After much research and consideration with the principal, parish pastor, faculty, staff and parent leaders, St. Mary School decided to apply for and was accepted into the Drexel School System in the Diocese of San Jose beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. After reviewing the data, evaluating the effectiveness and impact of joining the Drexel School System; observing teachers, curriculum and students in current Drexel schools; and assessing the benefits for our school, the decision was made that becoming a Drexel school was in the best interest of St. Mary School.
What does this mean this mean for the school? Four pillars make up the Drexel System: accessibility, achievement, accountability and Catholic authenticity.Through additional Drexel funding combined with the current tuition assistance program, the school is making Catholic education accessible for more families. Teachers are receiving increased instructional resources and professional development through Drexel’s partnership with Santa Clara University’s Academy of Blended Learning, among other benefits. Most importantly, students’ individual academic needs are easily matched and better served with differentiated instruction and research-based instructional strategies that use integrated technology, small group sessions, and a variety of academic applications.
The school community is excited about this move, and students’ enthusiasm for these instructional changes is evident in their classrooms. Teachers are already seeing an increase in student engagement, enthusiasm and effort as students benefit from the research-based instructional methodology being used throughout all grade levels. Recent class projects included 3rd grade students making their own animal reports on Adobe Spark Page; the 7th grade science class using TouchCast Studio to make movies about how movement of the sun, moon and Earth cause solar and lunar eclipses, and seasonal changes; and the 8th grade language arts class using TouchCast to discuss the better of two arguments.
In addition to advances in teaching methods, the school also underwent a facelift this summer with funding for building improvements and a technology upgrade.
We are excited to have the opportunity to join the Drexel System. The support for our entire school community and the promise of improvement for the instructional experiences for our students and professional development experience for our teachers will be amazing opportunities. As a forward-looking vision, we believe it is the perfect time to take our school to the next level and are confident we will benefit greatly from joining the Drexel School System. (More details can be found in a short video at https://vimeo.com/179217402)