Our rigorous academic program begins in the early childhood grades where students are taught the basics in religion, math, reading, social studies, and science as well as social skills which build a strong foundation for the primary grades and a love for learning. Our PreK-3 and PreK-4 programs are flexible and can be full or half days and between two and five days. Our kindergarten program is full day. Our teachers in the early childhood program are assisted during the day by dedicated instructional assistants.
An emphasis on religion, reading, and math as well as more in-depth studies in science and social studies in the primary grades continue to build thinking skills and allow students to being to think critically while continuing to learn about being a part of classroom and school community. The honors math program begins in fourth grade and allows qualified students to study math at an accelerated pace and complete Algebra I by the end of eighth grade.
In the middle grades, beginning in fifth grade, students change classes and see teachers who specialize in their subjects: language arts, math, science, and social studies. Under the guidance of their homeroom teacher and entire team of teachers in the middle grades, students become more independent and self-sufficient students. By the time they graduate from eighth grade, students are well prepared for the high school of their choice.
In addition, classes in art, music, physical education, library, technology, Spanish, and Latin (8th grade) round out the curriculum and allow students to discover other academic areas that interest them.
Students in 4th-8th grade choose two elective classes each year to extend their learning and explore diverse interests. Electives have included a fitness class, baking, creative writing, and film production.
Resource teachers, a remedial teacher, a speech therapist, and a school counselor are available for students who need assistance or need to be challenged at an enrichment level. All teachers integrate technology across the curriculum.
Our academic curriculum is based on the guidelines which were developed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office of Catholic Education. These guidelines are based on national standards; they were written by dedicated committees of teachers for each subject who studied the national standards and incorporated best practices; these guidelines are available below.
Our teachers are dedicated, positive, certified and qualified individuals who teach their subjects, guided by the curriculum guidelines, with passion and enthusiasm. Our teachers attend workshops and read professional literature so as to keep up with the latest in their fields blending new and traditional methods to best meet the needs of each student.
St. Ignatius of Antioch School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools
St. Ignatius was one of the first elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to be accredited; accreditation was first granted in 1981.
Accreditation was last fully renewed in 2004 and updated in 2006 and 2010. Our self-study was completed during the 2012-2013 school year, and our renewal visit was completed in March of 2014. Reaccreditation was granted for the maximum term of seven years in October of 2014.
For more information about the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools, please visit their website here .
Our academic curriculum is based on the guidelines which were developed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office of Catholic Education. These guidelines are based on national standards; they were written by dedicated committees of teachers for each subject who studied the national standards and incorporated best practices. These guidelines can be accessed below.
St. Ignatius is committed to incorporating the latest in instructional methods (including technology) while retaining many of the tried and true elements of Catholic Education (including a strong Catholic identity, instruction in cursive handwriting) in the pursuit of academic excellence.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Common Core Standards
(From the Office of Catholic Education)
Our Catholic schools are both centers of evangelization that proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and centers of academic excellence that rigorously prepare students to be life-long learners, leaders, and contributing members of the global community. Our archdiocese, through the Office of Catholic Education, is responsible for selecting the instructional materials and educational strategies that uphold these goals and benefit the students in our care.
The ability of Catholic schools to design and implement their curriculum, free from government oversight, is constitutionally protected. Dioceses do not have to meet state requirements for curriculum, testing and student data collection, but our Catholic schools have for many years adapted what is good about state and national standards into their own programs. Our students continue to outperform their public counterparts in standardized test scores, graduation rates, and college matriculation rates.
Pennsylvania and other states are now implementing a voluntary initiative called “The Common Core State Standards,” developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Catholic schools are exempt from any requirements to implement the standards; however, they are at liberty to adapt what they like from Common Core and infuse it with Catholic values, Scripture, Church teaching and other elements of our Catholic identity. The Catholic Schools Standards Project known as the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII) is developing resources and guidelines to assist dioceses and Catholic schools to do this. Many Catholic schools in Pennsylvania and around the country are taking advantage of these new tools that have been adapted and personalized for Catholic education.
Student Support Services
St. Ignatius offers remedial reading, remedial math, counseling, and psychological testing through Catapult Learning. In addition, we are able to provide speech and language services through the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Students are referred for these services through teacher and parental consultation, and the services are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at no cost to the school or to our families.
Catapult Learning and the Bucks County Intermediate Unit uses a large and small classroom in the school building so that students do not need to travel outside to utilize the services of these specialists.
Services are provided by Catapult for students who need extra support in reading and or math. Students are placed in the program based on test scores, teacher consultation, and parental consent. The remedial teacher works with the classroom teacher to schedule to remedial classes as well as conference on student performance.
A counselor and psychologist are assigned to St. Ignatius School by Catapult for psychological testing and to assist parents, students, and teachers in making academic decisions to help all of our students reach their full potential. The counselor is also avaliable to work with individual students as well as classes to help develop academic and social skills.
A speech and language teacher from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit screens students and provides speech therapy as well as help with language issues.
