Principal’s Blog

Principal Andrew Mulloy’s Blog

St. John the Baptist School – Principal Andrew Mulloy

Principal’s Reflection: An Investment in the Future

A former St. John the Baptist School alumni, Mike, who has sent three children through our school, recently reflected on why Catholic education was worth the investment. “With St. John’s, I was grateful to have a school community that helped and supported my choice to raise my children in the Catholic faith. A community that shared my values. St. John the Baptist was a great choice for my family because it offered the important ‘difference’ I was looking for—the small things I wanted to be part of my children’s learning experience.”

Our staff, alumni, and clergy are proud of the strong faith, strong academics, and strong family that are part of the fabric of our school environment. Catholic education is an investment in a child’s future. Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) and St. John the Baptist Parish want to do everything we can to make Catholic education affordable for your family.

Each year, GRACE offers over $150,000 in tuition assistance and our parish offers over $10,000. In addition, many families use SCRIP for everyday purchases. A percentage of that purchase goes to offset their tuition. St. John the Baptist School participates in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program which allows eligible families to receive state aid to cover tuition. In addition, tuition payments can frequently be written off on your taxes.

Catholic education is an investment in your child that pays extraordinary dividends in moral character, academic success, and lasting relationships. If this is an investment you are interested in making, give us a call at school. Principal Mulloy would be happy to show you what we have to offer.

More information is available here: http://www.sjbhschool.org/tuition-assistance/

Christmas 2017: Who will our children follow?

The Christmas story we share with our children is about following God’s messengers and traveling towards Christ. Mary and Joseph both said, “Yes” to the angel’s request and brought Jesus into the world. The shepherds followed the angels’ proclamation and went to Bethlehem to meet Jesus. Last, the three kings followed a star to find our newborn king. Each of these people listened and followed God’s messengers which led them to meet and worship Jesus.

Parents and teachers at St. John the Baptist School are called to be God’s modern day messengers to our children. It’s not an easy task, the world is far louder today than it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was born. Because of this, we must make sharing the message of Jesus a priority. Prayer is a daily practice at St. John the Baptist, as I know it is in many of your homes. I ask that each of us make an extra effort to be true messengers of Our Lord this season. We want our children to know and worship Jesus in this world so they can one day join Him in heaven.

Bishop David Ricken summarizes it well: “If we don’t share our faith with our children, what will the world share with them instead? If we don’t pray for them, with them and teach them how to pray, where will they turn in difficulty and who will they turn to?” I can’t think of a better gift to share with our children this Christmas than love of and for Christ.

Advent 2017: Focus on Children

Advent is meant to be a time of peace and preparation, unfortunately it is often a time of stress for families. In a recent Compass article, Elisa Tremblay, Director of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Green Bay, challenged readers to remember what gifts they gave or received last Christmas and to try to recall what they had to eat. She then asked us to remember who we spend time with last Christmas. Her point was that the focus of the season should be on growing together as a family and not on all the other stuff.

Mother Theresa said, “The child is the beauty of God present in the world, that greatest gift to a family.”

When we visit the crèche and join the Holy Family in adoring the Christ child this season, may we stop for a moment and seek to see Christ in our own family. There will be many meals, treats, and toys this season, but may the children in your life be the greatest gift and blessing.

December 6: Developing the Whole Child

Recently, a teacher who joined us from the public-sector told me, “It is refreshing to know that I am developing not only smart thinkers but, more importantly, great people!”

While academics will always remain a primary focus, St. John the Baptist School believes that developing the whole child is critical to student success. Our staff is dedicated to helping each student grow in academic, social-emotional, spiritual, artistic, and physical realms.

We have a strong record of preparing students academically. Our test scores surpass local and national averages, and many of our alumni frequently graduate in the top of their class at both Bayport and Notre Dame Academy. But we don’t stop there. Our teachers seek to help each individual grow in character. Many of our school-wide programs and events focus on developing a child’s social-emotional well-being. We form each child spiritually by teaching religion and integrating themes of faith into everything that we do. We strive to walk with the Church through the liturgical seasons. The arts are also a priority. Each child takes a visual arts class. Every year, our elementary students participate in music class while our middle school students choose between band and choir. In physical education, we focus on life-long fitness and athletic skills.

