Because we believe that teaching should be innovative and because we understand that students learn in different ways, Saint Joseph Catholic School strives to ensure that our students’ academic experience goes beyond textbook instruction. We seek opportunities to engage diverse teaching strategies, as well as creative tools and technologies, in order to create an environment where children are excited about learning.
Learning through Leadership
Mentoring Younger Students – Students are taught at an early age to set a good example for others, especially for the younger children in our school. Even children in K5 know they must lead by example. Beginning in fourth grade, our students are given the chance to buddy up with a younger student through our “Bucket Buddies” program. They visit, make crafts and read to their special friend.
Junior Beta Club — For sixth graders who maintain a 94% grade point average and have exemplary character, Junior Beta Club provides yet another opportunity for our students to serve in leadership capacities. Whether it is organizing meetings or guiding a particular group in preparation for the State Beta Club Convention, our students learn to be leaders.
A Year of Leadership — In preparation for middle school and their bright futures ahead, our sixth graders are given myriad opportunities to further develop and hone their leadership skills. Assisting the kindergarteners during Mass, serving as morning carpool monitors, and working as school representatives and greeters are several of the ways in which we help our students sharpen this valuable skill.
Learning through the Arts and Sciences
Our students’ horizons are broadened tremendously through our arts program. Weekly music and band classes are taught by degreed professionals who are interested in enhancing overall academic instruction through these media. Our art program is also taught by Mr. Bob Bramhall, a degreed professional and accomplished artist. His exciting, hands-on approach gives our students the chance to practice techniques used by some of the most well-known artists, both classical and current. Mr. Bramhall is a master of recycled art, putting to use many items that would otherwise be placed in a landfill. This is one of the reasons Saint Joseph was named “CONSERVE School of the Year” in 2012 by SC-DHEC Green Steps. The school continuously works to “go green” with recycling, composting, gardening and other programs that make our students environmentally aware.
Arts Alive! — Our PTO organization funds various opportunities for our students to experience the arts. Artists in residence, traveling theater productions and an African band ensemble are just a sample of the ways in which we have helped our children learn about and grow in appreciation of the arts.
Learning Through Service
Community Service Projects — Each quarter, our students learn the value of service through our Community Service Projects. Whether it is earning money through “Chores for Change” to benefit a local agency in need, securing canned goods for the church-affiliated food pantry or participating in other local and national service drives, our students are taught to live a life of service to God and those in need.
Learning through Innovative Techniques
Textbooks and Beyond — Our faculty members go beyond traditional textbook and lecture instruction to be sure our students are taught in an environment that awakens all of their senses and meets the needs of their individual learning styles. Special projects, small group exercises, hands-on activities, public speaking opportunities and field trips are utilized on a regular basis to enhance the learning experience. At Saint Joseph Catholic School, our faculty members use a differentiated instructional approach, offering enrichment to those students who excel in certain subject areas, while giving extra time to those who require additional assistance. The teachers employ formative assessment strategies to ensure that they are evaluating the students’ knowledge on an on-going basis, and not just at the end of units or grading periods. Our approach to math reflects this differentiated methodology. Students who excel in math can move ahead a grade level in just that subject. Students are chosen for this placement through a combination of testing and teacher recommendations. Students who desire extra math study time may choose to visit our math enrichment room, which is open each morning before school.
Learning through Technology
Instructional Tools — In addition to state-of-the-art video and voice projection technology, every classroom is equipped with a SMART board™. Teachers can connect their computers to this whiteboard to project the screen and write on it in digital ink. Teachers also utilize the I>clicker system, one of the best cross-curricular tools for formative assessment. In the computer lab, students learn how to use popular software to prepare slideshows and presentations, as well as develop research skills. Students in fifth and sixth grade may choose to bring their e-readers from home for classroom novel studies. These technologies help us to provide an interactive, multimedia approach to teaching that motivates and energizes children to learn. All teachers attend professional development sessions each year to learn new techniques designed to encourage higher order thinking.
Learning through Exploration
Extracurricular Activities — Students will have the opportunity to explore and strengthen their artistic, musical, and athletic abilities, as well as their academic and leadership skills, through a wide range of extracurricular activities, such as:
• Accelerated Reader Program
• Art Club
• Beginner and Advanced Bands
• Cardinal Newman School Sports, such as Baseball. Basketball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, and Volleyball
• Creative Movement and Dance
For detailed information about curriculum in each content area, please consult the Diocese of Charleston website.