- Published on Friday, August 10, 2012 00:00
- Written by By Kevin G. Bautista - Variety News Staff
- Hits: 995
THE island’s only Catholic school kicked off its new school year yesterday with a promise that it will uphold its mission of providing its students with a well-rounded, faith-based education.The school has held a series of activities and events over the past couple of days in order to set the positive, enthusiastic tone for the rest of the year.
On the mornings of Monday and Tuesday, Mount Carmel School teachers focused on improving their teaching by studying a wide variety of instructional strategies and classroom management techniques.
The workshop was facilitated by Velma Deleon Guerrero, Northern Marianas College’s Liberal Arts Program Coordinator.
A former instructor at the NMC School of Education, as well as Mount Carmel School’s 2007 Teacher of the Year and NMC’s 2010 Instructional Faculty of the Year, Deleon Guerrero provided information and insights on research-based strategies and techniques for the classroom.
School teachers also worked in groups to further analyze and evaluate different approaches to instruction and classroom management and took turns teaching each other new lessons they had learned.
Teachers also identified areas in which they intended to improve throughout the school year as part of an overall professional growth plan.
The school’s vice principal for curriculum and instruction, Bobby Baldazo noted that many teachers found the focus on teaching quality timely.
“It was enlightening and refreshing, and it helped reinforce our prior knowledge about teaching,” he said.
On the evenings of Monday and Tuesday, the school focused its attention on parents and guardians at orientation sessions, which brought in hundreds of individuals to a crowded assembly hall at the school.
Led by school President Galvin S. Deleon Guerrero, the orientation sessions featured presentations by Vice Principal Baldazo, school Business Manager, Keiko Yamagata, and Federal Programs Manager for the Public School System, Tim Thornburgh.
Deleon Guerrero said he would like the whole school community to embrace the school’s new “paradigm shift.”
“We invite you to take ownership by getting involved. This is, after all, your school, and we want you to be part of the many wonderful changes happening at Mount Carmel School,” he told parents.
Baldazo spoke about the expanded Title I program at the school, which Thornburgh further discussed in his presentation.
Yamagata talked about the school’s goals to raise more funds in order to keep Catholic education affordable, yet sustainable.
Referring to the National Standards for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, Yamagata stated, “We have to ensure the operational vitality of our school so that we can continue providing the best education we can to our children.”
As is tradition, the first day of school yesterday began with an opening mass, which was celebrated by Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, Fr. Ryan Jimenez.
Deleon Guerrero noted that Fr. Ryan was joined by several parish priests as concelebrants in the mass in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the school and the diocese.
He added that this year marked the first year that they concelebrated the opening mass.
At the end of the celebration, Fr. Ryan recognized the priests and their parishes, having students and teachers stand with their pastors when their respective parishes were called.
In another first for the school, right after the opening mass, students participated in a special off-campus student orientation at Hollywood Theaters.
When students arrived at the theaters, they were treated to educational video clips, some theatrical trailers, the school’s “I am a Knight” commercial series, and a special black light hand mime presentation by the Life in the Son Christian Fellowship Youth Ministry, led by Pastor Eric Abragan.
“The significance of performing for a Catholic institution such as MCS is the privilege to share a positive message with the students. This is for the students to not only be empowered, but to step out in faith to share what God has done in our lives and in the community as well,” Pastor Abragan said.
During the orientation, Deleon Guerrero emphasized the need for everyone in the school community to live and breathe the school’s mission, which is “to educate the whole person to see with Christ’s eyes.”
“We want to continue our legacy of helping our students achieve success and sending them to great colleges, but we also want to have a faith-based environment that complements a great liberal arts education. Seeing through the perspective of Christ means that our students mature in how they look at their peers, their parents, and everyone else in the community,” he said.
Student Council President Jimin Ryu was very impressed by the way the school year was started.
“Mr. G’s words were very inspiring. It was really important for everyone to really understand what the mission statement means and I look forward to everyone applying it.”
School board Chairman Joseph L.G. Taijeron expressed his sentiments on the school’s great start to the school year.
“We started off this school year in a really upbeat manner I think this is just the beginning of great things to come for Mount Carmel. It’s going to be better than what we’ve done before.”
He added that he is looking forward to more innovative thinking that can supplement the school’s traditions and curriculum.
“We want to make sure the teachers have the tools necessary to succeed, because when they have the tools to succeed, then our students will succeed. We’re going to ask our parents to be right there along with us so our students can succeed in ways that they have never succeeded before. This school year has really gotten off on a great foot, and we’re going to make sure we live up to our mission. This new style will bring Mount Carmel back to the top.”
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