St. Joseph Elementary School students are encouraged to develop and to reach their potential in a challenging atmosphere made conducive to learning through a comprehensive and relevant curriculum. Lessons are varied to reach all learners through methodologies that address different learning styles. This enables student growth and improves student learning because skills that are built upon from year to year reinforce concepts. This assists the challenged learner as well as those needing a challenge. To help students become more academically confident, the staff not only follows but also supplements the curriculum guidelines. Students learn skills from the Step Up to Writing program, Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs) journals, the Discipline with Purpose program, and a uniform math series. Using these year to year throughout the grades ensures a comprehensive curriculum.
Through learning the challenging curriculum, students become academically confident. In all grades, students learn the importance of hard work and effort. They are taught study skills and self-assessment methods to help themselves get the most out of learning. Teachers give assignments in which the students use critical and creative thinking skills to comprehend material and understand how concepts connect across subject areas. Students are taught to work independently and cooperatively to reach goals.
St. Joseph Elementary School has a fully stocked art room that is used by all students in grades K through 8. At the annual art show, work from every student in the school is on display in the learning center.
Students in all grades participate in music classes. Each year, under the direction of our music teacher, all students participate in the Christmas Concert and in the Spring Sing. These events take place in St. Joseph Basilica, and are enjoyed by parents, families, and parishioners.
As part of our schoolwide learning expectations, we strive to give our students the ability to be effective and intelligent communicators. The Director of Technology assists teachers in integrating technology into all curricular areas and teaches classes to all grade levels. Students practice using the digital tools and skills that will help them become successful 21st century citizens.
The religion curriculum challenges students at each grade level. Catholic beliefs are woven through every aspect of the curriculum. Catholic teachings and social justice issues surface in virtually all curricular areas, including religion, literature, social studies, and science. When issues arise, a spirit of understanding and tolerance is fostered, leading students to be empathetic and non-judgmental, and act in accordance with the teachings of the Church. Such instruction helps students prepare to deal with their own personal future as well as life within the global community.
Each September, students in grades two through eight take a week-long standardized test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). Upon receipt and evaluation of the ITBS results, teachers and administrators review the strengths and areas for growth in each class and each subject area. Teachers develop a plan to to assist all students in being successful learners in all curricular areas.