Curriculum development is an ongoing dynamic within the Villa Maria Community. Embedded within the framework of National Standards, the Common Core and State Standards, and directives from the Curriculum Supervisors of the IHM Community, the Villa Maria Academy academic program values the natural tendency of children to inquire, experience, find patterns, integrate meaning, and generate new questions.
The Curriculum Council, whose members include teachers and administrators, oversee curriculum development, implementation, and additional learning opportunities. Curriculum Coordinators manage the implementation of the curriculum at the various grade levels.
In addition to serving as members of the Curriculum Council or as Curriculum Coordinators, teachers and administrators also engage in reflective practice opportunities at monthly grade level meetings.
The integration of technology and the writing process throughout all the curricular areas are vital components in teaching for understanding and in developing life-long learning skills.
This intentional approach to curriculum development and integration attests to the high value that the Villa Maria professional learning community places on continuous intellectual and practitioner growth for all its members. Visit our Technology page to learn more about the technology we utilize.
The integration of spirituality with academics enables the religion program to become a lived-reality, rather than an isolated subject area. This program at Villa Maria Academy is comprised of both catechetical and religious formation dimensions. Traditional prayers, as well as meditative and formative prayer are taught. The School Pledge provides the framework for the realization that there is a world beyond that of our personal existence. “I believe that Jesus is present in each of my classmates, and in all my teachers. And, therefore, all my actions will show my respect for Jesus.”
Internalization of this belief, as well as commitment to a school-wide goal of reverence for the person as a unique creation of God, motivates the student at Villa Maria to respect life at all levels and reach out to those in need. Students receive guidance in developing relationships that are rooted in respect and reverence for others. Mission awareness projects and outreach programs are presented throughout the school year. Volunteer opportunities are available as a means of encouraging students to develop the service component of the program.
Sixth grade: Sixth grade students are introduced to an in-depth study of the Old Testament. In addition, sixth grade students are prepared for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Seventh grade: Students study the New Testament – the Four Gospels, Letters of the Early Church and the Acts of the Apostles.
Eighth grade: Church history, Catholic Social Teaching and morality are presented in the 8th grade.
In addition to formal religion classes, students also participate in:
- Daily prayer
- Eucharistic adoration
- First Friday Liturgies
- Opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Advent and Lenten prayer services
- Stations of the Cross
- Retreat experiences
Consistent with the educational mission of Villa Maria Academy, the English Language Arts program supports the school wide goal of fostering and developing a lifelong love of learning. In a language rich environment, the program encourages the development and deepening of the essential skills of reading, writing, vocabulary development, listening, and speaking. The ELA curriculum provides a multidimensional approach to achieving the goal of developing competent independent readers, who possess an appreciation of varied genres of literature.
A strong emphasis on self-expression through the instruction and practice of the writing process further enhances the ELA curriculum. Communication skills are strengthened as oral presentations correlate to literary selections. Individual electronic writing portfolios are developed through concentration on the writing process.
Cognizant of the intense relationship between mathematics and everyday life, the mathematics program at Villa Maria Academy plays a pivotal part in achieving the goal of preparing young women to assume leadership roles within the local and global community. The mathematics program is designed to enable students to view mathematics as a whole, rather than merely sets of rules and isolated skills.
The mathematics program at Villa Maria Academy meets the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and follows the Common Core Standards. These standards are evidenced at each grade level and aid in preparing the students for a future where mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, and collaborative problem solving are necessary skills.
The mathematics program focuses great attention on the concept and strategies of Problem Solving and the development of critical thinking skills. Students employ reasoning and become convinced that math makes sense. Reasoning mathematically becomes a habit of mind that is only reinforced through consistent use in many contexts. The mathematics program strives to achieve the school-wide goal of building self-esteem, as students learn to Communicate and express themselves clearly. They are encouraged to write about mathematical situations and concepts, and realize that they have much to gain from the insights of others.
The life-long love of learning is evidenced in the mathematics program from the earliest level. Students understand the far-reaching benefits of a solid foundation in mathematics, and are eager to make applications to daily life.
Students in the middle school advance from the study of numbers and number systems, geometry and measurement to pre-algebra skills in the seventh grade and an algebra class in the eighth grade.
An Accelerated Program is offered to students in the middle school who have met benchmark skills in norm-referenced standardized testing.
Consistent with the school-wide goals of Villa Maria Academy, the science curriculum affirms the school’s commitment to the “inculcation of a love for life-long learning.” The science curriculum enables the students to develop a clear and practical understanding of the Scientific Method. At every level, students are encouraged to make hypotheses, gather data, follow procedures, and draw conclusions. In a society that underestimates the success of women in science, the science program “encourages students to perceive and maximize their capabilities” in this discipline.
Students in the sixth grade explore earth science topics, while students in the seventh and eighth grade are introduced to life science and physical science topics, respectively.
Students in the middle school are presented with a weekly opportunity for a science lab experience. With its hands-on approach, this deepens the goal of creating science literacy, whereby students understand science as it relates to their everyday lives.
In addition, middle school students participate in the annual Science Fair through submission of individual projects.
Villa Maria Academy is dedicated to the formation of young women who must assume leadership and service roles within the local and global community. Therefore, it is incumbent on the academic program to develop an awareness of the world around us.
The social studies curriculum is designed to broaden the horizons of our students, thus helping them to realize the impact of past and present events, in our country, and around the world. Our program fosters active participation in civic responsibility.
Highlighted in the daily instruction are the following areas:
Grade Six: Focus on the major geographical regions of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Grade Seven: Focus on the development of the United States as a strong and free nation from the Age of Exploration to Post Civil War Reconstruction.
Grade Eight: Focus on the study of American History from the Civil War to the present.
According to the standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, the United States must educate students who are linguistically and culturally equipped to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad.”
At Villa Maria Academy, we share the vision of a “future in which all students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least in one other language.” Our mission of preparing girls to become Christian women who assume leadership roles in society compels us to equip our students with the tools that will accomplish this task. Students in the middle grades are given the option to choose the language they will study through the Rosetta Stone Program.