Ms. Monaghan's Message - June 28

Summer Edition #3

Important Upcoming Dates

June 30 - St. Patrick Color Run @ 12:30

July 1 -7 - Ms. Monaghan is out of office

July 9-12- Garage Sale

July 14 - 2nd School Paint Day

Aug. 5 - Final Registration Fees due

Aug. 11 - Prayer Walk @ 9:45 (donut meet/greet after)

Aug. 13 - Back To School Night @ 6:00

Aug. 15 - First Day of School

Aug. 15 and 16 - Sack Lunch Only (all students must bring sack lunches)

Aug. 22 - PIE Night (parents only)

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St. Patrick Color Run - June 30

It's not too late! Sign up today and wear your own white t-shirt to participate in the St. Patrick Color Run!

Event Details:

9:30-11:00 - Kick off your morning with the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast!

11:00 - Receive a special blessing from Fr. Matthew during mass

12:30 - Sign in

1:00 - Race begins!

Don't miss out on this fun filled opportunity fellowship and raise money for St. Patrick!

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St. Patrick Garage Sale - July 9-13

Your help is needed at the annual St. Patrick Garage Sale! If you are willing and able to volunteer, please click the link below. You can sign up to volunteer for an hour, two hours, or more!

Donations are being accepted Wednesday June 26 and Wednesday July 3 from 5-7pm, so it's a great time to do some summer cleaning!

2nd St. Patrick School Paint Day! - July 14

Paint Day Information

We will be painting the downstairs hallway and both stairwells on this day. If you were here last time, you know that it takes a lot of helping hands! We will need people to: tape, prepare, and paint!

Paint day will begin immediately following the 11:00 mass and will continue until we finish! We want our school to be looking top notch when our students return in August, so please make plans to help us on July 14!

What can you bring: Painters tape, paint brushes, rollers, drop cloths, screwdrivers

Lunch will be provided.

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Parent University

Before school starts, I'd love to have a chance to gather parents together to discuss topics that are important to YOU! However, I don't want to hold something and have only a handful of parents present, because I don't feel it gives a true representation of our school community.

What is a Parent University?

Parents choose between three thirty minute sessions to attend.

A "recorder" is provided by the staff.

Parents are allowed to discuss ideas and concerns on the session topic amongst themselves.

Recorder makes note of all discussion points.

At the end of 30 minutes, parents switch to new session and repeat process.

Day concludes with a full group closing led by Principal and Pastor.

All ideas are then taken into consideration and shared with the school community.

Please fill out the form below to let me know if this is an event worth planning. I do feel it would be valuable to give parents an opportunity to share ideas!

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Flags Needed!

This year, we would like to proudly display flags from all of the countries represented by our students. We are looking for small flags that can be displayed in our hallways. If you have a flag that represents your cultural heritage and wouldn't mind donating it to our school, please send it in to be displayed!

Exciting Professional Development Opportunity for St. Patrick Teachers!

Over the course of the past year, I have had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Doreen Engel. (see Doreen's bio below)

"Coaching and Professional Development for Catholic Schools (Elementary and High School) that desire to be more inclusive and more responsive to students with disabilities. Author of "Be Open: A Prayerful Guide to Inclusion in Catholic Schools", due in print in spring 2019. I have personally taught children in every category of disability in IDEA 2004. As a former Principal and Assistant Superintendent, I understand the administrative issues involved in teaching children with disabilities. As the Director for Special Education for the Archdiocese of Washington, I enabled many schools to begin, expand, and enhance their ability to include children with all types of disabilities. Special skills involve training to begin and implement Student Support Teams. Conversant in Spanish and Sign Language."

Doreen is a huge champion for Catholic schools and specifically trained in inclusion practices, differentiation, Universal Design for Learning, and teacher training. She is sought after across the country by Catholic schools wishing for staff training, and guess what....our little school is bringing her here!

I got to know Doreen this year and expressed an interest in coming to one of her conferences. I shared with her that I'd really love to bring my entire staff, but it wasn't something financially possible and she said, "Why don't I come to you?"

What??? I mean, how could our little school afford such an opportunity?