When we focus on the whole person and help each student become the best version of themselves, we honor God and are true to our mission as a Catholic school.

November 30: Advent at School

Advent is one of the most misunderstood of the liturgical seasons. Why? First, Advent has been picked up by secular society and touted as a time of shopping, North Pole fairy tales, and decorating. Next, we go to Mass and see that both the priest and the altar are both dressed in purple—the Lenten color of penance. Yet we know that Advent is not a time of penance in the same way Lent is. It’s easy to see how we can get confused.

So what is Advent supposed to be? Advent is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ and for His second coming. It is a time to look back on our year and see how we can improve. Despite the chaos of holiday preparation, this liturgical season is set aside as a time of quiet and stillness. A time to slow down and take time to pray and grow close to Jesus Christ. Elves and snowmen are fun to decorate with, but don’t forget to set aside a special place for a nativity scene. Perhaps your family could place an Advent wreath on your dinner table and make it part of your meal prayer. Consider setting aside a time to pray as a family, attend a Tuesday evening Mass, or take advantage of a reconciliation service. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to highlight Jesus–the reason for the season.

At St. John the Baptist School, we will celebrate the Advent season in a number of ways. This week, we had a reconciliation service, where students and staff were able to receive the Sacrament. Each week, we will have an Advent wreath prayer where we light the candles in anticipating Christ’s coming at Christmas and at the end of time. We will also be decorating a Jesse Tree. Though a Jesse tree may look like a Christmas tree, it isn’t. The Jesse tree helps children understand the story of the Bible leading up to the birth of Christ.

Please pray for our school children this season, that Advent might not only be a time of fun and presents but a time to prepare their hearts for Christ.

Thanksgiving: St. John the Baptist School gives thanks for:

Our teachers. St. John the Baptist teachers are the heart of the school. They make significant sacrifices for our children and for our faith. Their dedication is largely responsible for our students’ academic, emotional, and spiritual success.

Our families. We realize there are many schooling options and are thankful that 193 families have chosen to send their students to St. John the Baptist. It is truly an honor to partner with our families in the education of our children.

Our students. Students are the focus for our school and the reason the school exists. Seeing them learn to read and to love their neighbor is a reward without measure.

Our parish. It is a great honor to partner with our pastoral leadership, our parishioners, and our community. We are humbled to share a common mission to help others know, love and serve Jesus Christ.

Jesus. Jesus Christ is the reason for our school. His love, His cross, His mission, gives everything meaning and purpose. May we always remain focused on Him.

November 13: Student Services at St. John the Baptist School

St. John the Baptist School routinely boasts scores on national standardized tests that surpass national and regional averages. We are very proud of our outstanding academic achievement. In addition to building a nurturing environment that teaches the whole child in the midst of an intimate community, one of the key reasons our students are so successful is because of the work our teachers do to individualize education. At St. John the Baptist, teachers identify a child’s ability level and interests. Teachers are able to adjust the curriculum to increase the challenge or to provide the appropriate supports for students without compromising the integrity of our curriculum. Our small class size, 18 students on average, increases our ability to proactively help each child achieve his or her personal best.

In addition to this approach, we are proud to have Mrs. Heinz our full-time Reading Specialist who provides support to individual students and works with classroom teachers to ensure an excellent reading curriculum for all. We also have Mrs. Atnip a full-time Supportive Consultant who works closely with teachers and staff to support students. These two teachers meet weekly with Mr. Mulloy to review student learning data and evaluate the effectiveness of our student services.

At St. John the Baptist, we believe every child has gifts to be nurtured. Through our Student Services Program, we support students and teachers to ensure each child receives a meaningful, responsive and personalized Catholic educational experience.

