Our curriculum is driven by the Diocesan Standards which align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
The curriculum focuses on a brief introduction to the New Testament’s content and context as well as the study of Church History from Pentecost to the Reformation. This is the Year One curriculum for Saint James Parish’s Confirmation Preparation program.
In addition, the curriculum strives to develop each student’s spiritual growth and understanding of his/her Catholic Faith through the practice of Church traditions such as our Annual Saint Francis Mass in October. We also practice our discipleship through acts of social justice and compassion toward others. We work to enlarge each student’s awareness of his/her national and global communities by having discussions of current events, participating in social justice projects, and writing daily reflections in our gratitude journals.
In following the teaching of Jesus Christ, Seventh Grade students are asked to share their gifts and talents by performing at least seven community service hours per trimester.
English - Language Arts
The spelling class is focused on finding and using common Latin and Greek Roots to understand the meaning and origin of familiar English words.
In Literature class, students use their anthologies, books, and articles to study various genres of literature including: the novel, the epic story, drama, and non-fiction. Class novels include: The Outsiders, I am Malala, The Odyssey (Chapters 9-12), and Tom Sawyer: A Musical. Students develop critical thinking skills through Socratic questioning methods and Cloze Reading.
Seventh grade’s writing and grammar curriculum builds upon the writing and grammar foundations introduced in Sixth Grade. Students continue to practice and develop various writing styles such as persuasive argument, expository essays and summaries, personal and story narratives, poetry forms, and research reports with citations and formal bibliographies. The Step Up to Writing program is used with an emphasis on development and extension of skills. Conventions of language, MLA formatting, and language mechanics continue to be practiced and perfected.
While still covering the Parts of Speech, grammar instruction becomes more in depth and complex.
Our Junior High Math program (Grades 6-8) teaches the California Common Core Math Standards (CCCSS). The CCCSS for Math for these grades focus on five main areas with continued progress in complexity and depth since research shows mastery is best developed over time. Through this three-year process, which spirals material from concrete to abstract concepts, students gain greater in-depth knowledge and are better able to apply Mathematical understanding to real-world situations. Specifically, for Grade 7 Math, the five main areas are:
- Ratios and Proportional Relationships—Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real world and mathematical problems.
- The Number System—Apply and extend previous understandings of operations with fractions to add, subtract, multiply and divide rational numbers. Know that there are numbers that are not rational and approximate them by rational numbers.
- Expressions and Equations—Use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions. Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.
- Geometry—Draw, construct and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them. Solve real-life mathematical problems involving angle measure, area, surface area and volume. Solve real-life and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres.
- Statistics and Probability—Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population. Draw informal comparative inferences about two populations. Investigate chance processes and develop, use, and evaluate probability models.
In addition, Saint James School follows the California Common Core Math Practices (make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, reason abstractly and quantitatively, construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, model with mathematics, use appropriate tools strategically, attend to precision, look for and make use of structure, and look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning). These are fundamental learning skills needed to be able to be successful in any Math class.
Curriculum covers Ancient Civilizations (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, African, and others). The emphasis is on comparing and contrasting the civilizations, as well as developing critical thinking skills regarding what made civilization prosper.
Science classes are held in the school’s 1600 square foot science lab and are taught by the full-time science teacher. Our Science Curriculum follows the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Saint James School use the Integrated Learning Progression Course. The four units covered in Seventh Grade are:
- Living and nonliving things are made of atoms
- Matter cycles and energy flows in living systems and Earth systems
- Natural processes and human activities have shaped Earth’s resources and ecosystems
- Human activities can help sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing world
In addition, computer coding is learned using dedicated Science Chromebooks and using computer science student volunteers from UC Davis.