The academic success, faith-based education and safety of our students are always at the top of our list. I wanted to take some time to share with you some of the great improvements and enhancements we are making to St. Thomas the Apostle School. Our school is growing and developing in many areas.
• Throughout the school year, particularly during Catholic Schools Week, we have had visitors and alumni walk through the school. Our alumni and visitors were very impressed as students and staff spoke to them of all the academics and activities that we offer at STA. The outpouring of positive comments and support show how strong our community is.
• The Home & School Association has held several events, including the Fall Gala, the Santa Breakfast, Paint Night, the upcoming tricky tray, and Father Daughter Dance.
• The STA Advisory Board will be holding an open forum meeting, Wednesday, April 11th at 7:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for parents to come and share their feedback on the school. The Board will be in attendance to listen and take notes for items they can discuss at future Advisory Board meetings. We hope to see you there!
• During Christmas break, Boy Scouts helped paint the boys’ bathrooms throughout the school. In the Spring, the girls’ rooms will be painted too! These projects help the scouts earn their Eagle Scout Badge.
• Our students have completed the first year of Iowa Assessment which has replaced the Terra Nova Standardized Test.
• Enhancements in Mathematics and Science allowed our students to complete more cross curricular work.
• All of the 8th grade students have been accepted to some of the most prestigious high schools in the area.
• 20 of our 8th grade students received substantial academic scholarships toward their high school careers.
• We will be inducting 9 of our 8th grade students into the National Junior Honor Society on March 22nd.
• Our Robotics/LEGO League Team performed well through their tournaments and brought home awards in various fields.
• The Math and Science Club of STA has been working diligently. This group is run by parents and young alumni volunteers, who eagerly assist students in grades 3-6 in the various math and science activities.
• Grades 6 and 7 Social Actions Committee have held several service projects, such as food collections and treats for troops.
• Peer Tutoring (Students Helping Students) is being offered once a week for students in grades 4-8 at recess.
• Our Athletic Program has proved impressive with various championships, awards for good sportsmanship, and having a competitive yet positive demeanor in representing our school.
• We are in the process of creating the “Spoken Word Club” which will entail debate, forensics, public speaking, etc.
• Chess Club, STA’s most popular club, is offered to students in grades 1-8 and is a wonderful bonding program for all involved.
• Our band, led by the Genesis program, is offered to students who wish to learn and perform with instruments. Band begin in grade 3 with recorders and continues to grade 8 with advanced band.
• We recently welcomed Mrs. Pearson as our new Spanish teacher. She works for Foreign Language Learners, and we are excited about her joining our faculty.
• School safety is always a concern, and we are making every effort to ensure the safety of all our students and everyone who enters the building. We have worked with the local police to enhance procedures. Using state funding over the summer we will be making a few more upgrades to our system, including cameras and a possible change to the visitor policy.
Some improvement projects planned/being planned for 2018 include:
• Enhancing the reading curriculum in grades 2-4.
• Industrial cleaning in all bathrooms during summer.
• Bathroom shades installation.
• Potential parent volunteer day(s) this summer to paint hallways.
• Pre-K rooms will be tiled.
• Adding/enhancing the locking mechanism to doors within the building.
• Adding more Chromebooks to our 1:1 Chromebook initiative.
Our school is moving in a positive direction, and we are always keeping our best foot forward. It is with the help of you the families of STA, that we continue to be successful. I have strong visions for our great school. I don’t want us to be the best Catholic School in Essex County, I want us to be the best school academically, socially, and spiritually throughout the entire state.