Dear SKS Families,

I tell our teachers regularly, and I will say the same to you as our families, that we are all proud “Ambassadors for St. Katharine of Siena School. We had a busy open house last Thursday as families shop for the best fit for their child.  Our phone has been busy with calls from families asking about our Kindergarten program and other grades as well. In case someone asks you about where we stand academically as a school and what do we do here, please feel free to share this blog with them.

Academics a Focus  

One thing I learned from last year’s SKS Family Survey is, as a school, we can do a better job of communicating our academic programs to our families. In the survey, a few families questioned whether their child was being challenged enough. We viewed those survey results in two ways. First, is it possible for us to challenge students more? I have asked teachers to look within themselves to see if they are doing just that, without going overboard. Second, I believe we need to do a better job of promoting the many good things we do here as a school, in particular how we regularly engage students in active learning through teaching communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking skills and character traits such as compassion, respect and resiliency.

As a school we are keenly aware of our competition. The beauty and curse of living in this area is that families have many good options for schooling for their children. We believe we are an excellent and affordable option in this area. Here are some fast facts that you may not be aware of regarding our achievements academically.

Every student from the Class of 2017 received admission to their first high school of choice when applying to a private school. Last year we had 44 graduates attend eleven different high schools including excellent public, private and archdiocesan schools.

The Class of 2017 received a four year total of $408,100 in academic scholarships. The Class 2016 received a total of $378,000, while the Class of 2015 received $464,000 in academic scholarships. I believe this shows consistent achievement by our graduating classes.

The results of the Terra Nova Testing show that seven of our nine grades (KG-8) received scores in the 90th percentile in the Total Composite score which includes reading, math, language arts, science and social studies. A percentile score means that a score in the 90th percentile nationally means that a student or school is in the top ten percent of all those who took the test nationwide.

Our Kindergarten group score was in the 97th percentile, 96th percentile, and 97th percentile in Reading, Math, and Total Composite. That’s the top 3% 4%, and 3% respectively in those scores. Our 8th grade score Total Composite score was in the 93rd percentile, the top 7% nationally.

The Uncommon Individual Foundation Partnership with SKS 

    (www.uif.org

We have several exciting programs available that our teachers actively seek out to enhance our academic programs. One of these programs is our partnership with The Uncommon Individual Foundation (UIF.) This foundation was created by parishioner Richard Caruso.  Dr. Caruso has enjoyed success in the corporate world as the founder of The Provco Group, and he established UIF based on his belief that mentoring made a huge difference in his life. He created this foundation to give young people a chance to grow and develop entrepreneurial skills. We were the first school to develop a partnership with UIF two years ago when our 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes worked with their 3-D printers and designed crosses. Students were divided into groups and designed SKS Crosses that represented our faith and our school. Those crosses are displayed on the walls outside each homeroom.

Last year Christina Elisio, our SKS technology teacher, wrote a proposal for a grant from UIF which was accepted, and we received a $25,000 grant from them! The first part of the grant has been fulfilled with the delivery of two brand new 3-D printers. The two MakerBot printers complete with software are now in the Media Center.

Every Tuesday and Thursday mentors from UIF join the 8th grade technology class to work with Ms. Elisio’s classes on the technology behind the 3-D printers. Currently, our 8th graders are designing their own key chains which eventually will be printed on the  3-D  printers.

As we continue our relationship with UIF, they will be providing both our 6th and 7th graders with four workshops each during the school year. With the grant we received, we will be getting more equipment for technology and science in the future. Eventually we hope to get an after-school club for interested students working more with UIF mentors. As we continue to work with UIF we will be working on Drone Technology, Virtual Reality, Robotics and Programming.

We look forward to supplementing our academics with enrichment programs such as UIF. If you are aware of any programs in your own industry that would enhance our curriculum please feel free to contact me.
Best regards,

Bud