Academics and Student Life » Academics and Student Life

Academics and Student Life

Curriculum Overview

Saint Juliana School provides an excellent program of academic and extracurricular activities that combine to prepare students both intellectually and spiritually for a life-long love of learning. We focus on the intellectual, spiritual, physical, social, and emotional development of our students, from preschool (age 3) through eighth grade.


The U.S. Department of Education named Saint Juliana a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School in recognition of excellence in academic achievement. We are certified by the State of Illinois and operate within the guidelines set forth by the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools (OCS). Our staff members and volunteers are committed to full compliance with the requirements of the Archdiocesan Office for Protection of Children and Youth.

boy reader

Faith and Religion

Sacramental instruction is provided for Reconciliation and First Eucharist in second grade and Confirmation in seventh grade. Students in grades K–8 attend Mass together weekly and participate in the liturgical preparation and celebration.
Our Building Peace program builds awareness about social justice and its Catholic Identity theme changes annually. In 2016/2017 our student-led assemblies and activities encourage all to "Let Your Light Shine." In 2015/2016 our students were "Secret Service Agents of Mercy" in alignment with Pope Francis's Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Technology & Digital Citizenship

Ready access to our wide variety of technology tools, including our state-of-the-art STEAM lab, serves to increase student engagement, enhance learning and produce superior outcomes. Interactive SMART Boards and desktop computers are present in every classroom. 


Younger students are introduced to the digital world through structured sessions in the lab, supplemented by classroom use of SMART Boards and iPads. Intermediate and upper grades apply lessons learned in the lab through the use of SMART Boards, iPads, and Chromebooks in their classrooms.


Standardized Testing

Introduced in 2016, students in third through eighth grades take a series of ACT Aspire assessment tests during the school year. Aspire is a vertically articulated, standards-based system of interim and summative assessment tests in the core subjects.


Three mid-year assessments lead up to the final summative assessment administered in late spring. Aspire replaced the TerraNova test series.

home school connection

Home & School Connection

The Parent Portal is your window to all that's happening with your student and the school. Our faculty regularly communicates homework and class activities via their classroom blogs, and parents are encouraged to subscribe to automatic email updates. Parents can follow students' individual academic and behavioral progress online through the privacy and security of PowerSchool. We maintain an active presence on FacebookInstagramTwitter, too.

English & Language Arts

Reading, writing, speaking and listening are central components to all learning and fall under the core language arts curriculum. Learning how to think logically, critically and creatively, and searching for, organizing and evaluating information are skills critical to student success.

We're a Superkids school!

Superkids, from the Rowland Reading Foundation, is a comprehensive core reading program for students in kindergarten through second grade. The effectiveness of the Superkids program is backed by well-documented independent studies and research.


Superkids provides a clear sequential path of instruction that leads to reading mastery while it simultaneously teaches students to write and spell. At all grade levels the program includes a wealth of online tools for teachers, students and parents, for use at home and in the classroom.

  • Aligned to Common Core state standards
  • Built on systematic phonics
  • Balances all five essential elements of reading
  • Integrates reading, writing, spelling, and grammar
  • Combines rigor with fun

Exclusively online, Moby's adaptive curriculum for reading, writing and language allows for fully differentiated instruction. Five distinct Moby units provide individualized lessons in reading, writing, language, vocabulary, and critical ELA skills, such as how to identify the main idea of a passage.


MobyMax allows accelerated students to progress as quickly as they like, while simultaneously providing extra instruction to those who need it.

Published by Sadlier-Oxford, the Grammar Workshop provides students with lessons and practice to help students communicate their written ideas with clarity and correctness. An online component features interactive quizzes for each lesson that are automatically scored.


Vocabulary is the foundation for reading, and Sadlier's Vocabulary Workshop instructs with high-leverage words that are portable across subject areas. Word study skills are developed through reading, writing, speaking and listening activities–both digital and in print.


Words Their Way from Pearson Education supplements fiction and non-fiction reading instruction for junior high students. A comprehensive program for phonics, spelling and vocabulary, students learn to make sense of words on their own terms, by identifying patterns in spelling and sound.

Our school participates in the Accelerated Reader program published by Renaissance Learning Inc (RLI). Students are asked to make reading selections from the Accelerated Reader (AR) list and take quizzes on those books to earn points during each marking period. Your child's teacher will communicate the quarterly point goal.


The AR program is web-based, which allows for frequent updates. The full AR list of over 100,000 books/quizzes is regularly updated at Parents can login through the Renaissance Home Connect portal using login credentials provided by teachers.


