Each school year is special at St. John’s Catholic School. The time when summer gives way to fall always holds so much promise for the upcoming school year. As Principal Cristel Miller looks ahead to her seventh year at the school, she is excited for all the new opportunities of the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, while embracing the beloved traditions of our school community.
“We have an amazing staff and great school,” Dr. Miller says. “We love Jesus and can worship and give thanks and praise Him out loud. We don’t have to hide our lights under a bushel when we are at school.”
That is just one of the many reasons that Dr. Miller sees St. John’s as a special place. This year, there will be some new faces and some familiar faces in new places. Ms. Carothers is moving in to teach our second-grade class. Mrs. King is not returning so Mrs. Noble will fill the void in PK4 while Mrs. Sanders moves to lead teacher in PK3. Teacher Jennifer Hamilton is ill and cannot return, please hold her in your prayers. Many thanks to all of our teachers and especially to those who have agreed to shuffle to new classrooms.
Susan Smith is the new music teacher, and she will help with enrichment as well. Mrs. Smith lives on a farm in Ramona and has a master’s degree in education with a focus on gifted education. LaRae Saucedo will teach Spanish, computers, and continue as a teacher’s assistant. Mrs. Saucedo is flexible and always willing to help wherever needed. She is eager to share her love of the Spanish language with students. Dr. Miller looks forward to working more closely with both teachers.
As Dr. Miller notes, St. John’s is an Institute of Excellence in Writing school (IEW).
“This program is used throughout our school to teach students how to not only formulate their thoughts effectively, but it also teaches them how to communicate that message through writing,” Dr. Miller says.
St. John’s is also an Oklahoma A+ school. This philosophy believes in engaging students through the arts and other hands-on activities. St. John’s offers smaller class sizes compared to public schools, which means students don’t fall through the cracks if they are behind. There is also the ever-present faith aspect — it’s a part of everything that happens at the school.
“It is a blessing that our Catholic students get to develop their faith formation during the school day,” Dr. Miller says. “We want all students to see Christ in everything they do. We don’t want them to categorize their faith life from school and as adults from work. We want to continue to teach them to see God is present in everything we do.”
St. John’s will be going through the accreditation process this year, which means extra work hours for teachers. There will be an early release day about once per month to allow teachers time to work on accreditation needs.
While the start of the school year is a special time for Dr. Miller, the holidays and First Communion for second-graders are also very meaningful and a lot of fun!
“We are looking forward to another blessed year,” she says. “God always has a plan and guides us through the year. There are always going to be challenges in life, work, and school, but we are so very blessed to live out our mission ‘to educate young men and women in the Christian faith who will enrich the community through their actions to love others, grow in faith, learn about the world, and believe in God’s plan for salvation.’”
Back to School night will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8.