In support of its beliefs and mission, the school offers an integral instructional program that promotes the development of academic, physical, emotional, social, moral and spiritual aspects in each student.
Each learning area at St. Michael’s School is backed by clearly structured written curriculum guides containing standards and benchmarks that are annually reviewed and revised in the areas deemed necessary. During this on-going review process, one of the school’s primary goals is to align the standards and benchmarks with the latest, research proven effective instructional strategies and to continually upgrade the integration of technology in order to enhance student learning.
Another primary goal is to make sure that the curricular benchmarks are challenging students to acquire and apply higher order thinking skills. This year the school implemented a new planning format that requires teachers to break down their planning and instruction activities into three main sections/stages:
Accessing Prior Knowledge; Teaching New Information; Application and Generalization. In addition, there is a school-wide campaign to focus on thinking skills, targeting one specific skill per week. Every week, teachers from one department are responsible for teaching the thinking skill in their content area and all other subject area teachers reinforce that same skill in their classrooms during that week. Students are thus consistently engaged in learning and applying a thinking skill and they are able to sense the school-wide commitment to helping them improve those skills.
In addition to and in support of the solid curricular program set up for each learning area, students are exposed to a variety of opportunities for learning which include: science fairs, literature/cultural fairs, Dominican Week presentations, math olympics, regular hands-on experiments in science lab, dramatizations, co-curricular classes, Model United Nations, Junior Achievement, National Honor Society, and team sports. Of equal importance is the school’s character education program, “Una Esperanza” which carries out community outreach activities, character building and spiritual awareness retreats, presentations for parents, Leaders’ Club, and publishes a monthly newsletter that is printed in one of the most widely read local newspapers, thus extending its outreach beyond our school community.
Active student participation in these extra-curricular learning activities has grown significantly over the past years. Activities are carried out under the guidance of qualified school instructional personnel, who work with the administration to develop guidelines for participation, student parental responsibilities, requirements for continued participation, as well as grounds for dismissal if necessary.
Likewise, the administration’s policy of maintaining clear and open lines of communication with students, parents and teachers guarantees that all members for the educational community understand the school’s expectations for student learning and conduct.
The curricular program is carried out during the 180 days of the school year, with a daily schedule consisting of 7 periods per day during which time uninterrupted instruction takes place. Students must earn a total of 29.1 credits to graduate, each of which is granted after 130 hours of instruction.
The curriculum is carried out by qualified instructional personnel who have the required academic preparation to teach each learning area and continually keep themselves up to date primarily through the staff development opportunities and financial assistance provided by the school.