Santa Cruz Church 1


Santa Cruz Catholic School, a Notre Dame ACE Academy, operates on the belief that excellent school culture and rigorous academics have the power to transform children’s lives. Students and teachers alike are held to high standards and provided with the support and resources necessary to meet those expectations. Our school community strives to develop the spiritual, academic, physical, cognitive, social, emotional and creative needs of every student. To meet these needs, a developmentally appropriate curriculum has been developed for all students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. This curriculum is driven by the Common Core and Diocesan standards, with the data-driven decisions supported by our partnership with University of Notre Dame.

Santa Cruz employs a team of dedicated, enthusiastic, learned, kind, and moral educators. From Early Childhood to the eighth grade, the faculty is devoted to the well-being and success of every student. All members of the faculty hold Bachelor’s Degrees, and several hold Master’s Degrees. All faculty members are certified in the State of Arizona to teach in their assigned instructional areas. They have been trained in the most current educational trends, and have the experience to implement the best practices in the classroom settings.


Curriculum and Standards

Grades K-8 provide self-contained general education classes that are aligned to the Arizona Common Core Standards and the Diocese of Tucson Standards: Integration of Catholic Identity Themes.

  • Religion - All students K -8 attend mass weekly; grades 6, 7, and 8 attend mass one additional day per week
    • Knowledge of the Faith
    • Experience and love of the Liturgy
    • Moral formation
    • Prayer experiences as necessary in the rhythm of life
    • Community and life of the Church, the history and our place in the Church’s story
    • Missionary zeal modeled and integrated in service to God’s call for our lives!
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Text complexity and the growth of comprehension
    • Writing: Text types, responding to reading, and research
    • Speaking and Listening: Flexible communication and collaboration
    • Language: Conventions, effective use, and vocabulary
  • Math
    • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
    • Number and Operations
    • Measurement and Data
    • Geometry
    • Mathematical Practices
    • Pre-Algebra and Algebra
  • Science
    • Life Science
    • Physical Science
    • Earth Science
  • Social Studies
    • American History
    • World History
    • Geography
    • Civics/Government

Sacramental Preparation

Sacramental preparation is provided through daily catechism in the 2nd and 8th grades. Students in the 2nd grade will be prepared to receive their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Students in the 8th grade will be prepared for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation are celebrated with a mass in the Spring and require parent participation. In order to be eligible for these sacraments, a Baptismal certificate must be on file with our school office.

Any student who has not received the sacrament of Baptism can receive this sacrament if desired by the student and family. Please contact the Santa Cruz Catholic Church Parish office for information regarding this process.

Classroom Management

Santa Cruz Catholic School incorporates the philosophy of the CHAMPS mindset (Randy Sprick, Civil Schools) to maintain student engagement and motivation in a positive learning environment. Students learn daily routines and procedures in a consistent manner and are expected to develop independence in managing their behavior to increase learning.

Academic Honor Roll (Grades 4-8 only)

  • High Honors: given to each student who meets the following criteria:
    • 3.7 - 4.0 GPA in academic subjects
    • no “x” for enrichment/specialist classes
    • no behavioral referrals
  • Honors: given to each student who meets the following criteria:
    • 3.4 - 3.6 GPA in academic subjects
    • no “x” for enrichment/specialist classes
    • no behavioral referrals


Santa Cruz Catholic School and the Diocese of Tucson are aligned to administer the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress assessment (NWEA MAP). Students are tested three times per year, Fall, Winter and Spring. These benchmark scores are used to inform instruction in the classroom and tailor instruction to meet student needs.

All students K-8 are assessed using the Benchmark Assessment System Running Record. This assessment tests students for fluency, accuracy and comprehension in reading. Scores are used to provide small group instruction using the Guided Reading program. This program assists students in refining and mastering foundational reading skills.

Students in grades 5 and 8 are given the Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Education (ACRE) exam designed by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). The ACRE helps the school evaluate the faith knowledge and attitudes of our students based on religious education programs. This test is administered in the Spring of every academic year.

Enrichment/Specialist Classes

All students K-8 participate in several enrichment/specialist courses. Physical Education and Music/Art are graded on a 3-part scale: Exceeds (+), Satisfactory (/), Unsatisfactory (x). These courses provide enriching experiences in the following areas:

  • Physical Education (K-8)
  • Music/Art (K-8)
  • Library (K-5)
  • Campus Ministry (6-8)

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