Curriculum

For over 150 years, our faculty and staff have expanded and modified our curriculum to suit the needs of all our students.

Knowledge that each child is unique in his or her manner and rate of development guide the program. We encourage each student to strive toward his or her maximum potential.

SBA's rigorous curriculum holds students to high academic standards. As teachers, we strive to challenge students while also providing the support necessary to be successful.

Tina Mila
upper school teacher
science department chair

Curriculum By Grade Level

Junior Kindergarten

Math
Counting, comparison, spatial awareness, patterning, sequencing, matching, sorting, and problem solving is taught through the use of manipulatives, music, and rhymes. Through free play and engaging activities, children develop early math skills in the following five domains: numbers and operations, geometry, patterns, measurement, data representation and probability. The Junior Kindergarten program incorporates Saxon MATH K as well as Get Set for School Numbers and Math, which engages the children’s natural curiosity and classroom experiences.

Language Arts
Children learn through movement and participation. Children ages 4 and 5 learn best when they move, manipulate objects, build, sing, and draw. The language arts program includes activities that incorporate beginning phonemic awareness activities, alphabet knowledge, rhyming, syllable segmenting, comprehension, concepts about print, oral language, and writing. Our multisensory approach breaks different concepts into simple tasks by utilizing hands-on auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic learning opportunities. The children are exposed to a variety of rich literature to foster a love of reading, to build vocabulary that establishes a solid foundation in reading, and to prepare students for the rigorous reading curriculum in Kindergarten and beyond.

Religion
The Junior Kindergarten religion program helps children take their first steps on their journey of faith. The lessons teach scripture stories that connect to children’s lives through an easy to understand, real-life story format. Our curriculum presents the Bible as the source for learning about God and God's Son, Jesus, and helps young children and their families learn and live Christian values.

Science
Science at the Junior Kindergarten level is designed to facilitate learning of key concepts in science and develop scientific thinking skills through a variety of thoughtfully connected hands-on learning experiences. Our approach models science process skills through guided inquiry and exploration designed to build on children's existing knowledge base. Using concrete, hands-on materials and guided exploration, teachers introduce the content and science process skills that help children build meaning over time. The lessons provide new experiences that will become the foundation for the development of more complex science concepts that will be introduced later in their schooling.

Kindergarten

Math
The Kindergarten mathematics curriculum introduces children to the six major mathematical content domains: number sense, algebra, measurement, geometry, data analysis, and probability. The students explore mathematics, as they interact with materials, each other, and their surroundings. The program is designed to relate to children’s interest and engage them in meaningful learning activities, while also incorporating the Saxon Mathematics curriculum. Math centers are used for exploration, study, and play. Children count, sort, describe shapes, compare sizes, estimate, and explore numerals they see all around them. They observe, explore, share and solve a wide range of problems. Children learn a great deal from their self -chosen interests and activities.

Literacy
In Kindergarten, the foundational skills of reading are expanded from their introduction in Junior Kindergarten. Phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, high frequency word study, fluency, and vocabulary are taught and practiced in multiple ways. Comprehension strategies are combined with a literature based program to promote active thinking while reading and being read to. Students are exposed to a variety of texts and authors, and see literacy as a lens to different people and parts of the world. Writing curriculum is tied into literacy. Sentence structure and basic grammar are taught and practiced through journaling, opinion writing, and informative writing.  Students build a reading foundation while also developing a love for reading and an identity as a reader and writer. 

Religion
The Kindergarten religion program is designed for the students to understand that religion is not a lesson to be taught, but a lesson to be lived daily. The students are taught to use the example of Jesus as the most important teacher of all time and that going to Church is the extension of the ministry of Jesus. Children learn to identify behaviors that exemplify Jesus' teachings. The children are taught on a monthly basis about Church events, traditions, and holidays.

Science
Kindergarten students are naturally inquisitive. They are curious about their physical environments and the myriad of activities that take place within them. This course builds upon each student's curiosity and uses scientific inquiry to focus on the physical world. Students explore and are exposed to a variety of science topics and themes. Throughout this course, students learn to observe and ask questions about the natural environment. While conducting investigations, students learn to employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. Students collect and interpret data, as well as review and ask questions during the scientific process.

Social Studies
For Kindergarten students, social studies has an emphasis in figuring out where we fit in our world. From community jobs to different countries, kindergarten students learn not only about how we are all different, but also how we are all the same. The social studies curriculum also covers important symbols of Tennessee and the United States of America.

First Level

Language Arts

  • GL: Grade-level language arts helps to create a solid foundation for young learners to become more competent writers by not only emphasizing the development of the sentence as the main construct of writing, but also by giving students the opportunity to become competent writers by exposing them to narrative, informative, and persuasive writing.  Students receive challenging engagement in both grammar and writing and also receive the opportunity to become better public speakers.  In general, students become better, more confident communicators.  
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, we continue reinforcing skills learned in Saxon 1 and build upon it. Saxon 2 and 3 cover a larger range of critical concepts, and by the end of this course, children can skip count by 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, 10's, 25's, and 100's; compare and order 3-digit numbers; identify sorting and patterning rules; solve routine and non-routine problems; master all basic addition and subtraction facts; master multiplication facts to 5; add and subtract three-digit numbers; picture and name fractions; measure to the nearest centimeter, foot, and half inch; measure perimeter and area; tell time to five-minute intervals; count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters; identify geometric solids; identify lines of symmetry; identify angles; tally; and create, read, and write observations from a variety of graphs. Students explore numbers through math talks, math journals, calendar time, and multi-step problems of the day. This course is hands-on with concepts first being taught through the use of manipulatives and then in a guided practice format. Nightly homework is used to practice skills independently and reinforce skills taught in class.

