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What Sets Our School Apart?

What Sets Our School Apart?

By Bob Schell, Principal

I was recently giving a tour to a prospective family, and they asked me a new question, “What do you feel sets this school apart from the other schools in the area?”

I’m glad I was asked, because there’s a lot!

According to the Cardinal Newman Society website, the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education: Parent Guide is designed to “…help current and prospective parents reflect upon those elements the Church expects to be present in all Catholic schools and which distinguish them from other schools.”

The guide is intended to help current and prospective parents consider the Catholic identity of a school. When touring the school, parents can ask a few of the most important questions from the guide which they feel are essential to their decision-making.

Does the school have Christ as its foundation?

How does the school engage in the integral formation of the human person – spiritual, intellectual, and physical?

Does the school community appear open and inviting? How so?

Upon entering our school you’ll notice a first-class relic of our patron, St. Maria Goretti. Often one of our preschool students arrives at school holding hands with his or her mom, skipping straight up to this relic to say, “Good morning!” to St. Maria Goretti and to ask her to pray for us.

As you begin venturing through the hallways, staff and students greet parents, visitors, and each other with warm smiles, creating an atmosphere of a Christian way of “family life.”

Student artwork is colorfully and intentionally displayed throughout the building. The virtue of the month depicts an emphasis on character development (e.g. Stewardship for the month of November), and examples of saints and their works of faith, hope, and charity flood bulletin boards.

In classrooms, sacred works of art and sacramentals are used to enhance a sense of transcendence and Catholic identity. Teachers, versatile in areas of both academic content and catechesis, relate their subject material to aspects of our Catholic faith. They are living witnesses to the Gospel message. They love Jesus and our students and have a strong sense they are instruments of God, understanding their vocation as teachers as a calling to foster “something beautiful for God” in the souls of our learners.

Students pray every day – to start and end the school day, before lunch with the meal prayer, at Noon with the Angelus, and at regular assemblies and school events. On Wednesday and Friday mornings, big kids greet their little buddies with respect and kindness, tying shoes of Kindergarteners in anticipation of celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass together. Students are lectors, altar servers, and choir members and actively participate in praying the Mass.

Recess times are multiage, with big kids playing with little kids. There is turn-taking, sharing, and working through any conflicts with charity. Parents volunteer on the playground and in the lunchroom and kitchen serving warm food to students.

We join our school parents in helping their child(ren) achieve the key goal of human life and education: perfection and happiness. Our world needs our SMG Catholic School graduates who will bring Christ into it. It’s easy to see that our staff and students are focused on helping each other grow and flourish in our shared, Catholic faith.

And uniforms too, of course!

We welcome all our parish families to contact the school office at 608-271-7551 or to schedule a tour and then a shadow day for your children to come and be a part of our St. Maria Goretti Catholic School family. We have so much to share with all of you!

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