Table of Contents
Madonna Catholic Regional School offers a strong traditional curriculum. In the “Continuous Growth Program” of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, students advance through a defined curriculum according to their needs and abilities. In addition to meeting all the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the curriculum gives special attention to integration of Gospel values.
Curriculum Guidelines for all subject areas are utilized by the Catholic elementary schools and provided through the Department for Catholic Schools. The guidelines endeavor to guide and provide continuity to the teaching/learning process, and are geared to meet the individual needs of students.
All textbooks have been selected from the list of recommended texts devised by the Curriculum Coordinators of the Diocese. They are approved because the philosophy is consistent with the Catholic philosophy of education, the subject matter is adaptable to the Continuous Growth Program and because there is sequential, consistent development of material.
The Catholic Church recognizes parents/guardians as the primary educators of their children. The role of the Catholic school is to supplement and complement the role of the parent. In the school, a formal catechetical program is taught daily. The Diocesan Catechetical Curriculum Guidelines, contains a balance of doctrinal content, scriptural understanding, faith formation, prayer, and worship experiences.
Goals and objectives are constant and consistent to enhance the spiritual formation and moral development of all students. The Catholic Vision of Love is the Diocesan mandated Human Sexuality Program.
Computer/Media /Technology Centers
The Media/Technology Centers exist primarily to support and enrich the curriculum. It is a service and teaching agency as well as a place of purposeful learning where the use of all resources, print and non-print, correlates with the school curriculum to intensify and individualize a child’s educational experiences. The Media/Technology Centers are an integrated part of the total curriculum and are an essential element in the development of lifelong learning skills for students.
The integrated approach permits students to develop technology skills as the need for these skills naturally emerge from the curriculum. Classroom teachers implement activities so that the goals of both the content area and the technology program are achieved.
Our children live in the age of information. A primary objective of education is to learn how to identify, locate, organize and present needed information in a clear, concise and persuasive manner. As technologies change, students need to develop skills to manage complex information. The school media/technology program is the vehicle that provides opportunities for students to achieve these skills and to foster a life-long interest in knowledge.
Computer instruction is essential in today’s educational process. This instruction includes computer awareness and computer literacy. When this instruction and awareness are mastered, the computer becomes a basic tool for teaching logical thinking and problem-solving, creative writing, communication, the handling of information, and many other aspects of the curriculum.
Since the Continuous Growth Philosophy guides instruction in schools of the Diocese, students are led into phases of computer instruction according to needs and abilities.
Teachers of computer literacy look beyond hardware and develop an awareness of values such as relationships, collaboration, ethical conduct, responsibility and creative expression. As in all other areas of the curriculum, the integration of the Gospel values is a part of the teaching/learning process in the computer lab and classroom.
Instruction in the Arts contributes to the development of the whole person; promotes individual expression; allows experimentation with diverse materials and elements; enables exploration and appreciation of the works of other students, major artists, and musicians; develops an awareness and sensitivity toward the environment and finally promotes a deeper understanding of heritage and culture.
The Fine Arts curriculum provides a holistic approach to education that incorporates many aspects of the core curriculum and can be integrated into the total educational experience.
Health and Physical Education
Our students in Grades 1-8 attend Physical Education classes at the Mon Valley YMCA. This includes one seven-week session of swimming. Students are expected to participate in all Phys. Ed classes, including swimming, unless they have a physician’s excuse.
The health and physical education curriculums strive to establish healthy, active students so that each child can develop to his or her full potential. Students learn to respect the rights of others and to follow rules through games and physical activity. Learning to channel energies constructively helps students to develop a good self-image and to perform successfully in life.
The philosophy inherent in the Language Arts curriculum is one of continuous growth that recognizes and nurtures the God-given potential and learning style of the individual. Language as communication enables one to become more perceptive through listening, observing and feeling. Language, as a skill, provides one with the important tools to speak fluently, to read and comprehend, to compose, to write legibly and to spell correctly. An awareness of the history of language and the continuous development of vocabulary also are important phases of skill development. An appreciation of literature enriches the student through the experience of skillful authors who vicariously open new worlds to the student.
Math is a progression from the concrete to the abstract at all levels. Our mathematics curriculum is designed to help students meet the mathematical needs of the present and future, to provide practice in logical reasoning, and to develop the ability to find patterns and recognize structure in mathematics. Concepts are taught sequentially with basic facts taught in the primary grades. Students are introduced to many ideas that are a foundation to an understanding of algebra. Algebraic topics are taught in the upper grades and a full year of Algebra is taught in the eighth grade for eligible students.