Math

  • GL: This course builds directly on the work completed in Kindergarten and instructs students in an incremental manner, which continues to build upon concepts previously covered. Students establish a solid understanding of basic math concepts, such as comparing and ordering numbers, mastering all basic addition and subtraction facts, adding two-digit numbers without regrouping, naming fractions, and measuring with inches, feet, and centimeters. Students learn how to create, read, and write observations from real graphics, pictographs, and bar graphs. Students are engaged with calendar activities, numbers sense activities, daily fact practice, and are instructed through teacher modeling and guided practice. Students are given a new skill to learn daily and receive practice through paper pencil work, manipulatives, and math work stations.
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, we continue reinforcing skills learned in Saxon 1 and build upon it. Saxon 2 and 3 cover a larger range of critical concepts, and by the end of this course, your child will be able to skip count by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s, 25s, and 100s; compare and order 3-digit numbers; identify sorting and patterning rules; solve routine and non-routine problems; master all basic addition and subtraction facts; master multiplication facts to 5; add and subtract three-digit numbers; picture and name fractions; measure to the nearest centimeter, foot, and half inch; measure perimeter and area; tell time to five-minute intervals; count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters; identify geometric solids; identify lines of symmetry; identify angles; tally; and create, read, and write observations from a variety of graphs. In class, your child will explore numbers through math talks, math journals, calendar time, and multi-step problems of the day. This course is hands-on with concepts first being taught through the use of manipulatives, then in a guided practice format. Nightly homework is used to practice skills independently and reinforce skills taught in class.

Music
Through the Quaver Music Curriculum, 1st level students learn about a variety of topics, including: beat, meter, rhythm, voice, lines and spaces, melody, notes and rests, tempo, dynamics, instruments and form. In addition to these curriculum topics, students also prepare songs for monthly masses and performances, including the annual Christmas Pageant and Christmas Program.

Art
Art class builds upon skills learned in kindergarten while learning about famous artists of the past. Students work with color theory and learn about different color families and groups while they explore and experiment with a wide variety of 2 and 3 dimensional materials. Students work on dexterity and fine motor skills through projects and activities. Children’s literature is used often as inspiration and connection to activities and projects.

Reading

  • GL: In 1st level reading, students practice reading through an interactive process focusing on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. Students are taught specific decoding and comprehension strategies in order to become independent readers. Students learn how to integrate prior knowledge as well as use context clues within the text to read unfamiliar words. The 1st level reading program consists of the use of fiction and nonfiction selections. Students continuously read in a variety of forms (buddy reading, reading to self, guided reading, choral reading, etc.) in order to improve reading fluency and comprehension. Students focus on comprehension skills such as story elements, text to self connections, author’s purpose, cause and effect, and comparing and contrasting. Students are assessed daily through observation while participating in class lessons, discussions, independent word stations, and formal assessments. The core of the program aids in reinforcing and strengthening emerging skills and allowing reading skills to flourish so that students become lifelong readers.
     
  • Accelerated: Accelerated reading is taught through an interactive process that involves phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.  All students are assessed at the beginning of the year and taught on their reading level.  Students read various selections of fiction and nonfiction texts and read in a variety of forms such as choral reading, buddy reading, and read to self.  The core of the program aids in reinforcing and strengthening emerging reading skills.  The goal of the class is to help students become lifelong readers. 

Religion
In 1st level, students set the base of religious teachings that will continue to develop as their spiritual faith grows. They gain a basic understanding of our one God and understand His love for us. Students become familiar with the three persons of the Holy Trinity, recognize Mary as the Mother of God, and associate life after death with Heaven. Students in 1st level gain a basic understanding and awareness of the Catholic Mass.

Science
In 1st level science, students investigate and learn science concepts through scientific inquiry. Students learn how to observe, compare, classify, gather and interpret data, hypothesize, and experiment. The curriculum focuses on plants, animals, Earth, weather, the sky, the seasons, matter, and force. Scientific literacy is integrated into the curriculum to give students more real world examples and enhance learning. Students are challenged to look at the science all around them and find a lifelong fascination with the natural world.

Social Studies
1st level students build upon knowledge of major historical events, holidays, symbols, and individuals associated with Tennessee and the United States. Students listen to and read folktales and nonfiction texts from across the United States to gain a better understanding of the importance of these historical concepts. They discuss cultures, human patterns of places and regions in Tennessee. Students demonstrate an understanding of how individuals, families, and communities live and work together in Tennessee, the United States, and around the world. An emphasis is placed on goods and services that originate in Tennessee. Students demonstrate an understanding of how people interact with the environment locally and globally, which is accomplished by building on previously learned geographic skills and concepts. This includes identifying major cities and physical features in Tennessee and the rest of the United States. Students demonstrate an understanding of how the state and federal government functions and how government affects families.

Second Level

Literacy
Literacy class provides students with the ability to continue to build competence in reading literature, reading informational text, foundational skills, language skills, writing, and speaking and listening. Students learn how to construct complete sentences, which demonstrate subject/verb agreement, appropriate capitalization and punctuation, and appropriate use of parts of speech. Students use a variety of strategies to generate and organize ideas. They write to include a beginning, middle, and end and use descriptive words when writing. Students write for a variety of purposes, which includes poems. Students further develop sight word knowledge and word-solving strategies to negotiate texts. Emphasis is on the use of reading for fluency and enjoyment. They develop comprehension checks as they continue to extract and construct meaning from the text. Students become familiar with reader-response formats, such as selection summaries, reading groups, and book discussions.

