Classes started today
The 2014-2015 school year began today at St. Brendan Catholic School.
There are currently 15 teachers, plus Principal Kathy Coulson and Rev. Mark A. Porterfield. Thus far, 188 students will be attending the school this year.
This year's enrollment has increased, due to the addition of an optional all-day or partial-day preschool.
New teacher, Selena Ramsey, will be taking over the pre-school class. She previously worked for Douglass Community Services in Bowling Green.
Lori Jones and Sarah Thompson taught the class last year. Jones has left to continue her education in student counseling. Thompson will be teaching pre-K-fourth grade art classes this year.
"I'm really excited about the new pre-school expansion and all of the new families and faces that will come with it," Coulson said.
A new enclosed playground, intended for young children, has been added to the grounds. The new equipment includes a climbing wall, two slides, a sensory climber, shredded rubber ground cover and a track for trike riding.
Tina Perry has retired as a kindergarten teacher. She and Kelly Stanford shared kindergarten duties last year, because of the large class size. Stanford will continue as the kindergarten teacher. Perry taught at St. Brendan for approximately 35 years. "She enjoyed her time teaching here and was a wonderful kindergarten teacher," Coulson said. "She was a part of every child's life that entered this school and the parents and children loved her to pieces. She is enjoying her retirement and wants to spend time cooking and being at home."
Last year's large kindergarten class has graduated to the first grade. The 24 students will require two teachers this year as well. Lauren Patten will be joining Vanessa Kerr in teaching the first grade class.
Sarah Kliethermes has come to St. Brendan as the new music and speech teacher. Coulson said she is a vocalist who plans to also bring piano and guitar to the music program.
Ashley Moore, a previous long-term substitute teacher in Jefferson City, will be replacing Velda McKenzie as the physical education teacher. "Velda worked here part-time and is also a speaker for the conscious discipline program," Coulson said. "She goes around the country to schools all over training teachers in conscious discipline. She has decided to spend more time doing that and she will also return to continue training our teachers in conscious discipline."
St. Brendan is currently preparing to expand across Breckenridge Street. "We are planning on renovating the building next door, the old convent, and making that a fifth-eighth grade building. We are talking with architects for the 2015 school year. It was being used by the state for a number of years as a school with very small class sizes for boys. They ended their lease last year, so we are looking at preparing the classrooms for larger class sizes."
Coulson said she is also planning to collect a survey from students who graduated from St. Brendan the previous year to gauge how well they are doing, how their new school compares to St. Brendan and how their time at St. Brendan affected their current scholastic performance in high school. The surveys are currently planned to be distributed at the end of the fall semester.