Junior High (6th-8th)

The Jr. High team under the direction of the school’s Vice Principal meet regularly to discuss curriculum, schedules and individual or grade specific concerns. The same team of 8-to 9 teachers work with the students in 6th to 8th Grades. This allows for a solid individual knowledge and awareness  of each student’s ability and needs  as they develop over the three years of Junior High. There are supplemental  outside of school programs  that  add opportunities for growth such as OutDoor Ed in 6th,  Catalina Marine Institute in 7th and 8th grade trip (usually to Washington DC).

The overarching goal for the Junior High program  is for students to develop  more independence and responsibility with the moving from class to class,  the  use  of lockers, classroom laptops and planners  to give them the  needed tools for a successful transition to high school at the end of 8th grade.

Language Arts

The focus of the Literature program is developing analytical skills through reading, writing and discussion.  In studying different genres of literature, students learn not only to trace character and plot development but also to explain themes and other literary elements.  Students evaluate these elements in their writing, following the Jane Schaffer model, group discussions and oral presentations.  Vocabulary is developed through the use of definitions, synonyms, antonyms, context clues and root words.  The program is aligned with the Common Core English Language Arts Standards using the Prentice Hall Literature and Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop textbooks.  Mastery of standards is attained through different units and novel-based instruction.

6th Grade Units: short stories, poetry, novel (Phantom Tollbooth), and drama.

7th Grade Units: short stories, historical fiction, nonfiction (autobiography), mythology, and poetry.

8th Grade Units:  primarily novel analysis (Tuesdays with Morrie, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Romeo and Juliet) and writing intensive as that is the expectation for high school English classes. In addition, there are units on short stories and poetry.

Catholic schools are different from public Junior Highs in that we have an additional hour of language arts focused solely on English grammar and writing. We use the Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar series as our guide in grammar instruction and reinforce concepts through Simple Solutions.  In writing autobiographies, persuasive essays, and research reports, students will demonstrate their grammatical knowledge as well as show variety in sentence structure.

Mathematics

At St. Jude, we understand the importance of a solid foundation in mathematics. Whether for a career in mathematics, engineering, science, or finance, or as a vital asset for daily living, the study of math is an undeniable tool for success. St. Jude supports each student in building the confidence one needs to become lifelong problem solvers.

From learning their numbers and shapes in kindergarten, to mastering fundamental operations in fourth grade, through applying the quadratic formula in eighth, St. Jude students develop and improve their math skills daily.

To ensure an efficient and effective learning environment, St. Jude math instruction employs a wide array of tools and methodologies. As expected in the modern classroom, technology is an integral part of this process. Additionally, from fourth grade forward, students have the opportunity to progress on one of two different paths toward completion of their studies, the more accelerated path culminating in the completion of a full year of Algebra.

Social Studies

6th grade social studies focuses on ancient civilizations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  During the 3rd trimester, there is a particular emphasis on ancient and classical Greece and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.  The 3 chapters on Rome always prove to be a class favorite!

In 7th grade, the social studies curriculum expands on the knowledge of civilizations from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, generally following a timeline that moves forward from what was learned in 6th grade. In addition, the growth of Islam and other world religions is introduced. There is a particular concentration in 7th grade on European history, starting with feudal and medieval Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  Later, the timeline in Europe is followed through the Renaissance and Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and Age of Exploration, and the Enlightenment and Age of Reason.

8th grade social studies is all about U.S. history.  From early exploration of the Americas (in particular, the present-day United States) to the establishment of the colonies and ensuing American Revolution, to the creation of the federal government and the Civil War and Reconstruction, and to the Industrial Revolution and the Progressive Era, an extensive volume of material is studied.  Toward the middle of the 3rd trimester, the 20th century, including the Great Depression and World Wars I and II, are the focus.  Time is also given for class discussions on current events – both domestic and international.  It’s a challenging curriculum, but one that most students seem to enjoy.

Religion

The study and practice of our faith is an important part of our daily life in Junior High. Students practice daily prayers and participate in weekly masses. Students also have the opportunity to become altar servers and sing in our school choir. The religion curriculum in the Junior High covers the following topics: Christian Faith and Practice, Morality and Social Justice, Sacraments and Worship, Scripture and Christian Life. The progression of our Religion curriculum focuses on the history of our church in 6th grade to the connection of the Old Testament to today’s world in 7th grade to the application of those teachings in 8th grade.

Sixth Grade: Old Testament: Creation Story, Patriarchs, Moses, and various Prophets

Seventh Grade: New Testament: Connect the Old Testament stories to Today’s Church

Eighth Grade: History of the Church & Focus on Church Doctrine and Sacramental Life

In addition to our course content our students are required to complete five hours of Christian Service each trimester. Our Christian Service focus for Junior High is “reaching out to others”. Our students participate in a variety of events individually and with their class. The goal of Christian Service is to teach our students the value of serving those in need and recognizing their ability to improve the lives of others.