School Culture

School Culture

Spiritual Life

The Catholic religion is present in everything we do at St. Mark. As a Catholic faith community we seek to serve others and God.  Throughout the school year, we have various outreach projects to help those less fortunate and the needy.

Religion class and attendance at school Mass is required for every student in grades K-8.  As a student body, we open and close our day with prayer and gospel reflection and throughout the day students are given opportunity for prayer.  We begin each morning with live annoucments where our student body can pray together and share special intentions for those in need.

We worship weekly as a school community and for all Catholic holy days. In addition, we gather throughout the school year for prayer services to celebrate the Rosary, Grandparents Day, the Holy Nativity, Parents Day, the Stations of the Cross, and the Living Stations  and First Friday Adoration.

Values

St. Mark has adopted the Values Code in our curriculum.  The character education program helps to instill in our students virtues consistent with the Catholic faith.  Faculty and staff teach the values throughout the school day.  Each month a particular value is highlighted and students who best expemplifed  the value  are rewarded at the end of the month in a special school-wide award ceremony.

The values include:

RESPECT

HONESTY

RESPONSIBILITY

SELF-CONTROL

HARD WORK

CONCERN FOR OTHERS

TOLERANCE

COOPERATION

FAIRNESS

SELF-KNOWLEDGE

Technology

St. Mark School believes in the importance of integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) technology in all facets of our curriculum.  We are committed to developing the 21st Century learner.  St. Mark is equipped with a STEM lab, projection systems in every classroom, and access to different technology in all grade levels.  In 2017, St. Mark was awarded a grant from the Knott Foundation to improve technology for students and teachers.  This project has allowed us to upgrade our wireless networks and provide a wealth of technology for our students and teachers to access regularly across the curriculum.  Students in grades PreK and K utilize class sets of iPads for technology use at the appropriate level. Grades 1-3 are 1:1 Chrometablets while Grades 4-8 are 1:1 Chromebooks.

Technology Instruction

St. Mark School utilizes the Chrome Operating System. The computer/STEM lab houses both color and black/white laser printers as well as a BenQ board for interactive technology activities.   Students in grades PreK-8 participate in formal STEM/technology classes weekly.  Classroom teachers work closely with the Technology Director on technology-specific projects, preparing them for high school and beyond.

Students in all grades are taught technology skills using the Archdiocesan Course of Study.  Students learn the technical skills necessary to achieve integration of technology in order to prepare them for high school and college. These are critical skills that will be required in this demanding and constantly changing technical environment.  Students use mostly Google Applications, but also have regular access and exposure to Microsoft Office, Internet Search Engines, Virtual Field Trips, and much more.  Teachers utilize tools like Mathspace, IXL, Discovery Education, Edmodo, Class Dojo, and also many apps on the iPads for students use.

Students in all grades are provided with student emails for school use that provide a way for students to access Google Classroom, Adobe Spark, and a variety of other learning tools identified by our teachers to be beneficial for students in specific grade levels.

STEM/Makerspace

Thanks to the generous donation of our Home School Association we have created a STEM/Makerspace.  Among the new purchases are: 3 3D printers, 12 Sphero Robots, 2 Lego Mindstorm Robots, 4 circuit sets,  and 30 Ozobots for coding. In addition, we also have one video camera and equipment with which we provide morning announcements through video as well as allowing for students to create various video projects.  Within the Makerspace/STEM lab we also have puzzles, coding games, craft supplies and recycled materials.

Technology in Classrooms

Each classroom is equipped with a projection system and whiteboard for large group instruction.  There are several classrooms in which students benefit from interactive whiteboard technology.  Students in grades 4-8  benefit from a 1:1 Chromebook program, in which students are able to utilize a device provided by St. Mark during the school day.    Students in Grades 1-3 benefit from 1:1 Chrometablets.  Finally, our youngest students in Grades PreK-K have access to iPads in each classroom (2:1), regular access to the computer lab, and the opportunity to work with Chromebooks as requested.  We also have a set of kindle e-readers for students who benefit from auditory learning environment.

PowerSchool

St. Mark School teachers use Pearson’s PowerSchool, an electronic grade book. Because this is an Internet-based program, grade 3-8 parents/guardians and students have access to students’ grades.  This allows for effective communication among the teachers, parents/guardians, and students.

Future plans for technology include but are not limited to:
  • Interactive BenQ boards in every classtoom

Additional Resources for Parents:  

St. Mark Chromebook Handbook 

Chromebook FAQ 

Tips for Parents in the Digital Age

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

St.  Mark has adopted the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports model to create a nurturing environment throughout the school. Utilizing our school mascot of the Lion as our anchor, we have created expectations of good social behavior for our students to follow and emulate.  In each area of the school, (bathrooms, cafeteria, church,  classrooms, hallways and recess) there are specified rules that follow the anchor code.  Posters and banners detailing these rules serve as a gentle reminder to the students.   The desired behaviors are taught and reviewed on a daily basis, as well as recited in the morning announcements.  As a school, we consistently follow the guidelines set forth by the PBIS program.  The PBIS team attends professional development courses and reviews our practices to ensure that we are meeting our desired  goals.   When the goals are met, whether in a classroom, grade level, grade level grouping or school-wide, we enjoy a celebration as a reward for our successful efforts.

We are St. Mark … We:

  • Listen and Learn
  • Imitate Christ
  • Organize and Be Ready
  • Nurture Others
  • Show Respect

In practicing positive behavior reinforcement, all staff members carry color coded “paw” reward tickets with them to provide to students found to be displaying one of the anchor attributes we encourage.   At the end of the week, all the reward tickets  are placed in a drawing.  The grade level winners can choose from an array of coupons granting them a special privilege.

In June 2016, St. Mark School earned the first tier Bronze Level Award for a Maryland PBIS school.  In 2019, we were recognized with the Silver Level Award. We are continuing our good work towards the third level Gold Award.

St. Mark Catholic School will be dismissing at noon on August 29 and August 30, 2022.