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SUBMITTED by Robbin Bremer (23-Mar-2011)

Dear WCL Editor,

Recently, there have been many articles and letters regarding the deficit at St. Michael School. To put things into perspective, next year's budget gap at St. Michael School is $150,000 as compared to 2-3 MILLION dollars in surrounding public schools. Suddenly, when compared to the millions of dollars in deficits that other area schools face, $150,000 does not seem so daunting! In addition, supporters have currently lessened the deficit to $109,500 and are continuing to work toward eliminating it completely.

Furthermore, St. Michael School can continue to decrease its deficit, without cutting any programs, by increasing enrollment. Students can receive the same excellent education they have always received. It is exciting to note that the school has taken many calls from prospective new students in the past weeks, with one of those students actually transferring this school year.

Below is a letter I wrote several years ago, which I think bears repeating:
Should We Pay Extra to Send Our Children to St. Michael School?

Public school has many dedicated teachers and wonderful learning experiences. I am a product of public schools. I graduated third in my class and attended Cornell University. I am proof that public schools work. But when my husband and I were faced with the question above, we chose St. Michael School for our children.

The first thing that drew us to the school was high academic standards. The test scores, student ranking and percentage of students going on to graduate with honors was extraordinary.
Beyond that, it was important to us to provide a safe environment for our children. St. Michael School does just that. Some people would like to characterize the public schools as having more “bad” kids. I believe that there are no “bad” kids in either place. As in the public schools, we have a great diversity of ethnicity, religion, ability level, behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

Where St. Michael School is different from public schools is in its greater ability to set limits and provide discipline if those limits are exceeded. Children are taught that there are consequences to their actions. They are also taught that they are forgiven and are expected to make a better choice next time; that good decisions bring good consequences. As a result, there is more time spent teaching and less time dealing with behavioral issues.

St. Michael School teaches kids that they are not the only living being in the world that matters and in this “me” society that is very refreshing. They are taught not only to respect and care about other people but to give back to the community through volunteering and giving money or goods to charities.

I agree with all of you who are thinking that much of the above is learned from parents. But we all know that reinforcement from others sometimes make a huge difference. For six hours each day, multiple people are reinforcing what we have tried to instill in our children.
For us, the choice was clear. St. Michael School would be our best option. But could we afford to send them to St. Michael School? We learned that there are significant family discounts available for people who have more than one child attending school. Tuition assistance is also available. The question then became, “How could we afford NOT to send them to St. Michael School?”
The above letter still holds true today. It is a parent's duty to determine the best opportunities available for their children. This determination cannot be made without considering all of the options, including St. Michael School. I encourage parents and grandparents to call the school to schedule a visit, or have the children "shadow" a student during the school day. Talk to the principal, the teachers, the parents and the students to determine if St. Michael School is the best option for your children and grandchildren.


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3 Comments to "Consider St. Michael School"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    If Ms. Bremer is an example of a St. Michael School graduate then the success of Catholic education speaks for itself. She is wonderful person.

    Posted on Sat Mar 26, 06:23:00 AM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    I had Mr. Bremer in public school and he was a great teacher. In fact he helped change my trajectory in school as he is the first teacher to give a trouble maker a chance. I will never forget him as signifacant person in my life.

    My only problem with catholic education is its lack of vision that spirtuality is best achieved as a individual journey discovered without repetition of doctrine. I also worry about the value of science is in this education.

    Posted on Sun Mar 27, 11:42:00 AM EDT

  3. Anonymous Said,

    Science at St. Michael School is a hands-on inquiry based program and is an important part of each student's curriculum from PreK through 8th grade. Each year the school has a science fair and in the past students in the middle school grades have participated in Science Olympiad. Students in grade 8 who qualify are able to take Earth Science, a regents high school course. Several years ago, through generous benefactors, the school installed a Weather Bug station. The teachers are able to access this for lessons. Teachers have also applied for and received grants to assist in teaching science: a grant from the American Nuclear Societ - the money was used for hands-on inquiry about energy; an EDS Grant which provided Venier Probe Ware used to conduct experiments; and a grant through the Teacher Resource Center which provided a laptop, a Bamboo tablet that is interactive with a Smartboard, photoshop software and video software. So as you can see, science is a very integral part of the curriculum at St. Michael School.

    Posted on Mon Mar 28, 09:37:00 AM EDT


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