Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School

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K - 8

K-8 Curriculum Overview

OLV’s success-oriented curriculum fosters spiritual growth, academic excellence, and positive moral development. It uses research-based teaching methods to actively engage students in the learning process to foster enduring understandings. 

Religion – Faith development serves as the cornerstone of curriculum planning. At all grade levels, students develop knowledge of sacred scripture, sacraments, Catholic doctrine, Catholic social teachings, liturgy, and worship. The Gospel message of Jesus Christ is infused throughout the curriculum and into all aspects of student life. This is accomplished through daily prayer, yearly thematic programs, and liturgical celebrations (weekly grades K-2 and twice weekly grades 3-8). At Mass, students serve as instrumentalists, cantors, lectors, and gospel play presenters.  In addition to religion class, middle school (grades 6-8) students also have a liturgy class in which they write gospel plays, Communion meditations, and general intercessions. Also, just as Jesus served among the people, students serve the community through class and school-wide service projects. 

Mathematics – The mathematics curriculum is designed to develop fundamental computation skills, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills. Students calculate multi-step operations, draw conclusions to make predictions, and interpret data. Problem based and project based learning are integral aspects of the curriculum. They use mathematical operations, measurements, statistics, geometry, and algebra to represent and solve problems.

Language Arts – Students develop reading and fluency skills through a curriculum that focuses on a combination of phonemic awareness and whole language. Through varied literature genres, vocabulary development and reading comprehension are emphasized. Writing is integral to the language arts curriculum with students developing appropriate use of grammatical and mechanical conventions within the writing process.  Enhancing listening and speaking skills is also a vital part of the program. 

Social Studies – As recommended by the National Council for Social Studies, students are progressively introduced to social studies concepts. In early grades, social studies emphasizes student understanding of communities and provides them with a foundation for becoming responsible citizens. Students in grades 4 and 5 increase their knowledge in geography, Alabama history, and the development of the United States. Middle school students continue the study of American history, then progress to government and world history. OLV students are encouraged to become active citizens who appreciate diversity and understand their connection to the world.

Science – OLV students analyze, observe, explore, and discover with hands-on and inquiry-based labs to gain a broad appreciation for life, environmental, earth, and physical science. The scientific method is used to design and conduct scientific investigations.  Students apply the Catholic Church’s teachings as they relate to concepts in science. Critical thinking skills are emphasized along with written and verbal communication of scientific information. 

Foreign Language –  Recognizing that students will live in a multi-cultural society and compete in a global economy,Spanish is taught to all students in grades 1-8. 

Fine Arts – Numerous opportunities abound for exposure to and participation in the fine arts. The curriculum includes visual and performing arts, and a theater exploratory class. Student creativity is showcased through prominent displays of artwork. The performing arts curriculum combines music appreciation, speech and drama to give students the opportunity to explore a variety of arts.  Field trips are selected to create an appreciation for music, ballet, and theater. Students may participate in band, choir, and drama. The drama department produces two productions annually, each with an average participation of 90 students.  OLV is one of only 5 schools in Alabama to be chartered as a Junior Troupe in the International Thespian Society.

Technology – OLV provides a variety of technological resources which are incorporated across the curriculum.  Teachers coordinate lessons with the computer teacher to effectively integrate technology with thematic units.  Weekly classes in technology instruct grade K-8 students in a wide variety of operating systems and applications with an emphasis on the ethical and appropriate use of technology. OLV has two classroom computer labs with Windows operating systems and two portable labs (one with Macbooks and one with IPADS) enabling students to create learning experiences that incorporate varied technology resources and applications.   

Physical Education – OLV offers age-appropriate activities in physical education and promotes the importance of exercise, health, sportsmanship, and conflict resolution. Students in grades K-5 participate in physical education five days a week, and students in grades 6-8 participate four days a week. Students learn team sports and enjoy sport challenges providing the opportunity to apply the rules and skills of specific sports. Health topics are also taught in other curriculum areas including science and counseling classes. 

Counseling – Counseling classes are taught to students in grades K-8 by a full-time, licensed professional counselor. The curriculum is in alignment with Alabama State Standards and includes various psycho-educational topics such as bullying, drug awareness, study skills, career exploration, character education, health, and internet safety.  In addition, the school counselor is available to meet with students in individual and group settings.