Curriculum

Click on the curriculum’s title to expand and to close.

Language Arts
The mission of the Language Arts curriculum of the Archdiocese of Seattle is to enable the students to comprehend, compose, and communicate using language conventions learned through reading, writing, listening, and speaking.Students learn an appreciation of language and reading through programs developed specifically for each grade level. Teachers create an atmosphere that values reading, writing, listening, and speaking as life-long processes. The program is integrated throughout all subjects, enabling the students to acquire skills and strategies for reading comprehension in a variety of forms. STMS adopted the Six Traits of Writing curriculum to enrich the Reading/Language Arts program at our school. The students are taught skills and strategies for effective writing through a process of breaking down language into six primary areas. As educators, the teachers strive to be role models and to be well informed on literacy practices. They involve, educate and support parents in the literacy development of students, and encourage the parents to be models of effective literacy.
Library
The mission of the Catholic Library Resource Program is to help students and teachers effectively use information to develop the Christian values within the whole person. STM’s state-of-the-art library provides information and reading material for our students and faculty in an environment that is conducive to learning.The librarian is responsible for selecting, maintaining, and circulating materials in a way that the students will be motivated to use the resources.A current knowledge of the curriculum within each grade is maintained to meet the needs of each student, along with informational resources in a full range of formats and topic areas. The storytelling corner provides a special atmosphere.
Math
The Math curriculum was evaluated in 1998-1999 to meet the criteria established by the Washington State Commission on Student Learning. New textbooks were adopted as a result of this review. Students receive a comprehensive, balanced curriculum in all grades which allows them to be actively involved in the learning process, encouraging the development of mathematical thinkers with a broad range of skills.The teachers ensure that the students make regular and routine use of technology and other tools to pursue mathematical investigations. They provide the students with opportunities to use reasoning, analyze situations, predict results, draw conclusions, and verify results.Students learn to communicate their knowledge of math in every day language. They incorporate problem-solving techniques in other disciplines including real-life situations. Our goal is to provide learning opportunities that will engage the students’ interest while teaching them to connect various facets of math as a cohesive body of knowledge rather than separate facts or skills.
Multi-Sensory Learning
St. Thomas More offers a small group Multi-Sensory Learning (M.S.L.) Program for grades 1 – 8. This program is for qualified students who are experiencing difficulty acquiring language-based skills and are unable to reach their academic potential.These classes are taught five days a week in small groups of eight or less students and serve as their language arts program. It provides a sequential and simultaneous auditory, visual, and kinesthetic approach to learning.Reading, phonemic awareness, handwriting, decoding, spelling, grammar, written self-expression (Six trait writing), note taking, speech writing, and thinking skills are taught at the appropriate grade levels.
Music
The primary focus of the Music Program is to teach children to love and appreciate music of all kinds. This is accomplished by playing instruments, singing, listening, improvising, moving and dancing to music.In the primary grades, students learn to match pitch, find the beat and sight-sing notes on the music staff by using hand signs.The intermediate classes build on these concepts by learning to read music. They learn to play the recorder to learn absolute pitch and rhythm names.The Middle School takes a more intellectual approach to music appreciation. They are encouraged to stretch themselves musically by listening to and learning about a variety of styles of music from different cultures and time periods.Throughout our school year, the students are taught the role of music in the Mass. They help organize and participate in our Holy Day celebrations.
World Language

World Language classes are offered in Grades 3 through 8. Students use the Rosetta Stone Program to select a language. Once a language is chosen students participate twice a week in World Language class through out the school year. Students have the opportunity to converse in their language of choice with high school students who come to STMS to work with our students on conversational speech.

Physical Education
The Physical Education Program aims to provide children with the opportunity to develop and maintain a level of physical fitness to fit with their own individual needs. It provides an understanding of how to maintain fitness for a lifetime of activity. Each child is taught to become competent in body management, develop a positive self image and be exposed to a variety of activities. The students learn to work together as a community and support each other through fitness, wellness, sports and games. Each year STMS participates in the North Deanery Track Meet. Grades 1 through 3 meet at St. Mary Magdalene School and the 4th through 8th graders meet at the Everett Memorial Stadium.
Religion
The Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Seattle participate in the mission of the Catholic Church and endeavor to lead students to a full and ever deepening realization of God’s love for them. St. Thomas More School is a community of faith in which the Christian message, the experience of community, worship and social concern are integrated in the total experience of each student.
St. Thomas More students learn to:

  • Value prayer, celebrate the sacraments, and understand the liturgies throughout the church year.
  • Become knowledgeable in Church doctrine and participate in the rich traditions of their faith.
  • Know and revere the Bible and its teachings.
  • Establish respectful relationships with all persons because they are children of God and are members of a Faith community.
  • Be responsible stewards of all of God’s creations.
  • Reflect the values of the Gospel in their actions and words.
  • Express their knowledge of the social teachings of the Church by serving others.

Even beyond the formal instruction in the Faith, it is expected that a religious view of life will be integrated into every aspect of the student’s education.