Math

  • GL: Saxon Math Intermediate 3 teaches mathematical concepts through informative lessons, helpful diagrams, and interactive activities that build critical thinking as well as real-world problem-solving skills. Concepts cover patterns, addition, subtraction, money, fractions, measurement, multiplication, arrays, angles, congruent shapes, symmetry, geometric solids, division, capacity, estimation, sorting, and more.
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, students continue to build on the foundational skills learned in Intermediate 3. Students participate in teacher guided lessons, as well as small group interactive activities, to learn and reinforce concepts. Under the Numbers and Operations standards, students learn to read and write whole numbers, decimals, fractions and mixed numbers; identify place value of decimals; calculate square numbers and square roots; convert between fractions and mixed numbers; simplify fractions; multiplication and division facts. In Algebra, we study naming the fractional part of a whole or group, converting fractions, decimals and percents, and finding the rates, ratios, and percents. With Geometry standards we learn how to identify, analyze, and classify 2 and 3 dimensional figures, line and angle properties, and geometric transformations. Measurement standards include using the appropriate tools and skills to solve measurement problems, as well as converting measurements of customary and metric measurements. Daily homework is a very important aspect of your child’s progress in this class. It provides practice of current skills being learned, as well as review concepts throughout the year. Along with the nightly homework, students

Music
Through the Quaver Music Curriculum, 2nd Level students learn about a variety of topics, including: beat, meter, rhythm, singing, melody, The Baroque Period, notes and rests, dynamics, instruments, composing, and form. In addition to these curriculum topics, students also prepare songs for monthly masses and performances, including the annual Christmas Program. 2nd Level students also prepare songs for First Penance and First Communion Mass.

Art
Students build upon skills learned in 1st grade while learning about famous artists of the past. Students explore different art movements and the art of different cultures and start to use the elements of art to discuss artworks. Students work on dexterity and fine motor skills through projects and activities while they explore and experiment with a wide variety of 2 and 3 dimensional materials. Children’s literature is used often as inspiration and connection to activities and projects.

Religion
In 2nd Level Religion, each teacher builds and reinforces what the child has learned in previous grade levels. The pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church — Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer — are taught and developed at every grade level. This ensures that the beliefs of our faith are introduced for the young people as they grow, develop, and mature in their faith. Children are provided with a more comprehensive understanding of our faith. The children are also taught the four liturgical seasons of the Church year. The main emphasis in 2nd Level religion is the sacrament of Reconciliation and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Science
In 2nd Level science, students discover patterns in the world around them through inquiry and investigation. Students enhance their ability to observe, compare, classify, gather and interpret data, hypothesize, and experiment. The curriculum focuses on land, water, material properties, and living things. Students use evidence to support their conclusions and model those conclusions in a myriad of ways. 

Social Studies
2nd level students learn about government and civics, economics, geography, and history by studying more about who they are as Americans. The chief purpose of this course is to help students understand their identity as American citizens and how our nation operates. They examine the geography of the United States and its national symbols and landmarks. Students explore the structure and purpose of government at the local, state, and national levels, and the responsibilities, rights, and privileges of the citizens of the United States. Second grade students  acquire a common understanding of American history, its political principles, and its system of government in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and civic life.

Third Level

Literacy

3rd Level language arts continues to build student competence in grammar and writing fundamentals. Students receive multiple guided practice opportunities that provide them with a growing awareness and familiarity with sentence structure, sentence fluency, and sentence cohesion. They also gain experience in paragraph structure and paragraph unity. The primary goal in third level language arts is to build better communicators.

Reading continues to be a priority as students begin to make the comprehensive shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Our primary goal in third level reading is to create life long readers. There is an emphasis on learning about words and selecting and combining skills and strategies to read more fluently and with meaning and purpose. They apply comprehension and vocabulary strategies to a wider variety of literary genres and informational texts. Students in 3rd level deepen their learning about the elements of narratives (e.g., plot, setting, characters, theme) and describe them with more depth than in previous levels. Students explore characters’ thoughts and motivations to understand them more acutely. They learn the definitions of figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor) and begin to recognize its use in literature. Students demonstrate comprehension by participating in book clubs, discussions, writing responses, and using text evidence to support their learning.  The Accelerated Reader program is used for independent student driven reading. These skills, strategies, and various instructional methods seek to develop and encourage lifelong readers as students embark on the middle grade levels.

Math

  • GL: In this course, students place emphasis on multiplication and division with whole numbers and solving problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions and decimals. Students become fluent in the basic multiplication facts through the twelves table and the corresponding division facts as they become proficient in multiplying larger numbers. Students also refine their estimation skills for computations and measurements. Students identify and describe representations of points, lines, line segments, rays, and angles, including endpoints and vertices. Concrete materials and two-dimensional representations are used to solve problems involving perimeter, patterns, probability, and equivalence of fractions and decimals. Students recognize images of figures resulting from geometric transformations, such as reflection, translation, and rotation. Students investigate and describe the associative property for addition and multiplication.
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, students cover the following skills: numbers and operations, ratios, patterns, functions, equations, basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving. Instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) Numbers and Operations: developing numeration accuracy and understanding of the properties of numbers and related operations; (2) Algebra: developing understanding of patterns, functions, proportional relationships, and solving expressions; (3) Geometry: describing, identifying, and drawing basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures; and (4) Measurement: choosing appropriate measurement systems to measure physical attribute with precision and to convert measurements into equivalent units. Coursework is infused with problem solving practice and real-world scenarios to further enhance student critical thinking abilities.

Religion
3rd Level religion focuses on the relationship and connection between all humans through the love, acceptance, and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church. Students enhance their understanding of the seven Sacraments and how they strengthen our relationship with God. These include the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, the Sacraments at the Service of Communion, and the Sacraments of Healing.  They explore various types of prayer and its purpose in our lives. Students learn the definition of “catholic” and how it translates to all aspects of their faith. They also identify the importance of The Great Commandment, inevitably answering the question “Who is our neighbor?” through Read to Feed, the 3rd level service project. The students gain a better grasp on the concept of loving others as themselves as well as the Social Justice Teachings of the Catholic Church.

Science
Instruction in 3rd Level science is based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Through inquiry and investigation, students develop and broaden their understanding of the content with hands-on experiences including labs, group work, and projects. Students analyze and compare different topics through reflection, responses, and discussions.

