St. John Neumann recommended for top honors

COLUMBIA — The following information about St. John Neumann School was provided by Barbara Cole, principal.

History: In 1986, St. John Neumann parish acquired Wildewood School and established St. John Neumann School for the growing northeast Richland community. With carefully planned expansions and renovations, enrollment has grown from 110 students in 1989 to 372 currently.

Principal: Barbara Cole.

Number of students: 372 with a capacity of 394.

Faculty: SJN has 26 full-time and eight part-time faculty members.

School motto: St. John Neumann, where students experience success.

Grades: Pre-kindergarten through sixth.

Hours: 8:10 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.

After-School programs: Before-school care begins at 7:30 a.m. and after-school care ends at 6 p.m. Special assistance with reading and math is available in the Discovery Center and faculty members provide weekly after-school help sessions. Many extracurricular activities are available on campus, such as art, cooking, dance, karate, choir, Rosary Club, Brain Games and LEGO Robotics.

School meals: We do not have a kitchen, but the school has a partnership with local restaurants. Families receive a menu monthly and can order  or bring a bag lunch.

School colors: Blue and gold.

Mascot: The Eagle.

Sports: SJN participates in the Interfaith Basketball League beginning in fourth-grade and sponsors teams for recreational soccer.

Let us brag: St. John Neumann  is a National Blue Ribbon School. We received this award in 1998-99. This year, our school was selected again as one of 50 applicants for the National Blue Ribbon. We were chosen for our high test scores.  Notification from the Department of Education will be announced in September. In 2002, we received the Inviting School Award. In April, we were visited by a team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and were recommended for accreditation.         

Foreign language: Spanish is taught in all grades. Next year, we will offer Latin to our sixth-graders.

Advanced classes: Everyone in our school may qualify for advanced math. We have children taking pre-algebra in sixth-grade. We also offer enrichment in reading through our Discovery Center and lunch time book clubs starting in third-grade.

Facilities: Since 1989, the parish and faithful donors have helped finance added classrooms, a church office, cafeteria, library, pavilion, decks off our classrooms and playground equipment. The campus has grown extensively. Every year we strive to keep SJN a safe, inviting school that children enjoy attending.

Biggest change over the years: The growth of technology. A wide-range of innovations are employed to enhance the educational experiences of our students.    

What sets us apart: Our academic excellence, dedicated faculty, and committed parents make us a special educational community. Over 92 percent  of our parents volunteer in some form, showing their dedication to their child’s education and school.

Community projects: Our students help the parish and the community in many ways. Some of our activities include the Toys for Tots Christmas campaign, the Woodyard Fund, blood drives for the American Red Cross, volunteering at the Children’s Hospital, and walking to raise money for disease research.  

Our parish: St. John Neumann is led by Father Frederick Masad.

Wishes for our school: We hope the planned additions to our building will proceed quickly and successfully.

One change we would make to our school: We would like to have a larger Discovery Center that could serve even more students. Also, the addition to our facilities is not planned to increase our numbers, but to keep our classroom size small.

How we demonstrate the Catholic faith: Opportunities for school-wide worship are offered on a weekly basis. We have a Prayer Partner Program that begins in pre-school and matches every student with another to provide leadership and mentoring. We also have a Lady Bug program where students who perform acts of kindness are given a ladybug stone or thrown a ladybug ball in chapel to promote their good deeds.

Music/Art programs: The music and art programs are wonderful. Our music teacher directs a minimum of  five productions a year where students have singing or speaking roles. We also have a select Super Star Choir as an after-school program.

Average Scores on IOWA test: We rank in the top 10 percent of the nation.

Programs for students with disabilities: Our Discovery Center has a full-time teacher and many parent volunteers. This is where the children go for remediation and for enrichment. The Discovery Center sees over 100 children every week.

What percentage of students are Catholic: 74 percent.