Mrs. Schratz will be having the first Principal’s Coffee of the year on Wednesday, November 6th from 9:15-10:15 AM in the Burke Wing. The agenda for these meetings is set by the parents. The Principal’s Coffee is a great opportunity for you to meet with Mrs. Schratz to address issues and topics of concern. In addition, Mrs. Schratz will answer questions you may have about our school, our policies and our strong academic program. You are welcome to share your general concerns and offer input. Although it is not necessary to let us know if you will be attending, it is very helpful.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 SAS students modeled the pillar of caring by having “pink day” and participating in a wellness walk.
As an exercise to raise cancer awareness and support members of the school community who have been touched by cancer, students gave a donation for the opportunity to dress out of uniform in pink. All students participated in a “Wellness Walk” and wore pink ribbons with the names of friends and family members that have been victims or survived cancer. Donations from the day totaled a record $2,000 and will be given to the St. Augustine School Kitchen Manager, Mrs. Ruth Carmichael, who is undergoing cancer treatment.
The students at St. Augustine School know that their character counts! For the past 8 years St. Augustine’s has used the nation’s most widely used framework for character education called Character Counts (CC!). It gives the faculty, staff, parents and students a common vocabulary to teach, model and discuss the pillars of character that form a person of virtue. Our students are TRRFCC because they are trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair, caring and good citizens. We broadened and deepen our understanding and experience of good character through our club, Rachel’s Friends. The goals of this club is to start a “chain reaction of kindness and compassion.” Rachel’s Friends is the legacy of Rachel Joy Scott a young woman who was killed in the shooting at Columbine High School.
St. Augustine School joined millions of students across the nation in celebrating the 20th annual Character Counts Week. Our students began the celebration of the six pillars of character by dressing in one of the six colors that represent the pillars. They were treated to cupcakes decorated in the colors of the pillars. On Tuesday, the school and its students were awash in pink as we supported members of our school community that are battling cancer. The students participated in a spirited wellness walk remembering family members and friends who were victims or survivors of cancer. On Wednesday at our school assembly the students learned about the Power of One in preventing and standing up to bullying. Thursday was buddy activity day where older students performed skits, read stories, and played games with their younger buddies. Finally, on Friday we celebrated the week and all of the great character that our community shares with a wonderful school Mass.
Congratulations to the following students who will be
Student Council Leaders for the 2013-2014 School Year!
President - Jessica Schneck
Vice President - Julia Hoffman
Secretary - Delaney Hill
Religious Coordinator - Olivia Gretz and Jesse Whitehead.
St. Augustine leaders attribute national award to hard work, leadership
By Elizabeth Lowe
ELKRIDGE – When Patricia Schratz looks out the window of her second-floor office, she sees a National Blue Ribbon flag flying, a reminder of a major accomplishment for St. Augustine School.
“I feel called to serve,” said Schratz, principal of the Howard County school for 12 years. “Helping children to realize they’re called to serve is at the heart of what I do and what we do.”
“Catholic education is so important to me,” Schratz continued, “because it enables us to form the children, along with their parents, into disciples of Christ.”
St. Augustine School and Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson were named National Blue Ribbon Schools last September, among 26 to earn the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education. It recognizes schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are made in levels of achievement.
St. Augustine, the 15th Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to receive the Blue Ribbon distinction, serves 260 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and a preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.
Schratz said what’s most important in striving for excellence is hiring quality teachers and encouraging them.
Of St. Augustine’s 22 faculty members, 13 have advanced degrees, and three more are pursuing master’s degrees. All of its full-time teachers have or are pursuing their master’s.
Test scores help teachers identify students who need additional academic support or challenge, said Schratz, who added “we believe that all students are gifted in some way.”
St. Augustine students in grades three through eight scored in the top 15 percent or higher in the reading and math sections on the 2011 Stanford Achievement Test 10, a requirement to qualify for the Blue Ribbon, Schratz said. Students scored between the 70th and 88th percentile across all eight subject areas, well above average.
Some students take algebra and geometry at the high school level. All middle school students study and perform works by William Shakespeare, Schratz said.
Barbara Madera, the middle school language arts teacher who is in her 11th year at St. Augustine, has a master’s in American and English literature. She has high expectations for her students, who receive rigorous classroom instruction.
“I’m trying to use the language they have in high school,” Madera said. “My curriculum is advanced – and I know it.”
Students are held accountable to make sure “no one is slipping through the cracks,” Madera said. “We have a strong faculty, we have great students.”
Established in 1857, the school also has a rich heritage.
Madera and her four siblings attended St. Augustine. Her son, Eddie, is a seventh-grader at the school and her daughter, Emma, now a sophomore at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, the other 2012 Blue Ribbon school in the archdiocese, attended St. Augustine.
The family attends Mass at St. Augustine Parish.
Katie Sofio, a fourth-grade teacher who has a master’s in education, noted that students have cross-curricular, experiential learning opportunities. Working in the school garden, for example, students learn about God’s creation, nutrition, estimating and measuring.
“At a Catholic school, you can educate the whole person – mind, body and spirit,” Sofio said. “You’re not only teaching them the subjects they need to be successful.”
Fourth-grader Lucas Benedetto said teachers are creative, making it easy to remember material.
“The teachers make it so we have fun,” Lucas said. “When you know that you’re such a good school, it motivates you to do your best.”
Fourth-grader Katherine Munter is proud of her school.
“If you’re like ‘we can stop working hard,’ it’s not (the case),” Katherine said. “You need to work hard to make sure we’re a Blue Ribbon school. The teachers will help you anytime. It’s all about the kids here.”
To celebrate the award, a school-wide assembly was held in September and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori celebrated Mass Dec. 7.
“I am very happy to congratulate you in person,” Archbishop Lori said to the student body. “We are really, really proud.”
Following the liturgy, Archbishop Lori visited classrooms and asked students what they were learning.
His visit “signified to the children how important this achievement is to us,” said Schratz, noting that the Blue Ribbon is affirming, “but it’s not an end.”
“All decisions are based on what’s best for the students,” Schratz said.
She puts students first, aids teachers and listens, said Madera, the middle school language arts teacher.
“She’s very giving,” Madera said, “in terms of herself and her time.”
A Catholic educator for nearly 30 years, Schratz occasionally teaches, giving her staff a reprieve.
“Time is greatly appreciated,” Schratz said. “It’s something that all teachers need. It’s a treat for me as well. I like to have my hand on the pulse of the school.”
St. Augustine School at a glance
Principal: Patricia Schratz
Affiliated religious order: School Sisters of Notre Dame
Offerings: “Character Counts!” encourages students to model trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness caring and citizenship; school also offers “Rachel’s Friends,” founded by the parents of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine, Colo., shooting, in an effort to start a chain reaction of kindness.
Did you know: Schratz has international experience, having taught third grade in Japan.
Copyright (c) Jan. 23, 2013 CatholicReview.org
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and non-public elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. The program is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals. Using standards of excellence evidenced by student achievement measures and the characteristics known from research to exemplify school quality, the Department celebrates outstanding schools from states across the country.
- Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state's highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally-normed tests; or
- Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school's performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.St. Augustine School qualified by the first criteria-high test scores. A number of parochial schools nationwide qualified and only 50 were selected based on a detailed application that describes our school unique programs and accomplishments.
Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence receive a plaque and flag at an awards ceremony on November 12, in Washington, DC. Honored schools serve as models of excellence for other schools throughout the nation.