Schools News

As Milwaukee’s Newest IB World School, St. Joan Antida High School
becomes 1st of its Kind in the State and One of Only 12 in the Nation

Milwaukee -- St. Joan Antida High School has been authorized as Milwaukee’s newest International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, becoming the first girls-only high school to offer the prestigious IB Diploma program in Wisconsin. It is only one of 12 such schools in the United States. The authorization is a culmination of a three-year, in-depth analysis of the school’s written curriculum, and its ability to offer the required college-level course work. Starting with the 2015-2016 academic year, St. Joan Antida High School will begin offering students the rigorous college preparatory curriculum.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” stated Mr. Paul Gessner, SJA’s Head of School. Gessner has seen firsthand the impact that the IB’s challenging curriculum has on preparing urban youth to cultivate their potential and fully engage their future.  Before assuming leadership at SJA in 2012, Mr. Gessner served for fifteen years as a teacher and administrator at Rufus King International School. “By implementing the IB Diploma Program at St. Joan Antida, we are empowering young women to excel at higher levels than a traditional curriculum allows. Poverty has never been an indicator of potential, and we want our young women to have every academic opportunity they need for success in their lives.”

In addition to offering students high-level course work, the IB Diploma Program also places an emphasis on developing a life of inquiry, critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and leadership through service.  Because the program offers challenging courses as well as international standardization, it is recognized by colleges and universities around the world as a premier academic curriculum, one that excels in preparing students for learning, working, and leading in a global economy. 

News information provided by St. Joan Antida High School.


Governor Walker Proclaims Catholic Schools Week

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed January 25 through January 31, 2015, as Catholic Schools Week in Wisconsin. The proclamation coincides with the national observance of Catholic Schools Week and recognizes the nearly 300 Catholic schools in Wisconsin now serving almost 58,000 Wisconsin students.

Noting that Catholic schools in Wisconsin “provide students with an education that emphasizes the formation of moral values and a commitment to community service,” the proclamation recognizes that Catholic schools educate students in preparation for their responsibilities as members of society. The governor’s words are in keeping with this year’s Catholic Schools Week theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”

The annual week-long observance celebrates a vital ministry of the Church and a valuable community resource, our Catholic schools. As the Governor’s proclamation acknowledges, “the welfare of our State requires that this and future generations of school-age children be assured ample opportunity to develop their intellectual capacities to the fullest.” For hundreds of thousands of students in Wisconsin, Catholic schools have provided this opportunity and will continue to do so for thousands more.

Catholic schools across Wisconsin host a multitude of events in observance of Catholic Schools Week, including Masses, open houses, and special activities. To find out the special ways in which this week is being celebrated, click here.

News information provided by the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.


St. Mary's Middle School Science Teacher Receives 2014 Celebrate Teachers and Teaching Award


Dr. Catherine Ferderbar, middle school science teacher at St. Mary Parish School, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, has been selected to receive the 2014 Celebrate Teachers and Teaching Award from the Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee (EDGM). The 2014 award focus is on teachers doing exemplary work in service learning. Ferderbar was chosen for her hands-on approach to teaching and was presented with her award at the second annual Celebrate Teachers and Teaching event on October 16th at Alverno College.

The selection process for the award considered teachers that received their professional certifications at one of the EDGM institutions and had a written nomination. Ferderbar, who is a Marquette University alumna and recently earned her doctorate through Cardinal Stritch University was nominated by St. Mary Parish School Principal, Linda Joyner. The nomination detailed Ferderbar’s ability to accommodate to each of her student’s learning style and bring educational concepts to life.  “It is common place, for students to dissect, build, grow, write, sing, solve fictitious crimes, create visual representations, graphic organizers, and even dress up like elements to demonstrate their knowledge,” said Joyner. “She empowers her students with the knowledge, skills and inspiration they need to take action and make a positive difference in the community.”

Click here to learn more about Ferderbar's award and dedication to excellence in Catholic education.



Schools Honored in Exemplary Schools Program


The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office for Schools recognized several schools in the Exemplary Schools Program at the 2014 Educators Convention on Friday, Oct. 10.

Previously part of the accreditation process, the Exemplary Schools Program is now a separate process to identify schools with exceptional programs. Schools applied for recognition in several categories by submitting written applications. Schools with superior written applications were selected to be visited by a team of experts.

After the site visits, the following schools were identified as having exemplary programs:

Catholic Identity:

All Saints Catholic Academy, Kenosha

Christ Child Academy, Sheboygan

Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Milwaukee


Information, Technology, and Media Skills:

St. John Vianney School, Brookfield


Innovative Programs:

St. Eugene School, Fox Point

St. John Vianney School, Brookfield


Marketing and Recruitment:

All Saints Catholic Academy, Kenosha

St. Charles Borromeo School, Milwaukee

St. John Vianney School, Brookfield


Service Learning and Civic Engagement:

St. Mary Parish School, Menomonee Falls


Congratulations to each of the schools for their outstanding commitment to Catholic education!

Catholic Memorial High School Nationally Recognized as a
School of Excellence


Waukesha, Wis. — September 15, 2014 — The Cardinal Newman Society, a national organization devoted to promoting and defending Catholic education, announced today that Catholic Memorial High School of Waukesha, WI (CMH), has been named to the 2014 National Catholic Education Honor Roll as a School of Excellence. Nationally only seventy out of the nearly twelve hundred Catholic high schools were named to this year’s honor roll. This is the third consecutive Honor Roll on which CMH has been recognized.