Social Studies
3rd Level students learn about the major components of world geography and world cultures. Students develop skills across the six essential elements of geography: world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography. Students analyze the impact of physical and human geography on cultures in times past and present. They explore the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services on a local and global scale. Students examine our connections to the past and the ways in which local, regional, and national governments and traditions have developed and left their marks on current societies. They recognize the contributions of famous individuals from various ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic groups to the development of civilizations around the world. Students understand the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of the United States government, with opportunities to compare different government systems. They evaluate evidence to develop comparative and causal analyses in order to interpret primary sources and informational text. Third level students construct sound historical arguments and perspectives on which informed decisions can be based.

Art
Students experiment with a variety of media and techniques while building upon skills learned in previous years of visual art. Students continue the study of color theory and the elements of design, explore various artists and styles from the past, and study the art of different cultures. Children’s literature is used often as inspiration and connection to activities and projects.

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo and dynamics. Third graders also learn about improvisation, ostinatos, chords and harmony. The students will discover the Classical period including composers and the orchestra. Additionally, they begin part singing and perform at Christmas, Grandparents’ Day, and Fifty Nifty United States.

Fourth Level

Literacy

  • GL: 4th Level literacy continues to build student competence in reading literature, reading informational text, foundational skills, language skills, writing, and speaking and listening. 4th level students explore the many purposes for reading.  Students read a variety of fiction and nonfiction selections including chapter books, short stories, articles, essays, and poetry.  Students participate in reading activities as a whole class, in small groups, and individually. Students further their understanding of reading skills and strategies including point of view, cause and effect, understanding theme, etc.  Students work to increase their rate of oral reading to a conversational pace in order to support comprehension.
     
  • Accelerated: 4th Level literacy continues to build student competence in reading literature, reading informational text, foundational skills, language skills, writing, and speaking and listening. 4th level students explore the many purposes for reading.  Students read a variety of fiction and nonfiction selections including chapter books, short stories, articles, essays, and poetry.  Students participate in reading activities as a whole class, in small groups, and individually. Students further their understanding of reading skills and strategies including point of view, cause and effect, understanding theme, etc.  Students work to increase their rate of oral reading to a conversational pace in order to support comprehension.

Math

  • GL: In this course, students cover the following skills: numbers and operations, ratios, patterns, functions, equations, basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving. Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) Numbers and Operations: developing numeration accuracy and understanding of the properties of numbers and related operations; (2) Algebra: developing an understanding of patterns, functions, proportional relationships, and solving expressions; (3) Geometry: describing, identifying, and drawing basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures; and (4) Measurement: choosing appropriate measurement systems to measure physical attribute with precision and to convert measurements into equivalent units. Coursework is infused with problem solving practice and real-world scenarios to further enhance student critical thinking abilities.
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, students cover the following skills: numbers and operations, ratios, patterns, functions, equations, basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving. Instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) Numbers and Operations: furthering numeration accuracy and understanding of the properties of numbers and related operations; (2) Algebra: furthering understanding of patterns, functions, proportional relationships, and solving expressions; (3) Geometry: describing, identifying, and drawing basic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional figures; and (4) Measurement: choosing appropriate measurement systems to measure physical attribute with precision and to convert measurements into equivalent units. Coursework is infused with problem-solving practice and real-world scenarios to further enhance student critical thinking abilities.

Religion
In 4th Level religion, students reach a deeper understanding of God's salvation through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Students study the life of Jesus and His message of love and forgiveness, as well as how to apply this message to their own lives, using the Bible as a guide. Students also learn the importance of the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, and Sacraments, including Reconciliation, during which they reflect on the meaning of sin and the presence of sin in their own lives. Students identify forms of prayer and the effect of prayer in daily life. They participate in liturgical and non-liturgical prayer. Students study and identify norms of Christian behavior, strengthening sound moral decision making, personal integrity, and the role that conscience plays in faithful living.

Science
Instruction in 4th level science is driven by the Next Generation Science Standards. Through inquiry and investigation, students develop and broaden their understanding of the content with hands-on experiences including labs, group and individual presentations, and projects. Students further develop their abilities to question and use viable data to find patterns and make claims and decisions based upon those patterns. Students analyze and compare different topics through reflection responses and discussions. Students discover and deepen their understanding of waves, energy, structures and functions in plants and animals, natural resources, and the processes that shape the earth.

Social Studies
4th Level students learn about native civilizations in North America, European explorations to the New World during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the political, economic, and social development of the British colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They also study the early development of democratic institutions, including the ideas and events that led to the independence of the original thirteen colonies and the formation of a national government under the Constitution. In addition, they examine the history of Tennessee parallel to the development of the United States and how our state impacted our nation and the world. The purpose of 4th level social studies is to give students their first concentrated study of the formative years of the United States and Tennessee history, utilizing primary source documents, geographic tools, research, analysis, and critical thinking.

Art
Students experiment with a variety of media and techniques while building upon skills learned in previous years of visual art. Students will continue the study of color theory and the elements of design, explore various artists and styles from the past, study the art of different cultures, and learn about the principles of design. Children’s literature is used often as inspiration and connection to activities and projects.

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo and dynamics.  Fourth graders also learn about major and minor scales, timbre, ascending and descending scales, triplet rhythms, chords and harmony and begin recorder.  The students discover the Romantic period including composers and the orchestra.  Additionally, they continue part singing and perform at Christmas, and Grandparents’ Day.

