Academics

Curriculum


Saint Raphael Elementary School offers a curriculum that provides our students with the building blocks for lifetime learning and faith development. We offer a strong, traditional curriculum that seeks knowledge and practice of the Catholic faith, academic excellence, and moral courage. Our curriculum meets all the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and gives special attention to the integration of Gospel values. In addition to a rich curriculum, students enjoy an articulate and caring faculty, an intimacy with the church and parish, and a variety of special subjects, enrichment programs, extracurricular activities, athletic programs and community service activities.

The academic coursework at Saint Raphael Elementary School is designed to be both challenging and intellectually fulfilling. Core classes of Religion, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies are linked closely with Art, Character Development, Library, Music, Physical Education, Spanish, and Writing. All exercises, teaching methods, homework and discussions are grade appropriate and tailored for individual abilities through differentiation. Instruction in technology, computer literacy and library skills are offered as special subjects and are also integrated throughout the core subjects.

By using integrated, interdisciplinary teaching strategies, Saint Raphael Elementary School promotes academic excellence and sound character development within a nurturing environment, ensuring that each child is treated as an individual. Remedial and Gifted auxiliary services are available to qualifying students. At Saint Raphael Elementary School, we are committed to helping every child reach his or her fullest potential.

CLASS SIZES Class Size and Teacher to Student Ratio Information

CORE SUBJECTSReligion, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

SPECIAL SUBJECTSArt, Library, Music, Physical Education, Health, Spanish

COMMUNICATIONProgress Reports, Report Cards and Parent Teacher Conferences

OLWEUS ANTI-BULLYINGSchool Bullying Prevention Program

 

 

Class Sizes

Saint Raphael Elementary is proud to offer small classroom sizes. Our average teacher to student ratio is 1:17 and our average class size is 15 students. Our experienced teachers demand a high moral standard of student/student interaction and accredited curriculum.

Core Subjects

All core subjects are taught by subject certified instructors. Please click on the subject(s) below for details.

Central to Saint Raphael's Religion Program is a heartfelt love for Sacred Scripture, the Eucharistic Liturgy, and the Sacraments. All students are invited to live as responsible Catholic Christians, which includes cultivating virtues for life with particular regard to integrity, justice, faith, and peace.

Kindergarten and Grade 1 students participate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepard, a program designed to support the involvement of children and adults through a Montessori environment to experience religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant.

Students in Grades 5 - 8 participate in the Diocesan Catholic Vision of Love (CVOL) programwhich communicates the emotions of the whole person and aims to guide students to apply their personal freedom in choosing a way of life that is faithful to the Gospel word. Students participate in retreats and collaborate with one another to guide their learning experience.

Second through Eighth Grade classes also participate in sacramental preparation. The students work together to discuss and learn about the importance of God in their lives.

English, Reading, Writing, Handwriting, Spelling, Vocabulary

The Reading and Literature Program at St. Raphael is designed to develop and encourage fluent, discerning readers at every level.  For Kindergarten through Grade 5 students, this includes decoding and work recognition, strategies for comprehension, and fluency. Students in Grades 6 through 8, are introduced to various works of literature, examining the styles and techniques of celebrated authors.  We aim to instill a lifelong love of reading in all our students, at every age.

A Language Arts component enhances the Saint Raphael Reading and Literature Program.  Language Arts includes grammar, spelling, and rubric-based composition.  A Vocabulary Program supplements the literature series.  Students demonstrate comprehension through projects, oral presentations, and testing.  Poetry and prose compositions and research papers are also part of our curriculum.

DIBELS is known as dynamic indicators of basic early literacy. Our students participate in this program along with the Step by Step learning program. These programs allow our teachers to implement more one on one instruction based on the student’s individual learning needs.

The Saint Raphael mathematics curriculum is designed to ensure understanding of problem solving through concrete approaches.  Basic skills are reinforced through hands-on activities, practice exercises, and computer discs for tutorial purposes.  Students are taught Pre-Algebra and algebra in grades 7 & 8.
The aim of the Saint Raphael science program is to (1) acquaint students with basic scientific concepts, including vocabulary, and (2) provide opportunities for hands-on experimentation. In the upper grades, a quality laboratory provides the ideal setting for discovery to take place.

Our 5th-8th grade students participate in a STEM program in collaboration with Central Catholic High school. Through this program our students are exposed to 21st century skills to better prepare them for the future.

Additionally,our program has been expanded through a current partnership with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and membership in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS).
Social Studies at Saint Raphael begins with the concept of general community formation and expands to encompass regions in the United States and abroad. Students develop skills for understanding maps and discover how the location of resources has implications for economic viability. Pennsylvania History enable fourth grade students to understand their heritage and local culture. Upper grade students take on the challenge of exploring ancient civilizations and United States History while all students engage in activities that encourage global awareness, futuristic thinking, and social justice.


Special Subjects

Please click on the subject(s) below for details.

Weekly art classes introduce students to a variety of mediums such as charcoal, chalk, and pastel painting.  Instruction also includes techniques in color, spacing, sketching, and mosaics.
The user-friendly library at Saint Raphael boasts more than 7000 volumes, with excellent reference works for research.  All Kindergarten through Grade 8 students have a weekly library period.
Our Music Program consists of weekly classes which includes theory, voice, and introduction to recorders in Grades 3, 4, and 5.  In addition, music is taught in religion classes and is an integral part of liturgical celebrations.  Band instruction is offered once a week for interested students.
Through the use of games and physical activity, Saint Raphael students develop skills, habits, and attitudes that will give them the opportunity for greater success in life. The Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge Program is used to assist students in identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

Our Health Curriculum provides students with the opportunity to take a role in the learning process, becoming active partners in maintaining and improving their level of wellness.  Healthy choices, sound knowledge, decision-making skills are components of the program that promotes personal responsibility for health.
Spanish is taught at every level at Saint Raphael.  The audiovisual kit "Espanola Para Ti" reinforces conversation in Kindergarten though Grade 6 and textbooks support written assignments in Grades 7 and 8.

Academic Communication

Progress Reports
Progress Reports are issued to students in Grades 1 through 8 mid-way between each grading period as to inform the student’s parents of current progress.

Report Cards
Report cards are issued four times a year at the conclusion of each quarter.

Parent Teacher Conferences
Parent conferences are scheduled following the first and third quarters. Teachers are also available for conferences at any time during the school year by appointment from 2:30pm to 3:00pm Tuesday through Thursday.