Academics

Exceptional Education Preparing Students for College & Life

Academic Philosophy

The Kennedy Experience begins with challenging academics that will prepare your child for success in college and life. Our programs will encourage your child to think critically, to challenge conventional wisdom, to create, to invent and to imagine. Over 90% of our graduates consistently continue their education at universities and colleges. At every level, our classes remain small allowing our teachers to give your child the attention they deserve. Add in the fact that the technology available to your child is constantly improving, and you can see what sets Kennedy Academics apart. 

Saint John Paul II

View academic programs and policies for our elementary school.

Kennedy Catholic

View academic programs and policies for our middle/high school.

SOAR

Learn more about our Students of Acadmic Rigor program.

NHS

Learn more about the Kennedy chapter of the National Honor Society.

St. John Paul II Academics

It’s elementary: the primary grades are a crucial time in your child’s life. From Kindergarten through sixth grade, your child will acquire lifelong study and behavior patterns, learn how to learn, how to inquire, and how to interact with other children and adults.

 Curriculum

 

Preschool

 In the Preschool program, our main goal is to teach your child the ways of God and prepare them for formal instruction in the coming years. There is a three/four-year-old program, and a four/five-year-old program organized on different days of the week. Click here to learn more about our exceptional preschool program.

 Kindergarten

Along with teaching Catholic principles and an appreciation for all the gifts God gives us, the kindergarten curriculum promotes creative thinking and problem solving, builds self-confidence, and enhances socialization skills.

 The curriculum utilizes creative play, including games, group activities, and age-appropriate computer programs to increase retention and make learning fun. We also employ differentiated learning strategies that allow your child to progress at his or her own pace.

 Our kindergarten program focuses on these areas:

 – Religion and Character Development
– Language Arts including Reading and Writing
– Math
– Science and Social Studies
– Fine and Gross Motor Skills
– Social Development
– Creative Arts

 The curriculum also features one other critical component: FUN! We strive to let kids be kids because research shows that snack time, recess, and individual and group activities along with those that are focused on traditional academic subjects substantially enhance the learning experience for your student.

 Primary Grades

In the Primary program (grades 1–3), classes are self-contained. This arrangement fosters an atmosphere for the teacher to know and challenge each child individually. This arrangement also gives your child the continued security needed to develop his/her full potential.

 Intermediate Grades

 In fourth through sixth grade, your child will experience a transition from self-contained to departmentalized instruction. These students are leaders in our school, they have responsibilities including flag patrol, morning prayer, and being responsible for a younger student buddy at school events.

 Assessment

Your student will be assessed in these ways: Terra Nova testing for grades 2-6 and Acadience Math and Reading assessments for grades K-6, Unit and Chapter assessments, participation, projects, homework, quizzes, and teacher observation.

Kennedy Catholic Middle/High School Academics

Our compelling course of study, exceptional student/teacher ratio and state-of-the-art technology places your student among the nation’s academic elite, so it is no surprise that more than 90% of our graduates go on to college including leading universities like Harvard, Colgate and Notre Dame.

Our three distinct academic programs, including several Advanced Placement courses offered on-campus and via our partnership with the Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy, keeps all students at all levels of ability and achievement excited, involved, and engaged. Our programs encourage your child to exercise their minds, to think critically, to invent, to create, and to imagine.

Honors & Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement and Honors classes are designed for the academically gifted, high-above-average and very highly
motivated student. Admission to honors and advanced placement courses are by invitation based on standardized
testing, performance and recommendation of the department. Advanced placement courses have been approved by
the National Advanced Placement program and participating students will have the opportunity to qualify for
college credit.

College Preparatory Courses

The College Preparatory level is for the strong-average to above-average student. It is designed to challenge and
prepare the student for admission to and success in college. It is a well-rounded liberal arts education on the
secondary level.

General Academic/Studies Courses

The General academic studies courses include all courses not designated as CP, HN or AP and would include many
general elective classes. These courses have as a goal to provide the student with basic and fundamental knowledge,
information and skills necessary to pursue a career, technical or trade education, or further education at a junior
college level.

High School Graduation Requirements

Minimum credits required per year for advancement to next grade: 7

Minimum credits required for graduation: 28
 

  • Theology – 4 credits
  • English – 4 credits
  • Social Studies – 4 credits
  • Science – 4 credits
  • Mathematics – 4 credits
  • World Languages – 2 credits (3-4 strongly encouraged)
  • Other Required Courses and Electives – 6 credits

Students of Academic Rigor (SOAR)

Beginning in 1993, the U.S. Department of Education adopted the following definition of giftedness:

“Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.”

In order to ensure our students who have been identified as Gifted, academically advanced, or academically talented have the opportunity to reach their full potential KCFS created the Students of Academic Rigor (SOAR) program, the only one of its kind in the Diocese of Erie schools.

