The curriculum at Saint Paul’s Choir School reflects the guidelines set forth by the Boston Catholic Schools Office as well as the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks. The course of study is both challenging and rewarding. Students are exposed to a rigorous educational atmosphere that is intended to lead each child to fulfill his potential through inquiry and demonstration of mastery both in music and academics. The boys’ broader academic experience is an invaluable complement to the music program; the curriculum offers a rich opportunity for study covering all major subject areas, including:
The mathematics curriculum is based on a solid understanding of numeration and problem solving, developing the ability to demonstrate the function of mathematics in life. The culmination of the program is formal Algebra in grade eight. Through the use of calculators, computers, Smartboards and supplementary resources, students develop a strong mathematical foundation.
English Language and Literature
The Choir School’s English Language and Literature curriculum is challenging and stimulating, drawing on the literary canon as the basis for our reading and writing. We explore texts from a range of periods, reading classical and Anglo-Saxon works in translation, a wide range of poetry and drama (the boys read at least one Shakespeare play every year), as well as significant American literature from the 19th and 20th centuries; particular emphasis is placed on Catholic literature and texts with a moral content that supports our school ethos.
We respond to our reading with expository and creative writing; speaking, listening and drama are also assessed. We engage in a range of activities to develop accuracy and variety in grammar, punctuation and vocabulary; our aim is for each boy to graduate with a mature, fluent, accurate prose style, and the ability to express himself articulately and with confidence in conversation.
Students use their critical thinking and reading skills to explore early cultures to Classical civilizations. These skills are later used for exploration of the five themes of geography and the effect of mankind on this planet. The program concludes with an in-depth study of United States history. Research techniques and development of a final research paper conclude this program.
The science program is based on a multimedia and lab based experience that fosters students’ understanding of the world around them.
- Grade four science is the introduction to science; students will be introduced to what it means to be a scientist and what scientific method is. Students use these skills to learn about: matter, the solar system, weather, plants and animals.
- Grade five learns the classification of organisms, from cells to body systems and ends with a study of energy, electricity and space.
- Grade six studies Life Science from plant identification through animal kingdoms and includes a study of the human body.
- Grade seven delves into Earth Science, mapping the earth’s surface and finding the result of nature’s effect on our planet.
- Grade eight explores the study of Physical Science, including matter, solids, liquids and gasses, all serving as the basis for laboratory experiments and journal writing. Chemistry and the periodic table play an important part in this program of discovery.
Students begin their French studies in grade four and develop the fundamentals of the French language to include comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Students also learn and appreciate the rich traditions of the French culture. All students take part in the national French contest Le Grand Concours.
An education at the Choir School is enhanced and strengthened through formation and study of the Roman Catholic faith. The desire for each student choir boy is that he grows in his knowledge and love of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – so that he may recognize both the importance of God in his life and his God-given talents, so as to place those talents at the service of the Church and the community in which he lives.
In recognition of the importance of prayer in order to grow in relationship with God, Holy Mass is celebrated each school day. It is the hope that through the singing of the Mass and understanding the rich musical tradition of the Church, students will appreciate at a deeper level the power of God in his life, and thus respond as faith-filled individuals.
The Choir School is dedicated to providing theological education at each grade level in keeping with the guidelines for the education of young people in the Catholic faith. The highly acclaimed Faith and Life Catechetical Series, published by Ignatius Press, guides the religion curriculum in grades four through eight. This education is complemented by additional programs that encourage the living of a virtuous life and by the integration of social outreach projects and other activities that enhance the classroom experience so as to promote faithful living in every circumstance
At St. Paul’s we begin the study of Latin in Grade 4, when the boys’ minds are absorbent and interested. The boys will work with the aid of Hans H. Orberg’s Familia Romana, in which they are introduced to Roman life and classical mythology. They will learn the linguistic and grammatical differences between English and Latin; form the diligent habit of analyzing scrupulously word forms and syntax for both English and Latin; acquire the ability to translate an intermediate-level piece of Latin into workmanlike English; and build a fund of vocabulary that should not only improve their use of English, but also make any future learning of a Romance language (or two) less daunting. It is also hoped that the unremitted effort at memorizing and analyzing this inflected language will bring about a more concentrating, logical and precise mind.
Students become aware of the requirements of good physical fitness and learn the rules of common team sports. Good sportsmanship and cooperation is expected. All work is done in class.