106 SHCS students in fourth through seventh grades qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Program in 2017.
106 SHCS students in fourth through seventh grades qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Program in 2017.

Our Approach to Education

The educational outgrowth of our Catholic identity is recognition and love for each child, made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1: 26), as an individual and as a learner.  We embrace our unique opportunity as a Catholic school to nurture the whole child, and we strive to enrich all aspects of the child’s life through faith formation, strong academics, support for social and emotional growth, and a variety of high-quality opportunities.  Following the clear teaching of the Church, we recognize parents as the primary and principal educators of their children and value our partnership with them. Read our principal’s philosophy of education here.

As a staff, we embrace professional development as part of the school’s commitment to continual improvement, and we work hard to develop expertise in pedagogy; we are a learning institution as well as a teaching institution.  Our teachers are state-certified, qualified, passionate and faith-driven professionals who are giving of their time and themselves to our school’s mission and God’s work. (See the infographic below for more information.) Relying on the expertise and interests of our faculty, we are innovative as a school.  Engagement and healthy relationships are key concepts we value and often discuss.  We meet students’ individual academic needs in a supportive, Christian environment that also provides an appropriate level of challenge.

Our academic program includes four overnight, curricular, experiential trips from grades 3-8 that allow students to form closer bonds as a class and to grow in confidence and independence as individuals.  Educational technology (2:1 student:device ratio in K-5 and 1:1 Chromebooks in 6-8) is readily available, and students learn basic coding and robotics as part of the curriculum. SHCS uses STAR testing from Renaissance and the IOWA tests for outside validation of our academic progress. Click here to view our graduates’ ACT scores, which are well above local, state, and national averages. Our STREAM program is intentionally interdisciplinary, and students learn STEM in a way that is also beautiful (arts) and infused with faith (religion).

Our teachers collaborate with two learning specialists, two librarians/educational technology experts, our school counselor, two deans of students, a STREAM coordinator, the director of student support and six qualified instructional assistants to deliver our curriculum.

Academics
Academics
Academics
Academics
  • In elementary grades (K-5), children learn the Catholic faith, math, language arts, social studies and science; and they attend regular “specials” classes in visual art, music, Spanish, library/technology, and physical education. We make many intentional, though gradual, transitions in these elementary years in study skills and growth in independence and responsibility. Students learn core subjects from their homeroom teachers in grades K-3; 4th and 5th grades are more departmentalized as students prepare for Middle School.

  • In elementary grades (K-5), children learn the Catholic faith, math, language arts, social studies and science; and they attend regular “specials” classes in visual art, music, Spanish, library/technology, and physical education. We make many intentional, though gradual, transitions in these elementary years in study skills and growth in independence and responsibility. Students learn core subjects from their homeroom teachers in grades K-3; 4th and 5th grades are more departmentalized as students prepare for Middle School.

  • The Middle School experience starts with Soar into Sixth, an orientation to our Middle School. As new members of the Middle School, students are given their first real opportunity to explore their interests more deeply. Sixth graders take ability-grouped math courses and spend 90 minutes each day on English Language Arts. Sixth graders take quarter-long rotating classes in visual art, music (piano or choir), robotics, and Service Learning — a course designed to allow students time to perform service and to learn why we serve.

  • In addition to differentiated math courses, students with exceptional ability enroll in Language Arts, an immersive, dual-language program with five days a week of instruction in English language arts and the equivalent of high-school level-one Spanish. In seventh grade, the idea of allowing a child’s natural gifts and interests to be cultivated truly comes to fruition. Students can choose from a variety of electives in visual arts, music, wellness, and Catholic leadership. A very memorable part of the seventh grade is the week-long, interdisciplinary Camp Greenville trip every fall.

  • Eighth grade is designed to prepare students for the academic demands of high school. Students continue their math, Spanish, and language arts pathways, while again choosing among a range of electives. The peer tutoring elective, popular among our students, allows eighth graders to help younger students grow academically — an excellent example of the leadership opportunities SHCS provides. We strive to offer our 8th graders a special year that includes monthly celebrations for “8th on the 8th” and a capstone trip to Washington, DC, which features a visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Religious Education

Our students experience a curriculum that is intentionally infused with Catholic identity, so that they grow in faith as well as wisdom.  Sacred Heart students receive evangelization and catechesis through our religion curriculum, but also through the example of clergy and faculty, attendance and participation at Mass, daily prayer, devotionals, retreats, regular opportunities for confession, and through the example of the saints and the language of virtue. Our students prepare during the school day for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion in second grade and for Confirmation in Middle School.  As the Cathedral school of the Diocese, we are forming Christian leaders to impact society, and we find every opportunity to give children leadership opportunities during their journey at Sacred Heart Cathedral School.

Test Scores

Academics