The Catholic Education Honor Roll's School of Excellence Award recognizes high schools that exhibit faithful Catholic education through institutional identity, administration, academics, and student life. According to the Cardinal Newman Society all members of the Honor Roll embrace, support, and pledge to work toward achieving three distinct "Indicators of a School of Excellence." Among these indicators are a commitment to Catholic teachings and lived faith; faculty, staff and volunteers exhibit that faith and Catholic identity; and the school’s policies and programs ensure the strength and stability of the Church’s educational mission in a changing world.

In its press release, Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society said “Since competition began in 2004, the Honor Roll has been a helpful tool for administrators, families, and benefactors in recognizing the quality of a Catholic high school education. The Honor Roll schools are a reminder that Catholic education is getting better every day—not only academically, but in the renewal of Catholic identity.”

Catholic Memorial High School is the only school of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on the honor roll.  According to CMH President, Fr. Paul Hartmann, “A recognition like this not only stands beside CMH’s unmatched academics and our stellar extracurricular offerings, but it also shows how lived faith underlies all of the successes a CMH student can attain.” 

At Catholic Memorial High School, we educate students as individuals, intellectually and spiritually. We guide students to work to their God-given potential.  We prepare them for postsecondary education and to become leaders who serve the Church and world.

For more information about our school’s outstanding educational programming, such as Memorial Propel, Project Lead the Way, International Baccalaureate Diploma and Career Certificate Programs, Academic Resource Support and Student Growth Plan, please contact the school.

News information provided by Catholic Memorial High School.


Blessed Sacrament's Students Benefitting from SHARP Literacy Program

MILWAUKEE, WI -- A local program is making a significant impact in area schools in some of the toughest areas of the city.

It is likely you have never heard of the SHARP Literacy program. But mention it to one of the students benefitting from it, and you will probably catch a smile and notice the child stands a little taller. That is all thanks to the extra support they receive from SHARP.

"I've seen non-readers want to read," said Blessed Sacrament School second grade teacher Litza Janowski. "I've seen non-writers want to write. Tell a child they can be an author, and watch 'em smile."

SHARP provides materials to students at no cost throughout the school year, that those students then use to create a book that is published. It features the work they put into their studies. And there is another take away the children in the Spanish-speaking communities benefit from.

"Proud, so I can teach my family," 5th grade Blessed Sacrament student Melvin Zamudia told CBS 58.

"It's exciting, so I can teach my family. I teach my little cousin and my grandma," echoed 5th grade Blessed Sacrament student Natalie Cardenas.

"I like to be the teacher at home," said 3rd grade Blessed Sacrament student Luis Cervantes.

Blessed Sacrament School Second grade teacher Litza Janowski has worked with SHARP in the classroom for nearly two decades. She has seen the far-reaching impact beyond just her classroom, because she is also the dean of students. She told CBS 58 the program actually benefits everyone involved.

"They like learning about it," said Janowski. "They get excited about it. It's content that fits right in with our curriculum. So it's not an's something we can just jump right into it. And it gives them the tools to be successful."

SHARP Literacy president Lynda Kohler points to the success of the program; considering they are in some of the toughest parts of the area -- in which 85 percent of their students qualify for free meal programs. She said that 30 percent of SHARP students perform better than students at the highest performing schools in Milwaukee.

"To see the pretest versus the post test result, to see how many words that they actually gained, and the writing challenge," said Kohler. "Not that think they know the definition of the word, but they can use it in the context of a sentence."

"These guys smile," said Janowski. "They get excited. It eliminates discipline issues because they're so actively engaged. The questioning. I mean they're just preparing for the future. And to me it just makes my heart beat. I don't know, I'm getting choked up."

Most importantly, the students gain confidence in themselves as well as quench their thirst for learning. When third-grader Luis Cervantes was asked how he feels about taking part in the program he said, "Great and happy. And kind of smart."

Each year the students visit the Milwaukee Art Museum as part of the program. There is a good reason why.  SHARP was started by a docent at the museum. The SHARP Literacy program is making Milwaukee great.

News information provided by Nate Kuester and CBS 58 News.



Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Schools Experience
Second Enrollment Increase in Three Years

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are reporting a combined enrollment increase for the second time in three years according to enrollment data recently released. This news comes as Catholic schools across the archdiocese gear up for the annual Catholic Schools Week celebrations.

“Our mission as leaders of the 113 Catholic schools in the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is to offer high quality Catholic education that is affordable and accessible to all, said Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Dr. Kathleen Cepelka.  It’s encouraging to witness the ongoing growth of our schools, to build new models that will sustain them into the future, and to collaborate with so many groups and individuals to enable their continued success.”

Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 26 – Feb. 1, 2014, recognizes the educational excellence provided by the nation’s 6,685 Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Over 2 million students attend Catholic schools in the United States. In southeastern Wisconsin, 99 elementary and 14 secondary Catholic schools educate more than 31,000 students.

This year’s Catholic Schools Week theme is “Catholic Schools – Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”  The theme reflects what sets Catholic schools apart from other educational institutions in that faith and service are integral to the educational experience.

Click here to learn more about this exciting weeklong celebration and to find upcoming events.



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