6-8 Academic Overview

A DISTINCTIVE JUNIOR HIGH EXPERIENCE

Since 1963, the junior high experience at St. Perpetua School has been characterized by its rigorous academic expectations within a collaborative environment where students and teachers work together to maximize each student’s learning.  We recognize that middle school is a time of unique developmental change in adolescents. Our nurturing environment encourages students not only to think for themselves, but also to think about the people and places that comprise their surrounding environment. Guided by St. Perpetua School’s inclusive, values-driven philosophy, students learn to build and nurture friendships and teacher relationships, gain confidence, and flourish as learners and leaders.

Renovated within the past ten years, the school’s state of the art facilities include new classrooms, a new science and art lab, multi-media technology center, library and research center, break-out rooms for team discussion and small group instruction, counseling office, catering kitchen, faculty lounge, outdoor amphitheater, Garden of Learning and shaded outdoor lunch areas. We have recently built a beautiful staircase connecting the lower campus and church with the upper play lot and parish office.

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

A solid academic foundation is paramount to student success. Our top-notch faculty strives to provide a comprehensive, relevant and challenging curriculum, preparing students to enter higher education with competence and confidence. Throughout the program students are encouraged to accept challenges and explore new ideas. The presence of multiple intelligences is valued, and a variety of teaching strategies to demonstrate this value are employed.

MATHEMATICS

The objective of St. Perpetua's Math program is to ensure that all students master the basic concepts, comprehend the material, apply what they have learned and complete all steps necessary in solving mathematical problems. Students will work individually, with partners, and in groups. There will be a variety of activities and projects such as working with hands on manipulatives, unraveling problem-solving challenges, writing math assignments, doing presentations and completing computer-math linked projects to meet the different student learning styles. Grading is based on homework, formal assessments, binder organization, class participation and projects.

The goal of the St. Perpetua Math program is to provide all students with the standard math curriculum in preparation for the various high school math levels. Rather than marching students through the curriculum in lockstep, instruction is modified to meet students' varying readiness levels and learning preferences.

The different placements emphasize the students' strengths and the smaller class sizes provide more individual teacher to student time. Each year the students are re-assessed for their math class placement and each year St. Perpetua's Math department determines the number of math sections to offer depending on the needs of the student groups.

We are very excited about the opportunity to differentiate our junior high math program. Each year, we form our groups based on various assessment methods to meet the needs of our diverse learners.

The groupings are as follows:

     

    • 6th Grade Standard Math - Standard 6th Grade Math and Math Skills
    • 7th grade pre-algebra - Introduction to Pre-Algebra and Standard Pre-Algebra
    • 8th Grade Algebra I - Introduction to Algebra and Algebra 

     

    The sixth grade math curriculum contains a review of the fundamental math skills that are necessary to succeed in future math classes. These include operations involving graphing, number concepts, basic geometry, fractions, percents, decimals, exponents, integers, proportions, and probability. There is more focus on diagramming word problems and using different problem solving techniques.

    The objective of 7th grade Accelerated Math is to ensure that all students learn the key concepts, comprehend the material, apply what they have learned and complete all the assignments. The seventh grade math curriculum is based on the Common Core Standards and designed to prepare students for Course 3 in the eighth grade. Concepts include fractions, decimals, percents, integers, exponents, ratios and proportional relationships, expressions and equations, Geometry, statistics and probability as well as a few chapters on topics covered in the 8th grade section of the Common Core Standards.

  • The objective of 8th grade Course 3 is to ensure that all students learn the central concepts, comprehend the material, apply what they have learned and complete all the assignments. The eighth grade math curriculum consists of two sections. Both sections will prepare students for high school. Main concepts include percentages, fractions, word problems, expressions and equations, rational numbers, linear equations, functions, linear inequalities, Geometry, and statistics and probability. All of which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

SCIENCE

Through an award-winning, hands-on science approach in our fully-equipped science laboratory, students learn to understand their place in the world and their impact on the environment, while developing the ability to form hypotheses, make observations, collect data and draw conclusions. The St. Perpetua School junior high science program follows the effective “General Science Format,” in which students learn each of the three strands: Life, Earth and Physical Science.

Following is an additional list of concentrated areas of focus:

  • ●  6th grade – Plate tectonics, astronomy, ecology, energy

  • ●  7th grade – Physics, oceanography, anatomy, biology, botany

  • ●  8th grade – Light, genetics, earth history, chemistry

    This content is taught through class discussion, the use of the Promethean board and Activities, hands-on activities, lab experiments, and cooperative learning.

