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Spotlight Schools

During the 2015-16 School Year MNSAA will spotlight schools going the extra mile to serve the students in our schools of choice!

 

School Name: Christ, Prince of Peace School
Location of School: 417 Weidman Road St. Louis, MO 63011
Principal:  Dr. Marlise Albert

Description of Indicator

 Multiple approaches are used to assess and guide student progress.

The systematic standardized testing program is utilized in diagnosis and prescription of student learning as well as evaluation and revision of the curriculum.                           

School Description

Teachers continue to expand the use of Best Practices of Differentiated Instruction and use their understanding of learning styles to design their classrooms and activities.  Some teachers differentiate their nightly homework in an effort to adequately address the needs of all students,

Which Standard does this practice exemplify? 

5.1 Multiple approaches are used to assess and guide student progress.

Teachers continue to expand the use of Best Practices of Differentiated Instruction and use their understanding of learning styles to design their classrooms and activities.   Some teachers differentiate their nightly homework in an effort to adequately address the needs of all students, especially our higher learners.  In middle school math for example, students are given homework and tests on three levels.  The teachers work with the students to know which level is best for them, but teachers also allow the students to choose a higher group if they would like a challenge.  Middle school students are allowed to move between levels with each topic.  In addition to this, our first grade and second grade teachers make homework packets each week which are completely built with the students’ learning needs in mind.  There are assignments that offer both extra practice and assignments that offer a chance for students to stretch their learning.  These efforts have been well received by both the student and parent community.

5.2 The systematic standardized testing program is utilized in diagnosis and prescription of student learning as well as evaluation and revision of the curriculum.

Each year the school staff takes a faculty meeting to assess our students’ achievement on standardized tests.  Teachers identify students with scores in both the below and above average range.  This information is shared with both our Learning Consultant and Reading Resource teacher, so that it can be determined what type of help will benefit the student.   We also developed a binder that contains all this testing evaluation work as well as individual student reporting sheets.  These sheets document interventions that have been tried with the student and rate of effectiveness.  These binders are used to communicate from year to year so teachers can meet students’ learning needs in a more individualized manner.  This year we also did a more in-depth analysis of the particular topics where our students did not master.  We will continue this detailed analysis in the future.  This process was presented to the School Board and at the School Board’s annual parent meeting.

  

 

 

School Name: St. Justin Martyr

Location of School: Archdiocese of St. Louis

Principal:  Mrs. Beth Bartolotta

Best Practice:  The school system regularly offers staff development to support the staff in implementing researched-based learning theories as related to curriculum.

Which Standard does this practice exemplify?  5.3 and 6.1

Briefly describe this best practice in a manner which provides enough detail so that it could be replicated by another school. 

Professional Learning Community goals for our staff this year had technology as a common thread. The Professional Development Plan comprised not only met our building professional development needs, but also aligned with best practice in 21st century learning and requirements for Title 1 fund use.  Such a customized PD plan has not only brought forth personal PLC goals to a higher level, but school-wide goals and an extremely high level of satisfaction on the part of staff. 

 Our curricular development to embed a Makerspace through grades Pre K to 8 and the addition of our Apostles of Peace Genius Hour Explore Program has led to higher engagement and motivation among students.  This STREAM focus not only emphasizes a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, but also frames this learning around students discovering and using their God-given talents as young Apostles.  In the Makerspace, students of all ages engaged in innovative, active learning connected to their curriculum.  In the Apostles of Peace program, students are in one of three groups:  Apostles of Creation projects focus on “green” projects to better our environment (specifically our parish grounds) and provide sustainability for others; Apostles of Service projects build empathy and compassion through various active service work: Apostles of Innovation projects allow students to consider an new way of doing something or allow them to invent something new.  The Genius Hour structure not only provides for accountability and is motivating, but allows for synthesis of core content and experience with 21st century process skills such as collaboration, communication, digital literacy, and critical thinking.     

  

SS Peter & Paul Catholic School
Boonville, MO
Principal:  Mr. Alan Lammers
Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City

Best Practice:  Faith Center in Kindergarten Classroom

 Which standard does this practice exemplify? 

6H - Teaching strategies reflect the current understanding of best practices and are appropriate for student age, interest, and achievement level.

Brief description:   

The teacher has added a “Faith Center” in with the other instructional centers she uses in her classroom for instruction. The center consists of a table for writing, a book shelf with age-appropriate reading materials, a faith journal for each student, crayons, etc.

  

Immanuel Lutheran School – St. Charles
STEM Lab

In 2013 Immanuel Lutheran School in St. Charles received a substantial donation to develop a STEM lab.  The school took a year to study and develop a plan for the lab.  They met with a couple other non-public schools to gather best practices.  After determining the appropriate location for the lab they purchased the needed equipment.  The school’s existing science curriculum fit well with the STEM lab approach.   Immanuel also received a grant from the Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF) for Grades 3-8 Robotics on a 1-to-1 level. 

Since the inception the STEM program has:

  • Worked in conjunction with River Roads Lutheran School from urban St. Louis.
  • Begun including art.
  • Instituted Lego Robotics
  • Given students opportunities to work with a 3D printer.
  • Built computers from old computer parts.
  • Worked on high altitude balloons.
  • Used Raspberry Pi.

