Academic excellence is at the center of our program. Ours is a competitive environment. Three quarters of our student population score in the top 25% in national standardized testing. Homework is a daily expectation including on weekends. Much is expected from our students academically. SFXP graduates are well-prepared for success in high school and beyond.
Preparing for Their Future: Technology at SFXP
SFXP students are trained to be skilled and to meet the demands of an ever-changing technological world. Our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program keeps students current with technology and prepares them for future success. Students in grades five through seven take technology class, allowing them to become proficient with both PC and MAC applications.
Characteristics of a Successful SFXP Student
A successful SFXP student is a learner; the individual possesses a desire to acquire knowledge and to discover.
A successful SFXP student is an active participant in his/her faith. We are a faith community which exists because of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Gospels of Jesus Christ.
A successful SFXP student is someone who wants to be here. While it is true that the parent is the primary educator and properly should make the decisions for a child until the age of majority, a student who is opposed to being here will find our academic, social, and spiritual expectations odious.
A successful SFXP student is respectful, kind, and thoughtful.
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A successful SFXP student is honest, responsible, and trustworthy.
A successful SFXP student is a good listener and has the ability to focus in class. The degree to which a student lacks self-control is the degree to which a student will find unhappiness in our setting.
A successful SFXP student is attentive. He or she absorbs what is taught and transforms the lesson into action, either academic, social, or spiritual.
A successful SFXP student is successful in test-taking and knows the value of academic rigor.
A successful SFXP student is organized. He or she is able to manage time. The individual can handle avaried program, keep track of his or her possessions, and present material in a clear and efficient manner.
A successful SFXP student is intellectually curious. He or she is a self-starter and possesses an enthusiasm for learning.
A successful SFXP student is well presented. The individual cares about his or her appearance and will take pride in the privilege of wearing a St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School uniform and the other requirements of appearance.
A successful SFXP student is confident, but with ego in check. At St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School, we believe God’s plan for the worth, value, and dignity of all precludes individuals from feeling a bit ―more worthy.
A successful SFXP student is one who respects life from inception to a natural death.
A successful SFXP student is committed to service for others. He or she values service to the community and is able to put others before self.
A successful SFXP student is well-rounded. He or she wants to be a part in the lifeblood of the school, its programs, and its opportunities. [/read]
Course of Studies
Grades Five and Six
Religion (God’s Word, God’s Presence, Sacraments):
The students explore the essence of Catholicism and study the lives of the saints. Students study the Mass, learning about the liturgy, its history, art, music, and its place in our lives today. The students study the seven sacraments, their history, symbolism, and importance. In addition, prayer, parables, and Church history are also studied.
In this course, students study the principles of geography, map skills, graph and chart reading and interpretation, and the areas of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and a world overview. On-line map skill programs, integrated technology, and on-line textbook sources are incorporated.
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Students develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Included in these basic operations are subtopics such as place value, estimation, compare and order, exponents, variables, order of operations, prime and composite numbers, greatest common factors, and least common multiples. Data analysis and interpretation are explored through solving problems involving range, median, mean, and mode. Students also develop problem solving strategies and practice word problems.
The students are introduced to the tools of science and develop abilities that support scientific inquiry, especially critical thinking skills and research skills. The students explore earth’s weather and the various casual factors including heat energy, air pressure, air currents, and moisture. Students study the structure and function of cells, body systems, and heredity. The students acquire a solid base for future studies in biology.
The students are introduced to the rules of basic grammar, usage, and mechanics. Fundamental knowledge of the eight parts of speech, sentence analysis, capitalization, and punctuation is the major focus.
The course emphasizes the writing process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing. The applications of writing skills are demonstrated through narrative, persuasive, and creative writing. The students analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of their written work, assessing strengths and need for improvement based on the six traits of effective writing: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Poetry and figurative language are explored, and effective public speaking skills are acquired.
This course encompasses an in-depth analysis and investigation of novels and short stories. Students learn to take comprehensive notes while reading, and there is an emphasis on spelling skills and the building of vocabulary through reading. The students utilize word recognition and word meaning skills to read and comprehend text, such as context clues and word origins; roots, prefixes, and suffixes of words. Literature circles and other collaborative learning activities enable students to work cooperatively. Oral communication skills develop as students generate oral presentations throughout the year, including a presentation of a researched topic related to a novel read during the year.
Fifth Grade Choir Class:
The primary emphasis for this class will be singing. Each class will have a singing component, a sight singing lesson (using the iPads), and activity/lesson.There will also be a prayer component to these classes, including an introduction of the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the church. Classes will also learn music notation, and have daily pitch and rhythmic exercises.
