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The JSS Curriculum – A Summary

Nationally Accredited

Junipero Serra School is accredited through the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and recognized by the National Association of Accredited Schools (NAAS). We invite you to examine the WCEA facts and guidelines as well as the Junipero Serra School accreditation report in full.

Preschool through Eighth Grade Class Structure

Junipero Serra School, located at the historic Carmel Mission (founded by St. Junipero Serra), is inclusive of students from all over the Carmel/Monterey/Salinas area. All JSS teachers are state-certified (or enrolled in a teacher program) and have earned bachelor degrees and higher.

Grades preschool through 5 are self-contained with teachers exchanging classes when appropriate. Grades 6, 7, and 8 are departmentalized with a teacher serving as both a homeroom teacher and subject specific teacher.

The rigorous curriculum meets the California State Standards and is designed to provide the students with high engagement in all subjects, while inspiring them to seek academic success in high school and at the university level.

The JSS grade level expectations are based on the California K – 12 Learning Standards issued by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Junipero Serra School takes pride in offering a challenging curriculum of instruction in all subject areas. Curriculum subject areas include religion, English/language arts (reading, writing, spelling, speaking, listening), mathematics, social studies (history, geography, civics), science, fine and performing arts (music, art), physical education, health, and computer studies.

Beyond the Common Core

In addition to studying core subjects, JSS students become well-rounded individuals through instruction in the following areas:


As a Catholic School, building a Christian community is at the center of everything we do. Junipero Serra School students receive daily instruction in religion. Together with formal classes, students have participated in a wealth of community service projects, such as food drives to support the Salvation Army, fundraisers to support Juvenile Diabetes Research, and support for a Gathering For Women. Both Catholic and non-Catholic students share the benefits of value formation, opportunities for liturgy and private prayer, opportunities for service to the community, and orientation to scripture.

The Arts

All students study music and art. Students are exposed to art history and learn various visual art techniques through a hands-on, experiential learning approach that inspires all students in preschool through 8th grade to embrace creativity through painting, sculpture, sketching, and other artistic forms of expression.

Foreign Language

All students in grades preschool through 8th grade study Spanish language. The Spanish curriculum celebrates the importance of learning a foreign language through engaging methods designed for long-term retention, enabling conversational usage and comprehension. JSS students earn a significant edge when entering high school and their path to Spanish fluency is facilitated.


All students at JSS study and use technology to assist an in-depth study of various subjects. 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are assigned Chromebooks that allow them to collaborate through Google Docs, to share information, and to facilitate guided research. Students in grades 4th through 8th will learn the Scratch programming language. "As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab."

"What do young people learn as they create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art with Scratch? For one thing, they learn mathematical and computational ideas that are built into the Scratch experience. As students create programs in Scratch, they learn core computational concepts such as iteration and conditionals. They also gain an understanding of important mathematical concepts such as coordinates, variables, and random numbers."

Physical Education

An outstanding physical education meets the needs of JSS students through a variety of fitness and athletic activities. A full-time physical education teacher implements an intramural athletic program during lunch, and coaches extracurricular sports for JSS students in grades 5 through 8.

Accommodated Learning Program

Arrangements can be made in all subject areas for those students needing accommodations. Educational assessments by an educational therapist are recommended for students to identify areas of weaknesses. Teachers utilize the results from these assessments and recommendations to maximize student learning potential. Tutoring may also be a necessary step to assure educational success and may be available on campus.