St. Monica Catholic School strives to develop what is uniquely human in our students. To that end, we equip our students with the skills, habits, and aptitudes necessary to embrace those things that are true, good, and beautiful so that they might participate in human flourishing.
No aspect of our school’s life is genuinely extra-curricular or falls outside of our core mission: to provide a Catholic, liberal arts education during the Logic stage (middle school). Every part of the program- from the way our students pray to the dress code is designed to create a sense of unity and common purpose, the participation in the sacraments, the aesthetics that govern classroom spaces, activities during recess, the way we use technology, and the songs we sing- reflect the school’s judgment and priorities about our distinctive educational mission.
Students learn to analyze, question, discern and evaluate in the “Logic” stage (grades six through eight) by constructing and thinking through arguments, paying attention to cause and effect relationships, seeing how the evidence fits together.
Teachers facilitate learning activities that intentionally allow Middle School students to analyze and integrate content from all subjects, investigate global issues, answer complex questions, and develop solutions for real-world problems. As a result, our students build self-confidence, strengthen leadership skills, and lead the school in faith.
Literature & Language Arts Program
Our middle school students enjoy exploring the literary arts in a challenging program which promotes active inquiry and analysis. Our program is a systematic approach to learning the literature of the Western tradition and the English language. Along with practicing high-complexity literary analysis, we study composition, formal grammar, and vocabulary. In seminar, we practice formal conversation and reading strategies to better understand the structure and meaning of the texts we read.
Middle School Math
St. Monica Catholic School uses Walk to Math, where every student takes math simultaneously to allow for movement to a level, they are ready for and challenged. We use Saxon Math, a superior and proven math curriculum that helps students build a solid foundation for future classes in Algebra and other mathematics courses, including Geometry. Our students gain the skills required to solve equations, evaluate, and simplify expressions. Students will learn how Algebra connects to other mathematics areas, such as statistics, probability, and geometry. They will complete problems and practice exercises to develop logical and mathematical reasoning; explore concepts and ideas, then practice them along with procedural skills; and learn how to apply math to solve real-world applications.
6th Introduction to Natural Philosophy
In this course, students will be introduced to several of the main branches of science and come to understand what makes a discipline a ‘science’. The goal is to awaken students to the natural things already a part of their experience and develop in them the habit of attending to the nuances of nature. As they hone their senses, the students will learn to reason scientifically about what they observe in order to pursue an understanding of the natures of natural things. Particular attention is given throughout the course to provoking questions of why natural things exhibit themselves as they do.
Students will gain a foundational understanding of science. Science comes from the Latin scientia, which means “thorough and detailed demonstrable knowledge”, and is specifically knowledge of causes: what a thing is, what it is made of, its origin, and its purpose. In contextualizing and encountering classical primary texts, students will develop a wholistic understanding of the world of the natural sciences in the context of its long and deep history. Much like all other disciplines, science is a rich and living conversation, not a static collection of facts. By encountering science as natural philosophy, students will begin to develop the same tools of thought and observation from the greatest minds of the Western Tradition. They will also begin to see the world in a similar fashion to the ancients: wonderous, beautiful, and worth understanding for its own sake. For, this created world is good.
And God saw all that He had done, and, look, it was very good. Genesis 1:31 (trans. Robert Alter)
MS Physical Science
In Physical Science, our minds turn to the orders that govern physical phenomena. We study the properties and behaviors of matter and energy, knowing that there is intelligence behind their design. Because of that intelligence, we can explore their intelligibility through experience, as well as through reason, reading, lecture, discussion, and questioning. Wonder and awe are kindled alongside the ability to analyze, explain, and predict.
After an introduction to the three constituents of the cosmos (matter, energy, and intelligence), we will explore how we measure, observe, and document as natural philosophers before digging into our study of the atom. From the order of the periodic table to the nature of chemical reactions, we will show how the basic architecture of the atom influences and shapes every connected phenomenon. This naturally leads us to energy, and the study of the myriad ways in which it is stored, released and changed in form. Along the way, we explore magnets, electricity, sound, nuclear reactions, and other phenomena that involve the interplay of matter and energy.
The course is designed to engage both the arts of language and the arts of mathematics. Reading and note-taking beforehand, plus the framing of questions associated with readings, leads to Socratic discussion and gateway lab experiences during class. Labs are part of the class on the micro and the macro scale: we will be running small experiments together during most sessions, ones that explain the topics at hand, and simple at-home labs involving common household items will be part of the experience, as well.
Mathematics enters as students learn to analyze what they observe. As we discern relationships between factors and variables in a given situation, we can then distill a mathematical description and expression from the patterns we observe.
