Believe & Read Update, 2020-2021 Results

In February we shared an update on the Believe & Read program rollout at Frassati, and we are pleased to report back with an update on our first-year results.

As a reminder, this program launched at our school in September 2020, with the goal of enhancing and enriching our literacy instruction. This special curriculum, designed by Groves Academy and taught in collaboration with our Groves Academy coach, was a central part of the kindergarten, first, and second-grade student experience during the 2020-2021 academic year.

In the fall of 2020, each student in these three grade levels took tests to measure their starting point, and they again tested at the end of the year to see how the students progressed in their lessons.

Here is a look at those growth reports:

Kindergarten

First Grade

 

Second Grade

 

We are thrilled to see this progress and are excited to see the way these students will advance through these lessons in the years to come!

In the academic year ahead, we will be adding the third-grade classes to the Believe & Read lessons, so that the students who just completed their second-grade lessons will advance to the next level of their instructions.

Frassati is truly blessed to have been selected by the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) to be a host school for the highly praised Groves Academy, Believe & Read program! We look forward to sharing more updates in the months ahead!

The 2021 Spring FUN-draiser Results

Frassati Catholic Academy would like to thank the many supporters who made the 2021 Spring FUN-draiser a smashing success!!

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, Frassati families and friends, St. Pius X parishioners, St. Mary of the Lake parishioners, the companies and individuals who donated items for the virtual auction, and our astounding sponsors, we were able to raise $106,570. A portion of this money will be used to purchase the science curriculum items that were directly funded via this year’s Fund-a-Need project. The remaining proceeds will help support immediate needs and long-term goals, including scholarship awards, capital improvements, teacher development, and so much more.

This spring event is our most successful fundraiser of the year, generating a significant amount of support that allows us to provide an exceptional Catholic education to all who seek it. Before the pandemic, parents gathered in person for a Gala and participated in a live auction that raised thousands of dollars. However, in the past two years, we have had to find new and innovative ways to bring this event to life.

As with our 2020 event, our 2021 festivities again featured a virtual auction, but this year we were on a mission to pump up the FUN in fundraising. The parent volunteers who planned this year’s fundraiser launched the week with a student-focused, Great Outdoors Adventure Challenge. With booklets in hand, students kicked off the event with a three-day scavenger hunt challenge that featured activities the students completed for points.

On the following Monday, 164 students turned in their booklets and received a ‘Great Outdoors’ sheet of stickers, as a little reward for a job well done. On Tuesday, 30 students were invited to the “prize shop” where they could select one item from the many options, that included Spirit Wear clothing and hats, Cup and Cone token bags, and s’mores kits (which, funny enough, were the favored prize option).

The next day, we transitioned the week-long event from the student portion, to the grown-up focused fun, and kicked off the Virtual Auction! Two hundred and thirty-five people registered for ClickBid and signed in to participate in this exciting online auction. In addition to purchasing various gift certificates, gift cards, and individual items, 211 individuals donated towards one of the Fund-a-Need items, raising funds specifically for our science curriculum and impacting the learning experience in every classroom in our great school. In total, $32,080 was raised for this year’s Fund-a-Need campaign, earning us a $15,000 match, bringing our total $47,080! And this is the moment where we insert all the heart and high-five emojis.

To say we are blown away by the results of this year’s initiative is an understatement. From the way students went above and beyond in their adventure challenges, to the parents who drove their students around White Bear Lake so they could check off each item in their booklet, to the Fund-a-Need donors who quickly worked towards a goal to help us earn a $15,000 match, and to the active bidders who helped us cross the finish line in triumph, we couldn’t be more appreciative of this incredible community.

Thank you for all you did and continue to do to support our mission, as we strive to provide an exceptional Catholic education to the children of today while inspiring them to be virtuous leaders of tomorrow.

 

We would like to share our gratitude for the three parent volunteers who made this event possible, Kim Gillespie, Heidi Hughes, and Melissa Gacek. Muchas gracias!

We would also like to thank the Frassati staff members for rallying around this event, and investing their energy to engage our community on a different level and raise funds to help us meet and surpass our goals! Merci!

