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Mission as a Measurement of Success at Sacred Heart School

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Various high school students in grades 7-12 gather as a “Faith Family.” Faith Families are comprised of students in a variety of grades, 7-12, who meet once a week to discuss a faith based topic as a small group.

How does the mission of Sacred Heart School drive success for the school and students?

Emphasis on Faith & Character
What makes Sacred Heart School a great choice for families is that the school’s mission goes well beyond academics. The Catholic school experience is meant to be transformative and make a difference in the life of every student.

Teachers at Sacred Heart understand that their mission here is not just a job, but a calling. Faculty and Staff emphasize a God-centered life and strive to serve as role models who share their faith, their talents, and their time. Students are continually encouraged to live the school’s philosophy to become “citizens who are responsive to the needs of society.”

This can be done through participation in classroom activities, sports and organizations, volunteerism, community involvement, opportunities for worship, and the encouragement of each child to foster and develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer. The results of students being surrounded in a culture of respect, discipline, character and generosity have an enduring impact and point the way to personal success rooted in moral character.

Superior Academics with Results
In reality, academic excellence at Sacred Heart is largely a result of a faith-filled culture that respects each child and supports and encourages the use of their God-given talent. “Catholic education is about developing the individual into what God has created us to be,” said Joanne Wilson, Sacred Heart’s Dean of Academics.

Fr. Ilango, Sacred Heart’s parish pastor, speaks during Mr. Roger Pieper’s junior Ecclesiology class.

Fr. Ilango, Sacred Heart’s parish pastor, speaks during Mr. Roger Pieper’s junior Ecclesiology class.

Tracking and understanding individual student growth is especially important to Wilson, who sits down with parents and students starting in 6th grade to create a personalized profile of a student’s interests, skills, needs and goals. Personalized Education Plans, or PEPs, are then shared with teachers if parents desire and can assist teachers in tailoring the educational experience to help maximize learning.

“Academically it allows the student to identify who they are,” said Wilson, “and discover their interests.” Ultimately the goal of an education at Sacred Heart is to empower a lifelong learner while fostering potential. Wilson says that the school hopes to “challenge students to continually learn and not settle.”

She then meets every other year with student and parents to continue to track that student’s growth and development as they learn, grow and prepare for life beyond high school.

There are still general criteria and best practices for Sacred Heart School and its students to meet. Sacred Heart School is recognized by the Minnesota State Accreditation Association (MNSAA).

A Caring Community
Families choose Sacred Heart because it fits in as an extension of their families. Values that are taught at home can be witnessed and lived at school. A student at Sacred Heart is accepted, respected and never lost in the crowd.

Sacred Heart School is unique in housing child care, preschool, and kindergarten through twelfth grade on one campus, making the school, in conjunction with the parish, feel much more like a family environment.

Sacred Heart Students Work Together in Education

Sacred Heart Students Work Together in Education

Sacred Heart juniors work on an activity in one of the science labs with visiting elementary  students.

Sacred Heart juniors work on an activity in one of the science labs with visiting Kindergarten Students.

Mrs. Deb Hammond, one of Sacred Heart’s Kindergarten teachers, and her students have enjoyed their classroom collaboration with the sixth graders this year.

At the beginning of the year each young Kindergartener is paired with a sixth grade student. As “Mass Buddies,” they sit together during weekly school Masses or sing together at Praise & Worship in the church. Hammond enjoys watching the bond form. “My heart smiles when I sit back and watch the relationship between the two grades—WOW!”

Sacred Heart 6th graders work with their kindergarten buddies on an activity. The 6th graders each created their own books centered on the creation story, & then worked through their lesson with their young friends.

Sacred Heart 6th graders work with their kindergarten buddies on an activity. The 6th graders each created their own books centered on the creation story, & then worked through their lesson with their young friends.

This year sixth graders have also worked with their Kindergarten buddies for other activities. Students in Ms. Dawn Ziegelman’s 6th grade class recently developed their own lesson plan centered on a book, and together they read the story and worked through the activity. Hammond says, “When we do these activities, my students are tickled pink! They love going upstairs for activities!”

The interaction between grades is not something solely reserved for Kindergarteners and 6th graders, however.

This year collaboration has also extended into the high school. Miss Sarina Bauer, a high school Environmental Science instructor, had her students create presentations, lessons and displays for the younger elementary students.
The 11th and 12th grade science students enjoyed sharing their class millipedes, roaches, and blue tongued skink with the bright eyed and excited elementary students. “Teaching here has been a lot of fun,” said Bauer. “What I’ve seen here at Sacred Heart and what I strive to do is build relationships with each student.”

