Curriculum

St. John's School provides a balanced curriculum for grades Pre-K through Eight. All teachers employed at our school are credentialed. In addition, St. John the Baptist School is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Western Catholic Educational Association. All grades have teacher aides, thereby facilitating a lower student-teacher ratio, and fostering greater individualized instruction for students.

Catholic values and the California Common Core Standards are the foundations upon which St. John's School develops its general curriculum. The curriculum covers the following subject areas:

St. John the Baptist Schools language arts outcomes/standards are defined by the California Common Core Standards and the Diocese of San Jose Department of Education Integrated Language Arts Curriculum Guidelines K-8. Our language arts outcomes meet the needs and abilities of all students by educating the whole student, using lessons and methods to develop life skills in writing, reading, speaking, and listening.

Our language arts program reflects a balance between a whole language approach and a phonetic approach. A strong emphasis on phonics, as related to reading, writing and spelling, is found in our primary grades. Decoding and comprehension skills, as well as the development of writing skills are accentuated. Listening and speaking skills are developed within the entire curriculum. In handwriting, letter and word formation is emphasized in the primary and intermediate grades. Older students review and master these skills. Lessons in grammar and correct use of mechanics are incorporated into all writing activities. Composition skills are developed through regularly structured lessons using ALA standards and a literary focus. Students develop an appreciation of literature through exposure to different literary genres. Reading and listening to different genres encourage an appreciation for different styles of writing. The development of critical thinking, creative expression, analytical processes, logic skills and cross-curricular association permeates our entire language arts program.

Art, drama, music and technology are also utilized to involve our language arts program across the curriculum. Activities such as "Vocabulary Theater", plays, skits, videos, oral presentations, note taking, and journaling enhance the curriculum. Creating books, correspondences with speakers, field trip hosts and international pen pals make the written word more relevant to the students. The infusion of technology further helps to integrate and reinforce the outcomes of our language arts program. Regular use of the Internet, computer skills and a variety of software programs empower students to improve their language arts skills involving thinking, problem solving, and technological skills, regardless of their learning level.

A high-quality mathematics program is essential for all students and provides every student with the opportunity to choose among the full range of future career paths. The goal in mathematics education is for SJBS students to:

  • Develop fluency in basic computational skills

  • Develop an understanding of mathematical concepts.

  • Become mathematical problem solvers who can recognize and solve routine problems readily and can find ways to reach a solution or goal where no routine path is apparent.

  • Communicate precisely about quantities, logical relationships, and unknown values through the use of signs, symbols, models, graphs, and mathematical terms.

  • Reason mathematically by gathering data, analyzing evidence, and building arguments to support or refute hypotheses.

  • Make connections among mathematical ideas and between mathematics and other disciplines.

The mathematics outcomes for kindergarten through grade eight are organized by grade level and are presented in five strands: number sense; algebra and functions; measurement and geometry; statistics, data analysis, and probability; and mathematical reasoning. A grade level and accelerated mathematics class is offered for students in grades 6-8.

Technology is a powerful tool in mathematics. Technology may be used to reinforce basic skills through computer-assisted instruction, tutoring systems, and drill-and-practice software.

Our teachers may use direct instruction as well as hands-on lessons using manipulatives to teach students the subject matter.

St. John the Baptist School's Music outcomes/standards are defined by the California Common Core Standards and the Diocese of San Jose Department of Education.

Music plays an important role in human development, thus, at all grade levels; students are provided with interesting "hands on" activities consisting of singing, listening, moving, reading, writing/creating music, playing musical instruments such as recorders, hand bells, guitars, and keyboard. Music puts students in touch with their heritage, allows them to explore the unique properties of the musical symbol system, study the classification of instruments; the strings, wood winds, brass and percussion instruments and aids their development as one of the seven human intelligences.

Our Program teaches students to read, notate, listen to, analyze and describe music and other aural information, using the terminology of music. They also apply vocal and instrumental musical skills in performing a varied repertoire of music. Students analyze the role of music in the pas and present cultures throughout the world, noting cultural diversity as it relates to different music, musicians and composers.

Students also critically assess and derive meaning from the various works of music, and from the great achievements of musicians in accordance with the elements of music, aesthetic qualities and human responses.

Finally, Students apply what they learn in music across subject areas. They develop competencies and creative skills in the problem solving, communication as well as management of the time and resources that contribute a process of lifelong learning and career skills. They learn about careers in music and/or related fields as a vocation.

Physical Education classes are held for students in grades kindergarten through eight to instruct them in motor skills, as well as in the fundamentals of group games and sports.

As a Catholic school, religion is not only taught as a curriculum area at St. John’s but flows through every aspect of our day. In the Catholic tradition, our school encourages a “sacramental” view of the world which invites students to see signs of God’s loving presence in all aspects of creation and human experience.

The Religion Curriculum at St. John’s follows the expectations defined by the Diocese of San Jose Department of Education Religion Curriculum Student Outcomes. Religion textbooks, the Bible, and support materials such as sacramental preparation books and programs related to Family Life, sexuality, and drug awareness are used to implement the curriculum.

