February, 2017

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St.Peter’s School,

Last week, throughout our country, Catholic schools celebrated the history, value, and success of Catholic education. As noted by the National Catholic Education Association, these successes are evident in a 99% Catholic high school graduation rate. Of those, 86% attend a 4year college. Studies prove overwhelmingly that the Catholic school climate, mission, and purpose positively impact student achievement, attendance and personal development. This is done in an impressive, cost effective manner; again, according to the NCEA, the mean per pupil cost at Catholic schools is $5,847; the national per pupil average is $12, 054. Catholic schools provide over 24 billion dollars a year in savings for the nation.

St. Peter’s Catholic School has a rich, beautiful history dating back to 1852. For over 160 years this educational ministry has been sustained by dedicated pastors, the Ursuline sisters, committed parishioners, faculty, Advisory Boards, and parents. It has survived the Civil War, economic downturns, hurricanes, even a collapsed roof. Yet through it all, St. Peter’s School has remained a vital part of the Catholic community in Columbia and a very important part of downtown Columbia. This was brought to mind as I read, “Lost Classroom, Lost Community-Catholic Schools Importance in Urban America” by Brinig and Garnett. Regarding Catholic schools in an urban setting, they state:

“A Catholic school stands out as a model of success in the midst of failure, of order in the midst of chaos-and therefore of the possibility that demographics need not dictate destiny. Catholic schools have long exhibited faith in the ability of all children to learn regardless of circumstance. In doing so, Catholic schools may serve, to borrow from legal theory, an expressive function: the very fact that urban Catholic schools have weathered the storms of economic and social decay in a community-and have continued to succeed in spite of these circumstances-sends a symbolic message that success and order are possible; thereby strengthening the entire downtown community.”

St. Peter’s Catholic School goes beyond just being a presence in downtown Columbia, by building collaborations with downtown businesses such as USC, Columbia Conservatory of Dance, and incorporating resources such as the Art Museum, Koger Center, Richland County Public Library, and the Historical Society into our curricular instruction. Our presence on this block, I believe has had a positive impact on the vibrant revitalization of our downtown.

Ultimately, it comes down to the day-to-day interactions with the many people who are committed to Catholic education, and more specifically St. Peter’s School. During Catholic Schools Week, we honored Mrs. Pam Robinson who has shared her energies, talents, and beautiful spirit with the Kindergarten and all of us at St. Peter’s for over 20 years.

We are blessed to have so many caring, supportive patrons of St.Peter’s School!

This month we have two new activities taking place at St. Peter’s. On Thursday, February 23, our 6th grade is hosting a Talent Show to benefit their trip to Washington, DC. I was very proud of the many students from grades 2-6 who auditioned for this Talent Show. There will be a variety of creative acts. Please come out to support our students and enjoy the entertainment in Neglia Hall. If you have any questions you can contact Mrs. Diane Rager,dianerager@msn.com.

Also, the weekend of February 25-26, the school is supporting the Deckle Edge Literary Festival. The Children’s Pavilion for this event will be held in Neglia Hall. More information on this terrific event will be coming home in your child’s Tuesday folder.

Finally, the cold and flu season has hit the school hard. In order to keep contagious illnesses out of the school I remind you that students must stay home if they have a fever (99 degrees or above), have been nauseous, or are coughing excessively. The student must be symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school. The teachers have been doing their best to keep the classrooms disinfected and we continue to instruct the students to wash their hands thoroughly. Please help us by keeping your child home if he/she could possibly be sick.

As always, your continued support and care are truly appreciated.

Blessings,

Kathy Preston

 

January, 2017

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends from St.Peter’s School,

We begin this New Year refreshed after the Christmas holiday and ready to jump back into all things related to learning.

Our Director for Catholic Education for the Diocese of Charleston, Mrs. Sandra Leatherwood, will make her annual visit to St.Peter’s School on Tuesday, January 10. Mrs. Leatherwood will spend the day visiting the classrooms, meeting with teachers and the principal, reviewing the School Improvement and Safety Plans, and Teacher Evaluations and Professional Growth Plans. The goal of this school visit is to continue to carry out the responsibility of the Catholic Schools Office SACS Accreditation Quality Assurance mandate. This mandate requires the CSO to monitor the school’s compliance with the Accreditation Standards as well as our efforts toward Continuous Improvement.

The week of January 17-20, our 5th grade class will participate in the STARBASE Program at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. This is the 8th year our students have been invited to attend this program which focuses on curricular areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This excellent program, funded by the Department of Defense, also offers leadership opportunities and lessons on character development. Our students are consistently praised for their comportment and intellect.

Once again it was a pleasure to host St.Peter’s at STARBASE. I have had a number of folks in the building say what a well-behaved group they were!” John M. “Coach” Motley, Jr. Brigadier General (ret), SC Air National Guard, Director, STARBASE

Our PTO meeting, January 26, 5:30pm in Neglia Hall will include a school-wide focus on STEM related activities. Teachers and students will present examples of lessons incorporating science, math, and engineering and we will highlight a new piece of instructional technology that we would like to purchase for classroom instruction. Be sure to attend this important meeting.

We begin Catholic Schools Week Sunday, January 29 with a School Showcase in Neglia Hall from 9:30-12:30. This is an opportunity to share with our parishioners, parents and friends all of the wonderful learning that is taking place in St.Peter’s School. A schedule of special events that will take place throughout Catholic Schools Week, Jan.29-February 3, 2017 will be sent home in the Tuesday folder and posted on the school’s website, www.stpeterscatholicschool.org.

Finally, let us remember that the Christmas season is not officially over until the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6. Just as the Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child, we reflect upon the gifts that we have received from our God and how we are using those gifts in the service of others. In the adoration of the Magi we find the beginnings of our Christian faith as they took the ‘Good News’ to the different parts of the world. ‘Epiphany’ means manifestation, to make known. It is my hope that our greatest gift at St. Peter’s School is helping our students come to understand the importance of God in their lives and that by living our faith we continue what was started thousands of years ago by the Magi.

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year.

Kathy Preston