Principal Update February 5, 2023

Go Tigers!

Catholic Schools Week!

While both elated and exhausted from the past week, this is perhaps one of the most special weeks of the school year. Having the opportunity to celebrate all aspects of our school and community, and to truly recognize the gift of Catholic education is incredible. This past week, our Superintendent, Nicholas Ford, shared a compelling reminder for us during this reflective week:

What makes a Catholic school? Perhaps it is better to ask what makes a school Catholic? I think what makes a school Catholic is the daily opportunity to hear God's voice. Our students' hearts are left soft each day they step foot into our classrooms.

Each day, they are surrounded with opportunities to hear God's voice, and these opportunities are not limited to religion class or morning prayer. God's voice is not restricted to Sundays nor is it restricted to any singular discipline. God's voice can be heard throughout the day because our teachers teach through the lens of our Catholic identity. Not restricted to a class or prayer, God's voice is amplified in all that we do.

What makes a school Catholic is not uniforms or masses. No, what makes a school Catholic is the quest to find God in all things, and in all that we do – in the classroom, on the playground, and in service to others – to give glory to God.

This message holds true to our mission at St. Catherine, and we are so grateful for our students, parents, staff, community, faith, and well-being.

Coming Soon...State of the School

It is almost that time of year again, when we have the opportunity to share with you about all-things happening at St. C. This year, based on immense positive feedback from last year, I will be sharing the State of the School as a recording with the hopes this will allow parents to more easily engage fully when they have a quiet moment. Please be sure to carve out some time for this prior to completing your registration for the 2023-2024 school year. In this year's State of the School, I will be rolling out our new Strategic Plan, as well as updates on accomplishments this year, and looking ahead to new endeavors in the coming year. I will be sharing this with you sometime the week of February 13th. Be on the lookout!

Update: In-parish Tuition Status for 2023-2024 Preschool-8th Grade Registration

In lieu of an in-person meeting, Father Dean and our PAO will be emailing letters to families this week who are current parishioners at St. Catherine. These will need to be returned to them by February 12th. Thank you!

Speech Club Success at Seattle Prep Tournament! Congrats!

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Staffing Update for 2023-24

This is the time of year when energy is split between focusing on the now, and looking ahead to the coming year. In schools, this is a natural cycle, and although it comes with a lot of excitement and new opportunities, it is also a point in time when teachers and staff indicate their intent for the coming year. While it is never easy to lose beloved staff members, we also know in education that choices are necessary at times to continue growing in our profession.

Ms. Horrigan, our 8th grade homeroom teacher, will not be returning next year. Over the years, Ms. Horrigan has served in many roles on our staff including 5th grade and 8th grade homerooms, math support, reading support, and has taught numerous middle school classes including math, social studies, and religion (among many other roles). We are so excited to hear what lies ahead for Ms. Horrigan, as she is such a gift to all of her students and our staff, and will be dearly missed.

Mrs. O'Neill, our Preschool Director and lead Tigers teacher, will be moving into a preschool lead teaching role only at St. C. Mrs. O'Neill has been an integral part of early learning development and growth at St. C, and has helped build an incredible preschool team and program. Mrs. O'Neill is excited to purely focus on teaching at St. C next year!

Teacher Meg, our lead Lions preschool teacher, will be moving out of state after this school year. In her time at St. Catherine, Meg has done an amazing job in our new half-day preschool program. We couldn't have done this without her early childhood expertise and growth mindset in building the structure of this class. We are grateful for Teacher Meg's time at St. C, and will be wishing her well in her new adventure!

Each of these positions will be posted soon, as we begin seeking highly qualified candidates for each. Stay tuned in the coming months for updates!

Did You Know? - Does St. Catherine Receive Federal Funding?

Yes! St. Catherine receives a few sources of federal funding.

First, we qualify under Title IIA funding, which is calculated as a per-pupil enrolled allocation. These funds can be used for High-Quality Professional Development for teachers and school leaders focused on improving teaching and student learning.

We also qualify for Title IV Part A funding, which is also calculated as a per-pupil enrollment. The purpose of Title IV, Part A is to improve students’ academic achievement by:

•Providing all students with access to a well-rounded education;

*Providing enriched curriculum and education experiences to all


•Improving school conditions for student learning;

*Programs or activities that foster safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free school

environments, including direct student services and professional development and

training for school staff.

•Improving the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital

literacy of all students.

*Using technology to accelerate, amplify, and expand the impact of effective practices

that: support student learning, increase community engagement, foster safe and

healthy environments, and enable well-rounded educational opportunities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires each state to ensure that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to all eligible children with disabilities residing in that state. For students with disabilities whose parents enroll them in a private school in Washington, they are entitled to services provided by their local public school district through proportionate share funding. Students who qualify for special education can access these services through Service Plans (essentially, these are a more limited private school version of an Individualized Education Program in Washington state). At St. Catherine, these students receive tutoring twice per week in one academic area provided by tutors through Seattle Public Schools. Students who qualify can also access social skills services outside of school hours.

At St. Catherine, our vice principal, Caitlin Elsner, serves as our liaison with SPS and oversees our federal funding usage. As there are numerous in-depth processes to access and use these funds, Ms. Elsner helps our school and students' families navigate processes involving federal funding.


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.