The reading and English language arts program engages students in a balanced literacy approach that focuses on reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Utilizing the McGraw Hill Wonders text and resources, kindergarten through fifth grade focuses on phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Kindergarten through fifth grades are introduced to the writing process and are encouraged to express ideas in writing using learned spelling patterns and English language conventions. All assessments for each grade level are ongoing, and the data enables teachers to formulate effective, structured, and differentiated instruction that meets the needs of all learners.
Using a scaffolded approach to literacy instruction, kindergarten through grade one teachers focus on the alphabetic principle, decoding, and oral language development. Students develop phonics and word analysis strategies to decode words and deconstruct context clues to define unknown words. Students in second and third grades continue to build upon the literacy foundation by strengthening decoding skills and implementing activities that support fluency practice and comprehension. These activities include student debates, practice interviews, original poetry, and creative report presentations implemented through the usage of flexible instructional groups.
In fourth and fifth grades, students are utilizing their structured literacy skills to master summarization of written texts, written fluency, grammatical rules, multisyllabic words, comprehension of complex texts through novel studies and analysis of story elements and structure, and the writing process as a whole. Students incorporate context clues and textual evidence to determine the meaning of unknown words in the text and distinguish the author’s point of view. To demonstrate mastery, students present both orally and by composing informative written responses using outside, developmentally appropriate resources.
In compliance with the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s academic standards, the OLPH’s math curriculum is elevated using thoughtful and intentional instruction by the grade- and advanced-level math teachers. Teachers develop and reinforce concepts including number sense, time, money, measurement, computation, and graphing. Additionally, teachers emphasize higher-level thinking skills through problem-solving activities and critical thinking assignments. Cross-curricular activities create opportunities for students to relearn, practice, and demonstrate proficiency with challenging math content. For example, students create a business using economic concepts and computation skills, use linear models to evaluate data, and obtain knowledge of measurement for STEM or illustrate maps.
OLPH utilizes a multisensory curriculum approach where students are provided differentiated instruction, resources, and tools that engage and support varied learning styles.
Students are encouraged to utilize IXL, a web-based interactive learning resource with tutorials, skills practice and review, and lesson extensions. Teachers establish meaningful, student-led collaborative environments that facilitate hands-on investigation and exploration to reinforce conceptual understanding and encourage higher-order thinking. Active student engagement targets opportunities where students reason abstractly and quantitatively by emphasizing real-world problem-solving skills and strategies.
STEM techniques are fostered through hands-on learning opportunities, discussion, experimentation, analysis, and evaluation. Students use tools and manipulatives to apply critical thinking skills and are encouraged to explore using the 3D printer, laptops, and interactive smart boards in the OLPH Interactive Learning Center and Science Lab.
In adopting a cross-curricular connection, OLPH students learn how to use science, engineering, math, and writing to demonstrate an understanding of the real world. Project-based learning includes creating a solar system model, a model of the earth’s layers, an aerodynamic car model, code using sound waves, a biome, and an electrical nightlight. Students also participate in scientific lab activities, a hands-on approach, making text-to-world connections, such as completing frog and chicken dissections and using mixtures for chemical reactions. Through inquiry-based learning, summative assessments engage students in formulating questions, researching and collecting data, presenting to their classmates, and reflecting on their findings.
Formative and summative assessment data is utilized to guide instruction and target each student’s growth. Teachers formulate lessons that meet students’ needs and support students’ success so that learners can demonstrate an understanding of the real world within an evolving scientific context.
The social studies curriculum is vertically aligned and engages students in critical thinking and analysis of diverse cultures, communities, and economics.
Teachers and students embrace the challenge of social studies instruction in an ever-changing world by reflecting on relationships among people, the environment, and natural resources.
Using explicit instruction, discussions, and collaborative groups, teachers model citizenship, interpret history, and guide students in synthesizing information. The Catholic faith is integrated into the social studies curriculum to invoke spiritual, moral, and ethical understanding of community and global concepts.
Cross-curricular activities, including the Junior Achievement BizTown program, enable students to interpret the roles and responsibilities of citizens in a fictitious town. Involvement in these activities reinforces career readiness by discussing the roles of community members and the responsibilities of business owners and consumers while also introducing financial literacy.
Students are engaged in project-based learning opportunities, video illustrations, the creation of models, and formative assessments. Students build a colony or town, illustrate and analyze maps, have debates and mock trials, learn hieroglyphic writing, and reflect on American symbols to establish deeper connections with the content area.
OLPH incorporates faith formation into the curriculum through daily religion classes, prayer, weekly liturgies, and sacramental preparation. Students in pre-K are instructed in gospel values and teachings through the Allelu curriculum, while kindergarten through eighth-grade students utilize the Blest Are We curriculum. The catechism focuses on Catholic beliefs, worship, prayer, the lives of saints, Catholic social teaching, and life by providing digital resources to support all learners.
OLPH brings this curriculum and Catholic faith to life through daily school-wide prayer, Chorus and Liturgical Dance courses, and the celebration of national Catholic School Weeks. Student-led activities include the Hall of Saints, the Living Rosary, May Crowning, and the Living Stations of the Cross.