Special Note to Parents: Students are guided to the appropriate interest level when making their selections but parents are encouraged to be involved in deciding what is acceptable for their child(ren) to read. Students may be asked to obtain parental permission for certain books beyond their interest level.

With research-based CERCA (claim, evidence, reasoning, counter-argument and audience) students learn critical thinking through the practice of argumentative writing. ThinkCERCA engages students in collaborative discussions through personalized lessons across a wide variety of subjects.


Controlled studies show that ThinkCERCA has helped students gain an extra year's worth of academic growth, on average, in a single school year.

A suite of digital learning games and instructional programs that build literacy and leadership skills in middle-school students.


By fostering critical thinking, collaboration and social skills in real-world scenarios, Classroom, Inc. helps prepare students for high school and begins to make the connection between school and the world of work.


Students learn best when they solve meaningful problems rooted in real life. Our math programs actively engage students in both hands-on and minds-on activities involving manipulatives, math games and appropriate technology, providing opportunities for students to explore, analyze and apply knowledge.


We're proud to use McGraw-Hill's My Math™ textbook curriculum. Aligned with Common Core standards, My Math™ provides a colorful and intuitive lesson format that is kid-friendly and engaging, making math fun and, more important, memorable. 

Several white papers from McGraw-Hill outline the research that went into the development of My Math™ to ensure it provides the key elements of focus, coherence and rigor.

  • Focus: students learn fewer concepts but focus on key concepts in greater depth and detail
  • Coherence: making math make sense and build learning connections within and across grade levels
  • Rigor: so students meet and exceed the expectations of Common Core
  • Digital assets and resources round out the textbook lessons

The Moby Math program works to find and fix missing math skills that are essential for math comprehension. Rather than continuing to practice skills they have already mastered, Moby Math's adaptive program targets areas where students are struggling and allows students to progress immediately once mastery is achieved. A review cycle ensures that students retain the concepts. Provided to students in grades 3 through 8 who require or would benefit from integrated, differentiated math instruction from our dedicated resource teachers.

Moby Math was built from the ground-up to align with Common Core standards. The program provides for continuous progress monitoring to give teachers and parents a current view of each student's progress. IEP goals based on the standards can be quickly set, and achievement easily recorded.


Moby Math is just one of the platforms created by MobyMax, recognized experts in integrated, differentiated and proven solutions for education.

Online skills practice with unlimited questions, engaging item types and real-world scenarios. IXL helps students experience math at its most mesmerizing. See the comprehensive list of math skills for third grade students on the IXL website.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade supplement their classroom and textbook math lessons with activities and practice at, an online global community that helps students enjoy math and improve their skills. Stirring up a little friendly competition, Mathletics matches students against other schools, other classrooms and even one-to-one against other students, from all over the world. As students improve their skills and results, their competitors become ever more challenging. Along the way, Mathletics dynamically responds to each student's individual strengths and weaknesses as they improve at their own pace.

The skills are aligned with Common Core standards, and Mathletics is trusted and used by more than 10,000 schools and 3.5 million students worldwide. Available 24/7, from school and home, there is always another student challenger waiting to play real-time math games of speed and skill. Weekly activity reports are available to help parents take an active role in their children's mathematics progress; there's even a support center for each math activity, that parents can use to help guide their child through solving a particular problem. Printable certificates help families celebrate their student's successes.

Students are given unique usernames and passwords and the Mathletics subscription fee is included as part of our instructional curriculum; there is no additional cost for at-home use of Mathletics.

Science & Social Studies

Children are born with an innate curiosity about their surroundings–the people, places and things of their world. By fostering the desire to explore, explain, inquire and discover we nurture and guide students to an understanding of the natural world and its people.


Our school has a hands-on science lab and instructional space that features an interactive SMART Board and instructor's station equipped with electrical, water and natural gas lines. Student seating includes lab tables and stools.


The Saint Juliana Mothers' Club is proud to support science instruction with annual donations toward materials and supplies. Outside donations to enhance the science lab are always welcome! If your employer has scientific lab equipment they're upgrading and would like to donate serviceable items, please contact us.


Moby's Cognitive Skill Science uses thousands of cognitive skill manipulatives to teach students to be better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative geniuses. Students work through each science concept practicing with 26 different cognitive skill manipulatives. This approach makes science engaging and leads to deeper student mastery.


Moby Science is the newest program among the platforms created by MobyMax, recognized experts in integrated, differentiated and proven solutions for education.

