A Letter from the Principal, July 2, 2019
As we near Fourth of July celebrations and enjoy the first stretch of warm weather, I would like to give a brief update on the 2019 – 2020 school year. As I have noted in the past, the reduction of some grades to a single classroom over the past few years presents many challenges for budgeting as well as staffing. In my May Principal Letter, I noted that, based on current enrollment projections, there would be a single Kindergarten class and Grades 2 – 5 would have two sections. However, we did not have the growth in grades two and three that I anticipated based on the number of interested parents who toured SJA and expressed interest in enrolling. As such, we do not have sufficient enrollment in Grades 1 and 2 for a second section. Both classes are at 26 students although this may change slightly before we return to school in August. I feel strongly that our teachers are fully capable of providing excellent instruction to all students in all classes. Classroom aides will be assisting teachers in Kindergarten and Grades One and Two as well as preschool.
From a fiscal standpoint, it is difficult to support class sizes of 13 or 14 students. Working with the School Advisory Board and Parish Finance Council, I was able to offer contracts to all staff members who wished to return for the 2019 -2020 school year, albeit with some alterations in classroom assignments. In addition, we succeeded in keeping tuition at below 5% – a goal noted in our Five Year Plan. In our current budget approximately 72% of expenses are tied directly to staffing including salaries and benefits. Employing additional teachers beyond our current staffing would require increases well beyond the 5% goal that was established. We also need to be mindful of not placing too heavy of financial burden on the parish which provides a sizable school subsidy. As a school, flexibility with both staffing and scheduling will be critical to our success going forward to address fluctuations in enrollment. Below, I have included a collection of bullet points to address some of the changes in the coming year.
- We will continue to staff two full time resource teachers, Mrs. Barrenbrugge and Mrs. Ouellette, to provide assistance to both students and teachers in reading and math.
- The staff has been placed where they will be most effective based on our current enrollment by grade.
- Fourth and fifth grades have enrollments in excess of thirty students so both grades required a second teacher for 2019 -2020.
- Grades 4 and 5 will switch classes during the day following the Junior High School model.
- Bielat is returning as school librarian and Mrs. Sanajuha is returning to teach Spanish for grades 7 and 8.
Some very positive news going forward:
- We will have many new students this coming year including those entering intermediate and junior high grades.
- We are awaiting delivery of our Chromebooks to launch the first year of our Five Year Technology Initiative.
- Barbara Caruso, our new Junior High Religion Teacher and Campus Minister will work with students and teachers at all grade levels.
Staffing for 2019 -2020 will be as follows:
Prekindergarten 3: Mrs. Zink
Prekindergarten4/1: Mrs. Letsinger
Prekindergarten 4/2: Mrs. (Riccio) Putong
Kindergarten: Mrs. Suwanski
Grade One: Mrs. McMahon
Grade Two: Mrs. Clark
Grade Three: Mrs. Flynn, Ms. Schroeder
Grade Four: Mrs. Kenney (ELA), Mrs. Graves (Social Studies)
Grade Five: Mrs. Getz (Math), Mrs. Friedman (Science)
Middle School: Mrs. Anderson (Science), Mr. Rickert (Social Studies), Mrs. Svitak (Math), Mrs. Caruso (Religion), Mrs. Alletto (ELA)
Mrs. Alletto has a wealth of experience teaching in a variety of educational settings.
Resource: Mrs. Barenbrugge and Mrs. Ouellette
Physical Education: Mrs. Wenzel
Technology: Mr. Walls
All specialists will be returning.
Please note the school will be closed from July 1 to July 15 for cleaning. Enjoy the summer break.
Thank you for supporting Catholic education,
Michael Sweeney, Principal