Catholic School Highlights: What’s new, praiseworthy in local schools
In an effort to highlight the best of what Catholic schools have to offer their students, schools of the Diocese submitted to The Monitor features they anticipate for the 2018-19 academic year, new and enriched programs or plans, advancements and faculty additions, and what the schools are most proud of. Here are their responses, condensed for space.St. Peter School, Point Pleasant Beach
• Will roll out its new robotics and coding program. All students will be able to participate in rich new learning experiences with Sphero Sprk+ robotic devices.
• The 1:1 tablet program continues, with all students in grades K-5 using iPads, and all students in grades 6-8 using Microsoft Surface Pros. In addition, St. Peter’s will expand use of Google Classroom, a tool that enables students to have access to assignments at home and at school.
• St. Peter’s new athletic director has been planning Saints’ Sports, offering many types of sports for PeeWee, junior varsity and varsity levels.
• The lunch program, Green Apron Café, was a huge success last year, with children enjoying its delicious homemade food. The school kitchen now also boasts a brand new commercial oven and stove thanks to the help of the St. Peter’s Knights of Columbus council.
• Will host a Welcome Ice Cream Social for all new and returning families Aug. 29.
Holy Cross School, Rumson
• Has chosen “Inspiring Excellence” as its motto for the year. Dr. Mark DeMareo, principal, said that his focus is on “a clear sense of purpose – a school with a strong purpose nurtures that same quality in its students. You find the children developing a clear sense of direction – and not just a determination to do well for themselves, but a wish to see their friends and peers do well, too.”
• Welcomes Peter J. Lyden to the newly appointed position, director of development, to help provide and plan for financial sustainability that will allow employment of the best teachers, technology and equipment for students, both today and in the future.
Lyden has an extensive career in public relations, marketing and communications. As president of the board of trustees of the Monmouth County Arts Council, he established a capital fund that is still growing. Lyden was educated in Catholic schools, has been a member of Holy Cross Parish for 17 years and is a catechist in the religious education program.
“I think God expects us to see opportunities in our path,” Lyden said. “I wanted to work in a Catholic school, because… children… need a solid foundation of faith, values, morality and empathy early in life. Their faith can be a part of them, but someone has to put it there.”
Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville
• Will begin the academic year with new leadership, as Mary Liz Ivins, former Notre Dame principal for 17 years, will assume the role of school president. Meanwhile Joanna Barlow, former vice principal for curriculum and instruction, will take on the role of principal.
• Lisa Lenihan will take on the post of assistant principal for curriculum and instruction. For the past year, Lisa served as Notre Dame’s English department chair. In addition to 18 years teaching, Lenihan worked as an adjunct professor at The College of New Jersey, Ewing.
• The new Vice Principal for Student Life is Eleanor MacIsaac, who brings with her 17 years experience as assistant principal of St. Rose High School, Belmar.
• Additional new faculty members include: Dr. Duane Hoch – biology, anatomy and physiology and chemistry; registered nurse Claudia Carle – anatomy and physiology and exercise physiology; Mary Komjathy, Algebra 1 and 2; Dr. Tenisha Howard – a social studies elective: Contemporary Issues in Minority America; Cynthia Sabogal – Spanish 1 and Honors Conversational Spanish; and Lisette Weiland – a new American Sign Language Course, and moderate the American Sign Language Club.
To learn more about the new administration, teachers at Notre Dame, click here.
Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River
Faculty members Mary Beth DeBlasio, Michael Santos, Mike Lacy and Kenneth Oliver represented Donovan Catholic at the weeklong Science and Religion Seminar in June, an initiative exploring the interface of science and religion at the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life, Ind.
In addition to hearing from scholars in religion and the sciences, high school teachers from around the country gathered to design innovative lesson plans that will help students see the interface between the two subjects. Unique among the seminar attendees, the Donovan Catholic team participated entirely online. They collaborated with other educators from 25 Catholic schools to create lesson plans for exploring the relationship between science and religion with their students.
