Academic Life



The academic program at Saint Vincent de Paul School is a challenging, academically rewarding curriculum for students from preschool through eighth grade. In addition to reading, writing, mathematics, spelling, social studies, health, science, and religion, all students are engaged in studies of art, music, Spanish, library skills, computer use, and physical education. In addition to the core curriculum, St. Vincent students participate in a wide range of academic entrichment programs, including field trips, Knowledge Day, Future City competitions, and more.

Every year St. Vincent de Paul students are assessed via the Terra Nova standardized exam and every year St. Vincent de Paul students excel.   Over the past five years, St. Vincent de Paul students have scored in the 95th percentile, reinforcing our conviction that the school is preparing our students for high school and college.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Kindergarten! Kindergarten is a fun year. This year, the kids get to meet their 7th grade guardian angels. They do lots of things with their older friends like going to Grassbaughs farm, pumpkin hunting, and crafts. They do a big science project about a habitat, and create that habitat in the classroom. The Kindergarten year brings many new challenges and much growth for our students. The students reading abilities begin to emerge along with more complex math and science skills. It is wonderful and exciting for all involved.

KINDERGARTEN SCREENINGS –  The following information must be provided the day of the screening:

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of social security card
  • Copy of immunization record
  • Copy of custody papers, if applicable
  • A screening fee of $25.00
To be eligible for Kindergarten, a child must be 5 years old by August 1 of the year s/he would enroll. Please call the office at 740-393-3611 to make your appointment for this screening.


First Grade

The first grade teacher is Mrs. Dyer. First grade is an exciting year as students learn to be better readers and are in school all day every day!!First grade is a year of many firsts. We get to have our own desk and books. We begin writing homework assignments in our planners. We review the writing process and write a non-fiction report on our favorite animal as well as build the animal from recycled materials! There are times we go on learning adventures with the Kindergarten to the apple orchard, pumpkin farm, Disney’s Earth Day movie, and the zoo.  

We also have learning experiences doing service projects with our sixth grade buddies. We continue to learn and practice our Catholic faith through attending weekly Mass, having parts in the Mass three times throughout the year, taking a tour of the church. We attend the Living Rosary, the Living Stations of the Cross and Adoration monthly.


Second Grade

Second Grade starts out with identifying dinosaurs and coming up with our own theories as to why they died out, balancing pencils on their tips on the desks, building roller coasters, exploring our solar system, constellations, and finding out what causes the moon phases.In religion, our main focus is learning the Ten Commandments, receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation in the fall, and receiving the Eucharist in the spring.

We will be adventurous and explore the Wilds near Zanesville and the Works in Newark.

Of course, cursive is like a rite of passage in second grade, and by the end of the year the students will write like John Hancock!

There is always something new and exciting to do and learn in second grade.


Third Grade
The teacher for third grade is Mrs. Lukasak. In third grade the students begin to become responsible. They do this by using their daily assignment pads and are being held accountable for knowing their assignments and turning them in punctually. The students also learn to multiply and divide. To do this they must memorize their multiplication tables. We also learn about Knox County History and usually visit some historic locations. One of the students’ favorite units is about plants because we do so many experiments and get to watch things grow!
The most important thing we do is learn about our Catholic Heritage. We learn about saints and how we can follow their ways. We also plan Masses and participate in the the Rosary, Stations of the Cross and May Crowning.


Fourth Grade
The teacher for fourth grade is Mrs. Michelle Duffy.  Fourth grade is all about mastering being organized and balancing a heavier homework load…plus, we are on the “big kids” side of the building.
We focus on nutrition, first aid, the digestive system, and consumers in Health.  Social Studies is all about Ohio history!!  We take a walk through time from the first settlers to modern day Ohioans.  We write a report in the spring about one of our U.S. Presidents, since Ohio is known as the “mother of the Presidents.”  In Math, we master basic multiplication facts and learn to do 2 and 3 digit multiplication as well as long division.  For Science, we use our annual Knowledge Fair to learn how to do a science experiment using the scientific process.  We also learn about landforms; erosion, deposition and weathering; fossils and matter.  In Language Arts, we work on writing a good detailed sentence and creating well-developed paragraphs.  For Reading, we read a variety of genres of literature and do a monthly book report in selected genres so we can see a ‘world of reading’ awaits us!
Our main focus in 4th grade Religion is learning about the deeper meaning of Reconciliation, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.  We take a trip to the Ohio Statehouse in the spring and also a field trip to Newark to see the Great Circle and Flint Ridge.  


