Upon entering Saint John School, you will see the words written above. These words embody Saint John School’s Mission Statement and Philosophy and set the stage for entering a Christ-centered community that shares the Gospel spirit of love and peace. Jesus Christ is the heart of our Catholic faith, and Saint John School teaches children how to imitate Jesus in their daily lives. The school constantly strives to give students a strong foundation to gain a thorough understanding of the Catholic faith and to develop their whole potential. It also dedicates time to improve, implement, and analyze the faith and spiritual formation of the students, staff, and parents to maintain a vital and strong Catholic identity. This is all accomplished through providing authentic Catholic teaching and opportunities to worship as a community and participate in the sacraments, as well as promoting evangelization and service to the community and beyond.
Our young people are the Church of today and tomorrow. To prepare them to be witnesses of faith in their lives, it is imperative that we address and integrate their spiritual, moral, religious, intellectual, developmental, social, emotional, cultural, and physical needs. With a sincere, ongoing effort to understand each child and build a gospel-based learning community, Saint John School endeavors to address the needs of each and every student. This effort enables the students to make necessary connections in their lives to be Christ-centered persons; active, lifelong learners; and responsible citizens.
Constantly striving to provide and instill authentic Catholic teachings, Saint John School recognizes each school community member as an image of God and acknowledges God’s presence in all. Jesus is our role model and inspiration of servanthood and leadership as we serve the school community. All religion teachers are required to earn diocesan basic catechist certification. Students receive daily religious instruction in accordance with the diocesan standards. The staff continually reflects on the best methods for teaching and how to lead our school, always keeping our faith as the main focus and explicitly teaching Catholic values in all subject areas.
Signs and sacramentals are placed throughout the campus for all to see. One of the eighth grade gifts to the school was a statue of the Blessed Mother, Mary, surrounded by stones representing each decade of the Rosary. Statues of our patron saint, Saint John the Evangelist, and Saint Francis of Assisi are also displayed. During the Advent and Christmas seasons, a Jesse Tree and Nativity are displayed. The themes of our Faith in Action program –the Works of Mercy, the Beatitudes, and Catholic Social Teaching–are posted in every room throughout the school.
The Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs) are continually taught and kept at the forefront of the minds and hearts of the school community in alignment with the school’s Mission and Philosophy. SLE recognition cards, also known as Faith in Action Cards because of their relation to serving others, motivate students to focus on being loving, Christ-centered people; active, lifelong learners; and responsible citizens in order to create a positive, peaceful, and respectful community. Staff members continually look for opportunities to give positive recognition to students. For incorporating the SLEs in their daily lives, students are recognized at morning assemblies for their responsible actions, respecting and protecting everything that God has created, respecting themselves and others, being helpful and courteous, demonstrating good sportsmanship, and always trying to do their best.
In an effort to encourage students to be Christ-centered persons who “follow the teachings of Jesus to love God and others,” new ideas for faith and spiritual formation have been put into action to enhance the Catholic Identity for the students. Celebrating the Eucharist is a central part of being Catholic. Classes celebrate Mass weekly at the morning parish Masses in grade level clusters. Having smaller groups and age-appropriate homilies have provided the opportunity for students to make connections between Church teachings and their lives and to respond more actively during the Mass. Additionally, once a month, the entire school community gathers to join in the celebration of Mass. During the school year, students share their time and talents with others by dedicating their efforts to prepare and lead child-centered Masses.
Saint John students have many opportunities to develop their prayer life, which reminds them that they are “Christ-Centered persons who pray any time, any place.” They are encouraged to communicate one-on-one with God from their hearts as they pray spontaneously. Classrooms have inviting sacred spaces, such as prayer tables or prayer corners, where students can pray. Communal prayer is prepared by students for Monday morning assemblies, and a wide variety of traditional Catholic prayers are recited over the intercom each morning. Group prayer takes place in the classroom throughout the day, such as the meal prayer and prayer at dismissal. Everyone in the community pauses and prays the Angelus at noon each day.
Students are prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in second grade and the Sacrament of Eucharist in third grade. Both sacramental preparation programs recognize that parents are the primary educators of their children, so the programs are designed to inspire students and parents to nurture their relationship with God. This parental involvement enhances the experience for both children and parents.
Throughout the year, students are continually guided and challenged to serve as Catholic models of faith through prayer services, such as Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Benediction, May Crowning, and seasonal liturgical celebrations. Teachers utilize best practices in directing the celebration of these prayer services. Saints’ feast days are recognized and celebrated both at Mass and school. The lower grades celebrate All Saints Day with various activities, such as researching lives of saints and writing reports and prayers about them. They also dress up as their favorite saint and have a procession around the campus on All Saints Day. On the feast of Saint Nicholas, the Student Council asks all students to leave their shoes outside the classroom for a special gift. Seventh and eighth graders participate in off-campus retreats that provide community worship, and the whole school participates in the national Catholic Schools Week. Students pray at school sports events and are asked to display good sportsmanship by congratulating their opponents. The students practice and cooperate with one another to ignite the light of Christ in the Saint John School community.