PO Box 560 / 90 Alexander Lane, Solomons, Maryland 20688   

Phone (410) 326-3171  |  olssschool@comcast.net  |  Fax (410) 326-9478


Mr. Keith Balderson

Mr. Balderson received his Bachelor and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from West Virginia University. He worked for 32 years as an aerospace engineer, specializing in the modeling and simulation of Navy aircraft. Mr. Balderson is a long-time OLSS parishioner and OLSS Seahawks basketball coach, and both his children attended the school. This is his 2nd year teaching at OLSS. 


Series used: Saxon Math
8th grade Math emphasizes the use of an incremental instruction format.  Algebra 1/2 covers all topics normally taught in pre-algebra, as well as additional topics from geometry and discrete mathematics. Students are also introduced to rudimentary algebra topics such as the evaluation and simplification of algebraic expressions and the solution of linear equations in one unknown. Students have a continual practice set of cumulative problems, which reinforces and monitors progress on a regular basis.
1) Number Sense: Students know the properties of rational and irrational numbers expressed in a variety of forms, and understand and use exponents, powers, and roots. They read, write, compare, and solve problems using decimals in scientific notation.
2) Computation: Students compute with rational numbers expressed in a variety of forms. They solve problems involving ratios, proportions, and percentages.
3) Algebra & Functions: Students solve simple linear equations and inequalities. They interpret and evaluate expressions involving integer powers. They graph and interpret functions, and understand the concepts of slope and rate.
4) Geometry: Students deepen their understanding of plane and solid geometric shapes and properties by construction shapes that meet given conditions, by identifying attributes of shapes, and by applying geometric concepts to solve problems.
5) Measurement: Students convert between units of measure and use rates and scale factors to solve problems. They compute the perimeter, area, and volume of geometric objects, and investigate how perimeter, area, and volume are affected by changes of scale.
6) Data Analysis & Probability: Students collect, organize, represent, and interpret relationships in data sets that have one or more variables. They determine probabilities and use them to make predictions about events.
7) Problem Solving: Students make decisions about how to approach math problems. They use strategies, skills, and concepts in finding and communicating solutions.

ADW 8th Grade Math Standards

1) Word Recognition, Fluency, & Vocabulary Development: Students use their knowledge of word parts and word relationships, as well as context cues, to determine the meaning of specialized vocabulary, and to understand the precise meaning of words. They analyze idioms and comparisons, such as analogies, metaphors and similes, to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases. They learn about the influence of historical events on English word meaning and vocabulary expansion.
2) Reading Comprehension: Students describe and connect essential ideas, arguments, and perspective of text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose. They analyze text that uses proposition and support patterns.
3) Literary Response & Analysis:Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their study of history and social science, and connect their ideas to other literary works. They determine the relationship between the purposes and characteristics of different forms of poetry. Students respond to literature using a variety of methods including daily discussions, quarterly book reports, daily journal responses, and technology-enhanced presentations such as Power Point.  Students compose short stories, fairy tales, poems, and an autobiography.
4) Writing Process: Students discuss, list, and organize writing ideas, and focus on writing clear, coherent, focused essays of 700-1,000 words, with an awareness of purpose and audience for each essay. Grammar and sentence construction are taught in order to provide students with tools necessary for producing quality work. Spelling words are given out every week, with tests at the end of the week.
5) Writing Applications: Students write narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive essays. They are introduced writing technical document. Students progress through the four stages of the writing process: drafting, proofreading, editing, and revising.
6) Written English Language Conventions: Students write using Standard English conventions. They use parallelism, infinitives, and participles. They identify all parts of speech and types and structure of sentences, and learn more advanced punctuation.
7) Skills, Strategies, & Applications: Students evaluate the content of oral communication, and deliver focused, coherent presentations using traditional speech stages, including narration, exposition, persuasion, and description. They learn to restate a speaker’s purpose, and outline the organization of a speech. They are able to recite poems, speeches, and soliloquies.

ADW 8th Grade Language Arts Standards

1) History: Students focus on United States history, studying the colonization of the Americas, the Revolutionary War and founding era, and the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents and their application to subsequent periods of national history.  Students then study national development, social reform movements, westward expansion, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.  Key events leading to the creation of a strong Union are explored through historic dramatization, group and individual projects and debates. A strong emphasis is placed on various note taking strategies and multiple forms of assessments.
2) Civics & Government: Students learn about the major principles, values, and institutions of constitutional government and citizenship, and their basis on the founding documents of the United States.
3) Geography: Students identify the major geographic characteristics of the US and its regions. They name and locate the major physical features of the US, each of the states and major cities, and examine the influence of geographic factors on national development.
4) Economics: Students evaluate the influence of economic factors on national development from the Founding to the Reconstruction.
5) Individuals, Society, & Culture: Students examine the influence of individuals, ideas, and the cultural movements in the development of our country, as well as the impact of scientific and technological developments on cultural life. Examples include tracing the development of the US educational system, the effect of immigration on American culture, and the changing role of women.