To each and every person who was involved with the 2021 Spring FUN-draiser, thank you again.

Putting the FUN into Fundraising

Yesterday we announced the full schedule and details for the upcoming Great Outdoors, 2021 Spring FUN-draiser, and we are beyond thrilled to bring this new event to our great community!

 

The spring event is our most successful fundraiser of the year, generating a significant amount of money that helps support both our immediate needs and our long-term goals. Before the pandemic, parents, parishioners, and community members gathered in-person for a Gala and participated in a live auction that raised thousands of dollars for scholarships, a specific annual area of need (known as our yearly Fund-a-Need project), capital improvements, teacher development, and so much more.

 

As with our 2020 event, our 2021 festivities will again feature a virtual auction, but this year we are on a mission to pump up the FUN in fundraising. The parent-volunteers who have planned for this year’s fundraiser, have created a series of events that celebrate our Falcon community, time with our families, and time outdoors in our beautiful North Star state.

 

Below are the key details to note as we countdown to this community-wide initiative!

 

  • ClickBid registration is open for the Virtual Auction. Please go to this link now and register for your bidding number. Share this link with family members and friends and encourage them to register as well!
    • Families that register for the Virtual Auction may record 5 volunteer hours in Sycamore.
    • The auction preview is live and features over 100 items and packages – we have something for everyone, at every price point!
    • Bidding begins on Wednesday, April 28

 

  • Our 2021 Fund-a-Need will raise funds specific to our science curriculum, impacting the learning experience in every classroom in our great school. In the coming days, you will see several items added to the auction that you can “purchase” to directly support a teacher’s science curriculum.

 

  • On Thursday, April 22 every student will be given an Adventure Challenge Booklet to participate in a Great Outdoors scavenger hunt. This activity is optional, but an amazing way to have fun together as a family!
    • The booklet will have instructions on how to complete each of the challenges and is scaleable for all grade levels.
    • The challenges fall into four categories: at-school, at-home, in White Bear Lake, and Acts of Service.
    • Students will return their completed booklets on Monday, April 26 and winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 27.

 

  • The Virtual Auction will open for bids on Wednesday, April 28 at noon and will close at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30. 
    • Get in there early and claim your favorites!
    • Continue to share this amazing opportunity with friends and family members. The amazing line-up of auction items makes this initiative a win-win for all!
    • Your purchases support the enhancement and expansion of Catholic education in White Bear Lake. WIN-WIN!

More on the Fund-A-Need

Each year as we launch this critical initiative, we identify a specific area of need, known as our annual Fund-a-Need project, which supports an aspect of our STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and mathematics) curriculum.
In 2020, Virtual Auction participants played a significant role in helping us raise enough money to complete the school Chapel, supporting our religion curriculum. Our 2021 Fund-a-Need will raise funds specific to our science curriculum, impacting the learning experience in every classroom in our great school. In the auction preview site, you will see several auction items that you can “purchase” to directly support a teacher’s science curriculum.

Ready to Get Your Bid Number?

Visit this link now and get your registration number so you don’t miss any of the fun!

A Look Inside Tech

Our kindergarten through fourth-grade students rotate to specialists throughout the week, fully rounding out their STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, and math) curriculum.

From Spanish and technology to P.E. and music, our Falcons are being challenged in new and exciting ways, keeping them fully engaged each and every day!

Recently, in technology, our students have been tackling a rich mix of projects and balancing the hard work with some friendly competition at the end of each class.

The kindergarten and first-grade classes have been wrapping up their coding lessons and developing their typing efficiency.

The second-grade students have been writing stories about a dog, using the Keynote app to prepare a presentation that shares the tale.

In third grade, the students are mastering Google Slides by writing a presentation on a specific country.

Lastly, the fourth-grade students, are working on tinker modeling, which we will share more about on the Falcon Feed blog in the weeks ahead.

The technology room is very quiet as each of the students focuses on their projects, and in the final minutes of class, breaks out into excited chatter, happy dances, and encouraging chants as students compete against each other in educational brain-break games.

