Eighth Grade Curriculum


This year, the students will learn about how we are all made in God’s image and likeness and what that means for our relationships.  Students will learn that the Church is the sacrament or sign of Christ in the world. They will come to appreciate the difference Jesus makes in our lives. Students will learn that there are many signs of Christ’s loving presence in our daily lives. People, especially, but also special or sacred things, places, and times reveal the presence of God. Strands from scripture, Church, Trinity, Morality, and prayer are interwoven into course content. Students will study the history of our Church and how to follow their faith in their daily lives.

This course uses The Spirit of Truth – The Communion of the Faithful and Credible Catholic videos


In the Stella Maris Academy Middle School Language Arts Program the central focus is on the development of skills in reading literature, as well as informational texts, writing, and language.

In the reading component of the Language Arts program students analyze both literature, and pieces of informational texts that correspond to their studies in the social sciences in an effort to create a cross-curricular dialogue. In using these texts students cite textual evidence to demonstrate their skills in deciphering what the text says explicitly, as well as make inferences. They are also asked to determine the central theme of a work and describe the evolution of a story’s plot taking into account the author’s point of view. In addition to these skills, students compare and contrast different mediums of a work to illustrate a contrast between what they see and hear to what they perceive when they listen or watch.  Students also compare different forms and genres to give contrast to similar themes and topics seen in other works.

In writing students are asked to produce expository pieces that contain arguments that support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence from credible sources. While establishing and maintaining a formal style, students create texts that include thesis statements, topic sentences, transitions that clarify relationships, concrete details with accompanying commentary to add analysis to the relevant content, as well as concluding statements to reiterate the arguments made throughout their text. All writing undergoes the processes of planning, revising, editing, and re-writing both with peers and adults. Step up to Writing/Voyager Sopris Learning is integrated across the curriculum.

The language content of the program utilizes the Holt Handbook and No Red series to reinforce the conventions of standard English. This includes students demonstrating the command of prepositions, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs in both speaking and writing. More specifically, students are asked to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in subject-verb agreement, as well as noun and pronoun number and person. In addition to these areas, students are also asked to demonstrate basic grammar conventions such as capitalization, punctuation, and spelling in all of their writing, which should also include a variety of sentence patterns that incorporate a specific style and tone that is maintained throughout. In terms of vocabulary acquisition and use, students utilize the Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop series and content-specific words and phrases to obtain mastery in this area. Through the use of consulting context clues, reference materials, and inferred meaning, students are taught to demonstrate an understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop
Holt Handbook
Step up to Writing/Voyager Sopris Learning


Our middle school math program’s goal is to coach and inspire students towards math success. Our program strives to create an environment that is engaging, differentiated, challenging, and our students prepared for the high school and beyond. Our 8th grade math program includes 3 different levels: Grade Level, Accelerated Grade Level, and Above Grade Level.

8th Grade Grade Level– This class has a small teacher-to-student ratio to provide intensive support for students who continue to work on foundational skills. This course prepares students for Algebra 1 in high school and it emphasizes building a stronger foundation in algebra and geometric concepts. Following the 8th Grade Common Core Standards instructional time will focus on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

The class uses Pearson Algebra Foundations (Common Core)

8th Grade Accelerated Grade Level– For this Algebra I course, instructional time will focus on four critical areas: (1) deepen and extend understanding of linear and exponential relationships; (2) contrast linear and exponential relationships with each other and engage in methods for analyzing, solving, and using quadratic functions; (3) extend the laws of exponents to square and cube roots; and (4) apply linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend. This course will also have a strong emphasis on problem-solving. This is a high school level class, which upon successful completion students will advance to Geometry or Algebra 1 Honors.

This class uses Pearson Algebra 1 (Common Core)

8th Grade Above Grade Level– This class reviews high school Algebra, but spends most of their instructional time on the Geometry Common Core Standards.  This class will focus on six critical areas: (1) establish criteria for congruence of triangles based on rigid motions; (2) establish criteria for similarity of triangles based on dilations and proportional reasoning; (3) informally develop explanations of circumference, area, and volume formulas; (4) apply the Pythagorean Theorem to the coordinate plan; (5) prove basic geometric theorems; and (6) extend work with probability. Students who successfully complete this class may be eligible for Algebra II/Trigonometry Honors upon successful challenge test placements at their chosen high school.

