At St. Joseph, everybody knows your name

ANDERSON — The following information about St. Joseph School was provided by Mary Ann Daly, principal. She praised her staff as warm and caring people who love children, learning, and most of all their faith.

History: The school was founded in 1967 when Father Thomas Timlin was pastor. It opened with 63 students in grades one through five. In 1971, a house was purchased adjacent to the church and remodeled to serve as a convent to accommodate the Sisters of St. Francis, who were teaching at the school.
Principal: Mary Ann Daly.

Number of students: 91.

Faculty: The school has seven full-time and four part-time teachers.

School mission: To integrate all learning with faith.

Grades: Pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade.

Hours: 7:55 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

After-school program: Before-school care begins at 7:30 a.m. The after-school program runs until 5:30 p.m. and offers homework and play time.

School meals: We eat in the parish hall. The PTO and lunchroom manager coordinate volunteer servers. Various vendors provide the prepared food at a cost of $3.50 per meal.

School colors: Navy blue and yellow.

Mascot: The Saints.

Sports: Church league basketball.

Let us brag: Our Positive Discipline Program teaches conflict resolution skills, mutual respect and responsibility. Our staff and students work together to see mistakes as a wonderful opportunity to learn through recognizing the problem, reconciling by apologizing and resolving the problem. Visits to the principal’s office are rare because of this program.

Foreign language: Spanish is taught to all students, and Latin will begin in the second semester for grades three-five.

Advanced classes: As an elementary school, we offer a curriculum that is challenging to our students as we feel that everyone benefits from an academically enriched environment on a daily basis.

Academic teams: Spelling Bee, National Geographic Geography Bee.

Facilities: We are in a single building on our parish’s campus. In 2003 we went through our first major renovation in 35 years. Several years ago, a parent decorated our hall with biblical scenes. Our parish garden club and pastor have landscaped a beautiful campus filled with religious statues and plants. Three alumni Eagle Scouts provided a rosary walk, a walking track and a Carolina garden.

Biggest change over the years: Our move from a faculty of religious to a lay staff.

What sets us apart: Our size allows every staff member to know every child by name, and every child knows the staff by name. This helps to convey a feeling of caring and parents have said they feel their children are safe at St. Joseph.

Community projects: Our PTO sponsors several projects, such as thanking our veterans, providing Thanksgiving dinner for needy families, and conducting a toy drive. Each class chooses a project to complete before Christmas and Easter.

Our parish: We are St. Joseph Church and our pastor is Father James Dubrouillet. Our students also come from St. Mary of the Angels Church and across the community.
Wishes for our school: We would like to be closer to full capacity, around 120.

One change we would make to our school: Sharing our school with more families!

How we demonstrate the Catholic faith: In addition to weekly Mass, we have daily prayer, community service projects, preparation for Holy Communion and confirmation, and classroom celebrations following Mass on holy days of obligation. We also celebrate St. Francis Day with the blessing of the animals. All elementary students are given assignment books that incorporate the liturgical calendar, weekly scripture readings and basic Catholic instruction. This year even our handwriting books are filled with the faith.

Our top awards or honors are: The President’s Fitness Challenge, Reel Art and Knights of Columbus art awards.

Music/art programs: We offer weekly music and art, and have two school-wide musical productions a year with one before Christmas and one in the spring.

Average scores on the IOWA test: Well above the national average.

Alumni of national or local note: Many of our alumni have gone to Governor’s School, some have become Eagle Scouts, and many have received college scholarships and grade-school scholarships. St. Joseph even had a National Geographic Geography Bee State Champion.

Do you have programs for students with disabilities? No specific programs, although we do have some students with mild to moderate physical and/or learning disabilities.

What percentage of students are Catholic? 69 percent.