Curriculum & Instruction
Cathedral Chapel School provides a challenging, comprehensive, relevant curriculum for each student, a curriculum that fulfills the school's mission and philosophy. The curriculum is designed to strengthen the school's Catholic identity and result in student achievement of schoolwide learning expectations. At Cathedral Chapel School the curricular goals are congruent with the school's mission, philosophy, and schoolwide learning expectations. They are integrated into the curriculum, and students at each grade level learn to problem solve, conceptualize, and apply their skills in realistic situations that will prepare them for the challenges of the next grade level and ultimately those of the 21st Century.
The school curriculum strengthens the Catholic identity by incorporating prayer, character building, liturgies, Bible teachings, and Christian living into the school day. Each school day opens at assembly with prayer based on the Gospel message and closes with classroom prayer. Additional prayer opportunities occur throughout the day. All students are encouraged to offer special intentions for school-wide prayer. Teachers access the CTN resources and websites to enhance religion lessons and offer reinforcement about the liturgical seasons, the Mass, the Gospel message, and the lives of the saints. Throughout the year, the students attend monthly school Masses hosted by each class and the Student Council. Each class also hosts a monthly Sunday family Mass during the school year. The School Family Program provides students the opportunity to reach out and get to know students from different grades as they celebrate spiritual and holiday events together. The school offers opportunities for the sacrament of Reconciliation during the Advent and Lenten seasons. Weekly during Lent the students participate in Stations of the Cross and during Holy Week, the students participate in a Living Stations of the Cross prayer service.
Spanish was added to the curriculum in grades K–8 during the 2005–2006 school year. Spanish textbooks, workbooks, CD's, and resources were purchased. Students in grades K–2 have twenty minutes of Spanish four days a week. Students in grades 3–8 have thirty minutes of Spanish four days a week. On Wednesdays, new students are taught in small groups to build the foundation necessary to participate with students who have already been in the Spanish program. The Spanish program is quite comprehensive. Students are taught vocabulary, grammar, and culture. They are expected to respond to the teacher in Spanish and complete homework as well as projects in the language.
Curriculum is augmented with teacher resource materials that focus on specific skills and areas of needed growth. In addition to the basic instructional resources used in each classroom, the school maintains a recently updated, student friendly library with a video collection. Students use the library to research a wide variety of subjects, build an enjoyment of reading, and improve their reading skills. Textbook publisher websites are accessed in the classrooms to augment lessons and provide students opportunities to improve skills through interactive enrichment lessons. School subscriptions to Discovery Education, Brainpop, and TCR Newsbank are accessed in the classrooms to improve student learning and enrich the curriculum.
Cathedral Chapel School offers students in grades 4–8 the opportunity to participate in the Advanced Math Honors program. This program has become so successful that a majority of students are members of the advanced program in each grade level, and students in the grade level math class realize the benefit of the smaller class size. Cathedral Chapel School extends to any middle school, 'B' average student who maintains good conduct grades and wishes to participate on the decathlon training team unique opportunities for challenges. The students master skills in logic/critical thinking, grammar, fine arts, science, math, literature, social studies, current events, and religion.
Cathedral Chapel School provides unique opportunities in fine arts by way of individual and class instruction. The art program offers students an opportunity to explore their talents in a variety of creative endeavors. Students learn the techniques of drawing, painting, sculpting, collage, mosaic, and the use of color in various mediums. Students not only create their own pieces of art, but also learn to work cooperatively in producing art. Students are encouraged to enter local community as well as Archdiocesan art and writing competitions. Every Cathedral Chapel student also benefits from formal classroom music lessons. Every class has music lessons twice weekly during which they sing, learn musical notation, study instruments, and learn about music theory and performance. Students actually write song lyrics and showcase their vocal and instrumental talents.
Finally, the students' performance in academic competitions such as the Cathedral High School Quiz Bowl (1st place in the last six consecutive competitions through 2010) and the Archdiocesan Academic Junior High Decathlon (Los Angeles Archdiocesan championships in 2002, 2005, and 2008; State Championship in 2002) attests to the achievement of our schoolwide learning expectations and the level of challenge we offer our students. Only two schools in the entire history of the Junior High Academic Decathlon have won the Los Angeles Archdiocese event three times. Cathedral Chapel School is one of the two.
Field trips throughout the year reinforce state standards, foster achievement of the SLE's, enhance the student learning in religion, science, fine arts, social studies, and language arts. School field trips include California missions, parks, science centers, aquariums, museums, Broadway musicals, major technology corporations, and classic plays. Students also learn from various speakers who come to the school. Students have benefited from the presentations of doctors, lawyers, educators, police officers, firefighters, stockbrokers, pilots, members of the military, actors, fashion designers, and entrepreneurs. Student assemblies have been held to focus on Native American Culture, Irish music and dance, as well as traffic safety, and fire prevention.