Academics and Educators

Academic Programs
Core Academics
Curriculum Enhancements
Inclusion & Special Needs
Educational Leaders and Administration

Academic Programs

Junior Kindergarten

Our preschool program for children age 4 (junior kindergarten) helps each child to develop socially, emotionally, academically and spiritually. The curriculum emphasizes age-appropriate, multi-sensory activities that facilitate both cooperation and independence. The curriculum is organized into themes that promote exploration into language arts, science, mathematics, art, music and social studies. Students have opportunities for both group and individual learning experiences. This program is unified by the belief that each child, being a child of God, is treated with love and respect.  

Kindergarten through Grade 8

Students in kindergarten through grade 4 focus on mastering the basic skills related to reading and mathematics. Teachers continually evaluate students to ensure their success. Teachers in each grade incorporate social studies and science into the language arts curriculum as appropriate and teach the basic tenants of faith. The curriculum also includes fine arts, computers and physical education.

Students in grades 5 through 8 focus on mastering the basic language arts and mathematic skills, as well as take on greater academic challenges and leadership responsibilities. The formal curriculum also includes religion, computers, social studies, science, fine arts, physical education. Field trips and classroom projects provide opportunities for students to utilize the various skill sets and academics learned and build critical reasoning skills.

Core Academics

St. John the Evangelist School’s formal curriculum includes the following core academics: Religion, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Computers, Music & Art, and Physical Education. Our school follows the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW) curriculum standards for Pre-kindergarten - Grade 8.


The religion curriculum is Christ-centered, helping students to know, love and worship Jesus Christ. Liturgical and para-liturgical opportunities (such as Stations of the Cross and prayer services in assemblies) are available throughout the year and paralleled with the course of study and the church year cycle.

The Christian atmosphere and environment permeates the school, encouraging students into actions of peace and justice. The religion curriculum also prepares students for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Reconciliation in grade 2 and Confirmation in grade 8. Our students also participate in retreat days for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

Language Arts

The language arts curriculum includes literature and related skills. These skills include phonics, spelling, writing, grammar, speech, vocabulary, comprehension and oral reading. Reading is taught using various methods sensitive to the needs of each student. Two resource teachers ensure that every child strives to achieve his or her full potential.

Students at St. John the Evangelist School are challenged to excel in the language arts. In the primary grades, 90 minutes a day are reserved for reading, writing and phonics. Teachers instruct students in small groups using basal readers. Students are expected to read and write fluently. They write in their journals on a regular basis and begin a portfolio in grade 3.

A phonics program begins in kindergarten and continues through grade 3; a spelling program is initiated in grade 1 and continues through grade 5. Love of literature is encouraged throughout the school day both in the classrooms and in the library program. The regularly scheduled library time enables students to discover areas of interest, to listen to new literature, and to explore these interests via supervised Internet access.

In the upper grades, students study literature and English. Students are placed in small homogeneous groups for literature. A separate English course includes grammar, essay writing, creative writing, oration and critical thinking. Beginning in grade 6, a vocabulary program replaces the spelling curriculum. The library and computer rooms are available to students for research, supervised Internet research, and writing reports. Portfolio work is continued through grade 8 .

In addition to the formal literature/English program, students have numerous occasions to speak before groups. These include student-led liturgies, classroom presentations, student council campaigning and interpretive reading. Students regularly enter and place in regional writing and speech contests. A speech club offers training for middle-grade students who prepare speeches and short stories for competition.


The math program is designed to challenge each student to his or her highest potential. Emphasis is placed not only on facts and comprehension, but also on application and higher levels of thinking. Pre-algebra and algebra are offered to qualified students who have completed the elementary mathematics course of study. The overall goal for the mathematics curriculum is to introduce algebra to all students and begin geometry if the students are progressing appropriately.


All areas of general science are taught throughout the grades with a hands-on approach using the scientific method. Students in grades 4 through 8 receive weekly small group lab work paralleled with textbook work. Studies in grades 7 and 8 explore in greater detail those areas covered in the intermediate grades. Emphasis is placed on text, experimenting in a laboratory setting, and written evaluation of the concepts presented in both text and lab. 

Social Studies

Social Studies is taught in all grades beginning with a look at the local community and then expanding into study of world geography, American history, world history, and current events. Students learn about citizenship in a democratic society by studying the Constitution. They practice the electoral process through student council campaigning and elections.

Students also acquire skills in reading, creating and interpreting charts, maps, and graphs. They are encouraged to enter local and national writing contests. Research papers teach them to use the library, Internet and other resources accurately and to express ideas clearly. Field trips allow students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations.


Students receive computer technology training in grades 1 through 6 in two computer centers.  This allows students to progressively learn the skills needed to keep pace with the ever-changing world of information technology.  Computers and SMART boards in each classroom help the classroom teachers integrate computer and Internet technology into their curriculum. Access to computers allows the students to reach literacy goals and to use e-mail and Internet in a safe, supervised setting. A pilot 1-1 iPad program prepares 8th grade and other older middle school students for similar programs in high school.  The curriculum for computers focuses on the integration of computer skills with classroom subjects. Current application software is standardized and regularly updated on the computers.

Music and Art

Music is an integral part of all the curricula, but is integrated most closely into the religion curriculum.  In church liturgies and para-liturgies such as Benediction, the Stations of the Cross, sacramental prayer services, and service learning evaluation assemblies, music plays a central role.  The music program at SJE teaches music skills and appreciation. Since music is to be performed as well as heard, two public concerts are scheduled each year.  These concerts encourage students to use and share their God-given talents.  Time is also set aside during the school week for preparation for liturgical music.  

