BROOKFIELD – Taskforce and sub-committee members have begun reviewing specific details and plans for the new “multi-age” teaching model at St. Joseph School, said Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Bishop Caggiano introduced the plan for the transition of St. Joseph School of Brookfield into the new blended learning and “multi-age” model” at a meeting concerning the future of the school attended by 200 parents on January 18 in St. Joseph Church.
The bishop said that if parent embraced the new model, it would make it possible to keep St. Joseph’s doors open by reducing costs and creating an innovative path to learning.
Dr. Cheeseman said the response has been very positive and encouraging as the details are being worked out with a large number of parents and community members serving on sub-committees and the Taskforce.
“Out of a potential crisis, we have taken steps toward an exciting opportunity to move forward. I’m very grateful for the response of parents and for their commitment to work with the concept,” Dr. Cheeseman said.
At the recent taskforce meeting, leaders introduced the proposed “band” configuration that has been structured, based on an enrollment of 100 students.
Rather than the traditional class structure the proposed grouping of students would include Preschool 3 and 4 year olds; Kindergarten through second grade; grades three and four; grades five and six; and grades seven and eight.
“The seventh and eighth grades will follow a traditional junior high departmentalized structure. We are mindful that they have not been educated in the multiage model and want to ensure that they are fully prepared for high school,” said Dr. Cheeseman.
He said the Taskforce is working through the details on how many teachers and aides will be in each classroom, ensuring that all state mandated ratios are adhered to.
Plans to overhaul the Preschool program are also underway so that it appeals to a broader audience and is more competitive with other area preschools.
He said the projected budget includes all current Specials (Art, Gym, Music, and Computers), an enhanced World Language program, and the addition of After School Activity Clubs. The school will continue to use Paul Effman Music services for band and orchestra.
There will be a tuition increase next year, but the school will remain in-line and comparable with other area Diocesan schools. Multi- student/sibling discounts will still be available.
Dr. Cheeseman recommended that parents applying for financial aid via the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, submit their application as soon as possible. (Visit the Foundations In Education website for more information: https://www.foundationsineducation.org/bishops-scholarship-fund/ )
Dr. Cheeseman said it was important for all parent to attend the March 7th parent meeting at 7:30pm to hear greater detail about the plans for the school’s 2018/2019 school year. The meeting will be held in the St. Joseph Church.
He said another “pulse survey” will be coming out within the coming days to gauge the commitment level from the community. He urged all to participate and answer truthfully.
Parents or community member who have questions, can call the hotline at 203-209-2894. All calls will be returned if they are not immediately answered.