Frequently Asked Questions about SJC School

What is SJC's admission policy?

We accept applications throughout the year for the coming school year. We test all applicants in early March. We use this testing to determine if the child can be successful in our program at the grade level for which he/she is testing.

A student entering Preschool must be 3 years of age on or before March 1st of that year .

A student entering Kindergarten in the 2016- 2017 school year must be 5 years of age on or before September 1, 2016.

For admission to Grades 1-8, the completed application must be accompanied by evidence of a satisfactory record in the school last attended.

Admission will then be based on testing results, space availability, and several other criteria: sibling already attending St. Joseph of Cupertino School; child is Baptized Catholic; family being active St. Joseph of Cupertino parishioners (registered in Parish and attend Mass regularly). Families fulfilling all criteria receive priority consideration.

St. Joseph of Cupertino School does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, or disability in the admission of students, the administration of educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Who sets the curriculum? Is it different from other Catholic schools?

St. Joseph of Cupertino School is a part of the Diocese of San Jose and is overseen by the Diocesan Department of Education. The Diocese studies all publishers' curriculum series and determines which ones are comprehensive and challenging enough for Diocesan schools. Diocesan schools may then choose the curriculum series from this list that best meets their needs. The Diocese generally follows the California State Frameworks for curriculum and chooses textbook series from the California State Adoption List (as long as the curricula approved by the State of California are of high quality). However, we also have the freedom to analyze the framework and determine if there are significant gaps (for instance, we never eliminated phonics in our Language Arts program). In addition, we follow the regular adoption cycle for textbooks which is set by the State of California.

Our curriculum focuses on developing a solid, educational foundation. However, we accomplish this through a healthy balance of traditional, innovative, and creative strategies. We seek to develop a life-long love of learning in our students by demonstrating this same kind of love in our teaching.

How old are your textbooks?

Our textbooks are all current. Because we follow the regular California state adoption cycle, we are continuously upgrading our materials. Textbook companies publish new materials in a subject area when the State of California determines that to be an adoption year. We then review all new materials approved by the Diocesan Department of Education, and adopt a new textbook series which best meets our needs.

Is St. Joseph School accredited?

Yes, all Diocesan schools are evaluated, certified, and accredited on a regular cycle. St. Joseph of Cupertino has received full certification and accreditation from both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) .

What is SJC's discipline policy?

The discipline policies of St. Joseph of Cupertino School flow from our philosophy. Therefore, they are centered in respect for ourselves, respect for all people, and respect for God's world.

Children need to have strong adults in their lives who are able to provide a safe, secure environment for them. They need to know that these adults are "in charge" in a healthy, positive way. Children need clear expectations and firm parameters, and they need to know that these expectations and parameters are fair, consistent, and constant, It is our goal to provide positive and strong guidance so that children will move towards self-discipline as they grow.

St. Joseph of Cupertino School believes in setting clear expectations, and in providing positive reinforcement and appropriate consequences, based on these expectations. The specific components of our discipline policies are based on these tenets. We believe in setting high standards for behavior because we know that children are happiest when they are doing their best and being their best.

We further believe that children benefit when all the adults in their lives work together. Therefore, cooperation between school and home in disciplinary matters is essential. St. Joseph of Cupertino School expects parents to support disciplinary actions taken by the school. Undermining the school's authority is detrimental to the individual child and to the rest of the school community. Families who demonstrate that they are unable to work cooperatively with the school in disciplinary matters may be required to discontinue their child's enrollment at St. Joseph of Cupertino School.

Are all of your teachers credentialed? How many teachers in a class?

Yes, all of our classroom teachers are credentialed, and most have Masters degrees. Each class has one teacher and one aide. In addition, we have specialized instructors in Science, Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology, and Library. We also the have tutoring services of a credentialed Special Education teacher and the counseling services of a licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor. Because of our large class sizes, we have made a concerted effort to provide extensive staffing to help classroom teachers meet the needs of these students.

How many students are in each class?

Almost every class is filled to capacity with 35-36 students. However, we do have two adults (a credentialed teacher and a classroom aide) in each classroom, and, as mentioned above, we have an extensive support staff.

What are SJC's standardized test scores and how do they compare with other schools?

St. Joseph's group test scores are generally in the 70th and 80th percentile ranges (in percentiles, the 10s, 20s, and 30s are low; the 40s, 50s, and 60s are average; the 70s, 80s, and 90s are high). This is especially impressive when it is understood that we see our mission as educating the students in our community and therefore, accept students with a wide variety of ability levels, including those with special education needs.

Do you offer on-site Extended Day Care services?

