Students in grades K-8 use the Into Math program from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Glencoe Math series is used for Algebra I.
Following fifth grade, some students are selected (based on grades, standardized test scores, and work ethic) to take Advanced Math in 6th grade; Pre-Algebra in 7th grade; and Algebra I in 8th grade. Their placement in an advanced class is probationary and contingent upon ongoing acceptable performance. The advanced class brings with it elevated expectations of time and effort. Students that are selected to take Algebra I in 8th will be eligible to receive high school credit.
STEMscopes by Accelerate Learning Inc. and aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will be used in grades K5-8. STEMscopes will be integrated with STEM Modules by Cyber.org (formerly NICERC). The science program develops the student’s awareness of self and the environment through observation of nature, exploration of science concepts, and the opportunity for research and experimentation. Science Olympiad is a vital part of the science program in middle school. Science Olympiad competitions are held throughout the year, including national competition in May. Students in grades 3-5 have the opportunity to participate in an elementary Science Olympiad competition in the spring. Fifth-grade students participate in STARBASE at Barksdale Airforce Base.
The McGraw Hill Wonders reading series, which integrates language arts and reading, is used in grades K-5. Skill areas taught include reading, grammar, writing, handwriting, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, listening, and public speaking. Grades 4-8 utilize novel based instruction. Middle school literature is supplemented with the Houghton-Mifflin Reading Series. The Elements of Writing program is the adopted text for middle school language arts. Students in all grades are given a summer reading assignment.
The Scott Foresman Social Studies (K-5) program is an interdisciplinary approach, which incorporates economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, and geography, with emphasis on history and map skills. Global awareness and interdependence of the human family, as well as peace and justice and values clarification, are developed. The curriculum and textbooks used for the middle school are as follows: Prentice Hall 6th grade: World History, 7th grade: American History, and 8th grade: Louisiana History by Clairmont Press, integrating an Economics curriculum into the 8th grade.
Religion class includes the study of Catholic doctrine and traditions, scripture, social justice, participation in prayer, liturgical worship experiences, instruction in and reception of the sacraments, and service to others. Our Sunday Visitor Religion program is used in grades K3-8. Students begin their day in community with prayer and virtue of the month and have opportunities throughout the day to pray as a class. Liturgical services are held on Wednesday mornings. Fifth, sixth, and seventh-grade students attend an off-campus retreat. Every other year, sixth and seventh-grade students also take a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. John Berchmans in Grand Coteau, LA. The eighth-grade students attend a three-day retreat/leadership program at Pines Camp in the fall, as well as a Confirmation retreat to Pines Camp in the spring. During Catholic Schools Week, SJB hosts a Religion Scholars Bowl Invitational for diocesan schools.
Latin is taught to grades 3-8, enhancing all areas of SJB’s curriculum, highlighting our Catholicity. Latin root words are the foundation in Science and the language of Law, Government, and Theology. Latin supports learning grammar in the English language as well as prepares students to learn other foreign languages. Students in grades 3-5 will have Latin instruction once a week. Students in middle school will have Latin three times a week.
St. John Berchmans students participate in activities and lessons designed to encourage them to live healthy lives. Team sports, fitness programs, and sportsmanship are emphasized. Middle school students will wear SJB PE uniforms, which will be sold through the Athletic Department at the beginning of the school year.
Elementary classes use lab time to reinforce classroom subjects and learn basic computer skills, keyboarding, and word processing. Middle school students take computer for one semester each year. Emphasis is on advanced computer skills through research and use of Google docs, sheets, slides, and drawing. Assignments are managed through Google Classroom. All computer classes include a cyber safety component.
Art class is offered as an enrichment course once a week for students in grades K5-5. Students employ various media to express themselves uniquely and, thus, come to appreciate aesthetic values. St. John Berchmans participates in ArtBreak, various art competitions, and other community art events.
Drama is taught once a week in grades K3-5. The curriculum consists of scene work, improvisation, and becoming comfortable with theatrical movement. Students work on different projects, such as choosing and designing a show. After school drama consists of one talent show/fundraiser in the fall and one musical production during the spring.
All students are involved in music education, which is designed to provide a rich harmonious environment and to develop skills of younger singers. The many opportunities to display talents include the weekly liturgies and special events such as musicals, drama productions, and grade level presentations. At times, the Responsorial Choir and groups of students are invited to sing at funerals and weddings, and in hospitals and nursing homes. Angel, Cherub, and Treble Choir are all extra-curricular. Piano and guitar lessons are also available after school.
The major role of the library is to instill a love of reading, an appreciation for books and the writing process, to open doors to new worlds, and to stimulate a desire for knowledge. Students learn about and are encouraged to read from different genres as well as learn essential library skills in locating books using the Dewey Decimal system. Additionally, students participate in hands-on assignments using the major reference books and complete formal and innovative book reports and research projects. The teacher and librarian jointly coordinate these reports and projects. As part of instruction in the appreciation of books, students are held responsible for all materials checked out of the library and face consequences for damaging or losing those materials. Scholastic Book Fair serves as a fundraiser for the library.
Students in the fourth grade participate in the Science Fair, and students in the fifth grade participate in the Social Studies Fair. Students in Grades 6-8 may choose to participate in either the Science or Social Studies Fair. Eligibility for regional competition requires an oral presentation on the project at the time of judging. Students on the competition Science Olympiad team are excused from participating in the Science or Social Studies Fairs.
Preschool at SJB emphasizes the social, physical, spiritual, and academic development of our three and four-year-olds. Their day includes engaging and interactive story times, group play, learning centers, and independent learning stations. Students’ development and sense of independence blossoms through the use of various centers: Dramatic Play, Housekeeping, Art, Science, Math, Language, Library, Computer, and Constructive Blocks. Each grade has special field trips they take each year that enhance their curriculum. K3 uses McGraw-Hill Little Treasures as the curriculum guide. The K4 program is the Scott Foresman OWL (Opening the World of Learning), a rich literary program that integrates math, science, and social studies.