This is a survey art course which emphasizes studio production. Within this context, students apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students identify and use the elements of design: line, shape, texture, and color. Within the drawing unit, students explore light and shadow, space, and some aspects of perspective. In addition, the students explore art appreciation and art criticism. Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton (American Regionalists), W.C. Escher, and Aboriginal Artists, as well as other type of art/artists as it relates to their studio art, are studied. Mediums include pencil, colored pencil, oil and dry pastels, markers, tempera paint, watercolors, and paper mache.
Fifth grade technology is a beginner’s course that introduces the students to computers assuming that they have basic computing skills. The first few weeks of the school year are focused on teaching the students how to navigate their iPads. Once the iPad unit is completed, the focus turns to computer operational basics such as powering up and down, logging in to a network, proficiency using the Windows operating system, file management, and saving to different kind of media. Students also learn word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets using both Microsoft Office and Google Drive. Another important focus of the course is Internet research, Internet safety, website evaluation, and learning to keyboard properly. The objective is to teach students the computer skills they will need later in their school careers.
This course offers students a comprehensive program that includes instructional content which promotes the concept of individual student physical growth. The main emphasis is on the concepts and strategies of team sports. Students are introduced to the various components that are part of an active, healthy lifestyle.[/read]
Religion (Old Testament):
In this course, the students are provided with an overview of the Old Testament. The narrative history of the Hebrew people is followed. The Torah, the Wisdom Books, the Prophetic Books, and the Historical Books are studied in order to examine God’s covenant with His people. These ancient scriptures are studied in the light of their relevance to our lives today and in their connection to the New Testament. The students continue to examine the lives of the many men and women who answered God’s call.
General geographic information and map skills are reviewed in this course. Through various student generated projects, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia are explored. Students study Asia, Ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, Africa, and the Americas. Students research and report on a modern country of choice (other than the United States) utilizing skills in source citation, bibliography writing, note taking, and primary and secondary source usage. Integrated technology and on-line textbook sources continue to be incorporated.
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The students continue to develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students develop an understanding of division of fractions and extend the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers. Students begin to connect ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division, and use concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems. Students are introduced to writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations and develop an understanding of statistical thinking. Students in grade six also build on their work with area by reasoning about relationships among shapes to determine, area, surface area, and volume.
This course focuses mainly on the field of biology. The students explore the traditional five and more updated six-kingdom classification system, including archaebacteria, eubacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Students become familiar with the diversity of life on earth and why, with the advent of new and more sophisticated technology, it is even more important to identify new species. Students explore a broad range of organisms from colonial unicellular prokaryotic monerans to multicellular eukaryotic animals through hands-on activities and the use of technology.
Students continue to develop and strengthen their understanding of the rules of grammar, usage, sentence diagramming, and mechanics of the English language. Students analyze and write poetry using poetic techniques (alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.), and figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, etc.), collecting samples in a poetry journal. Narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive forms of writing are focused on using the six traits of effective writing, improving skills in organization, content, and sentence and paragraph development.
The students identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the characteristics of different genres (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short story, dramatic literature) and provide evidence from texts to support their understanding. In addition to written summaries using a story map organizer, students give oral presentations through a chosen modality to explain books (e.g. interview of main character, timeline). Vocabulary is acquired through reading and from a basal series in which students study definitions, synonyms, antonyms, word analysis, etymology, prefixes, suffixes, and root words using them correctly in reading and writing.
World Language (Spanish/Mandarin/French) :
The students are involved in a variety of activities designed to develop the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn vocabulary which encompasses numbers, colors, days of the week, months, and members of the family. They initiate and respond to greetings, paraphrase short paragraphs from the target language into English, and learn through projects such a creating family trees or menus.
The primary emphasis for this class will be singing. Each class will have a singing component, a sight singing lesson (using the iPads), and activity/lesson. There will also be a prayer component to these classes, including an introduction of the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the church. Classes will also learn music notation, and have daily pitch and rhythmic exercises.
Sixth grade technology revisits knowledge learned in fifth grade and enhances it. In this course we review word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations using the Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive. However, students in sixth grade are assigned more advances assignments such as creating a classroom newspaper using Microsoft Word. There is also a strong curriculum on cyberbullying, Web 2.0 applications, and using multimedia such as video and audio editing software.
This course is a comprehensive physical education program which includes learning experiences that meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Students continue to develop concepts and strategies for team sports that involve fundamental motor skills and the demonstration of proper social skills. Lifetime fitness and activity concepts are learned.[/read]
Course of Studies
Grades Seven and Eight
Religion (New Testament):
This course focuses on the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) and continues to build upon the students’ understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Students focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as understood by the Roman Catholic Church. Within this context, students also learn more specifically about the Church’s social teachings in the hope that they will be able to apply their academic religious studies to their everyday lives as followers of Jesus Christ.
