PS - 8 Academic Programs » Program Philosophy

Program Philosophy

St. Matthew’s Parish School’s program and methods parallel the goals embedded within its philosophy. The school continually seeks, develops and challenges the best that is in its students, while providing an enriching, traditional – yet innovative – academic program in a supportive environment.

From the standpoint of the weekly schedule, the self-contained elementary classrooms and the number of teachers involved at various times with each class, St. Matthew’s programs might be viewed as rather structured. Within the framework of these constraints of time and space, however, there is a great deal of flexibility, with a dedication to meeting the needs of and encouraging the growth of the whole child.

Significant attention is given to the varied needs of a fairly broad range of children, and they are accommodated by multiple teaching styles and varied groupings in small class sections. The program puts a strong emphasis on the academic rigor in each subject that is balanced by a nurturing environment and responsiveness to individual differences. Early Childhood through the Fourth Grade students enjoy the benefits of a self-contained classroom with partnership of two master teachers at each grade level. 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. At all grade levels, specialists in fine art, music, physical education, library and technology interact weekly with the students.

Thus a child’s thinking skills, responsibility, good effort and positive attitude are especially encouraged and recognized in the most developmentally appropriate manner. The structure of the program is flexible and does not supersede the needs of the children who are supposed to benefit from it.

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 results of standardized tests demonstrate that the students’ performances are competitive with other highly regarded independent schools
  • The placement of 8th Grade students in other good institutions is excellent, with almost all going on to their first choice school
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.