By Anne Marie Amacher
Enrollment at most Catholic schools in the Diocese of Davenport climbed upward at the start of this academic year — despite the economy. Several different forms of tuition assistance have helped retain or attract families to those schools, educators say. Here is a roundup of enrollment, grant awards, improvement projects and other highlights submitted by schools:
• More students are attending Lourdes Catholic School this year. Total enrollment is 369 students, compared with 363 students last year.
A $2,500 grant from the Scott County Regional Authority was used to install a new gate to safely divide the parking lot and playground. The school’s annual bean bag tournament at the end of the previous school year raised $50,000 to pay for improved and increased technology for the school, said Colbie Andes, director of marketing and development.
Spanish instruction for preschool students has been added this year and a wellness policy supports the Healthy Kids Act for all students.
During the summer a new playground was installed for the 4-year-old preschool program, a new soccer field added, new gate for the parking lot installed, school and church security system enhanced and the teachers’ lounge updated and remodeled.
Upcoming events include a family fun night, cyber-bully presentations to middle school parents and students and a student food drive.
“This year Lourdes Catholic School is focusing on increasing our Catholic identity,” Andes said.
• Enrollment is steady with 177 students currently at Notre Dame Elementary. Three foreign language teachers joined the school this year. Chinese will be taught in preschool through second grade; Arabic in third and fourth grade and in the middle and high school; and Russian in fifth grade, middle and high school.
• Enrollment is also steady for grades 6-12 at Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School with 152 students. Chinese is a new course offering this academic year.
“Our mission remains the same: graduate students with a strong academic transcript; encourage students to be heavily involved in our activities program; enhance Catholic values in all students,” said Ron Glasgow, principal of Notre Dame Junior/Senior high.
• Enrollment at Prince of Peace schools is down this year with 144 students in grades kindergarten through eight compared with 162 students last year. For grades 9-12 there are 75 students, compared with 80 last year.
During the summer, a large portion of the roof was replaced, two new air conditioners for the middle school/high school were installed and each elementary room now has individual air conditioners. “We appreciate that the funding for this major facility upgrade came from Prince of Peace Parish,” said Karen Witt, development director for the schools.
Upcoming events include the fall play “Diary of Anne Frank,” living rosary both in the fall and spring, service days, Irish dinner auction on Jan. 22 and art week in March.
• Enrollment at All Saints Catholic School has decreased this academic year, with a total of 327 students in grades preschool through eighth compared with 380 last year. Principal Cheryl Lafferty said a number of factors played into the decrease: several families moved out of the area due to job relocations and a large eighth-grade class graduated this past spring. She said the Scott County Family Tuition Plan and Mississippi Valley School Tuition Organization helped retain many students at the school.
All Saints accomplished a lot of remodeling and painting this past summer with the help of volunteers called the “Honey Do’s.” See related story on Page 3.
A $13,450 grant from Scott County Regional Authority for technology has been used to purchase new laptop computers and update technology.
A new dress-code was implemented due to a request from parents. Meetings were held last spring in which parents had a major role in determining the new dress code. Letters were sent home before the end of the school year, during the summer and prior to orientation reminding parents of the new dress code. The previous dress code allowed students to wear any solid-colored shirt with a collar. This year students may wear solid red, white, light blue and navy blue shirts with collars; navy or khaki dress shorts and pants; plaid jumpers for girls in grades kindergarten through four and plaid skirts for girls in grades five through eight. No logos are allowed on socks. Friday remains “spirit day,” when students can wear All Saints or Assumption High School tops with school-regulation bottoms.
• An increase in enrollment at Assumption High School has led to hiring of additional staff. Enrollment is 464 students, up from 401 at the end of the previous school year. Due to the increase, a part-time English position has been converted to full-time and three part-time teaching positions were added as well as a full-time paraprofessional to assist in the Learning Resource Center.
Two grants from the Scott County Regional Authority allowed the school to purchase five electronic whiteboards and help with renovations in the auditorium. Work over the summer included installing the electronic whiteboards, purchasing new tables for the lunchroom, renovating the school’s front entryway, updating the auditorium’s exterior, building an additional daycare room, and adding backflow preventers to the water mains.
In consultation with the three regent universities in Iowa, Assumption’s math curriculum has been realigned. The progression is now algebra I, algebra II, geometry and a senior-level math class chosen by the student. Because of the change, new algebra books were purchased.
Upcoming events include Information Knight for all fifth- through eighth-grade Catholic school students on Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 5–7 p.m. in the Assumption large gym. This is an opportunity for prospective students and their parents to experience what Assumption has to offer. Also, any seventh- or eighth-grade student interested in spending a day as a knight should contact Emily Faulhaber, director of admissions, for more information about the school’s shadow program. Call her at (563) 326-5313, ext. 230 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• John F. Kennedy Catholic School also has seen an increase in enrollment with 360 students this academic year compared with 346 at the end of the last school year. “This marks the sixth year in a row of increasing K-8 enrollment at JFK,” said Principal Chad Steimle.
Scott County Regional Authority awarded JFK $28,000 in grants, which are being used to outfit seven classrooms with interactive whiteboards, laptops, student response systems and associated technology.
Looking to the future, Steimle said a building project at Our Lady of Victory Parish includes a gathering space for the church, classroom and office additions to the school, some remodeling and other large-scale campus improvements.
