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Lower School

The JSS Lower School Curriculum - 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 Fifth 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.

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. All students receive instruction from specialist teachers for Music, Art, Physical Education, and Spanish Language.

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 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 participate in a wealth of community service projects. 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 Fine and Performing Arts

All students study music and art. Students in grades 3 through 7th learn to play the violin, viola, or cello.

Foreign Language

All students in grades kindergarten through eighth study Spanish to provide them with the opportunity to learn a foreign language. Additionally, students are very well prepared for high school Spanish which gives them an edge in high school foreign language classes, and facilitates the opportunity to achieve fluency in high school or college.


All students at JSS study and use technology to assist them in an in-depth study of various subjects. Students in Grades 4th through 8th learn the Scratch coding language through Google's CS First implementation.

"Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century."

"Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Mathematical and computational ideas 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 also implements an intramural athletic program during lunch, and coaches extracurricular sports for JSS 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.