Membership Indicators

6H      Teaching strategies reflect the current understanding of best practices and are appropriate for student age, interest, and achievement level.

6J       Student use of technology is integral to the instructional process

  

School Name: St. Agnes Cathedral School
Location of School: Springfield, Missouri- Diocese of Springfield Cape Girardeau
Principal:  Lindsay Paulsell
Best Practice:  Early Out Expedition Program- Making Connections between school and community
Which Standard does this practice exemplify?  2H- The school cooperates with other programs within the religious and civic communities.

Briefly describe this best practice in a manner which provides enough detail so that it could be replicated by another school. 

St. Agnes students in grades 1st through 8th travel on expeditions the first Friday of each month. The expedition is a short field trip to a community business or organization. Grades 1st through 4th tour the site and learn about the careers involved. Some of the expeditions so far have been a Performing Events Center and a City Bus Depot. Every month is a different expedition partner for the lower grade levels. Grades 5th through 8th go to the same site four times in a semester. These expeditions are structured to create a ‘mini-internship’ for the students. Since we are a small school, this gives the students the opportunity to experience encore/special classes while also building great community relationships. Some of the older expedition partners are a gym, a print shop, a pizza and game entertainment center and a 3D printing company. This program has been such a blessing to our school and our local community.

   

 

School Name:  Visitation Catholic School
Location of School: 5134 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64112
Principal:  Vincent Cascone
Best Practice: Junior Board -- Student Philanthropic Board
Which Standard does this practice exemplify? 

2E -- The educational program enables students to take an active part in their learning process by offering programs such as decision making, problem solving, and conflict management.

2H -- The school cooperates with other programs within the religious and civic communities.

Briefly describe this best practice in a manner which provides enough detail so that it could be replicated by another school. 

The Visitation Junior Board was created to provide meaningful service opportunities for our students within our School of Service Program.  Visitation Junior Board has continued for ten years with student commitment and involvement to their community; providing an extraordinary level of participation that engages the student directly with the community in need.

The Junior High students spend, on average, approximately thirteen hours before and after school during the school year participating in meetings, site-visits, and researching non-profit organizations. Their time is spent learning the business and personal side of the non-profit and philanthropic worlds. These efforts, combined with the understanding and knowledge they receive from Junior Board coordinators and guest speakers, give them the tools needed to make intellectually and financially sound decisions regarding the non-profit organizations they are considering.  The Junior Board thrives on its foundation outlined in its Mission Statement. “The Visitation Junior Board is a student-led foundation that is dedicated to providing assistance to local non-profit organizations, as they continue to feed, clothe, educate, shelter, and provide aid to children and families in need.”

Junior Board connects our students to the larger community in which they live through a unique and meaningful process. The value of the Junior Board experience is especially realized in the interaction with those served by the agencies.  The student is given the opportunity to view life through the clients’ eyes as they help distribute food to the homeless on a cold, rainy morning; or fill a grocery bag at a food pantry intended for a family of five that is needed to last the entire week.  Even more, the students hear the stories of the child that watched a parent die or is afraid to go home in fear of the impending abuse.   They walk through the apartments of the single parent and they sit in a desk of a troubled youth.  Junior Board exists to raise awareness of the needs of the community, but more importantly, to empower the students to know that they can make a difference.

Community involvement also incorporates our evaluators and funding partners, for whom we are greatly appreciative. These partners, many of whom are from our local community, have shown their support for the Junior Board program by providing time for the evaluation process or by providing funds to match grants awarded to the non-profit organizations represented by Junior Board members.

Community service is the staple in the objective of the Junior Board.  Our communities can be defined by our school population, our parish, our city boundaries, or even by our country.  In the end, it is not the size of the community that matters, it is the impact our students can make given their community.  Junior Board is a perfect outlet for that level of intentional engagement.  Over the past ten year history of Visitation Junior Board, our  strong commitment to our community is demonstrated by having over 280 Visitation students exposed to more than 80 local non-profit organizations. In all, 45 grants ranging from $500 to $2,750 have been made, totaling $57,285.00 that has been awarded to local non-profit organizations. Students have also exceeded a combined total of 6,200 + hours of service in their efforts to make a positive impact on the community they live in.

  

School Name: Sacred Heart Villa
Location of School: 2108 Macklind Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110
Principal:  Mrs. Kristine Rose Doder
Which Standard does this practice exemplify?  3.2 – Management of effective educational programs

"Outdoor Classroom" project.  An application will be turned into Nature Explore for review to receive certification by the summer or fall of 2016.  Sacred Heart Villa debuted their new outdoor drama stage on Friday, September 25.  Parents were invited to a play about "Johnny Appleseed" that the Kindergarten performed.  Immediately following the performance the parents shared in a picnic lunch with their child.

Establishing an outdoor classroom and developing interesting block centers which will include a garden in the student learning experience.  To ensure successful implementation, the administration seeks opportunities of professional development on outdoor courses that pertain to nature and gardening. 

