Principal Messages for YOU!

Summer 2017

Another school year has ended at St. Joseph’s School. Along with end-of-the-year field trips, spring performances and the special observances of Ascension and Pentecost at Masses each year, comes evaluations for students, tests that indicate how well we have done as educators and how well the students have done as learners.  End of the year tests have always been administered.  But the ways in which the results of testing are used by educators have expanded beyond traditional pass/fail.  

Using technology to connect data to instruction is now enabling the teachers in our schools to better serve the academic needs of our students. The Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Duluth use computerized assessments called Measures of Academic Progress (MAP Tests). These tests are defined as “adaptive”.  Adaptive tests are able to determine not only if a child is at “grade level”, that is, meeting a standard, but also determine the point at which each child should begin instruction in reading, math or language arts.  Organizing information this specifically is one of the amazing tasks that computerized testing can accomplish.  

After receiving the testing results the follow-up questions are: “What does an individual teacher do with this testing data?” and “When the starting points academically for each student differ, how can one teacher meet the needs of many learners in a single classroom?” Teachers have always had to face the challenge of working with both high potential learners and learners that need reinforcement in the same classroom. There are a number of ways teachers are meeting these challenges in our schools. 

One resource, in written form, specifically aligned to Minnesota state standards, is provided as part of our MAP testing system. This resource helps our teachers move from testing results to working with specific skills that can reinforce learning or extend learning for our students in the areas of reading, math and language arts. Armed with this knowledge, our teachers can more intentionally personalize instruction and select appropriate topics and skills’ practice for our students.

Another resource our teachers use is technology. Using technology in our classrooms enables students to practice skills at their optimum level, challenging them-but not overwhelming them. Within the same classroom, one student can work with base words, suffixes and prefixes, while another student works on compound words and contractions. Both are practicing word work in the area of reading, but each person can focus on a specific skill by using a computer program designed for this purpose.   

Additionally, teachers use differentiation, a term defined as “classroom practice with a balanced emphasis on individual students and course content”. Structuring learning tasks for students and working with strategies that promote learning at a variety of levels are part of the approach to managing a differentiated classroom.  Some students may require more time to master a particular skill; some students work better in small groups; some students show their learning better in writing while others best demonstrate their knowledge by speaking. Working with differentiation strategies effectively benefits all students in a classroom.   This approach emphasizes that a teacher is someone who teaches children, not merely course content.  The goal of each classroom is to work in a way that each individual has an opportunity to grow as much as possible from his or her starting point. 

More than just indicating pass or fail, testing results from this school year yield a rich source of information for our teachers to effectively begin instruction in the fall. Using the resources available to them, our teachers will continue to provide a quality education for all of the students in our Catholic schools.  Enjoy your summer, everyone-we look forward to working with you again in September!

 

Lent 2017

 

February 14, 2017 -Happy Valentine's Day!

Can you name any of these band members below?  Would you like a CD of this album? 

Please contact the School Office at 326-6232 with names or for a CD!

 

January 25, 2017

This picture shows students our “Stairway to Heaven”. 

These reminders are posted on the stairway across from the school office. As students walk by or up the stairs on their way to music class or Mass they see these messages on the steps. 

Many thanks to our Music teacher for creating this display-great reminders for all of us in our lives!

January 3, 2017

FIRST MESSAGE ON OUR NEW WEBSITE FROM THE PRINCIPAL~
I am thrilled to be able, on occasion, to write some personal thoughts and observations about St. Joseph’s School on our beautiful new website-it sort of feels like the first day of school!

The timing is appropriate to begin sharing thoughts with you in January because at the end of this month is the nationally observed Catholic Schools Week.  Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has and is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January.

The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2017 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”   We strive to authentically be that kind of school community.  If you have not ever attended a school Mass, I invite you to come to see the children take ownership of their faith by participating as lectors, cantors, gift bearers and sacristans.  Classrooms take turns being “in charge” of these parts.

Service projects: fall marathon where we clean up yards for those who need help, collecting Advent Tree donations for Grace House, packaging items at the Food Bank, taking a turn each month to deliver “Meals on Wheels”, donating to Kiesler House, sending “sunshine” messages to those in prison, help our students learn the value of giving of their time, talent and treasure in service.

Knowledge:  Our students complete a rigorous academic program that prepares them for the next step of their academic journey.  I often hear that our students are “engaged learners” in their next schools-they understand that they are in school to learn. 

I am grateful that our own children were blessed to attend St. Joseph’s School and am grateful for ALL the support our parish and community gives to ensure that this school continues to thrive.  Thank you!  Mrs. Teresa Matetich