NEWS FROM THE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE
The Fall River Diocese Catholic Schools Alliance has set “Celebrate the Beauty of Every Child” as the theme for the 2018-19 school year. In collaboration with the Diocesan Pro Life Apostolate, the Catholic Schools Office will plan events and activities to help school and parishes embrace this theme and live it out in their communities.
Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Stephen Perla helped establish Project Access, a joint effort with the Archdiocese of Boston, the Dioceses of Worcester and Springfield, the Christian Schools Network, and Jewish Day Schools to lobby at the state level for services for which their students are eligible according to state and federal law. Project Access has hired Mary Ann Hart to lobby on behalf of students for nursing services and additional onsite special education services. Hart started in August and will work closely with Perla on key issues the state is considering this year.
This year, students in kindergarten through grade 8 will be taking the MAP Growth Assessment instead of the historically-used IOWA Assessment. This change was made on the recommendation of a committee who reviewed assessment options and determined that the MAP Growth Assessment will better serve students and teachers. Instead of having one long testing session in the spring, students will take a short assessment three times a year. Because the assessment is computer-based teachers will receive their students’ scores in almost real time and can make adjustments to their instruction to meet the needs of each student.
To support this change, Dr. Mary Pat Tranter, who is Director of Strategic Initiatives, will work with schools to provide data analysis support and professional development to teachers to help them utilize this new data source. The change to MAP is aligned with the Catholic Schools Office emphasis on data driven instruction which sees data as a tool to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses and provide additional support or challenge as needed.
Catholic schools in Fall River and New Bedford are entering their second year of a Math Initiative aimed at improving instruction and student learning. Thanks to a grant from the Flatley Foundation, the Catholic Schools Office has brought in Looney Consultants to provide professional development and instructional coaching for teachers. Both are aimed at helping teachers differentiate their instruction to help students with different learning needs gain mastery of the content. Based on Looney’s recommendation, this year seven elementary schools are moving to Eureka Math Curriculum which includes an online component that allows for personalized learning. Saint Stanislaus School in Fall River is moving to Saxon Math to align with their Classical Curriculum.
Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth and St. James – St. John in New Bedford, Holy Trinity in Fall River, and Coyle and Cassidy High School and Middle School in Taunton are entering their second year of transitioning to a Personalized Learning Model. Personalized Learning is individualized instruction for every student through the use of both the classroom teacher and supportive technology. Technology allows the teacher to provide instruction that is adaptive and data rich. Thanks to a grant from the Flatley Foundation these schools have received professional development, additional technology, and furniture to help them transition their educational model.
Over the summer Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro, completed their expanded parking lot. This school year they are adding an AP Capstone program for their juniors and seniors. They have partnered with Virtual High School to offer a huge expansion of elective and other courses to their upperclassmen. They have also partnered with PERTS (Project for Education Research that Scales) to run a Growth Mindset and Belonging Intervention for all 9th graders.
St. John the Evangelist School, Attleboro, has hired a Reading Specialist / Special Education teacher to help support students across the academic spectrum. She will work with students one-on-one and in groups.
St. Mary-Sacred Heart School, North Attleboro, installed sink sensors to prevent sinks from overflowing, repainted the front portico and is finishing the installation of a new sound system.
St. Mary Catholic School, Mansfield, has 9 new staff members joining their school this year.
Cape Cod Deanery
Much work was done at St. Margaret Regional School, Buzzards Bay, over the summer. They converted their computer lab into a multipurpose room and created a new art and music room. They painted all of the classrooms and installed new floor throughout the school. The gym floor was also refurbished. The front foyer was completely redone and, thanks to parent volunteers, significant changes were made to the landscaping. Over the summer teachers received professional development on the new Pearson science program that is being integrated into the curriculum. They have also added a new Strings music lesson program and a Spanish curriculum, both of which will serve students in Pre-K through grade 4. Gym class has been expanded to twice a week for each grade and lunch and recess is now 45 minutes total.
The exterior of St. Francis Xavier Preparatory, Hyannis, was completely repainted and, inside the building, the flooring was improved. They revamped the performing arts programs so that all grade 7 and 8 students will participate in band, chorus, dance, or strings.
St. John Paul II High School, Hyannis, completed a major parking lot renovation that includes a new traffic flow to improve safety. The main office has been completely renovated and a new water station was installed for students. They are continuing to grow their AP Capstone course and will be adding an AP research class.
