Program » Program Philosophy

Program Philosophy

St. Matthew’s Parish School’s program and methods parallel the goals embedded within its philosophy. As an Episcopal school, we seek to create a learning environment where students can wrestle with big questions in the world, identify values that are important to them, and develop leadership skills through service to others. To do this, our program develops and challenges the best that is in its students by encouraging critical thinking and collaboration, providing a strong academic foundation, developing social-emotional skills, and engaging in service learning. We have the Episcopal traditions of inquiry and reason and a dynamic, engaging learning environment with innovative teaching practices, and a strong sense of community.
The program puts a strong emphasis on academic excellence in each subject that is balanced by a nurturing environment and responsiveness to individual differences. Significant attention is given to the varied needs of a fairly broad range of children, and our faculty demonstrate multiple teaching styles and regularly engage in professional development and reflective practice. Our weekly schedule reflects our educational philosophy. It is structured with a flexibility that allows for deeper learning.
Early Childhood through the Fourth Grade students enjoy the benefits of a self-contained classroom with a partnership of two master teachers at each grade level. Specialist classes are taught in semester-long intensives to allow for collaboration that expands students’ learning and extends their knowledge of literacy and numeracy. In the Middle School (5th-8th), the program becomes fully departmentalized to meet the students’ growing needs for more in-depth study in each discipline. Within that framework, we also make time for interdisciplinary learning experiences, which is especially critical in trying to answer big questions. Our Middle School schedule is designed within a block rotation, and classes are 70 minutes long, with four classes per day along with Advisory. This provides structure, balance, and opportunities for collaboration. At all grade levels, specialists in fine art, music, physical education, library, and innovation interact regularly with the students.
There are many ways to evaluate a school’s success, some scientific and others more subjective. By both standards, St. Matthew’s is thriving. Most students perform at or above grade level, the placement of 8th Grade students in other good institutions is excellent, and our alumni report being prepared for high school and life beyond.
But far more important is the subjective component, something that tests cannot evaluate, and perhaps only a walk around the campus can. The students are motivated, enjoying learning and school life, working hard, and playing hard.