The students will recognize that God is the creator and nurturer of all things; that Jesus is the Son of God, our friend and brother, and that the Holy Spirit gives us special gifts to help us live good lives.

The students will learn that the Bible is Jesus’ way of teaching us about God and His love for us through the narratives of the past.

The students will recognize that prayer is communication with God; that Mary is the Mother of God.

The students will participate in worship individually and as part of a community through the Eucharistic celebrations.

The students will begin developing personal responsibility and an understanding that their decisions have consequences.

The students will recognize that we respond to the Christian message by serving others.

Text used:
We Believe
Good News

Old and New Testament


In first grade students will learn the skills necessary for a strong reading foundation. This includes intense instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics, using Engaging Readers and Words Their Way.

Reading, listening to, and responding to a variety of rich literature is another focus in first grade. Students will be able ask and answer questions about key details in a text, retell stories in detail and understand the central message or lesson, make connections, and describe the character, setting, and key events in a story.

Reading instruction follows the Daily 5 model with independent stations, differentiated word study and guided reading groups.

In writing, first grade students will create pieces in a variety of genres including informative/explanatory texts, narrative texts, and creative texts. Being a Writer is the primary curriculum used. They will move through the writing process of brainstorming, drafting, editing, and publishing. Students will understand that writing pieces need to start with a topic sentence, support the topic with details, and end with a conclusion.

Another component of writing in first grade is grammar. Students will be able to identify common nouns, proper nouns, pronouns, interjections, adjectives and verbs within a sentence. Students will understand and identify the sentence purpose (declarative, imperative, exclamatory, or interrogative). First grades will also demonstrate an understanding of capitalization, punctuation, and verb tense.

Text used:
Engaging Readers
Reading A-Z
Words Their Way
Being a Writer


Students will develop an understanding in four major areas: operations and algebraic thinking, whole number relationships, measurement and data, and attributes of geometrical shapes. Within each of these categories students will use mathematical practices such as abstract and quantitative reasoning, modeling, use of proper strategies, and identifying patterns or similarities in problems.

Specific skills include: adding and subtracting within 20; word problems; solving for unknowns; three digit equations; count, write, and identify numbers to 120; count on from a given number to 120; count by 2s, 5s, and 10s; identify odds and even numbers; understand that two-digit numbers are comprised of amounts in ones and tens; add one and two-digit numbers within 100 with regrouping; identify 10 more or 10 less than a given number; order objects by length; identify length in a whole number of units; tell and write time to hour and half-hour; organize, represent, compare, and interpret data; compare objects by their defining and non-defining attributes; use two-dimensional and three-dimensional  shapes to create new shapes; identify, create, and describe halves, fourths, and quarters.

Math Expressions
Exemplars Problem Solving for the 21st Century
Interactive Math Notebook
Number of the Day


The first grade science curriculum provides engaging lessons using the Science and Engineering Practices that aligne with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). The three major areas of science covered are earth sciences, physical sciences and life sciences. In each area, students will learn the material through hands-on experiments, interactive lessons, and projected materials.

Specific skills include understanding what scientists do, the 5 senses, waves, light and sound, space, the design process, earth’s surface, survival of all living things, environmental principals and practices, how weather can be described, how matter is described, what energy is and does, and how to describe the way objects move.

Little Thinkers Science

The Practice of Science Interactive Notebook


The social studies curriculum in first grade consists of lessons on rules and laws, where people live, symbols and traditions of our country, Native Americans, how our world has changed, people and their culture, and basic economic concepts.

Little Thinkers


Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.


The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.


Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.


Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression. In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.

First graders explore (1) visual elements and principles of art and design using primary and secondary colors, line, shape, pattern, and texture, and symmetry in composition; (2) creative expression using a variety of media including drawing with pencil, crayon, marker, and oil pastel, painting with watercolors and tempera, collage, printmaking, and sculpting with Model Magic and ceramic clay; (3) visual arts heritage by learning to appreciate different kinds of art work including portraits, landscapes and still life, and exploring art from the Mexican culture (Days of the Dead), and the works of artists such as Paul Klee, Miro, Mary Cassatt, Van Gogh, Matisse, Seurat, Picasso, and Eric Carle; and (4) analysis and interpretation by learning to recognize design elements and characteristics in the art work of peers, significant artists, and in various cultures, including Mexico.


Students are exposed to the Spanish language and culture and are encouraged to make attempts in the second language from the very beginning of the school year. All the activities are developed in a relaxed and joyful class context. The target language is continuously used in class.

A great way to keep students highly interested and motivated is to approach the language and culture through interactive and fun activities. Acting, singing, dancing, painting and playing games are accurately related to the age, level and interests of our little students. Students learn the sign of the cross; to pray Glory; Hail, Mary and Our Father; pronunciation of letters and words, age-appropriate vocabulary, and more complex sentence structures.  Students are guided to experience the Hispanic culture through creative, art and craft activities.

Specifically, students learn: greetings/goodbyes; expressing feelings; asking/responding to name; basics of gender/number agreement (adjectives); some verbs of movement; animals; classroom commands and routines; colors; numbers 1-30; weather expressions; dates; days of the week and months; family members; foods/drinks; parts of the body; clothes; opposites; shapes; school supplies; questions words.  Students are expected to add more detail and to demonstrate more control than Kindergarten students.

Instruction is differentiated for native speakers at every grade level.


The Stella Maris Academy Library/Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

In grades Transitional Kindergarten through Second Grade, students focus on a variety of digital literacy skills to access information efficiently, effectively and most importantly in a safe way to inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.  A main focus is to cultivate a love of reading and become a self-motivated reader.  Students learn the proper use and handling of books, identify and appreciate various genres and types of text (Non-Fiction, Fiction, Informative, Narrative) and applying that knowledge within the classroom. Students learn the basics of alphabetizing and the importance of organization in the Library Media Center.  Students develop successful strategies for locating information accurately and effectively to support their research. In addition, students in Second grade start the Accelerated Reader Program, which provides an individualized plan for reading comprehension based on each students comprehension skills, zone of proximal development and individual reading goals.  Students learn how to use the Accelerated Reader program to read books within their particular level and earn points based on the completion of online comprehension quizzes to accurately gauge their reading comprehension and individual reading readiness. The Accelerated Reader program continues through grade Eight and constitutes one hundred points of their Reading and Literature Grades.


The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!