COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS):
New York State, along with St. Luke School, has implemented the Common Core State Standards. Some general information about the implementation of these standards in New York State can be found below, which has been taken from the New York State Common Core Standards Overview Document:
What are the Common Core State Standards? What is New York’s role in implementing the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs.
The New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards were adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in January 2011 for ELA & Literacy and for Mathematics. These standards are composed of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a small number of additional standards (15%), reflecting the addition of pre-K standards and standards related to diversity, for example. The NYS P-12 CCLS can be viewed here: http://engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-p-12-common-core-learning-standards
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society;
- Are evidence-based.
(taken from http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards)
The driving force for the 21st century is the development of the intellectual capacity of our students. St. Luke School believes that continually planning, implementing, evaluating, and modifying the academic curriculum and teaching strategies of St. Luke School is essential to meeting the changing needs of our student population. The administration and faculty are committed to implementing sound educational practices based on current research. Classroom instruction incorporates the Common Core State Standards in conjunction with the curriculum guidelines of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Creative and innovative lessons are designed by the teachers to engage the students as they explore and discover the wonders of learning. Lessons are presented through cooperative learning groups, class discussions, hands-on activities, whole-group instruction, and technology. Field trips and guest speakers, as well as interactive technology and other materials, support the curriculum. The textbooks are current and up-to-date. Technology has become an increasingly important tool in our society, and therefore, our school. It has empowered teachers to apply new and effective ways to present their curriculum. They use the smartboard, online resources, multimedia presentations, and laptops/chromebooks, as well as other technologies, in their instruction. Students therefore, benefit from a variety of teaching styles that equip them with the skills needed to function as knowledgeable and committed citizens of a global community. The administration and faculty aspire to develop and deliver a curriculum that will empower all students to become life-long learners.
Religion is the primary focus of the entire curriculum in all grade levels from Terrific Twos to Grade Eight. Each day begins with morning prayer delivered by the administration or upper grade students over the loudspeaker. Often, the children lead the student body in the daily prayer. The religion series supports the religion curriculum. The school provides instruction in doctrine, scripture, prayer, worship, and Christian values, while recognizing that parents are the primary faith educators. Students and teachers in grades one through eight participate in the preparation and presentation of weekly Masses and liturgical devotions. Students in grades two are thoroughly prepared to receive the sacraments of Penance, Communion and Confirmation. Children are taught the importance of prayer, respect, and service. They are encouraged to live their Christian faith daily.
Early Childhood Education: Terrific Twos - Nursery - Pre-Kindergarten
Early Childhood education begins with the Terrific Twos and continues through Pre-Kindergarten. A teacher and paraprofessional are present at all times in each of these grades. This greatly improves the pupil-teacher ratio and increases the opportunities for teachers and students to interact. These teachers are responsible for the teaching of Language Arts, Mathematics, Religion, Science, and Social Studies. Since St. Luke School recognizes the growing trend of renewed commitment to the young child, a hands-on, activity-based approach is used in all subjects. Lessons are carefully integrated to help students recognize the relationships and connections that exist among the various subjects.
Primary Education: Kindergarten – Grade Three
Primary teachers nurture students with a structured self contained environment. Within the environment, students are developing maturity and the ability to maintain a foundation needed to function in upper grades. Students in the primary grades learn all core subjects as well as weekly Physical Education, Art, Health, Music, Spanish and Library classes. Our Smartboards bring the world and all of its resources into the classroom. Students in grade two are given instruction in the preparation of the Sacraments of Penance and Communion.
Intermediate Education: Grades Four and Five
Our Intermediate grades build on the basics that were taught in the primary grades and introduce new content material for the students. The classes are departmental and follow a five day schedule which includes all core subjects, as well as Physical Education, Art, Library, Spanish, and Music Classes. The students often work in cooperative groups or pairs as they complete projects, solve problems, and conduct research online. Learning centers are created for constructive activities. Teachers work closely with each other and with the special area teachers, to integrate curriculum, plan activities and special projects.
Junior High Education: Grades Six - Eight
Our Junior High Teachers are responsible for the core subjects and classes are departmental. Teachers meet regularly to coordinate the program and work on unit projects. Grade seven is required to complete 15 hours of community service as part of their preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which takes place in the Eighth Grade. The mathematics curriculum, based on the Common Core State Standards, presents basic concepts and computational skills, as well as problem-solving strategies. These concepts enable students to be confident and successful mathematicians. Math is presented through a variety of methods that effectively reach all styles of learners.
The Junior High science curriculum is increasingly one of observation and experimentation. Laboratory materials are used to expand the students’ knowledge of various scientific topics. Our science program includes a regular science lab period which enables the students to conduct experiments. The science teacher oversees the entire science curriculum to ensure that all content is covered and needed materials are available.
American History is the curriculum focus for students in grades seven and eight. Critical thinking is stressed as well as document based questions and essays which incorporate Language Arts skills. During the first year, students study North America from early settlement to the antebellum period. In the second year, students complete their study of the nineteenth century and investigate significant historical events in the twentieth century.
Our English Language Arts Program focuses on reading strategies, comprehension, and the experience of a variety of genres and authors. Vocabulary is also studied, including a structured program designed to prepare students for the TACHS Exam, the test for admission to Catholic high school. The English program provides an integrated approach to writing using a variety of topics and styles, as well as the study of grammar.
TAC (Technology Across the Curriculum) for grades 6 to 8 is a class meant to digitally enhance the Science, Social Studies, Math, Spanish, and ELA Curriculum.
The Spanish Program is geared to our Junior High students so that they will reach a level of proficiency in preparation for high school. This requires instruction two days per week. The program is designed to introduce the students to the Spanish language as well as the Hispanic cultures of the world.
Students also attend weekly Physical Education, Art, Library and Music Classes.
Students in all grades are encouraged to participate in academic competitions.
All New York State Exams are administered in Grades 4, 6 and 7, along with standardized tests for grades three to eight.