After making ONE phone call to Lynn Hire with the FIRE Foundation, I found myself on a conference call with Lynn and Doreen planning a day of Professional Development for our staff. This is seriously something I never dreamed would be possible!

On August 9, the FIRE Foundation is bringing Doreen to little St. Patrick School! In the morning, she will provide PD to anyone in the diocese who would like to attend. After lunch, per Doreen's request, she will work exclusively with the St. Patrick School teachers on Universal Design for Learning, teaching our teachers how to differentiate lessons for all learners in the classroom.

I have to tell you, I'm a little geeked out about this opportunity! This is not something a small school like ours can typically pull off, but the FIRE Foundation is making this dream come true for us.

Often times, I hear people say things like, "FIRE gives us money for the teacher for student X" or "I don't have any kids who FIRE supports".

This couldn't be further from the truth. The FIRE Foundation provides us resources for all students to make differentiation and inclusion possible at St. Patrick School. These resources come in the form of: purchasing supplies, purchasing technology, sending teachers to professional development, providing professional development for staff, meeting needs our budget does not allow. The FIRE Foundation doesn't help just one or two students in our school. The FIRE Foundation assists every single teacher in learning and growing in their teaching and provides educational resources for every child at our school.

This Professional Learning opportunity for our staff is HUGE and will promote our desire to create individualized learning plans for students of all learning levels. Our little school is making BIG waves!

You can follow Doreen Engel on Twitter @engelworks to learn more about her passion for Catholic Education.


Time to Make a Change

There it is, the dreaded word...Change. I know it's hard, I know people don't necessarily like change. Neither do I to be honest. It's much easier for me to get into the same routine, do the same thing year after year after year, because it makes my job super easy. Keep reusing the same materials every year, recycle old newsletters and speeches, keep curriculum the same and staff the same and never do anything different.

The thing is, the world is not a stagnant place. If we don't consistently evaluate where we are and what we're doing, we are left behind while those who embrace change catapult forward. While change requires us to put in the work, to continue learning and growing, it is the ONLY way we can ensure our school provides the education that the students of THIS world need.

It always makes me sad when I hear "rumors" being spread about our school....especially when those rumors lead to unjustified or unnecessary negativity. Maybe if the rumors were true, maybe if the negativity was earned, maybe then it wouldn't hurt my heart so much. I have no place in my life for secrets, rumors, or negativity, because I'm too busy ensuring our students are receiving the best possible education and focusing on all the good that is happening in our building. In all the years I've been at St. Patrick, I have never been more excited and more proud of what we are offering our students than I am this year. So many great things are happening for our school!

Below, I am going to go over many of the changes occurring this year. What I can tell you for sure is that I did not dream of becoming the principal of an "okay" school. I don't work more hours per week than I care to mention so that our school can be mediocre. Because of my desire for St. Patrick to be "the" Catholic school in the northland, I am consistently researching, comparing us to like sized schools, and seeking out methods to improve and grow. My #1 goal is, and will always be, that the students who graduate from St. Patrick School are prepared for the next level. They are critical thinkers and problem solvers, they are hard workers and self motivated, they are able to handle change, frustration, and failure, and they are kind, loving, servants of Christ. I want to know that every student who graduates from our school will eventually become a productive member of society and an active member of their church. Every decision made at St. Patrick School (which is made by a team of people - not just me), keeps those things at the forefront.

Did you know???

Our parents, our students, and our staff are the #1 marketers for our school. I've spent hours upon hours researching marketing techniques, learning how to fill our classrooms with students. I just returned from a conference where increasing enrollment was one of the main focuses for Catholic schools across the country. What I've learned is no amount of money spent on marketing can counter negative talk from the school community. WE are the marketers of our school. WE are the reason our school will grow...or not. By choosing to send your child to St. Patrick, I'd like to believe it is a place you are proud to call your home. Let that pride be what you share with your friends, family, and neighbors! Focus on the positive when you talk about St. Patrick School and watch as people line up to join you here!

The changes coming to St. Patrick this year are nothing short of amazing! We are going to be offering our students so much more of what they need and much more than they would receive anywhere else, and I am bursting at the seams with excitement!

