Lower School Academics
Growing as thinkers and citizens
Lower School students build critical thinking capacities and vital academic foundations while creatively and effectively becoming people for others. Our interdisciplinary, inquiry-based approach provides a rich, engaging learning environment that prepares students for the challenges of Middle and Upper School and life beyond, as they work together to serve their communities, create real-world solutions, and make insightful discoveries.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)
Using digital and analog techniques, students ask complex questions, conduct experiments, collect and analyze data and discover solutions to real-world problems.
Visual and Performing Arts
Through opportunities for self-expression, risk-taking, and sharing perspectives, our students explore visual and performing arts while building social and emotional competencies.
Students explore a variety of digital tools in order to learn about our world. This allows them to share their learning with others in an engaging and creative way while also practicing online safety and citizenship.
Students build foundational skills in reading and writing through authentic, differentiated tasks that integrate the study of history and culture in order to spark curiosity and critical thinking. Inquiry and research are critical components of our program as students explore their passions, make real-world connections, and utilize their imaginations.
Through a blend of direct instruction, structured investigations, and open exploration, students develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and work to solve complex and novel problems through the use of multiple strategies. Differentiation and flexible grouping allow students to grow according to their academic and developmental readiness.
Students actively engage in the four domains of language learning (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) through songs, literature, games, prayers, and conversation-exclusively in Spanish. Students are also exposed to the rich culture of Spanish-speaking countries and their people.
Attending PE four times a week, Lower School students explore a wide variety of activities that emphasize teamwork and fitness while also building foundational skills for participation in team sports.
Throughout their time in Lower School, students have the opportunity to participate and lead in chapel twice weekly. In addition, weekly religion classes reinforce virtues through the teaching of Biblical stories and the application of these lessons in our everyday lives as People for Others.
Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning
By utilizing this research-informed approach throughout all we do in Lower School, students explicitly learn Social-Emotional Competencies such as self-management, cooperation, and resilience to increase their academic, personal, and civic success.
Art à la Carte
Developed by St. Francis parents in 1989, this innovative parent-taught program exposes students to art history and the visual arts in a spiraling, systematic manner. The content is integrated with our social studies and history curriculum. Students learn to become educated critics while building confidence in expression and developing creativity.
School of Music
Our instrumental and vocal program is available to students K–8. For an additional fee, students have the option to attend private or small-group lessons with professional musicians after school or during enrichment periods.
Students gain leadership experiences by engaging in service opportunities, planning and participating in chapel services, and by serving on the Leadership Council.
Alpha Community Time
Fourth graders lead this gathering every Friday, when the entire division gathers to pray, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing the National Anthem. Students then greet each other and participate in collaborative activities, promoting a positive, fun, interactive learning community.