Yes, we have an outstanding Extended Day Care program, which is open from 7:00 to 8:15 a.m. (school begins at 8:15 a.m.), and from after-school dismissal time to 6:00 p.m. on all days that school is in session. It is held on-site in a classroom-sized Extended Day Care Room. In addition, Extended Care has full use of our facilities: field, playground, courtyards, etc. Upper grade students can also sign out for study halls in our Library and Computer Lab. Families who use Extended Care must register and are then billed on a monthly basis according to the number of hours the service was used. Only students registered at SJC may use our Extended Care program.

Do you have a Parents Teachers Association?

No, we do not have a PTA. Rather, we have an active School Advisory Board and an extensive Family Service Program. The combination of these two entities meets the needs usually covered in a PTA program.

How can I be active as a parent in my child's school?

We strongly encourage parent involvement on so many levels. The Family Service Program involves almost every parent in the school (by choice). The relationship and cooperation between school and home are hallmarks of St. Joseph School. Parents are constantly present, helping out in a myriad of ways (e.g., computer lab aides, room parents, classroom helpers, School Advisory Board, library helpers, special events coordinators/workers, sports coaches, hot lunch worker, yard duty supervisor, etc).

Do you have a technology program?

Yes, we have an extensive technology program. We have two teachers who instruct all grade levels in the use of technology. We have a fully equipped computer lab, a computerized reference section in our library, and computers in all classrooms. We are networked and connected to the internet. Technology is fully integrated into our regular curriculum. In addition we have two Mobile iPad carts, three Mobile Computer Labs with laptops; eleven SMART Boards, LCD projectors in every classroom, 11 document cameras; computer centers in the classrooms and library.

What are some of your extracurricular activities?

We offer many extracurricular activities:

  • Sports Program: This is an extensive program for students in Grades 4-8. SJC belongs to the SJCAL league. Sports offered are flag football, soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track, swimming.
  • Music Ministry: This group practices weekly and sings at monthly Family Masses.
  • Band: Band classes are offered to Grades 4-8. Fourth graders can sign up to take band during their regular music class; fifth through eighth graders attend before-school classes, if they wish.
  • Spanish: Students in all grades are offered the opportunity of before or after-school Spanish classes, taught by instructors specializing in this language.
  • Computer Programming: All students have access to our Computer Lab. Advanced students have been invited to take a special programming class which challenges them and teaches them sophisticated skills. This is offered after school.

What is your current tuition range?

For the 2015-2016 school year, tuition rates range from $7,390 to $9,850 for the first child. Second and third children receive significant discounts. There is no charge for the fourth child. Catholic families who are active St. Joseph parishioners pay less than Non-Catholic families and Catholic families who are not active St. Joseph parishioners.

What if I cannot afford the full tuition?

We have a very healthy financial aid program available to active parishioners. In addition, the Diocese offers a financial aid program to any enrolled family who qualifies. All financial aid grants are based on financial need. Families must submit their most recent tax returns when applying for financial aid.

Why is tuition lower for active parishioners?

St. Joseph of Cupertino is a parish school. The parish provides significant financial subsidy to the school, and also assumes responsibility for major plant maintenance. Therefore, we offer a lower tuition rate to active parishioners because we understand that they are supporting the parish as well as paying tuition.

How do I become a parishioner?

Families can register as St. Joseph of Cupertino parishioners by going to our parish offices (right by the school). Families are considered active parishioners if they attend Sunday Mass at least 3 times a month at St. Joseph's. The only fair and objective way of determining this status is through the use of Sunday Offering Envelopes, so make sure you tell the parish office staff that you want these envelopes. Families deposit these envelopes during the offertory collection while attending Sunday Mass. The school does not take into account how much is given, only that they are used regularly. In this way we know that families are attending Sunday Mass and are supporting the parish.

We are not Catholic. Can our child attend St. Joseph School?

Yes, your child can still attend St. Joseph School. However, our admissions criteria give priority consideration to Catholic families. Also, religion class is a daily part of every grade level's schedule, and prayer is a regular part of every school day. Families who are not Catholic must understand that our Catholic faith is central to our philosophy and our identity. However, no child or family should feel excluded once they are enrolled at SJC. If we are truly following the message of Jesus, then we must follow his message of inclusiveness.

We are Catholic, but our child is in a public school. Can our child attend SJC?

Yes, your child can attend SJC. Please refer to the question above regarding admission policies. Since almost every class is filled to capacity, we need to wait until there are openings at that grade level before we can accept new students.

When is your Open House?

Our whole school Open House is held during Catholic Schools Week each year (late January/early February). We also hold a preschool and kindergarten Open House in November. Please check our event calendar on this web site to come and see the "school in action." SJC parents will be available to take you on a tour of the school, including visits to any grade level in which you are interested.