Resource & Enrichment
“Our zeal is always guided by charity, everything is done with strength and gentleness: strength because we are courageous and unshakable in the midst of pain, difficulty and trials…and with gentleness because we have the tenderness of the Divine Model.” ~Blessed Basil Moreau
Saint Joseph Grade School is committed to helping children meet their fullest potential as students and deepen our students’ passion for learning. Part of what makes our academic program so unique and successful is our investment in resource and enrichment for our students. We seek to meet the needs of a wide range of learners, from those needing extra support to those ready for additional learning enrichment. A dedicated resource faculty team and purposeful assessment, support, and enrichment programs help all SJGS students become the best learners they can be.
We purposefully assess our students on a regular basis during the year using NWEA, a tool which allows us to use real-time data to inform instruction and enhance what we do in the classroom. These regular assessments provide teachers with a mechanism to track progress but also, more importantly, allow them to differentiate instruction where needed by pinpointing individual student needs.
As an example of this concept in action, using assessment data with our literature-based curriculum allows our teachers to meet the needs of each reader by placing them in books in their reading level, something we could’t do with a textbook-based curriculum.
Saint Joseph Grade School offers a robust resource support program to provide one-on-one, small group, and in-class academic support services to students. Four dedicated resource faculty members work with students and their teachers in grades K-8 to provide math, literacy, and learning skills support, as well as enrichment opportunities, in order to help all students meet their fullest potential. Resource support programs include:
- Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI): A program designed for students who need growth in reading and writing, with a goal of bringing them to grade level reading within 12-20 weeks. LLI is designed to be used with small groups for intensive support. Each level of text gets increasingly more difficult gradually. All students are given benchmark assessments to determine if they would benefit from participating in the program.
- Fast Forward is offered to students, based on need, to improve brain development through an individualized series of games on iPads. The program improves and strengthens critical language and reading skills, such as phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, working memory, syntax, and grammar. Fast Forward is a great program for students who have gaps in their learning.
In addition to administering these programs and skills support, our resource faculty assist in overseeing individual education plans, testing accommodation, and benchmark assessments. SJGS also provides learning disabilities diagnosis, as well as speech therapy, through the local public school corporation.
Minds In Motion
Minds In Motion, implemented in preschool through 8th grade at SJGS, is a unique, movement-based program that focuses on improving a child’s cognitive functioning by integrating specialized but simple movements. Under the guidance of our trained Minds In Motion instructor, students perform exercises and challenges that are designed to strengthen their focusing skills, integrate their sensory skills, and train their learning skills through the stimulation of visual, auditory, and motor processes. The outcome of this research-validated program is a better integrated and balanced child who will perform better in school and at home.
Learning is a function of the whole nervous system. Children have difficulty learning if all of the sensory systems are not helping them to process what is on the page and in their environment. The more fine-tuned the sensory and motor systems – the more one can learn and the easier it is to learn. Program benefits include:
- Increasing the child’s ability to work for longer periods of time
- Increasing confidence and self-esteem
- Increasing the child’s comfort in the classroom
- Increasing the child’s control over his or her behavior
Learning abilities emphasized in Minds In Motion include concentration, sequencing, memory, patterning, accuracy, control, coordination, and focus. For more information about the Minds In Motion program, please visit mimlearning.com.
In 2016, SJGS received a grant from The Cressy Foundation to create a Sensory Program, which includes a dedicated Sensory Room as well as “sensory boxes” for each grade level. In collaboration with Memorial Children’s Therapy Center, SJGS staff are trained in understanding various sensory areas and the best ways to support students through best practices using sensory techniques and equipment. The program allows for the use of the equipment and techniques throughout the school day to help each child be successful.
Project Lead The Way (PLTW)
A very popular enrichment program in our classrooms, PLTW taps into our K-5 students’ exploratory nature, engages them in learning that feels like play, and encourages them to keep discovering – now and for years to come. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations, students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and learn to try and try again when faced with challenges.
With PLTW, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. Students apply knowledge from a variety of disciplines as they engage in hands-on activities, projects, and problems reflective of real-world scenarios and careers. The program aims to help shape the innovators, creators, and designers of today and tomorrow.
Young Authors Conference
The Young Authors Conference is a program kickstarted in local Catholic schools by former SJGS principal Suzanne Wiwi in 1994. Our K-6 students have the opportunity to assemble with hundreds of other local students each year in March with self-written books in hand, which they have creatively crafted in their own classrooms. They are treated to a morning of entertainment and sage advice from a well-known author, and the experience culminates with each student reading the book he/she has written to a small group of peers. Thus, the children’s efforts and the power of their words find a place where they are honored and appreciated, giving them a true sense of accomplishment!
Additional Enrichment Programs
SJGS provides numerous enrichment activities for students, both inside and outside the classroom. A sample of programming includes:
- Read Across America
- Spelling Bee
- Geography Bee
- Math Competition
- Science Fair
- Learning Garden
- Music/Drama Performances
Our students are also able to experience a variety of educational field trips, such as our kindergarten’s visit to the apple orchard, and our 7th grade’s visit to the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.