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GRACE NEWS: WINTER 2021 NEWSLETTER
COVID RESPONSE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT COMMITTEE CREATED TO ENSURE SUCCESS AMONG GRACE STUDENTS
By Laura Blicharz, GRACE Curriculum Coordinator
Academic rigor and excellence have always been priorities for the GRACE school system, whether in the form of face-to-face instruction or a digital learning classroom.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, learning environments have changed — and that, in turn, has caused learning inconsistencies outside of our control. While that is a normal outcome of this time period and schools across the country are seeing the same trend, our school system is working tirelessly to ensure our students receive the best education possible and to keep students on track to progress grade level to grade level.
GRACE has taken academic achievement and learning progression into its own hands with the creation of the COVID Response Academic Achievement Committee.
The committee was formed to address any learning inconsistencies, concerns or gaps that may occur during this time of educational disruption. The goal is to give teachers and parents resources to assist their students and children in increasing the academic rigor in everyday instruction in order to keep students on track with their learning progress.
In addition to providing resources, the committee’s goals include various objectives and steps. These include:
- Identifying core goals to address the COVID learning disruption
- Determining concrete steps to accomplish these goals
- Addressing short- and long-term goals that will go beyond the 2020-2021 academic year
- Locating information for parents and teachers to assist with this system-wide endeavor
As the committee continues to meet, information and documents will be shared to teachers and/or parents to keep the entire educational community informed. Resources may include video links, webinars, at-home academic activities, MAP testing information and resources, and much more.
The goal of sharing these resources with parents and teachers is to provide GRACE students with a complete educational community to support them in their academic success. Students succeed best when they receive support from classroom and at-home environments in conjunction with one another. Just one or the other does not yield the same outcome as both working together. This is the core belief of the COVID Response Academic Achievement Committee. The committee will share resource and have an open dialogue with everyone in the GRACE school system.
Members of the COVID Response Academic Achievement Committee represent a wide variety of educational roles. The committee includes:
- Principal Kay Franz, Father Allouez Catholic School
- Principal Jeff Young, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
- Principal Dr. Jamie Froh Tyrrell, St. Thomas More Catholic School
- Chrissy Kiefert, teacher, Holy Family Catholic School
- Taylor Baltus, teacher, St. Bernard Catholic School
- Laura Blicharz, GRACE Curriculum Coordinator
- James Cullen, GRACE Director of Student Services
- Stephanie Shedrow, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, St. Norbert College
- Chris Bradford, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, St. Norbert College
All of these roles and viewpoints will help provide the most comprehensive and well-rounded plan possible for students to achieve their academic goals.
The goals and objectives of this committee are crucially important to the academic success of all GRACE students. Since we don’t know when the pandemic will subside, a plan needs to be implemented to assist students with continued learning growth and success regardless of what type of educational disruption is occurring. We cannot wait until the pandemic begins to slow in order to address these educational concerns.
GRACE continues to be a leader in education, as demonstrated by the creation of the COVID Response Academic Achievement Committee. The committee looks forward to working with teachers, parents, administrators and others in our community to ensure the academic success of our students.
2021-2022 ENROLLMENT OPENS JAN. 31
Enrollment opens on Jan. 31 for the GRACE 2021-2022 school year. The enrollment fees (listed per family) remain the same as last year and are non-refundable. They are:
- $50 from January 31 through February 7, 2021 (Catholic Schools Week)
- $100 from February 8-28, 2021
- $125 beginning March 1, 2021
Current GRACE families are scheduled to receive an email from their GRACE school via TADS.com with a re-enrollment link specific to each student. This link will take GRACE families directly to the TADS enrollment website. Families must complete enrollment for each child.
During the enrollment process, families will be asked if they wish to attend school in-person or if they are seeking a virtual experience for their child through Our Lady of Grace Virtual Academy. Based on the responses, a decision will be made by June to determine if we will run another virtual program based on enrollment.
Upon completion of the enrollment steps, the family will be required to complete a tuition account and set up a payment plan. Completion of the process in its entirety must be done to reserve each child’s seat at your GRACE school for Fall 2021.
