St. Francis School celebrates the fact that everyone learns differently, and we work with each student to identify and cultivate specific interests and goals in a challenging and stimulating educational environment. We believe in teaching students to think critically and reason intellectually, which we believe prepares them to be successful citizens and exceptional leaders of tomorrow. As a school community, we are united in making sure all our students are challenged and supported.
Our faculty and staff appreciate the commitment and sacrifice parents make to give students the gift of a Catholic education. As a school community, we take that trust very seriously.
Above all, it's our mission to bring Christ’s love to every student and to teach them to love the same way.
Learning Support Program
St. Francis School takes great pride in meeting the individual learning needs of every student. Our Learning Support Program offers many opportunities for students to receive additional instruction to support them in meeting grade level standards - at no additional cost to parents. Our LSP teachers offer in-class support, as well as specialized instruction for limited periods of time in the area of reading, writing and mathematics.
The Learning Support Program teachers are dedicated to making every student feel successful and supporting them on their academic journey. They partner with homeroom teachers and parents to differentiate and individualize instruction by setting measurable goals to ensure that all students receive the support they need in order to achieve the student learning expectations of St. Francis School. In addition to providing direct academic support, the Learning Support Program also acts a liaison between St. Francis School and the public school districts for students with learning differences.
Our Mission Statement and Student Learning Expectations focus on Faith and Stewardship. While learning all the precepts of their faith, students are encouraged to serve others in the local and global communities. We believe by serving others, we serve our God. It is our belief Jesus formed his disciples through instructing, celebrating, witnessing, praying, living in community with others, and sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God. We too are called to share the richness of faith through knowledge, words and actions. Knowing Jesus calls us to celebrate this relationship also reminds us of the need for ongoing conversion, which leads to prayer, recognizing the needs of others, and realizing how we are called to share the Good News all the time to everybody around us.
St. Francis School Religious Education Standards are designed to offer a systematic and comprehensive framework for sharing our Catholic faith and beliefs from Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. These Religious Education Standards offer instructional outcomes based on the Six Tasks of Catechesis to guide the process of faith formation. The Six Tasks of Catechesis include, Knowledge of the Faith; Liturgical Education; Moral Formation; Learning to Pray; Education for Community Life; and Missionary Discipleship and Service. The first four tasks are the content, the “what” of our Catholic faith. “How” we live out this content is found in the last two tasks. These tasks are distinct but also complementary. Each task helps us deepen our relationship with Christ. While we take these tasks seriously, we also acknowledge our greatest responsibility is to lead our students to heaven.
English Language Arts
St. Francis School utilizes a balanced literacy model to instruct English Language Arts. Research based, rigorous curriculum is utilized to integrate authentic reading, writing, speaking and listening experiences to teach literacy strategies and skills. the Reading Writing Workshop model of instruction is implemented throughout the grades Kindergarten to eighth grade. Reading and Writing Workshop Structure, the Units of Study, and depth of understanding progress each year of school, but the methodology and delivery of instruction is the same each year.
One of the key features of the Readers Workshop is the time and pace provided for students to read just right text. Reading units cycle through a focus on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid texts. Assessments are formative and summative. STAR, the norm referenced, standardized assessment to assess knowledge and opportunity for feedback and goal setting.
Writing units include instruction in the areas of three text types of opinion, information, and narrative writing. Writer’s Workshop also includes a mini-lesson and independent writing time in which students are expected to practice a strategy during a phase of the writing process including generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Writer’s Workshop also includes teacher-student conferencing, small group instruction, and a close/share in which students have an opportunity to model or express how they used the strategy during the workshop time. Assessment is frequent, both in formative and summative forms. On Demand Writing assessments are administered twice a year and data collected from these Benchmarks are disaggregated, analyzed and used to inform instruction.
