Center for Academic Excellence
Tuition Assistance / Financial Aid
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School is dedicated to the academic success of all students. Each year, we review and strengthen subject matter content. Our curriculum fosters our students' spiritual and intellectual growth, develops responsible citizens, and prepares them for further education and the world of work. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School provides a planned and balanced program of instruction commensurate with abilities, interests and educational needs of children.
Diocese of Phoenix and the state of Arizona standards define the basic elementary program. In addition, the faculty carefully analyze standardized test results and modify instruction to meet the student needs. The Diocesan and state guidelines, as well as standardized test results, are tools for planning, monitoring and evaluating the children's work on a continuous basis.
Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic School has a solid academic program including instruction in religion, mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, computers, physical education, Spanish, and an integrated Fine Arts program. The Diocesan and State Curriculums for each subject area are available online for any parent to access. Course guidelines for the above subjects are provided at the annual fall Open House Night.
The K-8 Language Arts Curriculum develops literate, life-long readers and writers. The curriculum is divided into two parts. One part reinforces essential elements that include phonics, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading, and composition. The second part develops critical thinking skills such as assessment, analysis, and interpretation, and application of subject area literature. K-6 students are using the MacMillan McGraw Hill Reading Series.
The mathematics curriculum is based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM). Instruction is designed so students become confident mathematical problem solvers who are able to think, reason, and communicate processes and results.
The religion curriculum covers the areas of church history, liturgy, mortality, creed, sacraments, creations, saints and angels. All students study and pray the rosary throughout October and May. All students participate in Outreach projects throughout Advent and Lent.
The science curriculum is based on the beliefs that the universe is subject to fundamental scientific principles and that scientific literacy is key in a global society. The curriculum enables students to understand these principles and prepares them to cope with the world’s rapid technological developments. Instruction is designed to help students make rational and moral decisions based on scientific principles and Catholic Christian values. The goals of the curriculum include developing an understanding of the processes and skills necessary for scientific investigation, problem solving, and critical thinking. Instruction is designed to promote interest as well as a sense of wonder and curiosity about the study of universe. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School has a modern science lab to enrich the student's learning experience.
The Spanish curriculum covers the areas of aural, oral, reading, and writing skills. The primary program (K-4) requires students to comprehend, in Spanish, simple questions and basic vocabulary pertaining to everyday life. Students are required to follow directions relating to classroom business in Spanish and demonstrate an ability to sing or repeat songs, poems, and rhymes. They use greetings and expressions of courtesy; and are able to count and identify numbers 0-100. They listen to stories in Spanish and write simple sentences that communicate basic ideas. The intermediate program (5-8) enriches and extends the student’s studies. Thematic units covered include the family, geography of the Southwest, Spanish-speaking cultures, the arts, school subjects, and idiomatic expressions, adjectives of nationality, Saints' Day Celebrations, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
At St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, art is not approached as a stand-alone program, but rather as another tool of expression that the children use to enhance their learning experiences throughout the curriculum. On a daily basis, children use different art activities relating to core subjects as a means of appreciating and expressing their ideas visually. An art teacher instructs all students on a weekly basis.
The music program at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School emphasizes active participation of the students. The K-8 program uses the five elements of music: rhythm, melody, form, harmony, and tone color. As children explore the elements of music, they are able to express themselves through performance and improvisation of music using voice and some instruments. Students learn to interpret the musical ideas of others through the study of composers and their music. The study and performance of religious music is integral to the program. Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are invited to participate in the choir for Friday Mass. Grades 5 through 8 incorporate units of drama.
The Computer Lab for grades K-4 provides students with twice weekly opportunities to explore computer technology that is integrated with their grade level curriculum. Basic technology and computer skills are taught twice weekly for 30-40 minutes periods. The class size is divided in half for these periods. Regular classroom aides are available to provide extra help, which brings the teacher-student ratio to 1:8. Together, classroom teachers and the computer teacher, develop curriculum for the computer lab that is concurrent with and relevant to the classroom curriculum.
Grades 5-8 receive twice-weekly training in the Computer Lab where they learn word processing, data base management, and basic spreadsheet design. These new skill sets are then applied to their other classroom experiences in the form of: researching and producing term papers; gathering, interpreting, and modeling science data; and creating computer-generated projects.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School acknowledges that students and staff must have the confidence and ability to use and understand the technology required to meet the demands of society. To increase students' familiarly with computers, classes begin in Kindergarten. Each classroom is equipped with computers, and the current school-wide student/computer ratio is 4:1. The Computer Lab for K-4 provides students with opportunities to explore computer technology that is integrated with their grade level curriculum. St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School has a 5-year technology plan that includes building the infrastructure necessary to support whole school integration of technology and staff development. All classrooms and both computer labs are equipped with SmartBoards™.
The school library supports instruction and enables students to become library savvy. The library provides computers for use by students, staff, teachers, and parents. New books are purchased or donated on a regular basis. The library has a computerized library catalogue system. The librarian confers with teachers before choosing appropriate literature to enhance classroom content. During library sessions, the librarian reads to the students, assists with the instruction of students who are using library resources, and develops library skills.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School provides individual assistance to students in need of additional reading support. These students in grades 1-4 receive small group Reading/Phonics instruction on a daily basis.