Oh, but all the games are in Spanish, adding a different twist on brain-break time!

Discovering Pi

While Pi Day may have taken place while the students were out on spring break, there was no way Mrs. Heinz (our middle school math teacher) was going to let the day go by unrecognized!

What is Pi Day you say?

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and eat pie.

At Frassati, our sixth-grade students did a lab experiment to discover (and celebrate!) Pi.

In this lesson, students blew bubbles on their desks and then measured the circumference and diameter of the bubbles they created.

The sixth graders then recorded their data for analysis and reviewed their findings as a class. To sweeten the lab, the experiment ended with slices of pie for all to enjoy!

Celebrating Reading & Dr. Seuss

Every year on March 2, schools all across America celebrate National Read Across America Day, which also happens to be Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

While every grade at Frassati was celebrating this special date, our preschool classes turned the one-day celebration into a weeklong event, and boy was it a fun one!

On Monday, Sam invited the students to taste-test green-eggs and ham.

The students even wore their best greens to celebrate the special delicacy of the day.

On Tuesday the preschool students celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday by wearing their favorite hats to school.

They also made Thing 1 & Thing 2 hair-hats, and a famous red and white striped hat that belonged to a crazy feline.

Wednesday was all about Fox in Socks and The Foot Book.

Thursday was all about reading, finding word patterns, rhymes, and more!

To close out the fun, the students celebrated Wacky Wednesday on a Friday.

What a great way to celebrate all that we love about books and reading!

 

 

** Please note that preschool students remove their masks when they are in the classroom.

Creating New Ways

As we approach the one-year anniversary of last year’s virtual-learning experience, it is hard to not feel in awe of all that this school year has held! From a virtual 5K to a handful of clubs that have been able to meet in-person, to our annual Christmas Concert being recorded and shared via YouTube, to the creative ways our students celebrated Catholic Schools Week while still following COVID guidelines, it has been remarkable to see how our Falcon family has created new ways to “gather”.

One significant way in which families and students came together for a common good took place during Catholic Schools Week when the Student Ambassadors hosted a food drive for the White Bear Lake Area Emergency Food Shelf.

The Student Ambassadors coordinated all aspects of Catholic Schools Week and added in the food drive as a community service project. Students were encouraged to bring items during the week and to select one of four bins to place their donations in. Each of the bins had pictures taped to them of teachers and Ambassadors. Where students placed their donations, was a vote for the people pictured on that trash bin to be pied in the face.

Families sent an astounding number of items to school with their students that week! Mrs. Heinz, the Student Ambassadors advisor, had to deliver the donations in two separate truckloads, as it totaled 1,046 pounds!

The initiative was such a smashing success, that the Student Ambassadors decided to go all-in on the pie-throwing celebration.

Since assemblies are not an option this year, the Student Ambassadors got creative and developed a schedule for some classes to attend the pie-throwing in person, while other classes could watch via Google live. Classes shifted in and out of Kohler Hall, taking turns participating in the fun.

As students took their seats, and Ambassadors set up their live-stream, students’ names were drawn at random, and those individuals got to throw the pies.

What began as families gathering at home to collect donations for those in need, translated into a virtual assembly where Falcons were gathering from their individual classrooms, celebrating the success of our community initiative.

We would like to say a very special thank you to all who supported this project and share a very special thank you to the 2020-2021 Student Ambassadors for creating new ways for us to have fun, come together, and live out our Frassati mission!

Please enjoy this roundup of photos from the excitement:

 

Believe & Read Update

It was with great pride at the start of this academic year that we were able to announce that the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) selected Frassati Catholic Academy to be a host school for the highly praised Groves Academy, Believe & Read program.

Since the launch of this curriculum in September, Believe and Read has enhanced and enriched the literacy instruction of our students in measurable ways.

Our Groves Academy coach visits Frassati every Tuesday, assisting each of the kindergarten, first, and second-grade classes in their literacy lessons for that day.

