Core Subjects

Core Subjects


The educational programs consist of both carefully planned and well executed curriculum programs that include appropriate standards, solid instructional pedagogy, and appropriate assessment based on research and best practices.  The educational programs are sufficiently financed, periodically reviewed, and mission-appropriate.  They are developed to meet and address the needs of students and are designed to produce student learning at all levels.  Effective policies and practices are in place, along with instructional materials, technology, and equipment that are appropriate, functional, and well maintained.


To help students achieve their fullest potential, the Archdiocese has adopted a new standards-based curriculum initiative and curriculum mapping.  St. Columba has implemented these new standards for learning, teaching, assessment, professional development, and leadership, and has selected power standards that are unique to our student needs.  The educational programs at St. Columba School conform to the standards’ curriculum and requirements established by the Catholic Schools’ Office of the Archdiocese of Washington.


Each program consists of carefully planned and well-developed lessons that include appropriate standards, solid instructional pedagogy, and appropriate assessments based on research and best practices.  The educational programs are sufficiently financed, periodically reviewed, ad mission appropriate.  They are developed to meet and address the needs of the students at all levels.  St. Columba recognized that every individual child has the ability to excel and to succeed.  Effective policies and practices are in place along with instructional materials, technology and equipment, which are age-appropriate, functional, and well maintained.




St. Columba School emphasizes that the Catholic faith must be visible in all aspects of the students’ daily lives.  The Religion program is infused by daily prayers, Scriptures, Religion classes, liturgical services, and field trips.  All liturgical feasts and seasons are celebrated.


The Religion curriculum uses 2012 Faith and Life Series/Ignatius Press K – 8 Series.  Many supplementary materials/resources are used at all grade levels.  The Faith Knowledge Assessment for grades 2 – 8 standardized testing is utilized for assessment.


Language Arts


The enrichment and development of this area enhances the students’ oral communication, listening, writing skills, and critical thinking.  The Language Arts curriculum encompasses grammar, writing, reading, literature, phonics, spelling/vocabulary, and handwriting.  Cross-curricular integration is utilized for grades 1 – 6.  In grades 7 – 8, skills necessary for high school work are emphasized.  In addition, new culturally diverse textbooks have been added to the present curriculum.  The Scantron standardized testing is utilized for assessment of the Reading/Language Arts skills.

The MacMillan/McGraw Hill Treasures Literature Series and on-line resources, Houghton-Mifflin English Series are used in K-5.  The Prentice-Hall Literature Series, the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop Series, Sadlier Grammar for Writing are used for Grades 6 – 8.




New math books have been added for grades K – 8.  All texts follow the NCTM standards, Maryland standards, and Archdiocesan standards.  The math program adapts a variety of methods for reinforcement of basic math facts.  There is good continuity in math instruction from grades K – 8.  In grades K – 3, emphasis is on mastery of basic math facts.  Students gain hands-on experience through the use of a variety of methods and manipulatives.  The use of manipulatives decreases in the middle grades as abstract reasoning increases.  Students are introduced to more difficult concepts.


Grade 4 uses team-teaching and grades 5 – 7 offer whole or small group instruction as needed.  Small group instruction follows the same curriculum as the main class, but allows a more individual approach.  Calculator is introduced in grade 6, but is not used on a regular basis until grade 8.  In grade 8, the students are divided into three levels of Algebra and are prepared for high school math.


The Sadlier Progress in Mathematics Series and on-line resources are used for Grades K – 6.  Holt, Rinehart, Winston Middle School Math Course is used for grade 7.  The McDougal Lintel Structure Method is used for grade 8.  IXL on on-line resources is also used.




Various teaching styles, from formal textbook learning to the expanded used of hands-on materials and other on-line resources being implemented.


Pearson Interactive Science is a complete, multi-sensory science program for grades K -8.  This curriculum introduces life, earth, physical, and health sciences.  Each year of this program, the students gain more insight to concepts that are universal to the series such as cells, ecosystems, and simple/complex machines.


In grades 6 – 8, students are able to expand their acquired knowledge in the different fields of science.  The students also participate in hands-on or skills labs once a week.  This program allows the students to focus more intently on the specific details of individual fields of science.  In grade 6, the focus is on space, cells and heredity, and forces.  The 7th grade works in fields of electricity, magnetism, animals, chemistry, and weather/climate.  Our 8th graders study chemistry, human biology, sound/light, and structure of the earth.  Students in grades 6 – 8 are required to do a science fair project.



Social Studies


There is a strong correlation between the Social Studies and the Language Arts curricula.  The teachers in all grade levels use diverse teaching strategies to create stimulating and though-provoking lessons.  These are done through teacher coordination, field trips, thematic units, and arts and crafts projects.


Students in grades K – 7 uses a hands-on approach with Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Series units along with scholastic magazines are also incorporated in the program.


Grade 6 explores ancient history with Ancient World Day and a dramatic presentation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.


Grade 7 learns about our world and current events.  They participate in a World Cultures Day and National Geography Bee.


New U.S. History textbooks from Pearson were added to the 8th grade program.  Grade 8 does a formal research project for the U.S. History Competition.  They also participate in the “Bearing Witness Program” on the Holocaust, which culminates in a field trip to the Holocaust Museum.  Near the end of the year, grade 8 takes a three-day history trip to Lancaster and Gettysburg, PA.


Our school curriculum and programs is ever growing, dynamic, and developing, always striving for academic excellence.