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Core Curriculum

1. Academics

The curriculum of St. Benedict the Moor School attempts to establish optimum teaching and learning situations within a community of Christian belief. The school adheres to the General Curriculum Requirements of the State of Pennsylvania Department of Education. To ensure continuity in the development of skills, basic textbooks are chosen from the approved textbook list for elementary schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. All students, unless there is a written doctor's excuse, must participate in physical education class, with appropriate gym uniform. Drugs and AIDS instruction is now a state requirement.


2. Religion (Catechetics)

Catholic religion classes contain a balance of doctrinal content, scriptural understanding, faith formation, and worship experience. There is no obligation on the part of the students to be baptized Catholic; however, participation in religion classes, as well as in worship experiences during school hours is required.


3. Language Arts

The language arts curriculum presents numerous opportunities for the integration of faith, culture, and life by developing an awareness of the Gospel values. Language as communication enables one to become more perceptive through listening, observing, and feeling. Language as a skill, provides one with the important tools to speak fluently, to read and comprehend, to compose, to write legibly and spell correctly. An appreciation of literature and vocabulary enriches the student through the experiences of skillful authors who open new worlds to the students.


4. Mathematics

It is our mission to enable all students to learn the kills, acquire the knowledge, and develop the attitudes in mathematics necessary for them to become morally and socially responsible citizens. The challenge is not only to meet and to exceed grade level expectations but to excite students to explore topics on their own, to develop proof for answers and to learn from one another.


5. Social Studies

In the Catholic School, Social Studies provides many opportunities for teachers to help students understand, appreciate, and learn how to live Christian social values. The scope of the social studies curriculum includes elements of anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology, with an emphasis on global awareness and values. A clear understanding of current events helps students to integrate the past with the present and prepares them for the future.


6. Science

The primary goals of teaching science in the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh are to develop a respect for the sacredness of all life, the pursuit of peace and order in the world, and an awareness of the responsibility to be co-creators of life-giving designs and protectors of the environment. The science curriculum focuses on an inquiry-based process and fosters collaborative learning. Science education strengthens life skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, team cooperation, use of technology, and the value of life-long learning.


8. Physical Education

Physical education is a vital component of the curriculum, which assists students in identifying their physical strengths and weaknesses and encourages them to build on those to achieve personal goals. Students learn to follow rules and respect the rights of others though games and physical activity. Learning to channel energies constructively helps students perform successfully in life.


9. Health

The health course is designed to provide information at each level of development to help students make wise, moral decisions with respect for the God given Gift of Life. The health curriculum places a holistic emphasis on wellness, fitness, behaviors, and skills for healthy, active living. Students in grades K - 8 also have exposure to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) topics and lessons in Partnership with UPMC Prevention Specialists.


10. Technology

St. Benedict the Moor School strongly believes in the educational value of computers, Smartboards,Internet access and other forms of technology and recognizes their potential to support our curriculum and advance student learning in our school. Our goal is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. It is also our goal to view technology in its proper role as a tool to enhance teaching and learning and not as a replacement for traditional teacher/student interaction. St. Benedict the Moor School will make every effort to protect students and teachers from any misuse or abuse of these educational resources. All students and parents/guardians must sign the Internet Acceptable Use Agreement.


11. Fine Arts

In the program, students have the opportunity to deepen their awareness of God's gift of creation and to respond creatively to the beauty and goodness of the world through music and art.  Instruction in the Arts contributes to the development of the whole person, promotes individual expression, allows experimentation with diverse materials and elements, enables exploration and appreciation of the works of other students and major artists and musicians, develops an awareness and sensitivity toward the environment, and finally promotes a deeper understanding of heritage and culture.

Instrumental Music Program will begin in September for grades 4-8. The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh offers a music program that allows students to study music for wind and percussion instruments. Students enrolled in the program will have an opportunity to play in the Diocesan Band. The Instrumental program presented to parents and students in collaboration with St. Benedict the Moor School and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh as an extension of the arts for students enrolled in the program.


12. African American Studies

St. Benedict the Moor School incorporates the study of African American History and Culture throughout the curriculum.  Students are exposed to works of Literature, Science, Math, Technology, Arts, and Religious leaders.  A course in African American History is taught in the 8th grade as a part of their Social Studies curriculum.  Incorporating African American studies and spirituality into the curriculum helps to empower students to have a deeper appreciation of African American culture, African American History, and Pride.


13. Field Trips

Field trips at St. Benedict the Moor School are for the purpose of academic enrichment. They are planned with definite objectives and goals. A letter of explanation and a permission slip will be issued prior to the date of the trip. No student is permitted to participate without written permission from the parent/guardian. Telephone permissions will not be accepted. Outstanding debts owed for cafeteria, fund-raising, etc. will be a deterrent to a student's going on a field trip. Also, a student may be excluded from field trips due to inappropriate behavior. At such times, a student will be required to attend school.


14. Co-Curricular Programs

Any student who participates in extra curricular activities such as the sports, forensics, and other programs at St. Benedict the Moor School must maintain a "C" average to be eligible for participation in practice, games and tournaments.


Students receive a progress report during the report period. When the progress report indicates a grade below a "C" average in any subject area, the student will have two weeks to bring the grade up to a "C" average or better. If the student does not achieve a "C" after the two-week period, he/she will be suspended from the program for two weeks effective immediately. The student must maintain that “C” average for the remainder of the report period in order to continue in the program.


School personnel will notify coaches and moderators when a student has been suspended and when a student may return to practice, scheduled games or tournaments.


It is expected that a student be present for a full day of school in order to participate in any sporting event and/or school activity that same day. In the case of a doctor's appointment, a slip from the doctor must be presented in the school office. If there are other special circumstances, the school office must be notified in writing.


SPECIAL NOTE: A student's consistent lack of academic performance and unacceptable behavior may result in the loss of participation in any school sponsored or school related activity. If a student is suspended from school or serving an in-school suspension, he/she is automatically suspended from the basketball team, cheerleading squad or forensics team for the number of days as indicated by the number of days of suspension from school. When a student receives a detention, he/she cannot attend practice or game on that day until that detention has been full-filled.



Standardized tests, textbook tests, and teacher-made tests are administered to students throughout the year. These assessments require students to synthesize information, apply what they have learned, and demonstrate their understanding of what has been taught.


1. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

This is a group-administered achievement test for grades 1-8 which measures a student's knowledge in subject areas that students have learned in school – reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

2. Wring Assessment

Each student in grades K-8 participates in a Writing Assessment. This allows students to respond to a writing prompt and to select and organize content, develop a style and follow standard conventions. Students in grades 6-8 will use the Criterion Writing program on-line to complete this assessment.


3. Math Benchmark

Math Benchmark Tests are administered quarterly to students in Grades K-8. These tests determine if the student is making progress toward grade-level expectations,


Student Assistance Program was established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Act 211 of 1990. It is a program of prevention, intervention, and support for students in Grades K-12. The members of the team are the principal and faculty members of the school who have received special training through approved agencies.


The program exists in order to promote the growth and development of the child. The team members work with students who are experiencing behavior difficulties which impact their social, emotional, and educational progress.


Referrals for the program are made by faculty and/or parents. Once a referral has been received by the team, classroom teachers are asked to complete a form which helps identify the behaviors. The team then makes informed assumption as to what is needed to help the student, conveys this information to the classroom teachers, parents/guardians and evaluates the results. If necessary, after consultation with parents, appropriate referrals are made to outside agencies.


Team members maintain all information regarding students and their families under safeguard of privacy and confidentiality. Access is limited to those who have legitimate educational interest.






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