St. Thomas is proud to participate in the Archdiocesan Elementary Honor's Math Program. This program is intended to provide students the opportunity to complete the prescribed elementary core curriculum in seven years instead of eight years and complete the Algebra I course used by the Archdiocesan High Schools while in 8th grade. Students who complete this program and satisfactorily master the Algebra curriculum are able to test into their second year of secondary mathematics in their freshman year.
Students are identified for the program in the spring of their 4th grade year and begin instruction in 5th grade, although a student may be admitted at a later time if they meet the guidelines set forth by the Archdiocese. Students may be admitted based on a combination of their Terra Nova scores, Final Math Level Test score, final math grade on their report card, and recommendation of their classroom teacher.
Once admitted to the program, students are required to maintain these criteria each trimester. Participation in the Honors Math Program is contingent upon the approval of the Archdiocesan Mathematics Committee, not the school principal or Honors Math teacher.
English Language Arts is a prominent part of Education at St. Thomas the Apostle. We believe in providing students with a balanced program, focusing on reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. We hope to instill a love of reading in our students to help them find both enjoyment and academic achievement.
St. Thomas the Apostle School has a state of the art science program that was implemented in 2007 from the Lab Learner Science program. This is a 100% research-based and hands-on approach to science in the 21st century. This program at St. Thomas begins in Kindergarten and run through grade eight. The science education included in with this program a fully equipped in-school laboratory, complete curriculum including all assessments, on-line parent and teacher resources. Lab Learner incorporates the latest in brain research and classroom practice into a program that teaches students science in a way they can truly understand and enjoy through hands on applications. Students in the Lab Learner Program also engage in lessons integrated into their classroom setting. Experiments and classroom lessons use metacognitive tools that prompt students to use numerous learning and thinking strategies.
Spanish is taught at St. Thomas the Apostle school from Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. The goal of the program is to give the students a good foundation of the Spanish language and to broaden their knowledge of the Spanish speaking world, including geography and culture. Basic vocabulary is emphasized along with an introduction to Spanish grammar in grades 6, 7 and 8. The main goal is to expand their awareness of other cultures and prepare them for language in high school.
As a Catholic school, we play an integral role in the mission of the Church. Many of our activities help our students develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Through Mass, prayer services, various prayer practices in the classroom, the students at St. Thomas the Apostle School live the Gospel Message each day. Service to others is emphasized through participation in the Holy Childhood Association, Catholic Relief Services, to name just a few.
We are committed to preparing our students for Christ-centered lives as 21st Century learners and followers of Christ.
In the lab, 21st century skills are learned through project-based integration and more.
Students use the computer to publish work, conduct research, analyze and solve problems and either print or present their results. The current school curriculum is integrated with technology in order for the students to have a well-rounded learning experience.
Students from kindergarten to eighth grade regularly use the Internet for research. They use traditional software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher and PowerPoint. The students also incorporate into their curriculum, programs such as Photo Story 3, Glogster, Prezi, Podcasts, Wordle and other software.
St. Thomas the Apostle’s Visual Arts Department is dedicated to heightening a child's appreciation of art through a variety of techniques. Our program is aligned with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Visual Arts curriculum. Students in grades K-8 will be exposed to art from the past and present. Students will explore art from diverse cultures, study various artists and their work, and have opportunities to use a variety of media and techniques. The children will be encouraged to think creatively, learn how to appreciate and discuss numerous works of art and will ultimately gain confidence through their own artistic expression.
Here at St. Thomas, we are blessed to have a 3D printer in our school and we are all thrilled to be embarking on a journey to explore this new technology. As an art teacher, any projects including technology or just showing students in general that art is so much more than pencils and paper is exciting for me. I have opted to incorporate 3D printing technology into my sixth, seventh, and eighth grade art lessons. To start off the use of the printer, sixth grade will be designing their own Lego characters. Scale and measurement are essential for creating with the 3D printer, which offers wonderful opportunity for interdisciplinary domains. Rather than just learning to use the printer, students will be working on a software called Tinkercad to specifically 3D render and build their projects on their chromebooks. After printing, students will have the freedom to turn their Lego character into anyone or anything they choose- whether it be a superhero, a princess, a character from a book or movie, or even themselves. As for seventh and eighth grade, (who will be using it next) perhaps jewelry, key chains, board game pieces, sculptures; the possibilities are truly endless.
Music class, brought to you by Miss D, at St. Thomas the Apostle school is full of interaction, engagement, and excitement throughout grade K-8. We learn about musical topics such as basic and more difficult rhythms, reading our notes on the staff, steps and skips, music history, world music, parody and protest music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the orchestra, music technology, play writing, tempo and dynamics, ostinato, timbre, and even more! Throughout grades K-8, the students receive an extremely well-rounded music curriculum in which we sing, dance, and play pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments. Keeping the music curriculum relevant and engaging is one of my top priorities so that the students can cultivate a strong love of music!
At the primary levels coordination, rules of activities and collaboration as a group are emphasized. Various team activities and sports are taught to middle and upper level grades. The aim of physical education is to:
- appreciate and understand the value of physical education and its relationship to a healthy, active lifestyle
- develop the motor skills necessary to participate successfully in a variety of physical activities
- experience enjoyment and satisfaction through physical activity
- develop social skills that demonstrate the importance of teamwork and cooperation in group activities
In the summer of 2017, we made improvements to the STA library. All book shelves are against the walls creating a more open space for the children. An interactive white board/projector and sound system aid presentations and classwork. Seating and tables accomodate 35 students. There is a dedicated area for students to work on H.P. Sprout computers. New sun blocking curtains prevent sun glare and increase privacy in the room. Our librarian sits at a new circulation desk which allows for maximum visibility of the students while in the library. This well lit library also boasts a total of 6 ceiling fans keeping the room bright and airy all year round.
Each classroom spends time in the library/media center. Study hall for grades 5-8 and lunch time book clubs are commonly held here as well.