FROM THE DESK OF SR. MARY GRACE
Dear St. James School Families,
Greetings in Christ! I pray that each of you had a most blessed holiday season. As we enter the third quarter and Ordinary Time, I hope that you are able to find peace within the routine of each day. One of my resolutions this year is to practice the grace of the present moment; to remember that interruptions and the “messiness” of daily life are invitations from the Lord to respond virtuously, even if they are not on my “to do” list. These things are truly the will of God and each is an opportunity to grow in patience, flexibility and charity. I imagine that in family life these occasions abound! Let us use these moments to become more like Christ, thus transforming our life one moment at a time.
As I have mentioned many times since I began at St. James, understanding our mission as a Catholic school is essential in guiding us in every decision, including academics, admissions, handbook policies, student discipline and hiring. When consistently implemented, it creates unity and consistency within the school community. Throughout the fall, our faculty and school board discussed and reviewed our mission statement, in light of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic Schools (NSBCS), a foundational document used by the Archdiocese of Louisville. With these standards, we have revised and approved a new mission statement for St. James:
As a community animated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church, St. James Catholic School partners with families who desire an integral, academically excellent education in faith, reason, culture and life. The faculty and staff foster the gifts of every student and form them by teaching and personal witness to seek the truth and choose the good which leads to a life of true freedom as sons and daughters of God.
We are proud of our teachers and students who continue to work diligently in every area of our academics. Mrs. Godfrey and I completed our first round of formal observations in classrooms. Our students are completing their winter round of MAP testing this week, which will provide valuable data to teachers so they may differentiate their instruction. Teachers will set goals with students, and their demonstrated growth on the spring MAP tests will be recognized at the End of the Year Awards. Teachers are also receiving focused professional development from LeAnn Nickelsen, an educational consultant from Solution Tree, through quarterly workshops on formative assessment, lesson planning, writing and discussion. LeAnn has visited St. James twice so far and will return for additional two-day visits in March and April. Mrs. Rita French, our learning coordinator, has also increased her time at St. James to four days a week, which will allow her to address increased student learning needs.
Catholic Schools Week is right around the corner, a special week set aside nationally to celebrate the gift of Catholic education. A committee has been planning a variety of activities to highlight, recognize, and thank groups in our community that make our school possible. On the weekend of January 28 and 29, our Student Ambassadors will be speaking at our regional parishes and all students are encouraged to represent our school by wearing their uniform to Mass. Highlights of the week include our Community Breakfast on Tuesday and celebrating our students on Friday. A complete calendar, suitable for your refrigerator, will be sent home soon!
As you know, our application for the 2023-2024 school year has been open since November 1 and we have received a good number of applications from new families for all grades. We are beginning new student admissions testing and principal interviews for these families now but will not make admissions decisions until our current families have had the opportunity to re-enroll. Watch your inbox for your re-enrollment packet on February 13. Re-enrollment for current families will remain open until February 24. We will then assess how many empty seats we have available in each grade for new students and begin sending acceptances. It looks highly probable that we may have a waiting list for new students in some grades, which is an excellent position for us to be in! If you have any questions regarding re-enrollment, please contact Jennifer Moran.
Black & White Night is also just around the corner and we are looking forward to a wonderful celebration of our community. Jennifer Coen and her parent committee have worked tirelessly on many details and are incorporating many new ideas into the event. Thank you to all of our sponsors, to those who have donated auction items, to those attending and to those who purchased and sold raffle tickets. All proceeds from the event will be used to help ensure that we are able to sustain equitable salaries for our faculty and staff and to bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of education at St. James. Our dedicated faculty and staff are worth every penny!
We are blessed in so many ways. Thank you for your continued support and know of my prayers for your family. Do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns; I’m always happy to hear from you!
Sister Mary Grace Watson, O.P.
Principal, St. James Catholic School