For more information, please visit www.gracesystem.org/enrollment.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2018-2021
GRACE has been implementing the prioritized action plans encompassed in our three-year Strategic Plan, and we continue to see strong progress. The planning team continues to conduct 90-day assessments. Stay updated with developments via our Strategic Plan webpage (www.gracesystem.org/strategic-plan-2018-2021), where the most recent 90-day progress summary is posted.
GRACE SNAPSHOT REPORT 2020-2021
The GRACE school system has posted 2020-2021 Snapshot Reports on the GRACE schools’ websites (under the Resources tabs). These Snapshot Reports feature a variety of annual information, including student demographics, eighth-grade MAP scores for math and reading, extracurricular and sports listings, and numbers relating to staffing, and more. We encourage you to take a look at https://gracesystem.org/grace-snapshot-report.
Audited Revenue and Expenses 2019-20
PK-8 Tuition (non-WPCP) – 36%
WPCP Tuition – 26%
Parish investment – 25%
Development & Investments & Annual Appeal – 5%
Third Source Fundraising – 5%
Food Service – 3%
Personnel – 78%
Facility Rent & Maintenance – 11%
General Operations – 5%
IT/Education Supplies – 4%
Tuition Assistance – 2%
GRACE FINANCES REMAIN SOLID
By Gerard Faller, GRACE Director of Finance and Strategic Operations
To be able to service our growing GRACE community, it is critical that we are in a healthy and
sustainable financial position. We are pleased to share that our GRACE finances remain solid, and our recent annual financial audit demonstrates a sound position for the future.
The pandemic created unforeseen stress on our finances. It was not possible for anyone to anticipate the pandemic, nor to forecast the financial impact. That said, our long-standing focus on financial diligence enables us to continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments, as well as the ability to expand our reach virtually.
The pandemic also presented great opportunity to learn, think and execute differently. Rather than looking at the pandemic as an excuse or an inhibitor, we have tried to focus on insights and lessons that we can implement to help strengthen our schools.
We have found there is new energy and excitement from our donors. Our schools have held virtual fundraising events, and our GRACE Development team has diligently been pursuing new and expanded efforts to reach and develop strong relationships.
Clearly, the pandemic has created challenges, but we are blessed with a high level of support. Our primary sources of revenue are tuition, parish investment, Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, fundraising and, this year, federal funding made available due to the pandemic.
The support from our school and parish communities continues to be strong and widespread. This support is truly a blessing, especially during the pandemic.
We continue to stridently manage our financial resources while navigating the extensive changes due to the pandemic. Some of these changes include preparing our buildings and operations with plexiglass and Personal Protective Equipment; implementing new procedures to maintain student and staff safety; and ushering in a host of technology enhancements.
Our 2020-2021 budget includes continued focus on compensation for our teachers and staff, as well as enhancements to our textbooks and related educational tools. We also continue to provide tuition assistance so we can maintain our philosophy of seeking ways to open our school doors to all.
More detailed financial information may be found in our regularly published financial statements. Additionally, I am always eager to share specifics and more fully explain our finances. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a total GRACE community, consisting of our 23 supporting parishes and our nine schools, we are fully engaged in providing a strong financial position, one that can support our shared ministry today and into the future.
All of our resources are focused on improving our ability to achieve our shared mission – “Building academic excellence and life skills while growing in our Catholic faith.”
ST. THOMAS MORE SCHOOL EMBRACES LANGUAGES, CULTURES
By Dr. Jamie Froh Tyrrell, Principal, St. Thomas More Catholic School
¡Buenos días! ¿Como estas? ¡Dios te bendiga¡ These are common phrases heard while walking through the halls of St. Thomas More Catholic School in the morning as students prepare for another day of faith-filled learning.
More than 90% of the students at St. Thomas More identify as Hispanic and also are bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English with Spanish as their first language. In addition, about 25% of the school staff is bilingual in both Spanish and English.
Alondra Valle, a bilingual teacher aide, said, “It is important to support students’ home language because it makes them feel valued and can also impact a significant increase in parent involvement.”
Ruby Hernandez is a bilingual teacher who is studying to receive her bilingual/bicultural teaching license.
