Academic Excellence

Our Mission Statement and Philosophy Drive Our School. The shared vision of Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy (MDJDA) and Mater Dei Catholic High School (MDCHS) is to collaborate in offering our community a premier Catholic educational institution dedicated to faith formation and the pursuit of excellence and innovation. Our Blessed Mother, under the title of Mary, Our Lady of Wisdom, is revered as our patroness. Our Mother and helper, she is always present to listen, guide and protect. MDJDA’s mission is committed to developing the whole child intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually within a community of Catholic concern and devotion.

While supporting each child’s individuality, we strive to help students become well-rounded, self-disciplined, and confident practitioners of the Catholic faith, with respect for themselves and others.

Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy holds itself responsible, relying on the collaboration of our families, to cultivate Catholic faith and Catholic teachings. We realize that 21st century learning hinges on innovative and hands-on curriculum, especially in science and technology. We are excited to be the first Catholic School in San Diego to offer a 50/50 dual language Spanish/English immersion curriculum rooted in the STREAM education model (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math). The goal of this model is to educate the child as a whole person while incorporating spirituality and fostering faith.

The MDJDA Dual immersion program is a two-way 50/50 program. Two­way indicates that at least a 1/3 of class is proficient in English and 1/3 of the class is proficient in Spanish. MDJDA is currently envisioned to be a single class per grade school. To accommodate as many families as possible, it is important to keep a two-way designation. A one-way model would eliminate an entire demographic of families who are proficient in a language. A 50/50 model has 50% of the instruction in English and 50% in Spanish. This will provide all students to develop academic vocabulary in both languages. The program is based on the principles of second language development from immersion theory and research. MDJDA commits to providing a dual language education model.

Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy is the first Dual Language Immersion school in the Diocese of San Diego. Currently, there are 20 Dual Language Immersion programs in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. They are all Spanish based and there is an even distribution of 50/50 and 90/10 programs. Based on the local demand for these programs, MDJDA will reflect the community by offering a two-way 50/50 Spanish Dual Immersion Program.

Each grade will serve a target demographic where 1/3 of all students in a class are proficient in English and 1/3 are proficient in Spanish. Being an enrollment driven school, MDJDA will strive to create these ratios while keeping the mission of providing a Christ-filled education to families.

All students will receive 50% of their instruction in Spanish and the other 50% in English. This model will provide proper non-native development for all students. The overall goal is to develop fully literate bilingual students. The research on this model shows, that while students may have a temporary achievement dip, there are no long-term impacts on achievement with the added bonus of becoming proficient in another language. (Christian et al.,1997)

The curriculum and assessments at MDJDA are aligned with the Diocesan California Common Core State Standards. Additionally, MDJDA shares the vision of teaching and instruction within the Diocese of San Diego.

Diocese of San Diego Catholic school educators use practices anchored in research-based methodology focused on all learners. Assessment is frequent and varied, integrated into the teaching/learning process, and informs curriculum planning and development.

Currently, all instructional materials are under a review process for the 2017-18 school year to ensure alignment to dual immersion program content as well as rigor for success at Mater Dei Catholic High School. The following criteria will be used when evaluating instructional materials:

  • Provides meaningful experiences that are academically challenging and integrate higher order thinking
  • Reflects the diverse cultures represented in the school
  • Integrates technology to drive differentiation and bolster achievement
  • Aligns to prepare students for success at MDCHS, thereby creating a TK-12 academic pathway

The instruction will focus on reciprocal interaction to develop language skills in all settings. Language objectives will be incorporated into all lessons to provide both structured and unstructured opportunities for students to use both languages. Most lessons will be taught with Monolingual delivery as this will allow students to develop academic vocabulary in both languages so as to avoid a dominant academic language. Teachers will also continue to focus on creating positive interactions for students in both Spanish and English.

Currently, MDJDA has 14 faculty members. Nine are proficient in both English and Spanish.

The faculty will be partnering with Boston College’s Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS).  TWIN-CS is an initiative of the Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education.  This initiative, grounded in research and leadership by Boston College faculty and other university researchers from around the country, supports school in the implementation and assessment of dual-language immersion models in Catholic School classrooms around the United States.  The TWIN-CS network is composed of principals, teachers, field mentors, parents, board members, and other leaders from catholic schools around the country.

Faculty and administration are committed to participating in webinars to continue to improve the practice of every teacher for the 2019-2020 school year.   This program will set MDJDA on a process to bolster all aspects of the program and create the premier dual-immersion school in the country.

Catholic Education is founded on the belief that parents are the primary educators of their students. Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy strives to foster a sense of community for all families to create a true multicultural community of faith and excellence.

All MDJDA families will be expected to bring the traditions and culture to campus in order to build the world view of all students. Families need to feel welcome on campus and language should not be a barrier to contributing to the school. In addition, the site will focus on raising the capacity of all families on the Dual Immersion Model to better understand their students’ education.