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Friday, January 14, 2011

St Catherine's Starts All Day Kindergarten

With all the successes of the Fort Thomas Independent Schools it is easy to lose sight of the success of the Catholic schools here in town.  Just recently St Thomas was named a Blue Ribbon school and the successes don't end there.

St Catherine's school is another example of this success and it is growing.  They will be holding an open house on January 27th from 6:30 to 8pm.  The entire Fort Thomas community is invited as they introduce their new expanded all day kindergarten.  To set the stage for the open house Fort Thomas Matters interviewed the principle, Doug Lonneman - here is our discussion:

Q - What led you to try an all-day kindergarten? Did you have half days prior and was the success of those programs the reason for the expansion? are you now the only all-day kindergarten in Fort Thomas?
A - We decided to go to all day kindergarten to meet the needs of our working parents and better prepare our students for 1st grade. We will continue to offer a half day option for those who still wish [to use] it.

Q - What makes these programs unique?  Is it the additional faith based teaching or are there other components that set them apart?
A - Our program is unique because we offer a top notch academic program in a faith filled environment. Our teachers are able to balance the demands of a strong curriculum with teaching the beliefs of the Catholic church. Our small size also is a plus as it allows us to know and meet the needs of all of our students.

Q - As a protestant the idea of a catholic education can be intimidating - what do you say to non-catholics who perhaps have never considered a faith-based education? Do you see many non-catholics enrolling in these programs?

A - We have always had non-Catholic students at St. Catherine. We do our best to make them feel a part of our school in every way while still respecting their beliefs. They get an opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith in a setting that allows for honest, open discussions.

Q - What is the cost?
A - As a parish with a long standing tradition of stewardship, our tuition is the lowest in the diocese. This year, in parish tuition is $1500. Out of parish is $4030. With our new All Day Kindergaren, we wanted to stay competitive with all of the local schools so our out of parish tuition will be $2000.

Q - Do you subscribe to any teaching philosaphies that could be interesting to parents such as Montessori or other educational approaches?

A - St. Catherine is a school that combines traditional approaches to teaching combined with the latest in educational practices. Our teachers use technology (we have Smart Boards in every classroom) to enhance their teaching and better meet the needs of the various learning styles of their students. An up-to-date curriculum and individualized student profiles allow students to be well prepared for high school and beyond.

Q - What is the history of the school at St Catherine's?
A - St. Catherine school was established in 1950 and has a long history for providing quality education in a faith filled atmosphere. Our students are actively involved in service to the community and learn the power of prayer from the very beginning. This along with their many academic successes, gives our students the confidence to succeed in whatever challenges that face them.

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