8th Grade

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Mr. Joshua Dempsey

Hello! My name is Mr. Dempsey, and I am the middle school social studies and religion teacher at SJBS. I first entered Catholic education at the age of 4 years old, and I've never left! I attended a Catholic K-8 elementary school, a high school run by Franciscan friars, and eventually received both my undergraduate degree and M.Ed from the University of Notre Dame. I decided to enter the field of education because of my deep love of learning, and that is exactly what I wish to pass on to all my students. In my classroom, we study both the history of the world and our Catholic faith, but it is not a mere consumption and regurgitation of knowledge. Instead, we focus on inquiry, analysis, application and evaluation. Through discussion, debate, inquiry-based projects, and reflection, students practice critical thinking and analytical writing skills that prepare them for success in the high school classroom.

Curriculum Resources & Apps

  • Math
    • Big Ideas Math 
      • Research-based curriculum providing a rigorous, focused, and coherent curriculum that balances conceptual understanding with procedural fluency
    • Supplemented by:
      • ALEKS
        • adaptive assessment and learning system aimed at mastery and retention
      • Desmos, Three Act Math Tasks, Open Middle, Gimkit and others
        • Guided math tasks and activities supporting main instruction that help extend and refine problem solving, conceptual understanding, and application.
  • Science
    • STEMscopes
      • Comprehensive digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that drive engagement and academic growth; students are engaged in discovery, explicit instruction, hands on activities, 
    • STEM Lab
      • Weekly time in the STEM Lab for activities and experiments aligned with current lessons
  • Social Studies
    • National Geographic Learning
      • Digital adaptive social studies curriculum which emphasizes document analysis and inquiry-based learning
    • Newsela
      • An adaptive online news-as-literacy platform that features current, high-interest articles on everything from current events to myths and legends and from literature to science
  • Religion
    • Sadlier "We Live Our Faith Catholic Identity" Series Gr. 8
      • Follows the “gather-believe-respond” model for religious education which engages students in prayer, analysis of scripture, and application of message to their lives.
  • Literature 
    • Amplify ELA California Edition Program
      • Is a blended interactive curriculum where students analyze complex texts and use evidence and reasoning to prove claims.
    • Adaptive programs - NewsELA and Membean vocabulary
  • Grammar
    • Students are engaged in a daily program to apply English grammar skills to writing and speaking.  
    • Parts of speech
    • Mechanics of writing
    • Sentence structure
  • Writing
    • The writing program provides students with the tools to clearly communicate their thoughts with attention to details, a high level of vocabulary and creativity.   
    • opinion/argumentative
    • informative/explanatory
    • narrative


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