The goal is for a student to leave the course with a firm, technical foundation in physical science, a sense of awe and wonder at God’s handiwork that tempers as well as situates that foundation, and a list of questions worthy of further exploration!
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. -Psalm 19:1
MS Life Science
In this course, students will continue to develop an appreciation for and knowledge of the created order. Emphasis will be placed on the study of living – or what Aristotle considered “ensouled” – things, particularly plants and animals. Through engagement with important voices from the Western scientific tradition (Goethe, Fabre, Audubon, etc.) students will be (re)introduced to botany, classification, zoology, and morphology. Further, in an attempt to combat against a suspect and pervasive trend in modern biological thought which endeavors to reduce the nature of life to mere physico- chemical interactions, this course includes readings from selections written by great authors in the history of science, which will challenge the students and, in our humble way, narrow the divide between Natural Philosophy and the Humanities. Special attention will be paid to cultivating the art of observation through detailed nature study.
Middle School History uses primary resources with the Catholic worldview textbooks in the following areas, Ancient Civilizations, World Geography, and US History.
As part of our spiral curriculum, the 6th grade’s timeline builds upon Kindergarten through Third Grade content at a much deeper level. For example, agents start middle school at the beginning of human history with the Dawn of Agriculture and Mesopotamia. Students had a blast investigating topics such as the Caves of Lascaux, Otzi the Iceman, the first city-states along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and so much more in this unit! By the end of the year, students will have studied over 3,500 years of history in the following units: Dawn of Agriculture, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Ancient Persia, Ancient Greece, Ancient China, Ancient Rome, and the greatest love story ever told (Christ’s death and resurrection). Students are also studying Latin (the language of Ancient Rome) and early creation myths in literature to complement our study of ancient history.
6th Grade: The Ancient Year
Unit 1) Introduction to the Ancient Year: Prehistory Mysteries to the Fertile Crescent’s Mesopotamia
Unit 2) Straight Outta’ Exodus: Ancient Egypt and Life on the Nile
Unit 3) God’s Chosen People: Ancient Israel and Babylonian Exile in the Persian Empire
Unit 4) Classical Conversations with a Splash of Hemlock: The Great Greeks
Unit 5) 5,000 Years of History: Ancient (and Medieval) China
Unit 5 Continued) 5,000 Years of History: Ancient (and Medieval) China
Unit 6) The Greatest Love Story of All Time: Ancient Rome & the Birth of Christianity
7th Grade: The Medieval Year and Washington State History
Unit 1) The Early Middle Ages in Christendom: Not So Dark After All
Unit 2) Context to the Crusades: Medieval Arabia and Africa
Unit 3) The Late Middle Ages in Christendom: Plagues, Crusades, and Trades, Oh My!
Unit 3) The Late Middle Ages in Christendom: Plagues, Crusades, and Trades, Oh My! (continued)
Unit 4) Comparing Feudal Systems: Medieval Japan
Unit 5) Great Beauty and Discovery: The Renaissance & Scientific Revolution
Unit 6) Great Conflict: The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation
Unit 7) That Gargantuan Graduation Requirement: Washington State History from Westward Expansion to World War II
8th Grade: The Modern Year
Unit 1) Pre-Contact: Introduction to Mesoamerican Cultures
Unit 2) The Missionary Era: The Columbian Exchange and Transatlantic Interactions (with Pirates for Enlightenment Ideals!)
Unit 3) Age of Revolutions: A Case Study on the USA
Unit 4) Against Tyranny: Foundations of Government & the Constitution
Unit 5) The Long 19th Century: Divisions and the Civil War
Unit 6) Welcome to the 20th Century: WWI, Industrialization, and Dangerous New Political Ideologies
Unit 7) Remembering the Greatest Generation: The Great Depression, WWII, and the Holocaust
Middle School Religion curriculum covers the Old Testament, New Testament, Missionary Discipleship, Church History, and Morality.
Sacred scripture came from the heart of God and was written by Him. And thus, it holds a place of importance in the Catholic Church. We look to scripture, the Word of God, to help us understand God’s will and our part in His divine plan of salvation. It is part of Divine Revelation, consisting of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. When combined with Magisterium’s teaching authority and applying the analogy of faith, we can truly embrace all that is true, good, and beautiful in our Catholic faith. We become active participants in this heavenly relationship instituted with love. The Old Testament lays the foundation of dignity, priesthood, prophecy, kingship, law, liturgy, prayer, covenant, etc., fully realized and fulfilled in the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.
Old Testament Course:
There are several aims for this course. First and foremost is forming intentional disciples with an appreciation for Sacred Scripture. You will learn about our faith and wonder at your Creator’s intense “otherness.” You will understand that he loves you and develop different strategies for taking notes, working with others, reading, and studying. We will use a variety of document-based questions, decision-making scenarios, seminars, and classroom debates.
