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Academics Information

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ACADEMICS

Common Core:  The superintendents of Catholic schools in the six dioceses of Illinois have issued a statement regarding Common Core State Standards in an effort to clarify that the standards are a set of educational goals students should seek to attain – they are not a curriculum.

“Standards are not new to our instructional purpose,” the six superintendents wrote in the statement.”  Curriculum in our schools previously focused on diocesan curricular standards and the Illinois Learning Standards, which we adopted and aligned to core academic areas.  Similarly, the Common Core standards are an outcomes-based vehicle that seeks the best instructional methods for educating our children.”

The superintendents stress that hallmarks of a Catholic education – such as creativity, critical and analytical thinking, real-world application, academic rigor, and an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ – will not be compromised by Common Core standards.

"We will determine what to adapt from the Common Core standard according to what best fits our unique mission.  We will never allow the faith and the education of our children to be compromised,” they wrote.  

Assignments  and  Homework:  Homework is an integral part of learning and retaining knowledge through practice and application.  Because homework is considered practice and reinforcement, the majority of a student’s grade will be determined by in-class assignments and assessment with only a minor focus on homework grades.  Assignments are purposeful and constructive to the learning process.  Good study habits result from well-planned work. Homework is paramount to the connection between school and the home environment.  Fully realizing that this is a most sensitive area, the following are suggested daily study guidelines in addition to time given in class.  An excessive amount of time spent on homework indicates a difficulty that should be discussed with the teacher.  Some methods of communication that a teacher provides to the parents/guardians include a web-based gradebook called Teacherease, weekly planner that the student records their daily assignments in, and an open door policy.

Primary  grades  (1,  2,  3)                 10-­30  minutes 

 Intermediate  grades  (4,  5,  6)         30-­60  minutes

Upper  grades  (7  and  8)                 50-­90  minutes

At least two days’ notice will be given to students prior to tests.  Coordination of chapter and unit tests will be monitored for students in grades 6-­8.  A uniform arrangement for written assignments should be maintained throughout the school. 

Students in grades 5-8 should use a black or blue ballpoint pen for all work except math (or at the teacher’s discretion).  Math must be done in pencil.  Additional math homework sheets may be printed from the school website.

The student’s full name or class number, as determined by the teacher, should be written in the upper left hand corner of the workbook sheets.  All books should be covered and the student’s full  name or number must be on the cover.

Neatness and correct formation of letters should be encouraged on written assignments.  Errors should be corrected neatly.  Assignments should be copied in the assignment notebook regularly.  When a student fails to complete assignments on a regular basis, overall academic success suffers.

Constitution  Tests:   A state and federal constitution test must be passed as a criterion for graduation from any state accredited school.  This will be part of the junior high Social Studies curriculum and passing will be considered 65% or higher.

Standardized  Testing:   The Diocesan Office of Education requires that a Standardized Test of Basic Skills and Cognitive Ability Tests be administered in grades two through eight during the month of September.

Reading Program Philosophy:  The Reading Program of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School is based on core reading group per level with acceleration and deceleration of individual reading skills within the group.  Each child is unique.  Children work at their own rate.  Their pattern of development and needs will be met through a variation of skills taught within the group.

A feeling of success in reading is an important base for a child’s self-­concept and overall scholastic progress.  Placing a child within an environment in which he or she is able to experience success is essential.  A child who achieves at a level beyond or equal to his or her ability has made satisfactory progress.  Students in fourth grade will be evaluated during the spring semester for placement in the Accelerated Reading Program to begin in the fifth grade.

Criteria for Acceleration:

1.  Recommendations for acceleration will be made by the student’s home room teacher and a   
     final decision will be made on the acceleration after consultation with the principal and the
     parents/guardians of the student.

2.  Students will normally be recommended for acceleration at mid-year and the end of each
     academic year.  A child may occasionally be recommended at other times if the situation
     warrants consideration by the teacher or the principal.

3.  A rubric/checklist has been developed which includes the student’s evaluation of potential
     success in the program.  
It includes standardized test scores, work ethic and attitude, and
     current 
grades and writing abilities.

4.  Parents of students eligible for reading acceleration or in need of remediation will be notified in
     advance by the classroom teacher.

Criteria  for  removal  from  program:

1.  Students can be removed from the accelerated program following parent consultation when
     areas of criteria fall below standard expectations.

2.  Parents of students in need of removal will be notified in advance by the classroom teacher.

Math Program:  Students in fourth grade will be evaluated during the spring semester for placement in the Accelerated Math Program to begin in the fifth grade.  Students enrolled in the accelerated program will move through their last four years of math at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School at an accelerated pace, finishing with Algebra II in eighth grade.

Criteria  for  acceleration:

Students will be considered for acceleration during the spring semester of the fourth grade.  Additional considerations will be given in future years if recommended by the classroom teachers.  Students will be recommended for acceleration based on the following:

1.  National percentile scores on the Iowa Tests in the area of math.

2.  Students’ cognitive ability scores are based on their CogAt tests.

3.  Teacher evaluation:  Home room teachers will complete a rubric which evaluates the student’s
     attitude, work habits, attendance, etc.

4.  Students’ fourth grade math scores from the first three quarters are considered.  Students
     with grades of A-­ or better all three quarters will be considered.

Criteria for removal from program:

If two of the following apply, the students will be removed permanently.

●  If, after one warning, a math grade falls below 87% at the end of any grading period.

●  Teacher evaluation:  Student receives below 45 points from his/her home room or math teacher on the checklist used for advanced math placement.