“As a teacher I feel very blessed and fortunate to be part of the STM family,” Ruby said. “Although many of us might be from different backgrounds we come together to be one, unified by our faith in the Lord and in the intercession of our Mother Mary. Being part of a bilingual classroom allows the students to not only gain skills in one language but also see those skills perfect in the other language.”
“I have incorporated the bilingual method of bridging and it has amazed me how well they are growing in both languages,” Ruby added. “All this bridging made me realize that the students have become that ‘bridge’ in our school, where they are no longer part of one culture but they are bringing both cultures together and making a new beautiful one. We get to learn from them and they get to learn from us.”
Language and culture are woven into everything we do and everything we stand for and believe in at St. Thomas More. In addition to learning the core subjects, students learn the language structures and discourses that accompany the content.
Paola P., a second-grade student at St. Thomas More, said, “Sometimes I get confused in English, so my teachers help me with the Spanish words.” She also mentioned how she loves speaking Spanish with her friends and singing Spanish songs at Mass.
Along with the core classes, students embody and embrace Catholic core values and celebrate them through Hispanic Catholic culture.
For example, every year on Dec. 12, the Mexican Catholic community celebrates the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe to commemorate the apparition of Mary to the Mexican Saint Juan Diego in the year 1531. In her appearance, Mary asked Juan Diego to build a church at the site, and left behind an image of herself imprinted in Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak). The image left on Juan Diego’s tilma is the only true image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in existence, and the image has remained intact for over 475 years. The tilma rests today at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
After the apparition, 8 million indigenous Mexican people converted to Catholicism. El Dí de la Virgen de Guadalupe is a very important celebration for Mexican Catholics as it signifies the beginning of Christianity in Mexican heritage.
Alejandra Beals, the bilingual technology specialist at St. Thomas More, said, “Students like celebrating their own traditions and culture but they are also open to learn and live the beauty of two cultures. That makes our school different and special. It is a great environment that brings opportunity to all families who are looking to continue growing in their Catholic faith and have the same values that are taught at home.”
Astolfo Inciarte, the bilingual Home-School Liaison at St. Thomas More (and also Holy Family Catholic School), said, “It is possible to live with cultural, religious and language differences because we are really brothers and sisters … children of the same God, who wants us to love each other at all times.”
Regardless of the language spoken or the culture embodied, all of God’s children are welcomed and celebrated at St. Thomas More! ¡Dios les bendiga hoy y siempre!
TUITION TAX CREDIT
Wisconsin law established a tax deduction for private school tuition, and again, tuition tax credit information is available for the 2020 calendar year online via TADS. The TADS Household Paid Tuition Tax Report provides a breakdown of payments made for the specified household’s tuition account during the tax year. When you are gathering your information for 2020 tax preparation, go online to your TADS account and select Billing | Billing Account Number | Reports | Household Paid Tuition Tax Report | enter the year 2020 and submit. If you have questions or require assistance, please call TADS Parent Support at 800-477-8237.
EIGHTH GRADE TUITION POLICY
The efforts of families to stay current with tuition payments as agreed upon via the TADS tuition payment plan are greatly appreciated. Review of eighth grade tuition, fees and lunch accounts is completed each January of the eighth grade year. In the case of accounts that are not up to date for families with eighth grade students, students will not be eligible to participate in eighth grade trips, parties and graduation events. The only exception is the eighth grade retreat as long as the retreat fee (if required) is paid. Families are encouraged to contact the GRACE Business Services office at any time with questions or to address payment plans and arrangements.
CHESTERTON ACADEMY PREPARING FOR INAUGURAL SCHOOL YEAR
By Patrick McKeown, Headmaster, Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II Classical School
We eagerly await the opening of enrollment season for Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II Classical School. Beginning Jan. 31, families will be able to enroll and reserve their spot in 9th grade for the 2021-2022 school year. We have already received a very healthy interest and are joyfully looking forward to serving our future students.
Updates have been made on the St. John Paul II Classical School website and may be viewed at www.sjpclassicalschoolgreenbay.org. It reflects the incredible amount of diligence and forethought that is the hallmark of a Chesterton School. We have designed online guides so you can become more familiar with what a classical high school education looks like and to glimpse the joy and authentic nature of a cohesive, content-rich classical education. Additionally, we will be posting upcoming talks and events here and on the school’s Facebook page.
