Our Good News


Teachers Complete 8th Year of Collaboration in Professional Learning Teams

posted May 30, 2018, 5:44 AM by Cara Koen

As the 2017-18 school year draws near the end, teachers from our north county Catholic elementary schools finished their 8th year working together in Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) on May 4th at St. Ferdinand School.  This year, the PLTs had a focus on differentiated instruction techniques and using technology in the classroom.  Specifically, many teachers have been exploring ways to use Google's GSuite for Education and Google Classroom to enhance student learning.  

With the $100,000 Beyond Sunday Grant received for the 2017-18 school year by the Federation of Catholic Schools, each school now has at least one set of Chromebooks, with many planning to add another set or two for the coming school year.  Another important component of the grant was the formation of the Technology Teacher Leader group, so that each school has a Google-certified Educator (levels I and II) in their building to assist their colleagues in using the Chromebooks and other educational technology.  

The principals were able to stretch the funds from the grant, and use resources from other sources to provide professional development opportunities so that this group of teacher leaders can continue to work together for the next school year in 2018-19. "Having teacher tech leaders in our schools has been a key a component to the success of technology integration in all of our classrooms across the Federation," said Mrs. Govero, principal at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School and coordinator of the technology teacher leaders. "We are looking forward to the future support this group of leaders will provide in our individual schools and PLTs with regards to the enhancement of student learning through the use of technology."

Enhancement Grants for 2018-19 School Year

posted May 30, 2018, 5:43 AM by Cara Koen

The announcement of the Renaissance in Catholic Education in the North County Deanery last year included a promise of $100,000 in funding from the Archdiocese of St. Louis to enhance each of our north county Catholic elementary schools in some way. Each of the 10 schools prepared a proposal to receive part of this enhancement grant, and this month the Office of Catholic Education and Formation announced that each school would receive funding toward their project. Here’s a quick summary of the various ways these funds will be used to enhance the learning experience at each of our Catholic elementary schools in the 2018-19 school year:

  • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will add more Chromebooks so that students will each have access to a device when needed.  The will also update their wireless internet access for seamless connectivity.
  • Christ LIght of the Nations is constructing a new liturgical space in its multi-purpose room to be used for all-school liturgy and worship space.
  • Holy Spirit School will add STREAM kits to its MakerSpace lab and purchase additional Chromebooks and tablets for student use.
  • Holy Trinity School in St. Ann will continue to pursue a focus on differentiated instruction so that teachers are well-equipped to provide learning experiences that meet every students’ needs.
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe will start a STEM club for students to enhance cross-curricular learning.
  • Sacred Heart is purchasing an all-school license for the use of MobyMax, an online learning tool that can be customized for each individual student. They will also add some tablets to their technology tools.
  • St. Ann School in Normandy will use the funds toward hiring a Resource Teacher to work closely with students who need extra help.
  • St. Ferdinand School (All Saints Academy) is implementing more flexible seating options in classrooms.
  • St. Norbert School (All Saints Academy) will use the funds to continue the STAR Reading and Math programs and purchase additional Chromebooks.
  • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School (All Saints Academy) will add two more classroom sets of Chromebooks to increase accessibility to the junior high students.
    "It's exciting to see what the schools have planned for these funds so that teachers can continue to deliver excellent academic programs and faith formation to our north county students," said Mr. Rick Danzeisen, Director of North County Elementary Schools in the Office of Catholic Education and Formation. "Archbishop Carlson continues to be pleased with the collaboration in the North County Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools and is happy to support our efforts here." 

    Catholic Schools in North County Receive $10,000 Koch Foundation Grant for Student Retreat Days

    posted Apr 13, 2018, 1:41 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Apr 13, 2018, 5:40 PM ]

     IMG_0870
    Catholic Schools in North County Receive $10,000
    Koch Foundation Grant for Student Retreat Days

    The Koch Foundation, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Federation of Catholic Schools in North County to be used in support of student retreats in the 2018-19 school year.  The retreats will be focused on sacramental preparation, for students receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time, and for junior high students preparing for Confirmation.

