential activities. Students develop the ability to make meaning of varied resources using skills of inquiry, literacy, and data analysis. The changing role and impact of the U.S. in the greater world arena is a focus of the year. The civics curriculum includes consideration of key constitutional law cases in our civil rights history as well as understanding current local, regional, national, and international political events.
St. Luke’s School embraces the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) approach to science teaching and learning. It has aligned its K-8 Science curriculum with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) developed by the National Research Council for K-12 Science education. NGSS focuses on creating an experiential learning environment for all grade levels where students can explore, examine and take a deep dive into the subject area.
Pre-K students describe changes in organisms and the natural environment over time. Students compare and contrast characteristics of living, non-living, man-made and naturally occurring things. Through playful encounters preschoolers make observations about physical properties of objects, motion of objects, and changes in matter. Preschool students learn to plan and carry out investigations using predictions, information gathering, testing, and analyzing results.
The Kindergarten curriculum explores the fundamental concepts of sustainability through interactive, hands-on lessons about seasonal changes, temperature and day & night. Kindergarten students also explore the care and basic needs of such animals as fish, snails, bugs and worms. Students are introduced to classification through the exploration of size, color, weight, and shape.
1st grade students investigate the continuity of life with emphasis placed on the life cycle of animals. Students at this level identify the behaviors and physical adaptations that allow organisms to survive in their environment. The characteristics of the cycle of life vary from organism to organism. Students observe and describe the three states of matter. Students describe, categorize, compare, and measure observable physical properties of matter and objects. Lastly, students explore push and pull through experimentation.
2nd grade students explore simple machines and investigate how they work. Manipulation and application of simple tools and machines help students learn about the relationships between forces and motion. Students learn about living things such as animals of the Arctic and Antarctic, bugs and insects, ocean life and sea life. Understanding the variety and complexity of life and its processes can help students develop respect for their own and for all God’s creations. Students investigate plants, learning how they survive and reproduce. 2nd grade students learn to care for their own bodies with healthy exercise. Students also learn proper tooth care, hand washing, and germs. The five senses are explored and discussed.
3rd grade students explore stars, galaxies, the universe, sun, moon, and constellations. They compare different types of flowering plants and conifers along with the plant life cycles, edible and inedible plants, and chlorophyll. Students focus on tree growth, Identification, native Rhode Island trees and plants. Students study owls, whales, and their life cycles. In health, students focus on care of the skin, nutrition, the 5 senses.
4th grade students learn the characteristics and properties of electricity and magnetism and the relationship between the two. An in-depth study of rocks and minerals follows. The study of light and sound completes the science curriculum.
5th grade students start the year identifying components of the ecosystems and classifying organisms by how they obtain energy and use energy. Through explorations, students analyze data, explain using models, and draw conclusions about ecosystems and how human decisions impact life within the ecosystems. Students learn about weather, landforms and climate changes. Students learn about forces and motion, and renewable and nonrenewable resources. 5th graders are introduced to the scientific method including inquiry. Students put the scientific method to practice when they design an invention for our annual Invention Convention.
St. Luke’s Middle School is continually working towards full integration of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in its practices and curriculum. The NGSS model encourages students to develop proficiency in essential science and engineering practices, and experimentation and inquiry while exploring the core disciplinary ideas. A key component of the middle school science program is students’ participation in the annual school science fair. Students research and conduct science or engineering investigations to answer testable questions through deep learning projects. Their investigations are then shared with an authentic audience of citizen scientists who evaluate their work.
The topical curriculum in middle school science is “spiraled,” with progressive disciplinary focus in the earth & space, physical, life, and environmental sciences explored each year. A focus on critical inquiry and hands-on skills is emphasized.
The program emphasizes experiential learning through conducting lab experiments, field investigations, group activities, modeling, dissections, simulations, and the use of content-rich resources with the goal of developing a life-long passion in the subject area of science.
Grade 6 students learn about Earth’s interior structures and processes, layers of the atmosphere, and natural disasters, in their study of earth science. Physical science topics include the structure of the atom, magnetism, electricity, and electromagnetism. Life science focus topics are the study of living things, scientific classification, plants, and cell structures and functions.
Grade 7 students learn about Earth’s surface structures and processes, topography and mapping, and environmental changes in their study of earth science. Physical science topics include force and motion, energy, and work. The focus of life science is on the classification, structure and function, life cycles, and adaptations of animals.