Amy Hunt, Vice President of Formation for the Chesterton Schools Network, gave a wonderful talk on Dec. 3, the feast day of our diocese’s patron, St. Francis Xavier. She spoke about our three pillars model: Intellectual, Character and Spiritual. These pillars are the essence of who we are and the direction we happily develop our students into using the wisdom of the Church and many other great minds of Western Civilization.
As headmaster, I will be traveling to Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family in Lisle, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, where I will attend Discovery Days. The intensive, three-day event is focused on school formation, business practices, planning, fundraising and attracting students and patrons. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to gain the knowledge and wisdom from staff members of both Chesterton Academy of the Holy Family and the Chesterton Schools Network.
In addition, we are beginning to transform the interior of the St. Philip the Apostle campus to accommodate next school year’s inaugural freshman class at Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II Classical School. The building currently houses students in Montessori preschool through eighth grade. Updates include two office spaces and two classrooms.
I wish to extend sincere thanks and gratitude for all those who have prayed for the reality of classical higher learning to materialize. We are here! Your prayers have been answered, and I promise you will not be disappointed. I ask for continued support and prayers, because we are at the advent of something unique and beautiful. I urge you to prayerfully consider how you may be a patron or spiritual warrior on our behalf. God bless you all in this new and exciting year.
STAFF SPOTLIGHT: MELISSA WOLCANSKI
My name is Melissa Wolcanski, and I am the Finance Team Leader for the GRACE school system. Having been born and raised in Green Bay I’ve always been a supporter of Catholic education in our area.
My husband, Matt, and I are both alumni of GRACE schools: Holy Family and Holy Cross, respectively. We both attended Notre Dame Academy and received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. We have two sons: Christopher, who graduated from Holy Family, Notre Dame Academy and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and Ben, also a graduate of Holy Family and currently a freshman at Notre Dame Academy. As you can see, my husband won the east side/west side battle when we married.
That being said, one thing we’ve always agreed on is our Catholic faith and the importance of Catholic education in shaping our lives and the lives of our children. It was that faith that led me on my journey to GRACE. Wanting to get more involved in our parish, I joined the Finance Council at St. Agnes. While serving on the Finance Council I began to learn more about GRACE and its partnership with our parishes.
In 2016, I joined the GRACE Board of Trustees and Finance Committee, which sort of ended up being a two-year job interview. The majority of my career was spent in finance and leadership positions at Schreiber Foods, mainly in financial analysis supporting various divisions. While I loved working there, I started to feel a pull toward something different, a desire to work for a Catholic organization. As the Holy Spirit would have it, a finance position opened up at GRACE and, after much discernment and support from my family, I formally joined the GRACE team in the summer of 2018.
As the Finance Team Leader, I am responsible for overseeing the processes related to all things financial as well as ensuring the accuracy and publication of GRACE’s financial statements. Additionally, I have the opportunity to get involved in other aspects of business such as the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program and oversee the four annual audits required by DPI to ensure funding.
I work closely with the Director of Finance and Strategic Operations, regarding budgeting, monitoring financials and cash flow as well as forecasting current year financials, which has definitely been a necessary challenge in this pandemic year. I support GRACE leadership in understanding their impact on financials and help in decision making.
While I don’t work on the front lines of teaching our children, my goal is to ensure that the area of business for which I’m responsible enhances and does not hinder those who do teach our children so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability.
I view my job as one of service to our staff, families and parishes. To that end, a lot of what I’ve been working on over the last few years is evaluating our processes and collaborating with others to improve those processes to help position GRACE for the future. It has been fulfilling to see how even the smallest of improvements can have a big impact on making other employees’ jobs easier.
Working at GRACE has been a blessing, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to support Catholic education which has helped shape who I am today.
GRACE NOMINEES FOR 2021 GOLDEN APPLE AWARDS
GRACE is proud to present our school system educators who have been nominated for the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s 2021 Golden Apple Awards. GRACE is blessed with amazing teachers, and these nominees represent the excellence in faith-based education that occurs daily in our schools.
Nominees include educators from all of our GRACE schools this year, including Father Allouez Catholic School, Holy Cross Catholic School, Holy Family Catholic School, Notre Dame of De Pere, Our Lady of Grace Virtual Academy, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, St. Bernard Catholic School, St. John Paul II Classical School, St. John the Baptist School and St. Thomas More Catholic School.