Fifth Level

Language Arts
In this course students review basic sentence structure before going on to examine more advanced uses of the parts of speech and parts of the sentence. Structure and parts of speech will be taught through diagramming. This technique allows students to refine critical thinking skills by dissecting sentences and examining how the parts relate to each other. This study will advance the proper usage of pronoun cases, verb tenses and principal parts, and subject-verb agreement. Students work in groups and individually, often critiquing their work by discussing diagrams on the board. Students study the mechanics and usage of English grammar and construct responses to prompts in which they demonstrate this knowledge. Students study vocabulary through the use of the computer program, Word Voyage. They write journal assignments as well as longer essays using all steps in the writing process.

Literature
In this course, students explore the literary components that make up a good story, including genre, characters, setting, theme, conflict, and plot. They are able to analyze a variety of forms of fiction and non-fiction, including poems, short stories, and novels. These texts supplement much of the content covered in the 5th Level Social Studies course and thereby augment the bonds students are able to make to the world at large. Students participate in two main novel studies of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis and The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis in order to strengthen their reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and writing skills. Through independent and collaborative work, reading conferences, formal and creative writing assignments, discussion, and reflection, students gain a greater appreciation for the written word. By the end of the course, students have a better understanding of how stories animate the world we live in.

Math

  • GL: Course 1 continues to strengthen the foundation built in the earlier grades of mastery of basic and multi-digit arithmetic. Basic understanding of fractions and their properties is extended through a heavier emphasis on mixed numbers. There is a large emphasis on the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percents while students learn to fluently compute these in a variety of ways. Students also learn how to find greatest common factor and least common multiple. Geometric concepts include area, perimeter, and volume. Positive and negative numbers are introduced near the end of the course. Problem-solving continues to be an important part of math instruction where students practice critical thinking, using a variety of strategies, and explaining their reasoning for answers.
     
  • Accelerated: This course continues the instruction of fractions, decimals, and percents from Course 1 while extending understanding of algebraic concepts. Instruction in this course is based on incremental development and continual review. Topics covered focus on six critical areas: (1) Numbers and Operations: developing fluency with numeration, basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, properties of numbers, and estimation; (2) Algebra: developing ratio and proportional reasoning, understanding patterns, relations, and functions, and solving and simplifying algebraic expressions; (3) Geometry: identifying basic geometric terms, identifying properties and relationships of lines, angles, polygons, and 3-dimensional figures, graphing points on the coordinate plane, using the Pythagorean theorem to solve problems, and graphing linear equations; (4) Measurement: using rulers, compasses, protractors, and thermometers appropriately, converting units of measurements, calculating the area and perimeter of 2-dimensional shapes, and calculating the surface area and volume of 3-dimensional shapes; (5) Data Analysis and Probability: collecting, interpreting and displaying data, selecting the most representative measure of central tendency for a given set of data, calculating probability of events and dependent events, and calculating the probability of the complement of an event; (6) Problem Solving: applying problem-solving strategies and mathematical reasoning. 

Religion
In 5th level Religion, students gain an understanding of God’s plan of salvation throughout history and culminating in the death of Jesus Christ.  Students describe the mission, identity, ministry and teaching of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New Covenant. Students name and describe the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Students also list the Beatitudes and give examples of how they are meant to make us happy, fulfilled Christians. Students learn the connection of the Jewish heritage as related to Christianity. They recognize that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God with intellect and free will, as well as a responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. Students identify forms of prayer and its effect in daily life and participate in liturgical and non-liturgical prayer. A focal point in 5th level Religion is the Sacraments and their meanings and effects. Students also learn how Sacramentals are signs of God’s love and help us to come closer to Him.

Science
The goal of 5th level science is to build upon and to extend the student’s natural curiosity about the world and to develop skills to investigate and understand it. Students work independently and collaboratively with hands-on lab experiences and projects to develop their analytical and problem solving skills. The subject areas that are covered throughout the year include: structures and properties of matter, matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems, space systems: stars and the solar system, and earth’s systems. Environmental degradation and its effects on endangered species are also explored. Current event topics are incorporated into the curriculum whenever possible. Fields trips provide students with real world applications of topics discussed in the classroom.

Social Studies
In this course, students explore the historical trajectory of the United States from the Civil War to the present day, with specific focus on the Civil War, Reconstruction and Civil Rights, the Progressive Era, World War II, and the Cold War. Students develop research, analytical, and critical thinking skills by evaluating and debating evidence and interpreting primary and secondary sources, thus allowing them to create sound historical arguments, perspectives, and solutions for the future. Collaboration is a key component of this course. In conjunction with the 5th Level Literature course, students explore a variety of texts to help them make sense of the world around them. By the end of this course, students are able to use history to understand how we got to where we are today, which will ultimately give us a greater understanding of ourselves. 

Spanish
The primary focus of Spanish instruction in the Fifth Level is to develop and cultivate the fundamental skills needed to communicate effectively in this popular language.  Students learn new vocabulary each week and practice their aural and oral skills through group exercises, conversation with partners, games, and role-playing skits.  Particular attention is given to helping students understand Spanish phonetics, syntax, and grammar.  In addition, Catholic prayers in Spanish are taught.  This course also exposes students to the history and culture of the global Hispanic community through project-based learning.

Art
Students explore a variety of media as they continue to build their skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. They learn about and discuss artists, artwork, and view technique demonstrations to develop: art appreciation, art history, art production, and art criticism; as well as problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students continue to develop their understanding of the elements and principles of design.  

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo, major and minor scales, timbre, ascending and descending scales, triplet rhythms, chords and harmony and dynamics.  Fifth graders also learn about syncopation, accidentals, and music styles.  The students discover the Impressionist period and music from other lands.  Students begin to sing in two-part and three-part harmony. Additionally, they perform at Veterans’ Day Program, Christmas, and Grandparents’ Day.