Art is a vital, creative experience for the students from pre-kindergarten through grade 8. The primary art curriculum, grades 1-3, centers on the seasons of the year and is taught by the homeroom teachers and qualified parent volunteers. Beginning in grade 4, a more formal fine arts-based curriculum is introduced. This curriculum, taught by a part-time art instructor, concentrates on the introduction of more advanced media. Small groups gather together in an art room that is shared on other days with the science lab classes. Art history is integrated with the various projects through lectures, slides and video presentations. Students’ artwork is displayed locally on a regular basis.

Physical Education

Students in kindergarten through grade 8 have physical education twice weekly and students in junior kindergarten have gym once a week. Younger students are taught basic concepts of physical skills, cooperation and healthy living. The upper grades focus on building skills in sports. They also participate in the Presidential Physical Fitness Program during which sportsmanship and cooperation are emphasized.

Curriculum Enhancements


Spanish is taught to small groups of students in grades Jr.K-8 by teachers who are native speakers. The primary grades are taught the basic skills of Spanish with emphasis placed on vocabulary development through games, songs, and arts and crafts. Primary grades students are also introduced to reading and writing in Spanish.

In the upper grades, conversational Spanish is emphasized through “role-plays” and topics in real settings. Conversational Spanish is practiced by placing the students in scenes or places in which they will use the vocabulary they have been taught. The study of grammar is in terms of communication. This early and regular exposure to Spanish aids the students in language acquisition during advanced study in high school and beyond.  

Service Learning 

St. John the Evangelist School students strive to live Jesus’s call to love one another. Students serve others in our community and in the larger world through meals for the homeless, helping the impoverished, fundraisers for worthy charities and other character-building actions for change.  

Our Service Learning Process is a unique part of the St. John the Evangelist curriculum, and we continually share and discuss the benefits of service learning with our parents and students. Older students are grouped with younger students to mentor and assist in these learning opportunities, such as baking for the So Others Might Eat program, writing to and saying prayers for children at The Children’s Inn at NIH and raising funds for the Mission Fund. Beginning in grade 1, all students begin writing reflections in service-learning journals that move with them from grade to grade. The completed journals are given to the students as they graduate as a reminder that love for and service to others is at the core of every Christian's vocation.

Inclusion & Special Needs

The purpose of our inclusion program is to serve the children who have learning challenges. Our school has two inclusion specialists on staff. These specialists work directly with the classroom teachers, the parents and the administration to develop the best plan for each identified student. Conferences are conducted regularly involving students, parents, teach

ers and administrators to monitor the progress of these plans. St. John the Evangelist School received generous grants in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years from the Catholic Coalition for Special Education in recognition of our program.  

Educational Leaders and Administration


The Faculty and Staff at St. John the Evangelist School are highly committed individuals who generously share their talents with us.  Monthly faculty meetings and scheduled in-service days promote professional development for both faculty and staff.  Comitted to working with students and their parents, our faculty and staff help students build a firm foundation upon which they can base future success.  To read more about the backgrounds of this marvelous group of educators, click here.   

Pastor: Fr. Joseph Calis
Principal: Mrs. Margaret (Peggy) Durney
Office Staff:Mrs. Angela Colburn
Receptionist: Mrs. Marci McNickle
School Social Worker: Mrs. Pam Adams
Recess Supervisor: Mrs. Asha Andreas
Development Director:Sr. Daniel Mary
Pastoral Associate: Sr. Roberta Harding
Maintenance: Mr. Pedro Chicas

Junior Kindergarten

Teachers: Mrs. Marilyn Whitney (Director) with Mrs. Debbie Zajac. Aide: Mrs. Peggy Bilodeau


Teacher: Sr. Doreen Willis, I.H.M.  Aide: Mrs. Amy Maddox

Grade 1

Teacher: Ms. Mary Elizabeth Benko

Grade 2

Teacher: Mrs. Jean Engler  Aide:  Mrs. Tina Niglio

Grade 3

Teacher: Mrs. Christine Calabro

Grade 4

Teacher: Ms. Caitlin McNickle

Grade 5

Homeroom Teacher: Ms. Anna Davitt 

Grade 6

Homeroom Teacher: Mrs. Maureen Rossi

Grade 7

Homeroom Teacher: Ms. Colleen Brookfield

Grade 8

Homeroom Teacher: Ms. Emily Pacconi

Science, Computers

Teacher: Mrs. Mily Gutierrez

Spanish Jr.K - 2nd grade

Teacher: Mrs. Nila DiRaimo

Spanish 3rd Grade - 8th grade

Teacher:  Mrs. Eric Walz

Media Specialist, Computers, 7th & 8th grade Social Studies

Teacher: Mrs. Marian McClellan


Teacher: Mrs. Stephanie Rico


Teacher: Mrs. Margaret Ruppert

Physical Education Jr.K. - 8th grade

Teacher:  Mr. Kevin McTighe

Resource Program

Teachers:  Mrs. Claire North (K-3rd grade)                 Mrs. Kelly Burgess (4th-8th grade)

Extended Care

Program Coordinator: Mrs. Tina Niglio
Sr. Mary Mercy Gilbart, I.H.M.




Thursday Night Dinner at St. John's House

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Recent Events...

Visit the Parish Photo Galleries to see pictures from recent events at SJE

Oración de un evangelista

Señor Jesús, que quiere que nos convirtamos en una fuerza viva para toda la humanidad, las luces brillando en el mundo. Quiere que seamos luces radiantes como estamos a tu lado, la gran luz, bañado en tu gloria, oh Luz del Cielo. Vamos a disfrutar más y más la luz pura y deslumbrante de la Santísima Trinidad, como ahora que hemos recibido, aunque no en su plenitud, un rayo de su esplendor, que procede del único y verdadero Dios, en Cristo Jesús, nuestro Señor, a quien sea la gloria y el poder por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.

-St. Gregorio Naciancino (330-390)


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