There is so much more to explore at St. Edmund’s Academy. A Lead Student ambassador program, student newspaper, yearbook and interscholastic athletics provide opportunities to lead and grow. Students who want to test their wits compete in the Heinz History Center’s “History Bowl,” Scripps National Spelling Bee, Robotics, Science Bowl and MathCounts. Others enter our annual raucous talent show and Fine Arts Festival. Our positive environment promotes experimentation, learning and dreaming big dreams!
The MathCounts program inspires excellence, confidence and curiosity in 6th-8th Grade students through fun and challenging math programs. MathCounts provides the extra incentive for students to push themselves to achieve more in mathematics. Consisting of fun and creative problems that promote critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, MathCounts competitions have written and oral rounds, as well as individual and team components. Though challenging, the competition problems focus on the 6th through 8th grade standards of the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics.
The H.J. Heinz annual History Bowl takes place during the first week of November each year, and over 40 schools from the Pittsburgh region participate. Teams consist of 4 students each in grades 5-8. History Bowl students are given a writing task, such as writing a friendly letter home from a historical time period. Students have to find supporting details within the exhibits throughout the History Center to support their answers. They are graded on content, spelling, grammar and format.
The National Science Bowl is a nationwide academic competition for middle school students that tests students' knowledge in all areas of science. The Science Bowl includes two types of competitions - an academic math and science competition and a model car race. 6th-8th Grade students are quizzed in a fast paced question-and-answer format similar to Jeopardy. And the car race provides the students with a “hands-on” science and engineering experience where teams design, build and race their model cars.
Students in grades 5-8 can participate in the Upper School Spelling Bee. The spelling champion goes on to the next level of competition, then advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C. It's purpose is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.
Students in grades 4-8 participate in the National Geographic Bee, a competition in which students are asked a series of seven questions about local, national, and world geography. Students with the top scores move on to a finalist round. The winner earns the privilege of taking the qualifying test for the state level competition.
All students in grades 5-8 take a weekly Robotics class using Lego Mindstorms NXT kits to build robots. Students use a graphical based programming language and develop an understanding of sensors, switches, and loops as they build their autonomous robot. The Robotics program is designed to excite students about science and technology while building problem solving, engineering and technology skills in a creative atmosphere.
The Science Olympiad is a science competition designed to increase students' interest in science and to provide recognition for outstanding achievement across several science disciplines. The Science Olympiad creates opportunities for learning science with an emphasis on teamwork and a commitment to excellence. Students work together using hands-on activities to explore multiple areas of science. The 13 different events span across the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields and address objectives taught throughout the students' SEA academic career.
Music is a part of a St. Edmund’s Academy education from Preschool through 8th Grade. All children in Kindergarten through 4th grade perform in Winter and Spring concerts. 3rd and 4th graders have the opportunity to participate in Glee Club, which gives them extra singing performance opportunities. 3rd and 4th graders also participate in recorder lessons to better prepare them for our 5th grade Band program. Upper School students (Grades 5-8) may participate in Instrumental Music (small group instruction), Band, Chorus and a String Ensemble. All Upper School students learn how to play the guitar in general music class and those in Band receive weekly group lessons on their respective instruments. As students grow, performing on stage becomes a natural experience!
The SEA WOLF is St. Edmund’s Academy’s school newspaper. Upper School students are eligible to apply for a position on the 12-member staff. Staff positions include an Editor-in-Chief, an Art Director, a Photographer and 9 Staff Writers. SEA WOLF staff members meet once a week during the school day and are supervised by the Development Department. Responsibilities include reporting on St. Edmund’s Academy news, thinking creatively about article presentation, working with teachers and students to collect interviews, adhering to deadlines, and a willingness to think outside the box, have fun and work hard! The SEA WOLF is published 3 times a year and circulated to over 2,100 homes including current families, alumni, grandparents, and friends of the school. It is also posted on the St. Edmund’s Academy website. Students in 4th-7th grades apply in the spring for SEA WOLF staff positions for the following academic year.
