The Arc- SJA's School Blog
Hello! I'm Mr. Gabriel Jakubisin and I will begin as SJA's interim Principal on July 1st. Allow me to use this post to introduce myself a little. Although my wife and I have a passion for Catholic education, as it is for many of you, our primary vocation is to each other and then to our children. I'm a child of God first, a husband second, a father third, and then a Catholic educator. I really believe that those roles define (or start to define) me. In those four relationships, my faith, my marriage, my parenthood, and my role in Catholic education, are my greatest joys.
My call in faith (and the beginnings of my vocation to Catholic education) came in the form of a reading about Paul's evangelization at a daily Mass my sophomore year of high school. Since that time, I've believed that I was called in a special way to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. (Of course, all Christians are called to spread this Good News - but not everyone makes a career of it!)
Over time, this developed into a call to education and I began teaching high school theology. My experiences as a teacher and talking to teachers, parents, and administrators all over convinced me of the importance of leadership in our Catholic schools. Thus, I applied to the Remick Leadership Program of the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. I'll graduate from the Remick program next summer (July 2020). My goal as a Catholic educator (and now as a Catholic school leader) is to help every student form a transformational relationship with Jesus Christ in the context of receiving a stellar education. After all, since all truth comes from God, studying in any discipline can lead one closer to the God who created us, loved us when we were lost, saved us, and offered us eternity in Heaven.
A note on summer break: Not long after we began our school summer break, the Church also entered into Ordinary Time following the celebration of Pentecost on June 9th. There's nothing ordinary about it though. This time is extraordinary! Each week of the year, every Sunday, the Church remembers Jesus' Resurrection on the first Easter morning. Even though we've left the Easter season, we still have a mini-Easter celebration at Mass every Sunday! As Catholics, our Sunday obligation to attend Mass becomes less of an obligation and more of a celebration as we realize the joy of what we celebrate. My wife and I like to call this season of the Church "Anniversary Time", because every Sunday is like a little anniversary celebration commemorating the events and mysteries of our faith!
Especially if you are traveling this summer, make sure to attend Mass wherever you go. One of the most powerful experiences of my life was hearing the Mass in multiple languages in different countries during a high school trip to Europe. When you see and hear and participate in the Mass away from your home parish or home city, you experience the universality of the Church at a different level. In 2014, I attended a Mass in Shanghai in China - and felt right at home! Closer to home, I'm looking forward to taking my family to Our Lady, Star of the Sea in New Smyrna Beach, FL this summer. My kids will get to see that, even a thousand miles from home, they'll always be at home in a Catholic church.
So, enjoy this "anniversary time" with your loved ones and with the Church. I hope your summer is off to a great start and is full of grace and refreshment! God be with you!
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!
Gabriel A. Jakubisin
SJA Interim Principal
Recently the Diocese of Toledo announced the 2018-2019 Golden Apple Award winners. This year, the diocese received a record-breaking amount of nominations. We are proud to announce St. Joan of Arc’s 2nd grade teacher, Beth Savage, was one of just nine winners!
The Golden Apple Award honors outstanding teachers who are dedicated to the ministry of making Christ known, loved, and served in our Catholic schools. Parents send in nominations and then those teachers are asked to submit an application that includes an essay, list of professional development, and work in areas of service, professionalism, and leadership.
SJA 2nd grade teacher, Beth Savage, has been teaching at St. Joan of Arc School for four years, having taught preschool and second grade. Beth is also an adjunct professor for Lourdes University, teaching education majors in a reading diagnosis class. She volunteers her time as a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd instructor at St. Richards.
Nominated by fellow staff members as well as parents of current/former students, Beth Savage was described as:
"I have never met a teacher with the level of dedication that Beth demonstrates every day. Even when facing stressful or difficult days, Beth always is professional, sensitive and totally engaged with her students."- SJA faculty member
"The children in her class love to come to school and they are excited to see what they will learn."- SJA parent
"Beth Savage has become a hero not only to my daughter, but to my whole family this year."- SJA parent
"Several years ago, a blessing walked through the doors of St. Joan of Arc and we have forever been changed by her!”- SJA faculty member
Beth is known here at SJA for creating an atmosphere of love and respect where students talk through disagreements, share in the successes of others, and support those who are in need.