All Saints and All Souls Day

November is the month Catholics traditionally pray for those who have passed away. It begins with All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Praying for the dead is a tradition that goes back to our Judeo roots, and is a practice found in scripture. When we pray for the dead, we may pray that Christ’s unfailing mercy continue to pour on them, or we may ask for the intercession of those who are joined with the Father in heaven. In many cultures throughout the world, people mark this month with traditions like lighting candles for the dead, visiting the graves of loved ones, and making small prayer spaces in memory of departed loved ones.

Each of us can do little things to honor those who’ve gone before us. For example: when I enter our school each morning, I look at the Church steeple and pray for the people who sacrificed to build our parish and school. I ask Christ to enfold them in His mercy in heaven. I also ask those souls for their intercession on behalf of our parish and school that we might continue to be the thriving Christian community they worked so hard to build.

This is the traditional prayer of the Church for the dead:

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

October 25: A Unique and Faith-Filled Preschool

Our program exposes children to pre-academic concepts and focuses on fine motor and social skill development. Children learn early literacy and number skills through hands-on projects and activities in an environment that challenges and nurtures them as individuals. Staff integrates our Catholic Christian faith into the classroom environment and academic content. We teach through a variety of themes that allow your child to learn and explore through play. Your child will look forward to coming to school.

October 18: Family Groups

Christian communities are different than other communities because they have Jesus Christ as their foundation. This idea of community is one of the cornerstones of our school. Our teachers, families and students have long been part of a supportive family seeking to grow in holiness. Continuing to build on this foundation is central to living out the mission that Christ has for our school.

This year, we are doing some new things to strengthen our sense of community. One of these new things is called Family Groups. Once a month, our students and adults gather in small, mixed-grade level Family Groups to learn about their faith and pray together. Last month, each group selected and learned about a patron saint. This month, students are learning about the rosary. This program helps older students develop an awareness of responsibility while helping young students gain a deeper sense of belonging. Most profoundly, it is providing an intimate Christian community within the walls of our school.

October 4: Character Development

A middle-school girl rushed across the hall fumbling a stack of books, folders and other school supplies. For a moment, it looked as if she would make it to her locker safely. Then, her pencil box slid from the pile and hit the tile floor in an explosion of pens and pencils. Without hesitation, four boys were on their knees collecting and returning the contents to her pencil box. Fifteen seconds later, it was as if the event never happened. The girl finished her locker stop with a smile that only kindness and charity can bring.

I had the privilege of witnessing this scene not long ago. Acts of kindness like this demonstrate the intangible value of Catholic education. I see a lot of them in here. Our school values kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness—everyday examples of the Golden Rule. We partner with families to teach students to love God and neighbor, helping them treat others the way they would like to be treated.

September 27: Faith and Academics

Strong Academics

During our summer in-services, each of our kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers partook in guided reading training. Our school brought in a reading consultant who conducted on-site instruction on best practice in teaching elementary students to read. Guided reading is a strategy in which the teacher works with small groups of students to read using targeted instruction at the individual student’s ability level. Although this strategy is not new at St. John the Baptist School, continuing to grow professionally and staying current with best practice is part of our commitment to ensure a high-quality academic program.

Strong Faith

This week at school, we prayed a five-day novena for the victims of the natural disasters in the South. To honor the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, we took up a collection to send to a relief fund based out of a Catholic school in Houston, Texas.

September 20: St. Anne

St. Anne was once a patron saint of our parish, and I would like to lift her up again as an example and intercessor. Since the second-century, Christians have acknowledged her as the mother of Mary. Today, she is a patron of homemakers and teachers. She is most often depicted holding the Hebrew Scriptures and teaching Mary. This image is a great example to us in our role of forming children in the Christian life. Pope Francis, in speaking about St. Anne, said, “How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!”

Our parish once held a statue of St. Anne in the Church, and we have clean it up and placed it outside our elementary classrooms. If you see the statue in the hallway, you will notice that she is depicted in the classic style, holding the Hebrew Scriptures and teaching Our Blessed Mother.

Please, pray that our school community continues to be an example and a teacher of the faith. St. Anne, pray for us!