Fifth Grade
The fifth grade is the youngest class on the Junior High side of the building. Their homeroom teacher is Mrs. Beth Robinson. In the spring, they will take a field trip to the Lutheran Memorial Camp to participate in outdoor education and conservation.  Fifth grade is also the year of the Battle of the Books, an inter-school reading “quiz” competition.


Sixth Grade
Sixth grade is the beginning of the Junior High journey. The students’ homeroom teacher is Mrs. Sharon Tharp. Students begin to take on more responsibility. They begin the year by going on a field trip to Camp Ohio to learn archery skills and zip on a zip line from the top of a tower. They really enjoy meeting and doing activities with their first grade buddies.
Sixth grade is the first year students decide on their own science fair project that is judged which gives them the opportunity to move on to district and state competition if they receive a superior. Students also enjoy the field trip to Honeyrun Waterfall to look at rock formations as part of their earth science unit. In the spring students participate in the annual bike/hike to Gambier and back, develop acting skills as part of the junior high play, and culminate the year by going on a three day junior high trip.


Seventh Grade
The homeroom teacher for seventh grade is Ms. Janet DeRoo. In seventh grade students spend their time learning about worldwide cultures through social studies and literature. The scientific process and research skills continue to be an important part of seventh grade. The students work on science fair and a prepared speech.
The students in both seventh and eighth grade have the opportunity to participate in the creative writing team for Power of the Pen. Both seventh and eighth grade also participate in the Diocesan sponsored Battle of the Books. The seventh graders also take on the responsibility of helping the new kindergartners become a part of their school “family.” Spring activities include the junior high musical and the Ohio-based three day trip.


Eighth Grade
The eight grade homeroom teacher is Mrs. Terra Dilley. Eighth grade is an exciting year! Students take field trips to Camp Ohio (to do the high ropes course) and golf. Eighth graders are also on Yearbook staff, in Civics Club, in Chamber Choir and the Spring Musical. Future City Competition and miming the Stations of the Cross are among the numerous projects unique to eighth grade. Their main focus throughout the year is service. They bring a lot to our school and we are always sad to see them leave when they graduate.

Our eighth grade students have been involved with a standards-based Spanish program since their fifth grade year. It is the culmination of these years that permits our students to take the Flex Credit exam. The curriculum for Spanish 1 is introduced and taught throughout all the grades here at St. Vincent de Paul and is especially stressed in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Information is available to the 8th grade parents and students sometime each February, near the time of High School registration. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Martha Downs or call the school office (740-393-3611) anytime.

The Spanish teacher is Ms. Molly Davis. Spanish is taught from kindergarten all the way through eighth grade. This class allows students to explore the culture and language from many different Spanish speaking countries. In the beginning years, Spanish focuses on simple vocabulary like colors, numbers, animals, etc. As the students enter 2nd – 5th grade, they begin to develop and perfect their writing and speaking abilities. During their 6th – 8th grade years, the Spanish 1 curriculum is introduced and taught. By the end of their eighth grade year, students will be ready to take the Level 1 National Spanish Exam.
The Art teacher is Mrs. Rachel Schank. Art is taught from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students learn about artists and the elements of art while experiencing 2-D and 3-D media in kindergarten and first grade. By second grade students focus their new skills by studying and creating still lives, landscapes, and portraits. In third and fourth grade students perfect their research skills as they travel the globe for artistic inspiration. As they officially start middle school in fifth grade, students begin studying art through its timeline beginning in the Paleolithic era. Students create large scale team artworks as well as individual work, learning to create charters and read rubrics. By eighth grade students complete the timeline to modern art and work studio-style with the aide of rubric parameters. The eighth grade year concludes with a unit on art careers. Art showcases are held twice a year during the school’s spring concert and summer musical. The art room is open for viewing works in progress!