    “We are grateful to the Koch Foundation for this generous grant in support of our efforts,” said Cara Koen, Director of Advancement for the Federation of Catholic Schools in the Northeast Deanery.  “The students and teachers enjoy coming together for retreat days and this funding makes it more financially feasible.”

    The Koch Foundation has provided grant support for the Federation of Catholic Schools in previous years: a $15,000 grant in 2013 for supplies and materials in support of collaborative programs, a $7,000 grant in 2014 to assist with the Confirmation Rally and Corpus Christi Procession, and a $10,000 grant in 2016 for student retreats in the 2016-17 school year. With this year’s grant the Koch Foundation’s cumulative support totals over $40,000.

    “It's so good to see this solid Foundation appreciating our sacramental preparation for the Federation,” said Monsignor Mark Ullrich, pastor at Sacred Heart Parish and Dean of the North County Deanery.

    The Confirmation Rally is scheduled for September 28th at Trinity Catholic High School, and the 2nd Grade retreats will be held in October at Pallottine Renewal Center, led by the Sacred Heart Sisters (Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart).
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    Archbishop Carlson Names New Partnership School: All Saints Academy

    posted Jan 26, 2018, 8:15 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Jan 26, 2018, 8:15 AM ]

    It's an exciting time for Catholic schools in North County.  All of our schools are welcoming visitors this weekend at Open House Sunday on January 28th.  St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne have an extra reason to celebrate, as Archbishop Carlson just announce the name he chose for the new partnership school at the three parishes: All Saints Academy.  Click here to learn more about the partnership school.

    St. Ann Students Fill their World with Love

    posted Dec 18, 2017, 4:44 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 19, 2017, 12:17 PM ]

    St. Ann students continued their "Filled with Love Bags" Food Chain tradition and delivered over 200 bags of non-perishable food items to their neighboring Caritas Food Pantry. Their delivery method is unique - they form a human chain and pass the bags across the parking lots. They completed their service by singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to the volunteers at the Food Pantry. Here are a few photos from the morning:









    Sounds of the Season - Watch on Channel 2 Christmas Day at 3pm

    posted Dec 18, 2017, 2:33 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 18, 2017, 3:11 PM ]

    As we prepare to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we are pleased to announce that HEC TV will air two outstanding Catholic programs on Christmas Day from 3 to 5 pm KTVI, Channel 2.

    The first hour will feature the Archdiocesan Choirs performing Lessons and Carols, a program featuring readings and music of the Christmas season.

    Immediately following that program, Archbishop Carlson will offer holiday greetings and speak about the special anniversary that our Catholic schools will be celebrating in 2018. 

    He will then introduce the award winning video, Mission to Educate, which was produced a few years ago by HEC TV and the Catholic Education Office. This program reviews the rich history of our schools and the impact that these schools have had on the wider metropolitan area. This is indeed an exciting opportunity for our Catholic school community.

    Sacred Heart Students Focus on Being God Centered in December

    posted Dec 18, 2017, 12:34 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 18, 2017, 12:35 PM ]

    North County XLT - Adoration, Speaker & Contemporary Music

    posted Dec 4, 2017, 2:41 PM by Cara Koen

    "INNER BEAUTY, JUDGEMENT OF OUTER APPEARANCE, & ADVENT" @XLT!!! (Adoration, Speaker & Contemporary Music)
    December 7th, 7-8:30 @ Sacred Heart Church in Florissant. 

    Spend some reflection time in preparation for Advent with our amazing speaker and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Youth Minister, JEFF FINNEGAN, music by members of Sacred Heart's contemporary music group and a Reconciliation opportunity for those who wish to receive it.

    XLT is sponsored by the North County Deanery youth ministry team.  All are welcome: teens, families and adults of any age who want to experience this night of inspiration, reflection and adoration!
    Fun and snacks afterwards (8:30-9:00pm)

    Extending the Reach of St. Mary’s Special Services: New Early Intervention Program Helps More Students in North County

    posted Nov 22, 2017, 7:19 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Nov 22, 2017, 7:20 AM ]

    Students at six north county Catholic preschools and elementary schools now have access to the services of a social worker and speech language pathologist during their regular school day.  About 18 months ago, the Department of Special Education in the Archdiocese Catholic Education Office began planning for the future of its St. Mary’s Special Services Day Care and Preschool, which had been serving children 6 weeks to 5 years old as an inclusionary day care program located next door to Trinity Catholic High School.  Dr. Cathy Johns, who oversees the Department of Special Education, said the goal was to increase the reach of the special education services that St. Mary’s can provide.  “Our mission is to help each student reach his/her God-given potential,” said Dr. Johns. “We saw a great opportunity to connect with the Catholic elementary schools in north county in order to serve the students already enrolled in Catholic education who may need some early intervention services.” 