Science
The Science curriculum was reviewed and updated in 1996. The focus at that time was to bring more elements of physical science into our program since we already had a strong life and earth science emphasis. A variety of hands-on units such as “Matter and Magnets”, “Pushes and Pulls”, and “Light and Sound” were added to the science curriculum.As part of the 7th and 8th grade curriculum, the students enjoy the use of our school science lab. It is fully equipped with glassware, balances, microscopes, stereoscopes, Bunsen burners, sinks and lab work space. The students have many opportunities to develop strong lab skills and learn the Scientific Method. The students also run long-term science experiments using live animals through the Washington State Dairy Council.As educators we encourage creative and innovative thinking by introducing new concepts in science. It is our hope that the science curriculum will open new horizons to our students and give them a better understanding of the world in which they live.
Social Studies
Social Studies at STM
The goal of the Social Studies Curriculum is “to develop engaged, informed citizens.” The Essential Academic Learning Requirements for Kindergarten through Eighth grade include: Civics, Economics, Geography, History, and Social Studies Skills. New textbooks and supplemental materials were purchased for the 2014-2015 school year. Use of non-fiction materials as resources continue to be a focus as Reading standards are integrated into the program. Classroom Based Assessments (CBA’s) have been added to every grade level so that students pursue topics in-depth and develop research skills. Catholic Social Justice teachings are incorporated throughout the Social Studies Program.Encouraging the students to interpret their knowledge of Social Studies, then incorporate it into their everyday life is the goal of our program. In today’s world, it is not enough for children to have an awareness of their local community. They must be world thinkers. As technology brings other countries closer to our children, they must be prepared to meet the challenge with knowledge and understanding.(From OSPI)Kindergarten: Students begin their investigation of the world using perspectives, concepts, and skills from the social studies. The context for social studies learning in kindergarten is the student’s interaction with classroom and school. The classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect to rights, rules, and responsibilities. They begin to learn the basic concepts of fairness and respect for the rights and opinions of others.First Grade: Students develop their understanding of basic concepts and ideas from civics, economics, geography, and history. The context for social studies learning in first grade is the family and the ways they choose to live and work together. To develop students’ understanding of the basic social studies concepts, students are asked to think about families nearby and those far away.Second Grade: Students apply their emerging understanding of civics, economics, geography, and history to their communities and others around the world. Students learn about how their community works as well as the variety of ways that communities organize themselves. To develop conceptual understanding, students examine the geographic and economic aspects of life in their own neighborhoods and compare them to those of people long ago.Third Grade: Students begin to explore more complex concepts and ideas from civics, economics, geography, and history as they study the varied backgrounds of people living in Washington and the rest of the United States. Emphasis is on cultures in the United States, including the study of American Indians. Students examine these cultures from the past and in the present and the impact they have had in shaping our contemporary society. They begin to look at issues and events from more than one perspective.

Fourth Grade: Students use their understanding of social studies concepts and skills to explore Washington State in the past and present. Students learn about the state’s unique geography and key eras in early Washington State history, particularly the treaty-making period. They use this historical perspective to help them make sense of the state’s geography, economy, and government today. The cognitive demand of many GLEs begins to include analysis and asks students to look at issues and events from multiple perspectives.

Fifth Grade: Students use their understanding of social studies concepts and cause-and-effect relationships to study the development of the United States up to 1791. By applying what they know from civics, economics and geography, students learn the ideals, principles, and systems that shaped this country’s founding. They conclude fifth grade by applying their understanding of the country’s founding and the ideals in the nation’s fundamental documents to issues of importance to them today. This learning forms the foundation and understanding of social studies concepts that will provide students with the ability to examine their role in the community, state, nation, and world.

Sixth Grade: Students are ready to deepen their understanding of the Earth and its peoples through the study of history, geography, politics, culture, and economic systems. The recommended context for social studies learning in sixth grade is world history and geography. Students begin their examination of the world by exploring the locations, place, and spatial organization of the world’s major regions. This exploration is then followed by looking at world history from its beginnings. Students are given an opportunity to study a few ancient civilizations deeply. In this way, students develop higher levels of critical thinking by considering why civilizations developed where and when they did and why they declined.

Seventh Grade: Students become more proficient with the core concepts in social studies. There are two recommended contexts in which students can demonstrate this proficiency in the seventh grade. The first part of the year is focused on a continuation of world history from sixth grade as students look at the geography, civics, and economics of major societies up through 1450. The second part of the year asks students to bring their understanding to their world today as they examine Washington State from 1854 to the present. The study of Washington State includes an examination of the state constitution and key treaties. While these two contexts may be very different, the purpose of studying these different regions and eras is the same: to develop enduring understandings of the core concepts and ideas in civics, economics, geography, and history.

Eighth Grade: Students develop a new, more abstract level of understanding of social studies concepts. The recommended context for developing this understanding is U.S. history and government, 1776 to 1900. Students explore the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution up through Reconstruction and industrialization. After reviewing the founding of the Unites States, particularly the Constitution, students explore the development of politics, society, culture, and economy in the United States to deepen conceptual understandings in civics, geography, and economics. In particular, studying the causes and consequences of the Civil War helps them to comprehend more profoundly the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a culturally diverse democracy.

Speech
The Speech Program is an integral part of the curriculum at STMS.Each year, a tournament is held for all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.In addition, students in grades 6th – 8th are invited to participate in the Seattle Prep and Blanchet High School tournaments sponsored for students within the Archdiocese.As a result of these programs, our students not only feel prepared for High School, but can also speak with ease in front of their peers and larger groups within the community.The self-confidence provided by this program benefits our students throughout their lives.
Technology

Saint Thomas More Parish School
DIGITAL MEDIA ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY

The primary focus of the Technology Curriculum is to facilitate a comprehensive learning program enabling each student to acquire skills pertaining to computers and technology.
St. Thomas More maintains a state-of-the-art computer lab that facilitates the teaching of 30+ students at a time. Our instructor is knowledgeable in current technology, and internet access is available to the students. Focus areas include computer literacy, word processing skills, social and ethical awareness, and computer career awareness. The students are encouraged to use technology to enhance their educational endeavors. They are provided with the skills necessary to use technology effectively throughout high school, college, and in daily adult life. Highlights of this program include PowerPoint presentations and the monthly school newspaper.