By JAMIE BROWN
South Boston Catholic Academy is an urban elementary school serving 300 students, preschool to sixth grade, from South Boston, the Seaport District and surrounding communities. Our mission, inspired by our Catholic faith, serves to develop well-rounded students through an environment that is both stimulating and supportive.
At the center of South Boston Catholic Academy’s work is a commitment to student learning and high achievement. Our extensive curriculum begins in our Early Childhood Program (preschool and K1), which is a part of the highly regarded Lynch Foundation Early Childhood Project. Teachers create an environment that nurtures the social and emotional well-being of all students in order for effective learning to take place. Through the engaging curriculum, children play in order to achieve high learning goals. The OWL program, “Opening the World of Learning,” is a comprehensive, integrated curriculum that helps students develop language and early literacy skills. In addition to helping children grow in all content areas, OWL helps them to build personal and social skills. This rewarding curriculum is enriched by fun, hands-on activities. Additionally, teachers receive scholarships to complete their Master’s in Early Childhood education.
The Literacy Collaborative, through Lesley College, provides our early elementary teachers explicit coaching around literacy in the classroom to ensure that all of our students are given extensive early exposure to reading and writing. In addition, SBCA also offers a Reading Recovery program for early readers who need effective one-to-one intervention.
Unique to SBCA are structures to support student learning outside the classroom. Our “Exceptional Learners” program supports our students who require extra support in their learning through push in and pull out programs. Additionally, the program seeks to work with the students who are high achievers to extend their learning beyond the classroom. With a critical eye on all students’ achievement, this program truly seeks to support all of our students in their growth and learning.
A solid curriculum with extensive support is simply our foundation. Learning is enhanced in an innovative way through technology in all classrooms. Beyond the interactive whiteboards, laptops and iPads that enhance daily lessons, SBCA has leveraged the use of technology to help our students achieve across all subject areas. A recent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) initiative in classrooms has pushed our students to think critically about these intertwined disciplines and look critically at their real world application. Most recently, our fifth graders used iPads to engage in a STEM program where they looked critically at the game of hockey. The “Future Goals: Hockey Scholar” program enabled our students to explore topics including the geometric design of an ice rink, conservation of energy in falling pucks, and speed and velocity using skates.
Our arts program, directed by local artist Deb Putnam, has also been bolstered by the use of technology, showing our students that art is much more than paint and brushes. A recent grant funded our art room with 10 mini iPads which our sixth grade students are currently using for an animation project. The project, “When I think of South Boston…” is a series of shorts created with iMotion using a cut paper animation technique. Students in the art room have additionally worked with stop action animation as well as experimented with a green screen as backdrops.
Our rigorous, core academic subjects and technology are supplemented by fine arts, technology, physical education, Latin and Greek word study, and a newly established Spanish curriculum in grades 1-6. Furthermore, partnerships with Emmanuel College, Lesley University, Boston College, The Museum of Science and The Lynch Foundation continue to serve as essential resources to provide the academy with additional enhancements to our curriculum.
Beyond the school day, our students engage in further learning and are active members of their community. Our students are active participants in many clubs, sports, and community service organizations. Notably, many students at our school participate in BOKS, a before school exercise program with proven results to improve student concentration and focus throughout the school day. After school, most students join one of our several clubs or teams, including basketball, student council, community service club, and choir. Students in need of extra help receive after school tutoring during our homework club.
SBCA’s commitment to preparing its students for future success is highlighted by our Grade 6 students’ acceptance into prestigious middle schools in the Boston area. Recent acceptances include: Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, John D. O’Bryant School, Boston College High School-Arrupe Division, Catholic Memorial, Dexter, Mount Alvernia School, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, St. Sebastian’s School, Southfield, Thayer Academy, Ursuline Academy, and Xaverian Brothers High School.
We offer on-site before and after school programs as well as creative summer enrichment camps and highly regarded test preparation programs.
We invite you to contact us for more information, schedule a tour and see what makes South Boston Catholic Academy such a special school.
Join us for our Open House on Wednesday, Feb. 3 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m., or by appointment. Call 617-268-2326, visit sbcatholicacademy.org, or contact Barbara Keohane, director of business and communications at email@example.com.
Jamie Brown is a Boston College Lynch Leadership Fellow (firstname.lastname@example.org) at South Boston Catholic Academy.