  

 

The Soulard School
Independent School
1110 Victor Street, St. Louis, MO
Principal: Kerri Fair
STEAM Lab Project and Curriculum Integration
Standard IV: Instruction; specifically 6A

Our oldest class last year got some first hand experience with the Engineering Design Process when they were posed with the question “how can we jump start the grow season by planting things in winter?”  The goal was to figure out a way to have vegetables growing in our garden for our Culinary Arts teacher to use for lunches.  The project kicked off in the fall and expanded to many curricular areas—including math, literacy, science, art, social studies, engineering, nutrition, and writing.

The students began by brainstorming different ways to keep plants warm in the winter.  After researching expenses for the greenhouse, they decided upon cold frames.    The class was divided into three teams and began planning their designs.  Each group had a different design so it turned into a bit of a friendly competition. 

 The students used the internet to perform research on different styles of cold frames, soil composition, crops that tend to do better in winter, the tilt of the earth to figure which direction would get the plants the most sunlight during that time of year, and the cost for materials and supplies.  After sketching designs, changing their plans several times to address potential problems they encountered, and building a model prototype, they figured out a budget.  In addition, students made calls to local businesses to talk about their project, ask for advice about materials, and verify prices.  Once the expenses were confirmed, the supplies were purchased and it was time to build.  Assisted by parent volunteers, the students worked with their teams to measure, saw, drill, and hammered until their frames were complete—a process that took about 4 hours.

This year, our older students will pick up the project by covering the cold frames and planting seedlings inside over the winter.

 

   

 

 

St. Gregory Barbarigo School – Maryville, MO
Catholic Diocese of Kansas City / St. Joseph
Best Practice:  The use of technology to enhance student learning.
Standards met:  6A, 6G, 6J

In less than 3 years, St. Gregory School has achieved one-to-one devices in our middle school classrooms with the purchase of Chromebooks.  

  • In 2013 one Chromebooks was purchased to allow the technology in collaboration with teachers to begin investigating the possible use of Chromebooks as part of the curriculum.
  • For 2014-15, the PTO purchased two Chromebooks for each classroom K-8th.Gregory students used the Chromebooks for online spelling, research, assignments, test taking, vocabulary, and group projects in Google Docs during the year.
  • Gregory School became a Google Apps for Education School that allowed for the use of many free apps to be used as a resource for teachers and students.
  • A closed e-mail system owned by the school and supported by Google was also utilized as part of our agreement as a Google Apps for Education school. This closed e-mail system allowed teachers and students to safely e-mail assignments, links, and tests throughout the year. 
  • In 2015-16 Four Chomebooks were now available in each classroom and through coordination, teachers could borrow devices among classes to have one for each student or at least enough devices for half the class.
  • The math teacher instituted a flipped classroom for 8th grade math and the 5th-8th grade and specials teachers in PE and music began to share assignments and implement group projects in Google slides and Google Classroom. Teach.ers have also used the Chromebooks for professional development with the use of Google Docs
  • In October 2015, with the demand for technology resources growing, the PTO approved the purchase of 27 Chromebooks to allow for one-to-one devices for students in grades 5th-8th to be in place by December of 2015.

                                                      

St. Joan of Arc School--St. Louis, MO (Archdiocese of St. Louis)

Student council members from St. Joan of Arc School in St. Louis held a canned good and personal hygiene items drive for Mother of Perpetual Help Food Pantry in North St. Louis.  Pictured are 8th graders (Including Learning Center students) helping SVDP members load vehicles with the drive items and items from the parish giving tree.  St. Joan of Arc is a terrific example of Elementary Standard 6D!

 

 

St. Stanislaus School--Wardsville, MO
Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City
Principal:  Nancy Heberlie

Best Practice:  Sharing the school’s mission statement with the school community. 

Which standard does this practice exemplify?  1 A

Brief description of the best practice:  The school’s mission statement was revised a few years ago to include four distinct areas of growth:  faith, service, leadership, and integrity.  To share and promote this mission statement within the school community several things have been done.  They include: 

  • Newly designed uniform shirts worn by students include the updated logo with these four words on them.
  • Each classroom has the school’s mission statement posted clearly by the door.
  • Signs were made and placed in the gym so students would see these four words often.
  • The agenda of the school board includes the mission statement which is read at each meeting. Stanislaus School is committed to providing a strong Catholic education that is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and prepares students to live a life of faith, service, integrity, and leadership. The school endeavors to educate the whole child by developing the spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, moral and physical needs of the students.

  

 

Immanuel Lutheran School – Jefferson City (Honey Creek)

On Thursday, September 17 Immanuel Lutheran School hosted  the Food Power Adventure program for its students.  The presentation is offered by the University of Missouri Extension in cooperation with the Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Environmental Studies.

Immanuel used this program as an opportunity for its students to take a leadership role.  Eighth grade students led each of the presentations in various booths.  Students from Immanuel participated by dividing into their Family Groups, which mix students from multiple grade levels.  Seventh grade students led their Family Groups through the process.

Membership Indicator

2E      The educational program enables students to take an active part in their learning process by offering programs such as decision making, problem solving, and conflict management.

2H      The school cooperates with other programs within the religious and civic communities.