 

Sixth Level

Language Arts

  • GL: The language arts course is divided into two parts: grammar, usage, mechanics and writing. In preparation for writing a variety of essays, each unit in this course begins with teaching skills in grammar, usage and mechanics. This provides the basic skills that students need for clear, grammatically correct writing. Students use the Warriner’s model that features grammatical rules, examples, and abundant practice exercises to help them master correct written English. The second part of each unit will link grammar instruction to their writing assignment. This connection allows students to demonstrate what was previously learned and reviewed in the first half of the unit. Students construct clear and effective sentences and paragraphs by learning what to include, how to organize ideas, and how to write essential parts of a composition with style..
  • Accelerated: In this course students review basic sentence structure before going on to examine more advanced uses of the parts of speech and parts of the sentence. Structure and parts of speech will be taught through diagramming. This technique allows students to refine critical thinking skills by dissecting sentences and examining how the parts relate to each other. This study will advance the proper usage of pronoun cases, verb tenses and principal parts, and subject-verb agreement. Students work in groups and individually, often critiquing their work by discussing diagrams on the board. Students study the mechanics and usage of English grammar and construct responses to prompts in which they demonstrate this knowledge. Students study vocabulary through the use of the computer program, Word Voyage. They write journal assignments as well as longer essays using all steps in the writing process.

Literature

The emphasis in 6th level literature is on comprehension, analysis, and synthesis of literature. Students read a variety of multicultural literary selections by noted authors. The course broadens an understanding of the defining characteristics of specific literary genres as well as the specific elements of plot, setting, style, tone and characterization. Novel studies include the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Sixth level students enjoy an author study of prolific American author and “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling as part of their exposure to the Horror and SciFi genre. During this unit, students also read the Serling teleplay “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” and analyze how a work of literature relates to the themes and issues of its historical period. Sixth level literature includes an extensive unit on Greek Mythology, including vocabulary development with identifying Greek and Latin roots and word units. All 6th level literature units require extension projects and/or alternative assessments.

Additionally, students complete a full course of vocabulary development throughout the year.  Students supplement this curriculum independently by setting individualized personal reading goals through the use of the Accelerated Reading program.

Math

  • GL: This course focuses on four critical areas: 1. connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; 2. completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; 3. writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and 4. developing understanding of statistical thinking. Students also spend time working through the four-step problem solving process to solve word problems.  
     
  • Accelerated: In this course, students cover the prerequisite skills for Algebra: basic algebra skills, integers, rational numbers, linear equations, inequalities, functions, geometry applications, statistics, and polynomials.  Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) Ratios and Proportional Relationships: developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) The Number System / Expressions and Equations: developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) Geometry: solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions; working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) Statistics and Probability: drawing inferences about populations based on samples.

Religion
In 6th level Religion, students gain an understanding of God’s plan of salvation throughout history and culminating in the death of Jesus Christ. Students describe the mission, identity, ministry and teaching of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New Covenant. Students understand the Church as an extension of the ministry of Jesus and identify important events in Old Testament history. Students learn the connection of the Jewish heritage as related to Christianity. Students explain and reflect on the practical meanings of the Ten Commandments, and on how these guidelines call us to responsible Christian living. They recognize that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God with intellect and free will. Students identify forms of prayer and its effect in daily life and participate in liturgical and non-liturgical prayer. Students identify norms of Christian behavior and personal integrity and define Christian stewardship.

Science
Science in 6th Level revolves around the pursuit of scientific knowledge through proper questioning in order to further the understanding of earth’s systems and space systems. Students explore fundamental concepts beginning with the history of planet earth and how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s history. From there the concepts taught focus on the constant geologic and environmental interactions that shape and form Earth’s systems. Through the frequent use of inquiry based lab practices, students explore the following concepts throughout the year: tectonic plates, the water cycle, water systems, rock formations, natural resources, weather and climate, and human impact.

Social Studies
In the 6th Level, students explore the geographical, technological, and cultural advances that occurred in the beginning of human society and throughout other developing civilizations. Students compare and contrast ancient civilizations that were developing simultaneously throughout the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. Students also analyze how the physical geography of these civilizations impacted their development. Within each unit, students choose one current event to research and report on, thus comparing past and present societies. Students end the year studying the Rise of Ancient Rome. A variety of resources are available to students in order to further their interest and deepen their understanding of each civilization we study. In addition, there are a variety of projects and assessments to accommodate the needs of diverse learners.

Spanish
Spanish instruction in the 6th Level expands upon the main topics covered in Fifth Level Spanish. A large emphasis is placed on diving into the culture of Spanish-speaking countries through project-based learning.  Students continue to learn and practice using new vocabulary weekly. Students practice their Spanish prayers as well as their oral speaking skills by performing group skits, completing written dialogues, and playing games.

Art
Students explore a variety of media as they continue to build their skills in drawing, painting, graphics, calligraphy, and sculpture. They learn about and discuss artists, artwork, and view technique demonstrations to develop: art appreciation, art history, art production, and art criticism; as well as problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Students continue to develop their understanding of the elements and principles of design

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo, major and minor scales, timbre, ascending and descending scales, triplet rhythms, chords and harmony and dynamics.  Sixth graders also learn the properties of sound and begin world percussion.  Students consistently sing in two-part and three-part harmony.  Sixth graders perform at Christmas, and Grandparents’ Day and present the Stations of the Cross for the school.

Seventh Level

English
7th level language arts is a writing-intensive course that is complemented with weekly grammar application and maintenance exercises. In the beginning of the year, students develop competence in the writing of descriptive, narrative, classification, and evaluative paragraphs through diligent in-class writing assignments that are assessed through teacher-student conferencing and the use of rubrics. Appropriate types of supporting sentences and order of ideas are stressed at this time. With this as a foundation, composition form is introduced. Students become competent in the writing of effective introductions and conclusions while simultaneously learning to develop unified and coherent body paragraphs. Throughout the year, each step of the writing process is stressed with cumulative attention.

