St. Rafael believes in the value and power of an exceptional Catholic education — and they work every day to prepare their students for high school, as well as the rest of their lives.
The education provided has been curated to best prepare students to become the future leaders and innovators in the city of Milwaukee. While following the Archdiocesan curriculum, a number of different academic programs have been instituted to best meet the needs of the St. Rafael student, including: Full Option Science System (FOSS) for Science; Lucy Calkins Writers’ Workshop; Guided Leveled Reading for Reading and Language Arts; Engage New York Math for Mathematics; and Handwriting Without Tears.
Learning extends outside the classroom in special programs like the partnership St. Rafael enjoys with the Milwaukee Art Museum and its “Junior Docent Program.” Third through fifth grade students participate in a three year program which culminates when students present a replicated piece of art at the museum.
St. Rafael is committed to student success in core curriculum subjects, as well as art, music, and physical education. Students who speak English as a second language are supported through bilingual assistants in the primary classrooms as well as additional classroom support through technology. Graduates of St. Rafael often apply to area Catholic high schools, including Cristo Rey, St. Thomas More, and Pius XI.
In accordance with the words and example of Jesus, the building of a Christian community is a priority at St. Rafael. The community values a spirit of reconciliation and strives to always be at peace with one another.
St. Rafael, its students, and extended families continue to be a guiding light to the surrounding community, supporting each other by following Christ’s example. Christian values and teachings are infused in the classroom and beyond, centered in daily prayer. The classroom culture is formed by adult examples of living out the faith in many ways.
The entire school gathers together weekly for Mass. Students take an active role in the Mass as lectors, greeters, choir members, and altar servers.
St. Rafael is a “Responsive Classroom” school; it’s a structured model to help students develop integral communication and social skills. This model also supports teachers in a new, effective way to provide instruction and discipline in the classroom.
Students are guided to collaborate with their peers and their teachers to develop classroom rules that are then followed throughout the school year. To show their agreement to this process, they sign a poster of these rules, which is prominently displayed in the classroom.
St. Rafael believes students learn best when they feel safe, challenged and joyful in the classroom. Through the adoption of this Responsive Classroom model, the school has seen a significant drop in disciplinary issues.
Students are encouraged to apply the teachings of Jesus that are taught in the classroom by serving and helping others within the community. St. Rafael students and staff participate in a wide variety of service projects tied to Catholic Social Teaching, including:
Luz Para Educacion: Light for Education — a project that supports families in the Dominican Republic
KK River Cleanup — a project that protects and preserves the neighborhood and environment
The Gathering — serving meals to those who are hungry in Milwaukee