Grade 8 students learn about Earth’s fresh and salt waters with a focus on the many environmental challenges and remedies to our water systems. Students conduct an extended field study of a nearby urban creek to explore these issues on a local level. In physical science, students extend their understanding of the atom as the basic unit of all matter through a study of the periodic table, exploration of the elements, and chemical bonding and reactions. Life science topics extends the study of animals to include the human body structures and systems, including disease and disease prevention.
Astronomy and space exploration are studied by middle school students together every third year and features an onsite portable planetarium program as well as a sponsored amateur astronomers’ night sky event.
The World Language program offers students in preschool through 8th grade an appreciation of a language and culture other than their own and broadens their insight into the diversity of the people of the world. Based on the National Standards for Foreign Language Instruction, our program focuses on communication, culture, connections with other disciplines, comparison of language and culture, and communities. All students are expected to show evidence of becoming lifelong learners by using world language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.
Students in preschool through 8th grade study Spanish on a part-time basis (one-two times per week), except for 7th & 8th graders who study either French or Spanish. At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 academic year only Spanish will be offered.
The preschool through 3rd grade program begins with the introduction of Spanish letter sounds, numbers, colors, prayers, animals, and family members. The teacher shares her love and enthusiasm for the Spanish language through exciting stories, songs, and games.
In 4th through 8th grades students engage in a comprehensive program that is rich in language, culture, and print. Classes prepare students in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Emphasis is on oral communication and classes at this level are taught mostly in Spanish. Students are expected to communicate in Spanish and participate regularly. Grammar and vocabulary are taught in a variety of ways. Projects and assignments are assigned regularly.
At St. Luke’s School our physical education program is planned sequential instruction that promotes lifelong physical activity. For that reason, some of our emphasis is on sports and activities which can be pursued, played and enjoyed for a lifetime.
It is designed to develop basic movement skills, sports skills, and physical fitness as well as enhance each child’s mental, social, and emotional abilities. The Physical Education Standards at St. Luke’s School are based on the RI Physical Education Framework & National Standards for Physical Education.
Physical activity is critical to the development and maintenance of good health. The goal of physical education is to develop educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy and pursue a healthy and active lifestyle for life.
A physically educated person:
Standard 1: Demonstrates competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities.
Standard 2: Demonstrates understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to the learning and performance of physical activities.
Standard 3: Participates regularly in physical activity and understands the implications of and benefits derived from physical activity.
Standard 4: Achieves and maintains a health-enhancing level of physical fitness.
Standard 5: Exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others in physical activity settings.
Standard 6: Values physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and/or social interaction.
The art program is an integral component of the academic, religious, cultural, and social experience at St. Luke’s School. Preschool students do not meet formally for art class, rather art is incorporated into their daily activity. Students from kindergarten through 8th grade meet once a week. Students are educated in the elements of art and are able to utilize various materials, techniques, and processes. History, culture, and religion are a fundamental and intrinsic aspect to their creative experience. The art teacher often collaborates with classroom teachers so a connection is made between art and core classes. The art studio in the Convent building enriches each child’s experience and encourages creative expression.
The music program at St. Luke’s School is offered formally to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The preschool music program is integrated throughout the core curriculum. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade meet once per week for music class. Each class is taught a strong foundation of music elements. The curriculum, based on Rhode Island Grade Level Expectations, features a balance of theory, expressions, and performance. Music classes also stress an appreciation for liturgical music.
St. Luke’s School is a 1:1 school, providing all students in kindergarten through grade 8 with devices. We believe that all students should have equitable access to technology which is essential for innovative teaching and learning. Students are educated on what it means to be upstanding digital citizens by engaging with technology safely, respectfully, and ethically. Devices are used to provide opportunities for practice, collaboration, and creativity in addition to enhancing the educational experience.
Kindergarten through grade 3 are issued tablets to utilize in school while grades 4-8 are issued Chromebooks. Each classroom is equipped with a Smart TV or SMART Board and secure, school-monitored wireless access. St. Luke’s School uses the Google Platform for students, faculty and staff for email communication and posting of classroom assignments. The primary grades use several communication and online learning programs that include Seesaw, XtraMath, Zearn, IXL and Freckle. FACTS is our Student Information System that includes an online gradebook where parents and students can monitor grades, assignment completion or access report cards.
See the St. Luke’s School Technology Plan for further information.