Elementary Curriculum

The Elementary School at Sacred Heart follows a competitive consensus curriculum established by the Diocese of Richmond. This curriculum exceeds the requirements for the Standards of Learning (SOL) for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Click Here to view the Curriculum on the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools Website

In grades K-5 our focus is based on providing a strong foundation for the student by emphasizing basic skills teaching in a collaborative, problem-based approach while integrating the latest technological tools. Reading, phonics, writing, math, science, social studies, and religion are the core components of our hands-on elementary school program.

Language Arts

Teachers work with the University of Virginiaís program, Words-Their ĖWay, in teaching phonics and spelling. This program allows teachers to target each studentís developmental placement in spelling and has students work with level-appropriate word sorts to improve their understanding of the written language. Students work in small groups to organize words into categories based on sound, spelling, or semantic categories. This is a fun approach to phonics and spelling that meets each childís individual needs. For reading instruction teachers use the language arts curriculum developed by the Center for Gifted Education from the College of William and Mary. in conjunction with the Scott Forseman reading series in grades 1-5 to give our students the best all-around reading instruction. The William and Mary program is a program designed for high ability students. The program works to develop analytical and interpretive skills in literature, writing skills, linguistic/oral communication skills, and reasoning skills. Students are asked to read and discuss pieces of literature such as poems, short stories, and fables. Students maintain journals to clarify thinking and prepare for written and oral assignments. Students also complete in class projects to go along with the literature pieces.


In grades K-3 we adopted the EnVision math program. EnVision Math is based on scientific research and classroom-based evidence on how children learn math. The program has a hands- on approach that connects math to studentís prior experiences in life and boast a large technological piece. This program gives our students a strong foundation for higher level math in grades 4-8. Students in grades 4 and 5 use MacMilliam McGraw-Hill, Math Connects, math series that build upon the basic math concepts while strongly emphasizing he important skills of problem- solving. Science: In each grade students walk through the three basic components of the Sciences: Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science. A problem-based discovery approach is integrated into our science curriculum as well as STEM projects.

Social Studies

In Kindergarten and first grades students primarily focus on communities and cultures of our own and of others. There is also a strong focus on how to be a good citizen. In second and third grade students expand upon these concepts while learning the basic components of geography. Students in 4th grade study Virginia history and students in 5th grade get an overview of American history. Library class time is used to teach students library skills as well as to provide resources for class projects and books for recreational reading. Accelerated Reader is used throughout elementary school. Students work in the computer lab at scheduled times in addition to opportunities for creative writing and class projects. Their academic experiences are enriched by field trip excursions.

Middle School Curriculum

The Middle School at Sacred Heart includes sixth, seventh and eighth grades. It serves primarily as an academic and developmental bridge between elementary school and high school. Subjects are taught in a departmentalized system of seven academic periods. The diverse curriculum, implements the Diocese of Richmondís Consensus Curriculum for overall guidance.

General Course offerings

  • Religion
  • American History (Civil War to present), Geography, World History I
  • General Science, Life Science, Physical Science
  • General Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I*
  • Spanish and Spanish I
  • Language Arts including Grammar, Vocabulary, Literature
  • Technology
  • Enrichment courses such as Art, Music, and Journalism
  • Physical Education

High School credit given pending successful completion of SOL Test.

Note: Terra Nova standardized test administered to seventh grade

Core Curriculum

Language Arts

Traditional areas of literature including the novel, short story, non-fiction essay, drama, and poetry are studied. Students learn literary structure and terminology through lecture, class discussion and written/artistic projects. Students read a variety of books independently, and take on active roles in critiquing new novels. Teachers strongly emphasize the development and use of composition skills throughout all subject areas of the middle school curriculum.

Writing compositions, oral presentations, and studying English grammar are part of the on-going curriculum.Students compose letters and personal narratives; expository, persuasive, and comparative essays; and poetry and fictional stories. The writing focuses on organization, ideas and content, sentence fluency, and voice. In addition, students practice creating and delivering clear and concise oral presentations. Grammar focuses on punctuation and capitalization, part of speech, and other rules of English.


Sixth grade General Math emphasizes the basic operations including fractions and decimals. Measurements, percentages, patterns, problem solving, ratios, and geometry are also part of the course. The class briefly explores integers, variables, and simple graphing. The class emphasizes and practices problem solving throughout the year.

Seventh grade Pre-Algebra prepares a student for Algebra I by focusing on integers and equation solving. The course covers ratios, powers, and exponents as well as extensive coordinate plane graphing. Students practice problem solving throughout the course.

Eighth grade Algebra I is an advanced course equivalent to average ninth grade math. Algebra I moves at a fast pace and is taught as a high school-level course, including end-of-semester exams. Students solve, write, and graph both linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. The study of exponents and ratios continues from Pre-Algebra. The course introduces polynomials, factoring, rational expressions, functions, and radicals. Students practice problem solving throughout the course.

Social Studies

Social Studies in sixth grade covers U.S. history from 1860 to the present. The use of current events helps students connect with the past as well as understand changes in society. Instruction emphasizes correlating and sequencing events, writing and map skills, and reading for comprehension. Students learn outlining skills which they practice throughout the year. The students complete outside projects both individually and in small groups

Seventh grade Geography includes an in- depth study of the countries of world. The relationship between people, movement, places, environment and human interaction is given special attention. A study of the physical systems of the earth coincides with a study of the human systems. Continents and countries are studied within this framework.

Eighth grade World History I covers the early cultures from Asia, Europe, and Africa through modern European expansion and revolutions. Instruction continually reinforces map, geography and writing skills. Students complete hands-on projects and research ancient civilizations with their corresponding present-day countries. Aculminating activity is a cross-curricular project done in conjunction with the English class.


Sixth grade science provides an overview of life, physical, and earth science. Students receive instruction on a variety of basic concepts that will be necessary as they further their scientific studies throughout middle school and high school. Science lessons make use of the internet and various software programs.

Seventh grade life science focuses on the different forms of life on earth. Instruction in cell theory and genetics includes historical perspectives as well as investigation into more recent discoveries including the basics of cloning and the Human Genome Project. Students study the cell and its organelles. Microscopes, the Internet, and other types of technology enhance science studies. Seventh grade science includes the classification of organisms and the dissection of worms and frogs. Studies include diversity and adaptations of organisms. Students observe species from each kingdom and discuss how they affect humans. The class also covers theories of life science, scientists, and major discoveries.

Eighth grade physical science builds upon sixth grade science. Students receive additional instruction on their concept of atomic structure. Chemistry experiments provide ways to explore various types of mixtures, chemical properties, and physical properties. Students memorize the elements on the periodic table, including the atomic number and symbol. Students may be required to choose an element and complete an oral and visual report on it.

Sacred Heart School
540 Central Blvd.
Danville, VA 24541

-Kira S. Kania, Principal