Core Content

Image of GodAll Religion classes are taught in full accord with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  The curriculum in grades K-2 introduces the Blessed Trinity, well-known stories from sacred scripture, and the sacramental life of the Church, culminating in 1st Reconciliation and Holy Communion.  There is also an emphasis on who we are in relation to our creator, revealing the beauty of the fact that we are children of God.  We use the Image of God textbooks.

The 3rd grade class uses a combination of Image of God Series, Bible reading studies, and essential Bible stories that bring out the Catholic faith.  We look at how to act as an image of God in our everyday life.  The students learn the traits that bring them closer to God.

Our 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes use the Image of God Series.  We explore how to live as an image of God through learning about the Saints, sacraments, commandments, and liturgical seasons.

In grades 7-8, the religion curriculum covers what we believe as Catholics, including Sacred Scripture, the Holy Trinity, Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, His public ministry, Passion, death, Resurrection and Ascension, the Kingdom of God and his plan of creation and salvation,  and the Church as the Body of Christ. We also spend time on the Sacraments, prayer, liturgy, how we worship, and the Catholic Social Teachings. We learn how to respond to our call to Holiness as we live our faith by following Christ’s teachings, making good and moral choices, doing good works, and loving as Jesus teaches us.  We spend time integrating the Truths of the faith while studying current events.  We inspire our students to be leaders in a culture that is becoming increasingly secular and work to reveal to them the beauty of the human person.

In addition to the Image of God curriculum, 6th graders learn about the story of Salvation History by studying the scriptures with the Encounter program by Ascension Press. The 7th graders learn about the meaning and beauty of the Mass, the Source and Summit of our Christian life, through the Altaration program by Ascension Press. And the 8th graders learn about the dignity of all human beings and the beauty of chastity through the Theology of the Body for Middle School Students by Ascension Press.

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The Singapore Math company was founded on the belief that students and educators should have access to the highest quality math curriculum. The Singapore Math® method was introduced to the U.S. and beyond (U.K., Middle East, Australia) almost twenty years ago, and they remain committed to sourcing and creating the best educational products available.

Dawn and Jeffrey Thomas started Singapore Math in their garage in 1998 shortly after moving back to the U.S. from Singapore, where their daughter attended local schools through the first grade. They were dissatisfied with the math materials used at her new elementary school and supplemented her schoolwork with the textbooks they brought from Singapore. They soon realized that they had an excellent resource on hand and should share it with other parents and educators.

Interest in the products that they introduced to the American market grew steadily through successful school adoptions and word-of-mouth. Since those early years, the Singapore Math® method has become an established part of the national and international conversation about math education.

We are proud to be using this approach in Kindergarten – 6th grade. In 7th and 8th grade, we use Pre-Algebra(Larson), Algebra or Geometry depending upon the academic ability of the student. Grades 7 and 8 are split into developmental groups of standard and accelerated.

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SuperkidsGrades K-2 use the Superkids reading program which best supports the standards we have adopted. The program incorporates reading, spelling, and language arts all into one, thus offering multiple means of representation for important concepts.

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In 3rd grade, they are using the Junior Great Book Series.   They are emphasizing classic stories, fables, and folktales.  Every week, they are performing a Socratic seminar using a chosen story from the week.

Grade 4 uses the Voyages in English textbook by Loyola Press.  Areas of study include writing skills, grammar skills, parts of speech, speaking skills, and spelling. We study literature through reading novels and poetry.

In the 5th grade, they use the textbook called: Junior Great Books – 5 Book One: Honesty, Self- Respect, Fitting In by Great Books Foundation.  They are also reading several novels throughout the year, such as:  The Year of the Panda by Miriam Schlein,  Sadako and 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr,  Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell,  Holes by Louis Sacher,  and Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Middle School English

In grades six through eight proper grammar, usage and mechanics are major focus areas. The eight parts of speech, along with proper word usage and mechanics are taught, practiced, and reinforced in both their speaking and writing. Another area of focus is different types of writing that includes but is not limited to: descriptive, expository, narrative, persuasive, response to literature, research paragraphs and essays. All formal writing follows the six-step writing process wherein prewriting, drafting, revising, editing & proofreading, publishing & reflecting are utilized. Weekly spelling work and tests are also part of the English curriculum.

Middle School Literature

Sixth through eighth grades use the Voyages in English textbook by Loyola Press . Each grade studies one novel each trimester. The novel studies increase critical reading skills, comprehension & vocabulary, and provide opportunities for students to further their understanding and application of the literary elements. In sixth grade we read Mara, Daughter of the Nile (McGraw); A Christmas Carol (Dickens) and The Bronze Bow (Speare). Seventh graders read The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Speare); Across Five Aprils (Hunt) and The Giver (Lowry). Eighth graders read The Red Badge of Courage (Crane); To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee) and The Westing Game (Raskin).

We also use the Accelerated Reader program within our classrooms. Students make choices of books they would like to read based upon their STAR reading level, and point goals are made and reached as part of their literature grade.


First and Second graders use the Harcourt Science textbook to address Earth, Life, and Physical Science curriculum standards. In addition to the text, scientific topics are integrated into the Superkids reading program in grades K-2 through the Super Magazine and Scholastic News.

In 3rd grade, we use Harcourt Science curriculum. We study different aspects to Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science. More specifically, in Life Science, we study at types of plants and animals and how those plants and animals interact (how the living things depend on one another.) In Earth Science, we learn about the Earth’s land, minerals, rocks, and fossils, how the land is formed, the different types of soils, and the Earth’s resources. We study the cycles on Earth and in space, in relation to the water cycle, observing weather, and the relation of Earth to the solar system. In Physical Science, we investigate matter, the properties of matter and the changes in matter. We explore energy and the forces (temperature, forces, and motion.)

