Our junior high classes are departmentalized with educators who specialize in their content areas and advocate for every student to ensure success. We have a 1:1 iPad curriculum, which fosters student engagement, individualized instructions, and accountability. This partnered with a focus on Responsive Classroom strategies and collaborative group work creates confident, self-assured learners.
Our junior high mathematicians begin with transitional math and move through pre-algebra, algebra and geometry. Science encourages students to become critical thinkers who understand and respect the responsibility that comes with scientific knowledge. ELA integrates research and writers workshops with novel study to create an integrated understanding and love of great literature. Social Studies begins with an overview of world cultures and an intense two-year exploration of U.S. history.
Our junior high students graduate from St John Berchmans with a great confidence in their academic abilities and social emotional learning ensuring their success in Chicago’s premier Catholic and public high schools.
English Language Arts
At the junior high level, English Language Arts integrates literature and writing with speaking and listening skills. Students are guided to become active readers, writers, and learners able to think in a critical and creative manner. In literature, units range from theme based short stories, to poetry, to novel based units with informational reading strategies used throughout. All units are focused on developing critical thinking and text analysis allowing students to personally and socially connect with great literature. English Language Arts also emphasizes interdisciplinary writing, research, and presentation to build students’ abilities to effectively articulate ideas and build their own voice.
Our science instruction stretches from earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics to the rules and properties that govern each different field. Through the use of interactive laboratories, students will learn the process in which scientific thinkers seek to uncover mysteries in the universe and develop their own skills of inquiry and observation. At the end of the school year, students will gain confidence in their abilities and grasp of scientific knowledge to be prepared to interact with a continually advancing society.
The junior high continues to participate in the weekly Mass with rotating responsibilities of altar serving, writing petitions, lectoring, and singing in the choir. Our religious studies begin with a focus on the Old Testament and the revelation with who God is and his covenant with his people, then continuing to understand God and the blessed Trinity, focusing on Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In eighth grade the students will be preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation by growing in their understanding of the Holy Spirit and service to their community.
Mathematics at the junior high level is a continuation of our elementary program with its emphasis on problem solving skills, strategies, and their justification. Instruction is differentiated to address individual needs and to challenge and prepare students for advanced placement in high school algebra and geometry. The high achieving eighth graders also have an opportunity to take a high school Algebra class while attending St. John Berchmans. Key topics include computation with fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, perimeter-area-volume, pre-algebra, algebra and geometry. From hands-on activities to everyday problem-solving situations, students learn to employ their math skills as tools for real-world learning.
Social studies seeks to prepare students as to how they can live and interact with people in local, national, and global communities from the past and present through the study of the four major disciplines of social studies: history, geography, economics, and politics. Students will analyze intriguing sources that will help strengthen or challenge their beliefs. This in turn will prepare them to engage with one another to practice skills in lively and respectful discourse. By the end of the school year, students will have gained a comprehensive knowledge about the various areas of social studies in order to continue the process of becoming active citizens committed to doing justice.
Students in our junior high continue their exploration of the arts, P.E. and technology through a 1:1 iPad program, participation in interleague athletic teams, and in leadership roles in our art shows and musical performances.