U.S. History I:
The seventh grade U.S. History course begins with prehistory and continues through the mid 1800’s. Students are introduced to the events, themes, and a basic understanding of the times. The Constitution and the United States government are studied along with current events and basic economics. The ability to express knowledge and opinion in a clear, concise manner, both verbally and in an intelligent essay is an integral part of class.
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The students continue to develop competency in the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students also work with percentages and concepts of geometry such as linear and area measure. The solving of basic equations and the use of formulas with exposure to manipulations with variables will be studied. Students continue to develop problem solving strategies and to practice solving word problems.
Students study environmental science, including populations and communities, ecosystems and biomes, and land, water, and air resources. This introductory series of studies concludes with an understanding of the natural history of Cape Cod. In subsequent units, the students embark on a journey “inside earth,” investigating the earth’s structure, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the rock cycle. The students also study components of chemistry, including an introduction to matter, the periodic table, and carbon/life chemistry, in which students learn the basic structure of DNA.
This course continues to expand and strengthen students’ knowledge of their language in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, written expression, and oral expression. The students review sentence structure and parts or speech, increase comprehension of phrases and clauses, and are introduced to the study of gerunds, participles, and infinitives. Sentence diagramming continues to be used as a tool to understanding. Written expression encompasses creative, descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository work. Students employ the writing process to develop, clear, well-organized, and intelligently expressed ideas. They learn to form thesis statements and to subsequently support them. Confident and competent oral expression is encouraged both informally through classroom discussion and formally through classroom orations and debates.
This course continues to introduce a wide range of classic and contemporary literature in order to foster a love and appreciation for reading. Classroom discussion and written reports are used to refine comprehension and critical thinking skills. Genres studied include novels, short stories, drama, non-fiction, and poetry, myths, legends, and folk tales. Students also read grade appropriate books of choice independently and are responsible for reporting on these books. Students study various literary terms and learn how these terms apply to the selections read. Vocabulary is expanded through new words encountered in reading. In addition, students read classic trade publications throughout the year. Students are responsible for taking comprehensive notes on these publications. To culminate the year’s study, students read, interpret, and discuss a full-length Shakespearean play.
This course develops students’ basic vocabulary and grammar skills in Spanish. Students learn to describe themselves and others, communicate about home, school, food, likes and dislikes, make comparisons, and work in general toward achieving level one proficiency in Spanish. Skills in listening, comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish are emphasized and assessed. Culture and customs from Spain and Latin American countries are built into the readings. Eighth grade students who achieve A’s and B’s are encouraged to enroll in Spanish II in grade nine.
Students in the seventh grade French course continue to improve their skills in the four basic areas of the language:
listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They enlarge their vocabulary word banks, learn common idioms, learn verbs that enable them to compose simple sentences in the present tense, and read short stories and dialogues.
This is a survey art course which emphasizes studio art. Students apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students come to understand and use a variety of vocabulary with respect to the making of their studio art projects. Students identify and use the elements and principles of design. Students will draw from life, including outdoor sketching, portrait studies at home and in class, and figure studies. Each 7th grade class produces a large grid drawing from a famous work of art to display at the Spring Arts Festival. Mediums include (but are not limited to) pencil, colored pencil, pen, oil or dry pastels, charcoal, markers, tempera paint, watercolors, and printmaking. Students participate in class critiques in order to enhance art appreciation and understanding of art criticism. In addition to studio art, art history subjects include Renaissance and Baroque art. Additional artists are studied as time permits.
Seventh grade technology is a continuation of the knowledge learned in the fifth and sixth grades. The first half of the year students hone their computer skills by learning advanced features of the Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive, Web 2.0 programs, and Scratch animation from MIT. The second half, students learn graphic design skills by producing our yearbook, Angelogue. This hands-on project teaches students all the skills needed to produce a full-color publication from designing a cover to laying out pages. This course prepares students to use technology in their lives and acquire skills to learn new forms of technology on their own.
This course builds on the physical education program from grades five and six. The content continues to provide learning experiences to meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Emphasis continues to include activities which encourage physical fitness and encourage proper social skills through team sports. Students learn and practice skills necessary for an active, healthy lifestyle.[/read]
Religion (Church History):
The curriculum focuses on the history of the Roman Catholic Church beginning with the founding of the Apostolic Church, and continuing to the present time. Students learn a theology of church and come to understand how the Church continues to develop under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Other Christian denominations are explored in order to investigate how they relate to the Roman Catholic Church. Lastly, students are introduced to the basic moral teachings of the Church as they apply to students of their age.
U.S. History II:
The eighth grade U.S. History course begins with the 1800’s and continues through the twentieth century, with particular attention paid to the Civil War and Reconstruction. The students continue to study the Constitution and the U.S. government, along with basic economics and current events.