Faith & Confirmation

At St. Vincent de Paul School, learning and practicing our Christian faith is an integral part of our daily school life and our identity. We celebrate our faith together at weekly Mass, practice our faith through service to our school, parish and Mount Vernon community, we study the four pillars of our faith through our religious curriculum established by the Diocese of Columbus, and we deepen our faith through prayer, traditional devotions, and celebrations of the Catholic Church. Sacramental preparation for Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation are incorporated into the curriculum at the appropriate grade levels.

The next confirmation class will be for seventh and eighth grade students in the spring of 2017.


Standardized Testing (Terra Novas)

Each year in mid- to late-October 19-24, students in grades 2-8 participate in the standardized assessment called the Terra Nova. The Terra Nova is a standardized test produced by McGraw Hill Education and adopted by the Diocese of Columbus that the students take across the Columbus Diocese, instead of the Ohio Achievement Test. We ask that parents do a few things to help their child do his/her best:

  • First, do not plan any appointments or vacations that would cause your child to miss a portion of the test.
  • Second, make sure that your child is in bed at a time to ensure that he/she has sufficient sleep in order to function well.
  • Third, have your child eat a good breakfast before coming to school.

After the tests have been scored, parents receive a report showing their child’s achievement compared to other children across the country that are in the same grade and tested during the same time of the year.  It is important for the children to know that they are not expected to know everything on the test.  Although the information given to parents on the Terra Nova report is meant to be helpful, it is only a snapshot.  The day-to-day assessments that the children’s teacher conducts are a more complete picture of how well the children are mastering the curricula at our school.  Both kinds of assessment, when used together, serve as useful tools when looking at a student’s academic progression.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the testing procedures, please feel free to contact Principal Martha Downs at the school at 740-393-3611.


field trip

Field Trips

Class field trips in preschool through eighth grade are taken to support academics in subject areas related to classroom curriculum. Special highlights include:

  • Apple and pumpkin picking
  • The Wilds
  • Columbus Zoo
  • Ohio Historical Center
  • The State House
  • Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College
  • Camp Ohio –zip lining, High Ropes, Rock Wall
  • Sand Volleyball
  • The fifth graders spend 3 days and 2 nights at an Environmental Education Camp
  • The sixth through eighth grades travel take a 3 day/2 night trip exploring all the wonderful sights and sounds of Ohio.



We are serious about education, but our students like to have fun, too! They’re involved in all kinds of after-school activities, including team sports, scouting troops, American Heritage Girls, Lego League and various school clubs. Most of these activities apply only to certain grades and age groups, so please inquire to see who is eligible for each activity. Extracurriculars include (but are not limited to):

  • 4th- 8th grade Girls and Boys Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, and Boys Soccer (see our Athletics page for more information).
  • Yearbook: Each year some of the eighth graders create a yearbook of all our memories from the year. Inside the yearbook there are pictures of every class from preschool to eighth grade. Also, there are pictures of sports teams. Pictures of the fun field trips from every class are included, as well as photos from our all-school Christmas play. A sponsors page appears near the back, and there is plenty of room for friends sign!
  • Battle of the Books: Battle of the Books is a competition among the Diocesan Middle Schools. The goal of this competition is to be able to recognize a book from a brief description of it. The teams have to answer with the title and the author of the book. There are 125 books on the Battle list, and at least two people from the team should read each one. The team members meet twice a week to work on learning the books and their authors. During the competition, two teams are on stage at a time, and the moderator asks each team questions about the books. Teams can confer on their answers. After five questions, the teams rotate so that every team gets to play. It’s a fun chance for kids who like to read to be on the team and represent the school.


Music Lessons

In addition to the musical instruction given to students by Mr. Vining during the regular school day, there are a number of after school musical opportunities for students to take advantage of:

  • Violin lessons with Mrs. Becky Fields
  • Piano lessons with Mrs. Lisa Dessasure
  • Band for fifth through eighth grade students with Mrs. Eileen Ruffing. Mrs. Ruffing was the band director at Highland Schools for 35 years and retired in the spring of 2015.  She is a clarinet player and brings with her an enormous amount of personal talent and experience as a band director, and is a long time Saint Vincent de Paul church member.

Parents of current students should watch for information about these music programs in the fall as the new school year gets underway.