Middle School Religion/Social Studies
Adele Baker Swift joined the teaching staff at St. Rose in 2007 after moving to Southwest Washington from Los Angeles with her husband and two sons. She received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and her teaching credential from California State at Los Angeles. She teaches eighth-grade social studies and religion, as well as electives such as the Middle School musical, Aikido and cooking. She is a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Cathlamet.
Middle School Math Specialist/Science
Notebooks are an integral part of the math grade. They are due every two weeks (8th on Mondays, 7th on Tuesday, and 6th on Wednesdays.) Individual assignments are posted in the room each day. Assignments should also be listed each day on each student’s table of contents. It is important that parents frequently go over the notebook with their child to see how they are progressing.
Eighth graders take an End of Course test from the State in June which gives them high school credit for math if they pass it.
6th – McDougal Littell Middle School Course 2 (7th grade book)
7th – McDougal Littell Pre-Algebra
8th – Holt McDougal Algebra 1
Middle School Language Arts Specialist
Paula Stepankowsky is in her fourth year of teaching at St. Rose School, although she was a volunteer at the school for 12 years before going into teaching. Mrs. Stepankowsky is a long-time supporter and a product of Catholic schools, attending a Catholic grade school, high school and college in Spokane, Wash. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English Literature from Fort Wright College, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Portland. She spent 25 years in business journalism, 15 years at The Daily News of Longview and 10 years as the Pacific Northwest Reporter for Dow Jones Newswires, before going into teaching.
She is a co-founder of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic High School, the Southwest Washington regional high school for the Archdiocese of Seattle, and has been on the board for 12 years. She is also a member of the Fulcrum Foundation Board of Advisors. She and her husband, Andre, have been members of St. Rose Parish for 32 years. Their daughter, Anastasia, is a graduate of St. Rose School who is now attending the University of Washington. Mrs. Stepankowsky is also a co-founder and past president of The Burney Society, an international literary society devoted to early women writers. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Jane Austen and Shakespeare are her favorite authors. She is also a big football fan who supports the UW Huskies, Notre Dame and The Seattle Seahawks.
Middle School Language Arts Curriculum:
The Middle School Language Arts curriculum at St. Rose School is a pre-college prep curriculum. This means that by the end of 8th grade, students are prepared to make a seamless transition into regular or honors English in high schools with a college prep curriculum or into honors English in public high schools. ITBS test scores at the end of 8th grade typically show a class average grade equivalent of 11.4 in reading comprehension, more than three years above grade average, and a comprehensive language score of 13+, which means that students have the skills necessary to be successful at the rate of a freshman in college. The pass rate for the Washington State MSP in writing, taken by the St. Rose 7th grade in the spring, has been 100%, 100%, 90% and 96% for the past four years, compared with a pass rate of 71% on average at the state level.
Students at St. Rose get a thorough grounding in grammar, including parts of speech, sentences, diagramming sentences, clauses, verbals, case in personal pronouns, subject-verb agreement and relative pronouns. We throw a “Who & Whom” party for the eighth graders when they all pass that test!
On the literary front in sixth grade, we read short stories, poetry, Rascal, Tuck Everlasting and Where the Red Fern Grows. We also write a fairy tale and learn how to write narrative and expository essays.
In seventh grade, we start with short story and poetry units. Our literary texts include Tuesdays With Morrie, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Outsiders and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. We also write a life-lesson expository essay to go along with Tuesdays With Morrie. We also learn to write the persuasive essay in seventh grade to prepare students for the state MSP Writing test in the spring.
The literary challenge steps up in the eighth grade, where the reading curriculum parallels that of the ninth grade in public high schools. The goal is to prepare all students for honors classes in Catholic or public high schools.
We open the year with short story and poetry units, followed by detailed instruction in how to write a critical, or literary, analysis, a key essay for success in high school and college. Our literary texts include Lord of the Flies, The Red Badge of Courage, Romeo and Juliet and To Kill A Mockingbird. These are texts typically read in high school, but by the time our students get to eighth grade, they are prepared for the challenge.
Students keep a Language Arts notebook, which is collected and graded on a rotating basis. We also have spelling and vocabulary tests on Fridays, so students always have words to work on.