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The students review the basic operations while developing an understanding of basic algebraic concepts with positive and negative numbers. Students build upon their skills of working with basic geometric concepts with the addition of the study of angles formed by transversals and the study of volume and surface area of solid figures. The students extensively practice solving equations and inequalities and experience a thorough review of percent.
Taken at St. John Paul II High School, the students acquire a firm understanding of basic algebraic concepts and applications, including variable operations with real numbers, solving equations with transformations, polynomials, factoring, algebraic fractions, linear equations and graphing, and solving simultaneous equations. Students continue to develop problem solving strategies and practice word problems.
Algebra I Honors:
Taken at St. John Paul II High School, this course in an accelerated Algebra I class which offers students high school credits to students in grade 8. This course is intended for students with strong mathematics ability who are looking for a solid foundation in Algebra I so that they will be prepared for future honors and AP level courses. Topics include: operations with real numbers, order of operations, solving equations and inequalities, absolute values, exponents and polynomials, factoring, systems of equations, coordinate geometry, rational expressions, word problems, radicals, and quadratic functions and equations.
Students explore various aspects of astronomy, including characteristics of the solar system, moon phases and tides, history of the studies of stars, and theories of the creation of the universe. Students are introduced to the study of physics. Laws of motion, force, and energy are learned. Students study Newton’s Laws of Motion, Universal Gravitation, Momentum, Projectile Motion, and Forces in Fluids, as it relates to pressure, hydraulics, buoyancy, and flight. Students also explore forces in relation to work and energy.
Taken at St. John Paul II High School.
The students continue the development of usage, vocabulary, and communication skills to write and speak effectively. Students write in several different styles, including descriptive, narrative, and expository. The students write research papers using the MLA documentation style. Additionally, short writing projects are also completed. By the end of eighth grade, students will have mastered the use of complex sentences and verbals. Methodology includes extensive use of diagramming, drilling, and student writing. Usage, vocabulary, and mechanics are reviewed throughout the year. Finally, public speaking skills are reviewed.
The students will appreciate literature through the careful analysis of the author’s style and use of literary techniques. Instruction focuses on themes that specifically reflect Christian messages. Students are exposed to several different genres, including memoirs, plays, poetry, novels, and short stories. Emphasis is placed upon careful note taking from each work studied. Students are expected to analyze the works through oral and written means. The Socratic method of inspiring students to discuss the many universal themes presented is utilized.
Students continue to expand upon the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students use a Spanish e-text on their iPads. They learn through the interactive format, utilizing dialogue, video, and song. Vocabulary and grammar are stressed. Additionally, an appreciation for and understanding of the cultures of the Spanish speaking world is developed.
Students continue to improve their skills in the four basic areas of language:
listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They continue to enlarge their vocabulary word bank, add their knowledge of idioms, compose more complex sentences with modal verbs, read more complex short stories, and write short compositions. During both years, seventh and eighth grade students do projects on many cultural aspects of the francophone world.
The Ecce Romani curriculum puts reading and comprehension before grammatical analysis. Unlike the student of modern languages, the Latin student’s only access to what the Romans have to say is by reading. The Ecce Romani approach, therefore, offers exactly that:
the language is experienced by the reading of whole passages for context and grammar simultaneously. The general topic of the stories [family life in ancient Rome] is deliberately chosen to provide a bridge across the centuries, a bridge that young learners find both interesting and accessible. Their study of Latin helps students to understand their own language better and gives them the ability to learn other Romance languages more efficiently.
A comprehensive physical education program that will continue to provide learning experiences to meet the current and projected needs of individual students. Emphasis will continue do include physical fitness activities and team sports concepts at the highest possible level to enable students to demonstrate proper social skills in physical education and beyond. The emphasis on maintaining an active healthy lifestyle will be stressed to include nutrition and drug avoidance.
This is a survey art course which emphasizes studio art. Students will apply media, techniques, and processes in creating their own artwork. Students will be expected to understand a variety of vocabulary with respect to the making of their studio art projects. Students will identify and use the elements and principles of design. An understanding of composition and space is emphasized with respect to art criticism and the students’ own artwork. Students will draw often from life, including – landscape (outdoors), still life, portrait studies at home and in class, and figure studies. Mediums include (but are not limited to), pencil, colored pencil, pen and ink, scratchboard, oil or dry pastels, charcoal, markers, acrylic paint, watercolors, printmaking, collage, wire sculpture and clay. Class critiques are held as a way to enhance art appreciation and understanding of art criticism. In addition to studio art, art history subjects include Impressionism, Post Impressionism, and 20th century art. During 4th marking period, 8th graders are given the opportunity for independent study. They must choose from several of the media listed above.[/read]