“When our high schools excel at exploring that interface, students take two giant steps forward,” said Jay Martin, co-director of the initiative, along with Patricia Bellm at the McGrath Institute. “The students gain theological insights grounded in reason, plus scientific knowledge that boosts them toward faith-filled lives, as well as tomorrow’s careers.”
St. Rose High School, Belmar
• Has chosen the theme “St. Rose – Reflect, Renew, Rejoice” for the academic year.
• Will begin four days a week with Convocation – students and staff will convene as a community for prayer, to share important information and celebrate student accomplishments. Wednesdays will begin in homeroom and include the televised St. Rose Live Weekly News Program.
• Has planned new service opportunities, including visiting the elderly at Neptune Senior Center and a 2019 summer outreach mission, and student competition on the St. Rose Ethics Team.
• A new academic schedule will allow students to take four additional classes during high school, including a new music program.
• The athletic department will feature a surfing program at both varsity and club level, allowing surfers to practice and compete on one of the Spring Lake beaches. Live streaming of athletic events will also be provided through a partnership with New Jersey Advanced Media.
• School building improvements include a new set of entrance steps to the red brick building, and the installation of a fire prevention sprinkling system on the first floor of the main building.
• New faculty members include MaryBeth Chambers, mathematics and head girls basketball coach; Dennis Carey, vice principal for student affairs, and Sister of St. Joseph Marie O’Hagan, religious studies. Newly ordained Father Chris Dayton, parochial vicar of St. Rose Parish, will serve as spiritual adviser.
Sacred Heart School, Mount Holly
• Looks forward to welcoming its new students, creating new traditions and implementing exciting new initiatives.
• Will launch Discovery Education, building upon its existing science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics (STREAM) program. With this curriculum, students will develop communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity by working on projects based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
• Has also created a “What I Need” (WIN) block. Two days a week, students will have skills based enrichment classes in math and language arts to enhance strengths and strengthen weaknesses.
• Chose new uniform designs supplied by Tommy Hilfiger School Uniforms; full dress uniforms will be worn on days of special occasion.
St. Rose of Lima School, Freehold
• Encourages student involvement in leadership roles, among them the student ambassadors, who give tours to prospective families, provide service during diocesan meetings and open houses; and student government, representing the school in the broader community.
• Community outreach includes partnering with Open Door, a local food bank, Holiday Express, and Christmas Giving Trees. Student leaders organize, implement, facilitate the projects, and put their faith into action.
• Other leadership opportunities include safety patrol, preschool helpers, chorus president and vice president, Mass leaders (altar servers, cantors, readers and gift bearers), announcements and prayer leaders, and Boy Scout flag leaders.
• Has been committed for 143 years to providing “an environment that is centered in Gospel values, strives for excellence in academics, and is conducive to the spiritual and physical growth of every child. Daily experiences in leadership development enable the students to become responsible and productive members of Church and society.”
Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton
• New components have been incorporated into in the school’s STREAM curriculum. With the implementation of Project Lead the Way STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum during the 2016-2017 school year, TCA has continued to add courses, with the Lower School now fully integrated for students in grades K-8. This year, another PLTW module, Advanced Computer Science, will be included in the Upper School curriculum.
• Students will also be able to apply engineering principles when they assemble a greenhouse in the school courtyard. The greenhouse has been purchased, the foundation has been laid and is awaiting students, who will take ownership of this project and construct the building along with their teachers. Students will have the opportunity to utilize the greenhouse in their classwork and extracurricular activities throughout the school year.
• John Kocsis, Lower School technology instructor and FIRST Lego/Robotics and Coding Club moderator, is a nominee for the CAPE (Council for American Private Education) Teacher of the Year Award. The final step in the nominee process includes a formal interview in September.
To read more about TCA’s hopes for the 2018-2019 year, click here.