Fourth grade studies Matter and Energy, Electricity and Magnetism, Rocks, Oceans, and the Water Cycle. We also do a unit on inventors. Our students write a research paper and create a movie trailer about an inventor, both of which are presented at our Film Festival in the spring.

Harcourt Science is the text used by grades 5 and 6. It follows the National Science Education Standards. Those standards that align with the Minnesota Science Standards are what are taught in the classroom. Students work in the text, investigate concepts in the laboratory, and link what is learned to other aspects of their education.

Grade 5 does work in Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, and Nature of Science and Engineering. Grade 6 does work in Physical Science and Nature of Science and Engineering.

The 7th and 8th grade science classes follow the guidelines of the National Science Education Standards and the State Standards of Minnesota. The classes also follow the direction of the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) program and use the Life and Earth Science textbooks published by McDougal Littell. Classes combine both individual and group work with time in the laboratory.

The 7th and 8th grade classes are based on observation and discovery. Students perform many of their learning tasks in groups and in laboratory sessions, both outdoors and in the lab. All of this is done under the direction of the teacher.

**St. Raphael Catholic School has made significant investments in the area of technology over the past number of years. We strive to stay current in the areas where technology integrates with critical academic formation. Grades K-2 share a cart of iPads for Educational App use. Grades 3-5 have a similar cart of Google Chromebooks. We also have 1:1 Chromebooks for students in grades 6-8 which they loan from the school and can take home to work on schoolwork. Technology is now built into the science curriculum which now meets one extra time per week in lieu of a specifically devoted technology/keyboarding class. This curriculum still involves keyboarding, commonly used software programs, ethical and safe standards of use of technology, but also has added computer programming, engineering, and more.

In grades K-2, Social Studies is incorporated into the Superkids reading program through the Superkids Magazine. This non-fiction magazine addresses topics such cooperation, community, and respect for self and others. In addition, our Kindergarten, first and second grade students will use Scholastic Magazine to address current events, social studies and science topics.

In 3rd grade, we will be using The Story of the World (History for the Classical Child) curriculum. The students will study about “the Ancient Times” – from the Earliest nomads to the Last Roman Emperor. The students will also be doing a unit on Native Americans and African American studies during Black History Month. We will also use the Scholastic Magazine to stay aware of current events – with topics from science and social studies.

In 4th grade, we concentrate on the regions of the United States. Our students will learn the different regions of the United States, while incorporating topics of citizenship and government, economics, mapping skills, cause and effect, geography and human connections to history.

Middle school begins to introduce geographic themes, early cultures, and ancient civilizations. Physical geography and all aspects of culture are incorporated as well. We work with the grid system, globes and different types of maps, and time-lines. The skills of sequencing, making predictions, drawing conclusions, and decision making are developed.

In 5th Grade, students will study early American History. Specifically, students will look at the time period from the discovery of the New World through the Civil War. The course books used are: United States History Beginnings to 1877 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Northern Lights by MHS Press.

6th Grade History

In 6th Grade, students will study World History.  This course is designed to expand students’ knowledge base on the roots of Western Civilization. In order to understand the current world and nation students live in, they must know how Western Civilization began and how it has developed over the last 4,000 years. Students will also find connections between the role Divine Providence has played in the beginnings of Western Civilization and its development.


  • Students will achieve greater competence in world history knowledge.
  • Students will understand that the world has a unified chronology, and that the development of societies and historical eras have an impact on their lives today.
  • Students will understand why history has to be investigated, and that world history has influenced our “cultures,” today.
  • Students will make connections on how world history has impacted their lives today.
  • Students will work with and develop their skills in creating background essays, as well as using primary source readings, handouts, maps, and illustrations.
  • Students will read and write about history and experience interactive activities that help develop Social Studies Skills: critical reasoning, inquiry-based research, and deliberation.

7th Grade History

In 7th Grade, students will study American History. This course is designed to expand student’s knowledge base of United States history. In order  to understand the nation students live in they must know how and why the United States began and how it has developed into the beacon of freedom and the shining city on the hill for the world.


  • Students will achieve greater competence in American history knowledge.
  • Students will understand the chronology of U.S. history and how its concepts of freedom and capitalism developed over time.
  • Students will understand that the U.S. has a unique culture and has been influenced by many cultures
  • Students will work with and develop their skills in create background essays, as well as use primary source readings, handouts, maps, and illustrations.
  • Students read and write about U.S. history and experience interactive activities that help develop Social Studies Skills: critical reasoning, inquiry-based research, and deliberation.

8th Grade History

In 8th Grade, students will study Civics. This course is designed to expand students’ knowledge base on United States Civics. In order for our Republic to survive must students understand core-founding principles of this nation such as freedom, liberty, democracy, rule of law, and citizenship.   Students will discover and study the founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, as well as historical documents such as Magna Carta, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Students will be able to study the philosophers of history that influenced our Republic. Students will also be able to visit the Minnesota State Capitol and the Minnesota State Supreme Court.


  • Students will achieve knowledge of the founding documents.
  • Students will understand the ins and outs of the Three Branches of government and each branch's responsibility.
  • Students will understand why civics has to be investigated, and how to preserve the Republic and their rights and freedoms granted by God and the U.S. Constitution.
  • Students will understand the U.S. election process.
  • Students will understand how philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, Niccolò Machiavelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke influenced American government.
  • Students will read and write about civics and experience interactive activities that help develop Social Studies Skills: critical reasoning, inquiry-based research, and deliberation.
  • Students will understand the Rule of Law and how that relates to the Ten Commandments.
  • Students will understand the U.S. Court system and how they function.
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