Literature
7th Level literature begins with the expansion of skills in analyzing the complex elements of plot and character in fiction and nonfiction and comparing and contrasting works of literature. The focus novel is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Students make connections between the fictional dystopian society of The Giver and the real world events of World War II and the Holocaust that form the background for The Diary of Anne Frank. 7th Level students continue to analyze the way a work of literature relates to the themes and issues of its historical period as well as to current times. Throughout the year students continue to set individualized personal reading goals that result in a solid foundation and background for high school studies of classic and modern literature written by award-winning and noted authors.

Math

  • GL: This course continues the instruction of algebraic studies in Courses 1 and 2. Students build a solid foundation and confidence in algebraic concepts while continuing to work with numbers and operations, statistics and graphing, fractions, algebraic expressions, geometry, measurement, ratio, proportion, percent, and probability. Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) Ratios and proportional relationships: developing an understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) The number system / Expressions and equations: developing an understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) Geometry: solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions; working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) Statistics and probability: drawing inferences about populations based on samples.
     
  • Accelerated: This course continues the instruction of algebraic studies of McGraw-Hill’s Pre-Algebra course. Basic concepts of Algebra 1 are presented, including solving, graphing, and writing equations and inequalities. Logical and critical thinking are emphasized through applications. Instructional time focuses on two critical areas: (1) The Number System/ Expressions and Equations/ Linear Relationships: formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling the relationship in bivariate data with a linear equation, solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities and systems of linear equations and inequalities, grasping the concept of a linear function, and using linear functions to describe quantitative relationships; (2) Data Analysis and Graph Interpretation: analyzing data and interpreting various graphs to determine correlation or causation in data.

Religion
In 7th level Religion, students reach a deeper understanding of God’s plan of salvation throughout history and culminating in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Students study the life of Jesus and the Gospels extensively. Students learn about the major elements of God’s self-revelation and revelation in Church tradition. Students learn about the Church as an extension of the ministry of Jesus and identify important events in Church History. Students identify forms of prayer and the effect of prayer in daily life; they also participate in liturgical and non-liturgical prayer. Students study and identify norms of Christian behavior, strengthening sound moral decision making, personal integrity and the role conscience plays in faithful living. Students learn the 7 tenets of Catholic Social Teaching and how living them leads to a greater satisfaction in life and fulfillment of God’s will.

Science
The essential question “What makes me me?” frames the course throughout the entire year. Students study cells, heredity, evolution, homeostasis, and human body systems to strive to answer this question. Throughout this course, students gain an understanding of the life sciences through the lens of microbiology, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

Social Studies
7th Level students explore the social, cultural, geographical, political and technological changes that occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire and in Medieval Europe. Students also study the period from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, including the Islamic world, Africa, China, and Japan, but with a heavier emphasis on western civilization in Europe during the Renaissance and Reformation. Students compare and contrast the history and geography of civilizations that were developing concurrently throughout these continents during medieval times. They examine the growth in economic interactions among civilizations as well as the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and commodities. Students learn about the resulting spread of Enlightenment philosophies and the examination of new concepts of reasoning toward religion, government, and science that continue to influence our world today. Students analyze geography’s influence on the development of these civilizations as they continue their study of world history and geography. 7th Level students end the year by examining the Meso-American and Andean civilizations, and the age of European explorations. Appropriate informational texts and primary sources are used in order to deepen the understanding of how these civilizations influence the modern world.

Spanish
Junior High Spanish begins with a commitment at the end of the sixth grade to take Spanish during the seventh and eighth-grade years. Since a ninth-grade text is used, students leave SBA with the advantage of already having completed a freshman Spanish class. The first half of the book is taught in the seventh grade, and most of the second in eighth. The goal of the class is to equip the student with a proficient grasp of reading, writing, and speaking conversational Spanish.  This is accomplished through a careful study of vocabulary, modeling basic expressions, and daily practice.  Participation is emphasized.  By the end of the school year, students feel very confident introducing and describing themselves to others in Spanish. They are able to discuss their likes and dislikes, what they need and want, what they like to do in their free time, and where things are located.  

French
Just as in junior high Spanish, junior high French begins with a commitment at the end of the sixth grade to take French during the seventh and eighth-grade years.  Since a ninth-grade text is used, students leave SBA with the advantage of already having completed a freshman French class. Conversation and vocabulary topics include greetings and goodbyes, introductions and expressions of courtesy, people and things around a classroom, academic life, telling time, family and friends. In the first chapters of the book, the students learn basic French grammar such as verb conjugations of Être, Avoir and -ER verbs as well as definite and indefinite articles, descriptive adjectives and nationalities. Classroom projects such as drawing a family tree are included in the curriculum to offer a more tactile approach to learning. To conclude the school year, a local French food truck, Et Voila, will visit SBA in the spring to serve lunch to the 7th and 8th level students. The students have a chance to practice their French and order their lunch using the conversation skills they develop during the school year. The course will cover chapter 1A- 3A of the French Level 1 textbook, D’accord! and is continued in the 8th Level with chapters 3B - 5A.

Art
Students focus on further developing art skills, vocabulary, creativity, and concepts of design. Two-dimensional lessons include painting, college, drawing, and printmaking. Three-dimensional projects include functional or sculptural ceramic experiences. Art history, art appreciation, and art criticism are integrated into the lessons as a framework of the curriculum.

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo, major and minor scales, timbre, ascending and descending scales, triplet rhythms, chords and harmony and dynamics. Seventh graders also learn about Latin Percussion, music, media and technology, and discuss the composers of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Impressionistic eras. They begin discussing Jazz and Big Band era music. Seventh graders consistently sing in two-part and three-part harmony. Students perform at Christmas, and Grandparents’ Day and present the Living Rosary for the school.