By encouraging this kind of relationship, students are learning to present information in an understandable, entertaining, or engaging way.

Hammond taught many of the sixth grade students, and even many of our junior and senior students once upon a time when she was the preschool teacher. “The children have developed such a good connection with their buddies,” says Hammond, “and the older ones are such wonderful role models.”

The high school students have enjoyed their roles as mentors. “Working with the younger classes was really fun,” said Joe Johnson, a junior. “Teaching others really helped me understand what I had learned and it’s always fun interacting with the younger students.”

In the conversation among teachers, the plan is for the collaboration between the grades to continue. “I have seen the sixth graders blossom into confident, compassionate students,” says Hammond.

High School students plan today for their Future

High School students plan today for their Future

Students in last year's Career Development class talk with a visiting speaker about career options and job specifics. The semester long course will be offered again in the spring semester for juniors and seniors.

Students in last year’s Career Development class talk with a visiting speaker about career options and job specifics. The semester long course will be offered again in the spring semester for juniors and seniors.

Thinking about careers can be fun — but it is also important, particularly to students who are in their junior or senior year. Ultimately the goal at Sacred Heart School is to prepare students to be responsible and ready young adults who are socially aware, world-savvy, community-minded and equipped for life.

The Career Development course, taught by school counselor, Patrick Hart, is an elective designed to introduce junior and senior students to the world of career exploration and decision making. In this class, students explore their interests, skills, and needs to develop career goals. Students will gather information about careers and educational options in order to fulfill their career aspirations.

Their teacher, Patrick Hart, said that he was interested in teaching the class for a few reasons, “It is difficult to give ALL the class guidance required in high school. My thought process was that if I offered a semester course on Career Development, the students who wanted the course could take it as an elective.”

So far the students have been appreciative of the opportunity. Annika Thompson, a junior, is looking forward to taking the class next semester. “I know I want to be a paramedic and this class helps with careers.”

The course, now in its third year, has several objectives, which are individualized for each student: explore career options, identify self-values and personality type, identify interests and skills, gather information about colleges and grad schools, consider career decisions, select a major, and complete job searches.

With this in mind the students also complete sections on how to present yourself, writing a resume and cover letter, how to collect references, how to complete a job search and interview, and job advancement. A large area of focus within the course is on setting and reaching goals and how to develop a career network.

Once students have defined an area of interest, Hart helps connect them with individuals already working in that field. Hart has brought geologists, healthcare workers, designers, writers, police and others into his classroom as guest speakers.

Hart says that the course has a lot of flexibility. “Students should take the class to find out what they want to be, learn about what it takes to do that particular career, and learn if that career option is a good fit for them.“

Attitudes of Respect

Attitudes of Respect

Here at Sacred Heart School, we believe God is always with us…we are never truly alone.  It doesn’t matter what language we speak, whether we shout, sing or whisper, or even if we put our prayers or thoughts in code, He hears each message.”

- Jan Verdi, 6th Grade Teacher

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One of Sacred Heart’s 6th grade STAR teams present to the fourth grade classroom the principles of conflict resolution. The principles taught are then reinforced through skits, games and other activities. The 6th grade teams will present on a variety of topics to their peers in K-5th throughout the year.

Sacred Heart School has a long-standing tradition of operating as a community. As recent 2015 graduate, Megan Ogaard put it, “Family is perhaps the best possible description for what we have here at Sacred Heart.”

The tradition of family extends not just to the relationships that students develop at the school but also to the way they interact as a community. A lot of positivity can come from how the school is able to inject Christ-like attitudes into everything.

Sacred Heart has started some exciting things this year; All-school praise and worship, monthly senior breakfasts for student discussion and input, Olweus staff training and program implementation, the posting of anti-bullying rules which were written by SHS students, all-school announcements in grades K-12, and service recognition for seniors.

In the last few weeks, teachers have begun facilitating weekly class meetings as well as more all-school activities and class challenges which are meant to allow students to have fun and bond as a family.

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Mrs. Verdi’s 6th grade implemented the school message, “We Do Not Stand Alone” as part of their project on Morse Code.

“Our challenge is to all stand together because we do not stand alone,” said school counselor, Patrick Hart, when addressing students at a school assembly.

6th graders in Mrs. Verdi’s class have taken that theme into their studies. The students recently were completing an assignment on Morse Code. The students each created their “heart” in code, and then made a big banner for the door, which translates to “We are One Body.”