Option 1: Rosary-making with Mr. Baker
This is a hands-on workshop in which we will be making wire rosaries and/or chaplets with glass beads. If you like to work (and pray!) with your hands, then this is the class for you. The rosary dates back at least to the ninth century as a method of keeping track of reciting the psalter and is nowadays usually used to pray the “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory be…” prayers. A rosary also makes a great gift. A small supply fee will be charged; all tools and supplies will be provided.
Option 2: World Religions with Mr. Lewis
This course will introduce students to the world’s religious traditions and the Christian approach to these traditions. Each trimester will cover a different set of religions, and students may choose to take however many trimesters they wish. The courses will be as follows:
- Trimester 1: The Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism)
- Trimester 2: East Asian Religions
- Trimester 3: Modern Religious Traditions
The purpose of the course is to familiarize the student with non-Christian beliefs and practices so that we may all be better witnesses of Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6). There will be no homework, and the instructor hopes to offer small field trips as well.
Option 3: How to Read an Icon (the Art of Iconography) with Ms. Wegener
Like art and interested in experiencing Christian art more deeply? Come discover the tradition of sacred iconography! Catholic and Orthodox Christians have used icons in worship, in private and in public, for almost two thousand years. This course will explain how iconography uses different symbols and visual patterns, explore what Christians believe about these sacred images, and show students how to pray with icons. Students will draw their own version of an icon to complete the course (no artistic skills required!).
Option 4: Studio Art with Mr. Usalla
This course is for students with high motivation in further developing individual interest and skills in various forms of artistic expression. Students will investigate contextual perspectives of visual communication and visual culture while developing their own aesthetic and artistic voice.
Option 5: Handbell Choir with Ms. Oh
The Handbell Choir elective will teach students to play handbells and/or improve upon their handbell ringing skills in a choir setting. Emphasis will be placed upon learning proper handbell ringing techniques, as well as developing skills in key musical elements such as rhythm, tempo, key signature, time signature, and dynamics. The students in this course will form St. Monica's Handbell Choir that will perform at Mass and for school-wide concerts!
Option 6: Intro to Spanish Language and Culture with Mrs. Pérez
This course is for students who want to further their Spanish skills and discover more about culture in Spanish-speaking countries. We’ll do songs, games, stories, dialogs, and other fun language learning activities.
Rotating Non-Option Option: SLC with Ms. Takemori
Are you a role model in virtue? Do you have a solid work ethic? Are you just itching to let those creative juices flow through the mediums of drama, speech, and/or art? If so, wonderful! If not, you’ll have a change to grow in these ways with Ms. Takemori as a member of the Student Leadership Crew (SLC)!
You’ll perform saintly skits, decorate posters, run family meetings (and fundraisers!), and so much more. In the immortal words of Stan Lee, with great power comes great responsibility. SLC members need to step up and lead by example in the middle school. Just like in history class, expect a lot of work but plenty of fun. ^_^
Be the leader St. Monica middle school needs and join SLC!
The Ancient Year
|Birth of Civilization to the Fall of Rome
(3,000 BC - 500 AD)
|Israel, Greece, Rome
|An Introduction to Nature and Science
|Saxon Course 1
Saxon Course 2
Saxon Course 3
|Beginning Latin Grammar
|Sacred & Secular Music, Christmas Music, Songwriting, Musical Theater, Analysis of Pop music, Music Theory: Triads, Chord Progressions, Aural Skills
|Ancient Egypt, Greek, Rome Art
|Games and Sports. Lifetime Activities.
|Reptile Zoo, SAM
The Medieval Year/Washington State History
|Medieval History (Western Europe, Middle East, and Japan); Renaissance, Reformation, and Scientific Revolution
(500 AD -1600 AD)
Washington State History
|Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, and Shakespearean verse
|Life Science: Grounding Nature
|Saxon Course 2
Saxon Course 3
Saxon Algebra 1
|Intermediate Latin Grammar
|Sacred & Secular Music, Christmas Music, Songwriting, Musical Theater, Analysis of Popmusic
|Medieval, Byzantine Art
|Games and Sports. Lifetime Activities.
|Camlann Medieval Village, Washington State History Musem
The New World Year
|Pre-Columbian Cultures in Mesoamerica through World War II
(1492 AD - 1945 AD)
|European and American modern prose and poetry
|Novare Physical Science
|Saxon Course 3
Saxon Algebra 1
|Church History and Morality
|Advanced Latin Grammar
|Sacred & Secular Music, Christmas Music, Songwriting, Musical Theater, Analysis of Pop Music
|Surrealism, Cubism, Pop Art
|Games and Sports. Lifetime Activities.
|Wing Luke, Museum of Flight