This class uses Pearson Algebra 1 and Geometry textbooks (Common Core)


In eighth grade, students explore the physical sciences. This includes the study of motion, forces, structure of matter, chemical reactions, magnetism, and a biological focus featuring natural selection and evolution. Students complete various hands-on activities and labs to supplement instruction.  Using our core science program, Amplify Science, and supplemental materials students conduct field and lab investigations, use the scientific method, and make decisions using critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The student textbooks are consumable and include an online component that contains virtual labs, reviews, and activities. The scientific method is reinforced as students develop their questions and conduct investigations that are presented at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

This course uses Amplify Science


The students use a textbook called History Alive! The United States Through Industrialism.  The curriculum features the following topics: The Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the fall of the Federalists, the rise of Jeffersonian principles, Jacksonian democracy, pioneers crossing the Appalachians, European immigration in the mid-19th century, Manifest Destiny, the Texas revolt against Mexico, the Mexican War, the Industrial Revolution, slavery in the plantation South, rising sectionalism, steps toward Civil War, Civil War, and Reconstruction.

This class uses TCI: History Alive! The United States Through Industrialism.


Students at Stella Maris Academy are exposed to and familiar with the Boys Town Social Skills Curriculum in grades TK-8. The Boys Town Social Skills curriculum focuses on empowering students to problem solve, make better choices, and self-advocate. Social skills are a daily part of our school community. Social skills include: following instructions, greeting others, getting the teacher’s attention, accepting no for an answer, accepting a consequence, staying on task, disagreeing appropriately, listening, working as a team, sharing, asking for permission, and saying an apology.


The Sanford Harmony Program is implemented in grades TK-8 and its core value is to build healthy peer relationships inside and outside of the classroom. The goal of Sanford Harmony is to create inclusive classroom communities, where teaching takes priority over resolving personality conflicts or issues among students. Students are empowered to communicate, cooperate, connect, embrace diversity, and resolve conflict. Students are taught meaningful and productive ways to interact and express themselves, which are irreplaceable skills that will last a lifetime.


Stella Maris Academy is dedicated to modern education by equipping every student in grades 3 through 8 with Chromebooks. This empowers students to excel in a digital era, fostering personalized learning experiences that encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. With Chromebooks, students engage in interactive lessons, explore diverse topics, and create and share knowledge through online platforms and applications. By integrating technology responsibly, we prepare our students to be digital citizens who navigate the digital world with integrity. Our commitment to Chromebooks reflects our mission to provide a well-rounded education that cultivates academic excellence and essential 21st-century digital literacy skills.


Our physical education curriculum is composed of physical fitness fundamentals, motion skills and movement, social skills and sportsmanship. Basic skills that enhance balance, endurance, strength and agility activities, ball-handling skills individually, with partners and in groups, and rope jumping are taught. Each skill involves creative thinking, sportsmanship, fairness, cooperation and following directions.


Stella Maris Academy provides a challenging, coherent, and relevant art curriculum, the goal of which is to help students experience and appreciate art and the beauty of the world around them, and to lead them to discover unique and constructive methods of self-expression.    In keeping with the diocesan guidelines for a fine arts curriculum, Stella Maris Academy includes in its visual arts curriculum for each grade level elements of four components:  (1) exploration of the visual elements and principles of art and design, including line, color, shape, and composition, (2) creative expression through experimenting with various materials and processes, (3) examination of the cultural and historical contexts in which art is created, exploring cultural themes, works of significant artists, styles and processes; and (4)  development of skills and vocabulary for looking at and discussing art in terms of design elements, characteristics and appreciation.


Eighth grade Spanish consolidates the learning from previous years and prepares students for high school Spanish curricula. Priority is given to review of verb forms and tenses, and other grammatical structures, so that students are comfortable with these difficult concepts as they move on in their language studies. Class is conducted in Spanish, and listening and speaking skills are reinforced through frequent oral presentations. Written work provides opportunity for differentiation, especially for new students and for native speakers. Traditions of the Catholic Church play an important part in Hispanic culture, and students continue to learn prayers in Spanish.


The Stella Maris Academy Library/ Media program is built on understanding core knowledge instruction while also learning essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.  Stella Maris Academy’s Library/ Media program fundamentally aligns itself with Common Core State Standards while working directly with each classroom teacher to align curriculum.  The main component of the Library Media program centers on building strong content knowledge and focusing literacy instruction directly to the text. Students in all grades (TK-8) are encouraged to draw direct evidence from the text itself in order to promote comprehension and cite evidence accurately and correctly.  A key component to the program includes an emphasis on interpretive and analytical skills within a range of texts, digital information and internet/ media.

In middle school, students continue to learn how to use print and electronic resources accurately and effectively. The Library Media Center is designed to work closely with the Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies programs to align curriculum and student needs. Students learn how to use MLA format in order to cite information correctly and accurately when writing research papers. Middle school students learn how to find and validate print and electronic information based on their specific research goals.


The music program at Stella Maris Academy exists to provide students with a safe environment in which to experiment with and perfect the God given gift of their voices.  Students will be encouraged to sing accurately, in tune, together, and separately.  They will be provided with a variety of performance and leadership opportunities through school productions, after school activities, and church services.  We want to give our students the opportunity to do something GREAT!