Category Archives: Schools

St. John Berchmans Catholic School Welcomes Changes!

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by Kelly Phelan Powell

With the advent of a new school year, St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport is undergoing some exciting changes. Former principal Jo Cazes retired this year after more than four decades working in education, and assistant principal Jennifer Deason, who is in the dissertation phase of a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Louisiana Tech, has transitioned into the leadership position at SJB. Trey Woodham, athletic director and middle school PE teacher, has assumed the assistant principal role.

There have been many cosmetic touches as well, but one change has teachers, parents and even students excited: SJB will offer Latin as part of its foreign language program for the 2017-18 school year.

“My vision for SJB is to continue to raise the bar, never settling for what we expect of ourselves or our students,” said Deason. “We would like to see growth in all of our learners across the board,” added Woodham. The new Latin curriculum is a major step toward those goals. Whitney Snead, current Latin teacher at Loyola College Prep, will give Latin instruction to SJB middle schoolers three times per week. Grades 3 through 5 will receive Latin instruction from Amy Vitacca, who also teaches middle school social studies.

“Embracing Latin at SJB makes perfect sense for our identity as a Catholic school with a rich curriculum in STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math). As the official language of the Church, Latin enhances our Catholicity. Latin root words are the foundation in science and the language of law, government and theology. [It] supports learning grammar in the English language [and] prepares students to learn other foreign languages,” Deason explained.

As nine-time Science Olympiad State Champions, SJB takes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) very seriously. Although retired, Cazes will continue to work with the Science Olympiad team. “She and I are very close, and I have encouraged her to find a happy balance as she transitions into retirement,” said Deason. “When she is missing us, the school routine or the smiles from the kids, then I want her to come to school. She still has so much to share!”

SJB has undergone a number of other improvements and updates over the summer. Some of these include new landscaping around the campus, handrails, new upholstery for the kneelers in the Cathedral and new scoreboards for the gym. The downstairs hallway has also been painted, lightening the space. “The library and technology center look beautiful,” said Deason, describing the murals and other artistic touches added to the 4100 square foot space. SJB has also redesigned its spirit wear and will be offering students new options for outerwear.

Woodham, who recently completed a 10-month Catholic Education Leadership Program through Loyola Marymount University, is ready and eager for his new role at SJB. “My main goal of the year is to support Jennifer [Deason] in any way I can to make sure this transition into new leadership is as smooth as possible. A lot of times, change makes people uncomfortable… I want to remind our students and parents that everything we do has purpose, and every decision we make is made with the best interest of our students, faculty and staff in mind. Another main goal of ours will be to expose our community to what a great school SJB is so we can increase and maintain a level of enrollment that our school is set up to support,” he said.

To that end, Ashley Timmons, Counselor and Marketing Director, has been working with a dedicated group of experienced volunteers to get the word out that SJB is an amazing learning environment with a strong Catholic Christian culture.

“Too often, people tell us they didn’t know about us,” said Deason. “We are working on getting our name out there and all the wonderful things that our school has to offer, but it is partially our fault – I find our school and families tend to be humbler, not needing or wanting too much extra attention for their good deeds or accomplishments. Fr. Peter Mangum [pastor of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans] said we just need to tell the truth, so we are trying to do so more often… Our Catholic faith is rich and evident in all that we do, our STREAM curriculum is strong and only getting better with the recent addition of Latin. Our school truly feels like a family.”

JGS Hosted Kagan Cooperative Learning Workshop

Jesus the Good Shepherd and Our Lady of Fatima teachers attended a two-day workshop on Kagan Cooperative Learning. They learned about Kagan Structures which increase academic achievement, improve ethnic relations, enhance self-esteem, create a more harmonious classroom climate, reduce discipline problems, and develop students’ social skills and character virtues. These simple teaching strategies have a profoundly positive effect on overall student engagement! When students are engaged, they pay attention, they’re motivated, they learn more, and the learning is retained. The biggest difference between the Kagan approach and teaching using traditional methods is the ability to engage every student. We are excited to implement these wonderful learning structures in our classrooms at JGS and OLF.

