St. John’s School offers a wealth of enriching opportunities for students over and above a very solid and sound curriculum.
Students and faculty enjoy up–to–date resources that enrich research, learning and interacting with the world. Since 2000, through a gift of the Callahan family, St. John’s School has been a leader in the Diocese of Little Rock and the city of Hot Springs in offering the most current technology to student, faculty, and parents. Through IBM Grants technology has become an integral part of our curriculum. A computer lab of twenty-five stations and projector, classrooms equipped networked workstations and state of the art SMARTBOARDS or SMART Panels, Wireless Laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks all contribute to our incredible learning environment.
Many textbooks (Math, Social Studies, and Science) have Internet components. In addition, BrainPop.com, Arkansas State Library Resources, and netTrekker.com (through Hot Springs School District) are resources that enhance and enrich our curriculum.
St. John’s School offers Spanish to Pre–Kindergarten through eighth grade. Each class is taught by a licensed, experienced, Catholic Spanish teacher. The primary focus is to provide students with a positive introduction to learning a foreign language. As the students progress through the program they will have a solid foundation that will prepare them for high school. Pre–Kindergarten and Kindergarten students experience the language once a week through songs, puppetry, books, games, and videos. First through third grade have Spanish once a week for thirty minutes. The program includes vocabulary building and writing skills. In addition, students are introduced to Catholic prayers in Spanish, and they experience Hispanic cultural activities.
Fourth and fifth grade students meet once a week for fifty minutes. They use a new textbook called Learn Spanish With Grace, a unique Catholic approach to learning Spanish. The program teaches the fundamentals of grammar and pronunciation with strong moral content, Catholic prayers, instructive songs, and games.
Sixth through eighth grade students have Spanish twice a week for fifty minutes. Students practice Spanish one day a week in the computer lab using The Rosetta Stone software package. The self paced, interactive course focuses on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. In addition to the lab session, students also practice fundamentals of grammar and sentence structures in a classroom setting, as well as experience the culture of Spanish speaking countries.
St. John’s offers art classes for each student, once per week. Younger grades (Three Year Old Pre-K through Kindergarten) receive art instruction for 30 minutes. Older grades (First–Eighth) spend 45–55 minutes per week in art. St. John’s has a very well–equipped art classroom, with ample supplies to stimulate creativity. Art at St. John’s is taught with emphasis on both hands–on technical instruction and art history. Students learn both how to create art and why art was created by others.
In the area of technical instruction, the following are studied:
- Art Elements (form, line, shape, color, texture, space, and value)
- Art Principles (emphasis, balance, harmony, unity, variety, movement, rhythm, and proportion)
Each of these elements and principles is taught by hands–on application in a variety of media. In addition, students are also shown examples of the utilization of the elements and principles in art pieces already created.
Students learn that art is created in a community, with some projects being collaborative in nature. For example, students have worked together as classes to create Christmas villages out of recycled materials. Each student created their own dwelling, and worked together to arrange them into a town.
Students are also encouraged to enter competitions, both local (Have a HeART for Art, Young Arkansas Artists) and national (Doodle for Google, Art Stamps). Students from St. John’s who have entered these competitions have received recognition for their talents. Students at St. John’s are also taught creativity, economy, and care of our resources by turning ordinary items into art. In celebration of Earth Day, St. John’s students created an installation composed of recycled materials that was on display the local shopping mall for several months. Finally, students at St. John’s are taught that art incorporates other disciplines—science, history, music, sociology, literature, math, philosophy—and that a better understanding and appreciation of art enhances these disciplines. Getting children excited about being creative is very beneficial, as studies have shown that it may carry them through their childhood and adult years with a more symbiotic approach to everything they do.
The principles learned and experiences gained in the Music classes at St. John’s will be valuable to students long after leaving the school. From the Pre-Kindergarten level, students are introduced to the concepts of pitch, tempo, rhythm and musical dynamics through singing, dancing and playing instruments including color coded hand bells which prepare the child for reading music and developing a musical ear. By the time a student reaches the Eighth grade he should have mastered the rudiments of music theory, sight reading, part- singing, have a basic knowledge of the piano keyboard and be able to play the baroque recorder.
All students from Third Grade through Eighth Grade have the opportunity to lead the music for weekly All School Masses. Individual groups travel out into the community to present musical programs to nursing homes.
St. John’s School provides an opportunity for all interested students to learn good sportsmanship, teamwork and the basic skills of the sport. The Athletic Department encourages active participation regardless of skill level. The hope is that each individual student will develop self-confidence, increase in self-esteem, and have fun. St. John’s School participates in the Parochial League in the following sports:
- Grades 5-8 Girls
- Grades 5-8 Boys/Girls
- Cross Country
- Grades 5-8 Boys/Girls
- Grades 5-8 Boys/Girls
SJS Booster Club
St. John’s School’s Booster Club provides support and enthusiastic school spirit for all of St. John Saint’s teams. The Booster Club, comprised of parents, students and faculty, manage the door and concessions during sports events. Through fund raisers, the Booster Club is able to provide team uniforms and athletic equipment. SJS Booster Club sponsors the athletic banquet at the end of each school year.