Our Lady of Charity School is an Illinois State-recognized institution. All teachers are certified with a minimum of a bachelor's degree and most have master's degrees.
OLC boasts a full academic curriculum. Subjects taught include religion, English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Music, physical education, Spanish (for native and non-native speakers), and library are also part of the students' regular weekly study cycle. Technology is integrated into the curriculum via our 30-unit, networked computer lab with a high-speed internet connection. Students are issued their own iPads beginning in the second grade, and teachers use interactive whiteboards in their teaching.
The Archdiocese of Chicago Curriculum Benchmarks in English, reading, math, and science are aligned to the Illinois Learning Standards, Common Core State Standards, ACT's College Readiness Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards. The religious standards are designed to promote our Catholic identity and faith in the lives of our students with an emphasis on our creed, sacraments, Christian living, scriptures, liturgy, prayer, and history of the Catholic Church, parish life, and vocations. The Archdiocese of Chicago Curriculum Benchmarks is rigorous standards used by teachers in our schools to align curriculum, instruction, and assessments to prepare students with the skills to be successful for their next level of work.
More information regarding our curriculum is available here.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS PROGRAM
Kindergarten - 1st grade:
We use Jolly Phonics at Our Lady of Charity. This is a systematic program for teaching phonics. Teaching is multi-sensory and active, with fun actions, stories and songs. Students learn the 42 sounds of English along with many of their spelling patterns.
Making Meaning is another program used in kindergarten and in first grade. It is designed to teach whole group lessons in reading comprehension skills. Making Meaning provides a full year of research-based, whole-class reading and vocabulary instruction for grades K–6. Reading lessons teach students comprehension and self-monitoring strategies that proficient readers use to make sense of text. Lessons intentionally integrate academics with social skill development, creating an environment in which students learn to collaborate, agree and disagree respectfully, and take responsibility for their own learning.
Guided Reading is also employed. This is a small-group approach to reading instruction. Students read a book at their instructional level. The teacher facilitates skill and discussion work with students as they grow in their use of reading strategies and responding to what they read in their writing.
Writing instruction is taught using the Six Traits of Writing (Trait Crate Plus) by Ruth Culham. Traits Crate Plus helps students learn and use the six traits―ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions―to improve specific skills in writing.
We are fortunate to have a 2020 edition of McGraw Hill’s Wonders program that is designed to reach all learners. Research-based print and digital resources provide support for building strong literacy skills using fiction and nonfiction texts. Writing about reading and social emotional learning skills are also included. This program features phonics, phonological awareness, high-frequency words, spelling, handwriting, grammar, and vocabulary practice. Additional writing instruction is taught using the Six Traits of Writing (Trait Crate Plus) by Ruth Culham.
Our Lady of Charity's middle schoolers use the 2020 edition of McGraw Hill's StudySync, a complete English Language Arts curriculum. In print or online, StudySync, is designed to engage every student regardless of his or her native language, learning level or phsyical, social and emotional ability. StudySync offers a blend of modern-day and classic literature. Skill lessons include comprehension skills, writing, and research. English Language Learners (ELL) skill lessons emphasize vocabulary instruction, language acquisition, and reading comprehension.
The OLC math curriculum follows the i-Ready Classroom Math program. i-Ready Classroom Mathematics is a robust mathematics program that will help your student become a strong, independent mathematical thinker. The program uses a different approach to math instruction than many of us had as children. The program:
• Focuses on learning through problem solving and student-to-student conversations about mathematical thinking (called discourse)
• Uses a set of learning routines each day, called the Try–Discuss–Connect routine, that helps students engage in discourse as they develop a deeper
understanding of mathematics
• Ensures that your student develops the problem solving skills needed to become an independent and confident mathematical thinker
At Our Lady of Charity School, Jesus Christ is at the center of our religion curriculum. Students in grades 1-8 use Alive in Christ, and kindergarteners use Allelu!: both programs are published by Our Sunday Visitor.
In order to build a foundation for a lifelong relationship with Jesus, our religion curriculum focuses on the life, mission and saving work of Jesus Christ, and teaches students how to live as Catholic disciples. Students build knowledge of, and reverence for Sacred Scripture from both the Old Testament and New Testament. The Virtue of the Month program provides a school-wide conversation about how we can creatively maintain and strengthen a safe school community that reflects the values and teachings of Jesus Christ. Students are challenged to relate knowledge of our faith with their life experience so they can apply the many ways we worship, live, pray, and serve together as Catholics. We begin each day as a school to share prayer and the Gospel, read by students each morning over the public address system.
Preparation for the Catholic sacraments of reconciliation, first holy Communion, and confirmation is conducted as part of their respective grade levels in partnership with our priests, our parish religious education leaders, and our faculty. Reconciliation and first Communion occur in 2nd grade, while confirmation occurs in 8th grade.