St. Ambrose School’s mission is to provide an educational environment in which students are motivated to reach their full academic and spiritual potential. Students are consistently well-prepared for high school, whether parochial, private, or public.
The St. Ambrose School faculty is both dedicated and accomplished. Please see their biographies on the Faculty pages. The teachers’ belief in the value of education is modeled daily by their attitude and dedication as life-long learners. In order to facilitate learning, teaching assistants are assigned to primary classrooms in grades K-5.
Dedication to the success of each child is a hallmark of St. Ambrose. The overall student-teacher ratio is 13:1. Students cannot slip through the cracks in such a close-knit environment. The Resource Teacher also assists in the planning and implementation of classes in all grades. Student Assistance Teams meet after school to evaluate student progress and to explore the need for resources which are available within the school or in the public school system.
Our academic program is enhanced by use of Activboards, a laptop cart, and a state-of-the-art computer network. All students attend computer classes weekly in the Computer Lab.
St. Ambrose taught Spanish to the middle school students before the Diocese of Arlington mandated such classes. The Spanish curriculum has since been expanded to encompass students in all grades. Most of our graduates passed the Foreign Language Exemption Test for high schools in the diocese, and have the opportunity to place in their second year of Spanish when they enter high school.
Standardized Test Scores
St. Ambrose students have consistently scored well above average when compared to national student groups. In fact, St. Ambrose students score in the top 10% of students nationwide.
St. Ambrose School follows the Diocese of Arlington’s curriculum guidelines. Teachers design lesson plans that implement these guidelines, but are geared to the particular needs and interests of their students.
The Religion curriculum introduces Catholic doctrine, prayer, history, morality and the sacraments. Students are encouraged to live their faith through weekly participation in the liturgy and daily participation in the prayer life of the school. Students demonstrate their faith commitment by participating in school-wide endeavors that support local, national, and international charities. Students take field trips to local religious sites of historic significance, such as the Franciscan Monastery, the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Reading and Language Arts
The Reading/Language Arts curriculum is a literature based approach coordinating comprehension, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, grammar and study skills. Teachers use various instructional materials and strategies, as well as differentiated small groups based on interest, readiness and learning styles to meet the needs of all students and provide for a well-rounded literacy program.
The Mathematics curriculum emphasizes computational abilities and higher order thinking skills. It covers problem solving, number sense, estimation, statistics, probability, geometry, measurement, patterns, graphing, functions, and algebra. Students enthusiastically participate in the Rocket Math program in several grades. Middle school students have the opportunity to take Honors Math classes.
The Science curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach and focuses on the scientific method. This approach embraces both theory and experimentation in biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. Seventh and eighth graders participate in the school Science Fair with winners advancing to the Diocesan Science Fair.
Our 5th graders spend a week at the Washington Navy Yard, participating in the Starbase Atlantis program that focuses on the STEM content areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This hands-on science program is intended to inspire young people to love STEM subjects and consider becoming scientists and engineers. In addition, students experience fabulous field trips to the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Luray Caverns, and Great Falls National Park.
The Social Studies curriculum connects local, state and U.S. history to the global community, past and present. An individual’s rights, responsibilities, and civic duties are emphasized. Students engage in the learning process through classroom discussions, debates, field trips to places such as Gettysburg and Mount Vernon, and projects including Colonial Day, Greek Festival and historic simulations.
The Spanish curriculum teaches students in grades one through eight to appreciate the language, geography, cultures, and traditions of Spanish speaking countries. In grades six through eight, Spanish is the equivalent of high school Spanish I and emphasizes fluency in all forms. The program’s success is proven by the fact that many graduates place directly into Spanish II as high school freshmen.
The Technology/Computer curriculum is incorporated into daily classroom instruction. Students learn keyboarding, develop computer literacy, and apply ethics in their use of technology. Saint Ambrose utilizes Discovery Education Streaming as a digital resource to supplement the curriculum.
The Library curriculum encourages and promotes reading and research for all grades. The collection holds over 10,000 books with an average publication date of 1997, well above the standard for elementary school libraries. The Accelerated Reader program offers challenging enrichment for our students. In addition, individual classes have book collections in their classrooms.
Physical Education and Health
The Physical Education and Health curriculum encourages life-long fitness and health. The students learn values of team work, fair play, confidence, dignity, and respect for all. Students participate in the President’s Physical Fitness Program as well as extracurricular sportsprograms. Through the Health curriculum, students have had the opportunity to compete in the Big Bones Bash at the Smithsonian, observe open-heart surgery at Fairfax Hospital, and experience actual dissections.
The Art curriculum exposes students to a variety of techniques and mediums which allow students the opportunity to express themselves creatively. Their works are displayed in the school throughout the year and at our annual Art Show in the spring.
Through the Music curriculum, students become familiar with many styles of music, famous composers, and a variety of musical instruments. Each student has an opportunity to experiment with Orff instruments. The St. Ambrose Choir and Band provide both individual and group vocal/instrumental instruction outside the Music classroom.
Music performances at Christmas and in the spring allow students to perform in song and dance. The Christmas program incorporates the Christmas story into a joyful celebration for the entire family. The Cultural Arts Festival includes the annual art show, a performance by our school Band, and a lively musical review by our students.