The Program

The Program


Grades K-8

Espirito Santo Parochial School’s academic program meets the state’s common core standards, previously known as the state curriculum frameworks. Our students do not take the MCAS tests; however, they are assessed using the IOWA Assessments, another standardized test used to assess student skills in qualitative and influential thinking in a variety of subject areas. These tests are administered to second through eighth grade students.

Students in kindergarten through grade five are taught in self-contained classrooms. The students in middle school (grades six through eight) are taught by numerous educators and transition from room to room for their core subjects. The core subjects include: Religion, Reading/Literature, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. All children are instructed in Portuguese and participate in weekly art and physical education classes. Students in kindergarten through grade eight also receive technology instruction once a week.


Students follow a prescribed course of study that helps them to learn, love and live their Catholic faith. Moving from the story of creation through the life and work of Jesus, and ending with the history of the Catholic Church, the children learn about the foundation and fundamentals of the Catholic faith.

Daily prayer, monthly school liturgies, prayer services, and service projects allow students to put their faith into action.


Instruction in the lower grades (K-3) focuses on teaching children to read. Phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, oral reading fluency, and comprehension are all components of the program.

By the fourth grade, students are focusing on reading to learn. They must take the skills they learned in the lower grades and apply them when reading informational texts. This type of reading is important for learning content in areas such as Science and Social Studies.

In the middle grades, trade books are used for students to study different genres of literature. Vocabulary development and reading comprehension are important components of the program. Students have many opportunities to demonstrate their acquisition of skills through projects, book reviews, and other writing assignments.

English Language Arts

Spelling, vocabulary development, and the conventions of standard written and spoken language are taught at every grade level. Students are introduced to the writing process in the lower grades and work to refine and extend their writing up to the eighth grade. They learn how to write for different purposes: arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Research skills are integrated with Science and Social Studies.


There are several strands that are included in the teaching of mathematics. From kindergarten to grade 5 students are working in the areas of operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, number and operations-fractions (beginning in grade 3), measurement and data, and geometry.

In the middle grades, students learn about ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations (moving from arithmetic to algebra), geometry, and statistics and probability. The grade eight course also includes the study of functions.

Students should be able to add, subtract, multiply or divide fluently using learned strategies. They also need to understand and use the vocabulary of mathematics when responding to mathematical questions or when explaining their reasoning during problem solving exercises.


Thematic units are the foundation for science instruction in grades K-2. Students read both factual and fictional texts that correlate to the subject matter.

The intermediate grade students cover topics in life science, physical science, and earth and space science.

Middle school science addresses and extends the learning in the areas of life science, physical science, and earth and space science. The students work to meet the learning outcomes in a guided inquiry format. Besides reading informational texts, the students read at least one novel that supports a specific science topic at each grade level. All students participate in the annual science fair. Winners from the school fair move on to the regional science fair.

Social Studies

Topics of instruction in kindergarten through grade five cover the areas of economics, history, geography, civics and government. Much of the work is project based, giving students the opportunity to learn how to work in a group.

Grade six students are taught Ancient Civilizations. Grade seven students study US History I, covering the beginnings of American history up to the westward expansion. In the eighth grade the study of American history begins with the westward expansion and continues to the present day.

In addition to routine assessments, all students complete a Diocesan social studies assessment at the end of the year.