In 2013 we powered up our very own WeatherBug reporting station. Exact weather conditions, as measured on the rooftop of our school, are published by WeatherBug and WGN-TV.


WeatherBug Achieve is interactive educational software for classroom use, enabling teachers to apply real-world conditions to help teach skills and concepts in a variety of core subjects. Using current and historical weather data that is local to the school makes it a more meaningful learning experience for students working on science, technology and math exercises.


Our WeatherBug station is the first and only station of its kind in Edison Park, and it provides area residents with:

  • Neighborhood-level weather conditions
  • Instant weather alerts from the #1 Internet weather resource
  • WeatherBug desktop application
  • Local weather downloads for wireless devices
  • Improved ability to track and respond to dangerous weather conditions
  • Participation in Homeland Security WeatherBug Network, providing live local weather information for improved emergency response.

With research-based CERCA (claim, evidence, reasoning, counter-argument and audience) students learn critical thinking through the practice of argumentative writing. ThinkCERCA engages students in collaborative discussions through personalized lessons across a wide variety of subjects.


Controlled studies show that ThinkCERCA has helped students gain an extra year's worth of academic growth, on average, in a single school year.

A suite of digital learning games and instructional programs that build literacy and leadership skills in middle-school students.


By fostering critical thinking, collaboration and social skills in real-world scenarios, Classroom, Inc. helps prepare students for high school and begins to make the connection between school and the world of work.

Digital Citizenship & Technology

Technology brings both great rewards and risks to our lives and we're committed to ensuring our students are educated, responsible digital citizens. Introduction to age-appropriate themes begins in preschool and continues through junior high.


To support student development across all platforms and devices, every classroom offers multiple Ethernet drops and a dedicated Wi-Fi access point; common areas are similarly equipped. Interactive SMART Boards and desktop computers are in classrooms, in addition to a full technology lab, plus mini-labs in the media center, learning resource and extended care classrooms. Mobile carts of iPads, Chromebooks and Windows netbooks enable 1:1 classroom instruction.


Common Sense Media is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. Parents, teachers, and policymakers are empowered with unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

  • Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Their Parent Blog helps families understand and navigate the problems and possibilities of raising children in the digital age.
  • Common Sense Education provides high-quality digital literacy and citizenship programs to educators and school communities.


NetSmartz is an interactive, educational program of age-appropriate instruction that teaches children how to be both safe and smart as they develop their digital citizenship. Created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), NetSmartz provides resources and guidance for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators and law enforcement.


Through videos, games, activities and presentations, NetSmartz is designed to entertain while it:

  • Educates children on how to recognize potential Internet risks
  • Engages children and adults in a two-way conversation about both online and offline risks
  • Empowers children to help prevent themselves from being exploited and to report victimization to a trusted adult.

The NCMEC is a non-profit organization and NetSmartz is supported by sponsors ranging from Disney, Microsoft, Sprint, Viacom, Cox Communications, Walmart and Yahoo!

Ignition is a new-media learning platform that educates students on the risks and rewards that technology can bring to their lives. It was created by EverFi, the leading education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, badging, and certifying students in critical skills. Our junior high students participate in the Ignition™ program.


Students earn digital badges and certifications as they engage in real-world gaming simulations. An example: While working toward a goal of organizing a concert for their school, students must demonstrate their mastery of digital issues, including creating a blog, managing a social networking site, and working to resolve cyberbullying situations.

Ignition components include:

  • Digital footprint
  • Secure identity
  • Cyberbullying
  • Good texting practices
  • Conducting online research
  • Digital time management
  • Creating multimedia products
  • Careers in technology

Ignition is in alignment with the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). The Ignition program is included as a standard component of our instructional curriculum and there is no additional fee.

A component of the financial education platform created by EverFi, Vault provides our sixth grade students with a solid foundation on which to base sound financial decisions. In today's challenging economic climate and easy access to financial tools, teaching personal financial responsibility at a young age is more important than ever.


Vault's interactive platform incorporates multiple evidence-based learning theories to increase students' knowledge about money. Upon completing a learning group, students "unlock" a game and apply their learning in a variety of story-based activities and simulations that challenge them to practice good decision-making around budgeting and saving.


Each learning group contains assessments that measure student knowledge gains after completing the curriculum. This data can be shared with parents and the community to demonstrate how students have absorbed information about:

  • Responsibility and decision-making
  • Income and careers
  • Planning and money management
  • Credit and debt
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Savings and investing