St. Mark School has spent the last five years redesigning its middle school curriculum with a shift towards an interdisciplinary team-teaching approach to ready students for college-preparatory coursework in high school. Along with foundational coursework in Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts, students are offered specialty courses in foreign language, robotics, physical education, and the fine arts (band, chorus, art) as well as required courses in technology and library resource which integrates many projects within each subject.
St. Mark School places a heavy emphasis on developing the core skills of reading, writing, and spelling with enhanced emphasis during the middle school years on literature, critical thinking, creative writing, and reading comprehension. Middle School children are required each year to complete an extensive research paper which is integrated with library and technology, requiring the students to learn advanced library search skills, development of thesis statements, and overall research report writing skills. In addition, each fall the students participate in a regional essay contest.
Our math program actively engages students in making sense of mathematics while developing confidence in their mathematical ability. Through projects, hands-on activities, cooperative tasks, real world applications, and engaging in mathematical discourse, middle school learners are increasing their capacity for abstract thinking.
The math curriculum is designed to strengthen computational skills and provide opportunities for expanding mathematical reasoning. Students are able to make connections from prior learning to new or expanded knowledge.
Science, by definition, is primarily "knowledge gained by observing and studying the world around us." By engaging students in hands on activities, cooperative working groups, and in-depth study of a variety of topics, students graduate from St. Mark with an exceptional foundation of science and technology. Our sixth grade journey includes a focus on geology, astronomy, general chemistry, and botany. Seventh grade students are devoted to studying biology including single celled organisms in the Kingdom Monera, heredity and genetics, the human body where the students dissect a fetal pig, weather and our atmosphere. Eighth grade science classrooms return to study of geology with a more detailed look into the Earth and the unique place we hold in the solar system as a water planet and devote a full semester on the hydrosphere and the interactions and relationships created by natural forces that fuel plate tectonics. Eighth grade also focuses on anthropology, paleontology, and interactions between humans and the environment where we incorporate laws of motion, electricity, magnetism, and energy with work in synthesizing our very own eco-conscious model homes.
St. Mark Middle School science curriculum includes multiple technological components such as tools and software to create, navigate, and synthesize the topics covered. The journey is designed to be interactive, engaging, and rigorous in efforts to spark students’ interest to look at the world from different perspectives and recognize not only our role as part of it, but also the limitless possibilities that come with it.
All middle school students participate in the school science fair with the opportunity to advance to the city level and beyond. As part of the science fair project students gain hands on experience with the scientific method.
The St. Mark Catholic School Social Studies curriculum focus on the Western Hemisphere including maps skills, basis of ancient and modern cultures, ancient civilizations in Greece, Rome, and the Americas, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Students exercise precise note-taking, essay writing, and standardized chapter tests. We also implement the use of interactive technology to research and use Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.
Seventh grades study the Eastern Hemisphere and the continents of Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica utilizing maps, tables, and graphs in all aspects study. Eighth grade studies include the founding, development, and growth of the United States beginning with European explorers of the 16th century, growth of the Colonial agrarian culture, American Revolution, the establishment of democracy, the Constitution, the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, emigration, and the Great Depression. The overall philosophy reinforces that the events throughout our nation’s history have created the American people of today. Events viewed together begin to form meaningful patterns making up the substance of whom Americans are and will become.
Religion is a daily component of the curriculum. Our religious education program follows and exceeds the state and Diocesan curriculum and standards. We utilize the Sadlier series and reinforce our learning through participation in weekly masses and by receiving the sacraments.