Fall River Deanery
Over the summer Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River, converted all of the lighting in the school to LED, installed 10 new projectors, and updated the window treatments. Outside, they replaced the fence around the baseball and soccer fields and added a new scoreboard and sound system. They also painted the back of the school. This year they will be running an Environmental Expo for 7th grade students and are continuing their Algebra 1 Dual Enrollment course with 29 students participating.
Espirito Santo Parochial School, Fall River, also converted all of their lighting to LED this summer. They renovated their computer lab, adding 30 new computers; classrooms also received additional technology. Over the summer they ran their first summer program with 37 students participating. For this new school year, they will be expanding their special education services to be able to serve more students across the academic spectrum.
Holy Name School, Fall River, hired Jana McHenry as their Director of Advancement and Alumni. Mrs. McHenry was previously the Director of Advancement at Bishop Stang High School.
Holy Trinity School, Fall River, added 30 new iPads and 60 new Chromebooks to aid in their transition to personalized learning. At this point the middle school is at a 1:1 ratio with technology. They also created a new special education classroom to serve their growing special education program. Thanks to the Carney Family Charitable Foundation, the school now has a ceramics studio which includes 43 wheels and a kiln. Ceramics will be worked into the curriculum across subjects. A school counselor will now be available four days a week to support students academically as well as with social and emotional needs.
St. Michael School, Fall River, begins the new year with a replaced roof and ceiling, a project which took most of the summer to complete. Work is ongoing to install new smart boards in each classroom. The school is implementing the Leveled Literacy Intervention Program from Fountas & Pinnell. This program will both help fill the gaps for students who are reading below grade level and challenge students who are excelling. They are also launching a new Virtues Program by Disciples of Christ.
St. Stanislaus School, Fall River, is in its second year of a three-year transition to a classical curriculum. Classical education is the cultivation of wisdom and virtue by nourishing the soul on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Church’s intellectual tradition. They are also offering an art program for senior citizens that will fund their Gifted and Talented Program.
New Bedford Deanery
All Saints Catholic School, New Bedford, installed air conditioning in the Pre K 3, Pre K 4, and extended care rooms. Other improvements to the building: repointed front steps; a redesigned front lobby that includes a digital display; and recently stripped and resealed flooring. They added new furniture in the Pre K classrooms and the cafeteria, and the middle school annex has new flooring in the hallway and grades 5 and 6 classrooms. Outside, improvements were made to the landscaping.
Bishop Stang High School, Dartmouth, replaced its entire hallway flooring and lighting. They now have 100% LED lighting throughout the school. Renovation of the science wing is now finished with the completion of a new physics lab and environmental studies classroom. They refurnished four classrooms to aid in their transition to blended learning. As part of personalized learning, students in grades 9 – 12 will take the MAP Growth Assessment for English Language Arts and Math. A Special Education teacher has been hired along with a Student Services Director, who will oversee the student wellness program. Their theme for this year is “Called to be Saints.” The school will launch a renovation of its athletic field and facilities during the coming school year.
Holy Family Holy Name School, New Bedford, is searching for a new principal following the retirement last spring of longtime principal Cecilia Felix. While the search takes place, Marianne McGlynn is serving as the Lead Administrator for the school.
St. Francis Xavier School, Acushnet, hired a part time Special Education teacher.
St. Joseph School, Fairhaven, transformed its technology lab into an additional classroom. This was possible because of the mobile computer lab of Chromebooks that allows for technology integration inside the classroom. They are also installing smart white boards. The middle school bathrooms have been painted and feature inspiration quotes on the walls. Three air conditioners have been added to the middle school classrooms.
Coyle and Cassidy High School and Middle School, Taunton, formed a partnership with Morton Hospital to offer students a Certified Nursing Assistant program. Over the summer, 10 students participated in the program and in August passed the licensure exam. They are now qualified to work as CNAs and Home Health Aides. Coyle and Cassidy is in its second year of building a Special Education program. Through a grant, a special education teacher and aide were hired last year; this year they have a veteran special education teacher providing instructional coaching for teachers. Work is ongoing to create an engineering lab complete with 3D Printers and other equipment to help students gain hands-on experience.
Our Lady of Lourdes School, Taunton, created a resources room in the cafeteria for multi-use as a library, technology center, and art and music room. Technology has been updated throughout the school with new computer stations and smart white boards in each classroom and new laptops for teachers. They created a new teacher resources room to double as a meeting room. A volunteer is starting an engineering and robotics program for from kindergarten through grade 4. The program is in partnership with Coyle and Cassidy whose students will provide help to the younger students.
Diocese of Fall River
Catholic Schools Alliance
423 Highland Avenue
Fall River, MA 02720