Yes, change is's also necessary if we want our students to be prepared for life after St. Patrick. I am incredibly excited for the upcoming year and am happy to spread that positivity everywhere I go. I hope you will join me in doing the same!

Jr. Kindergarten Class

While I am still very passionate about the idea of Jr. Kindergarten, we have decided to move in a slightly different direction. All of the curriculum ideas we had in place for Jr. Kindergarten will continue in our normal Pre-K class. Instead of creating a completely new program, we've decided to merge the two classes to create one strong Pre-K program.

Why? I assure you there is nothing dramatic about this decision. We've simply decided to use our resources in a way that will bring the greatest amount of opportunity to the greatest number of students.

Mrs. Danielle Motta, who was originally slated to teach our Jr. Kindergarten class, will now become a VALUABLE resource to our K-3 program. Mrs. Motta will be teaching a new specials class (learn more below) a few hours a week, but the majority of her time will be spent as a resource teacher for our K-3 classrooms. Mrs. Motta will work inside the classrooms with the teacher to assist students and will work outside the classroom with individual and small groups of students on a DAILY basis. This will allow us to meet the needs of ALL students in grades K-3, creating individual learning plans for every student regardless of his/her academic level.

Imagine Mrs. Motta being the second teacher in classrooms working directly with the teacher to improve ALL student learning! This will allow both teachers to work with small groups or one-on-one with students to differentiate learning for all ability levels so that NO student is left bored from being too far advanced or frustrated from being a struggling learner.

Top that with our new Inclusive Education teacher, Mrs. Nolan, and our students will receive more individualized instruction on a daily basis than ever before. This is an exciting time for our students and for our entire school community. We are blessed!

Foreign Language Program

This year, we will utilize an online Foreign Language program from Mid Continent Public Library. Teachers will allow time for this program twice weekly during the school day. This program has been proven to be a great introduction to foreign language that grows with a student as he grows.

All students will need a library card in order to complete this program. At the start of the school year, teachers will ask you to provide your child's library card # and access code in order to use this program. Summer is the perfect time to ensure your child has a library card ready for the school year!

You can sign up for a library card online at the link below.

Addition of "Specials" Classes

This year, I am excited to announce that we are beefing up our specials classes at St. Patrick School! In an effort to ensure our students receive a well rounded education, we have made a couple of additions to extend student learning beyond the classroom!

Not only will we have Art, Music, and PE, this year we have added a weekly counseling class for all grade levels, AND a STEM special that students will go to two times a week. This means that our students will actually attend 3 more specials per week than they have in the past.

Keep reading to see what our students will focus on during these classes.

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Counseling Class

According to the CDC (,

7.1% of (4.4 million) children ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with anxiety.

3.2% of (1.9 million) children ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with depression.

These numbers increase with children as they age.

According to the Jason Foundation (

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2017 CDC WISQARS)

  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 attempts by young people grades 9-12. If these percentages are additionally applied to grades 7 & 8, the numbers would be higher.

Even more alarming....

  • Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs

This year, along with many other schools in our diocese, our staff will be trained in Suicide prevention training through "S.O.S - Signs of Suicide" Training.

The SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS) is a universal, school-based depression awareness and suicide prevention program designed for middle-school (ages 11–13) or high-school (ages 13–17) students. The goals are to 1) decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression, 2) encourage personal help-seeking and/or help-seeking on behalf of a friend, 3) reduce the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the importance of seeking help or treatment, 4) engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention through “gatekeeper” education, and 5) encourage schools to develop community-based partnerships to support student mental health.

Along with this training, we are fortunate to have a licensed youth counselor on our staff this year. Mrs. Kristen O'Hara will be at our school each Wednesday to meet with every class. Classes will focus on coping skills, mindfulness, and general mental wellbeing. Mrs. O'Hara will also be available to meet with individual or small groups of students on an as needed basis.

This is a HUGE asset to us, and I am excited that we are finally able to bring this valuable resource to our school!

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STEM Classes

According to the US Department of Education:

"The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM."

We are excited to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classes to St. Patrick School this year! STEM classes will focus on problem solving, critical thinking, and investigating while using and learning new and advanced technology.

