First - Eighth Grade Academics
At St. Vincent Ferrer School we believe in educating the whole child. Our academic programs offer our students many opportunities to grow. We believe that students learn best by doing and so organize much of our instruction into inquiry-based and project-based experiences.
St. Vincent Ferrer’s robust and rigorous curriculum is informed by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Office for Catholic Schools (OCS) of the Archdiocese of Chicago. For kindergarten through eighth grade, OCS Benchmarks, which are dissected Common Core State Standards, serve as the foundation of our English Language Arts and Mathematics curricula.
Teachers utilize a combination of curricular resources to design English Language Arts instruction based on small group work, collaboration, making connections, and reflection. We prioritize fostering a love of reading and writing in our students, realizing that those two subjects go hand in hand. Our library is available for all students to check out books, discover new genres in which they may be interested, and learn best on-line research practices.
Our Mathematics instruction focuses on engaging students in problem-solving activities emphasizing the process of solving a problem, rather than solely on the solution obtained. Writing in math is a priority for us and students are taught to effectively explain their reasoning through modeling and support. Teachers are able to assess this using math journals and constructed short responses.
Next Generation Science Standards guide the SVF science curriculum. Our curriculum is designed to prioritize inquiry, investigation, and active student engagement. Instructional units are chosen carefully to provide students the opportunity to delve deeply into each concept, encouraging more robust understanding. Teachers also design hands-on science experiences that allow every student to engage with materials with familiarity.
St. Vincent Ferrer’s religion instruction is informed by the Archdiocesan standards, as well as overseen by our Dominican Pastor and Associate Pastor. The themes for our younger students focus on God’s love and stories from the Bible, while our older students spend time learning about Catholic doctrine. Our second-grade students are prepared for the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion. Our eighth-grade students spend the year studying to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. Students attend weekly mass with the Parish, which emphasizes two of our most important Dominican tenets- community and prayer.
Student Support Services
SVF provides resources to students needing additional academic and/or emotional support, as well as students with identified learning difficulties represented by an individualized learning plan. Our Student Support Department uses the iReady screener with our kindergarten through eighth graders to help identify any students who are performing below the grade level benchmark. Once students have been identified, support staff (including our school counselor and speech teacher) work closely with classroom teachers to provide interventions within the classroom, small group settings, and individualized instruction.
Student Community Outreach
At SVF we prioritize student service, emphasizing what students can do themselves to help their neighbor. Starting in fourth grade, students are required to complete Friar Hours, which increase each year and end with our eight graders expected to complete twenty hours by graduation. In addition to Friar Hours, our students participate in many other service opportunities, such as:
Raising money for Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Collecting supplies for Sarah’s Inn
Creating mats out of plastic bags to give to the homeless
Finance (grades 6, 7, 8)