Speaking and Listening
The speaking and listening standards are embedded into the reading and writing workshops. Students learn the nuances between partner talk, small group discussion, and whole class shares. Students also present published pieces in more formal public speaking settings
Word Study is an integral part of the balanced literacy. In grades K-5, teachers utilize Words-Their-Way to teach decoding and vocabulary. Based on years of research into invented and developmental spelling, the classroom-proven framework of this successful series is keyed to the five stages of spelling and orthographic development. Students in grades Kindergarten through fifth are given an initial assessment and based on that assessment they are leveled to receive the appropriate instruction and support.
Grammar is how we organize our words and sentences to communicate with others and to express ourselves. What we can do with written language is very different from what we can do with spoken language. When we write, we have time to hone and craft our language, and so the grammar of our writing is very different from the grammar of our speaking. At St. Francis School explicit instruction supports the development of phonological awareness, phonics, word study, vocabulary, and grammar as core academic skills and critical thinking activities in all areas of English Language development.
Our math instruction emphasizes three major principles of focus, coherence and rigor. The Standards for Mathematical Practice (MP) are developed throughout each grade and, together with the content standards, prescribe that students experience mathematics as a rigorous, coherent, useful, and logical subject. The MP standards represent a picture of what it looks like for students to understand and do mathematics in the classroom and is integrated into every mathematics lesson for all students. Although the description of the MP standards remains the same at all grade levels, the way these standards look as students engage with and master new and more advanced mathematical ideas, does change a lot.
Assessment and feedback are regular and ongoing. STAR Math and Math Benchmarks are the primary data sources for analysis. STAR Math is administered at least three times a year and the data collected is analyzed, disaggregated, and utilized for goal setting, feedback and inform instruction.
Teachers at St. Francis use a hands-on approach and implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in all grades. Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas (content), scientific and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts. The integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering is practiced in the real world. All middle school science lesson takes place in the science lab with the major foci on Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. and students in grades K-5 also receive a weekly STEM lesson in the science lab.
Ever year, students in Grades 7 and 8 participate in the local Science Fair, and winners from the school have the privilege of competing in the San Diego County Science Fair.
We follow the California Social Studies Framework and focus on preparing students to be outstanding citizens of their community, state, nation and world. Emphasis on current events and connecting the past to the present is a major focus of the curriculum. Students learn that studying the past helps them to understand the present to make a better future. Teachers make use of a variety of techniques to meet these goals. Examples include videos, debates, field trips, presentations, and discussions. Students also examine a variety of primary and secondary sources in their analyses of social studies and its effects on humanity. Students in Grades 4-8 participate in the school Geography Bee, and the winner participates in the National Geographic Society Geography Bee.
ALOHA is our physical education motto - it stands for "A Lifetime of Healthy Activities." K-8 students attend P.E. classes twice a week in which they learn basic skills, how to play games, learn about and participate in fitness activities, setting goals and even creating team dances and leading their own lesson plans. At SFS, we believe in developing our students to be independent participants, but also how to work with partners and small groups, as well as teaching them about the unique roles that each of us plays on a team. Our students learn to become leaders, how to communicate with others and how to be good followers while learning different skills and sports. We want our students to walk away each day knowing that God wants us to take care of our bodies both spiritually and physically.
St. Francis School utilizes a video-based art curriculum and lesson plans for Grades K-8. This curriculum meets all California Art Standards. Lessons are ordered in developmental/sequential approach to teaching art elements and principles, as well as drawing, technique, artist appreciation, art history, multi-cultural art, media exploration and self-expression. The emphasis is on creative self-expression, learning by doing, and on the development of the right-brain learning. Students participate in the San Diego County Fair and regularly place in the top ranks for their talent and creativity. At the end of the year the school also hosts an Art Walk to feature at least one piece of artwork from every student. Student art work is also selected for the purpose for making the school Christmas cards.
Our teachers have access to a growing library of over 6,500 individual resources with customized lessons for each grade.
In addition to having a 45-50-minute music lesson every week, students also can participate in choir. The choir leads the congregation in church music for our weekly Mass on Fridays and our once-a-month Saturday evening Mass.