Blue Ribbon School of Excellence
Since 1958, St. Ignatius has been committed to academic excellence in a small school setting. Since 1981, St. Ignatius has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
In 2007, St. Ignatius was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the US Department of Education. What exactly does this mean? Well, there are two ways in which to earn this distinction: Demonstrate great improvement in academic achievement, or be in the top 10%, with respect to academic achievement, of all schools in the state. St. Ignatius was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by demonstrating academic excellence in top 10% as determined by language arts and mathematics scores on TerraNova® tests
as well as:
Being accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education
Faculty profiles which demonstrated a qualified, dedicated faculty
Having a World Language curriculum for all grades (Spanish at the time and now Spanish and Latin)
Having a strong, rigorous core curriculum
Since the award of the Blue Ribbon in 2007, St. Ignatius students continue to do well, and our faculty are dedicated to academic excellence. Click here to visit the US Department of Education page on the Blue Ribbon School Award.
Each year, we compare our standardized test scores to the Blue Ribbon criteria, and St. Ignatius has continued to either meet or exceed these standards since the Blue Ribbon was awarded in 2007.
St. Ignatius offers elective classes to 4th through 8th grades most Fridays (except for First Fridays when we celebrate Mass as well as a few other weeks). Students have the opportunity to explore different areas of interest as they sign up for an elective offering each semester. Classes in the past have included baking, photography, creating a museum exhibition, forensics, video production, fitness, knitting, sewing, and creative writing. The courses are taught by St. Ignatius teachers and volunteers.
Students learn to develop an appreciation of all forms of art and foster their creative abilities through a variety of class projects once a week (PreK-3 to 8th). The students are guided in expressing their abilities in a variety of forms and media. An art show each spring (Festival of the Arts) allows all students to show their work to the Saint Ignatius community.
The music program offers our students (PreK-3 through 8th) an appreciation and understanding of the various styles of music, as well as the opportunity to learn how to read music. Students are encouraged to express themselves through voice and movement exercises. The students playing xylophones and guitars at various grade levels. In addition, our music teacher teaches the students for the music at First Friday Mass, and some members of the grade that prepares the liturgy participate by singing and playing instruments at Mass. In addition, all students participate in a Christmas show and a spring performance during the Festival of the Arts.
St. Ignatius is launching an ambitious new STREAM initiative, which includes a revitalized interdisciplinary curriculum (with courses in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Students have access to the following facilities to enhance
•A secure wireless network that covers the entire school building & church auditorium
•150/150 fiber optic internet connection
•1:1 Chromebooks for 1st-8th Grades
•1:1 iPads for Kindergarten
•Two mobile iPad labs (PreK-3 to 8th)
•Three central laser printers (one color) for student use
•A library Media Center with twenty-eight workstations running Windows 7 and Office 2010; one with Mac OSX
•Digital cameras and a mobile video production studio with audio equipment, lighting, high definition cameras, and video software
•Classroom sound reinforcement (sound-field) systems in 1st-8th grade classrooms
•Interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, and document cameras in all classrooms
•Apple TVs in most classrooms
•Google Apps for Education account under the school's domain with access to word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools; unlimited online storage, and an electronic portfolio allow students to collaborate on projects and access their files from anywhere with an internet connection.
Students use technology to interact with each other and the world around them in a variety of ways while developing skills necessary for success in the modern world of information and communication. Students learn how to find and evaluate information as well as use technology safely and effectively. Examples of projects that students have done include video conferencing with other classes around the world, producing and editing their own videos, creating audio podcasts of stories that they wrote, and setting up a class blog to conduct class discussions outside of the classroom with each other.
Students in PreK through eighth grade visit the Media Center weekly to check out books and receive instruction in library skills as well as use the media center for research to build information literacy skills and develop a lifelong love for reading. In addition, each classroom has books available for students reading. The Media Center collection includes fiction books for all students (from PreK-3 to 8th) as well as current non-fiction books of a broad spectrum of interests.
All students receive weekly classes in physical education which help students develop good health habits, learn the value of good sportsmanship and team work, as well as the value of physical activity. In addition, students may participate in the parish CYO competitive sports program. Sports offered include cross country, basketball, and track & field.
Students in 4th-8th grades have the opportunity to participate in a variety of intramural sports twice a week, during recess time, under the guidance of St. Ignatius's physical education teacher.
Each June on the last Tuesday of the school year, the whole school participates in field day games with competitions between our two teams, red and white.
Spanish vocabulary and basic conversation skills are introduced to students in grades PreK to 3 using songs, games, and in class drills. The emphasis is placed on the acquisition of language in a comfortable, interactive, and fun environment. Students build on these skills in grades 4 to 8 where a more formal approach is used to explore and master vocabulary and grammatical forms encountered in Spanish I. The textbookEn Español 1a is used in grades 4, Avancemos 1a in 5th and 6th grade, and Avancemos 1b is used in grade 8. In addition to the book, speaking activities, games, drills, and technology are used. Students also benefit from supplementary materials to teach students about the culture of Spain and Latin America. All students leave the program in grade 8 confident in their ability to study and acquire the foreign language of their choice in high school.
Students learn Latin in 7th & 8th grade; students use the text Ecce Romani, along with other supplementary materials, to learn Latin vocabulary and grammatical structures as well as the history of the Roman people. Through the study of Latin, students are assisted in their understanding of English grammar, learn the roots of many English vocabulary words, and learn about a culture that served as the foundation of Western Civilization. In addition, an emphasis is placed on the role that the Latin language played and continues to play in the Church.
St. Ignatius offers a World Languages program to expose students to other cultures, to gain an appreciation of these other cultures, to prepare them for the study of a language in high school, and help them learn more about the structure of the English language. grade; students in 8th grade choose to study either Spanish or Latin.