St. Mike's is not on the list of closures

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

St. Michael's School in Penn Yan truly is alive and well. Parents, students and staff have always believed that and now the Diocese of Rochester has put its stamp of approval on the school as well.  Friday afternoon, Principal Dr. James Tette announced that St. Michael's School is not on the list of schools that the Bishop’s Task Force on Catholic Schools has recommended for closure. “I’m grateful that the Task Force acknowledged the strengths of St. Michael’s, but we are all saddened at the loss of the schools that will be closed,” Tette said.

Tette said a Planning and Development Committee has been meeting weekly for the past two years. Together with the pastor, Fr. Robert Ring, they have been working on ways to improve and strengthen St. Mike’s. Tette believes these efforts have resulted in an increase in enrollment – more than 30 percent in three years. “We’re in the process of finalizing a strategic plan,” Tette noted, “which will set our course as we move forward into the 21st century.”  The plan’s main focus is to help students learn the skills necessary to become successful adults in an ever-changing world. Some of those skills include the ability to make complex choices and decisions, learning to work effectively with diverse teams, being able to adapt to varied roles and responsibilities, developing a positive work ethic and demonstrating integrity and ethical behavior. This means developing a framework that combines core curriculum goals and “real world” applications.

One important area for the 21st century is technology. Currently half of the classrooms at St. Mike’s have interactive white boards. Keith Prather, the fifth grade teacher, uses his every day, all day long. These electronic whiteboards allow students to be actively engaged in the learning process and also enable teachers to work with students with different learning styles.

Tette said the support of friends, alumni, teachers and parents has been invaluable in keeping St. Mike’s strong financially.

“As we celebrate our 125th anniversary of serving the children of Yates County and beyond, we are confident we will continue to serve area families for years to come,” Tette emphasized. “The future for our school looks bright,” he added. In honor of the 125th anniversary, A Winter Gala will be held March 1 at The Esperanza Mansion. All are invited to join in the celebration.

Open registration for the 2008-2009 school year has begun. St. Michael School is open to children from age 3 through Grade 5. For more information on the school or to schedule a time to come in and observe the classes, call the school at (315)536-6112.