Quality, Catholic Education for Pre-K through Grade 8
The Language Arts program includes exposure to a wide variety of literature and content reading materials, instruction in beginning reading skills, manuscript printing, writing group and individual stories, and developing story sense and comprehension skills.
Reading instruction focuses on providing students with a range of texts of varying complexity. Students grow in their ability to understand key ideas and details of the text, to recognize various types of writing and structure of the texts, to integrate knowledge and ideas of text with other sources of information; Foundational skills developed include print concepts, phonological awareness, and phonics and word recognition, fluency. Vocabulary acquisition and use occurs within the reading class.
Writing instruction progressively builds students ability to write opinion, information/explanatory, and narrative texts. Six Traits of effective writing; ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions are developed. Gradual introduction to shared and independent research is begun in these grades. English grammar, conventions, mechanics occurs within Writing class. In grades 1-3, instruction in handwriting and use of manuscript on ruled paper occurs. Introduction to formation of cursive letters, Zaner-Bloser style, is provided in grade 3. Continued practice of cursive and application to independent work takes place in grades 4-5
Progressive Spelling instruction accompanies and compliments instruction in other Language Arts and content areas. Typically weekly spelling lists are compiled by the teacher and communicated to parents with a routine for assessment of spelling mastery.
The Language Arts program places greater emphasis upon critical reading and thinking skills, appreciation of great literature, public speaking, composition, and research skills in preparation for high school requirements.
The early math program includes a formal introduction to numbers, counting, sequencing, logical thinking, measurement, geometry and fractions. Curriculum and instructional goals are based upon the Curriculum Standards for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Math Instruction in grades 1-5 provides students with knowledge and skills related to mathematical operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, measurement and data, and mathematical practice. Content is presented over time in a logical sequence and instruction allows for reinforcement, practice, and assessment of concepts throughout the entire year. Instruction aims to achieve deep mastery and thorough understanding of focused concepts at each grade level.
The Math program continues to develop those concepts and skills which form the foundations for higher math including facility in computation, problem solving, and applications. Algebra I is offered in 8th grade to students who qualify for this program. Placement of students is made after study of 6th grade math progress report grades – A average for the year and standardized test results (Stanine 7 or higher). Parents are notified at the time of the final report card for 6th grade of the child’s placement for 7th grade Pre Algebra class. Students who successfully complete this course are admitted into the 8th grade Algebra class.
The early programs integrate social studies through hands-on learning, stories, music, play, and art projects. Special social studies projects and exploration may be centered around themes, holidays, countries and cultures around the world, and special visitors to the classroom.
The content of the Social Studies curriculum includes progressive development of themes related to culture, sense of historical time, people, places and environments, groups and institutions; power, authority, and governance, economics, global connections, citizenship. Each grade level develops these themes in units.
Students continue to develop competencies in Social Studies with a much more in-depth study of Ancient, American and World History. The curricula over these years also provide a greater emphasis on processes and reasoning. Students develop the ability to recognize connections among academic disciplines and apply new skills and ideas to new situations.
All students have the advantage of participating in daily formal religious instruction. The curriculum includes Catholic faith tradition, scripture, Church doctrine, prayer, sacramental life, morality, and community/service appropriate for student’s age and grade level. Textbooks have been approved for use by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Grades for religious instruction are included on the trimester progress reports.
Daily instruction in Catholic faith and opportunities to celebrate faith through prayer, liturgy, and service are integral to Mother Seton School’s educational program. In addition, teachers integrate Gospel values and Catholic teaching into content areas, and integrate faith and values formation into the student’s daily experiences. Students are introduced to our Vincentian Family Saints, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and St. Catherine Laboure from their first days at Mother Seton School. They are encouraged to model their lives on the virtues of humility, simplicity, charity, love of the Eucharist, and love of Mary as exemplified by the saints in the Vincentian Family. Student activities such as Prayer Partners, seasonal outreach projects, charitable fund drives and service learning give students opportunities to put their faith into action.
Following Archdiocese of Baltimore guidelines, immediate preparation for reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation is conducted at the child’s home parish. Eucharist and Reconciliation preparation usually takes place in grade two and Confirmation in Middle or High School. Parents contact the Religious Education Coordinator of the parish for information about the parish sacramental preparation program.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to providing holistic catechesis for family life and child protection to children and their parents. This catechesis blends moral and values based formation with clear and factual information.
Parents receive written notice prior to the beginning of the instructional program which usually takes place between March and May. Contents and materials of the Family Life and Child Protection program are made available to parents during parent meetings and/or upon request. All teaching materials have been approved for use by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Spanish I instruction is held twice weekly beginning in grade 6. Over the 3 middle school years, students are presented with a solid basis in the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Foreign language acquisition continues to develop and build throughout the Middle School years.
Once students walk into the Spanish classroom for their class, students speak and are spoken to in Spanish. This approach has been proven to help increase achievement and overall language acquisition success.
Depending upon entrance requirements of various high schools, students may be eligible to enter Spanish II. Parents are advised of these requirements during the time of the Back to School Parent information session.
In addition to regular academic classes, students regularly receive education in areas including Library, Physical Education, Music Education, Fine Art Education and Computer Technology. At MSS, we refer to these classes as "Enrichment." At the start of each year, teachers will provide students with a schedule of their weekly Specials.
Students are encouraged to become life long learners and instructed on the use of both print and non print resources Teachers arrange opportunities for students to enhance what they are learning in content areas through the resources of the library/media center.
Physical Education (K-2)
Once a week students from grades K-8 participate in Physical Education (PE). PE helps students to develop coordination, strength, agility, and endurance. The PE curriculum also helps to teach students about various sports, health and fitness, and about teamwork.
Music Education (K-8)
Students in grades K-8 participate in weekly music instruction. Students learn music history, music theory, and how to read, sing, and play music on a variety of instruments. Music instruction helps to build music appreciation in the student. The Music program for Grade 3 integrates a Recorder program, whereby students are introduced to instrumental music in preparation for their opportunity to join extracurricular Chorus or Instrumental Band in 4th grade.
Visual Arts Education (K-8)
Student creativity is emphasized in our visual art program. The study of famous artists, culture, art history, exposure to various media, color theory, basic elements and principles of design assist the development of the student’s talent. A variety of subject matter is integrated from an enriched academic curriculum.
Computer Technology (1-8)
Weekly classes are scheduled for computer and technology instruction with our Technology teacher. Students learn how to navigate the computer, practice typing skills, learn how to use common applications, and how to use the Internet for research and learning.
Special instruction is also designed to teach students about computer and Internet safety and protocols. Students sign an agreement annually to abide by computer and Internet policies of Mother Seton School.
Technology use is also integrated into the classrooms through use of classroom computers and our mobile laptop lab. Mother Seton School continuously updates its technology goals and program as newer technologies emerge and are applied to the field of education and research.