Junior High (6th-8th Grades)

St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School recognizes the importance of Junior High as an especially formative time in a student's educational journey. SJHA ensures our Junior High Students are developing strong study habits and cultivate a hunger for learning. Though SJHA Junior High is a challenging time academically, our students are fully supported by our dedicated faculty and educational support specialists. SJHA Junior High students graduate 8th grade prepared for the academic rigors of high school. They will also take with them the values and strong character that SJHA instills in all of our students. 
Interesting Facts about SJHA Junior High
  • We have been nationally recognized as a Project Lead the Way Distinguished Gateway School three years in a row for our STEM courses. For more read here
  • We are the only Catholic school within the Archdiocese with 3 on a grade level for 6 to 8. 
Read more about our Junior High course offerings directly from our Junior High Faculty here.


Mrs. D’Agostino

Grade 7: Goals for students in the seventh grade ELA/SS course include a deepening of critical analysis skills to allow for a broader understanding of significant events in American history. Students learn to apply the critical thinking techniques learned in ELA to foster deeper examinations of world events from several different perspectives. Students will examine the colonization of our country from its inception through modern day efforts to continue exploration as it moves outward into the universe. They will journey through the American Revolution and the Civil War, deeply analyzing key events and narrating them through self-guided essays. Novels read throughout the year will encapsulate and enhance these events and bring them to life. Growth is the essential term for our 7th grade curriculum.

Mr. Michael Pacheco

Grade 8: To prepare for bigger challenges in high school, eighth grade students must grapple with major works of fiction and nonfiction that extend across cultures and centuries. They must be able to cite the evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what is explicitly stated and/or implied from a book, article, poem, or play. Eighth grade students must be able to report findings from their own research and analysis of resources in a clear manner.


Mr. Erickson

Grade 6

In Grade 6, students will journey through the Ancient and Modern World. We will study Ancient Civilizations and learn what they have contributed to modern day society. We will learn the foundations of many religions of the world, such as: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

We will study Ancient societies such as Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China- to name a few. To gain better understanding of these societies we will use Document Based Questions (DBQ’s). Our goal will be to make cross-curricular connections using primary and secondary sources.


Grade 7

In Grade 7, we begin our journey into American History. We will learn the foundation upon which America was built. We begin with the Roots of American People and end with the United States construction after the Civil War. It is here we begin to understand that history repeats itself and it is up to us to make a difference in the world.

We will look at the influence other cultures have had on our nation by examining both primary and secondary sources. We will use Document Based Questions (DBQ’s) and political cartoons to help us analyze the important changes that the United States has undergone. This will allow us to use critical thinking to employ a variety of intellectual skills essential to understanding major turning points in United States history.


Grade 8

In 8th grade, we continue our exploration of American History. We begin right after the Civil War and delve all the way into modern times. We will activate prior knowledge to compare and contrast the different aspects of American History that seem to repeat itself. We will see that most wars have root in religion or land.

The 8th grade curriculum focuses on writing and critical thinking that will help us to analyze the cause and effect relationships that America continues to have with other nations. In doing so we will use Document Based Questions (DBQ’s) and Political Cartoons to enhance our knowledge and prepare us to work with and understand the history that surrounds our amazing country.

Mr. Chierchio

Sixth Grade Math students will conquer and master the skills of computation while exploring and developing a sense of curiosity into the world of algebraic thinking concepts.

The year will be dedicated to four critical areas of math. It will focus on the use of rates and ratios to solve problems, explore fractions, rational numbers, positive and negative integers, introduce algebraic expressions and equations, and expose students to an understanding of statistical thinking. They will apply these concepts to real life situations to solve problems.

I will challenge and support my students while together we continue to maintain our high state scores.


Ms. LaVara

The 7th Grade Math class will be focusing on 5 critical areas this year. We will be exploring operations with rational numbers; working with expressions and equations; developing proportional relationships; working with 3 dimensional shapes and scale drawings; as well as Probability and Statistics.

My goal this year is to have the students achieve fluency in all math skills. The students will learn to reason through multi-step real life problems and persevere in solving them.

I hope to provide our students with the foundation in mathematics, necessary for them to reach their potential.


Mrs. Catella

The 8th grade Advanced Math class will develop the knowledge, attitude and skills, essential for success in High School. I plan to weave the 8th grade Math curriculum together with the Algebra I High School curriculum. It is my hope that the majority of the students will be prepared to take the Algebra 1 Regents in June.

This year we will be working on polynomials, functions, linear and quadratic equations, as well as some trigonometry, geometry, radicals, probability and Statistics. Each student will learn how to work with the graphing calculator. It is my goal for the students to reason abstractly as well as quantitatively.

The 8th grade Common Core Math class will embrace algebraic thinking concepts and master the curriculum needed to prepare them for high school math. The year will include an introduction to high school Algebra and Geometry so that a solid foundation of basic concepts is achieved. We will strive to exceed the goals set forth by the state standards and rigorously prepare students for academic success.

The three critical areas of the core curriculum include concepts of functions and the use of functions to describe quantitative relationships, analysis of two and three dimensional space and figures, and the implementation of procedures to solve linear equations, systems of linear equations, and understand slope of a line to analyze situations and solve problems.

I will promote confidence in my students and encourage a positive attitude toward problem solving.


Mrs. Sheila Coyne

Grade 6 Religion 

My classroom mission is to expand on the foundation of our Catholic Faith to enable our students to become individuals who value and live their Faith everyday – in all that they think, do and say. In the 6th grade, students will be introduced to the Revelation of God the Father, Creation and Scientific Information, The building of the Covenant Nation, Jesus as Teacher and Healer, Redeemer and Savior, The Beginning of the Church, and the Church in Our World. Our students will discover and investigate the Bible and refer to Sacred Scripture in all 4 Units of Study.

