Principal's Spring Newsletter 2019
As a community, before we can look ahead, we must look back on OLC’s journey through the years. Opening its doors in 1929, OLC was a thriving Catholic school, servicing a strong Polish community for many decades. As the area experienced a demographic shift and economic changes over time, the school’s enrollment began to decline. Here is a synopsis of the events from a critical time period:
- In 1999, there was one section at each grade level, with unoccupied space in both the school building and Victory Hall.
- From 2001-2009, the former pastor and principal focused on the preschool. They were successful in growing the preschool enrollment rapidly.
- From 27 preschoolers in 2001, the enrollment rose to 157 children in 2009. Their plan came to fruition, putting the school on a positive path toward increased enrollment.
- At the beginning of the school year 2009-2010, Father Thomas Ciba and I began working at OLC.
- There were 157 preschoolers when we arrived.
- The rest of the enrollment consisted of 164 students, K-8, of which there were 78 students in K-2 and 86 students in grades 3-8.
- Perplexed by the numbers, Father Tom and I set out to increase enrollment with the help of Joyce Cmiel and Michelle Latko’s understanding of the school’s history.
- Our mission was to retain the current number of students at the end of each year in all grades, maintaining the high enrollment in the preschool, as well as attracting new students in grades K-8.
- From the 2009-2010 school year to the present, we have successfully sustained a large preschool with a student-teacher ratio within NAEYC guidelines, and now have more students in grades K-8 than in the preschool.
- The school’s status and reputation changed drastically. Attention was placed on the improvement of academic programs, the inclusion of social and emotional programming, and the hiring of faculty and staff willing to become better versions of themselves through professional development in best practices, all of which contributed to the school achieving Blue Ribbon status.
- Even with continued facility improvements, the school enrollment was bursting at the seams.
- With Father Tom’s retirement in February 2018, and literally on Father Bryan’s first day at work, he was faced with an opportunity to open a second site.
- Convinced by me that the opportunity was what OLC needed to continue to flourish, Father Bryan supported the opening of a second location, and as you know, it became a reality.
- In addition, Father Bryan’s request was enthusiastically embraced, and sacramental preparation was brought back to the school. On May 4, a large group of children from OLC and other local schools will receive the sacrament of the First Eucharist at the Our Lady of Czestochowa Church.
With that said, the search committee interviewed three candidates on Tuesday, April 15. With God’s continued blessings and the wisdom of the people on the committee, I am confident that a candidate will emerge who will embrace the uniqueness of OLC and continue to lead it in a most positive direction.
As the Lenten season is about to come to an end, we welcome the Easter season, a time of renewal and rebirth. I pray that this time brings you a blessed Easter and a springtime filled with hope and happiness.
Easter Blessings to you and yours,
Anna Mae Stefanelli