She encourages curiosity with an “I wonder…board” which allows students to post questions they are curious about and together as a class, begin a quest to answer.
These are a just few examples of what makes Beth a special teacher to all students and faculty members. Beth received her award on May 8th at a reception hosted by Bishop Thomas. We congratulate her on her accomplishments and commitment to a Catholic education!
Yesterday, SJA 8th grader Macy, crowned the Virgin Mary during our May Crowning. She was selected based on her essay about the Virgin Mary. Please read on and reflect as we celebrate Mary's commitment to God during this month of May.
Padre Pio once said, "Abandon yourself in the hands of Mary. She will take care of you." I agree with this statement, and I believe Mary will always be there for me. She is the Mother of God, and she is my Mother too. Just like any other mother, Mary will always look out for me. The Blessed Virgin is very important to me, and she has influenced my life a lot.
When I hear words like strong, brave, beautiful, humble and faithful, one person comes to mind. That person is the Blessed Virgin. To me, Mary is someone I can look up to. She is an amazing role model, and the perfect example of "girl power." At just a young age, Mary made a huge sacrifice for God. By saying "yes" at the Annunciation, she assisted God in entering the world as a human. She loved God so much; she did everything she could for Him. I know Mary loves me in that same way. She is my Spiritual Mother, and I know she is always there for me. I can trust her to be at my side. All in all, Mary is someone I love so much, and by loving her, I am loving her son, Jesus, too.
Mary has influenced me in multiple ways. First, by her example of trusting in God, I learned that I need to trust Him too. Through the struggles I face I need to have faith in God. When I feel discouraged because I am being tempted to sin, Mary gives me the strength to turn away from that temptation. With Mary's guidance, I have been inspired to grow in love for God and neighbor.
One person in my life that exemplifies Mary and her virtues is my grandma. Why is this? Well, she has always been a kind and loving person. Last summer, my family and I faced the sudden death of my grandpa. He was my grandma's husband, and his death brought all of us, especially her, deep sorrow. In spite of everything, my grandmas stayed close to Jesus. Like Mary, she took up the burden of her cross and stayed with God. Also, my grandma has a very close relationship with Our Lady. She is kind, modest, and a great role model for me. Plus, my grandma prays the Rosary every day. This is a lesson Mary taught to us, and the children at Fatima. Overall, my grandma is a strong, humble person who has a close relationship with Mary, and therefore is really close to Jesus too.
In summary, Mary is an amazing person, and is someone I look up to. She is extremely important to me and has influenced me in a variety of ways. Just like Padre Pio's saying, I know the Blessed Virgin Mary will always be there for me.
SJA Reading Scores Well Above National Averages
In mid-September, our Kindergarten through 8th grade students took the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment. This assessment measures individual academic growth and provides schools with grade level averages. The results offer valuable data on how SJA compares to the Toledo Diocese; all based on the fiftieth percentile national norm.
Each grade ranged from 77-92% above the national average. As you can see our students are doing well! But we can always do better. During our recent professional development days, our team of teachers discussed ways to ensure the reading success of each student. As educators, we believe in a cycle of
continuous improvement which includes evaluation of current programs.
Currently, one of the biggest components to our reading program is the Accelerated Reader (AR) Program. The AR program is beneficial for encouraging ongoing reading practice, supporting students at their individual reading level, and collecting data for teachers to plan their instruction. But in and of itself, it is not enough. So we have developed a strong plan to supporting our ultimate goal - improving the students’ reading skills. This is all part of a broader plan to continue improving upon early development of phonics skills, phonemic awareness, and sight word fluency; ensuring all students exceed reading proficiency thresholds; and most importantly building a life-long love of reading!
There will be more leniency with student book selection to encourage a love of reading. While it is a confidence builder for students to work strategically within their reading range, teachers will be less structured about the step-by-step process. Individual classroom incentives will be offered as well as the
opportunity for students to earn school-wide prizes and recognition for meeting and exceeding their goals.
One such incentive is Mrs. Shinaberry’s kindergarten class received a challenge from Mr. Witker to read 400 books by the end of the school year. If they succeed, they each give Mr. Witker a pie in the face. The kindergartners enthusiastically said, “Challenge accepted!”