Incorporating interactive activities and projects, on-line videos, web-sites, classroom discussions and traditional learning, it is my goal to create an environment which will help our children grow academically, emotionally, and Spiritually, providing opportunities for these youngsters to apply real-life applications to their Faith and moral decision-making.

Our 6th graders are introduced to Stewardship, and their important role in caring for our planet and all of God’s creations. Through the examples of significant adult role models and interaction with one another, they will be challenged to accept the responsibility of Stewardship and their role in caring for everyone and everything around them. They will become our Faith leaders of future generations.

Mr. Michael Smith

Grade 7 Religion 

In Grade 7 we expand our Christian Catholic teachings to include family, community, and the world. Through Discipleship and Evangelization, the children are called to participate in spreading the “Good News” of Jesus Christ, the Promise of Salvation, Jesus as the Healer, Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ Alive in our Church Today, and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

It is my objective that through classroom activities, individualized instruction and interdisciplinary assignments, we will continue to build on the strong foundation of our Catholic Faith already developed in our students. I also strive to create a warm, welcoming, caring and Christ-like environment as the children work and grow. I hope to achieve my goals by gathering sound Faith content, demonstrating my belief and living our Faith, and responding and acting on what we learn.


Grade 8 Religion

My 8th Grade mission is to help develop in our young men and women, a sense of appreciation, understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their Catholic Christian beliefs. Included in all content areas that will be covered this school year, is the total development of these young adults – Spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. Our course of study will include: God and God’s Gift of Faith, Our Ancestors in Faith and Church History from A.D. 30 through the Present, The Church Gives Us Hope for Future Generations, Living Out the Commandments, and Our Catholic Christian Identity.

My goal is to incorporate the verbal, logical, visual, written, and interpersonal strategies of our students, to encourage them to appreciate and live by our Catholic Social Teachings. Through Sacred Scripture, our text, and web-based media, our students will focus on peer pressure and popular culture, free will, conscience, and moral decision-making, as they continue to embrace the Spiritual, morally responsible and adult-like practices of Catholic Christian Faith.

Junior High - Project Lead the Way Distinguished Gateway Program
St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School is incredibly proud to announce we are a 2022-2023 Project Lead the Way Distinguished Gateway School. This recognition is due to our commitment to helping our students own their education by increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in our Project Lead the Way Gateway program (6th-8th Grades). More here.

6th Grade 
Automation and Robotics
Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.

7th Grade
Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they analyze genetic testing results to diagnose disease and study DNA evidence found at a “crime scene.” They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, investigate how to measure and interpret vital signs, and learn how the systems of the human body work together to maintain health.

Science impacts the technology of yesterday, today, and the future. Students apply the concepts of physics, chemistry, and nanotechnology to STEM activities and projects, including making ice cream, cleaning up an oil spill, and discovering the properties of nano-materials.

8th Grade
Through hands-on projects, students explore electricity, the behavior and parts of atoms, and sensing devices. They learn knowledge and skills in basic circuitry design and examine the impact of electricity on the world around them.

Today’s students have grown up in an age of “green” choices. In this unit, students learn how to apply this concept to the fields of architecture and construction by exploring dimensioning, measuring, and architectural sustainability as they design affordable housing units using Autodesk’s® 3D architectural design software.
Ms. Mistretta teaches 6th-8th Content Science. This includes Earth Science (6th Grade), Life Science (7th Grade), and Physical Science (8th Grade). 

Mrs. Edelman

Grade 6

The goals of the course are to achieve the conversational facility as well as the reading, writing, and listening skills that will allow students functionally to express themselves in Spanish about their immediate environment and daily activities. Students will be able to compare and contrast Spanish phrases and greeting with their English equivalents and respond to greeting prompts in the classroom. This course also has a grammar element which introduces the students to gender agreement and the identification of singular and plural subject pronouns. There will be considerable focus on pronunciation in Spanish and correct sounds and intonation. We will also concentrate on major cultural elements of Hispanic peoples and the differences in cultural practices to express a greater understanding and appreciation of the culture of Spanish speaking countries.

Grade 7

This course is a continuation of the sixth grade curriculum and it applies the essentials of grammar in the Spanish language. The focus is to employ vocabulary while correctly expressing agreement of nouns and adjectives and effectively combining articles with their nouns. Students are also introduced to the present tense of verbs and will be able to detect patterns in these verbs to engage in critical thinking.

Grade 8

This course is a continuation of both sixth and seventh grade Spanish courses which set a high expectation of mastering the Spanish sound system in listening and speaking. Students will properly pronounce, converse and apply the essentials of grammar and composition in both the present and past tenses. The students will be able to use both regular and irregular verbs in order to speak coherently about recent past actions and well as their own actions.

Mr. Joseph O'Keefe
Our 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Writing Workshops are designed to assist students become confident and capable writers. During the Writing Workshop, they have the opportunity to work independently and with their classmates. Students actively engage in the writing process, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their workWriters’ Workshop is a class focused on developing active critical thinking, reading and writing skills. Students will learn the importance of annotating, close reading, and summarizing to enhance their ability to read and break down complex information. They will also apply the knowledge and skills they acquire through this process to their own writing. Students will prepare both fiction and nonfiction pieces, completing a variety of assignments from creative writing to research papers. Our focus will be on sensory details, expansion of vocabulary, transition words and phrases, reinforcement of english conventions, and clear organization of ideas and arguments. Our Hill students have so many wonderful ideas, and we hope that this class will help them to express these ideas more effectively in their writingWriters’ workshop grades are part of a student's ELA grade.