SOAR will offer qualified students enriched and enhanced small group and independent learning experiences once per week during the school year. SOAR activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Academic Games and Competitions
  • Career Exploration and Job Shadowing
  • Field Trips
  • Community Service Projects
  • Inter-District Workshops With Gifted Students Attending Public Schools

SOAR’s ultimate goal is to promote academic excellence by substantially enhancing each student’s competency and proficiency in the following areas:

  • Investigation and critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Interest exploration and self-awareness
  • Research
  • Independent and small group studies

Criteria for Participation in SOAR

Generally speaking, students who demonstrate most or all of the following characteristics/attributes are candidates for participation in the SOAR program:

  • High-level Thinking Ability
  • Academic Creativity
  • Leadership Skills
  • Intense Interest in Specific Subjects or Areas of Study
  • Communication Skills
  • Technological Expertise
  • Problem-Solving Capability
  • Creativity and Originality

KCFS has adopted a formal, three-step admissions process for SOAR comprised of the following components: Identification, Formal Evaluation, Final Determination.

    Potential candidates for SOAR may be identified in three ways:

    1. Parental Request: Any parent who believes their child is gifted or highly talented may request that KCFS provide a multi-disciplinary evaluation to determine if the child is eligible for the program.

    2. Teacher Referral: A teacher may notify administrators and parents that a student’s classroom performance indicates that he or she may be gifted or highly talented.

    3. Test Score Review: SJPII administrators and staff will conduct an annual review of the Stanford Achievement Test scores of every student in grades two through five to determine which students may be gifted or highly talented. Parents will be notified if their child falls into either of those categories.

    Once a potential candidate for SOAR has been identified parents will be asked to complete a “Permission to Evaluate” form authorizing KCFS to undertake a multi-disciplinary evaluation of their child. This evaluation will be conducted under a process prescribed by the state of Pennsylvania and will include an evaluation of the student by the KCFS certified school psychologist.

    Admission to the program will be based on a number of factors including the results of the multi-disciplinary evaluation:

    IQ: unlike many gifted programs in public schools that establish a single IQ level for participation, SOAR is a two-tiered program featuring the following benchmarks:

    Gifted: Students with IQ scores of 130 and above

    Enrichment or highly talented: Students with IQ scores of 120-129

    IQ scores are not the sole factor for determining admission to SOAR. Students who score slightly below or above the benchmarks established for the program may be admitted if they demonstrate characteristics such as advanced creativity, exceptional performance in one area of study or specific subject, i.e. Math, or other recognized attributes of gifted or highly talented students.

    The principal will, after close consultation with the Gifted Program teacher, make the final decision regarding a student’s admission into SOAR.

    Removal From the Program

    A parent or administrator may remove a student from SOAR at any time during the school year. Reasons for removal from the program include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Excessive absenteeism
    • Routine failure to complete SOAR assignments
    • Inability to keep pace with SOAR program material
    • Evidence that participation in SOAR is having a negative impact on day-to-day performance in the classroom

    National Honor Society

    The purpose of the Cristo Servire Chapter of the National Honor Society shall be to encourage scholarship, promote leadership, provide opportunities for service within the school, and require the demonstration of the highest character by the members.

    Selection of Members

    Membership in the organization is an honor bestowed upon a student. Selection for membership is by a Faculty
    Council and based on outstanding scholarship, character, leadership and service through use of a rubric. Once
    selected, members have the responsibility to continue demonstrating these qualities. Specifically,

    1. Members must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 93%. A member whose GPA falls below 93% will
    be placed on probation and given the opportunity to raise his or her GPA to 93% or better. Members on
    academic probation retain all the rights and responsibilities of membership. Failure to raise the GPA to 93% by
    the end of the next grading period will result in removal from the chapter.

    2. NHS students are expected to demonstrate the highest character. A member who is disciplined for academic
    dishonesty, including plagiarism, cheating, copying homework or providing answers to another student, will be
    removed from the Chapter.

    3. NHS students are expected to demonstrate leadership within the school community and set an appropriate
    example for the student body. They are expected to conform to school rules as outlined in the student
    handbook. Any student suspended for an infraction of school rules will be removed from the Chapter.

    4. Students are expected to perform service to Kennedy Catholic High School. A total of 20 hours of service,
    documented by faculty or staff, are required. Failure to fulfill the service obligation is considered very seriously.
    Members who fail to perform the required service hours will be warned and face removal from the Chapter.

    The student who exercises leadership:

    Is resourceful in proposing new solutions to problems, applying principles, and making suggestions

    Demonstrates initiative in promoting school activities

    Exercises influence on peers in upholding school ideals

    Contributes ideas that improve the civic life of the school

    Is able to delegate responsibility

    Exemplifies positive attitudes

    Inspires positive behavior in others

    Demonstrates academic initiative

    Successfully holds school offices or positions of responsibility, conducting business effectively and efficiently, and without prodding, demonstrates reliability and dependability

    Is a forerunner in the classroom, at work and in other school or community activities

    Is thoroughly dependable in any responsibility accepted

    The student who serves:

    Is willing to uphold scholarship and maintain a loyal school attitude

    Participates in some outside activity such as Girl Scouts; Boy Scouts; church groups; volunteer services for the aged, poor or disadvantaged; family duties or in school activities such as Action Club, Interact Club or other school organizations

    Volunteers dependable and well-organized assistance, is glady available, and is willing to sacrifice to offer assistance

    Works well with others and is willing to take on difficult or inconspicuous responsibilities

    Cheerfully and enthusiastically renders and request service to the school

    Is willing to represent the class or school in inter-class and inter-scholastic competition

    Does committee and staff work without complaint

    Shows courtesy by assisting visitors, teachers and students

    The student of character:

    Takes criticism willingly and accepts recommendations graciously

    Consistently exemplifies desirable qualities of behavior (cheerfulness, friendliness, poise, stability)

    Upholds principles of morality and ethics

    Cooperates by complying with school regulations concerning property, programs, office, halls, etc.

