Back to School 2020: Catholic Schools

Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Catholic Southside schools are committed to quality education

“I can do all this through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Never before have we experienced so much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding our return to school … whether that be remote, face to face, or some combination of both. This is completely understandable as these are unprecedented times. One thing is certain, however; school leaders, teachers and support staff are dedicated and prepared to serving young people and families in ways that integrate the Catholic faith with open doors and open hearts. God is always with us, providing guidance and strength, even in the most difficult of times.

As our students, faculty, staff and parents begin the 2020-2021 school year, we realize this year will look like no other when providing religious and academic instruction, social and emotional supports, a safe environment, nutritional needs and physical activity. What we can say is that Catholic schools on the Southside of Indianapolis will continue to make Jesus Christ the focus of all we do while guiding students in developing a deeper relationship with Him.

We are blessed with school leaders who have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe return of students. The health and safety of students and adults in our buildings is priority. Best practices have been established with healthy hygiene, social distancing, face coverings and cleaning and disinfecting. We are excited and enthusiastic to begin a new and different school year.

May all young people, families and school staff make the most of the 2020-2021 school year, and may God bless each of you as we face these extraordinary times together. We are most grateful for your support and partnership as we begin another year.

Let us remember in prayer those who have been affected by the coronavirus and may a cure and vaccine come quickly.

If you are interested in learning more about how Catholic schools educate and form young people, please visit us at archindy.org.

Mary McCoy

INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT

Central Catholic School

Greetings from Central Catholic School! We are welcoming the 2020-2021 school year with excitement and anticipation despite the pandemic.  Our theme for this year is “We are stronger together.”  This theme is evident in how our staff worked together this summer in professional development in technology and virtual learning. We are offering both in person and virtual instruction to our students this year.

Parents dropped off kids for their first day of school at Central Catholic. (Submitted photos)

Based on the directive of the Marion County Health Department, our middle school students are currently on a hybrid learning schedule with half of the students in person and half of them learning from home. All of our other students are in person all day, every day. We have changed our building cleaning procedures to allow for high touch surfaces to be sanitized throughout the day. Our classrooms are also spread out to increase social distancing and we have added multiple hand washing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.

Outside of the classroom, students have multiple extracurricular options including football, kickball, cross country, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, chess, soccer, track and field, band, choir and orchestra.  We also have opportunities for students to participate in Spell Bowl, the Quest for Excellence and STEM Day.

Kindergarten students practice phonics with their teacher.

As an accredited Level Four On My Way Pre-K provider, we accept both On My Way and CCDF vouchers for our youngest students. We also accept School Choice Scholarships and are able to offer financial assistance to families. Please call the school office at (317) 783-7759 for more information on enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. Go Saints!

Ruth Hurrle, PRINCIPAL

Holy Name Catholic School

Students play ball on their first day back to Holy Name.

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! After a long time away, we are so glad to have the smiling, eager faces of our students back in the building. We are off to a great start with our new eighth graders officially recognized as our school leaders at the Gold Shirt Ceremony. We have welcomed over 35 new students this year, and still have room for more! Our school theme is “Do Small Things with Great Love.” We are working to live that out through our daily interactions and service throughout our school and community. We are excited to have upgraded our technology and have 100 percent device access for students in grades 3-8. We have wasted no time getting down to what we do best – creating lifelong learners committed to knowing, loving and serving God. It is a great time to be a Holy Name Giant!

Students unite in faith.

Amy Wright, PRINCIPAL

Nativity Catholic School

The beginning of a new school year always holds such excitement and promise. For Nativity Catholic School, it is an annual right of passage where we open our doors and share our hopes and dreams for the coming school year with our community. I speak for the Nativity faculty and staff when I say, what a blessing and a privilege it is to serve our students, their families and our community.  Nativity – where anything is possible and the sky’s the limit – especially if you are a Titan!

2020 has definitely not been the year that any of us were planning on. With eLearning beginning suddenly in March, the global impact of COVID-19 and the recent unrest in our community, life has thrown a lot of challenges at each of us. However, I see evidence every day that we are managing to address these challenges in our own ways and moving forward in our daily routines and within our school community. I have never seen more dedication to our students and school as I have this year!  A huge thank you goes out to all of our teachers, staff and parents who have been so flexible as we adjust our procedures to keep our children safe as we reopen school.

