The language arts curriculum is literature based and requires an appreciation of quality writing techniques for analysis. Reading and writing are central to the success of the program. Students report once a semester on a novel of literary merit that they have read outside of class. Evaluations are made using a presentation rubric where plot, theme, tone, setting, and character are filtered through a main character's perspective. Posters, props and costumes are used to enhance the presentations. A research component is also required.
The writing segment of the program is based on Roy Peter Clark's Poynter Institute and Writer's Workshop which adapts quality writing to encourage young writer's to draw from their own experiences. Writing techniques are continually analyzed and the teacher and student practice applying the proven methods. Students read aloud and conference and in private in a trusting and supportive class setting. Writer's Workshop is the strength of the program and its proven effectiveness is shown SJV student's love and pride for their published writing samples and in their confidence in public speaking.
The vocabulary portion of language arts uses the Scott Foresman Vocabulary Workshop series which is continued at St. Pete Catholic and is preparation for the SAT. Grammar and editing lessons are consistent with the framework of state guidelines and the Harcourt workbook series in conjunction with teacher led lessons aid students in identifying grammatical errors. Quizzes and tests help students to improve their listening and writing skills.
"When we read and live writing, the words seem to lift off the page and burrow deep inside us," Ralph Fletcher. – A tenet of our program.
The integrated science program includes life, earth, and physical science disciplines. These disciplines are intermixed and sequenced so that what is learned in one can be applied in another. Students frame questions, derive concepts, and gather data through text and laboratory based experiences.
The social studies curriculum offers a challenging program incorporating historical, geographical, and contemporary issues. Content is developed through class lecture, multimedia resources, individual research, and cooperative learning experiences. Students are encouraged to recognize their unique role as citizens in our country and the world.
The math program is designed to teach students both the skills and concepts necessary for success in mathematics. Students are placed in classes that allow for individual development. All courses include lessons on problem-solving, calculator use, and computer application. Manipulatives used reinforce the concepts being taught in the classroom.
The math program includes all operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Geometry and measurement are investigated as well as work with ratios, proportions, and percents.
Pre-Algebra is offered to qualified seventh and eighth graders. Students explore operations on integers and rational numbers. This provides the perquisite skills for Algebra I Honors which is offered to qualifying eighth graders. Students successfully completing Algebra I Honors may receive a high school credit for Math.
Foreign language instruction in the Middle School is a required course. The purpose is to develop a structure for future instruction and an ability to communicate in a second language.
The Spanish program develops the language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing which were introduced in the lower school. Students participate in language learning in a positive environment. The advanced curriculum develops competency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. Students learn to perform a variety of functions and to perform them accurately. An appreciation of the culture of Spanish-speaking countries and of the importance of Spanish in the world is developed.