Curriculum & Educational Philosophy

Project and Place Based Learning

SMA features a Project and Place Based Learning (PBL2) curriculum in partnership with many Hudson Valley educational sites. SMA has found that because our students have a deficit of life experiences, PBL2 enhances their view of the greater community while strengthening the depth of knowledge related to the curriculum. Applying what we have learned from PBL2 and expanding experiential learning will fully prepare students for higher education and future occupational opportunities. Studies show that learning for underserved children occurs when the brain is engaged in making connections and creating familiar patterns. 

Our PBL2 program has been recognized worldwide for its effectiveness and innovation. SMP staff have presented the program at international conferences in South Africa and Canada as well as regional conferences throughout the U.S. Our staff has also worked with educators globally to develop and refine teaching techniques specific to our students.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM)

Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics has been intertwined throughout the curriculum at SMA. Teachers in all subject areas focus on using design thinking strategies and methods in their project assignments.  The STEAM curriculum and integration will assist in establishing our new STEAM Learning Center (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) that will include robotics, 3D printing, a virtual reality learning area and modern fabrication equipment. The SLC will be the hallmark of our program, availing our students the best in curriculum design. This center will be utilized across middle school subjects, during the afterschool and summer programs. The SLC will produce results that consist of higher science retention rates. The program will help the boys make real life connections to in-class content. In addition to increased retention, the program enhances the students’ motivation to learn. The PBL2 program helps to completely integrate science, math and ELA into cohesive projects. Our students are given these experiences to improve their critical thinking and analytical skills, which are transferable throughout their lives for any job or task.


The Math program used at SMA is ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces), a Web-based artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics he is most ready to learn. Students move at their own individual pace through the course and are reassessed to ensure retention of material.


Literacy is the key to communication, careers and success. In order to provide our students optimal opportunity in literacy, we use an online reading program called LightSail. LightSail is an intensive reading program that measures student lexile growth, combining books with in-text assessments that are personalized to the student, which measures their literacy gain. During the 2019-2020 academic year, students in the SMA program surpassed the LightSail national average for their age group. Students use this platform during the school year as well as during summer program. Last year SMA placed second in two national reading competitions that were hosted by LightSail.

With Gratitude to Our Partners

PBL2/ STEAM, along with ALEKS, Lightsail and all of our EDUCATIONAL PARTNERS will contribute to early childhood education interventions for the underserved students of Newburgh. These interventions serve the “whole child”; helping to combat poverty, support students through emotional traumas and help families to better support their children academically and emotionally.

  • Mohonk Preserve
  • Storm King Arts Center
  • Constitution Marsh
  • Orange County Rowing Association
  • Saint Philip’s Church
  • Focal Point Project
  • Sprout Creek Farm
  • Touro College of Medicine
  • Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan
  • Seton Hall University
  • Marist College Campus Ministry
  • Rabbi Erwin Zimet Memorial Institute
  • USMA at West Point (Campus Ministry and Knights of Columbus)
  • Divine Sparks
  • Topfield Equestrian Center

Talk to us
about life at
San Miguel!

We are excited to speak with you about life at San Miguel. For information on admissions, volunteering, or how you can help further our mission, please contact us. Our boys will amaze you!