Kindergarten

Kimberly Spicer


Religion - Christ Our Life, Loyola Press

  • Students learn about prayer as a conversation with God and build a daily habit of prayer to enhance their relationship with God.
  • Students use the rosary to explore key events in Jesus’ life.
  • Students learn about the Bible and its connection to the Mass.
  • Students learn about our community of faith past and present, in preparation for their future, including Mary & the saints, church seasons, and sacraments.

Language Arts - Journeys, Houghton Mifflin

  • We work to establish a solid foundation of phonics and reading skills, using Journeys Common Core aligned integrated Literature Program.
  • Students experience a balance of fiction and informational texts in our series, in addition to poems and Readers Theater.
  • Students learn to apply letter sound knowledge, capitalization, and punctuation in their writing.
  • STAR testing helps match students to “just right” books for them. Students become motivated in their reading through the use of Accelerated Reader and Book Critic programs.

Language Arts - Mathematics- Progress in Mathematics, Sadlier Oxford

  • Students benefit from our program’s Common Core alignment and regular assessment and spiral review.
  • Students work to develop their understanding of addition and subtraction, as well as establish fluency with facts.
  • Students develop an understanding of place value, time, and money concepts.
  • Students experience patterns in a variety of ways, including skip counting.
  • Students learn to read critically in order to problem solve.

Science

  • Students investigate Physical Science- states of matter.
  • Students explore Earth Science- weather, Earth Day
  • Students examine Life Science- life cycles in plants/animals, senses, habitats, hibernation/migration.
  • Students learn to observe and investigate our world.

Social Studies

  • Students learn about time long ago- Johnny Appleseed, Pilgrims.
  • Students learn about maps and our country, including our holidays.
  • Students learn about wants and needs, and being a productive citizen.

Field Trips

  • In support of our work in the classroom we may explore our community. This year we visited The Pumpkin Patch and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to follow up on our classroom work.

1st Grade

Abby Stewart


Language Arts:

  • Focus for 2nd grade students is putting together complete and detailed sentences, which include identifying parts of speech and developing grammar, phonics, and spelling skill
  • Houghton-Mifflin Journeys Series- Exposes students to a variety of different writing and author styles including informational and fiction-based stories, with Common Core curriculum embedded.
  • Flat Stanley series- Develops students' reading comprehension skills and allows students to explore letter writing.
  • Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems and other stories- Focuses students’ attention on the author's style and on following a character's story through many books.

Mathematics:

  • Students develop addition and subtraction skills, working with two and three digit numbers.
  • Students add and use money and read the clock to tell time.
  • Students practice skip counting and number patterns, which prepares students for basic multiplication.
  • The text is Progress in Mathematics by Sadlier-Oxford (embedded with Common Core standards.

Religion

  • Christ Our Life from the Loyola Press helps the students prepare for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
  • Students learn about the difference between sins and mistakes and examine their conscience in preparation for Reconciliation.
  • Students learn about the Mass and the importance of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

Science

  • Students study Life Science- life cycles, animals, habitats and dinosaurs.
  • Students study Physical Science- matter, sound, light, and the Solar System.

Social Studies

  • Students learn about communities and the aspects of those communities that help it to run smoothly.
  • Students learn about taxes, jobs, and government.
  • Students study people in history who have made a difference in our everyday life.

Field Trips

  • Second graders go to the Pumpkin Patch with their fourth grade “big buddies”.
  • Second graders visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

2nd Grade

Britney Becker


Britney Becker graduated from CSU Channel Islands and got her teaching credential at CSU Los Angeles. She has taught in Pleasant Valley School District in Camarillo. Now she lives in Ventura and is excited to be at Notre Dame School teaching 2nd grade!

Language Arts

Focus for 3rd Grade is the development of reading fluency and text comprehension. Students are exposed to a variety of text genres and reading strategies, expanding their knowledge of sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary in the process. Using the latest Common Core State Standards as a guide, students continue to build a rich bank of knowledge and skills that will prepare them for college and career readiness.

  • Students learn ways to help them organize their thoughts as they read, are read to or participate in discussions. Asking/answering questions, directed-discussion, note-taking and speaking/listening techniques are all skills that students become more familiar with. Students are able to recall and apply the details of what they read in a more efficient manner, as they progress to reading longer, more complex texts.
  • Students develop as both readers and writers. Emphasis is placed on grammar, vocabulary, phonics, fluency, word-decoding strategies and spelling.
  • Students are immersed in a variety of high-quality texts and genres. Using folklore, poetry, biographies, informational texts and other forms of literature as a vehicle to either spark or further an appreciation for reading, students are given a broad look at the world around them at the same time. Civics, Health/Safety, Technology/Innovation and Recreation/Travel are only a few of the topics explored as students continue to become both academically and socially prepared.
  • We use the Journeys Common Core Language-Arts series by Houghton-Mifflin.

Mathematics:

Focus is on fact families such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Students expand their knowledge of addition and subtraction using multiple-digits, while beginning to grasp the concepts of multiplication and division.

  • Multiplication facts through the 10s.
  • Understanding large numbers and working with small numbers.
  • Using equivalent fractions and decimals (to the thousandths).
  • Geometry, negative numbers, calculator skills, and telling time.
  • Practical application of measurement skills includes linear, weight, and capacity with customary and metric units. Students perform probability experiments that provide information for analyzing data and predicting outcomes.
We us the California Mathematics series by Scott-Foresman.

Science

Students are given a comprehensive look at science as we focus on Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science and the Human Body. Students expand their scientific knowledge even further, as they begin to look beyond planet Earth and into our surrounding Solar System.

