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Archive for November, 2013

Giving Thanks For Great Teachers!

For the past two weeks I have been meeting with teachers to review their yearly professional and spiritual goals  and to see if there is anything I can do to assist them with these goals. After each meeting  I am so humbled and inspired by the great things our teachers are doing to improve student learning. Each summer we read a book based on a current educational practice. This past summer teachers could choose from 3 books – Flip Your Classroom by Bergman and Sands, Grading and Learning by Brookhardt, or Teaching With the Tools Kids Really Use by Brooks-Young. About 1/3 of the teachers chose each book so there are a variety of activities, learning, and collaboration that is taking place.

Our St. Patrick teachers have done so much to incorporate what they read over the summer into their classrooms. Teachers are introducing their students to new technologies, strategies, tools, and philosophies. Some teachers are beginning to use the idea of the flipped classroom. Flipping your classroom means the teacher prepares a lesson that the students watch the night before – watching the lesson is their homework. The next day they come into school ready to ask questions, receive clarification, or move onto the next topic. The teacher has time to work in small groups with students who need extra help and this allows teachers to give individual and differentiated instruction. This is not a technique that we would employ all the time, but it does change up the learning style and it also helps the students become active instead of passive learners.

The teachers at St. Pat’s are continually working on becoming better teachers! I am so lucky and blessed to work with such a wonderful group of professionals – they are life-long learners – and, they are great people! Go Warriors!

Middle States Accreditation Oral Report Results

Last week St. Pat’s had four visitors here for three days. These visitors were from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and they were here to validate our Middle States process and self-study. We worked on our self-study for 18 months and we are very proud of our process and our findings.

I would like to highlight parts of the Oral Report the team gave to us before they left last  Friday.

  • “We asked nearly all the groups with whom we met to identify what they see as the primary strengths of your school. The responses can be summarized by the word “community”. Many schools talk about being a community of learners, but St. Patrick School is an exemplar of such a community.”
  • “We heard from your students that a strength of your school is the level of caring and concern the teachers have for their students. They told us that their teachers are always willing to go the extra mile with them, and that their teachers are always available to them.”
  • “We are convinced that the good people of your school and school community care deeply about and seek the best for all your students. We are also convinced that, when men and women come together for the sake of their children, mountains can be crossed, rivers can be bridged, differences can be healed, and obstacles can be overcome. The people that constitute St. Patrick School have confirmed this belief for us. You have an excellent school! Our challenge to you now is to continue to educate your students in this school in the faith that has made Catholic schools a beacon of light in the 21st century. We have witnessed the results of your past endeavors and we are confident that you will continue to send them into the world where endless possibilities will challenge them to use the talents you have nurtured.”

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