Besides daily instruction in the Catholic faith, the school is responsible to promote Gospel values in every aspect of school life. This responsibility encompasses daily prayer, frequent and regular liturgies, service projects and outreach, training and preparation for the sacraments, Catholic social justice teachings, the mutual respect of teachers, staff, students, and parents and the implementation of just school policies and programs.

St. Philomena School exists to teach the message of Jesus Christ to its students. Therefore, Catholic religion is of primary importance in the curriculum. Christian attitudes and actions are integrated into the complete day.    


Parents are the primary educators in the faith formation of their children. The role of the school is that of support to families in this very critical aspect of parenting. Since children closely follow the example of their parents, families are encouraged to be active participants in their respective faith communities by regular attendance of mass or church services and by sharing their time, talents, and treasures with these communities. Parents, rather than the school, will bear the greatest influence regarding attitudes toward Mass attendance. Sunday Mass is expected of all Catholic school families.

  • Students attend Mass or prayer services as a school at least once a week. This is for the instruction and deepening of faith in our school community and is not meant to supplant the liturgical life of the parish at large.
  • Religion Class- Religion is taught regularly as part of the school curriculum. The text used is one approved by the Office of Education of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
  • Sacramental Preparation -Follows Archdiocesan policy that Sacramental Preparation occurs on the parish level, supplemented by instruction in the classroom. The current norm is for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist to be received in second grade.
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation- Reconciliation is made available to the students throughout the school year. This should not take the place of the students receiving this sacrament on their own or as a family.
  • Family Life- St. Philomena School will teach Family Life. The sexuality component of the Family Life series will be taught in grades 5-8, with parental permission.

Non-Catholic students are expected to attend religion classes and participate in all school religious events.

Community Service   

Each student and class takes part in service activities throughout the year. The Service area is an important component of our curriculum as a Catholic school.



Prayer is an essential and daily part of the day at St. Philomena School. Students in all grades are required to memorize different prayers. Please refer to the Prayer List for a complete list of all required prayers.

Required Grade Level Prayer List


Community Service Projects


Community service is essential to the religion program at St. Philomena School. There are both schoolwide and classroom projects. The various projects have local, national and global implications.

National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools

Benchmark 3.3 “Every student participates in Christian service projects to promote the lived reality of action in service of social justice”

School-wide Service Projects:

· Canned Food collected at weekly Masses

· November Food Drive for Des Moines Food Bank

· Birthday for Baby Jesus for Des Moines Pregnancy Aid

· Penny Drive for a variety of charities including St. Vincent de Paul 

· Ice cream sundaes and rootbeer floats sold for sister school in Guatemala

Individual classrooms also do service projects. 


Family Life Program

The St. Philomena School Family Life Program primary focus is the principle that students will understand that their life is a gift from God and is nurtured in and by a loving family. The Family Life Program is an integral part of the St. Philomena School Religion Curriculum.

 The Family Life program is a program that honors the family and honors the gift of human life. The program provides ongoing formation in Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic Sexuality Morality and Catholic Morality.

The Family Life program is guided by the principles that:

  • Parents are the primary educators of their children and St. Philomena School will work with parents to help them carry out this responsibility.
  • Family Life formation is presented accordingly to the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
  • Family Life formation is best taught in stages according to each child’s age and maturity.
  • Education for chastity is more than a call to abstinence. It requires the need for a family environment of love, virtue and respect for the gifts of God; learning the practice of decency, modesty and self-control; recognizing one’s own embodied existence; and discerning one’s own vocation.

 St. Philomena School’s Family Life program recognizes that human sexuality as male or female is a gift from God, a gift to be respected and reverenced. All formation in family life will honor parents as having the primary role for forming the faith in their children. Formation in family life will assist parents and their children in forming their consciences and leading lives that resonant with the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church.

 The guiding principles of the Family Life program are taught through out all the grades at St. Philomena School. The human sexuality component of the Family Life program will begin in the 5th grade, which is only one component of the Family Life Program.

  •  5th Grade will be taught in a homogeneous format with the human sexuality focus on maturity and development of one’s own body.
  • 6th Grade will be taught in a heterogeneous format with the human sexuality focus on the development and birth of a human life. An overview of human reproduction will be taught in a homogeneous format.
  • 7th Grade will be taught in a heterogeneous format with the human sexuality focus on the chastity and abstinence. An overview of human reproduction will be taught in a homogeneous format.
  • 8th Grade will be taught in a heterogeneous format with the human sexuality focus on the chastity and forming healthly relationships. An overview of human reproduction will be taught in a homogeneous format.

 The St. Philomena School Family Life program will be presented at a parent meeting in January at which the materials and overview of the program will be discussed. Parents will receive written information about the St. Philomena School Family Life program to help in their role as their child’s primary educator both on an individual grade level and as a whole school community. We are asking all parents to be an active part of the Family Life Program. Parents will have the written option to not to have their child participate in only the human sexuality focus of the Family Life program; however, these parents need to teach the human sexuality component at home to their child. Parents will receive the Family Life Program policy and guidelines on a yearly basis, at time of registration and on the school’s website.

 The St. Philomena School faculty who teach the Family Life program will receive continuing formation every three years to help them fully utilize the teachings of this important program.

The St. Philomena School Family Life policies will be renewed annually and updated as needed by the faculty and the St. Philomena School Commission.

The Family Life Program at St. Philomena School is fully aligned with the greater Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Catholic Schools Accreditation process.

Family Life includes formation in Family life, marriage, and natural family planning; for additional information please review the following resources.