The grade level Religion Curriculum expectations help students to communicate effectively, think conceptually, solve problems, apply knowledge of their faith in realistic situations, and participate in parish life. In addition to daily Religion classes, students also pray during different times of the day and participate in monthly liturgies as a school community. Second Grade students prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. Seventh and Eighth Grade students take part in weekend retreats once a year to help them strengthen their faith, learn more about themselves, and discover more about how to live in community with others.

Students fulfill the Religion curriculum outcomes through a variety of means: family projects; parish and school liturgy planning, participation, and attendance; celebrating seasonal activities and devotions during Advent, Lent, Easter, etc.; cooperative groups; role-playing activities and plays; praying together; “breaking open the Word” to experience the scriptures more deeply; buddy class activities; service projects and helping those in need. While students from other religious traditions are expected to fulfill the curriculum outcomes of the Religion program, St. John’s also fosters deep respect and understanding for other spiritual expressions. This, too, is in keeping with our adherence to Catholic tradition in which God can be experienced universally, through all people. It is this kind of reverence and respect that we strive to imbue in our students through the Religion curriculum at St. John’s School.

St. John the Baptist School's Science Outcomes (K-8) are defined by the California Common Core Standards and the Diocese of San Jose Department of Education. Combined with lessons and methods that develop life skills and a respect for the environment and Creation, these science outcomes become part of the general curriculum, which is imbued with Catholic values throughout. Through this incorporation, the needs and abilities of all students are met…thereby educating the whole student.

At all grade levels, students are provided with "hands-on" experiences pertinent to the lessons being taught. Students utilize the Scientific Method in observation, investigations, and experimentation. Science awareness is developed by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding these concepts, students are encouraged to develop their own questions and perform independent experiments and investigations. Students develop analytical thinking skills using empirical knowledge. This skill is utilized in all curriculum areas.

Scientific knowledge is integrated in all areas of the curriculum. The development of respect for our environment and the value of all Creation are an important part of the school's science program. Science is incorporated in thematic units and cross-curricular/whole language activities, in order to enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills. Graphing and charting, comparing and contrasting, vocabulary development, making concept associations, utilizing technology for research, and reading printed material are all part of science instruction and learning --- assisting in the integration of science into all areas of learning.

The integration of science in cross-curricular activities makes science pertinent to the students' life experiences. Through assemblies, field trips, guest speakers, and multimedia resources, the science curriculum is expanded to include all areas of life. Observation, investigation and experimentation become an integral part of all leaning. Students learn to communicate effectively, think scientifically and creatively, problem-solve, and apply knowledge to real life situations. Likewise, incorporating science in creative expression -- both written and oral -- encompasses all students and makes science relevant.

St. John the Baptist School's science program involves all students and is inclusive of all learners. This approach involves multi-sensory modalities encompassing listening, critical thinking, problem solving, writing, speaking and comprehension. In addition to these methodologies, art and technology are used to extend the science program across the curriculum. Science concepts are introduced, reviewed, and mastered, in accordance with the degree of student understanding of the expected levels of performance. Cooperative learning within heterogeneous groups is also a format for accommodating all learners. Students who are motivated to research beyond the required curriculum are encouraged and assisted in doing so. In this way, students reach their learning potentials in the most comprehensive and effective manner.

Students come to understand the required science outcomes by engaging in the following activities:

  • Use of Internet for research projects

  • Small group, hands-on activities, experiments, and observations

  • Use of science equipment (magnets, water coloring, acids & bases, microscopes, slides, test tubes, scales and other science paraphernalia)

  • Use of science games that foster practical application of skills learned

  • Science Fair projects/exhibits: Invention Convention projects

  • Science Camp and D.A.R.E.

  • Recycling projects

  • Guest speakers

  • Field trips

  • Art & music activities

  • Audio-visual resources

St. John the Baptist School's Social Studies Outcomes (K-8) are defined by the California Common Core Standards. Combined with lessons and methods that develop life skills, citizenship, social justice and a responsibility to a global community, these social studies outcomes become part of the general curriculum, which is imbued with Catholic values. Through this incorporation, the needs and abilities of all students are met, thereby educating the whole student.

In teaching the Social Studies curriculum, the St. John's staff incorporates the following activities/processes:

  • Use of teacher aides

  • Use of Internet for research projects; use of computer software and audio-visual aides to enhance presentation and learning (PowerPoint, digital cameras, scanners, multi-media projector, mobile laptop lab, etc.)

  • Use of small groups for hands-on activities and observation

  • Use of games that foster practical application of skills learned

  • Major exhibitions/projects (egg. Pioneer Day, cultural days, holidays, mock trials, etc.)

  • Use of field trips (State Capitol in Sacramento, Roaring Camp Railroad, Children's Discovery Museum, Alcatraz, Exploratorium, Discovery Museum, etc.)

  • In-house assemblies and field trips (guest speakers, Theatre of All Possibilities, San Jose Museum of Quilts, etc.)

  • Use of supplemental resources (CTN, videos, publications/newspapers, Weekly Reader)

  • Modified class work and homework to accommodate learning differences

  • Engaging students in discussions

  • Cross-curricular projects incorporating art, music, drama, writing, reading, scientific and mathematical applications, etc.

St. John's Social Studies curriculum is consistent with its mission/philosophy statement - emphasizing our Catholic global awareness of the sacredness of all life and our responsibility to become involved, contributing members of society and potential leaders of tomorrow's world.


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