Their teacher, Mrs. Jan Verdi explained the purpose behind making the project more personable for her students. “Here at Sacred Heart, we believe God is always with us…we are never truly alone.  It doesn’t matter what language we speak, whether we shout, sing or whisper, or even if we put our prayers or thoughts in code, He hears each message.”

As a community students are also extending that bond beyond their walls to their peers at the other Grand Forks Catholic Schools. Combined, each K-5 class from Sacred Heart School, Holy Family-St. Mary’s School, and St. Michael’s School plan to complete group service projects. The Kindergarten recently completed their project, making scarves for the homeless.

Internally, our own sixth graders hold an important position at Sacred Heart as members of the STAR Team. As members of STAR, which stands for “Students Teaching Attitudes of Respect” 6th graders attend a training on conflict resolution offered by Peacemaker Resources and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. All sixth graders are members of a STAR team, and they take what they learned back to their peers in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

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Kindergarteners get help as they create their tied scarves for the homeless shelter. The project was a collaboration with their peers at the Grand Forks Catholic Schools.

With so much continued focus on giving back and positive culture, the school is always excited at how they can continue to challenge students. The hope is that through continuing to provide and encourage a positive culture within the school students will feel a sense of belonging and a family atmosphere.

“Activities designed as a part of our plan focus on developing a sense of leadership, ownership, and pride in our school,” said School President, Carl Adolphson. “The focus is on following the values in the gospel about how we are to treat others with kindness, empathy, and compassion.”

Youth Basketball Sign-Up for 2015-16 Season

Youth Basketball Sign-Up for 2015-16 Season

Sign-up using FORM HEREBasketballEagle

Who: 1st-6th Grade Boys and Girls Youth Basketball

What: Team and Individual Basketball Skills and Fundamentals

When: November 14-February 20

Where: Sacred Heart Gymnasium

How Much: $50 – Check payable to Sacred Heart

All grades will meet Saturday, November 14 at Sacred Heart for registration and practice at the following times:

1st & 2nd: 9:00-10:15am
3rd & 4th: 10:15-11:30am
5th & 6th: 11:30-12:45am

Then, 1st & 2nd Grade will meet Saturday mornings from 9-10:15am. 3rd-6th Grade will practice twice a week with games on Saturday mornings. A Schedule will be available at registration.

To sign-up return the below form, along with payment, to Sacred Heart School or at Registration.

For questions contact Brody Welsh at bwelsh@sacredheartegf.net.

Sign-up using FORM HERE

New SHS course challenges students to explore Physiology & Anatomy

New SHS course challenges students to explore Physiology & Anatomy

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Miss Sarina Bauer’s Anatomy & Physiology course allows students to explore and further come to understand the normal structure and function of the body. Michele Remer, a senior trying to decide if a medical career is right for her has enjoyed being able to take the class during High School. “My sister loved her anatomy class in college, which made me want to try it now.”

Bauer says that students are very eager to learn the material, and complete experiments in the lab. The course has had a positive reception, particularly amongst students who are looking at college in the coming years.

However, not everyone in the course is medically or research motivated. “I know a lot of students are taking it out of pure interest, said Bauer.

Petrie, a Blue Tongue Skink, meets some of Ms. Bauer's Anatomy & Physiology students. Petrie may be around for a while as she will live to be 20 years old, but she won’t be alone — she joins the other class creatures, the Hissing Cockroaches.

Petrie, a Blue Tongue Skink, meets some of Ms. Bauer’s Anatomy & Physiology students. Petrie may be around for a while as she will live to be 20 years old, but she won’t be alone — she joins the other class creatures, the Hissing Cockroaches.

The class has many opportunities to not only learn about the anatomical structures, but to study the interrelationships within them.  Among the more interesting tasks are the dissections, which will include eyeballs, hearts, kidneys, brains, and fetal pigs. “I also expect to do many activities such as artificial blood type testing, artificial urinalysis experiment, and case studies,” said Bauer. “To understand human health, you must first understand how the body is formed, and how it functions.”

Bauer, who has her Master’s in Physiology and Histology from UND, taught at Northland Community and Technical College for a year. She says she really enjoys teaching at Sacred Heart School. “I like the sense of family this school gives its students and faculty. It’s a very personable school, and it’s nice to be at a school that cares so deeply about each and every student.”

 

 

Students Challenged to Serve here at Sacred Heart School

Students Challenged to Serve here at Sacred Heart School

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Students volunteered to clean Sacred Heart’s adopted stretch of highway in September.

At Sacred Heart School, students are encouraged to understand how service fits into a larger picture of the world.

