Our school is made strong by the quality and caring of our teachers. Each grade has a special role in creating and sustaining our community, and we seek growth in our students as they move from K through 8.
Kindergarten is a very special and big year! At St. Patrick School, we are committed to faith and excellence as we focus on educating the whole child. Ms. DiJulio, our Kindergarten teacher, provides an environment where children feel nurtured, valued, challenged, and supported. Her students reflect joy and happiness when they come to school because of her warm and nurturing manner.
Ms. DiJulio invites all parents to be involved in Kindergarten by volunteering to read books to students, help students during lunch, work in the classroom on various projects…the list is extensive. Ms. DiJulio wants parents to be active participants, and feel welcomed in the classroom environment.
Mrs. Carew and Mrs. Roth have an important task in First Grade and that is to help their students develop reading and writing skills. The primary focus in First Grade is the development of reading skills. Students learn phonics in order to apply phonetic rules in their oral and silent reading. They also develop their comprehension skills and a basic understanding of story structure. Additionally, students develop writing skills with a focus on spelling, handwriting, punctuation, and capitalization. Writer’s Workshop, a daily writing program, fosters writing skills and penmanship skills.
Math skills are broadening in First Grade as students move to more complex math problem solving and computation. This is why “Automaticity” is so important. When children learn their basic facts early and solidly, they have the ability to handle more complex problem- solving experiences. Mrs. Carew and Mrs. Roth are strong advocates of daily flashcard practice and drill, and they know how important these basic facts are in the scheme of life-long learning.
The First Grade classroom is always “happily” reading, writing, working on math, or collaborating on projects. The positive atmosphere fosters student collaboration, which is an important skill for all learners.
Mrs. Jensen’s favorite aspect of Second Grade is preparing her students for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Second Grade is a “magical year” for students as they are preparing to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion with true understanding of these Sacraments.
Mrs. Jensen believes that if children are given the opportunity and the right environment they can achieve anything. Her teaching objective is to show students that learning is fun and that they are all very capable. Mrs. Jensen looks for ways to help her students be successful in academics, experience personal growth, and grow in their faith. Her gentle guidance fosters a love of learning, and she “touches the minds and hearts” of her little ones.
Mrs. Goralski, our Third Grade teacher, LOVES children and teaching. She provides a warm, caring, and inviting classroom for students.
Because Third Grade is a transitional year, the main goal of the curriculum is promoting reading proficiency so that students read fluently across the curriculum and become able to delve deeper into the meaning of what they read. Third graders begin to develop “critical thinking” skills as they learn how to interpret what they read.
In support of learning in Third Grade, two credentialed teachers teach math and reading. They work with students to provide a variety of learning experiences: whole group instruction, small group instruction, one-on-one instruction, and learning center work. The variety of instruction allows teachers to effectively meet the needs of students as they arise.
Mrs. Goralski believes that parents and guardians are the most important people in a child’s life and that communication between home and school is crucial. Weekly Work Packets, and “Third Grade Newsletters” keep Third Grade parents informed about work, projects, and happenings in Third Grade.
Mrs. Devincenzi feels strongly that students should feel safe, comfortable, and free to express themselves. She helps students learn to accept responsibility for their actions and her positive feedback and style of discipline is the best motivator for a happy, well-functioning classroom. For Mrs. Devincenzi, respect between teacher and student is essential. She provides an environment where learning is exciting and students are engaged and focused so discipline issues are minimal and learning is the focus.
Ms. Lynch does inspire her students. Her curriculum, creative, solid, and well planned, engages students in learning. Her positive classroom management style creates a happy classroom for her students. Ms. Lynch wants her students to be challenged and to rise to meet various Fifth Grade curriculum challenges.
In Fifth Grade, students continue to develop reading and writing skills. Grammar continues to build from the Fourth Grade curriculum as students confidently identify parts of a sentence and parts of speech. Students continue to build and refine their writing skills while developing more sophisticated word choices, content, details, and sentence structure. Students also continue to develop speaking and reading vocabulary, decoding, comprehension, reference, and literary skills. Students increase their volume of independent reading. They are also challenged to polish their speaking and listening skills.
The math curriculum challenges students with new material such as all fraction and decimal operations. Problem-solving continues to be emphasized as does emphasis on speed and accuracy.
Sixth Graders hit the big time when they are promoted to the Junior High at St. Pat’s. This is a transitional year where our students take on the added dimension of a departmentalized program. They have many teachers and lots of changes. Even the school uniform is different in the Junior High to help reflect this acknowledgement that it isn’t elementary school anymore!
Our Sixth Grade homeroom teacher, Mr. Mathis has lived all over the world. This adventurous childhood, no doubt, is what fueled his passion for social studies and his love of other cultures. He shares this passion with his Sixth Grade students particularly in his history classes. They are lucky to have an exciting and varied curriculum based on Ancient Civilizations. They see what life was like for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, just to name a few.
Mr. Mathis ties his Language Arts and Literature curriculum into his history topics. In doing so, the students read about the Greek gods and Julius Caesar. In addition to continuing with a solid foundation in grammar, there is also a strong focus on expository writing.
Mrs. Hendriks’ favorite aspect of Seventh Grade is the quirkiness and individuality of each child. She uses her sense of humor and hands-on curriculum to really connect with her students. Her goal is for students to feel that they have an advocate in her.
The Seventh Grade is an exciting year. One of the highlights is having a Kindergarten “Buddy.” This is a wonderful opportunity for our 7th graders to take a leadership role in “mentoring” a Kindergartener, and our Kindergarteners get to make a connection with “one of the big kids!”
The social studies and literature curriculum is designed to give a solid foundation in note-taking and organizational skills. There is also a focus on studying and preparing for tests. This “executive functioning” curriculum is taught in tandem with a very hands-on, project-based curriculum.
Our Seventh Grade Religion program focuses on Jesus Christ. We study his life and times and explore ways to enrich our life through our deepening faith in Him.
Eighth Grade is a year of “lasts!” It begins with, “This is our last first day of school at St. Pat’s,” and ends with, “This is the last time we will be all together,” at graduation. And, in between there are numerous fun and exciting memories waiting to be had.
Eighth Grade is also the year of transitions. There is so much to be done to end the grammar school years and be prepared and look forward to high school. Some of the highlights of the Eighth Grade year include reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation, stepping up to be Clan leaders, and participating on the famed Yosemite Institute Week in the High Sierras.
Mrs. Paynter, our Eighth Grade teacher, ensures that our students have the solid foundation and leadership skills to move to the next level in their education. She takes a personal interest in each and every one of her students and helps them discover the high school that best suits their individual needs.