May 28, 2015
It has been a wonderful year here at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School, and we are all excited about a number of improvements for the 2015-2016 school year. You will find most of this information in my 2014-2015 Annual Report that will come out at the end of this school year, but I wanted to keep you informed of some new things. All of these changes have been reviewed by School Advisory and Fr. Joe, and after discussions have been supported and approved by both. Teachers also had a chance to add their input to these modifications.
- Our Lady of Peace is opting out of the School Nutrition Program.
We are leaving the Federal School Nutrition Program. This program came with many mandates that limited our ability in what we could serve children for lunch. We heard the children’s concerns and we heard your concerns. We will continue to use Taher as OLP’s caterer, but we will be offering many different fruit and vegetable choices, as well as salad dressings, ketchup, and other condiments! We will be adding sauces to the noodles and rice, and other menu enhancements. Prices are to be determined but we hope this expanded program will increase participation and keep costs reasonable.
- We will go back to TADS for Tuition Payment Management.
After much evaluation and discussion with School Advisory, as well as parish/school office staff, we have decided to move back to TADS, instead of using SMART Tuition. There will be minimal work for parents as we make the switch, and you will receive additional information regarding the process in the middle of June. Continue using SMART to make the current year payments. All registrations will be transferred over automatically to TADS for the coming year.
- Math Expressions will be the new K-5 Math Program.
We are implementing a new K-5 Math Program, called Math Expressions. We are making this change with the expectation that this series will boost the rigor of our math program. The program also provides wonderful resources for all levels of learners – from struggling learners to advanced learners. You will have an opportunity to see this program yourself at a parent meeting in the fall.
- In Middle School, we are increasing Math and Literature/Language Arts (LA) classes to two class periods, every day.
Instead of one 45 minute class, Math and LA will be 80 minute classes every day. This extended class time will allow for smaller group learning, especially in math, with the opportunity to do leveled/ability grouping.
- Specialist classes will be held twice a week for all grade levels (K-8).
We are increasing Spanish, Art and Music to twice a week for all grade levels, K-8.
- We will be combining 7th & 8th grade for two specialist classes.
Because our 7th and 8th grade classes are smaller next year they will be grouped together for gym and music class allowing for better class experiences. This will help in both classes because they can play more team games, and in music they can do larger group singing and music activities. They will have both specialists twice a week.
- Our Lady of Peace School will dismiss next year at 3:00.
In order to accommodate the schedule changes and adding more specialist time, we are extending the school day by 10 minutes. These additional minutes will especially help middle school by allowing an adequate amount of Advisory time at the end of the day.
- We are moving from the SAT 10 Achievement testing to the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing program.
This assessment tool is widely used in Catholic schools as well as public school districts. We will provide a parent information night about this new program as well, next fall. There are many wonderful resources for teachers and parents with NWEA, and it will give the teachers much more helpful data for addressing the individual needs of all students.
- We will be implementing the Middle School STEM grant that we received.
Mrs. Hartney will oversee the program in Science classes. We are very excited to begin this Gateway Program from Project Lead the Way.
This all may seem very overwhelming when you read about these exciting improvements, but we know we can accomplish things in a smooth and effective manner. We appreciate the continued support from parents and the parish community. We cannot accomplish these great things without all of you.
As always, I welcome any comments, concerns, or questions from anyone, so please email me at
, or call, 612-823-8253.
Sincerely in Christ,Ms. Jan Heuman, Principal
Our Lady of Peace School