The St. Matthew’s Catholic School curriculum follows guidelines based on national standards as established by the Office of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Richmond. The curriculum addresses the needs of the individual student, building fundamental skills and fostering higher-level thinking abilities. Lessons are designed to be differentiated, engaging, diversified, integrated, rigorous and challenging. Varied learning styles and abilities are a primary consideration in both instruction and assessment.
The religion program demonstrates a distinct Christ -centered Catholic mission by working collaboratively with parents and the parish to ensure active participation in the life of the Church. We provide quality faith formation where tradition, teachings, and values are integrated throughout our curriculum. Our welcoming spirit encourages clergy and parish staff to be an integral and supportive part of our foundation.
The mathematics program is a challenging, multifaceted, and integrated curriculum designed to encourage students to maximize their learning potential, and to relate the curriculum to life experiences. Students in K through 5 build basic math and problem solving skills, while middle school students enhance their critical thinking and further enhance their problem solving skills. The middle school math program is multi level with courses ranging from basic math to high school geometry.
Throughout the Language Arts program extensive study and practice of grammar, writing, reading and vocabulary are woven into each class time in differentiated styles allowing for all types of learning levels to master the given concepts. Opportunities are given for the students to develop and improve writing skills through research assignments, journaling, peer-review, a variety of poetry writing, personal narratives, and short story fiction writing. Literature is also incorporated into the program, including reading and studying poetry, short stories, and autobiography, biography, fiction, non-fiction, mystery, science-fiction, and mythology novels. Novels are introduced as early as the 4th grade. Middle school students participate in a summer reading program.
The Science curriculum covers topics relevant to earth science, life science, and physical science. A state of the art Science Lab was built in 2007. Lessons develop analytical thinking and a general science knowledge foundation. While class lecture is used, there is much diversified learning with lab experiments, demonstrations, and some project based instruction. In addition, there is a focus on collaboration and communication skills, as students complete experiments in teams and write formal lab analyses.
The social studies program is focused on developing and reinforcing geographical, cultural, historical, and socio-political knowledge based on diocesan, state, and national standards. Students in grades K through 3 obtain general knowledge of community, culture, place, with historical content, whereas grades 4 and 5 concentrate solely on Virginia History and United States History, respectively. Middle School students receive interactive, challenging instruction in World History and Cultures, United States History, and Civics. The entire student body participates in activities surrounding local and national elections. Overall our goal is for students to obtain an understanding and appreciation of global history and culture, and to develop into informed and productive citizens.
Teachers are encouraged to integrate technology into the curriculum through use of classroom smartboards or interactive touch screens, which we are fortunate to have in each classroom. Additionally, students in each grade level receive computer instruction in our state of the art computer lab. We have internet access throughout the school. 5th grade through 8th grade can utilize our BYOD program to use in the classroom for instruction. Teachers have access to our media center which includes a 65in J-touch interactive display, conference camera, surround sound, and side monitor for instructional use. Teachers use this space to hold video conferences in the classroom and explore different locations through virtual field trips.
PE & Health
The physical education and health program assesses the fitness and ability levels of each student on a regular basis. Students in Kindergarten Prep meet two days a week for 30 minutes each, Kindergarten meets one day a week for 45 minutes, grades 1 through 5 meet two days a week for 45 minutes each, grades 6 through 8 meet three days a week for 45 minutes each. Students in grades 7 and 8 can choose to take an elective class for physical education one day a week for 45 minutes on top of their regular curriculum of physical education. Students explore health and wellness by studying topics relating to personal, social, mental, and physical health. The President’s Physical Fitness Challenge Test is administered annually in grades 1-8.
Foreign Language instruction is provided weekly to every student in grades K to 6, integrating technology in each lesson. Primary students combine the dynamics of praying, listening and speaking with Spanish songs and games. Seventh grade students are taught Spanish one period per week. Eighth grade students are offered Spanish 1 for high school credit. Our Spanish classes are based on the immersion technique of speaking, hearing, writing and reading in the language. After the first few weeks, all students are encouraged to speak only Spanish during class.
The Library program features a skills curriculum for grades Kindergarten Prep through 5th grade, and interactive experiences with children’s literature in primary grades, including Kindergarten Prep. Practice with book parts, Dewey decimals, fiction genres, 3-D models, unique accessories, and puppets.
The Kindergarten Prep through 8th grade Art program at St. Matthew’s is collaborative across the curriculum involving math, science, language arts, religion and social studies. Students are introduced to artists around the world from Michelangelo to local artists from Virginia. Self expression is encouraged through multiple mediums by drawing, clay and paint.
Students in grades Kindergarten Prep through 8th grade participate in weekly music class covering areas that include dance and movement, performing on classroom percussion instruments, music appreciation, theory, and music history. Two choirs (Elementary and Middle School) perform under the direction of the General Music teacher several times a year. Middle school students participate in Student Night at the Opera, an evening field trip to Virginia Opera’s Dress Rehearsal Performances four times a year. Additionally, every student at St. Matthew’s is involved in one major stage