Fifth grade is a transition year. Students are heterogeneously group instructed by the homeroom teacher in literacy and religion. Science, mathematics, and social studies are taught by specialists.
Grades five through eight are departmentalized on a middle school model. Students are instructed by specialists in language arts, social studies, and science. They are grouped into two ability groups in mathematics. In order to qualify for the accelerated group, students must have an A average for the year and a teacher recommendation. Strong performance on the Terra Nova is also expected. The homeroom teacher teaches religion.
The literacy program is focused on developing listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills. Students expand their knowledge of the writing process and produce writing pieces in a variety of genre including descriptive writing, persuasive writing, reports, research papers, letters, poetry, drama, and fiction. They are encouraged to publish their work in various formats. The reading program emphasizes comprehension, analysis, and appreciation, and students learn how to write literary essays.
The mathematics program includes critical thinking, problem solving, and the various strands in mathematics. All students are instructed in algebra in eighth grade.
The social studies program includes the study of history and geography with a study of the Americas/Western hemisphere in fifth grade, the Eastern hemisphere in sixth grade, early America to the Reconstruction Period in seventh grade, and the Reconstruction Period through modern America in eighth grade. Current events are also explored to study civic issues.
The science program in the upper grades includes the study of life, earth, and physical sciences in an inquiry-based format. Labs are an integral part of the curriculum, and students are actively engaged in the scientific method to explore their world.
The Spanish curriculum includes the basic program as well as conversational classes. Through the grades, students continue to develop speaking and listening skills. Cultures of the Spanish speaking world are inter-woven frequently. In the upper grades, emphasis also expands in reading, written practice, and vocabulary.
A variety of technological applications help students develop their abilities to retrieve, analyze, and present data. Students develop competency in MS Word®, PowerPoint®, Excel®, MovieMaker® and Publisher®, and subject-area software. Students also make extensive use of the library and Internet sources to conduct research, including web-site evaluation.
St. Joseph School follows the curriculum guidelines outlined by the Diocese of Paterson and based on the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. Technology applications are integrated throughout the curriculum. Technology instruction is provided in the computer lab and followed through in the classrooms, all of which have Internet access and SMART Board technology.
The New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards also form the structure for our specialists in computer applications, library skills, art, music, and physical education. Students may also elect to take instrumental music and participate in the band.
The religion curriculum builds on the strands of the Church, Sacraments, the Trinity, and Morality studies in the earlier grades. Students study Holy Scripture and are prepared to become the future leaders of the Church by being given opportunities that require applying knowledge of their Catholic faith. Students also learn to relate their knowledge to current issues of social justice. Classes taught by a priest are a regular part of the religion program.