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If you’re like many parents, you want your child to be able to learn in a safe, secure environment. You want your child surrounded by people—teachers, staff, and other parents—who will have a positive inﬂuence and teach lessons about life, faith, belief, and moral values, not just academic subjects. St. Mary Star of the Sea School believes your childs educational experience should generate smiles, now and forever.
At St. Mary Star of the Sea School, we do a great job teaching things like reading, writing, science, and math. But we also spend our time educating the whole child, in mind, heart, and spirit. Our school is a caring community where children get one-on-one attention, and a strong sense of right and wrong.
A sense of faith, guiding the ability to focus, and encouraging an expectation of achievement are all important aspects of success in school and life. St. Mary Star of the Sea School is proud in offering this approach and the results achieved.
Preschool - Ms. Elena Russo
My goals as the preschool teacher are to have the children develop in a Christian manner in all areas of learning - spiritual, social, physical, emotional, and academic. Children will be guided to be independent individuals so they can meet the challenges in their immediate environment. At the end of preschool, the child will have developed listening skills, experience meaningful language, identify color, size, shape, and texture. Children will develop the ability to handle a pencil correctly, print and identify letters, numbers, and their name. In addition, they will acquire an awareness of the world around them.
Kindergarten - Mrs. Laura Gersch
At the end of Kindergarten, a student has grown both academically and socially. A student has successfully mastered the skills to become an emergent reader and the essential knowledge to thrive in first grade mathematics. Each child has grown to be an independent thinker and a member of a collaborative group to meet the challenges they will encounter in first grade. Each child has developed into a respectful, responsible, and peaceful part of our school community.
1st Grade - Ms. Christine Trovato
The first grade students will grow in social awareness, knowledge, and faith. Their good citizenship skills will strengthen as they work cooperatively to solve classroom and life situations. Their communication skills will increase as they learn to ask questions, and write sentences and paragraphs. They will also be able to publish their writings and present them to the class. Another area of first grade development is Catholic Identity. A strong emphasis is placed on knowing Jesus, the Mass, the Liturgical Year and the Catholic Social Justice teachings of the Church. The students are encouraged to take active parts in the Mass and apply the Gospel message to everyday life.
2nd Grade - Ms. Aida Pabello
The second grade students will develop spiritually and academically during the course of this year. They will grow in faith and deepen their understanding of our Catholic doctrine by preparing for the sacrament of First Reconciliation and First Communion. Students will gain further knowledge of prayer and God’s forgiveness and pray the Act of Contrition with reverence and understanding. Along with classroom instruction and participation in the Mass, the students will reinforce and deepen their Catholic identity and Christian values. They will advance their technological skills by using our classroom laptops to explore their favorite Math and Reading websites. Chapter books will open the doors to all types of fiction and non-fiction adventures preparing them for advancement to third grade.
3rd Grade - Mrs. Heather Rushton
Third grade is a pivotal year with many academic and social challenges. As students transition from primary to elementary school, they become more independent, organized, and logical in their thought process. They will work cooperatively with other children to meet these challenges. Third graders shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Students will grow academically and socially, but also spiritually as they strengthen their knowledge of the four pillars of the Catholic Church.
4th Grade - Ms. Ja Nice Patrick
Fourth grade is an important year that will challenge the students’ growth in all subject areas. Independence, cooperative learning, exploration, and inquiry will be areas of focus. Students in fourth grade will not only grow academically, but they will also work on developing a caring attitude for their peers, their school, and their community. Students will feel safe in our classroom to ask questions, learn from mistakes, express their thinking, and understand that everyone can learn.
5th Grade - Mrs. Laura Stanton
This year I will be working with your children to become more independent and responsible learners. I will be focusing on growth in academics, social emotional learning, and faith by educating the whole child. I'm a second year teacher who is fluent in Spanish. This will assist me in communicating with parents and providing necessary language support to students in class.
6th Grade - Mrs. Jennifer Jurasits
The 6th grade students at St. Mary Star of the Sea are actively engaged in purposeful learning on a daily basis. As part of the Middles School, the students are encouraged to challenge and explore activities that encourage higher order thinking while strengthening skills in organization, study habits, and developing stronger peer relationships. In addition to their study of World history, the 6th grade students also learn skills and techniques to make them better readers and writers. Vocabulary knowledge is a focus in Reading classes as well as focusing on skills that will lead to more fluent reading and increased reading comprehension. Math classes focus on using skills taught and practiced in Math class to solve complex Math equations and expansion of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Science classes regularly include experiments that are conducted in our Science Lab that give students the opportunity to research and develop their understanding and use of the Scientific Method. The 6th grade students also spend the year working to strengthen their leadership skills. In the spring, the students take part in a retreat at St. Laurence and Queen of Peace High Schools that prepared them for their coming role as leaders in the school. The Anti-Bullying policy of the school is incorporated in to Religion classes as well as all other classes in the school. Religion classes also focus on Mastery of the rosary and a study of the Gospel of Matthew. The 6th grade curriculum follows the Illinois Common Core Curriculum and Religion Curriculum follows the guidelines set forth by The Archdiocese of Chicago.