Over the past few months, our coach, Diane Morri, has built a partnership with the teachers she works with so that each teacher has the support they need to deliver this special curriculum with confidence. When there is an aspect of the teacher’s manual that is new to them, they will work with Diane for suggestions on how to successfully demonstrate the hand motions or teach the rules of that lesson.

In the spring we will share data, comparing how the students’ reading levels have progressed over the course of the year. We have already seen a glimpse into the early results, and can’t wait to share their progress as we reach the end of this first year of our Believe & Read curriculum.

Groves Academy will continue to mentor our Frassati teachers over a three-year period. Frassati teachers will share these lessons with our students, including daily 30-minute phonics-based lessons, helping our young readers grasp the reading rules to make them the best readers they can be. They will work with our K-2 teachers in 2020-21 and K-3 starting in 2021-22.

The specialized training provided to our faculty will transform literacy instruction for students at Frassati Catholic Academy for years to come!

Board Games Inspired by Books

How do you teach middle school students to dissect a book? To dig into the plot? To define the roles of the characters? And to look for themes?

Some teachers would assign a book report, some a basic Q & A sheet. However, in Mrs. Schmidtbauer’s class, the seventh graders were given a different kind of assignment that challenged them to not only consider the basic elements of their book but how to creatively share the theme of the story with others.

Each of the seventh-grade students read a book of their choosing and were given a month to design a board game based on their book. They had to create all the materials needed to play the game, along with an instruction sheet that would allow others to play the game without the creator’s guidance.

Mrs. Schmidtbauer (our middle school language arts and literature teacher) has saved other students’ board games over the years, so before digging into the assignment, the students had the chance to play board games from previous years to see how other students had completed the project.

As the students turned in their completed projects, the class broke into groups and took turns explaining their board games and how to play them. Each group then had time to play their creations and showcase their creative thinking!

Catholic Schools Week 2021

Founded by the National Catholic Education Association in 1974, Catholic Schools Week has been a long-standing tradition that reaches every corner of the United States.

Launching every year on the last Sunday in January, Catholic communities gather for special masses, open houses, and various other activities that are for students, families, parishioners, and community members. We gather to celebrate the significant value Catholic education provides to young people and its many contributions to our church, communities, and our nation.

These celebrations, now more than ever before, unify us in times when ‘togetherness’ looks very different. At Frassati in particular, Catholic Schools Week 2021 was a lively and refreshing celebration that showcased the strength of our Falcon family.

We kicked off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 31 with mass at St. Mary of the Lake, and moved into our school week with specially themed days. There was mismatch day on Monday, hat and crazy socks day on Tuesday, favorite movie character day on Wednesday, red, white, and blue day on Thursday, and spirit wear day on Friday.

In addition to the wacky attire, there was a medallion hunt hosted for preschool through fourth-grade students, fifth through eighth-grade students participated in the first-ever (and surely not the last!) broomball tournament, and the week ended with a Penny Carnival that was hosted by the eighth-grade students for preschool through fourth-grade students.

While the theme days and special activities were a highlight, the discussions taking place in the classrooms were the most important aspects of the week. What does it mean to attend a Catholic school? How is this experience different? What do we celebrate as Frassati students? How do we share our Catholic faith in our school, in our home, and in our communities?

The conversations that took place around these questions were incredible and brought to light how lucky we are to call ourselves a Falcon family!

We would like to extend a special thanks to all who helped make Catholic Schools Week 2021 a success!

Also, we would like to congratulate the winners of the various activities and competitions: 

 

Broomball Tournament: Eighth Grade

Door Decorating Contest, Middle School: Mrs. Schmidtbauer’s 8th grade

Door Decorating Contest, Grades 3-4: Mrs. Benedetto’s 4th grade

Door Decorating Contest, Grades 1-2 – Mrs. Urness’ 2nd grade

Door Decorating Contest, Preschool – K – Mrs. Barry’s preschool class

The winners of the food donation drive will be announced on Friday, February 12; and the medallion is yet to be found, but we hope to announce a winner of that challenge soon.

 

** Please note that preschool students are not required to wear masks while in the classroom, and students are not required to wear masks when outdoors.