    Students explore the San Francisco area through field trips to Chabot Space and Science Center, Aquarium of the Bay, Contra Costa Water Treatment Plant, and in-school workshops by Lawrence Hall of Science. The sixth graders participate in a week-long science camp at Caritas Creek in Occidental, CA, where they learn about connections to the world around them, their classmates, themselves, and God. Students also have access to our award-winning Garden of Learning outdoor classroom environment for hands-on experiences in science and environmental awareness.

    From November to February, students participate in the St. Perpetua Science Fair. They choose an area of study, research, form and test their hypothesis, and then report their results and conclusions to a panel of judges. These are presented during Catholic Schools' Week at Science Fair Night where the students teach each other, their parents, and the community about their findings. St. Perpetua’s students have also competed at the county and state levels.

    Through this multi-faceted approach to learning, St. Perpetua's students gain an appreciation, enthusiasm, and passion for science that stays with them into high school, college, and beyond.

RELIGION

Throughout Junior High students will focus on an overarching idea each year. In 6th grade students will study the Old Testament, throughout 7th the focus will shift to the New Testament and in 8th grade Church History will be the main theme. Students are also expected to fulfill a minimum of 10 volunteer service hours each trimester.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is integrated into lesson plans and assessment and is taught during specific technology instruction to students. The staff regularly attends professional development regarding technology, sharing best practices, and arranging opportunities for similar professional development for the faculty.

Technology is an integral part of each student’s learning experience at St. Perpetua School and is integrated into the daily classroom experience. St. Perpetua School leverages technology through:

  • ●  A state-of-the-art information technology center, complete with computers for every student.

  • ●  Interactive Promethean white boards or SMART boards in every classroom, featuring inter-write pads and document cameras. Plus, learner response devices provide opportunities for student involvement and assessment, and allows teachers to deliver dynamic lessons tailored to the immediate assessment of student performance.

  • ●  A mobile Apple iPad/MacBook Learning Lab cart providing flexible and convenient wireless access to technology, easily transforming any classroom into a digital learning environment.

    Technology is also incorporated into the various curriculum strands through lesson plans, student projects and assessment. St. Perpetua School students follow the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards, which identify higher-order thinking skills, digital citizenship, digital tools for research, and knowledge of systems and applications. Due to the ever-changing environment of technology, our students learn how to navigate through various programs and use different types of technology to solve problems and aide learning.

SOCIAL STUDIES

St. Perpetua School junior high social studies program is very comprehensive and integrates not only geography, but also women’s history, minority history, and religious history. This wide swath of material is covered through experiential learning, in-class reading, lecture, informal discussions, individual and group projects, and reports that challenge and engage our students, while providing them a solid foundation in ancient, World, and American history.

Following is an overview of focus for each grade:

             ● 6th grade – Pre-history through ancient and classical civilizations ending with the fall of Rome.
  • ●  7th grade – Great African, Asian, Indian, and Indo-American empires, followed by the return to Europe covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, and Colonial periods.

  • ●  8th grade – American history and government from the first Americans through Reconstruction following the Civil War.

    LANGUAGE ARTS

    In language arts, students work to become effective communicators and strong critical thinkers through a variety independent and collaborative activities such as note-taking, journaling, creative writing, literature circles, dramatic performance, film critique, projects, discussions, and oral reports. Using the tools of the Six Traits writing schema, students engage in various on-demand or structured descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive compositions. Standard grammar and vocabulary are woven throughout the daily usage of language and writing skills. Students also analyze, synthesize, and evaluate a variety of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. As they draw conclusions from and make connections among texts, students justify their ideas with reasons and evidence. Ultimately, students are encouraged to use the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills and strategies developed in language arts across the curriculum.

    FOREIGN LANGUAGE

    Jr. High students attend Spanish class twice a week and complete a standard one-year course over three years. This course will cover essential vocabulary and basic structures of Spanish in order that the student will learn:

  • ●  To ask questions and answer them affirmatively and negatively

  • ●  To arrange proper word order

  • ●  To speak and write clearly with the skills acquired

  • ●  T o speak spontaneously

  • ●  To use common idiomatic expressions

         ● Students will also acquire knowledge and appreciation of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

St. Perpetua School’s physical education/health program promotes a healthy body and lifestyle. The PE program is built upon a challenging curriculum and a variety of organized outdoor activities. The curriculum is designed to focus on movement concepts, skill themes, team sports, team tactics, and wellness concepts, with the goal of developing physical competence, which leads to confidence and participation in physical activity for a lifetime. The school also encourages students to participate in extracurricular sports like CYO basketball, volleyball and track.

