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14131 Seneca Road, Darnestown, Maryland 20874 | 301 869 0940 | F: 301 869 0942

Elementary School

The curriculum of Mary of Nazareth, a Blue Ribbon School, is a challenging and rigorous implementation of the academic standards set forth by the ADW Catholic Schools Office.  In grades K-5, the core subjects of reading and language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and religion are taught. Weekly instruction in Spanish (two classes per week), art, music, physical education, library, and computer technology are supplemental classes for these grades. Small group instruction optimizing student learning is offered for reading and language arts, as well as an intervention program for grades K-5.

Core Academic Subjects


Reading and Language Arts



Social Studies

Supplemental Classes


Computer Technology

Library and Media Center


Physical Education



Small Group Reading and Language Arts Instruction

Educational research over the past two decades has proven that small group reading and language arts instruction benefits all learners. Mary of Nazareth School strives to engage, challenge, and support all learners through our instructional approach to reading and language arts.  

Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through third grade there are three (3) reading classes per grade. Each class consists of a teacher and an instructional assistant who work with no more than 20 children (1:10 adult/student ratio). There is always an adult available to work with the individual child and to provide differentiated instruction during every reading and language arts lesson. Each learner has multiple opportunities for an adult to praise, stimulate, and aid the child’s progress throughout the class period.  

In fourth and fifth grades there continues to be three (3) reading and language arts classes with a teacher to student ratio of 1:20. The reading groups are a combination of proficient, on grade level, and developing readers. The class makeup provides all students with opportunities to receive the vital developmental skill instruction along with opportunities to demonstrate their reading skills with their peers.

Math Instruction K-5

Mary of Nazareth School utilizes Saxon Math in kindergarten through fifth grade. This research based program provides a foundation for higher level math skills to be mastered as students progress through the series. Saxon employs incremental instruction distributed throughout the school year. Continual practice and cumulative assessment are hallmarks of Saxon Math. To learn more, click here.

Small Group Math Instruction 4-5

In grades 4-5, students move into four appropriately paced small group instructional classes. As a result, math class size in these grades is significantly reduced. Students continue to build on the fundamental skills learned in their primary years while utilizing the Saxon Math series. Educators at Mary of Nazareth School align the Saxon resources, lessons, and assessments with the ADW standards to provide a complete and rigorous program. Students also have access to digital content and curriculum with the Saxon series. All students and teachers have iXL education software accounts which track student and classroom performance and identify areas for academic improvement. Mary of Nazareth has surpassed National Blue Ribbon score requirements for math in grades four and five for the past 15 years.


Project Based Learning

Educational researchers have long recognized that students develop a deeper understanding of information when they “learn by doing.” At Mary of Nazareth School the fourth and fifth grade teachers and students spend Friday afternoons engaged in the exploration of a cross-curricular theme through our Project Based Learning (PBL) module. Students work collectively and across grade levels to explore, research, and creatively demonstrate understanding of their chosen topic. Students learn leadership and collaboration skills by working in cross grade level groups. Research skills are honed through the use of modern technology as well as print materials. Students demonstrate their new knowledge through creative and informative displays that are presented at the “Museum Night” in May. The children develop relationships with a variety of other students and teachers. PBL is authentic learning, which excites and engages students. Past PBL themes have included: The American Revolution, The History of the Olympics, The American Civil War, and The Twentieth Century in Review.   

 301 869 0940
301 869 0942
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