ADW 8th Grade Social Studies Standards

8th grade students approach the physical world after a review of the scientific method. Concepts of energy and work are explored with various demonstrations. The principles of Bernoulli, Archimedes, and Pascal are studied. Students create their own Periodic Table of the elements to become
familiar with the Noble gases and heavy metals. An overview of organic and inorganic compounds is provided.  Students study energy levels and parts of an atom. A connection to science and technology is made with real-world examples.
1) Nature of Science & Technology: Students design and carry out increasingly sophisticated investigations. They understand the reason for isolating and controlling variables in an investigation. They recognize that scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories.
2) Scientific Thinking: Students perform calculations and determine the appropriate units for the answers.
3) The Physical Setting/Earth & Space Science: Students collect and organize data to identify relationships between objects, events, and processes. Earth Science topics include the processes that shape the Earth, the action of gravitational forces, and the study of the Earth’s crust, plates, and forces that shape land features such as islands and mountain ranges.
4) The Living Environment: Students trace the flow of matter and energy through ecosystems, and that almost all food energy has its origin in sunlight. The study the diversity of life, covering topics such as inherited traits and genetics.
5) The Mathematical World: Students apply mathematics in scientific contexts, and use math ideas and the use of logical reasoning in the representation and synthesis of data.
6) Patterns in Science: Students analyze the parts and interactions of systems to understand internal and external relationships.
7) Historical Perspectives: Students gain understanding of how the scientific enterprise operates through examples of historical events in the field of science, and how new ideas grow and transform through the contribution of many different investigators.
ADW 6th-8th Grade Earth & Space Science Standards
ADW 6th-8th Grade Engineering Standards
ADW 6th-8th Grade Life Science Standards
ADW 6th-8th Grade Physical Science Standards​​


Series used: Sadlier Religion’s “We Believe”
8th grade religion centers on the foundation and structure of the Church, its nature and mission in the world, and the students’ place in it.  Students begin with Salvation History and discuss the beginnings of the early church. Key concepts throughout the year include Sacraments, the works of Mercy, the Beatitudes, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Liturgy of the Hours, and the Precepts of the Church.  Confirmation preparation will be a major part of the structure of the class and will entail a review of Catholic truths and practices. Students will also take an active role in weekly Liturgies.

ADW 8th Grade Religion Standards

1) Movement Forms: Students demonstrate more mature patterns of basic movement skills, and apply these to unstructured and more highly structured physical activity contexts.
2) Movement Skills: Students apply concepts that enhance performance. They exhibit a higher level of complexity in learning movement skills, developing game strategies, and applying knowledge of rules to game situations.  
3) Physical Activity: Students learn about the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of healthy lifestyle activities.
4) Responsible Behavior: Students demonstrate an awareness of rules for safe participation in physical activities.
Skill developing is worked on through soccer, football, basketball, hockey, badminton, paddleball, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball-type games. Additional physical activities include jump roping, frisbee, parachute play, scooter play, and tag games.

ADW 8th Grade PE Standards

Students engage in written and spoken conversations on a variety of topics, and participate in conversations emphasizing previously learned material. They expand their vocabulary in Spanish, to topics such as sports, health, and travel. They form sentences with verbs in the present tense and the present progressive. They explore cultures of Spanish speaking countries, and examine the relationships among the practices of another culture and their own.

ADW 8th Grade Foreign Language Standards

Students sing a variety of repertoire, independently and in ensembles, with attention to breath control, pitch, tone quality, and dictation. Advanced musical concepts of syncopated rhythms, compound meters, and score reading/notations are developed. 8th graders are the primary drama performers for the school’s Christmas concert, and perform The Last Supper play in the spring.  

ADW 8th Grade Music Standards

Students observe, select, and utilize a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas in their work, and produce artwork that reflects their personal ideas, experiences, and emotions. They apply elements and principles of design in their work, discriminating between types of shape, colors, textures, space, balance, and the use of proportion, rhythm, variety, repetition, and movement. A variety of art media is explored, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed media.

ADW 8th Grade Visual Arts Standards


ADW Technology Standards


Archdiocese of Washington Academic Standards defiwhat students in Catholic Schools should know and be able to do at each grade level.