MUSIC

Music is an art that connects with students in different ways – mentally, physically, emotionally, creatively, and spiritually. Music is important and ever present at St. Perpetua School, and is woven throughout their school experiences. Our music program explores the elements of music – melody, rhythm, harmony, form, timbre (instruments) and basic music theory and music history - through singing, listening, movement, games, class participation in school Masses, the Winter Sharing performance and other performance opportunities. In addition to the classroom music curriculum, students can become involved in after school choirs for Mass preparation with the Faith Formation students, and also a St. Perpetua School Choir (SPSC) that sings in public performances. Students also have the unique opportunity to participate in the on-site instrumental music program. Music teachers are sub-contracted to teach lessons in piano, violin, viola, flute, cello, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, drums, and guitar. These students perform in a spring recital, and students who play band instruments perform in the honor band concert with students from several other schools each year in May.

ART

Art is essential to learning, both as an academic skill and as a form of self expression. St. Perpetua School’s art program focuses on the creative process and the development of fundamental skills in a variety of media. Weekly art lessons are comprised of basic elements of art (line, color, texture, shape, etc.) and design, new techniques to improve drawing, shading, perspective and use of color, and an appreciation of historical works of art.

PERFORMING ARTS

Support for the growth of individual talents is also made possible through our performing arts program. St. Perpetua students have several opportunities for musical performance throughout the year, performing in regular prayer services, often involving oral speaking and choral performances.

Other annual performances include: a Christmas pageant, Spring musical, talent show and Special Person’s Day, where classes prepare dance routines to perform for family and friends they have invited to join them for lunch and the event.

STUDENT ENRICHMENT & EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (SEEDS)

St. Perpetua School proudly features a comprehensive self-funded enrichment program to broaden students’ educational experiences for all students. A unique parent-led initiative, SEEDs raises funds throughout the year to provide fulfilling enrichment activities to support our science and art curriculum.

Students attend many stimulating and informative academic and cultural field trips (e.g., museum tours, symphony and theatrical performances, etc.). Teachers invite guest speakers and authors who are experts in their field or enthusiastic about a particular subject area. Opportunities for external academic and cultural events also exist. Our interactive, hands-on science fair is an all-school event sponsored by SEEDs, at which junior high student experiments are showcased.

Students, individually, or in groups, can express and challenge themselves by participating in school competitions, like the annual Scripps Spelling Bee and National Geographic Geography Bee, where the winners of each contest go on to compete in regional, and in some cases, state competitions. Students also have opportunities to enter writing, poetry and art contests throughout the year.

LEARNING BY GIVING

Students broaden their perspectives through community and international outreach, service projects, and hands-on philanthropic efforts, offering students the rewarding opportunity to share their gifts with others. These programs support our school’s core values and inspire students to reach out and make a difference in their community.

Following are a few of the causes supported by our school:

  • ●  A World of Change (CFCA Sponsor Child per class)

  • ●  Monument Crisis Center

  • ●  Samaritan House

  • ●  Shelter, Inc (Jr. High Outreach Program

  • The Mission Effectiveness Committee, a subcommittee of the St. Perpetua School Board, focuses on involving our students with service learning projects that result in positive actions that make a difference to others. Goals include promoting student empowerment and ownership while applying the principles of Catholic social teaching. In addition, it is expected that each student will realize the value of their efforts to those in need, how the foundation of their Catholic faith and education contributed to their success, and the significance of setting a positive example for their underclassmen.

    A World of Change is a program launched in 2009 to give each class the opportunity to reach out to an individual child in need from around the world. Every grade level has been assigned a student from another country, with whom they communicate and provide financial support from their own earnings. As students advance through their St. Perpetua experience, their companion student advances along with the class, making it possible to truly get to know how they are touching another’s life through their support.

    In 2010, St. Perpetua School also launched the Junior High Outreach Program, known as the JHOP. Our Junior High students lead, own and participate in this outreach program with Shelter, Inc., in which they plan a menu, shop for food, cook the entire meal and serve it to the homeless at Shelter, Inc.

    LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

    An important aspect of the junior high experience is how students are taught and encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. They learn to set goals and take steps to achieve them using time management and organizational skills. Throughout the year, students are given multiple opportunities to practice and strengthen both oral and written communication skills. Teachers promote the development of empathy and Catholic values along with the use of effective communication skills for resolving conflict and demonstrating respect for self and others. Several meaningful opportunities are provided for our junior high students to develop leadership and mentoring skills. They are encouraged to develop relationships with students from other grades, fostering a community of respect and responsibility.

    STUDENT LEADERSHIP

    St. Perpetua School’s active Student Leadership allows our students to experience and develop leadership, communication, and organizational skills. Junior high students are eligible to run for key Leadership offices, such as President, Vice President, and Treasurer. Students in grades three through eight are also invited to join leadership committees, such as Spirit, Sales, and Ecology.

Officers lead meetings each week, where the Leadership team work together to promote school spirit and service through Town Hall assemblies, fundraisers, contests, and spirit days.

FAITH FAMILIES & CLASS BUDDIES

Our Faith Family and Class Buddy programs inspire older students to be leaders and strong role models for their younger counterparts, creating a feeling of community throughout the school. “Faith Families” led by the seventh and eighth graders, with members from each grade, participate in at least three annual outreach projects such as the Monument Crisis Center food drive and preparing Christmas stockings for the Friendly Manor Shelter. They also attend mass and participate in Field Days opening and closing ceremonies together.

CALIFORNIA JUNIOR SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION (CJSF)

CJSF emphasizes high standards of scholarship, and community service for California students in seventh and eight grade. CJSF grooms the student for CSF membership in high school. Membership also brings with it the opportunity to participate in activities which benefit the school, the community, and the student. CJSF membership will be a valuable experience to reference when applying to high schools, leadership or service programs, and jobs. Students participate in monthly lunch meetings to plan and complete service projects.

YEARBOOK

Members of the eighth grade class are invited to join a Yearbook Committee, which produces the annual St. Perpetua School yearbook. Using an on-line program, they are lead through the entire publishing process, from initial planning and picture taking, to final writing, editing and production.

OTHER LEADERSHIP ROLES

St. Perpetua School offers several other opportunities for strengthening the leadership skills of our junior high students:

  • ●  6th, 7th and 8th graders – Perform community service each trimester.

  • ●  6th, 7th and 8th graders – Serve as greeters and tour guides for our school Open House and are “elves” at the annual Peppermint Shoppe, a Christmas gift shop event.

  • ●  8th graders – Plan and design Channels of Peace meetings for younger grades on issues ranging from bullying to empathy. 8th graders also lead faith families through outreach projects and monthly masses and prayer services.

EXTENDED DAY/AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

Held in a fully dedicated on-site facility, our well-staffed extended care program, Panther House, incorporates both structured activity and playtime for students, inside and outdoors within a safe, nurturing environment. Panther House offers students homework assistance as well as a large selection of enrichment classes. Several new additions have been made to the program, including new technology, games and playground equipment.

Our extended care program operates daily from 7:00-8:00 a.m. and from dismissal to 6:00 p.m.

Current Panther House rates are:

  • ●  Full-time (30+ hours/week) - $5.00 per hour per child

  • ●  Part-time (29 or less hours/week) - $6.00 per hour per child

  • ●  Drop-in rate (as-needed usage) - $8.00 per hour per child

    EMOTIONAL ENRICHMENT & LEARNING SUPPORT

    St. Perpetua School students benefit by having access to an on-site counselor and Learning Support Coordinator who can assist students and their families during challenging times. Both professionals collaborate with classroom teachers formally and informally through articulation meetings and Student Success Team (SST) meetings to create a system of support for all students.

    Our counselor is available by appointment to help families deal with specific issues or the many pressures of everyday life. The counselor also provides classroom presentations, student groups and coordinates parent education on relevant topics such as internet safety, relational aggression and positive parenting.

    The Learning Support Coordinator (LSC) provides support for students identified as having special needs. The LSC is available four days a week to tutor individuals and small groups and is supported by additional part-time faculty. The LSC assists teachers in making modifications and accommodations within the classroom and facilitates communication among teachers, students, parents, private tutors, and testing services.

    COMMITTED EDUCATORS

    St. Perpetua School’s junior high program features a top-notch community of faculty who combine scholarship, experience and talent to help create an unparalleled learning and growing environment for students. Our professional, collaborative and dedicated teachers earn the respect of both students and parents, by exhibiting their unique attention to the needs of individual students

Last Modified on January, 2017