The 2021 Golden Apple Awards program is scheduled to be held April 21, 2021.
Here are the GRACE nominees, listed in alphabetical order according to last name:
Michelle Anderson, Holy Cross Catholic School
Andrea Barington, Holy Family Catholic School
Amy Benzshawel, Father Allouez Catholic School
James Block, Father Allouez Catholic School
Molly Bongel, St. Bernard Catholic School
Cheryl Bowe, St. John Paul II Classical School
Jill Buckett, St. John the Baptist School
Sara Burns, Father Allouez Catholic School
Jenna Connors, Notre Dame of De Pere
Jaculin Cramer, Notre Dame of De Pere
Emily D’Angelo, St. Bernard Catholic School
Jessica DeGroot, Holy Cross Catholic School
Lourain Eggart, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
Jennifer Etter, Our Lady of Grace Virtual Academy
Lynn Francois, Holy Family Catholic School
Hannah Gore, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
Kelly Gossen, St. Thomas More Catholic School
Jean Healy, Notre Dame of De Pere
Amber Hellmann, St. Bernard Catholic School
Abbey Herman, St. Bernard Catholic School
Alyssa Hess, St. John the Baptist School
Paula Anne Hoeppner, Notre Dame of De Pere
Sarah Johanski, Father Allouez Catholic School
Jennifer Johns, St. John Paul II Classical School
Sharon Johnson, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
Stephanie Johnson, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
McKenna Kaminski, Father Allouez Catholic School
Margaret Konshak, St. John the Baptist School
Lisa Krcma, Holy Family Catholic School
Patrick McKeown, St. John Paul II Classical School
Amy Muenster, Notre Dame of De Pere
Tara Nelson, St. John the Baptist School
Patricia Nennig, Holy Cross Catholic School
April Neuville, Father Allouez Catholic School
Jean O’Donnell, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
Sarah Patterson, Notre Dame of De Pere
Kimberly Patton-Matzke, Our Lady of Lourdes School
Dino Piccinini, St. John Paul II Classical School
Jessica Rinka, St. John Paul II Classical School
Brian Ritter, Father Allouez Catholic School
Tina Sabin, Father Allouez Catholic School
Deanna Schauer, Holy Cross Catholic School
Julie Schmitz, St. John the Baptist School
Samantha Skifton, Father Allouez Catholic School
Katrina Starsky, Notre Dame of De Pere
Annie Stewart, Father Allouez Catholic School
Jodi Sullivan, Holy Cross Catholic School
Katherine Summers, Notre Dame of De Pere
Brenda Touchinski, Father Allouez Catholic School
Miranda VandenBoomen, St. Bernard Catholic School
Ashley VandenBush, Father Allouez Catholic School
Genevieve VanderZanden, Father Allouez Catholic School
Tami Van Gruensven, Father Allouez Catholic School
Denise Van Zeeland, Father Allouez Catholic School
Julianne Wagner, Holy Family Catholic School
Courtney Wedan, Holy Family Catholic School
Kiara Wolfgram, St. John the Baptist School
K-8 ENROLLMENT CONTINUES TO INCREASE
Families are flocking to the GRACE school system, where in-school learning goes hand-in-hand with academic excellence and spiritual development.
That is evident by the recent announcement that 51 new students joined the GRACE community for the start of Trimester II. They are in addition to an enrollment increase of 34 students in kindergarten through eighth grade when the school year began.
Enrollment in the GRACE school system is now nearly 2,200 students — a testament to the educational achievement and strong Catholic values found in our schools. Of those students, 91.4% are attending in-person classes each weekday, while 8.6% are enrolled in the Our Lady of Grace Virtual Academy.
“Families are seeking in-person experiences and the structure and routine created by in-school learning,” GRACE President Kimberly Desotell said. “When you are inside our schools, you witness the joy and the energy that help our students and our families to cope during this trying time.”
The talented and caring team of GRACE teachers and staff members are working closely with families to ensure student learning remains on pace and rigor continues during the pandemic.
“Our teachers are amazing at embracing each student, and their dedication and service contribute to our overall success,” President Desotell said.