Students in grades K-5 will attend STEM classes 2 times per week taught by Mrs. Danielle Motta. Students in grades 6-8 will attend STEM classes 2 times per week taught by Mrs. Dana Nolan. These classes will give our students a chance to learn new skills, challenge their brains in new and exciting ways, and utilize new technological resources!

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Technology Changes

If you've been with our school for even a year, you probably have heard some complaints about technology.I get it, I've heard it too, which is why it's time to take a look at what we're doing and make a change.

Across the diocese, the technology standards are no longer being taught in a "computer class", but instead in the classroom. Why? There is much more to "technology" than just typing. Our teachers are already using technology with their students in the classroom to research, create, and investigate, so why not allow them to utilize the technology standards in their classrooms every day?

This year, we will not have a formal computer lab. Instead, the desktop computers will be dispersed into our K-2 classrooms, our inclusive education classroom, and STEM classroom. With a generous donation from Cerner (thanks to Brian Hamilton!), our students in grades 3-8 will receive updated laptops and will each be assigned their own personal laptop. We will add iPads to the K-2 classrooms along with the desktop computer to ensure they have equal access to technology when needed. Also, we will have classroom sets of laptops that the K-2 teachers can utilize when needed.

Teachers will be given a typing program that students can work on in the classroom for 10-15 minutes daily to ensure typing skills continue. In the classroom, teachers will continue to teach technological skills of researching, creating Google and Word documents, collaborating using PowerPoint and Google Slides, and more. In our STEM specials, students will be introduced to coding and programming, and will have the opportunity to use more advanced technology.

Our middle school electives will provide an opportunity for classes that will focus on some of the same AV/Tech club skills. Students will not only continue learning how to film announcements, but will deepen their understanding of journalism through researching, writing scripts, interviewing people, and creating news reports.

While the formal "computer class" is gone, we are deepening our technology instruction in many ways in an effort to ensure our students are a step ahead when they move onto high school!

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How Does the Inclusive Education Position Work?

As you know, Mrs. Dana Nolan will be transitioning out of the middle school classroom this year and into the Inclusive Educator position. Mrs. Nolan has been receiving training for the past several months and is excited to get started in this new position!

Mrs. Nolan will be the Inclusive Educator for grades K-8. At the beginning of the school year, we will identify all students with severe academic and behavior needs and will begin the assessment process. Once this has taken place, we will meet as a team with parents, teachers, Mrs. Nolan, and myself to create a Student Educational Plan for each identified student. This plan will be put in place within the first few weeks of school and will be re-evaluated on a quarterly basis to ensure we are creating the best possible learning environment for each child.

Every morning, Mrs. Nolan will have a "check in" with identified students to ensure they are on track for a good start to the day. Throughout the day, she will work one on one with identified students outside the classroom on specific learning goals. She will meet with these students on a DAILY basis to ensure consistency in instruction. At other times throughout the day, she may work in the classroom assisting students in small groups or one-on-one instruction.

At the middle school level, Mrs. Nolan will work with small groups of students on specific skills, will provide one on one instruction as needed, work with students on test taking skills or provide a quiet test taking place. She will provide small group advanced level math for students who qualify. Again, we are packing the schedule to utilize our resources to reach the most students possible.

Each afternoon, Mrs. Nolan will have a "check out" with identified students to ensure they have all materials needed to take home with them. This could be permission slips, homework, project instructions, planner filled out, etc to ensure that the student is set up for success at home.

We are excited about adding on this full time position to impact the needs of ALL students!

Middle School Algebra Class

Each year, many of our students qualify for Algebra at St. Pius which creates a wonderful opportunity! However, not all of our qualifying students choose to take this class. In an effort to meet the needs of these students, this year our students in 8th grade (and possibly 7th grade) will be able to test into our very own Algebra class.

Testing for this class will be given at the beginning of the school year to any student who chooses to opt in. Students will meet daily and will be expected to maintain a B average and maintain no missing work to continue in the Algebra class for the entire school year. This class is a privilege for those students who are willing to put in hard work and effort on a daily basis.

St. Patrick School

The mission of St. Patrick School is to develop young men and women with active and creative minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs. We stress the total development of each child: spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. Encouragement is given to students to bring their lives into conformity with God's will and plan, so that He is glorified.