7th Grade - Mr. Andrew Brehm
By the end of the academic year, the 7th grade students will exhibit tremendous growth spiritually, academically, and socially. Throughout the year, the students will be taking place in a variety of educational experiences to increase their knowledge and social skills. In Religion, the students begin to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation. In Reading,Writing, and Language Arts, the students learn the strategies necessary to become better readers and writers through participating in the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshop. The 7th grade students also complete an intense study of American History in preparation for the Federally mandated U.S. Constitution test. The 7th grade students also work on developing leadership skills throughout the year in preparation for their future role as the oldest in the school.
8th Grade - Ms. Rose Evans
The eight grade students enter their final year of middle school with the ambition of preparing for high school. They learn how our government works in social studies classes and take the Illinois Constitution Test. Reading classes focus on skills that lead to fluent reading and increase comprehension. Math class presents skills to solve complex equations and increase critical thinking. In science classes the students do hands on experiments that relate to the units they study. Learning about health and human biology is the main part of the final two quarters. In language arts classes the students build on the skills and concepts learned and enrich writing skills. Catholic identity is the focus of religion class this year. The eighth graders prepare and receive the sacrament of Confirmation. They attend a Spirit Day retreat in November, attend Spirit Day, participate in the saints parade, and Confirmation round up to prepare for this sacrament. They are given opportunities to think independently in order to solve real world problems. The students are challenged daily to explore beyond the text book, strengthen study habits, improve organization and homework accountability, and develop strong social skills. These skills will prepare them for high school and beyond. The curriculum is aligned with the Illinois Common Core Standards and religion classes follow the guidelines set by the archdiocese.
Computer - Mr. C. Goodman
I believe my task as an instructor is to inspire life-long learning in a stimulating atmosphere where each student is encouraged to think critically, make connections, discover the relevance of technology to their lives, and share ideas in a variety of ways while taking knowledge obtained beyond (in this case) the confines of the computer lab. Indeed, some of my most joyful moments occur when students tell me they took something we discussed in class, try it at home as well as in other core content subjects, and had fun discovering ways to apply skills we explored in other aspects of their lives. To that end, students will explore a number of software and their functions in both study and creativity. We will learn from productivity software such as Microsoft Office suite, to digital creativity as well as a number of computer-assisted instructional software. We will also discuss the past, present, and future innovations of ever-changing technology and how they affect our lives.
Library - Mrs. Maria Coleman
The library program provides an accessible, enjoyable, welcoming environment for all students and teachers to find books, resources and materials that will promote a love of reading and lifelong learning. Another provision will be to recognize and assist different abilities and interests in students while generating an understanding that reading is fun, educational and can shape their lives. Our library supports our school curriculum by providing needed materials, appropriate guidance to students, and. assisting with teachers to provide lessons and activities that integrate information literacy and research skills.
Music - Mr. Fred Jackson
Band - Mr. William Gula
Mr. Gula has been teaching band at Catholic Elementary Schools on the South/Southwest side of Chicago and suburbs for over 20 years. A student of the late Leo Henning, Mr. Gula attended St. Laurence H. S. and VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL. In the past, Mr. Gula has also taught on the high school level, instructing the marching band at Evergreen H. S. as well as the Jazz Bands at Brother Rice H. S. and St. Laurence H. S. Some of Mr. Gula's students have gone on to perform with Division I drum and bugle corps, and can be seen on the DCI summer tour. As a professional musician, Mr. Gula has performed with and conducted pit orchestras for local high school and community theaters. In addition, he has worked professionally with local Chicago rock and jazz groups such as Rapid Fire, Crosstown, the Outcasts Jazz Band, and Vehicle. While in high school, Mr. Gula began performing polka music. starting with Stas' Golonka's Chicago Masters, he has played as a steady member of polka bands such as the Windy City Brass, Chicago's Milwaukee Avenue, Dynasticks, Prime Drive, the EZ Tones, and most recently the "famous & fabulous" Ampol-Aires. He also "filled in" with numerous other bands on the polka circuit. One of the highlights of his polka career was traveling to Poland to perform with Grammy Award winning Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones. In late 2012, Mr. Gula launched his own polka band called the "Chicago Image".
Physical Education - Mrs. Renee Bigeck
The P.E. program is a well-rounded program, focusing on the development of motor, cognitive, and social skills. The goal in P.E. is to physically educate your child so they may enjoy a LIFE-TIME of healthful physical activity.