WISCONSIN PARENTAL CHOICE PROGRAM 2021-2022
Application dates for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) are February 1 through April 15, 2021. All students currently supported by the WPCP (also known as the School Voucher Program or Choice) must reapply to remain eligible. New families also must apply and may do so during the same application period. All families, both current and new, must enroll in their GRACE school online via the TADS enrollment system. Late applications will not be accepted.
- To qualify for the program in the 2021-2022 school year, a student must have a family income equal or less than 220% of the federal poverty level income limits. Additional details are available at www.dpi.wi.gov.
- If a family meets the eligibility requirements including established income qualifications, the following may apply:
o Any new incoming student entering kindergarten through seventh grade
o Currently enrolled GRACE students entering kindergarten or first grade
o New or currently enrolled GRACE students entering into the 4-year-old preschool program at St. Thomas More Catholic School, St. Bernard Catholic School or Holy Family Catholic School.
A student qualifies for the WPCP on the basis of their residency and family income. For more information, please contact Edgar Zaragoza, GRACE Outreach Administrator, at 920-499-7330, ext. 1017, or email@example.com.
Schools participating in the WPCP are required to post the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction School Report Cards and the Educational Options for Wisconsin students on their websites. You may access the Choice Accountability Report on each school website in addition to the GRACE website at www.gracesystem.org/voucher-program.
GRACE tuition rates for the 2021-2022 school year have been determined and will be incorporated in the financial planning for the upcoming school year. The new tuition rates will include “in-parish system” rates of $3,150 for grades K-5 and $3,262 for grades 6-8. Preschool rates will be based on the number of days and full day/half day selections. As in the past, charges for activity and technology fees will be uniform throughout the system. Please see the adjacent chart for more tuition and fee details.
GRACE OFFICE MOVES TO NEW LOCATION
The GRACE Administrative Office has moved to 1822 Riverside Drive, Green Bay, across the street from the Diocese of Green Bay office. We are pleased to be leasing this space from the diocese as we continue to serve our families, employees and community. Due to COVID-19, the GRACE Administrative Office and all schools are open to essential visitors only. If an in-person visit to the Administrative Office is needed, please call in advance to schedule an appointment. Our phone number remains the same at 920-499-7330.
GRACE ANNUAL APPEAL
Throughout our 10 years of GRACE, the Annual Appeal has been blessed with those who serve and lift up our mission with prayers and donations. The GRACE Annual Appeal continues as a primary funding source to provide financial support for operations and programs, technology resources and, especially this year, an increased need for tuition assistance, sanitation supplies, safety and training in response to the pandemic.
Today, our mission has never been more important, and we are asking for your support for the future growth of Catholic education. Please share in our mission by making a donation to the GRACE Annual Appeal by visiting www.gracesystem.org/donate or sending a donation to: GRACE Development Office, 1822 Riverside Drive, Green Bay, WI 54301.
Thank you for supporting GRACE with prayers and donations throughout the Annual Appeal.
CATHOLICLINK STRENGTHENS BENEFITS OF CATHOLIC EDUCATION
By Linnea Svennes, St. Norbert College student
CatholicLink is an innovative, preschool-through-college partnership of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) school system, Notre Dame Academy and St. Norbert College, with the mission of attaining world-class Catholic education in the greater Green Bay area.
The partnership is unique and has drawn interest from communities across the country looking to learn from and model the CatholicLink partnership. The goal of CatholicLink is to continually grow the enrollment of vibrant Catholic schools that provide educational excellence.
When CatholicLink began in 2014, teams were formed with members across the partner organizations to brainstorm new ways of thinking and working and to create programs that strengthen the entire continuum of Catholic education from preschool through college.
In addition to the ongoing hard work of these teams, the partner presidents, Kimberly Desotell of GRACE, Tom Kiely of Notre Dame Academy, and Brian Bruess of St. Norbert College, are highly committed to CatholicLink and meet regularly to share knowledge, expertise and ideas.
New relationships have been forged across schools and departments, as together the CatholicLink community works to strengthen and share the benefits of Catholic education with as many students and families as possible.