• Enrollment also is up at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School with 452 students in grades kindergarten through eight compared with 449 last year, said Principal Julie Delaney.
Over the last year, a $4,000 grant from Community Foundation went toward reading software; a $27,000 grant from Scott County Regional Authority went toward technology for differentiated instruction; a $3,400 grant from IBM was used for computers; Hy-Vee Foundation awarded a $2,500 Smart Board; Area Health Education Center of the Southeast region gave $1,000 for health science equipment and Living Lands and Water granted $500 for a “Go Green” school effort.
This year the school expanded its Spanish classes for seventh-graders to meet every other day. Spanish class meets daily for eighth-graders and once a week for students in grades kindergarten through six.
The Olweus Bully Prevention Program kick-off day to re-energize the bully prevention program will be Sept. 24.
The school’s daycare program has become Small Beginnings and offers an extension of the preschool program with age-appropriate academic structure. Delaney also noted a new east parking lot/playground was completed this summer.
• Enrollment is up by one student at St. Joseph Catholic School with 181 students in grades kindergarten through eight, said Principal Christine Meyer.
Also this year, St. Joseph’s purchased Teacher Curriculum Institute (TCI) for its social studies curriculum. “It is an interactive online course that the teachers are really excited about,” Meyer said. “The staff spent several days reviewing textbooks and made the six-year commitment to TCI.”
Twenty-five laptops and 25 desktop computers were received from Computers for Schools, a government program. The school continues to apply for various grants.
Currently the school is undergoing a window-replacement project. “That should make a world of difference this winter.”
Fort Madison/St. Paul/West Point
• Enrollment remains steady at Holy Trinity Catholic Schools with about 340 students. The school is in the final planning stages of adding foreign language to its elementary level, said Shelley Sheerin, the schools’ marketing and communications coordinator. Chinese and Arabic will be taught by teachers hosted in the United States by Southeastern Community College and offered to Notre Dame and Holy Trinity Catholic schools.
The elementary building in West Point received a facelift, Sheerin said. Volunteers installed more than 85 new windows. The senior high student council purchased new park benches, an outside trash container and a new bike rack for the junior/senior high. The athletic board had the gym floor at the junior/senior high in Fort Madison sanded down to bare wood and then painted with the HTC logo and “Holy Trinity Catholic” before the floor was resealed. Four new glass backboards complete the updated look. In West Point, private donors installed an outdoor basketball court near the playground.
Promethean Boards, complete with the Activotes, are being installed at the elementary and junior/senior high. A number of teachers participated in a class through the Area Education Agency on using interactive whiteboards in the classroom. The Activotes, which look like chunky, orange cell phones, allow students to “key in” answers to questions. Student responses can immediately be graphed and displayed to let the teacher know if the material being taught is understood by all the students.
All kindergarten students are now housed in the elementary building at West Point.
• Enrollment at Regina Catholic Education Center saw an increase of five students this academic year with 445 student in the elementary and 412 in the junior/senior high.
New this year is the morning and afternoon commute, says President Carol Trueg. CIT Charters now transports students because the Iowa City Community School District discontinued providing Regina’s busing.
A new tuition rate structure has been implemented. The new categories: parish stewardship, with families obtaining approval of their parishes; school stewardship, which requires 36 hours of parental service to the school and participation in the Scrip program; and full-tuition, for families who do not qualify for either parish or school stewardship.
A stricter dress code also was implemented.
A $75,000 grant from the Kem Foundation and the state of Iowa were used to begin Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering program. The program is being offered to high school juniors and seniors.
A successful Annual Appeal by the Regina Foundation has resulted in many upgrades to the school’s technology infrastructure, said President Carol Trueg. “We are also going to upgrade the technology that is in the classrooms.” Interactive whiteboards are a part of that plan.
Kindergarten through fifth-grade enrollment at Keokuk Catholic Schools is the highest it has been in five years with a total of 72 students.
The school has received word of a foundation award to purchase enrichment materials for the new, whole-class enrichment program. This includes kindergarten literature to supplement the beginning reading program. Also, teachers will receive laptop computers that they can take home for use with a new, interactive teaching system. “We also received partial funding to begin to repair our entrance driveway,” said Principal Laurie Mendenhall.
Over the summer volunteers installed new swing sets on the playground, along with two benches and two tether ball sets.
An accelerated reading challenge for students to meet the first quarter’s reading goal will be an afternoon of playing a version of “A Minute to Win It.” The Parent Teacher Organization is planning a carnival for Oct. 2.
• Enrollment remains steady for preschool (40 students) and grades kindergarten through five (84 students) at Seton Catholic School this academic year. The school has discontinued offering grade six.
During the summer a new tile floor on the first level was completed and walls were painted.
Upcoming events include a book fair next week, participation in the Ottuwma Oktoberfest (with a school float in the parade) and a basket auction in November, said Principal Duane Siepker.
• St. James Catholic School has seen an enrollment increase of 13 students from last school year. The current enrollment in grades pre-kindergarten through six is 138 students, compared with 125 last year.
Grant money helped pay for an upgrade to the fire alarm system and installation of a new hood over the kitchen stove.
This year we “have expanded our technology curriculum to include all students,” said Principal Brad Thiel.
The school has been dealing with mold this fall in a basement classroom, “so we have been making upgrades to ensure that those issues do not happen again,” he said. Upgrades include installation of new gutters, a new steel door and caulking. Another improvement project added new steps to the kitchen entrance.