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Curriculum

Curriculum, instruction and assessment are at the heart of all learning at St. Agnes School. Carefully planned integration of instruction and assessment ensures that St. Agnes School is able to prove that all students are making progress toward the mastery of knowledge and skills essential for their success. Learning standards identify the specific knowledge and skills that each student must learn in order to achieve that success.

  • Curriculum - The curriculum of St. Agnes School can generally be described of the academic content taught in each subject or at each grade level. Curriculum can also be described as the knowledge and skills that will be taught in each subject or grade level.
  • Instruction - Instruction is the term used to talk about how teaching happens. Instruction is what happens every day in every classroom at St. Agnes School. Examples of instruction include teacher presentation, classroom discussion, listening to stories, group or individual projects, hands-on activities, writing activities, reading aloud or silently, experiments, field trips, learning games, videos, textbook assignments, art activities, research and so much more.
  • Assessment - Assessment is how learning is measured. Student learning may be evaluated using tests aligned with curriculum and instruction. Student learning may also be assessed by evaluating the progress made along the learning process. Evaluation of learning that takes place during the process of learning is called formative assessment. Final evaluation of what has been learned by the end of a unit or course of study is called summative assessment. Both formative and summative assessments are used in every classroom at St. Agnes School.

We are confident that St. Agnes teachers provide the instruction that prepares our students for success as they move through the grades and into high school. Instructional goals and activities at St. Agnes are closely matched to the Standards and Benchmarks of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and aligned with the Wisconsin Academic Standards.

Curriculum guides for parents have been developed by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office for Schools so parents can identify what students are to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. St. Agnes School teachers and administrators have collaborated with educators from across the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to study these local standards and assure that they are well aligned with national and state standards. Please go to https://www.archmil.org/Education/Curriculum.htm to see the Curriculum Guide for Parents at each grade level from K5 through 8th grade.


 

Additional Topics Related to Curriculum

Instructional Time

The St. Agnes School day begins at 7:50 AM and concludes at 2:50 PM.

Homework The term “homework” refers to an assignment to be prepared during a period of supervised study in class or outside of class or which requires individual work in the study hall, classroom, or home.   

The purposes of homework are threefold: 

  1. to deepen students’ understanding and skills relative to content that has been initially presented to them,
  2. to prepare students for new content,
  3. to have students elaborate on content that has been introduced.

Homework should be formative, allowing students to apply what they have learned so they find out what they really do understand and return to class to ask questions about what was not understood. Homework is a developmental learning activity which should increase in complexity with the maturity and capability of the student. With increased maturity, learning should become an independent activity.  This should be established through consistent assignments which encourage students to investigate for themselves and to work independently as well as with others.

St. Agnes School teachers will establish and communicate a homework policy, design homework assignments that clearly articulate the purpose and outcome, and vary approaches to providing feedback.

Homework, properly planned and purposeful in nature, should:

  • Deepen students understanding and skills relative to content that has been initially presented to them
  • Prepare students for new content or have them elaborate on content that has been introduced
  • Help students develop good study habits and organizational skills
  • Foster positive attitudes toward school
  • Communicate to students that learning takes work at home as well as at school
  • Communicate to parents what is being emphasized in class, what is expected of students, and how students’ work will be evaluated

Amount of homework

The amount of homework assigned to students should be different from elementary to middle school.

Middle school teachers will try to coordinate assignments so that the amount and frequency of homework is within reasonable expectations for their students. Homework will not to be used as a form of punishment.

If parents/guardians notice that the amount of homework a student does at home varies significantly from the guidelines above, the following steps are recommended.

  • Ask to see the student’s assignment notebook
  • Talk to the child about the amount of homework
  • Talk to the teacher about the amount of homework

In almost every situation, communication between home and school eliminates any confusion or misunderstanding associated with homework.


 

Assessment of Student Learning

At St. Agnes School, assessment is comprised of practices that analyze, inform, and drive student learning. St. Agnes School employs a system of integrated assessment that includes:

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  • classroom level formative assessment of student performance in learning activities and homework
  • classroom level summative assessment using tests, exams and projects to measure student mastery of content standards
  • school wide progress monitoring systems, such as the Star Tests, to assess the progress of individual students, student groups, and school improvement. Standardized summative assessments like the Forward Exams to direct ongoing school improvement. Results of the summative assessments are reported to St. Agnes School staff, parents, students, and school representatives on an annual basis by the principal.

Standards based grading

Effective grading practices at St. Agnes School are necessary for ongoing improvement of teaching and learning. St. Agnes School has adopted standards based grading practices consistent with best practices within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic school network.

St. Agnes School has procedures that support the following guiding principles:

  • Assessment and grading are ongoing processes that guide continuous learning.
  • Grading is standards-based and reflects what students know and are able to do.
  • Grading will be transparent and promote common understanding between students, parents, teachers, and schools.
  • Grading supports a growth mindset.
  • Grades only reflect student achievement.
  • Homework is used as formative assessment to check for understanding, provide feedback, and prepare students for summative assessments.

Student Success Indicators

St. Agnes parents have expressed a strong interest in knowing that their children are prepared for success beyond our school. Educators from across the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have determined three priority student traits for careful focus. These are Student as Learner, Student as Citizen, and Student as Disciple. Descriptors for these traits are identified below.

 

Student as Learner:

  • Transitions effectively between activities.
  • Demonstrates persistence in learning tasks.
  • Collaborates effectively to achieve defined outcomes.
  • Accepts and applies constructive feedback.
  • Completes learning tasks efficiently and independently.   
  • Engages in learning in various settings.
  • Sets goals and monitors progress.
  • Utilizes effective organizational and time management skills.

Student as Citizen:

  • Demonstrates respect for people and property.
  • Engages in active listening.
  • Demonstrates honesty.
  • Uses socially appropriate language.
  • Demonstrates empathy and kindness.
  • Practices appropriate conflict resolution skills.
  • Considers the impact of behavior on others.

Student as Disciple:

  • Demonstrates care for all of God’s creation.
  • Demonstrates a spirit of selfless service.
  • Expresses forgiveness in word and action.
  • Manifests a willingness to grow in faith and share beliefs.  (Middle School only)

Report cards

  • At St. Agnes School, report cards are issued for each trimester. Progress information will be shared midway through each trimester.
  • Agnes School uses the approved Archdiocese of Milwaukee report card.

Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences

St. Agnes School schedules conferences twice each year. Teachers and parents/guardians will also communicate formally and informally throughout the school year.