Teachers promote problem solving skills and an exploratory inquisitiveness in all students to assure critical thinking skills. Cooperative learning in the classroom is essential to heighten student awareness in the value of cooperation in group situations, to strengthen communication skills in mathematics, and to promote a mathematically literate society.
A respect for the sacredness of all life, the pursuit of peace and order in the world, an awareness of the responsibility to be co-creators of life-giving designs and protectors of the environment are primary goals of the teaching of science in the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The science curriculum focuses on an inquiry-based process and fosters collaborative learning. Science education strengthens life skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, team cooperation, use of technology, and the value of life-long learning.
Students in grades 4-8 submit a science project yearly and the 7th and 8th grade students are eligible to participate in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science.
In the Catholic School, the subject of Social Studies provides many opportunities for teachers to help students understand, appreciate, and learn how to live Christian social values.
The scope of the Social Studies curriculum includes elements of anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, and sociology with emphasis on global awareness and values. An integrated interdisciplinary approach helps students develop a sense of relationship among the various social studies disciplines. A clear understanding of current events helps students to integrate the past with the present and prepares them for the future.
The Social Studies curriculum begins in Kindergarten with an introduction to community helpers. It progresses in the primary grades to the study of family and friends, and later encompasses a more in-depth study of the community. Beginning in fourth grade, the curriculum focuses on the study of the United States land regions and Pennsylvania history. At the fifth grade level, both United States history through the Civil War and the United States geographical regions are studied. Sixth grade students study World Cultures and World Geography with an emphasis on the countries of the Eastern Hemisphere. Seventh and eighth grade studies United States history. Map and geography skills are taught at all levels. Social Studies prepare students for the future by instilling the importance of a value-oriented life perspective.
The Catholic schools encourage the study of world languages and other cultures. Language students learn the sounds and syntax of the language and work toward proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing. A variety of materials and methods are used for instruction. Enhancement of communication, expanding career opportunities, and community building are some of the outcomes of the world language program. Madonna Catholic Regional School offers Spanish instruction in grades K-8.
The following services are offered through the Intermediate Unit:
The Title I program is designed to provide additional assistance to students who are not demonstrating grade level proficiency in reading and/or math. Funding for these services comes through the local public school district. Referrals for the program are based on teacher referrals, standardized test results, and parent approval. Alternate strategies are planned for students in accordance with individual instructional goals and in support of the classroom curriculum to help students develop mastery of basic skills.
Intermediate Unit personnel work with and provide support to students in remedial math and reading. These teachers, in collaboration with the classroom teacher, identify educational needs and design educational interventions and strategies to help a child succeed.
Speech and language services are also provided through Act 89 funding. This is a special service offered to students to enhance communication skills that directly impact social and academic interactions.
Psychological testing to determine a learning disability is available by parent request or at the recommendation of the teacher in consultation with the principal. Such testing is done through the local school district where the student resides. Results are formally reported to parents, principal and teachers with a list of recommendations.
A certified guidance counselor provides individual and small group counseling sessions to children in grades K-8. Children are referred by parents, principal, teacher, and through self-referral. Individual counseling requires parent permission.
Madonna Catholic Regional School participates in the Diocesan Academic Support Program. We attempt to meet the needs of all our students including those with special needs. Our faculty strives to provide early intervention and to adapt curriculum appropriately for all students. A Growth Plan is written by teachers and input from parents through conferencing is encouraged. Our instructional support team includes the principal, Academic Support Coordinator, the classroom teacher, and Educational Specialist from the Intermediate Unit, as well as the parents.
The Student Assistance Program (E-SAP) is mandated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Act 211 of 1990. It is a comprehensive program of prevention, intervention, and support for students in grades K-12. The members of the Team are the principal and faculty members of the school who have received special training through approved agencies.
The program exists in order to promote the growth and development of the child. The team members work with students who are experiencing behavior difficulties which impact their social, emotional, and educational progress.
Faculty and/or parents make referrals for the program. Once the Team has received a referral, classroom teachers are asked to complete a form that helps identify the behaviors. The Team then makes informed assumptions as to what is needed to help the student, conveys this information to classroom teachers, parents/guardians and evaluates the results. If necessary, after consultation with parents, appropriate referrals are made to outside agencies.
Team members must maintain all information regarding students and their families under safeguard of privacy and confidentiality. Access is limited to those who have a legitimate educational interest.