  • Life Cycles of plants/animals, the environment and issues that surround it, weather, matter, force, creation of landforms and properties of rock are all topics that we study in third grade.
  • In the unit on the Human Body, students will observe and study the human skeletal and muscle systems.
  • Students also study the Solar System and the relationship between the sun, moon, and earth.
We use the Scott-Foresman Science text for Grade 3.

Social Studies

Third grade students learn about the concept of Community. We study characteristics that are unique to certain communities that have existed in the past, but also look at things about communities that have been carried over into the present, why they are useful, and how they might be necessary for a successful future.

  • Functions of Government, resources, cultures/traditions and the rights/responsibilities of citizens are some of the concepts we study throughout the year.
  • Students also study the regions of the United States and California. In their study of the regions of the U.S., they learn how geography, climate, and natural resources have impacted the development and history of the areas. Regions are compared to one another and students extend their skills in geography, problem solving, and study skills.
  • Students develop a thorough understanding of their own state as we study California. Included in this study are California's geography, regions, history, and government.

Religion

We focus on developing a deeper understanding of concepts such as mercy, forgiveness, sin and faith as we continue to understand our place in society and members of a religious community.

  • Going to church as a school and spiritual family teaches us how to demonstrate appropriate behavior and allows us to experience our journey of faith with those around us.
  • Prayer, scripture and stories that depict the lives of saints and their struggles are focal points of our study. As students are exposed to these concepts and experiences, they develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the positive values and lessons that are embedded within them.
  • The Ten Commandments and religious holidays are also topics we study.

Field Trips

  • Fire Safety-City of Santa Barbara
  • Music Van-Santa Barbara Symphony
  • Pumpkin Patch-Lane Farms
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Arlington Theater-Performing Arts

3rd Grade

Kristi Soforo-Grelier


"Mrs. G" believes that a teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart and is absolutely excited and thrilled to be able to share that experience this year for the first time at Notre Dame Catholic School. She has twelve years teaching experience and is certified and licensed in California, New Mexico, and Texas. Mrs. G has been living in Santa Barbara for one year, is married, and has two children. She enjoys volunteering with SBIFF and watching foreign films. When not at school you can find her exploring our beautiful city, gazing at the ocean, or at the movies.

Reading

Use appropriate strategies when reading for different purposes and when reading different forms of literature.

Writing

Multiple paragraph essays, narratives and expository writing, while being aware of audience.

Math

Value of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, geometry, and use of algebra.

Social Studies

California's geographic features; California's Missions; State, Federal and local government functions.

Religion

God's call to us

4th Grade

Justin Mack


Justin Mack is a proud Notre Dame parent and teacher! Mr. Mack was born in Los Angeles and raised in Santa Barbara. His wife Sarah attended Notre Dame, their oldest son Zachary attended Notre Dame School and their youngest son Elijah attends NDS. Mr. Mack attended SBCC, Westmont College (B.A. Religious Studies), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A. Theology/Youth & Family Ministry) and most recently completed a second M.A. in Education. Mr. Mack is a CA credentialed teacher, speaks Spanish, has lived in South America (Ecuador) and traveled throughout Mexico and Spain.

  • Religion- Growing in the Catholic Faith
  • Reading
    • Higher level responses and reading different genres
    • Nine novels are read throughout the school year
      • Central focus of each novel- vocabulary instruction and reading comprehension
      • Monthly book reports
  • Mathematics- place value, working with decimals, logical reasoning, dividing greater numbers
  • Social Studies- Early United States-first Americans through the Revolutionary War
  • Writing- multiple paragraph essays focusing on narrative and expository writing
  • Science- various aspects of Life, Physical, Human, and Earth Science

Field Trips

  • Granada Theater
  • Santa Barbara High School
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  • Lobero Theater
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, Simi Valley
  • Revolutionary War Re-Enactment, Moorpark
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles
  • Participation in the Day of the Dead Celebration at Santa Barbara City College

Projects- Independent and group projects are an essential element of learning for 5th grade students.

  • Ice Age Diorama
  • Create Interactive Personal Timelines
  • Character I AM poems
  • Planet Models!
  • Monster/Alien Personal Narrative Essay
  • Maniac Magee book reports
  • Personal Totem Poles
  • Saints report with sketch of a Saint
  • Decorations for Day of the Dead Altar at Santa Barbara City College and Notre Dame School: sugar skulls, Day of the Dead placemats, skulls
  • Your Fantasy World scrapbooks
  • Partner Research/Art Portrayal presentation of Famous Painters
  • Christmas Ornaments from Around the World
  • Famous Explorers Comic Strips
  • Historical Fiction Novel PowerPoint

8th Grade/Vice Principal

Natasha Lomelí-Kauka


Hello my name is Natasha Lomelí-Kauka and I am a Notre Dame alumnus coming back for my seenth year of teaching the 8th grade. I have 10 1/2 years of experience in the classroom, all in Santa Barbara County. I attended Santa Barbara City College and received several A.A.'s in English with Honors, Liberal Studies with Honors, Liberal Studies with a Transfer Emphasis with Honors, and a Certificate in TAP. I was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Association on campus. I transferred to UCSB and received my B.A. in English. While at UCSB, I was a member of the UCSB Women's Rugby Club on campus. Before starting a credential program, I worked at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Barbara as an Instructional Assistant for 2 1/2 years in grades ranging from K, 1st/2nd combo class, 1st, and 4th. I went on to get my Bilingual Teaching Credential from Cal Lutheran University and did my student teaching in Oxnard (1st grade dual immersion classroom) and Ventura (3rd grade). I cleared my credential with the State of California and have a Master in Education from California Lutheran University. I look forward to a fantastic year! In Christ, Natasha Lomelí-Kauka
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