St. Joseph School offers a variety of specials for students at every grade level to enhance and expand their knowledge in Art, Spanish, Music, and Physical Education. Specialist teachers engage students in complementary projects and learning opportunities that develop the whole child: head, heart and hands.
The Spanish Program at St. Joseph School aims to prepare students to be globally aware citizens while introducing every student to the basics of the language including proficiency in the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness.
Students in the K-4 Spanish program develop confidence and enthusiasm as they explore select themes. They sing songs, listen to stories, and learn about culture from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. In kindergarten, first, and second grades, the focus is on listening and speaking. In third and fourth grades students are exposed to reading and writing as well as listening and speaking.
Students practice conversational Spanish, acquire new vocabulary, discover the many uses of Spanish in real world scenarios and immerse themselves in a diverse and rich culture. St. Joseph School aims to prepare students with basic conversational Spanish skills, cultural knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries and encourages students to plan future studies abroad. Students enjoy making video projects, creating school pamphlets in Spanish, designing magazine covers with Frida Kahlo and writing lengthy letters to pen pals in Madrid and Malaga, Spain. Middle school students receive instruction two times per week for 45 minutes.
The art program at St. Joseph School is a rich part of every grade level. Students demonstrate an understanding of the elements and principles of design using a variety of media. Students engage and explore a variety of art forms, balance creativity with skill development and express themselves through multiple art forms. All students have dedicated time for art each week.
When students come to us in kindergarten, they begin to learn how to take part in the singing tradition, as they learn to sing the hymns and Mass parts so precious to us as a faith community. As they get older, they have the privilege of providing service to the community through music, as grade levels lead music in both school and parish masses. Children are nurtured as musical leaders when they serve as cantors for all-school masses.
In the classroom students engage in a variety of musical methods and techniques. Students learn about the elements of music including beat, rhythm and melody, practice ‘audiation’, gradually participate in more complex musical endeavors, and beginning theory with recorders, and above all, have fun!
While singing stands at the center of music education at St. Joseph School, instruments are incorporated into music class instruction as well. Small hand-held percussion (such as rhythm sticks) are used in the early elementary years. In third grade, students begin regular work on xylophones; and in fourth grade, they learn the recorder. Composition and improvisatory experiences are spread throughout the grades, and students regularly experience a diverse set of musical repertoire from around the world.
Middle school music curricula vary by grade. All fifth graders take General Music. This class combines instrumental music making on hand drums and xylophones with a broad study of the cultural history of American popular music. Sixth graders have two elective options through their Exploratory program: Music Production and Guitar Class. In Music Production, sixth graders learn the basics of Ableton software, and in Guitar Class, students learn the fundamentals of guitar playing using electric guitars and amplifiers. Seventh and eighth graders have two music options in their Exploratory program: Music Production and Rock Band. In Music Production, students learn more advanced recording and mixing techniques in Ableton. In Rock Band, students work together to learn songs and perform them at Celebrations of Learning and other school events. Additionally, the most dedicated musicians in sixth-eighth grades are invited to participate in the Worship Band that performs at school liturgies in church. Middle school students also have the option of taking individual music lessons outside of school hours with St. Joseph music teachers.
Students in grades K-4 attend physical education classes twice per week. The curriculum seeks to aid students in developing physical and social competencies in a play based environment. In kindergarten, the focus is on learning how to cooperatively interact with classmates in a variety of games. As students mature they are introduced to skill development activities and small sided game play. At all times students are challenged to be their best selves and demonstrate empathy and compassion for others.
Students in grades 5-8 have the opportunity to participate and grow in a variety of sports, games, and activities. Students integrate more complex skills and strategies and demonstrate increasing abilities in the class. Students will play traditional sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, badminton, team handball, etc. They will develop a variety of individual or pair skills including frisbee toss, juggling, stilts, buddy walker relays, pitching, hoop shoot, and others. Assorted activities that are not traditional team sports nor individual skill-builders are incorporated.