The St. Joseph learning environment includes exemplary technology, outstanding student guidance and support services, and a rigorous curriculum grounded in critical thought. Course offerings range from resource to an honors program and traditional coursework to advanced placement curriculum. The school bases its testing standards on nationally normed instruments. Each grade level is administered a standardized test battery annually. The average ACT for the school is 20.9 inclusive of the entire range of student capability.
St. Joseph Catholic School follows all State Benchmarks and State Curriculum CCSS (Common Core State Standards). Teachers are held responsible for meeting, at a minimum, the State and National Benchmarks. The entire instructional staff is involved with the University of Notre Dame ACE Curriculum Collaborative. All courses and teachers remain committed to the curriculum mapping process. Mapping periods are allocated twice annually for all teachers. All curriculum maps are measured for vertical and horizontal effectiveness. All teachers develop updated lesson plans for each class and the plans are posted online on the Friday prior to the week’s instruction. For the sake of student clarity, daily objectives are posted on classroom boards. Curriculum standards are met through multiple assessment procedures in all classes. Teachers are encouraged to pre and post-test students as various methods of testing are utilized (formal and informal). Individual and cooperative student projects are also utilized as an opportunity to appeal to the kinesthetic learner. The school also requires assessment feedback to students and families in a timely manner.
Curriculum revisions or additions may be directed from the Mississippi Department of Education, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson Schools Office, or based on local need. Often, individual or school curricula needs will surface that will be addressed by faculty teams. Implementation will follow the discovery of needs within the school. In the case of State or Diocesan mandates, the curricula changes and the new standards will be unpacked by the affected faculty. Unit direction and focus questions will be developed by the faculty. The curriculum mapping process shall also be introduced to all curricula changes.
A resource room for SLD students is provided. For the entire student population, teachers post times when they are available to provide extra assistance. Additionally, students are offered many opportunities to do research in the library throughout the academic day. Peer learning is encouraged and implemented in all subject areas. Many classes assist in tutorials with Peer Tutors. Cultural learning styles and differences are addressed in faculty meetings and implemented where needed. Due to the outstanding 127 year legacy of St. Joseph Catholic School in the community, teachers realize that expectations for the school run high. Day to day expectations of the school and individual classes are based solely on affording the students, families, and patrons of the school the highest quality instruction and preparation for the future.
Administrative directive, as well as the curriculum management plan, dictates that teaching and learning go on through the entire class period, bell to bell. Class instructional time is interrupted only in case of an emergency. Announcements and other interruptions are not allowed during class time. Necessary drills are timed and restricted so as to preserve maximum instructional time.