Common Core and Curriculum
Our curriculum fuses current educational and pedagogical innovations with a rigorous, traditional academic program. Teachers emphasize a core curriculum, along with Catholic identity and mission, and integrate these into student life through Student Learning Expectations (SLEs). The faculty continually strives to merge new ideas with current classroom strategies through cross-curricular and differentiated instruction, assessments, and project-based learning. This results in a faculty committed to academic excellence, and students who experience:
St. Mel School has developed an effective curriculum that is aligned with the Common Core Standards in Math and Language Arts, as well as the Diocese of Sacramento's religion, social studies, science, and history standards. In 2016-17, St. Mel will adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. Our teachers, through regular training and professional development, continually enhance the curriculum with these comprehensive standards, as well as a best practices approach to support the high achievement of all learners. Additionally, the integration of technology throughout many curricular areas enhances the ways teachers present material and assists students in interacting with the curriculum by actively engaging them.
Students are assessed at the end of each year beginning in 3rd grade to determine math placement for each subsequent year. The regular and accelerated Math groups progress through the same grade-level curriculum at a pace determined by the ability of the group. Each year, teacher recommendations are taken into consideration, along with assessment scores. Our Accelerated Math Program has proven highly successful, with the majority of graduating students being placed in Geometry or Accelerated Algebra as freshmen.
Accelerated Reading (AR) is just one component of our Language Arts curriculum. AR is an individualized reading program designed to motivate students to read through a goal-setting system that students £.nd naturally rewarding. Through regular reading assessments, AR helps determine appropriate reading levels and goals for each student that lead to improved student reading performance and critical thinking skills. Students actively engage in setting goals, tracking their growth and selecting books that challenge them through AR' s computerized reading management program. Teachers monitor goal setting, overall literacy, comprehension and reading ability, and with the support of the STAR Reading assessments, teachers can compare students' achievement to that of students across the nation. This helps determine mastery of Common Core Standards and allows tracking of growth over time.
Resource & Support
St. Mel School understands the many needs and different learning styles of our students, and we recognize our responsibility to provide a learning environment that fosters growth and considers the individual needs of the child. An Educational Achievement Specialist (EAS) is on staff to support students with special needs and/ or in need of intervention. Students meet individually and in small group for instruction to help improve their learning. Our EAS works with classroom teachers, parents, and local school district representatives to establish an individualized education program (IEP) and successful strategies to improve learning.
Additionally, in grades TK-5th, classroom teachers are supported by a full-day aide. This provides opportunities to support struggling students with more one-on-one instruction, as well as assisting the teacher in classroom management, groupwork and enrichment activities. At St. Mel School, our goal is to help every student understand that he or she is a gifted child of God, and our faculty and staff strive to develop each child's skills.