    The decision was to move from a site-based approach to a community service provider model, and so the daycare and preschool closed at the end of June 2017. When the new school year began in August 2017, St. Mary’s Special Services began its new Early Intervention program at six schools: Christ Light of the Nations, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Holy Spirit, St. Ann, St. Norbert, and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. As a standalone daycare and preschool, St. Mary’s had served between 35-50 children each year, with about 25% of those requiring special early intervention services.  By going into these six schools, the program has already enabled early intervention screenings for over 250 children and is providing special education services to over 60 children, and counting.

    Carol McCandless, who served as the director of the preschool for 19 years, is now bringing her expertise in social work to reach more children in Catholic schools in north county, connecting them with outside agencies and resources. By moving from the site-specific program to a community-based service provider in several schools, St. Mary’s Special Services now screens students to help identify early needs, provides services to students who qualify, and connects students and their families with the resources they need to be successful in school.

    “This program is blossoming,” said McCandless. “We have felt very welcomed at the schools, and the teachers and students are responding well to our presence.  It’s rewarding to be able to reach many more students than we could when we were at only one site.” 

    Classroom teachers now have an on-site resource to address student needs as they arise. McCandless has worked with teachers to screen students using a Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS-IE), which uses a simple rating scale on a student’s internal and external behaviors that may indicate a student’s need for extra support. McCandless can then consult with parents and guardians and work with students during the regular school day, giving them tools to self-regulate thoughts and feelings and referring them to additional services and support as needed. McCandless is currently working weekly with approximately 30 students at the six schools, and is available for consultation as needed. 

    In addition to social work, St. Mary’s Special Services brings speech language pathology services to classrooms. Allison Hill, Speech Language Pathologist, spent the first quarter of the school year screening preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade and some 2nd grade students at the six schools. The screening is for speech (production of sounds), language (cognitive understanding and use) and fluency.  Of the 230 students who were screened, 45 were referred for further evaluation and others will be monitored and re-screened in the spring. Hill is now providing individual and group therapy sessions to address the students’ needs identified in the screening.  “We use Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for each student, and since I’m now on-site at each school twice per week, I have the opportunity to more easily connect with the students and their teachers,” said Hill.  “It feels great to know that we are already helping more students than we could before. Being in the same building with more students who need our services makes it easier to intervene early.”

    Ms. Hill has put together a quick list of activities parents can use at home to encourage speech and language development with their children.  Click here to download the PDF.

    These early intervention screening and therapy services are provided at no cost to families and are in addition to those they may also be receiving from other agencies or the public school districts. St. Mary’s Special Services Early Intervention Program is funded by the Annual Catholic Appeal and United Way of Greater St. Louis, with no charge to participating schools for this first year.  Dr. Johns is exploring funding options for future years including the possibility of additional grants and some financial commitment from participating schools.

    The Department of Special Education also operates the Academy at St. Sabina in north county, which is a K-8 elementary school for children whose learning disabilities, attention deficits, or other cognitive processing deficits require an alternate setting to experience educational success other than the general education classroom.

    For more information about the Catholic Education Office’s Department of Special Education, visit http://archstl.org/education/page/about-special-education-schools

    SSM Health Cardiology Nurses Teach Elementary Students about Heart Health

    posted Nov 3, 2017, 9:26 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 2:01 PM ]

    Recently nurses from SSM Health DePaul Hospital visited students at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School and Christ Light of the Nations School to teach them about heart health, how the heart works and what happens when someone has a heart attack. They also learned how to call 911 if they are with someone who appears to be having a heart attack.  It was a great experience for the students and the nurses!  Click here to view more photos.

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