The Middle School years are ones of great academic, social, emotional, and spiritual growth as students transition from the elementary classroom to the high school environment. While with us in our Middle School, students take more responsibility for themselves, their work, and their actions. They change classes every forty-five minutes, and learn to work with many teachers for the different subjects.
It is a very exciting time as students work toward realizing their own potential and the unique gifts they have to offer. During these years, as they prepare for the future, we will continue to focus on our relationship with Jesus and how we can best serve Him now and in the years to come.
Middle School acts as a crossroad. Our 8th grade students have one foot in our hallways and the other foot reaching out to the high school of their choice. Our goal will be to help them make that leap, and to do so as smoothly as possible. We will have fun working on our yearbook, going on our eighth grade class trip and preparing for graduation. Sharing memories will be an important part of the year.
Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School follows the standardized learning outcomes that have been established by committees of expert Catholic school leaders and teachers, and reviewed by the Catholic Schools Office. You can read of the standardized learning outcomes as part of their academic resources through their website.
Additionally Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School partners with Bishop Feehan High School for early action application as part of the Partner School Early Action Program. Bishop Feehan High School clearly states that Early Action acceptances are conditional on a student remaining at our school and successfully on a good path academically, behaviorally, and spiritually through the completion of our course of studies. In 8th grade, Early Action students must complete the traditional 8th grade application process (including entrance exam) to finalize the acceptance. To learn more about this wonderful partnership visit the PSEA site here.
Saint Mary-Sacred Heart School’s science program follows the Next Generation
Science Standards as adopted by the Diocese of Fall River. This framework focuses on the interconnected nature of the science disciplines to create a habit of mind that engages the broad scope of inquiries in science. In this way, a life science class will understand the chemistry of an organisms’ functions, consider technology and engineering projects to enhance life on earth and use math to explore the physics of these problems. This STEM modality is used to great effect in the text/workbook combination used in grades 7-8.
Pearson Publishing’s user-friendly Interactive Science promotes higher level thinking through questions asking students to apply, analyze and evaluate their learning in writing alongside the content as well as at the end of a lesson. In addition, the scientific method is taught and practiced through many hands-on experiments and a yearly Science Fair project which includes a properly cited research paper. Frequent lessons on current affairs in science keep the learning thoughtful and fun!
The two year social studies curriculum investigates the history, geography, politics, and society of both the continent of North America and the country of the United States.
The 7th and 8th grade curriculum follows the history of North America and the origins of the United States while covering economics, government, philosophy, art, and social issues. The ultimate goal is to provide students with a rich foundation of knowledge about their nation for future study and responsible citizenship. Throughout the year, students explore questions about American identity and government structure, and the ongoing challenges of an ever growing and diversifying population. Continuing chronologically the course concludes in the late 20th century.
English Language Arts
7th Grade ELA
The language arts curriculum is enhanced by further study in the areas of literature, vocabulary, writing and grammar. In addition to an anthology of works, students will read a myriad of pieces throughout their coursework in literature. Through a systematic vocabulary program, students will expand and improve their vocabularies through context, word study and reading passages. In addition to building upon the foundation of the writing process program, students will be given the opportunity to writing routinely over both shorter and extended time frames in order to develop and strengthen planning, revising, editing and rewriting of their work. As part of our daily routine, students will be able to demonstrate a command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing and speaking.
8th Grade ELA
Learning is centered on grammar, writing, and literature. The grammatical structures that are studied are used in writing activities to put into practice what the students have learned. Eighth graders write poetry, journals, paragraphs, essays, personal reflections, and a research paper. They also create a scrapbook of memories that includes many additional pieces of writing. In the study of literature, the short story, poetry, and the novel are included. Students strive to analyze the story line and uncover the character, theme, conflict, and point of view of each story. Through the study of literature, vocabulary is expanded by learning and using new words that are presented in the works that are read. To supplement this learning students use Vocabulary Workshop to further enhance their word knowledge. The curriculum is enriched by the use of cooperative work, academic games, songs, and a variety of other learning activities.
The Saint Mary-Sacred Heart middle school religion program continues the development of the student as a whole person spiritually, academically, and socially with Jesus as our model. Students grow in faith and knowledge of Catholicism through a deeper study of the six topics as outlined in the learning outcomes of the Diocese of Fall River: Church, Prayer & Liturgy, Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, Creed/ Doctrine and Morality & Social Justice. Throughout their time in middle school, our students put their faith in action through their respect for self, their interactions with each other and their service to those in need.
The Math program in Grades 7 and 8 will challenge each student to his or her highest potential. Emphasis is placed not only on facts and comprehension of word problems, but also on developing relationships between the math they are learning and real-world scenarios.
Grade 7 Mathematics
In grade 7, students will experience a review, maintenance, and practice of the skills and concepts of the rational number system taught in 6th grade. They will develop skills in percent, ratio, and proportion. Students will strengthen skills in solving one and two-step equations. Students will analyze and relate properties of geometric figures. All students will engage in mathematical practices such as reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning, and looking for and making use of structure.
Grade 8 Mathematics
Students in the 8th grade math curriculum will experience a review, maintenance, and practice of the skills and concepts of the rational number system. They will develop and strengthen skills in number theory, exponents, percent, and ratio & proportion. Students will also solve problems involving area, perimeter, and volume; angle measurement; coordinate graphing; and statistics and probability. In order to solidify algebraic concepts and skills, students will work with variables, write algebraic expressions, solve multi-step equations and inequalities, and solve related applications. These skills will provide a strong background in basic algebra. All students will engage in mathematical practices such as reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning, and looking for and making use of structure.