Eighth Level

Algebra 1
This course continues the instruction of algebraic studies of McGraw Hill’s Pre-Algebra course. Basic concepts of Algebra 1 are presented, including solving, graphing, and writing equations and inequalities. Logical and critical thinking are emphasized through applications. Instructional time focuses on two critical areas: (1) The Number System/ Expressions and Equations/Linear Relationships: formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling the relationship in bivariate data with a linear equation, solving and graphing linear equations; inequalities and systems of linear equations; inequalities, grasping the concept of a linear function, and using linear functions to describe quantitative relationships; (2) Data Analysis; Graph Interpretation: analyzing data and interpreting various graphs to determine correlation or causation in data. This course is a continuation of instruction in algebraic studies of McGraw Hill’s Algebra 1 course. Basic concepts of Algebra 1 are presented, including solving, graphing, and writing equations, polynomial operations and factoring, radical functions, and rational functions. Logical and critical thinking are emphasized through applications. Instructional time focuses on three critical areas: (1) Exponential and quadratic relationships: formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including exponents and exponential functions and quadratic expressions, equations, and functions; (2) Advanced Functions and Equations: formulating and graphing radical functions, applying radical equations to geometry and trigonometry, and formulating, graphing, and applying rational expressions, equations, and functions; and (3) Data Analysis, Statistics; Probability: analyzing distributions of data, comparing sets of data, interpreting various graphs to determine correlation or causation in data, and determining probability of given event(s).

English
8th Level Lanuage Arts continues what was started in the previous level, but is distinguished from it by its emphasis on more complex, well-developed compositions that involve a higher degree of organization and critical thinking. With the exception of one historical fiction project that is done in conjunction with social studies, the writing in the 8th level course is persuasive and requires specific support and examples. Students learn to analyze the credibility of sources and the validity of their claims regarding specific topics and points of view. This culminates in the eighth-grade research paper project, which acquaints students with note taking, bibliographies, and MLA format. Grammatically, students engage in weekly exercises that maintain previously learned grammatical concepts and that give them additional practice with punctuation and mechanics. Students also present several planned and impromptu speeches that give them valuable experience with the habits of an effective speaker. Lastly, they complete weekly vocabulary exercises.

Literature
8th Level Literature begins with the expansion of skills in analyzing the complex elements of plot, setting, character, narrator and voice, irony, ambiguity, and symbolism. Students study two classic novels: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  Eighth level students also read Strong Inside by Andrew Maranis - the true story of the first African-American collegiate basketball player to play in the South Eastern Conference, specifically at Vanderbilt University.  These three book studies provide students opportunities to analyze the way literary works relate to the themes and issues of their respective historical periods. 

Throughout the year students continue to set individualized personal reading goals that result in a solid foundation and background for high school studies of classic and modern literary works written by award-winning and noted authors.

Religion
Religion at the 8th Level combines a study of Church history and preparation for Catholic Confirmation, which takes place in the spring. The two are interwoven throughout the year to demonstrate the connectedness between our faith, our decisions, and our lives.

Loyola Press’s Finding God: At the beginning of the year we focus on the Church history aspect of the course. It is vital for citizens to know who and what events shaped their nation. In the same way it is essential for members of the Church to know their roots and understand the history of the Church.

Dynamic Catholic's Decision Point: Confirmation is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation, following Baptism and Eucharist. In Confirmation, one renews his/her baptismal vows and receives the sealing of the Holy Spirit. This serves as preparation for a mature Christian life.

Science
The essential question “How are matter and energy related?” frames the course throughout the entire year. Students study physics and chemistry to strive to answer this question in terms of how particles move and change in our world. Our study of chemistry includes properties of matter, atoms and bonding, periodic table and trends, and chemical reactions. Our study of physics includes motion, forces and energy and engineering.

Social Studies
In 8th level Social Studies, students learn about the later years of American History. The topics discussed are the causes and effects of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, the Roaring 20s, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II.

Spanish
In preparation for high school, Level 8 Spanish focuses on connecting vocabulary, syntax, and grammar from previous years as well as introducing new concepts in order to establish a strong foundation in the language. Students enhance their written, aural, and oral skills through the application of games, skits, written dialogues, and spontaneous conversations. In this course, a heavy emphasis is placed on oral communication. Students are able to comment on and describe family, food, and clothes. They accept and decline invitations, navigate problems, give advice, take and give directions, and express preferences and opinions. Various cultural aspects of the local and global Hispanic community are explored through music, art, and even a special trip to a local Mexican restaurant and market. 

French
Students in 8th level French focus on conversation and vocabulary topics which include leisure activities, weather, parties and celebrations, clothing and colors, travel arrangements and transportation, hotels and accommodations, parts of the house and furniture, and household chores. In addition, 8th level students continue to study verb conjugations and numbers. Demonstrative adjectives, the past and imperfect tenses, and direct and indirect object pronouns as well as other basic elements of grammar and sentence construction are introduced in this half of the course. Writing skills are developed in Ecriture. To conclude the school year, a local French food truck, Et Voila, visits SBA in the spring to serve lunch to the 7th and 8th Level students. The students have a chance to practice their French and order their lunch using the conversation skills they developed during the school year. The course will cover the last four chapters of the French Level I textbook, D’accord!. Students completing both 7th and 8th Level French at SBA may be eligible to enter French II in high school.  

Art
Students express themselves creatively through drawing, printmaking, painting, and 3D sculpture to develop art skills and concepts. Composition, technique, the elements and principles of design, and attention-to-detail are explored. Art history, art appreciation, problem solving, and critical thinking are integrated into lessons.

Music
The Quaver Music Curriculum builds upon the previous year’s topics of beat, rhythm, meter, melody, rests, tempo, major and minor scales, timbre, ascending and descending scales, triplet rhythms, chords and harmony and dynamics. Eighth graders also learn about Asian Percussion, musical styles of jazz, rock and roll, hip hop and beat boxing. Seventh graders consistently sing in two-part and three-part harmony. Students perform at Christmas, and Grandparents’ Day.