A Strong Core

Core Curriculum  •  K-8

Basing its curriculum on national, state, and Diocese of Charleston standards, St. Mary ‘s School offers a strong curriculum in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Just as integral to a well-rounded education, enrichment courses of study at St. Mary’s include Religion, Foreign Language, Art, Music, Physical Education, Computer Literacy, and Library studies.

In Good Faith

religion •  K-8

At the heart of the St. Mary’s curriculum is a joyful devotion to the Catholic faith. The school day begins and ends in prayer, religion is taught daily to all students, and all students participate in weekly Masses at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. Through traditional prayer and rituals, students deepen their relationship with Christ, increase their understanding of their faith, and connect their faith to their studies and daily lives. Students of all faiths are welcome at St. Mary’s.

Hola! Hallo!

FOreign Language  •  K-8

Research shows that learning a second language puts children at a significant advantage, boosting their critical-thinking skills, improving memory, and enhancing creativity. All students at St. Mary’s receive foreign language instruction. German or Spanish is taught two, three, or three times a week, depending on grade level. At the K-5th grade levels, Spanish is taught for one semester and German is taught the other with an emphasis on songs, rhymes, stories, and games. Beginning in 6th grade, students remain in the language class of their choice, either Spanish or German, establishing a useful vocabulary and learning the country’s customs, history, and culture. Seventh and eighth grade students may earn a credit that local high schools accept.

In Living Color

Art  •  1-8

Art not only stimulates imaginations; it also helps students develop cognitive, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Students in grades one through six participate in art classes once a week. Seventh and eighth graders are enrolled in art one quarter of the year. The St. Mary’s art curriculum addresses the national visual arts content standards of understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes; using knowledge of structures and functions; choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas; understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures; reflecting upon and assessing the merits of their own and other’s work; and making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.

On A High Note

music  •  K-8

Musical training strengthens language, memorization, reasoning, and coordination skills. Students in kindergarten through grade six participate in music classes once a week. The curriculum is general music with an emphasis on singing melody, rhythm, note reading, and performing. In the upper grades, skills necessary to read and perform music are expanded and refined. Music history, appreciation, and knowledge about composers is included in the general curriculum. A youth choir, with members in third through eighth grades, sings at all school Masses, and occasionally at the 8:30 Sunday Mass.

Jumping For Joy

physical education  •  K-8

In addition to a multitude of health benefits, physical education improves learning aptitude and confidence in students. Our physical education curriculum begins with participation in activities that involve imagination, coordination, and basic game skills in the primary grades. Elementary students participate in activities and exercises that emphasize teamwork and skills used in a variety of sports and other physical activities. Junior high students work to further develop skills, strategies, and teamwork through various games, activities, and exercises. Elementary students have physical education once a week; junior high students have physical education and health one quarter of the school year.

Bits & Bytes

Computer literacy  •  K-8

In the technological world we live in, computer literacy is critical to success. Our computer literacy curriculum assists students of all ages with the development and mastery of technology skills they will need for school and life activities. For grades K-2, students practice grade-level appropriate skills such as keyboarding, drag-and-drop/block computer coding, word processing and formatting, safety rules and digital etiquette, using appropriate terminology, troubleshooting hardware problems, and the creation and formatting of documents. In grades 3-8, students continue to build on these skills within their classrooms. Students at the higher level learn how devices function, strengthen their use of the Google suite of applications, practice refining searches for databases and the Internet, identify the risks and rewards of sharing digital information, recognize the importance of one’s digital footprint, and locate credible sources.

Volumes of Adventure

library  •  K-6

At St. Mary’s School, we believe in fostering a lifelong love of reading as well as teaching library, reference, and research skills. Kindergarten children visit the library weekly for a story and introduction to beginning library skills. Students in the elementary grades attend weekly library classes to hear a story, learn reference skills, and check out library books. The media specialist also opens the library to junior high students during selected lunch periods as well as before and after school when there is a demand. Unscheduled visits to the library are encouraged for all students and can be arranged between teachers and the media specialist.

School Accreditation

St. Mary’s maintains accreditation by AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation by AdvancED indicates that St. Mary’s meets staffing and curriculum requirements, undergoes a periodic, comprehensive self-study, conducts annual updates, and hosts an accreditation review team of professional educators every five years to visit the school, assess the accuracy of the school’s self-study, and provide recommendations for improvement. St. Mary’s has been accredited since 1974.

Teacher and Staff Accreditation

St. Mary’s primary and elementary or early childhood teachers are certified and have bachelor’s or master’s degrees, many with coursework beyond the master’s degree level.  Junior high and “special area” teachers are either certified in their subject areas or are “highly qualified,” meaning they have at least a bachelor’s degree and have majors or minors in their assigned subjects. St. Mary’s professional staff (teachers, librarian, and principal) participate in at least five days of professional development training each school year.