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Diocese of Grand Rapids Curriculum Standards

We invite you to explore the curriculum standards used within Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and our Catholic schools support parents in the process of fully forming each child in mind, body and soul. These curriculum standards, adopted in August 2018, reflect how our Catholic faith informs instruction across all content areas and grade levels. Below, the content area curriculum documents include a complete articulation of our work from kindergarten through 12th grade. Additionally, see curriculum standards organized by grade level farther below.

Content Area

English Language Arts Fine Arts Mathematics Physical Education Religion Theology

Science Social Studies Spiritual and Social Development and Work Habits Technology World Language

Grade Level

Kindergarten 1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade

4th grade 5th grade 6th-8th grade 9th-12th grade

Frequently Asked Questions

What are curriculum standards?

Curriculum standards express the skills and content students are expected to demonstrate within courses and across grade levels. These standards provide normative targets for student performance. When a student has successfully completed a course or grade level, he or she will have demonstrated competence in the knowledge, skills, or attitudes required of that course or grade level.

How do our Catholic schools use curriculum standards?

Curriculum standards are the base from which schools and teachers identify specific learning objectives for students’ coursework. Shortened versions of the curriculum standards are used on diocesan report cards, which show individual student growth toward proficiency of course content. School leaders also use curriculum standards as they determine the textbooks and resources necessary for courses; this process of purchasing curriculum resources is determined at the school level.

Do all the diocesan schools use the same textbooks and online resources?

No. The diocesan curriculum standards guide schools toward the expectation of course work and content. The diocese does not determine the textbooks or resources used in each school. Those decisions are made at the individual school level; however, when possible, schools cooperate to take advantage of consortium or volume pricing.

Have the elementary religion standards been fully developed?

Not yet. The initial focus of this project was to ensure all content areas were a reflection of our Catholic faith. Stage two entails fully developing grade-level curriculum standards for religion courses in grades K-8. At this time, full curriculum standards have been developed for theology courses in grades 9-12 and anchor standards, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have been developed as a guide from which the K-8 religion curriculum standards will be fully written.

How do you monitor student learning and growth?

We use various data points to monitor student learning and growth in our Catholic schools.  The NCEA ACRE assessment is administered in fifth, eighth, and eleventh grade to provide parents and educators standardized data on students’ knowledge of the Catholic faith. The NWEA MAP assessments is administered in elementary and middle school grades to provide qualitative achievement and growth data for parents and teachers. The SAT suite of assessments is administered in preparation of students’ postsecondary school success. Educators in our schools use these various data points to drive instruction based on a student’s specific needs.

Do you teach Common Core?

No. The Common Core State Standards have not been adopted or adapted for use in our schools. Our diocesan curriculum standards pull from best practices from a variety of sources, none of which are Common Core. Hundreds of diocesan teachers and administrators worked tirelessly to produce the content and wording of the curriculum standards. They were then reviewed by local experts in theology, including diocesan priests and Aquinas College professors. This combination of experts ensures that the curriculum is rooted in our Catholic faith, is interculturally appropriate for our diocese, and provides educational best practices to inspire excellence in Catholic education.