Curriculum

St. John the Baptist Catholic School (SJBS) provides a balanced curriculum for grades Pre-K through eight and is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Western Catholic Educational Association. Grades Pre-K through five 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 SJBS develops its general curriculum. The curriculum covers the following subject areas:
 

St. John the Baptist Catholic School’s language arts program is defined by the California Common Core Standards. Our language arts program meets 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 with a solid phonetic base. Comprehension, writing, listening and speaking skills are developed within the entire curriculum. Lessons in grammar and correct use of mechanics are incorporated into all writing and speaking activities. Composition skills are developed through regularly structured lessons using ELA standards. Students develop an appreciation of literature through exposure to different literary genres. 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 enhance our language arts program across the curriculum. Opportunities to create plays, oral and video presentations in group settings further help to integrate and reinforce the outcomes of our language arts program.

A high-quality mathematics program is essential for all students and provides them with the opportunity to learn and grow on their best learning path. The goal in mathematics education is for SJBS students to:

  • Develop fluency in basic computational skills.

  • Develop an understanding of mathematical concepts.

  • 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.

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

The mathematics standards 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 six through eight.

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

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

St. John the Baptist Catholic 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.

The SJBS music 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 past 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 problem solving, communication, and management of time and other resources that contribute to lifelong learning and career skills. Students 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, the study and practice of religion 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. In keeping with the Holy Father’s message of confraternity, SJBS welcomes students of all faith backgrounds and seeks to educate all students on the great religious traditions of the world.

The Religion curriculum at SJBS follows the expectations defined by the Diocese of San Jose Department of Catholic Schools. 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 and practice meditation 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. To support Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), students also engage in moral and character development through the program Second Step.

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 the Baptist Catholic School.

St. John the Baptist Catholic School's Science Outcomes (K-8) are defined by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Catholic values are emphasized throughout the Science curriculum, including a respect for the environment and creation, and ethical and just application of scientific principles. At all grade levels, students are given multiple opportunities to engage meaningfully with disciplinary core ideas, explore cross-cutting concepts, and practice science and engineering practices as outlined by NGSS. This is done through a fully equipped STEM Lab, NGSS aligned curriculum and materials, and the use of best practices in teaching Science throughout all grade levels.

The concepts and skills learned in Science are also integrated into other content areas and to the students' life experiences. Through assemblies, field trips, guest speakers, multimedia resources, and a student-driven, school-wide STEM Fair, the science curriculum is expanded to include all areas of life. Observation, investigation and experimentation become an integral part of all learning. 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. Each student is supported in reaching his or her full learning potential in the most comprehensive and effective manner.

St. John the Baptist School's Social Studies program is defined by the History/Social Studies Standards for the State of California. In addition, reading and writing in Social Studies are based on the related Common Core standards. In teaching the Social Studies curriculum, the St. John's staff incorporates activities/processes such as:

  • Full integration of technology for learning and research, projects, and presentations (using 1:1 device ratio in grades 3-8, multiple presentation tools, STEM techniques such as designing and 3-D printing historical buildings, etc.)

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

  • Project-Based Learning

  • Use of field trips (State Capitol in Sacramento, Roaring Camp Railroad, Children's Discovery Museum, San Francisco City Hall, Asian Art Museum, Discovery Museum, etc.)

  • Engaging students in close reading, analytic writing, and Socratic discussion

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

  • Use of supplemental resources (CTN, videos, Newsela, multiple age-appropriate websites, Weekly Reader, etc.)

  • Modified class work and homework to accommodate learning differences

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 life-long learners who are effective, aware, and compassionate contributors to our beautifully diverse world” (SJBS philosophy statement).


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