Lead Student Ambassadors
During each weekly Chapel service, we name our Lead Student, a student in Grades 5-8 who has clearly exemplified all six of our Core Values. Lead Students are eligible to participate in our Student Ambassador program. Lead Student Ambassadors work with the Admissions Office and represent the St. Edmund’s Academy student body during Admissions events for prospective families. Lead Student Ambassadors may be asked to assist with Open House events, personal tours, hosting a prospective student visitor, or participating with their parent(s) in our Preschool, PreKindergarten and Kindergarten assessments. Ambassadors are expected to share their own thoughts and experiences, answer questions, and discuss the strengths of St. Edmund’s Academy to prospective parents.
3rd through 5th Grade students have the opportunity to participate in a co-ed Saturday morning basketball clinic during the months of February and March. Students participate in defensive drills, practice ball handling skills and engage in scrimmages in the St. Edmund's Academy Field House. The clinic is designed to prepare students for the interscholastic basketball teams in Grades 6-8.
Upper School Teams
The Upper School Teams program is based on the “Middle School Societies” model in which the Upper School students become members of a group of students with a variety of grades represented. Each team consists of 2 or 3 students each from grades 5-8. Every team has a teacher leader who is a crucial element to the success of the team. Team members are selected to ensure equal representation of athletes, scholars, musicians, and artists. Students enjoy team building games and the opportunities to have fun and socialize. They like getting to know their teacher leaders on a different level than as classroom teacher. Middle school students need healthy relationships with adults, and teacher leaders seek to develop authentic relationships with students without the burden of assessment of academic or school subject performance. Younger students feel part of the community faster and more authentically, and are more likely to seek out an older student for conversation during other times in the week. The older students assume responsibility for their younger team members and go out of their way to greet them during other times of the day. Team members support each other and cheer for each other. Upper School Teams contribute to a nurturing Upper School community.
All Grades: Preschool - 8th Grade
Field trips to cultural attractions in our city enrich the school year. Students visit the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, University of Pittsburgh Nationality Rooms, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and more. We are incredibly fortunate to be able to enhance the learning in the classroom by taking wonderful field trips with our students. The children thoroughly enjoy the field trips and it is wonderful to see the excitement in their eyes as classroom learning is brought to life!
Some highlights include:
Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten and 1st Grade take field trips to local pumpkin farms. Students enjoy a hay ride, cornstalk maze, and apple cider press and return to school with their very own pumpkin selected from a huge pumpkin patch.
2nd Grade students tour the Sherman Edwards Candy Factory during their study of money and commerce.
In 3rd Grade, the social studies curriculum focuses on the study of our home state, Pennsylvania. In the fall, students travel to Fort Pitt and learn first-hand about Pennsylvania’s role in the early development of our country. In the spring, we travel to Tour-Ed mine in Tarentum, which is an old working mine, turned museum and teaching mine.
During the first week of school, students in Grades 6-8 take overnight trips with their teachers for the purpose of team building and to introduce elements of the new school year’s curriculum. Both the 7th and 8th grade field trips complement the history curricula while the 6th grade field trip has a science connection. The 6th Grade travels to Camp Fitch on Lake Erie where they hike, canoe and catch lots of fish! The 7th Grade visits Williamsburg, Monticello and Luray Caverns. The 8th Grade travels to Dearborn, Michigan to visit the Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, then they study physics at Cedar Point amusement park.
This year, they returned with an “extra student” – a life-size stuffed gorilla, who had a front seat on the bus ride home!
Our annual St. Edmund's Academy yearbook celebrates the experiences and activities of students, faculty and staff that make each year unforgettable. The St. Edmund's Academy yearbook is a printed storybook with candid photos of students, teachers, sports teams, clubs and events experienced throughout the year. Each 8th Grade student creates a custom page of personal photos and quotes using online design software. The results show the creativity and personality of each graduating class.