Principal Update November 20, 2022

Go Tigers!

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Our focus on gratitude this month has been a wonderful invitation to consciously reflect on our blessings. It has warmed my heart to watch the intentional ways students have taken this to heart, outwardly showing gratitude to classmates and staff. On their class gratitude trees, students have shared reflections on their own individual blessings, as well.

As Thanksgiving nears, I, too, have counted my blessings in this community. I am grateful for the students at St. C. Every day, these students make me smile, show me amazing things they're learning, give me thanks for little things I do for them, and make this culture one that is a joy to show up to every day. I am grateful for you, parents, who are the foundation of all we do. You support our teachers and staff, smile at us during the morning drop off, volunteer countless hours to make so many things happen, come together to enjoy and celebrate our community, and foster a welcoming culture of positivity. I am beyond grateful for our staff. They go above and beyond in all that they do teaching, building relationships, and supporting one another.

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

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Introducing....The Tiger Team Recess Ambassadors!

We are excited to announce a new service opportunity for students in grades 6-8! This week, we invited our students in grades 6-8 to apply if interested in becoming a Tiger Team Recess Ambassador.

The Tiger Team is not only another set of eyes for safety on the playground, but can lend helping hands and listening ears. Is a game not going well? Can’t find a recess buddy to play with? They can help students navigate this!!

Or if there is an issue where 2 or more kids are not getting along for some reason, they can call on the Tiger Team to help them figure it out. The Tiger Team will be trained to ask them each what the issue is and help them use problem solving language and steps to solve it based on our strategies taught in the Decision Tree from our social emotional curriculum, PurposeFull People. The Tiger Team can have them talk about how they feel and how they can compromise to work out a solution that they’re both content with.

Students will apply to be a part of our Tiger Team Recess Ambassadors in their homeroom Google Classrooms. They will be trained the week of November 28th, and begin their volunteering schedule upon returning from Christmas break on January 3rd.

We are looking forward to our middle school students take on this helpful, leadership role, and for our younger students to benefit from this additional recess support.

Did You Know? - Staff Professional Development for Teachers

Our teaching staff at St. C is the foundation of all that we do. This group of highly qualified educators not only provide academic excellence, best practice in instructional strategies, and differentiation for our entire student body, but also demonstrate their lifelong love of learning in continued pursuit of professional development. Of our 22 staff teaching staff members, 16 hold Masters degrees or higher, and 100% hold Washington state teaching certificates.

  • Goalsetting - The model that St. Catherine uses for teacher goal-setting is the CEL 5D Framework for Instructional Growth and Teacher Evaluation from the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Washington. Admin and teachers have received extensive training in this model. It divides instructional practices into 5 dimensions: Purpose, Student Engagement, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Assessment for Student Learning, and Classroom Environment and Culture. Each year, we focus on two focus areas, this year being Curriculum and Pedagogy and Assessment for Student Learning. Teachers do a guided self-analysis of their specific skills at the beginning of the year, and select one specific area for growth within each teaching dimension. Throughout the year, Ms. Elsner and I conduct observations and provide feedback according to their identified areas of focus. In spring, we conference individually with each teacher so they can share their growth in these focus areas.
  • Professional Development - All educators are encouraged to continually seek professional development throughout their careers. For most teaching certificates, this is an actual requirement, as well, that is verified by OSPI for certificate renewal. Each year, Ms. Elsner and I plan various focused all-staff professional development opportunities. These are typically aligned with accreditation goals, strategic plan goals, Archdiocesan initiatives, or for onboarding new curriculum. We also receive some federal funding through Title II and Title IV funding, which can be used for either individual or whole staff professional development. Throughout the year, Ms. Elsner and I research various courses/classes relevant to our school goals and teacher's individual goals, and offer them to teaching staff.
  • Peer Observations - One of the best ways to continue to grow one's teaching practice is by observing other highly qualified educators. This year, we started fostering Red Dot Observations. For two weeks each trimester, teaching staff are encouraged to observe a fellow teaching staff member for one class period each week.

These are just a few key ways St. C fosters and encourages teacher growth!


St. Catherine of Siena Parish School is a welcoming, Christ-centered community, rooted in the Catholic faith and inspired by Gospel values. As an extension of the parish and with Jesus as our model, we are dedicated to lifelong growth in faith, love, and learning.

We recognize that the care and education of the child begins with the family and that parents are the primary educators of their children. In partnership with parents, we work to promote our students’ achievement and spiritual growth. Together we are committed to developing responsible, ethical leaders who think critically, act justly, communicate effectively, and serve willingly.


We are committed to providing a faith-filled, inclusive, and welcoming learning environment for all our students. Through our rigorous academic programs, our students will gain the cognitive, technological, and social skills necessary to become ethical, innovative leaders who successfully navigate the complex challenges of today’s world.