St. Edward Catholic School
Fr. Craig Timmerman, Pastor * Jaci Garvey, Principal
210 W. 4th Street * Minneota, Minnesota 56264
Phone:(507) 872-6391 * Fax: (507) 872-5263
June 26, 2020
I pray that each of you finds yourself healthy. Here at school we are busy reflecting on our school year, staying busy with our summer program and looking forward to next fall.
Each June I must submit to MNSAA (our accrediting agency) an executive summary of what we have accomplished over the past year. You will find a copy of that document at the end of this letter.
I think 2020 can officially be considered a time of change. We, here at St. Edward School are not exempt. I will be holding interviews today with possible 1st
and 2nd grade teachers. Please pray that God will send just the right person to us.
On Wednesday evening, June 24, the 2nd grade students will finally get to celebrate their First Communion. Please pray for them during this
very special event.
On Sunday, June 28th at 1 pm in St. Leo we will have the opportunity to say Good Bye to both Father Craig and Father Zach who have been reassigned. I encourage all of you to bring your children in order that they may have some closure with this. For the past five years, the priests have taken time out of their busy schedules to visit the classrooms every week and have often eaten lunch in our cafeteria with them. It only stands to reason that the children have formed connections.
As we try to wrap our heads around the 2020-21 school year, the Minnesota Catholic Superintendents and the Minnesota Catholic Conference are looking for some input from you, the Catholic school parents. Please fill out the following survey by July 2 in order to help us make decisions as we move forward. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MNCatholicSchoolReopening
A St. Edward Garden Committee has been formed and they have been active in planting and maintaining the garden space. They are asking for families and community members to assist by adopting the garden for a week (Monday – Sunday) during the summer. Volunteers would be responsible for weeding, watering and harvesting during their week. As this is a St. Edward community project, families and community members helping in the garden would be allowed to use any harvested food in their own kitchens. As one of the goals of the garden is to provide food for the school kitchen, excess harvest should be delivered there. To sign up for a week click here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0F44A9A82CA6FC1-stedward2
The following words are replicated from the executive summary that I spoke of earlier. If you have any questions about its contents, please feel free to contact me. Also know that we are looking for new memberships for our many school committees for the fall of 2020. These include the education committee (1), our marketing committee (2), an alumni committee and the technology committee. I recently attended a webinar entitled “How to Lead in Times of Global
Pandemic and Social Unrest.” It seems that current events have taken over, making it difficult to look back at what has been accomplished or even forward to what might be on the horizon. Here at St. Edward School the difficulty has been multiplied by the recent death of one of our senior teachers. We find ourselves reeling from the punches. So, taking a step back to look back at what has been accomplished is a much needed breath of fresh air.
The story of any school year actually begins in the winter and spring months of the year prior. This was exceptionally true for us last year as we began the journey toward opening a licensed preschool. This became a much larger effort than anyone had anticipated, but we were successful. On Oct. 1, the first preschool students entered the building as ½ day students and in March when we received our state license, they were able to attend full day preschool. As part of the preschool decision, the education committee and I were unified that what we do must be different than what is already offered for preschool in
Minneota. This led us down several paths as we discussed how we would accomplish this. The first discussion centered around when to offer preschool (1/2 days, full days, how many days per week, etc.). At the conclusion of this, parent choice became the focus. Families simply need preschool to fit in with their work, home and daycare schedules. These needs led us to explore different models in which flexible scheduling are a viable option. Exploration of these models then led us to a Montessori concept, which was tested this school year. The entire staff received training in Montessori Theory as we explored this
type of learning and teaching. The preschool teacher and our kindergarten teacher will be attending Montessori certification training this summer which will allow us to become a Certified Montessori Preschool. As the decision was made to open a preschool, it was clear that a preschool teacher would be needed. We interviewed several candidates and finally found the correct one in August. Also during the summer we learned that we would need to replace our kindergarten teacher and our school secretary. These positions were both filled in the nick of time, but there was a very large learning curve that needed to be overcome. FACTS and RenWeb were rocky throughout the year. I can say that we have them under control now, but it has been a long journey. We are working toward automatic reenrollment for students within both FACTS and RenWeb for the fall of 2020 which should make things simpler here
in the office and for our families. We are also working to implement on-line permission slips and other payment options for 2020-21. With the addition of preschool, we were able to hold enrollment steady this year. The enrollment management plan was followed. We began working with our potential families in late fall and met with them in November, January and March. We held a virtual Kindergarten/Preschool Roundup in April which was very successful. We currently have four kindergarten students enrolled and are expecting 12 preschool students in the fall. We were able to host one BINGO event and an Oktoberfest meal after Mass.
We held an all school reunion on Sunday, Sept. 8th with a wonderful turnout. The day filled me with grace and hope and our school filled with past students who were willing to share their memories with me.
The addition of summer care at St. Edward School has made us more visible to the community and we are offering a much needed service. We have begun our second year and currently have 25+ children enrolled. As I train new staff I tell them that we have three goals. #1) The children need to have fun. #2) The children need to be safe. #3) They need to learn. This is also a great way for us to share the love of Christ with those who may not otherwise get the message.
As COVID changed the way we taught, we learned several things. #1) Our technology initiatives over the past several years made us more ready to handle the challenge as each child was able to have their own device at home. #2) There is much to be learned about distance learning and its best practices as we move through the coming months and years. While we did comparatively very well, we have a list of things that we need to do differently. As administrator, I worry about overall student learning as well as the effects of this year’s summer slide. My sincerest prayer is that we are able to have the students in our
building next fall in order to properly assess and make goals to meet their needs. At St. Edward School we have a long history of academic excellence; we must find a way to work through these times to ensure that our students are receiving the quality education we are known for.