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Our 5th grade program provides children with a strong start to being successful and independent learners throughout their St. Mary's experience, into college, and beyond.

Our goal is to foster a love of learning and exploration in a safe, nurturing, child-centered environment.

Our 5th Grade Curriculum

English and Literature

The English curriculum frames reading selections, classroom activities and projects around essential questions such as, "How does making choices affect me?" and "What responsibilities do I have to my communities?" Students are asked to consider themselves in relation to their immediate communities: family, friends, and classmates.

A Writer’s Workshop format provides a structured process for students to brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, publish and celebrate. Students receive feedback about their writing on a regular basis from their teacher, and peer editing is introduced so that developing writers learn how to best give and receive feedback.

History and Social Studies

The social studies curriculum uses global themes such as change, interdependence, diversity, human migration, human rights, quality of life, and sustainability to explore the history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Students learn how the physical and political geography of the region influenced the region’s economic and cultural history. They study the roles that fishing, timber, and other industries played in shaping the economic and social development of the Pacific Northwest, and their impact upon the region’s natural environment and its indigenous cultures.

Working individually and in groups, students read historical accounts, analyze historical issues, discuss current events, role-play, create art related to the content, and write persuasive essays on issues that affect their local communities and the region as a whole.


Our 5th grade math class is designed to give students extensive exposure to working with fractions, decimals and percentages. These concepts are built and developed through hands-on approaches and investigations that help students develop standard methods. In addition, they will explore basic number theory, factors and multiples, estimation, measurement, and two-dimensional geometry.

Physical Education

Physical education will emphasize movement education, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. Students will learn to monitor, track, and improve their own level of fitness throughout the year in a variety of different sports and physical activities.


This course integrates physical and life science, earth and space science, and engineering. A key purpose and goal of this class is to guide students in thinking and acting like scientists.

Scientific concepts in the course include cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and systems and systems models. This course, as with the other Middle School science courses, will be based on the Next Generation Science Standards.

Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important component of a 21st century education, and includes skills and competencies in self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; relationship skills; and responsible decision-making . We use the Developmental Designs approach to teaching SEL throughout our Middle School.

Learn more about Social Emotional Learning here.

The Arts

In Art, students will be exposed to many different media in the realm of drawing, ceramics, and printmaking. Students will be able to build new skills while expressing themselves creatively.

One overarching theme of the year is the observation and use of negative space as a tool for drawing and for designing more interesting compositions and sculptures. They will complete drawing projects with colored pencils, watercolor crayons, colored tissue paper, and learn some basics of color theory and drawing three-dimensionally.

During Choir, students learn and reinforce basic music literacy skills as they read, write, and perform music from varied genres and time periods. Students learn the basics of healthy vocal production, choral performance, and musical improvisation.

High School Partners

This program will partner our 5th grade students with our high school juniors and seniors. The goal of Partners is to provide positive role models for our younger students and a valuable mentoring opportunity for our older students.


When you go from nothing to something, everything feels overwhelming. We understand that the homework expectations at St. Mary’s are different than those at other schools. We also understand that kids work at varying speeds.

In the Middle School and for many high school classes, parents have the freedom to say, “That’s enough for tonight. It’s bedtime.” We don’t want St. Mary’s to feel like a factory. Kids should be able to lead balanced lives that include family time, sports and other after-school activities, and just hanging around.

  • 5th grade students should expect to spend no more than thirty to sixty minutes on homework per night.
  • No homework will be specifically assigned to 5th graders over the weekend. No assignments will be due on a Monday, nor will tests be scheduled for a Monday. Students may choose to work on the weekend if they wish, of course. This may be necessary for longer projects or to complete makeup work.
  • Homework will not be assigned during vacation periods, including three-day weekends.

The earlier your child begins their journey at St. Mary's, the more growth your child will experience.

Students entering St. Mary's in the middle school have an average SAT of 1780. Those who attend public middle school elsewhere but attend St. Mary's for high school have an average SAT of 1692. Are you interested in learning the specifics for your child's school? Contact us.

Join us for 5th grade at the best academic program in the region. With 150 years of experience in education, we have the statistics to prove it!

The high quality of our 5th grade program limits the class size to 18 students.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 - 2020 school year.
Apply now!

Ready for more? We invite you to schedule a visit.