The educational experience at STAGS includes a focus on delivering opportunities for our students to participate in a variety of enrichment programs such as Honor Choir, National Junior Honor Society, CARTT, Service Club, Student Council, Music Appreciation, Spanish, Scholastic Reading Counts!, Sports and Activities, Chess Club, Robotics Club, Math Counts, Yearbook Club, and the Young Writers’ Academy.
The St Thomas Aquinas Honors Choir is an advanced children's choir open to grades 4-8. This choir has recently been invited by the Bishop to sing for Liturgies and events at SS Simon & Jude Cathedral and is acknowledged within the Diocese as an exceptional Catholic Children's Choir. Children will have the opportunity to sing for Mass at St Thomas, Christmas and Easter celebrations, concerts and outreach programs. This special ensemble provides children with the opportunity to challenge themselves musically and personally, and to contribute to the Catholic Community of Phoenix. Children are accepted into the ensemble through an audition at the beginning of the school year, and must make a one-year commitment once accepted.
National Junior Honor Society
The National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are the nation's premier organizations established to recognize outstanding high school and middle level students. More than just an honor roll, NHS and NJHS serve to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character (and Citizenship for NJHS). These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since their beginnings in 1921 and 1929.
Catholic Art Traditions (CARTT)
The Catholic faith has a rich artistic tradition which comprises our identity as Catholic people. To expose students to this aspect of their heritage, the CARTT program was created. CARTT presentations combine goals and objectives of each grade level's art and religious education curriculums by guiding students in observations and discussions of religious masterpiece works of art. Students expand their critical thinking skills as they explore Catholicism through centuries of faith-inspired artwork. Opportunities for each grade level to work with certain media and in the techniques of traditional genres of Christian artwork are available throughout the school year.
The purpose of the Service Club, which is for 6th to 8th Grade, is to provide an opportunity for STAGS students to work on their Catholic Formation. The Club’s mission is to prepare students for Catholic-centered service and leadership; inspiring them to lead ethical and community-focused lives, while fostering a positive, affirming climate on campus centered on social, academic, and personal development. Students hold positions within the Club and select the organizations assisted such as the WHEAT organization (World Hunger Advocacy Group), Sonoran conservancy, and Michael's Place as well as devoting time to support STAGS‘ internal needs.
To foster student leadership as well as contribute to a student centered environment, the Student Council coordinates school events as well as providing a voice for student ideas. With a teacher advisor, the Student Council, comprised of 5th to 8th Graders, is a group elected from a body of students to serve as representatives in student government.
The Student Council plays a very important role at STAGS. They help share students’ ideas, interests, and concerns with the teachers and principal. The Student Council also helps the students raise funds for school-wide projects and they assist the community when they are in need of aid.
Students experience music through song, instrumental work, listening, and critiquing, which leads to the development of increasingly sophisticated skills and the understanding of musical concepts.
Language education that starts early and involves children in daily communication and content learning allows children to develop a second language as naturally as they learned their first language. The program centers on communication, cultures, and connections as they sophisticate the students' level of communication. The goal of the program is to present Spanish as a mode of communication, emphasizing understanding, creativity, and confidence with the skills acquired.
Scholastic Reading Counts!
Scholastic Reading Counts! (SRC!) is an independent reading program which combines reading practice and software-based reading assessment. Instructionally flexible and professionally written, SRC! is a program proven to develop reading skills, help raise test scores, and motivate students to achieve reading success.
The STAGS library offers a variety of books and in addition, students are encouraged to utilize both classroom and local public libraries. To support ongoing learning, instant feedback is provided through the program which allows teachers to closely monitor the reading progress of students. STAGS motivates students to participate with enthusiasm. Once books are read, students earn reward points based on completing computerized quizzes and their achievements are recognized throughout the year.
Sports and Activities
The Catholic Youth Athletic Association coordinates school year sports programs such as volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball, and flag football. These sports programs are coached by STAGS parent volunteers. Students from the 5th through 8th Grade are eligible to participate in the sports program based on meeting the STAGS academic requirements.
STAGS students participate in physical education classes starting in Kindergarten three times a week. Classes consist of 45 minute periods for Kindergarten through 5th Grade and 50 minutes for 6th through 8th Grade. Throughout the school year classes focus on tennis, swimming, flag football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, softball, kickball, and frisbee golf.
Math Counts is a national program focusing on problem solving for students who love math in 5th through 8th Grade. The program content covers basic mathematics to geometry and algebra. STAGS is fortunate to have Dr. Chang and other volunteers from Lockheed Martin to help the STAGS team. The team practices all year culminating in a competition for 6th through 8th Graders at Lockheed Martin at the end of the school year.
The Robotics Club is an afterschool program for students in 3rd through 8th Grade. This club is designed to get students excited about science and technology through the use of Legos and the Lego Mindstorm NXT Robot kit. Students who participate learn valuable structured problem solving and programming skills all while having fun. The program is structured in a way that the children build the robot, develop a step-by-step instruction set for the robot, program it, and then make corrections to the program based on the actions of the robot. Students in 3rd through 5th Grade participate in a recreational program centered around the lego kit contents and program module. Students in grades 6th through 8th Grade take this to the next level by developing more extensive programs via the computer and also have the opportunity to also participate in the First Lego League program and competition. This program is supported through contributions from the Wildcats Club and volunteers from Intel Corporation.
The Yearbook Club publishes the STAGS Yearbook and is edited by parents and students through the use of an online program allowing multiple users to build and edit yearbook pages throughout the year.