Padre Paul’s Ponderings: Another Great School Year Winds Down

Over the course of my priesthood, I’ve been privileged to serve in 4 parishes, each of
which have a school. In each, I’ve seen the same thing: dedicated teachers and staff,
amazing children who work so hard, and many parishioners caring deeply about
supporting their parish school seeing it as part of the parish mission.

It goes without saying that Saint Joseph’s school is a truly amazing place. Over the past
four years, I’ve had the honor of visiting classrooms and doing everything from reading
stories to packing food at Feed My Starving Children to celebrating Mass each week
with the school children. It’s a joy to see how great our kids are at Saint Joe’s in how
they care for one another, work so hard, and learn so much at our school about
academics but even more importantly their Christian faith.

As pastor, I of course try to promote the school, but what I love about our parish is that
there is this sense that this is truly “our” school. And that’s a good thing, because it fits
in with our parish mission to help form people for heaven.

This week, another school year comes to an end. And if you aren’t aware of all the
many good things that are happening at our school, I thought I’d share just a few of the
great things that are going on.

This weekend, we honor our graduates. We have 17 graduating from the school.
They’ve done a great job achieving so much, but also have been great role models to
our younger students. It’s always great to see our older students buddy up with younger
students at school Masses as ways to mentor them too.

The year has been a very busy one. Many of you had the chance to see “Peter Pan” the
musical that our students and Mrs. Leann Mansour, our music teacher, worked so hard
to get ready for.

Throughout the year so much has been going on too.

Mrs. Kelly Roche and our amazing staff of teachers worked hard to prepare for MNSAA
accreditation. This is a process that happens once every 7 years where Minnesota
Nonpublic School Accrediting Association comes in for a thorough examination of a
school to look at all that it does from teaching to curriculum to safety, and thanks to their
hard work our school passed with flying colors. This was quite an endeavor, taking 2
years to get ready for.

Our pre-school also continues to thrive. In our first year, we’ve seen enrollment be very
strong with 43 students. We’ll also be having a summer preschool program with 22
student registered.

Back in the great never ending winter that was April, we also had a school gala that took
place during the first blizzard warning for the Twin Cities metro since 1983. People still turned out, and it was a great success reaching fundraising goals and also highlighting
the great things going on at our school. This was all possible thanks to the hard work of
many volunteers that night.

The school also expanded technology. We’ve got 60 Chromebooks for students; put two
tubs of tablets into each of the Kindergarten through second grade classrooms, and
increased teacher professional development related to technology integration and
infused more technology into the curriculum.

Beyond this, we expanded the Spanish program to include the kindergarten.
Our school also continues to emphasize formation of whole person as well. This week
we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and in my priesthood I try to
stress both how much we are loved by God and the Eucharist helps us in that journey to
grow closer to God, but that this must also be a way of life meaning we can’t privatize
our relationship with Christ but must live it out. Our school works hard to do that. We
added a day of Eucharistic Adoration to introduce this spiritual practice to our students
during Catholic Schools Week. But our school also stresses the dignity of the human
person and how we must love one another through service and volunteering, and also
through a school wide honor system and a daily honor pledge. Throughout the year
students are affirmed for the good deeds they do for one another.

This list could continue for serval more pages, but I think you get the point: Saint
Joseph’s School is one amazing place thanks to the dedication of Mrs. Roche, great
teachers and so many volunteers who care. We are so lucky to have such a great
school.

As this year winds down, you may be already thinking about next fall. Our school has
plenty of space, and we’d love to welcome new students. So please prayerfully consider
our school as an education option for your family if you have school-age children, or
letting friends and family know about how great our school is. You can email Mrs. Kelly
Roche directly at kelly.roche@stjosephcommunity.org, or call her at 651-423-1658 x.
4100. Our tuition for next year is $5,229. We do offer $500 “new family” grants for new
families, and also have multi-child discounts as well for families with three or more kids
in the school. Mrs. Roche would be happy to give you a tour of the school anytime.
You don’t need me to tell you what a great school it is, you’ve known that for years, but
as the year comes to an end I wanted to share the tip of the iceberg of the great things
going on at the school. Thank you for your support of our school, and to all of our staff
at the school thank you for your hard work, you’re the best!

God bless,

Fr. Paul