St. Thomas More School has high standards of academic achievement for all students, and the results of our standardized achievement tests indicate that our students flourish in our academic environment. The exemplary achievement of our students is influenced by the following characteristics of our school and our program.
- We care about the success of all students, and we use information technology and instructional support resources to insure that all students achieve our performance standards.
- We provide a strong foundation for basic skills development and, at the same time, provide creative problem-solving activities that enrich students’ learning and develop conceptual understanding.
- We continuously analyze student performance to evaluate and improve our curriculum, our teaching, and our learning activities.
- Our parents and the St. Thomas More community work with the school in a partnership to reinforce our educational efforts.
The art program encompasses a wide variety of media which encourages self-expression through two- and three-dimensional experiences. Projects frequently integrate current classroom studies. Artists and painting styles are included in the program for enjoyment and appreciation. Every student in first through eighth grade is scheduled for one art period per week taught by an art specialist.
Kindergarten through fourth grade students are scheduled for one physical education class per week, and fifth through eighth grade students have physical education class twice each week. The role of our physical education program is to help all students develop health-related fitness, physical competence, cognitive understanding, and positive attitudes about physical activities. Our physical education program fulfills this role by including:
- Skill development
- Developmentally appropriate physical activities
- Improved fitness
- Integration with other subject areas
- Self-discipline, improved self-esteem
- Stress reduction
- Experience with goal setting, leadership, cooperation
- Responsibility for behavior
Health education is presented in grades five through eight during the second and third quarters of the school year. Topics include:
- Fifth grade – Focus on YOU (systems of the body with a focus on the skeletal and muscular systems)
- Sixth grade – Smoking and spit tobacco (prevention, education, cost, consequences, and advertising)
- Seventh grade – Drug education (drugs as medicine, OTC, legal and illegal drugs, alcohol, and steroids)
- Eighth grade – Stress and anger (identity and coping strategies, basic information on STDs and HIV/AIDS)
The music program provides varied opportunities for students in grades kindergarten through eight to understand and appreciate music from many periods in history, as well as liturgical music. Weekly classes, taught by a music specialist, incorporate singing, rhythm activities, movement, and theory with special emphasis on listening skills. Music and other related arts are presented in light of their relationship to social studies, language arts, religion, and other areas of the curriculum.
Each year, St. Thomas More School presents two musical plays – the annual Christmas play, which is performed by all students in the fifth and sixth grades, and the Arts Festival play in May, which is performed by many seventh and eighth grade students. All students who audition participate in the production. Rehearsals are held after school. Depending on the play presented, students are featured in speaking, singing, and dancing roles.
The computer science program prepares students to function within our technological society. Students in grades seven and eight participate in a weekly computer class taught by a computer specialist focusing on computer science fundamentals. In addition to computers in the main computer lab, all students have access to an iPad as an educational resource. Students learn the fundamentals of using technology embedded throughout their school day. They develop proficiency in many areas such as word processing, presentation tools, and research. A second computer lab is available in the Primary Learning Center for kindergarten, first, and second grade students. All computers have access to the Internet. Its use is controlled and monitored by teachers and restrictive software. Teachers reserve the right to restrict Internet access to students due to improper use. A copy of the school’s Acceptable Use Policy is included in the handbook, and both students and parents agree to compliance with signatures.
The libraries in the main school building and the Primary Learning Center are open during school hours. Students are taught to utilize library skills during a weekly library period. The library collection includes over 12,000 books. The Internet is accessible in the library and is available for student use with proper supervision. The library is staffed by a certified librarian who is assisted by volunteers.
Seventh and eighth grade students are scheduled for three periods of Spanish per week. Students study the language and culture of Spain and Mexico. They learn fundamental vocabulary, grammar, and conversational phrases as they gain an appreciation for the Spanish culture through art, dance, song, and cuisine.