Nativity students discuss flag football in gym class.

This is the time of year when we identify our goals and determine how we will expend our time, energy and resources to best serve our students. Nativity School is celebrating the fifth year of our “Leader in Me” journey! The Leader in Me is a process that incorporates habits for success into all parts of our school day. Those habits help develop the whole person: mind, body, heart and spirit. In addition, those habits recognize that there is greatness in every student and staff member at Nativity – keeping in mind that greatness does not always mean heroic, but more often can be as simple as having strong faith, character, or unique talents. For every child, there are opportunities every day for using and nurturing those unique gifts and talents that make each one great. The Leader in Me is not a “program” but is a “process.” It is an underlying philosophy that, joined with our sacred Catholic faith, will positively impact all areas of our school. It’s not an “extra subject,” but a way of thinking that is woven into our already existing school day. You will hear our students saying things like “Let’s put first things first and do homework before we play!” or “Let’s not argue. How can we make this a win-win situation?” You will notice as you walk in the front doors of our school that things feel different, special and accepting. And most importantly, our students grow into the leaders that we always knew he or she would be! Indeed, it is truly our mission. …

Nativity Catholic School will LEAD through:

  • Love rooted in Christ.
  • Education focused on academic excellence and service to others.
  • Achievement through personal effort and perseverance.
  • Development of mind, body and spirit.
Classroom friends attended a walkathon.

As we walk the path to excellence during 2020-2021, we welcome you to visit our campus to meet our amazing faith-filled student leaders and witness our amazing academic accomplishments! Contact our principal, Ms. Terri Bianchini, via email at tbianchini@natiivtyindy.org or phone (317) 357-1459.

Terri Bianchini, PRINCIPAL

Our Lady of Greenwood School

While the start of this school year looks different from those in the past, we will continue to share in sacraments and incredible learning opportunities. This year promises to be one filled with possibilities to grow spiritually, academically and socially. Along with these opportunities comes the responsibility of striving to do our best at all times.  We ask you to keep our school community in your prayers as we begin this year. This year has started with much excitement! Our theme for the year is “Know that I Am with You Always.”

OLG students learn to play the ukulele.

We welcome Mrs. Becky Floyd to fifth grade as a job-share partner with Mrs. Elise Floyd. Mrs. Vanessa Mathis’s role will change from helping in preschool to assisting Mrs. Dickey in kindergarten. Mr. Wayne Faulkner will be returning to the cafeteria and Mrs. Heidi Lopez will be joining the cafeteria staff as well. Mrs. Wendy Wilson will serve as our school psychologist through Earlywood Student Services. We are so happy to have these staff members join our OLG team!

We have worked very hard during the summer to prepare our building for a safe return. It has been amazing to have our students and staff back in our classrooms! Our school community has positively embraced the many changes for our new school year. We know that the very best place to be is back at OLG so that we can learn and pray together!

Students enjoy a nature walk.

We are always happy to share what is happening at Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School. Contact Principal Kent Clady at kclady@ol-g.org or (317) 881-1300 to find out more.

Kent Clady, PRINCIPAL

Roncalli High School

While all schools have a mission to form young people academically, and some strive to go beyond that by also attempting to form citizenship, Roncalli’s mission for over 50 years has been to form the whole person: body, mind and spirit! This can best be explained by our graduate profile, which we use as a compass to direct all of the work done with our young people. The profile sets a very high standard for our graduates. Roncalli is passionately committed to partnering with our parents, parishes and community in making this profile a reality for all of our students!  We share our graduate profile with you in this article as it gives clear direction as to what we hope to accomplish during this 2020-21 school year at Roncalli High School.

Roncalli Graduate Profile

As Christ has called upon each of us to “go make disciples of all nations'” and to the extent that our namesake, St. John XXIII (Angelo Cardinal Roncalli) was committed to that task, it is Roncalli High School’s intention to create disciples of Jesus Christ in the image of St. John.

Roncalli offered in-person classes and remote learning for students. (Photo by John Parks)

It is to this purpose that we aspire for all of our graduates to honor and glorify God by:

FAITH

Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and evangelizing the message of the Gospel through their actions.

ACADEMIA

Reaching their fullest potential through a commitment to lifelong learning.

SERVICE

Serving the needs of others with loving and compassionate hearts.

COMMUNITY

 Being devout members of the Church, cultivators of the Roncalli spirit and responsible citizens.