    Demonstrates the highest standard of honesty and reliability

    Observes instructions and rules, punctuality, avoids habitual tardiness and absences, and faithfulness both inside and outside of school

    Has powers of concentration and sustained attention as shown by perseverance and application to studies

    Manifests truthfulness in acknowledging obedience to rules; avoiding cheating in written work including plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, providing answers to other students; and showing unwillingness to profit by the mistakes of others

    Actively helps rid the school of bad influences or environment

    Membership

    Membership in the organization is an honor bestowed upon a student. Selection for membership is by a Faculty Council and is based on outstanding scholarship, character, leadership, and service. Once selected, members have the responsibility to continue to demonstrate these qualities. Specifically:

    1. Members must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 93%. A member whose GPA falls below 93% will be placed on probation and given the opportunity to raise his or her GPA to 93% or better. Members on academic probation retain all the rights and responsibilities of membership. Failure to raise the GPA to 93% by the end of the next grading period will result in removal from the chapter.

    2. National Honor Society students are expected to demonstrate the highest character. A member who is disciplined for academic dishonesty including plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, or providing answers to another student will be removed from the Chapter.

    3. National Honor Society students are expected to demonstrate leadership within the school community and set an appropriate example for the student body. They are expected to conform to the rules of the school as outlined in the student handbook. Any students who is suspended for an infraction of school rules will be removed from the Chapter.

    4. Students are expected to perform service to Kennedy Catholic High School. A total of 20 hours of service, documented by faculty or staff, are required. Failure to fulfill the service obligation will be considered very seriously. Members who fail to perform the required service hours will be warned and then face removal from the Chapter.

    Testimonial from the Miller Family

    We transitioned Glenn to a Kennedy Catholic in 8th grade as we wanted him to get comfortable with the school before the important high school years.  The transition was very easy for him.  Everyone made him feel comfortable and his grades were better than we all expected.

     When the transition to remote learning took place our local public school took 2 weeks to begin learning from home.  Kennedy was ready in a day.  After the first week of everyone adjusting to the new learning environment Glenn excelled and made highest honors the second two grading periods.

     Glenn really enjoyed his teachers and they were readily available to him during the remote learning experience.

    – The Miller Family: Dr. Glenn, Roberta and Glenn
    Current KCHS Parents

    Testimonial from the Gealy Family

    The dedication of the faculty at SJPII has always been exceptional, however it was on full display throughout this past year. Mrs Tiefenthal was available whenever we had questions- not just during typical school hours. The classes that were continued transferred seamlessly to remote learning. We especially enjoyed the zoom story times and virtual field trips. I believe that we were given enough tools to keep our children on track and in a way that I was not left feeling overscheduled. This was important to me because as I worked from home and at the office, we were able to complete the assignments at our convenience. I take comfort in knowing that the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools has proved the ability to adjust the classroom accordingly to these uncertain times.

    -The Gealy Family: Michelle and Maryleigh
    Current SJPII Parent

    Testimonial from the McGoff Family

    I’m so thankful for the St John Paul II elementary family! The teachers are wonderful and go above and beyond to help all of their students. The teachers are easily accessible for questions or problems. Because the parent teacher connection is so great, the transition to remote learning was so smooth. Messages from the school and teachers were received multiply times a week to keep us updated.

    – The McGoff Family: Robert, Elizabeth, Isabella, Gabriella and Mirabella
    KCHS Alumni and SJPII Parents

    Testimonial from the Rosa Family

    The thing that stands out to us in addition to an amazing education, is the family feeling you get from being part of this school system. Starting with the teachers and administrators, they go above and beyond to make sure each student is getting exactly what they need to succeed. Whether it is the principal putting on a band-aid or a devoted teacher staying after school and working during the summer tutoring a struggling child. They really care. We are so happy we chose the KCFS for our children.”

    – The Rosa Family: Lewis, Elizabeth, Abby and Andrew
    Former KCFS Board & Committee Member & KCFS Parents

    Testimonial from Carol Shields, M.D.

    “Kennedy Catholic welcomed me into its wonderful nurturing environment. Kennedy planted the seed of my career and taught me discipline, integrity, and loyalty – 3 assets for success. That opened the door to an excellent University, then Medical School, and now blossomed into a top tier medical practice in Philadelphia. My roots remain at Kennedy.”

    – Carol L. Shields M.D., Class of 1975
    Ocular Oncology Service, Co-Director Wills Eye Hospital