Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Catholic Schools Week - Why Students Love SJB!

As a part of the celebration of Catholic School's Week, St. John Brebeuf's 6th-8th grade class wrote essays about what they love about SJB. Their essays were excellent, and several students read during SJB's masses leading up to Catholic School's Week. Other students will be reading their essays during February masses.

Our students who read during mass beautifully articulated what SJB means to them. Kelly said, "At St. John Brebeuf, we are all one community that treats one another like family." Breaden spoke about his faith and said that his "faith has taught [him] to be compassionate, caring and to reach out to others in society that are not as fortunate." He also said that St. John Brebeuf "taught [him] about loyalty, sincerity and honesty." Chloe spoke about her experience on Student council and how that has made her "proud to represent SJB." Kristen stated that her teachers "have inspired" her, and "want to see [her] push [herself] to succeed."

Each of our students spoke in their essays about the significance of the SJB community and how faith, leadership opportunities, and excellent teaching have helped them succeed. We look forward to hearing from more students in the upcoming weeks as they share their positive experiences about SJB school with our parish and those surrounding it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Personalized Learning - Trimester One

Since the beginning of school, teachers have provided students with choice and voice in their learning. As part of our pilot program with LEAP innovations, St. John Brebeuf School is focusing on giving students more choices in Reading and Language Arts. As explained in this video, students have several ways they are pacing their learning this year.

In the first trimester, students in grades 4-8, and many of our lower grade students have worked on menus during their Reading classes. These menus include items that students must do over the course of the week and assignments that students can do once they finish. Students have a schedule and/or checklist to help them as they organize their time, and decide when they will complete their tasks. Students have access to MyON, a program that provides them with books at their reading level that interest them based on an interest inventory they filled out.

Teachers are working with students to track progress. Students in grades 4-8 conference individually with their teacher at least once a week to discuss their work the previous week including what the student did well, and where they need to improve. It is exciting to see our students take advantage of their flexible learning environments and the opportunity to plan and pace their own learning.

We are excited to report that we are beginning our journey toward creating more personalized learning experiences for our students. Our teachers have completed an extraordinary amount of work in preparing new learning experiences. We continue to be excited about the possibilities available to our students.


Monday, May 2, 2016

LEAP and Personalized Learning

St. John Brebeuf School is excited to announce a new partnership. We are currently working with LEAP Innovations to create a personalized learning environment for all of our students. Our program will start next year in 4th-8th grade, and will focus on English (grammar and writing) and Reading.

LEAP Innovations is a company that receives funding from the Gates Foundation to help schools transform learning for students. They help schools create 21st century learning environments by redesigning classrooms to help meet the needs of today's student. The training also focuses on helping teachers change instructional strategies from a focus on whole class learning, to allowing students to choose some of their own learning experiences. This helps all students. Students who are above grade level in a subject area receive more challenging work, while students who are working below grade level receive instruction appropriate to their needs.

The LEAP program fits well with St. John Brebeuf's 1:1 initiative.  All of our students in Kindergarten through 8th grade have access to their own device, either a Nexus 7 tablet or a Chromebook. While students use their devices as supplements to learning, devices are not necessarily the focus of instruction. Personalized learning programs also make it clear that technology is a tool to help students and not the focus of all activities in the classroom. Technology helps teachers give students individual assignments, and helps them see where students understand the lesson, and where students might need more help. As a part of this program, we receive free access to a web-based learning program to help individualize instruction for our students.

St. John Brebeuf is thrilled to be a part of this program. We are the only Catholic school in the current cohort of schools, and we are one of only a few Catholic schools who have participated. We look forward to bringing new technology and teaching methods to our students while maintaining our Catholic identity.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Importance of Catholic Education

         As a Catholic School, it is vital that we maintain our Catholic identity. It is our job as members of a Catholic community to ensure that the faith is passed on to the next generation. St. John Brebeuf School does an excellent job of infusing faith into daily life of children. 

         St. John Brebeuf recently surveyed our students, parents, and faculty about how we live out our Catholic identity as a school community. It was clear from our survey that our teachers are instrumental in bringing Jesus to life for our students every day. Our preschool teachers help each child learn to pray, and our primary teachers prepare our students for their first sacraments. The middle and upper grade teachers help our students as they are confirmed and move on to high school. Most of our religion teachers are certified Catechists which requires them to have special training and continued faith formation. This training, along with the love and care the teachers show our students, helps bring faith to life for our students. We are blessed to have such a faith filled community.

We are proud to be a Catholic school that teaches our students about prayer and the love of Jesus. Because of the strong faith formation that begins in preschool, we are able to help all of our students as they grow and receive the sacraments. Thank you to all of our families and teachers for all you do to help our students on their faith journey.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Preparing Your Child For Preschool

Around this time of year, many parents are looking for preschool opportunities for their children. Many times, this is a parent's first time looking for a preschool, and they are not sure of what to look for, or how to prepare their children for the transition from home, daycare, or a caregiver's home to preschool.

As you are looking for a preschool for your child, please consider some of the following:

1. Most preschools with a PK-8th grade program that are not licensed for day care (ours is not) will not accept students unless they are 3 or 4 on or before September 1st of this year (2016). This is a state requirement for preschool.

2. Children must be potty trained before they enter our preschool program.

3. Give your children an opportunity to be away from their primary caregiver and around other children. For example, if you are able, take them to a local park district class, or a local gym for toddlers. This will give them the experience of leaving you and spending time with other children in a group setting.

4. Children entering preschool should be verbal and have knowledge of some basic words. This will help them interact with their peers.

5.  Read to your child daily. Begin discussing the beginning, middle, and end of the story with them.

6. Encourage your child to clean up after him/herself.

Special thanks to our preschool teachers Ms. Lalich and Mrs. Dohr for their help and suggestions for this post. For more information on our school, please call us at 847-966-3266.