DIGNITY

Recognizing that every person is created in the image and likeness of God, having the utmost respect for life and embracing a diverse world.

All of us at Roncalli High School are very excited to welcome students, teachers, staff and families back to campus and back to school! We have been working diligently since March to ensure the safety of all in our school community as we return to in-person instruction!

Each food item served in the cafeteria is individually packaged. (Photo by John Parks)

We learned a great deal about what works well and what does not work well with e-learning from the nine weeks of e-learning that concluded the 2019-20 school year. With great leadership from our IT department and great cooperation and dedication from our faculty and administration, we are very excited to unveil the synchronous learning model that will allow for excellence in education to go uninterrupted for our students who are not able to be in school on a daily basis.

In these challenging and uncertain times, please join all of us at Roncalli in praying for a safe, successful school year for all schools!

Chuck Weisenbach

Principal

Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi Catholic School

Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi Catholic School opened its doors on our first day of school, Aug. 6. Teachers, parents and children looked forward to the start of a school year after a successful eLearning finish to the 2019-2020 school year.

We have much to be thankful for with the hard work of our staff, students and parents who collaborated and communicated during the spring to help our students continue on their learning journey. We were together virtually and greeted one another in person on that first day of school.

The safety of our students and staff remain our top priority at this time. We have been working throughout the summer to put in place protocols and procedures to assist in bringing children back to our campus and to the classroom. A planning task force and results from a parent survey have been our guide for the opening of school. We monitored our plans for a safe and healthy return with recommendations from Governor Holcomb, Indiana Department of Education, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana Department of Health and Johnson County Health Department.

Saints Francis & Clare students are welcomed back to school. (Submitted photos)

In addition to the academic excellence our school offers, our faith and ability to live out the Gospel during our school year is at the core of our existence. The common values and belief systems that our families share unite us as a close community of faith-filled learners.

Our school foundation rests on our mission, vision, values and goals. These four pillars will be the driving force to continue to lead us beyond excellence in the coming year.

Over the summer all staff participated in professional development for the new math series (Ready Math) and an online, individualized learning platform for reading and math (IREADY).  The school leadership team attended a workshop focused on using student data to ensure student growth. Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi Catholic School also hosted a workshop for teachers in the Archdiocese in grades K – 3 on effective grading practices and standards-based reporting.  Ten teachers and staff members from our school attended the workshop.

Friends catch up with each other on the playground.

We are excited to offer 1:1 Chromebooks for students in grades 2 – 8 this next school year. Class sizes at the current time are no larger than 20 students per classroom, which is an advantage for maintaining social distancing as we returned to school.

Most programs offered in the local area schools are also available to students who attend Saints Francis & Clare of Assisi: Title I tutoring, Special Education, Enrichment, Response to Intervention, after-hours childcare and more. We also offer tuition assistance for those families needing financial aid.

For further information about our school and to schedule a tour, please contact our school office at (317) 859-4673.

Betty Popp, PRINCIPAL

St. Barnabas Catholic School

St. Barnabas Catholic School has been committed to total stewardship since its beginning in 1965 and, as a ministry of the parish, our tuition-free school is supported through the time, talent and treasure of the parish families. Through our Catholic faith, our mission of helping children to “GROW IN MIND, HEART, AND SPIRIT TO BECOME LEADERS IN THE WORLD” flows from this commitment and guides what we do each day.

During the 2020-2021 academic year St. Barnabas Catholic School is excited to be serving over 525 students in preschool through eighth grade. Served by the administration and faculty of 36 and a staff of 15, St. Barnabas enriches the lives of its students through hospitality, prayer, formation and service. Our mission to grow servant leaders from the inside out while maximizing the potential in every child continues to drive us. Our students learn to have a growth mindset by setting goals, tracking their progress and celebrating their achievements both inside and outside the classroom.

St. Barnabas students participate in a service project.

At St. Barnabas Catholic School, we celebrate the vital role that we play in preparing our children and young people to become successful scholars, responsible citizens and faith-filled Catholics who will have a lifelong relationship with God. We are very proud of our programs and the opportunities we offer to our children and their families as they begin their educational journey in this loving, Catholic community. We pride ourselves on offering comprehensive programs in school and after school for children ranging from preschool through eighth grade.

