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Signature Programs

“My Catholic school education helped me to discover my gifts and how they can be used to illuminate God’s glory through my vocation.” - Grace Kording, Catholic school graduate

A Catholic education is distinct in nature because it goes beyond academic excellence and includes the ideal goal of developing the spiritual dimension of every human being. Through the creation of elementary/middle school signature programs, students have the opportunity to explore interests outside of the basic curriculum.

A signature program integrates a specific focus or distinguishing theme with the skills, concepts, and instructional strategies that complement the basic curriculum. The theme or focus becomes the vehicle for teaching and provides students a fresh, interesting, and challenging academic experience. While each Catholic school develops supplementary programs to the basic curriculum, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has formally developed the following five signature program initiatives.


Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Program
The STEM instructional/curricular model has an increased emphasis on science and math and includes greater use of technology in the classrooms to inspire interest in STEM vocations. Through this instructional model, students will explore design concepts, develop adaptability, and learn how to embrace life’s greatest questions and challenges through creative solutions. STEM programs are found throughout many of our Catholic elementary and high schools.

In addition to the core STEM curriculum, 3D printing has been added as an activity to enhance instruction throughout many of our schools. On May 5, 2015, Archbishop William E. Lori held a press conference to announce an exciting new initiative that seeks to put a 3D printer in every Archdiocesan school. The initiative is made possible due to support from the Embracing Our Mission ~ Shaping Our Future capital campaign, a generous donation by Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Croteau, and our technology and curriculum partners, 3D Systems and STEAMTrax. 3D printing is considered a “game-changer” for schools with STEM programs, as they provide children with unparalleled access to innovative technology used by engineers, astronauts on the International Space Station, and medical professionals and scientists. Our students and schools will have access to this same technology and a curriculum that allows our students to become more ready every day for future discoveries and advances we have yet envisioned.

PRIDE is an innovative, K-8 Archdiocesan program designed to meet the needs of students who learn differently. Our students are of average to above average intelligence, with mild to moderate learning disabilities. The program is staffed by highly qualified special education teachers who design specific programs to meet the personal learning needs of each child. Small group sizes and modified curriculum for Language Arts and Math are hallmarks of the program. PRIDE programs are located regionally and offered at the following Catholic schools: St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (Rosedale), St. Mark (Catonsville), and St. John Regional (Frederick).

The Montessori Program is offered at St. Pius X School and provides children a different way to learn, one which combines all of the features of Montessori learning with our strong tradition of Catholic religious education. We partner with Loyola University, Maryland, who has one of the premier Montessori graduate programs in the country; and its Center for Montessori Education – Washington Montessori Institute — houses the oldest Association Montessori International (AMI)-accredited training center in North America.

Dual Language
Archbishop Borders School, a Pre-K through 8th grade Catholic school in diverse southeast Baltimore, offers the first dual language program in the Archdiocese. Focusing on English and Spanish, the dual-immersion program was initiated in 2012 at the Pre-K 4 level, and each year a new grade is added to the program. The goal is to produce graduates who have complete fluency and literacy in both English and Spanish. This particular model, which blends native English-speaking students with native Spanish-speaking peers, has been nationally recognized as the most effective approach to bilingual education.
Archbishop Borders School is one of 11 schools nationwide participating in Boston College’s Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS) Program. This is a cohort of schools selected to receive training and design support to build two-way immersion programs in their schools over the next two to three years. More information about TWIN-CS can be found at: According to the National Dual Language Consortium, “Dual language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and high levels of academic achievement." As every parent knows, bilingualism and an appreciation of cultural diversity will only strengthen and increase our children’s academic and professional opportunities as they come of age in an increasingly globalized economy and society. Archbishop Borders School is at the forefront of preparing your children for this future.

Community Schools
Five schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are designated as community schools: Archbishop Borders, Bishop Walsh, Cardinal Shehan, Ss. James and John, and Holy Angels Catholic School. A community school program has established partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus is on academics, services, supports, and opportunities that lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.