Academics

A parent commented on the survey “that students rise to their potential and the school prepares the students to go out and be successful in the real world.”

Curriculum

Pre-K

The Pre-Kindergarten program at Sacred Heart School is a comprehensive program designed to prepare the students for Kindergarten and to become lifelong learners. The curriculum specifically and effectively addresses the intellectual and developmental needs of the children and is consistent with the school’s stated mission. In addition to the teacher, the Pre-Kindergarten class has a full time teacher’s aide which follows the state-mandated guidelines for teacher/student ratio. All materials are developmentally appropriate and ensure the safety of the students. Sacred Heart’s Pre-Kindergarten encourages positive communication between home and school. Ongoing communication between the Pre-Kindergarten teacher and the parents occurs through daily folders, monthly newsletter, e-mail communication, and phone calls. Informal conferences are scheduled at parents’ /teachers’ request as needed. Most importantly, the Pre-Kindergarten program encourages positive individual growth and self-discipline.

Parents and teachers work together throughout the school year to monitor each child’s progress and make decisions on the best placement for the following school year. Families are encouraged to support the goals of the program through home activities which further develop the skills of the child. Parents are invited to help in the classroom with projects, class parties, and special events (Blessing of the “Stuffed” Animals, the Last Supper, Mother’s Day Tea Party etc.) The Pre-Kindergarten program and its families are included in all appropriate activities within the school community (Catholic School’s Week, food drives, Walk-A-Thon, as well as Sacred Heart Parent Association activities.) Students attend Mass and other liturgical celebrations throughout the school year.

Kindergarten - Grade 8

The curriculum demonstrates continuity from year to year in all subject areas. Religion is taught throughout the grades and is incorporated into every subject. Our language arts program incorporates: comprehension, vocabulary, written language, oral language and conventions of standard English. The language arts students in the primary grades use the Super-Kids Reading Program by Rowland Reading Foundation. The upper grades are planning to update language arts and social studies to provide continuity and development of strategic skills. The same publisher is used for the math series from Kindergarten to grade eight. Our science program emphasizes the skills of a scientist: observation, analysis, synthesis and testing. Nancy Larson is used for science in grades Pre-K through second. All grades have opportunities for hands-on work in science labs and scientific methods are developed. For social studies and science, the primary grades use a variety of pamphlets from Scholastic. Our curriculum addresses the five elements of social studies: history, geography, economics, government, and citizenship in grade Pre-K through eight.

The program at Sacred Heart School is committed to enhancing the intellectual, social, physical, aesthetic, emotional and ethical development of all students. The intellectual needs of the students are met through daily instruction. The school community nurtures sound academic development through a rigorous program that challenges students based on their individual abilities. The social needs of the students are met through cooperative learning groups, recess, class parties, Big Buddy-Little Buddy Program, and social events such as movie nights, Halloween parties, Christmas caroling, and the Character Breakfast. The physical needs of the students are met through gym classes, field day, recess, extra- curricular sports activities. The aesthetic needs of the students are met by providing weekly art, music, technology, band, class projects, Spanish/Latin lessons, participation in the drama program, and the school choir. The emotional and ethical needs of the students are met through daily spiritual points given by the principal which encourage students to reflect on their Catholic identity and values. Other examples of this include teaching students about tolerance, being stewards of God’s creation, and incorporating the Columbian Missions Programs. The fifth grade students have been offered instruction in Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). They are taught about drug resistance, healthy social interaction, and how to deal with important issues such as bullying and peer pressure. An internet safety workshop was also offered to families of students in the middle school.

In our science and social studies programs we expose students to the diversity of scientists and explorers from all cultures, and the contributions they have made to the betterment of the world. The art and music programs incorporate music and art from around the world giving students an appreciation for the diversity of cultures and styles. Spanish is taught in Kindergarten through grade eight giving students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with another culture, language and way of life. Currently an outdated video series is used to instruct students in grades Kindergarten through grade two.

The Sacred Heart School library supports cultural diversity featuring a variety of books on various cultures throughout the world. Periodically throughout the year, guest speakers from various cultures and life experiences address the students. We have students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In the students and parents’ survey, both groups noted that the school involves the students in a variety of experiences that help them to appreciate religious and multicultural diversity.

Sacred Heart’s seventh and eighth grade faculty aide students and parents in choosing the appropriate high school placement. Sacred Heart has several secondary schools visit to offer a variety of options to our students. Some students have an opportunity to shadow on a one-to-one basis at a school of their choice. A parent commented “that students rise to their potential and the school prepares the students to go out and be successful in the real world.”

Assessment

Sacred Heart School utilizes a variety of procedures in order to evaluate and report the progress of individual students, both academically and personally, with regard to meeting the goals of the program. Report cards and progress reports go out three times a year. Academic notifications are sent home on an as needed basis. IOWA standardized tests are given annually in April to grades one through eight. The Stanford Achievement Test is given to Kindergarteners at the end of the year to determine first grade readiness. Pre-K students are assessed daily based on CT Preschool Assessment Benchmarks. The results of these evaluations are shared via parent conferences, trimester progress reports and report cards. Standardized testing results are kept on file, along with permanent record cards in fire-proofed, locking file cabinets in the principal’s office. They can be reviewed by teachers and tutors to help with daily planning, grouping, and scheduling (including both in-school and after-school tutoring sessions.)

Homework

Homework is an extension of the learning that takes place in school and is very important. Homework provides practice and drill that reinforces classroom learning and can provide opportunities for independent study, research, and creative thinking. Students are obligated to complete all homework assignments given, unless sufficient reason prevents them from doing so. No excuse will be accepted unless a parent or guardian sends a note of explanation. Forgetting is not a valid reason. Illness, and a specific family emergency is sufficient reason. Parents are urged to avoid writing excuse notes without sufficient reason.

Parents can help their children by arranging a quiet, comfortable place for students to work and by seeing that the assignments are completed. Adults offering guidance during homework time is acceptable. Generally however, students are expected to do the homework themselves.

The average amount of time spent on homework after school hours for each grade level is as follows:

Kindergarten: 10 minutes

Grade 1: 15 minutes

Grade 2: 20 minutes

Grade 3: 30 minutes

Grade 4: 45 minutes

Grade 5: 60 minutes

Grade 6: 75 minutes

Grade 7: 90 minutes to 2 hours

Grade 8: 2 hours to 2.5 hours

If a child seems to be spending very little time, or excessive time on homework, please contact the teacher.