Curriculum follows California Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards
Students in middle school develop an understanding of key concepts through hands-on lab experiences to help them make sense of science concepts. The NGSS performance expectations in earth science blend the core ideas with scientific and engineering practices, as well as, crosscutting concepts to support students in developing usable knowledge to explain real-world phenomena in scientific terms. NGSS performance expectations at the middle school level focus on students developing an understanding of several scientific practices. These include developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematical and computational thinking, constructing explanations, integrating technology and research-based projects to demonstrate an understanding of the core ideas. Students are also expected to demonstrate an understanding of several engineering practices including design and evaluation.
The California Common Core for 6th grade math focuses on the following mathematical practices: making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, modeling with mathematics, using appropriate tools strategically, attending to precision, looking for and making use of structure, and looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. These practices are achieved through the study of the number system, expressions and equations, geometry, ratios and proportions, and statistics and probability. In the 6th grade, projects are used to reinforce core concepts. These include working with with fractions to scale up recipes, roleplaying a packaging engineer to design the most efficient way to box and ship chocolate candies, and surveying the school to create pie charts. The web-based program Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is used to supplement instruction and personalize student learning.
Sixth graders gain a deeper understanding of the people, the lessons, and the process through which the Bible was written. They reflect more deeply on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), learning about how God’s people, then and now, are called to be faithful to a covenant. The students are called to grow and respond more in faith as they learn about the challenges and the faith of people in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures who were faithful to God. Sixth graders learn to appreciate creation more deeply and to understand more about what their responsibilities are to one another and to the world in which they live.The course of study is designed to be in accordance with the Religion outcomes determined by the Diocese of San Jose Department of Education.
Students review and deepen their understanding of geography, both physical and human. They also reflect on why it is important to study and understand history and how historians study history. With a strong focus on project learning and critical thinking, sixth graders learn about the origins of human beings and our development from pre-history through ancient cultures around the world. Whether studying ancient Egypt or India, Mesopotamia, China, or Greece, among other cultures, sixth graders at St. John Vianney Catholic School blend technology with direct teaching in order to both learn the California history curriculum and progress along the Common Core for reading and writing in social studies.