OLF Inservice Day

Our Lady of Fatima School held a Teacher Inservice Day prior to the start of the new school year. OLF principal Dr. Carynn Wiggins observed while Vice Principal Stephanie Haney explained the updated features of the 2017-2018 student handbook.

Loyola Students Intern with Congress

Loyola graduates left with more than diplomas as 82% of them earned over $12 million in scholarships. Additionally, the class of 2017 accumulated over 17,000 hours in service to the community, answering the call to be men and women for others.

Three Loyola College Prep graduates spent their summer working in D.C. as they interned for Congressman Mike Johnson. Griffin Neal, John Henry Hobgood and Andrew Dzurik are pictured with Loyola physics teacher Hal Meekins in Washington D.C.

SJS Gets Casual Learning Space

Beginning this fall, St. Joseph middle school students will have a new perk in their building – the SJS Middle School Lounge. The space in the classroom next to the library was transformed this summer into a casual learning space, including new tile floors, tables with plugs and USB charging ports, a comfortable couch and a bistro table with barrel stools. Teachers will be able to reserve the room for study time, reading time, or any other flexible learning time. The students will be given ownership of the room, with tasks such as painting and decorating the room and selecting pieces of furniture. The new breakroom was the highlight of the upgrades the campus received over the summer, which included newly painted red doors with black trim, the newly refurbished campus computer lab, and a refreshing of the playground mulch in all areas.

Catholic Schools Annual Report

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Click to download the Catholic Schools 2016-17 Annual Report

August, 2017

Dear Friends of Catholic Schools:

The information presented in this report indicates that our schools completed another successful year in providing quality Catholic education throughout our diocese.

As we continue to focus on our core values of Catholic identity, effective leadership, academic quality and sustainable financial viability, we must always give thanks to God for the opportunities He provides us and the blessings we experience every day.

The statistics and data provided in this report clearly indicate that we are a system of schools that, through God’s grace, is moving in the right direction.

I am most grateful to Bishop Michael Duca for his ongoing support and commitment to Catholic education. We are fortunate to have a leader who cares so deeply about young people. I join him in thanking our pastors and the dedicated professionals who work so tirelessly in our schools to make them the quality learning centers that they are.

As this report provides us an opportunity to review and reflect on the previous academic year, it also gives us valuable information to focus on in 2017-2018. I am confident that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we will build on the success of the past and face our challenges with great energy and enthusiasm.

“Always find your refuge in Jesus,” St. Angela Merici.

Sincerely,
Sr. Carol Shively,  OSU
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

 

 

Students Embrace Summer Learning

St. Frederick High School students have been busy since school let out. One group spent a week at CyberDiscovery camp on the campus of Louisiana Tech. This is a week-long camp that teaches the basics of cyber technology along with computer coding and robotics.

Additionally, three students attended the National FBLA competition in Los Angeles, CA.  They competed at the district and state levels earning the opportunity to compete nationally.  Pictured: CyberDiscovery Team. Back Row – Jack Weir, Dan O’Leary, Jacob Albritton, Zach Shaw. Front row – Danny Roa, Mrs. Joni Dollar, Jaden Roy.

JGS Bids Farewell to Fr. Jim Moran

Jesus the Good Shepherd School would like to thank Fr. Jim Moran, CO, for his time and service in JGS Parish. He was always willing to share his love and knowledge of Jesus with the staff and students at JGS School. He will be greatly missed on campus and the students and staff wish him all the best at his new appointment. At the same time, they welcome Fr. Biju Kuriakose, CMI, Parochial Vicar, into JGS Parish and school! We look forward to getting to know Fr. Biju.

SJS Garden in Bloom

As part of the school-wide Colony Day celebration on March 10, students planted a newly installed garden for the first time. Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and cantaloupe are just some of the summer produce that was planted. During the last week of school, 7th graders took advantage of an early cucumber harvest to make pickles. Over the summer, parents and faculty have helped tend the garden and harvest the fruits of the students’ labors.

OLF Senior Tea

Our Lady of Fatima School sponsored its first Senior Tea.  Children of teachers and Our Lady Fatima’s previous students who were graduating were  honored.