The Arc- SJA's School Blog
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!”
Learn more about how SJA intentionally incorporates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) into our daily curriculum. SJA 1st grade teachers, Mrs. Gilsdorf and Mrs. Ponzi, share how first grade has incorporated STEAM into their reading curriculum.
First Grade STEAM Fairy Tales
In 1st grade this year we are working on many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) projects which also involve fairy tales. We have been noticing over the past few years, that there are less and less children who are familiar with the traditional fairy tales we all grew up with.
To bridgethat gap in their literary knowledge, we decided to combine both
Literacy and STEAM into Fairy Tale STEAM. The STEAM emphasis in our curriculum is an intentional combination of various skills to help reinforce and challenge students to become problem-solvers.
Our first project (after studying simple machines: levers, ramps, and pulleys in science and reading the story of Rapunzel), involved helping Rapunzel escape from her imprisonment in the castle. Each student’s castle began with an empty toilet paper roll. The students had to construct an escape for Rapunzel. Using small boxes from grocery items such as pudding boxes, egg cartons, and many types and colors of construction paper, the students engineered elaborate escape systems.
The second project focused on the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Beauty loved to read so much, but also needed to take care of Beast by brushing and grooming him every day. So Beast thought of designing a reading stand for Beauty so that she could do both at the same time. The students worked in pairs using recess toys and objects like Legos and blocks to create sturdy objects that could hold a book at the correct angle.