Music Program:  Students in grades K-4 will have two 30-minute music classes weekly. Students in grades 5-8 will have one 30-minute music class weekly.  Participation and a positive attitude are required by all students.  The second quarter of the school year is dedicated to preparing for the annual Christmas programs.  Each class has an assigned role in one of the programs; therefore, it isimportant that all students attend.  If your child will not be able to attend the program, please contact the music teacher in advance regarding the absence.  2016 Christmas Programs are:   Dec. 9 (grades 3-8) and Dec. 12 (grades PreK-2).

Religious  Education  Program:   The school curriculum includes a program of Religious Education in which all students are required to participate.  The program includes daily religion classes, daily classroom prayer, and attendance at Mass twice each week and other special feast days.  The program further includes participation for receiving the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.  However, non-­Catholics are not expected nor permitted to receive these Sacraments. A curriculum guide is available upon request.

As an additional part of this program, all full-time teachers, Catholic and non-­Catholic, participate in ongoing Catechist Certification Programs of the diocese.

It is presumed that all parents who enroll their children in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School do so with the awareness of both the philosophy and the required education of the school

Spanish Program:  The Spanish Program is a core subject for grades six through eight and allows our students the added opportunity of learning the Spanish language and culture.  For the 2016-2017 school year, fifth grade students will also learn Spanish.

Intervention Program:  Every child is unique and every child learns differently.  Children need different academic and behavior strategies  for success.  In order to monitor the academic needs of our students, we have implemented Discovery testing in reading and math in grades 1-4.  The assessments help us identify students who may be at risk of falling behind their peers.  Interventions generally follow the pattern below:

●  Classroom teachers use strategies and materials within their own classroom to help students
    to gain skills or knowledge.

●  Students may be pulled out in small groups for additional assistance.

●  For students who still experience difficulty, one on one instruction in a separate learning 
    environment for a portion of the day may be used. 

●  If needed, Williamson County Education Services may be called in for evaluation.

Honor Roll:  Consistent with the mission of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School to educate the whole child through faculty commitment and family involvement, academic excellence is recognized through the following Honor Roll Policy.

Qualifications:

●  Honor Roll applies for grades 4-­8 only

●  Average taken from 12.0 system

                                                                

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• Categories for achievement:

High Honors..................average of 11.0 and up 

Honor Roll……...............average of 10.0-­10.99 

 Honorable Mention…….......average of 9.0-­9.99

●  Any C-­ or lower grade in any academic subject will make a student ineligible for Honor Roll
    during that quarter.

Honors  Night:    Honors  Night  will  be  celebrated at the end of April or beginning of May for  
students  in  grades  six  through  eight  who  have accomplished  the  following:

1.  Maintained an academic grade point average over the first three quarters of the school year
     as defined in the Honor Roll Policy.

2.  Average of the first three quarters academic grades will be used to determine the academic
     achievement of the student.

3.  It is recognized that students are expected to perform well throughout the 4th quarter grading  
     period. Those graduating from 8th grade will have all 1st through 4th quarter grades
     considered for purposes of determining honors and high honors awards at graduation 
     ceremonies.

Honors Night is celebrated to recognize academic excellence, leadership, and exemplary behavior among Honor Roll students.  Induction of seventh and eighth grade Honor Society students will also occur.

Honor Society:  Seventh and eighth grade students only will be inducted into the Honor Society.  Criteria:

1.  To obtain and maintain membership in the society, a student must earn a 10.0 (A-­) overall
     grade point average
each quarter of the school year and meet all other requirements of the
     Honor Roll Policy.  If a student’s overall average drops below a 10.0 during any quarter, he/she
     will be dropped from the Society.

2.  All seventh grade students who have a 10.0 overall average each of the first three quarters of
     the school year and meet the leadership and exemplary behavior requirements during the
     school year will be considered for membership in the Society.

3.  Any eighth grade student who does not presently belong to the Society but obtains a                                
     10.0 overall average each of the first three quarters of the school year and meets the
      leadership 
and exemplary behavior requirements during the school year will be considered for
      membership in the Society.

4.  Any seventh or eighth grade student who wishes to be considered for membership in Honor 
     Society must fill out and application and return it by the stated due date.  To be considered, 
     students must promote leadership and exhibit exemplary behavior in the school and in the 
     community.  Furthermore, in order to obtain and maintain membership in the Society, a
     student must be approved by three of his/her current teachers at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
     School, indicating that the student has leadership qualities and has demonstrated exemplary
     behavior at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School.

Leaders conduct themselves in a moral and Christian manner, influence others in a positive way and control their behavior in all situations.  Leaders treat everyone politely, with respect at all times, and always demonstrate an up-stander attitude.  Exemplary behavior means following all school rules at all times.  This means a student being considered for, or currently a member of Honor Society, cannot have any after school detentions and lunch detentions can be only for minor infractions.  Cheating will disqualify a candidate and revoke membership of a current Honor Society Member.  Students must demonstrate proper dress code and follow all handbook rules.

Report Cards:  Report Cards are issued quarterly according to Diocesan Policy.  A mid-quarter report is sent home approximately four weeks into each of the four quarters.

Retention  Guidelines:

Grades K-­2:  Grades for students in K-2 are standards-based assessment, based on a 1-4 scale
with 1 
meaning emerging and 4 meaning an extensive mastery of the skill.  A significant understanding of each of the state standards for the grade level will determine advancement to the next grade.

Grades 3-­8:  Students may be retained with an F average in two major subjects or in  one major and two minor subjects.  Major subjects are classified as Reading, Math,  English, Social Studies, Science (grades 5-­8) and Religion.  Minor subjects include:   Spanish, Physical Education, Spelling, Art, Music and Handwriting.

Individual consideration will be made when necessary, and adequate warnings will be made when it is first discovered that a student is in danger of being retained.  Parents will be kept informed of the special circumstances when the need arises.

 


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