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Message from the Principal

 

Thank you for visiting the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School website! We hope you enjoy exploring our website to find out exactly why St. Thomas School is a great place to learn and grow. The entire St. Thomas School community is dedicated to fulfilling our mission: “Teach Truth, Build Character, and Inspire Service.” Our strong Catholic identity is present and alive as we gather together for our all school masses, prayer services, and daily learning. I hope that your “virtual visit” provides you with information and insight into our mission and philosophy, as well as our programs.

As we continue through our strategic planning process, we have recognized areas needing focus within our school community. Our ultimate goal is to work in partnership with our parents to create a progressive curriculum emphasizing the on-going changes in rigorous writing programs and technology. In an ever-changing society, it is vital that we meet the needs of our children socially, emotionally, and academically. Striking a needed balance between character education programs at the 5-8 grade levels, combined with an anti-bullying/respect program at the 3-4 grade levels provides our students a core foundation which gives them the confidence and skill set to become productive and morally-minded young men or women.

All learners are unique individuals who learn and grow at their own pace. Two full time resource/gifted teachers allow us the ability to offer such programs as our target groups and the C.O.M.E.T. group. Using our MAP testing results as a guide, we offer at every grade level, reinforcement with essential math concepts providing additional support beyond the classroom setting. In addition, we provide a gifted program called C.O.M.E.T: Challenge Our Minds, Expand Thinking. This, as well, is offered twice a week at every grade level. The main emphasis is in the area of math, particularly stressing problem solving and working together as a team to solve concepts.

Here at St. Thomas, a constant goal is to maintain our technology.  In the Fall of 2016, we have found ourselves excited to be one of the first area Catholic Schools to provide a dedicated “Maker Space” Lab for our students.  There is nothing more that engages our students than hands on learning.  Our emphasis on hands on technology such as “Ozobots” and “Little Bits” has transformed our students’ learning and also created a shift from teacher centered to student centered learning.  The Google Suite for Education is fully embedded in our fifth through eighth grade programming and students and teachers use it on a daily basis for homework and project needs.  

Another strategic goal in academics is to create a greater emphasis in providing more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities throughout our programming. STEM is an interdisciplinary approach.  According to stemconnector.com, by 2018 over 8 million people will be needed to meet the demands of STEM related jobs.  It’s vitally important that we show students how these disciplines intersect and come together.  

In 2017, our faculty will be entering our second year in the study of the “Gradual Release of Responsibility” instructional model. This model focuses on making the students more accountable for their learning.   We have focused our teacher in-services and studies towards a greater emphasis in student engagement and collaboration.  

Our hope at St. Thomas the Apostle is to equip our graduates to become successful individuals and leaders in our local community and beyond. Our graduates are recognized for their service, leadership, and participation in respective high schools. We pride ourselves in providing well-rounded experiences in fine arts: art, Spanish, music, full band, drama, and speech. Striking a balance between club offerings, student council opportunities, after school programs such as Robotics, Declamations, Scholastic Bowl, community service, and traditional athletic programs makes St. Thomas the Apostle a great choice!

Faculty and staff at St. Thomas the Apostle constantly strive for the advancement, safety, and well-being of each and every child. They choose to be teachers in a Catholic school because they consider their profession to be a mission and not just a job. Over 30% of our teachers hold master's degrees and all are Illinois state certified. I encourage you to schedule a visit with me to learn more about STS and take a tour with one of our parent ambassadors. We also offer shadowing visits for students. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Blessings,

Maureen Bentley

Principal