St. Martin de Porres provides a solid high school preparatory curriculum grounded in the Gospel and tied to Diocesan and California State core standards based on a liberal arts framework. We believe that learning happens not just by reading textbooks, but also by addressing multiple senses and learning styles. Thus, our curriculum provides a 21st century education that encompasses the arts, music, technology and other venues for learning that complement the core academic subjects of English, Math, social studies, science and religion. The School embraces the philosophy of assessing students to identify individual needs and learning styles and then differentiating instruction to meet each child’s needs. In addition, Faith formation is embedded in our curricula with Gospel themes that guide instruction and are woven into the discussions of history, art, literature, math and science as well as the development of values and ethics to inform the decision making skills of our students.
The overall goal of the Religion Curriculum at St. Martin de Porres School is to enable all students to understand the fundamentals of the Catholic/Christian faith. With this understanding, students learn to make decisions in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With this goal in mind, we follow six basic strands of learning outlined in the Oakland Diocesan guidelines. These strands are Christian Message, Worship, Morality, Service, Community, and Family Life. Each grade level stresses a different theme, but each of the themes contains these strands.
The textbook series used for grades K through 6 is Coming to Faith and in grades 7 and 8 the textbook is Faith and Witness published by Sadlier. All classes incorporate the use of scripture. Kindergarten and First Grade use a Storybook Bible and grades 2-8 use the Good News Bible.
Prayer services, reconciliation services, and school Masses are part of the school curriculum. All students are expected to participate respectfully in these activities as they are celebrated throughout the school year. The students also begin and end each day with prayer.
Students are encouraged to embrace Christian ministry by participating in a variety of activities such as helping other students, seasonal projects, and community service projects. Many of these activities are organized and led by our Faith Families.
Faith Families are a cross-grade experience led by eighth grade students. The eighth grade students coordinate and lead activities, events and school liturgies to encourage student spirituality and sense of community. Each Faith Family is a blend of students from different grade levels.
Each year, the school offers sacramental preparation classes for students making their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Classes are taught and lead by Sister Anne Maher. For more information please contact Sr. Anne .
B. LANGUAGE ARTS, READING and WRITING
Following the guidelines of the Oakland Diocese and the State of California, the primary goal of our Language Arts Program is to develop effective readers, writers, and communicators who are informed, value-driven, and educated leaders of our society. At St. Martin de Porres we expect all students to be literate, fluent and life-long readers and writers. We integrate language arts in areas of the standards-based common core and use a literature-based approach to reading, writing, listening and speaking. Reading comprehension is taught in a meaningful context across all grade levels along with age appropriate vocabulary enrichment, phonics, grammar skills, and spelling.
C. SOCIAL STUDIES
The Social Studies curriculum conforms to the guidelines established by both the Oakland Diocese and the State of California. Designed with the developmental growth of the student in mind, it builds sequentially upon their past learning. It helps the student discover his/her sense of place in the broad landscape and rich tradition of the human experience. The study of society helps students to understand the past and its importance to the present and the future. It relates strongly to social justice, a tenet of our Catholic faith and helps prepare them for citizenship and its responsibilities in our multicultural world.
D. MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE
The technological advances of our age continue to challenge students to develop mathematical skills and scientific reasoning. Specifically, students need to learn the skills of logic, critical thinking and problem solving. Students need to understand the close relationship between mathematics, science and language, and be able to communicate their ideas. They need to learn how to confront problems in a group and develop solutions. Traditional computation and estimation skills are only a part of the tools and techniques which they will need for success. Beyond that, all students will be encouraged to grow in appreciation of the beauty of God’s world, to treat their environment responsibly and to be prepared for the moral and ethical challenges that will be presented to them with the advancement of technology. Sadlier and Pearson provide the main math textbooks in grades K-8. Math teachers supplement the textbooks with additional instructional materials, online activities and math manipulatives. The two science series used are Harcourt in K-5 and Prentice Hall in grades 6-8.
E. FINE ARTS AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Fine arts and physical education are taught at every grade level. Creativity and talents are nurtured in every student. Music Classes are taught in grades K-5, violin instruction is offered in grades K-3, and we offer a middle school chorus class for grades 6-8.
F. STANDARDIZED TESTING
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) is a standardized academic testing program administered in all the schools of the Diocese of Oakland. Educational ability tests and a battery of Basic Skills are administered to students in grades 2-8 in the fall and in late spring. The results of this standardized test are used as one tool in measuring the academic growth of each student. The standardized test results are shared with parents in the fall and at the end of the academic year.
G. GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
Federal funds are available to help students under the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act Title I. In particular, they are given supplementary help in reading and math. As specified by federal and state guidelines, this program is administered by the Oakland Unified School District in cooperation with St. Martin de Porres School administration and faculty. An amount is also allotted each year under E.C.I.A. Title II to provide resources for faculty professional development, instructional materials, and additional resources and interventions for our English Language Learners.
St. Martin de Porres also participates in the 21st Century Before and After School Community Learning Center, which is funded by the California Department of Education.
The School also qualifies for the National School Lunch Program, which provides federal funding for free or reduced breakfast and lunch for all students.
H. DIAGNOSTIC TESTING/SPECIAL NEEDS
Testing is available through Oakland Public Schools for families whose home address is in Oakland. This testing is to help determine if a child would benefit from an individual educational program and to offer locations at which these testing services are available.
Procedure for parents/guardians who want their child tested:
1) Parents contact their classroom teacher, and the Principal (Ms. Dara Northcroft, to discuss concerns and testing options.
2) Parent requests O.U.S.D. Diagnostic Team to test the child
3) If accepted, O.U.S.D. Team takes over from this point. We cooperate fully with the Oakland Unified School District to assist students in need of evaluation, consultation and program modification.
Ms. Yvette Amos, our Health Chairperson, manages the school’s health testing services and student health records. The services include:
Health records are reviewed annually by the Diocesan Health Chairperson.
Good communication is essential to growth and success of the child. Sometimes concerns and issues need to be addressed and resolved. The proper procedure to address concerns or resolve issues is as follows:
•Conferences With Teachers
Ordinarily, parents/legal guardians and visitors are expected to confer with teachers after school or at other scheduled times. Appointments are recommended. Classroom instruction should not be interrupted nor delayed.
Concerns regarding individual school staff members should first be directed to that staff member. If the issue is not resolved, the parent should then address it with the Principal. Finally, if the concern is still unresolved, the President should be contacted.
Enhancing student achievement and learning is key to the goal of the St. Martin de Porres technology program. Teachers apply instructional practices to help students become critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners. Technology serves as the thread found throughout the general curriculum.
Each year, we continue to develop new ways of integrating technology into the educational process. Technology and computer education is integrated throughout the curriculum. In grades K-8 students have access to Mac computers and laptops in the classroom and in our computer labs. In grades K-2, we are gradually introducing iPads into the reading and math instruction. Additionally, teachers use several computer-based reading and math programs hosted by the Catholic Television Network (CTN).