Dear St. Katharine of Siena,

This summer I significantly downsized my office. Complete feng shui, including the addition of nice plants! Eight huge – not the kitchen size – trash bags of files that no longer had any place in my office hit the shredder. Next up is the attic at home! I was advised by my top notch SKS Communication Team of Anne Condello and Elise Parisi that their philosophy that less is more would be better received in my blogs as well.

So here is my first blog of the school year. As you can see from the photos with my blog the school year has started off well!  Kindergartener Libby Fuller had a great visit with her mom, Elizabeth Carey. Mr. Gavin’s science class is learning about lab work. Our middle schoolers enjoyed the Abbeyfest event with Mrs. Twohig and the Youth Group.

What can you expect from my blog this year? More succinct thoughts on Catholic education.  Possibly some advice for parents and educators. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can rely on my many years of experience to help you. Please know that my door is always open to help your families. However, if it involves a classroom situation, please always go to the teacher first. That always needs to be the first step in discussing an issue and it will help to form a trusting partnership.

What has changed in education over the past forty years since I started as a teacher? Curriculum has changed, not drastically, but it has changed. No longer can students just be rote learners. It’s still important to know and memorize your fast math facts and phonics sounds.  However, besides knowing that, students need to be able think at higher order levels of learning like analyzing and  putting concepts together, also known as synthesizing and evaluating.  There is more collaborating among the students, such as peer editing in ELA and a focus on discussing/solving problems together whether it be in math, science labs, social studies or religion.

The teacher’s role has changed in the way they deliver the information. They are more mentors and facilitators of information as opposed to years ago when the only tried and true method of instruction was a straight 45 minute lecture. Students are not wired that way to learn any more. Lecturing can still be one way, but not the only way to deliver instruction to students.

And what hasn’t changed? It’s still about developing a caring, trusting, relationship between students, teachers and families. And regardless of what is being taught and how , the single most important factor in success for a student is the educator standing in front of your child each day ….and that will never change.

I hope you enjoy this new format. I hope the shorter blog allows you to read more often and you find it helpful. I always try to include a few school pictures of our school in action. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I hope to see you at school, or at least in car line. Have a great week.

Take care,