These teams have ideated a number of innovative and successful programs including the CatholicLink Tuition Discount and the CatholicLink Award. The CatholicLink Tuition Discount provides a 50 percent tuition discount for employees’ children at partner schools. The CatholicLink Award is a $5,000 award offered to St. Norbert College education graduates who teach at either Notre Dame Academy or any GRACE school for three years.
A recent example of the value of CatholicLink relationships is the way GRACE leaders reached out to their colleagues at St. Norbert College for help in rapidly assembling the COVID Response Academic Achievement Committee, which is featured in this newsletter.
CatholicLink currently has partner teams focused on the areas of leadership development, innovation and messaging the value of Catholic education. CatholicLink aims to grow strong mission-driven leaders and teams that are changing minds, hearts and lives through its leadership development programs for students and educators.
In partnership with Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, CatholicLink is hosting its first middle school leadership conference in February for a pilot group of GRACE students. About 20 seventh-grade students from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and Holy Family Catholic School will virtually join students from Cardinal Gibbons High School and Notre Dame Academy to learn about mission-driven leadership. The CatholicLink High School Leadership Conference for sophomores at Notre Dame Academy and Cardinal Gibbons will be held virtually in April. Julia Johnson, an education major at St. Norbert College, is leading the student leadership efforts.
Following the successful pilot of the FaithLink Leadership Academy last year, CatholicLink will launch a second, expanded cohort of school leadership teams in early August. The leadership academy is directed toward educators with a goal to foster vibrant, faith-based school cultures focused on excellence and growth. The participants of the first cohort of the leadership program strongly recommend the program for their colleagues and have indicated significant growth in both their leadership skills and faith along with a renewed passion for their work in Catholic education.
Much of CatholicLink’s efforts have been focused on growing and sharing the great value of Catholic education and numbers best show the results. When the CatholicLink partnership was formed in 2014, about 60 percent of GRACE eighth-graders chose to attend Notre Dame Academy. Six years later, 76 percent of the GRACE class of 2020 became members of Notre Dame Academy’s freshman class.
The value of the continuum of Catholic education continues and grows with the outstanding work of our partners. Watch for upcoming stories of accomplished graduates from GRACE, Notre Dame Academy and St. Norbert College as we share how a Catholic education shapes scholars, builds character, unlocks potential, and so much more.
If you know of an inspiring story of one of our Catholic school students or graduates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The work of CatholicLink continues on these projects and others, with great thanks to our educational partners, team members and community supporters. Please share your ideas with us!
Mary Schaupp serves as the executive director of CatholicLink. She can be reached at email@example.com. For additional information about CatholicLink, please visit https://gracesystem.org/catholiclink.
Father Allouez Catholic School
Principal: Kay Franz
920-432-5223 (Elementary School)
920-336-3230 (Middle School)
Holy Cross Catholic School
Principal: Kari Peterson
Holy Family Catholic School
Principal: Jere Kubuske
Notre Dame of De Pere
Principal: Molly Mares
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
Principal: Jeff Young
St. Bernard Catholic School
Principal: Crystal Blahnik
St. John Paul II Classical School
Headmaster: Alex Wolf
St. John the Baptist Catholic School
Principal: Andrew Mulloy
St. Thomas More Catholic School
Principal: Jamie Froh Tyrrell
GRACE NEWS FORMAT
GRACE News is published online three times during the academic year: Fall, Winter and Spring. All GRACE News archives are available at www.gracesystem.org/grace-newsletter.
Check out the complete 2020-2021 academic calendar online for important dates. It is available at www.gracesystem.org/academic-calendar. In addition, please visit our schools’ websites for dates and information about fundraising events.
GRACE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACTS
General e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 1822 Riverside Drive, Green Bay, WI 54301
Gerard Faller, ext. 1000
Laura Blicharz, ext. 1015
Development and Annual Appeal
Lisa Niemuth, ext. 1011
Enrollment and Financial Aid
Lori Ashmann, ext. 1013
Jamie Hurley, ext. 1001
Brenda Daming, ext. 1009
Marketing and Communications
Benjamin Wideman, ext. 1016
Edgar Zaragoza, ext. 1017
Kimberly Desotell, ext. 1013
Please be alert to updates from your GRACE school in the event bad weather forces a “snow day” or early dismissal.