Educating students in Grades PreK-3 through 12. Fully Accredited.
Another Catholic school in North Louisiana has as it's motto: "St. Frederick's exists to get your kids into heaven and into college." It's a great motto that says all that needs to be said! We want our children to succeed in life. We want them to be the one who influence our culture for the better. We want them to know the comfort or financial security and the joy of a job they love. We want them to be Christian professionals who aren't afraid to share their faith and who genuinely set an example of professional excellence that encourages others to follow their example.
At St. Mary's, we simply refuse to stop educating a child when the page is turned and the chapter has ended. The mind needs to make connections. It needs to ask questions. The mind needs to have those "a ha" moments when a flash of insight suddenly opens up a bigger and better world than could be comprehended before. Our small class sizes and local mentality allow us to teach to the students and not to the test.
St. Mary's complies, at the direction of the Diocese of Alexandria, with the Louisiana Common Core Standards.
At most schools in the United States these days, academics means "teaching to the test." It means vying to get those federal dollars by pumping test scores. At St. Mary's, academics means forming and molding the minds of our children into Christians and Citizens who can think for themselves, articulate themselves in speech and on paper and truly understand the world. We don't want children who stop reading when the assignment ends. We don't want to make children who are satisfied with mediocre talking points from the television. Academics at St. Mary's means thinking. It means using the mind and intellect as God intends them to be used.
To that end, St. Mary’s is a college prep school. We want our kids to score well on tests and we want them to get in to the college that they choose. We believe that academics are tools, not ends in themselves. We believe in our kids.
Progress Reports & Report Cards
Progress grade reports, or mid-term grades, are e-mailed to parents in the middle of each quarter/nine weeks.
Report cards are issued at the end of each nine weeks grading period.
Scheduled parent/teacher conferences will occur after each first and third quarter grading period.
St. Mary’s uses the RenWeb service to maintain an online record of grades, assignments and disciplinary actions. Parents and students may contact the office for assistance in connecting to RenWeb and in using the service. The online portal can be found at login.renweb.com
Tutoring is arranged on a case-by-case basis for students in need at the parents’ expense. Many parents will choose to take advantage of professional services for particular areas of concern. Mrs. Jennifer Gahagan is happy to discuss academic problems and to assist in coordinating tutoring or other academic assistances.
Students in need of Accommodations
As indicated above, under Section 504 of federal statute, a private school without a special education program, that is a recipient of federal funds may not, on the basis of disability, exclude a qualified challenged individual from its program if the individual can, with minor adjustments and reasonable accommodations, be provided with an appropriate education. As St. Mary’s curriculum does not offer a special education program, or special education services, admission may be denied to any applicant if their needs cannot be properly served at St. Mary’s School. This may occur when class size does not allow for proper placement of a student, when there is a need for highly specialized counseling or treatment, or when a student’s discipline record indicates a disruptive pattern. The school also reserves the right to ask students to leave the school should the student’s behavior interrupts another student’s right to learn, or the teacher’s right to teach. This may happen at any time during the school year.
Academic Appeal Process
If a student or parent has reason to believe that they were treated unjustly by a teacher or an administrator, they may lodge a formal academic appeal with the principal. The principal will conduct an investigation and, if error or fault can be established, will discuss remedies and\or corrections with that teacher. The principal will then meet with the parents and the student (and the teacher) to discuss the investigation and the findings. The family may request that our Chancellor, Fr. Blake Deshautelle, oversee the investigation if they so wish. The findings of the principal will be final.
Note: Multiple complaints about the same teacher will be taken into account as will multiple formal protests by the same student against many teachers.
St. Mary’s students are typically college bound and, in most of the southern United States, that means ACT proficiency is essential. To that end, we have adopted the ACT Aspire (DiscoverACTAspire.org) program which is simultaneously provides teachers and administrators with top-notch standards assessments and prepares our students for the ACT. The exam is administered in the Spring Semester. St. Mary’s uses the ACT Aspire to assess basic skills in grades 3 through 10.
As per the request of the United States Armed Forces, students in the eleventh grade also sit for the PSAT test which measures certain proficiencies especially relevant to a military career. This test has been a standard part of the junior year for decades and has helped several St. Mary’s students to a successful career defending our nation. The PSAT is not used in college admissions.
The Common Core Standards
Educational standards help teachers ensure students have the skills and knowledge needed to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort that establishes a single set of clear educational standards for Kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four-year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.
In 2010, the state of Louisiana adopted the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math. The new academic standards are based on research and were developed collaboratively by a coalition of teachers, school leaders and education experts from Louisiana and 45 other states. The Common Core State Standards define what students need to learn in reading, writing and math in each grade in order to stay on track for college and careers.
The Common Core State Standards are more rigorous, more focused and more relevant to the long-term success of students in school and beyond.
More Rigorous: Common Core State Standards are internationally-benchmarked, ensuring Louisiana students are prepared to enter college and compete with their peers around the world for high-wage jobs in the increasingly competitive global economy.
More Focused: Common Core State Standards are fewer and more focused, providing students with more time to gain a greater depth of knowledge on core concepts that allow them to master increasingly complex material.
More Relevant: Common Core State Standards are more relevant to what students will need to know to succeed in the next grade and eventually in life after graduation.
Louisiana is aligning state assessments and end-of-course tests to the new academic standards, phasing in additional common core test items each year until completely measuring students’ achievement of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math in 2014-2015. St. Mary’s is following this plan of action and timeline.
Common Core • Elementary and Middle School Curriculum
"Elementary" students are defined as all students enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. St. Mary’s regards 7th and 8th grades as "middle school."
Utilizing the Common Core State Standards, the Kindergarten through 8th grade curriculum focuses on the mastery of skills in English language arts and math. Elementary teachers utilize research-based instructional reading and math programs as tools to address each standard. More than 50% of the instructional day, in elementary classes, is spent in the core subjects of English language arts and math.
Common Core • High School Curriculum
St. Mary’s provides a high school curriculum aimed at preparing students for post-secondary institutions and careers. The curriculum is provided on a full-block schedule with the opportunity for students to complete 8 courses per academic year. All high school students must schedule 4 courses each semester. Full block scheduling allows for course completion in two consecutive nine-week sessions, or one semester. Students attend the same four classes every day of a semester. Classes are 90 minutes of instructional time.
Common Core • Concerns
St. Mary’s appreciates the broad negative press associated with the Common Core standards both in Louisiana and around the country. In many ways, these concerns don’t affect our students because, as a private school, we can simply dismiss questionable material while maintaining the best parts of the program.
At the same time, all indicators point to the likelihood that Common Core will be an essential part of secondary and upper education standards for the foreseeable future and so the ability of our students to score well on the ACT is tied to the Common Core standards. Regardless of the political and legal matters surrounding the standards, they are a necessary part of our mission at St. Mary’s at this moment in history and we will implement them in a Catholic, rational and intentional way for the good of our students.