This year the continued call for service was made more concrete and official, with a 100-hour service challenge to students in grades 9-12. In the fall, it was announced that seniors who have achieved 100+ hours of service by graduation will be recognized with a special white honor cord. This is done in conjunction with the school’s philosophy to foster students who become “citizens who are responsive to the needs of society.”

Last week high students gathered on a Saturday morning to help clean a stretch of highway the school has adopted. The students clean this adopted stretch along highway  each fall and spring — and don’t seem to mind doing the task.

In addition to the challenge to serve others, Sacred Heart is unique in the offering of a Christian Service Learning Class, which fosters the call as Christians to serve others.

Christian Service Learning explores the Christian foundations of service as found both in Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church. Their teacher, Roger Pieper, explains that, “students have been especially studying how all Christian service is a continuation of the mission of Christ to bring all of humanity into relationship with God, which is only possible by recognizing the dignity of each person.”

On Tuesday, the CSL students spent their first day at their service sites, the Women’s Pregnancy Center in Grand Forks, Altru YMCA, and assisting Fr. Bill Sherman.

Students volunteered to clean Sacred Heart’s adopted stretch of highway in September.

Students volunteered to clean Sacred Heart’s adopted stretch of highway in September.

The call to service does not start in just the high school. In the elementary, students are constantly encouraged to serve and are provided ample opportunities through events such as Rake-a-thon, Advent clothing, food, or toy drives, visiting the nursing homes, and various other volunteer opportunities during the year. During Rake-A-Thon, the younger students in Preschool-2nd grade pick up litter around the community, while older students in grades 3-12, faculty, and administration rake the lawns for over 30 homes in the greater Grand Forks community. This year’s Rake-A-Thon will be held October 23rd (weather permitting).

School President, Carl Adolphson, says, “we plan to continue volunteer opportunities such as ditch cleaning, Rake-a-thon, and food and clothing drives. By giving our students the opportunity to serve others we hope, upon adulthood, they will be compassionate, selfless, caring and giving individuals.”

Homecoming 2015 Recap

Homecoming 2015 Recap

Sacred Heart welcomed home alumni, family and friends last Friday for the culmination of the Homecoming Week. During the week the 7-12th grades participated in a variety of dress up themed days — Jersey Day, Tourist Day, Senior Citizen Day, Spirit Day and Dress Up Day. The week ended with Mass, Coronation, pep fest, and the Homecoming football game.

The day started with an all-school morning Mass, concelebrated by Msgr. Mike Foltz, Superintendent, and Fr. Ilango, Sacred Heart’s pastor.

Coronation followed with the introduction of the homecoming court and the introduction of the reigning 2014 Homecoming Queen, Marina O’Leary. O’Leary, like the queens in the past few years, was invited back to Sacred Heart to crown this year’s Homecoming Queen. Senior, Hannah Reimer, was crowned the 2015 Homecoming Queen.

Joe Kulas, a 2008 graduate & member of the recently inducted Hall of Fame 2005 Baseball team, spoke to students, family, & friends during Friday’s coronation. Kulas thanked several teachers and spoke about the treasure Sacred Heart School is to students.
Video of Kulas’ speech is also available at: www.youtube.com/sacredheartegf

In the afternoon students participated in a school pep rally, inviting the students from the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades to join in on the festivities.

After a rousing faculty vs. seniors volleyball game, the students transferred to the Klinkhammer Auditorium for a lip sync contest. The winner of the contest was crowd favorite, senior Jonan Garcia, aka Johnny Cash.

Polk County West fought a tough battle and lost their first game of the season, a close one, 36-35 to visiting Fosston. The team is now 6-1 on the season as they prepare for post-season play.

More homecoming pictures are on page two, & at www.facebook.com/SacredHeartEGF

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Former Viking & Super Bowl Champ Matt Birk inspires students at SHS

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birk2Sacred Heart’s first ever DAY-ONE speaker, Matt Birk, invigorated 5-12 students, parents, grandparents and parishioners about the coming year with a message about his faith journey. He spoke to students, saying that they don’t need to be stressed or worried about the day to day stressors of this world. “I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made. Our identity is secured in our faith. We can be confident. We don’t have to worry at all about the future.” 

 

Matt Birk took a few moments after his presentation to speak with a few members of the PCW football team. birk3

Birk encouraged some of the football players, saying, “Participating in high school football let’s you experience something that not everybody does, and it’s not like anything you will ever get to experience again.  Sooner or later your football career will be over, so make sure that you enjoy every second of it.”