The curriculum for 7th and 8th grade accelerated math is based on diocesan and state common core standards. These standards include major portions of algebra I and geometry. The emphasis in Accelerated Math is on building proficiency in doing the math. Students are identified for these courses based on their previous performance in math classes. The pace is accelerated as compared to other math classes at these grade levels and students are expected to maintain a specific average in order to stay in the class. Class sizes are generally smaller, which allows for interaction among the participants. Each topic is handled in the following sequence: watch the teacher do it and ask questions, try it yourself and ask questions, and try it on your own for homework and ask questions in class the next day. Each class sets its own pace determined by its ability to absorb the material.
The SMSH Pre K through 8 technology/computer course curriculum focuses on progressive development of technical skills through the years. Students develop basic computer technology skills, knowledge, and competencies that will enhance opportunities for learning in all areas of the classroom curriculum. The focus is technology as a tool to enhance the learning process and to develop 21st century skills.
The pre-kindergarten students use iPads to begin basic technical skill development. The kindergarten through 8 computer skills developed include: ergonomics, keyboarding, word processing, spreadsheet creation, presentation, movie making, digital drawing, internet use including acceptable use, search, internet safety and digital citizenship. Also included in the curriculum is web page design and introduction to programming concepts. Cross product skills transfer is emphasized when learning new and advanced skills. Students in K-3 use Microsoft Office Suite. Students in 4-8 use G-Suite accounts for email and to build on skills developed using Microsoft Office Suite. A variety of online age specific programs are also used.
Knowledge of other languages is essential in a global society. The primary goal of the Spanish program at SMSH is to introduce students to the excitement of learning another language while building a strong foundation on which to continue their language studies at the high school level and beyond. In the sixth grade, the focus is to learn the basics of Spanish pronunciation and vocabulary for basic communication. As students continue the program in the seventh and eighth grade, their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are further enhanced as they learn more complex vocabulary and grammar rules and usage. Hispanic culture is introduced through a variety of resources with the hope that the students gain an understanding and respect of other cultures. Students are also exposed to prayer and religious traditions in relation to the Hispanic culture.
Our art studio is a place of discovery, creativity, new ideas, amazing art history lessons, and a place of community. We have fun in the art room and work in a stress free environment to explore the elements of art.
Each class is exposed to different forms of art. Art media is chosen based on grade level and skill sets. The students are encouraged to explore their passions and curiosities. The SMSH art studio is a place full of vibrant colors and life, allowing students to make the world their own.
In our physical education program, as a diverse learning community, we will provide every student with a positive, stimulating, and personalized learning experience encouraged in a safe and orderly environment. Physical education is an integral part of the total education process that focuses on the intellectual, emotional and physical needs of the student. Our physical education program will strive not only to attain physical fitness and new skills, but also to emphasize a more positive self-image, more desirable social behavior and the joy of feeling well. All students will be treated with dignity and respect regardless of ability while participating in developmentally appropriate activities.
Our hope is to promote enthusiasm within each student for developing and continuing a long, healthy and physical lifestyle. Our objective is to encourage all students to achieve their highest potential, within themselves and to obtain physical, mental and social satisfaction with each physical activity.
St. Mary-Sacred Heart School teaches the Christian values that we as parents strive to instill in our children every day. It is our belief that Catholic educators teach not only students minds but also their spirit in order to develop a high character individual that will strive to make the right life choices and become high integrity members of the church and society. After 12 years at SMSH, we’ve seen the many benefits of Catholic education. Our oldest of 2 sons began at SMSH the year the full day Kindergarten program began in 2006 and is now a junior at Bishop Feehan High school in the honors program as are many of the students who got their foundation at SMSH. Our 7th grade son also began in kindergarten and has reaped many benefits of an ever growing curriculum and new middle school environment preparing him to be extremely successful in high school. Our teachings at home to be generous, kind to others, spiritual and service oriented are further encouraged with Catholic education making SMSH the best choice for our children and family.Drs. Joseph and Stephanie Capua, parents of 2015 and 2019
SMSH has allowed our boys to grow and mature into confident young men. The focus on faith, family engagement, and caring staff creates a safe yet challenging academic environment. Both of our very different sons thrived at SMSH and are well prepared to take on increased academic, social and emotional demands of high school.Mr. Daniel Powers, parent of members of the classes of 2016 and 2018
We have been a part of the SMSH family for 11 years now, and are so blessed to be able to call this "our school". We have watched our children grow from curious, enthusiastic Kindergarten students into well-rounded, critically-thinking Eighth Graders, who understand and appreciate their Catholic faith. They have played numerous sports, including basketball and track, and they especially enjoyed running on the SMSH Cross Country team, which has won the Division Championship title for the past 3 years in a row. Most importantly, they have been supported along the way by outstanding and dedicated teachers and faculty. Our oldest child is currently a sophomore at Bishop Feehan High School, and SMSH prepared her incredibly well for her high school endeavors. We look forward to watching our younger children continue to develop and grow in this supportive and nurturing environment.Mrs. Ellen Parkinson, parent 2016, 2018, and 2022