St. Barnabas’ excellence in education is a result of its solid commitment to exemplary teaching and cooperative partnership with our parish families. Students understand the importance of being prepared for the next level and work diligently to achieve success. Involvement in service to others is integral in their development daily, with our Catholic faith as the foundation for all actions.

Students gather to pray.

Students are supported by families and teachers, are challenged to become good stewards of their intellectual gifts and to share their worldly talents and treasures with the school, the community and the world. Through schoolwide serve projects, the students are learning the lessons of reaching out to others. Through their efforts in an academically rigorous program, they are being prepared for the future, one grade at a time. Through strong curriculum awareness, progressive instructional practices and the spirit of a shared mission, our students are nurtured and challenged. As a result they exhibit outstanding success academically and spiritually year after year. St. Barnabas Catholic School is truly a school of excellence.

Ryan Schnarr, PRINCIPAL

St. Jude Catholic School

Greetings from St. Jude: St. Jude was able to welcome students back to school on Wednesday, Aug. 5! It was so great to see all of our students once again after so much time apart. The excitement in these first days has reminded us how important our school community is to the families and larger St. Jude community. Our teachers, staff and other volunteers have worked so hard to create a safe environment for our students to continue to learn and grow.

A student walks to his first day of school at St. Jude.

Our theme for 2020-2021 is “Speak Lord, I’m listening.” For many of us the COVID pandemic has provided families with the opportunity to slow down and take time away from the hustle and bustle of our lives. As we begin to get back into some of our normal activities, we want to make sure that our students take time to listen for how God is speaking to them and what He is asking of them. Students are taking time each day for some silence and to remember God’s love for them.

Our virtual Back to School Night was a big success, and we are excited to offer other modified opportunities for extra-curricular activities and special events. We are taking advantage of our new building additions to spread students out allowing for a safe and normal school experience.

Kindergartners play with hoops during recess.

The ELM at St. Jude is open again serving preschool and pre-K students in our Early Learning Ministry building. The ELM recently achieved Level 3 Paths to Quality status and is accepting CCDF vouchers.  At both the ELM and the St. Jude K-8 building, there are still openings in most grade levels. For additional information, please check out the school website at sjsindy.org or the ELM website at stjude-elm.org.  We are so excited to face new challenges and continue to grow.  Welcome Back, St. Jude! Go Raiders!

Beth Meece, PRINCIPAL

St. Mark Catholic School

The 2020-2021 school year will be remembered in many ways. Some will remember the hardships and the loss of friends and family to COVID-19. Some will remember having to stay away from loved ones and from work. Others will remember this 2020-2021 school year for hardships. I will remember the start of this school year for how our teachers, staff, parents and teachers have come together to become a stronger school.

A school whose administration team planned all summer for many situations that changed from week to week, and from day to day! Teachers who were in this summer setting up classrooms, moving rooms, measuring the distance between desks and taking bigger items to storage to promote social distancing. A cafeteria staff that shifted gears and created a protocol for packaging and serving over 400 meals to our school each day. A janitorial crew who learned the proper methods to clean and sanitize in this COVID-19 world and plays a vital role in our school staying open. Parents who support, understand and model good behavior by wearing masks, not entering our building and checking their children’s health each morning before they come to school.

Students attend Mass at St. Mark’s.

But the biggest heroes in this entire process of a pandemic world are our students. Not one word of complaint. No whining. Wearing masks all day with limited breaks. Staying in one classroom most of the day. Watching our Mass on a Livestream when they can’t go to church. And working hard to grow in their academics and most importantly, grow in their faith in God. Our students have been the model of consistent positive, safe behavior, all while showing great attitudes. I am so proud to have an opportunity to be their principal!

Our students and staff wear masks, are spaced 6 feet apart, practice clean hand hygiene, are in static seating and monitor their health at home and at school. Our building is clean during and after school. We have had to give up many things this school year, but we know that God is allowing us to become stronger, more resilient in our fabric. God does not put us in a place that we cannot handle. Prayer has been more and more important to us this year as we continue to bring God into our lives in these times of uncertainty.

Students pass along a friendly wave.

We have had a tremendous start to this school year. We realize the uncertainty of the world around us and we feel fortunate to be in school at this time. As we progress, we will continue to show good judgment and keep all our students and teachers safe!!  May God bless you and keep you and your family safe!

Rusty Albertson, PRINCIPAL