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Results Are In

The College Board recently released final performance results from the SAT for the class of 2019. Again this year, JPII’s Class of 2019 outperformed national averages and Massachusetts averages. This continues a trend that JPII students have achieved since 2014.

While numbers don’t tell the whole story, they matter. We’ll keep focusing our efforts on maximizing each and every student’s college opportunities, including their numbers. Beyond this, current seniors (Class of 2020) took the SAT in October, during the school day, and at school expense. Of the 66 seniors who tested, 50 improved their scores. No doubt that the comfort, convenience, and familiarity of school-day testing aided in these gains.

Taking the Lead

Students respond with enthusiasm because it hits the ‘praxis’ between theory and practice, mission and action.

Leadership Studies & Practicum, newly offered this year, gives seniors valuable, interdisciplinary insight and practice that they will take with them to campus and beyond. The new program, intentionally-limited to 10 students, is mission-driven, practical, relevant, and exciting for students and staff alike.

In the first semester, Leadership Studies is taught in the traditional classroom setting. Students learn leadership theories, skills, and perspectives enhanced when, each week, a community leader is brought to class to share his/her leadership experiences and insights. These weekly presentations have brought some of the Cape’s top leaders into a powerful conversation on leadership. Such speakers include leaders from Cape Cod Healthcare, the Cape Cod Times, Cape Cod Young Professionals, and Heritage Museum and Gardens, to name a few.

Leadership Practicum takes center stage in the second semester as students work on leadership projects in community agencies and organizations. This allows students to practice the lessons of Leadership Studies and also provides powerful real-world experience.  Right now, Leadership Practicum projects are taking place in organizations such as the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Barnstable Town Hall, the Cape Cod Conservatory, and Cape Cod Life.

Next year, the school will expand the program to 16 students. You’d be proud of this first group whose insights and hard work have set the program on strong footing. Mrs. Karen Godfrey, Program Coordinator, is a gem whose teaching, administrative, and leadership experience, coupled with her strong desire to make this an A+ program, make it plain that we’re in good hands. This is something you’ll want your sons and daughters to get in on.

These Are The People That Teach JPII Students

Allow me to brag about something that strikes me, truthfully, on a regular basis — that the JPII experience is one of unusually high teacher quality. Sounds kind of formal when put that way, though. Instead, here’s something about two JPII teachers that you may not know.

Mr. Alan Lynch, Campus Minister & Theology (and Spanish!) Teacher, recently led a student group in a week-long service trip to Duran, Ecuador. Student participants reported that it was a powerful experience and something that will be with them in the years ahead. I expected this, and probably you would, too. What I didn’t expect to learn is that there’s a school in Ecuador named after Mr. Lynch in recognition of his work over the years to the people of Ecuador. Wow.

Read Mr. Lynch’s Lenten message about Ecuador.

Ms. Jennifer Kelley, new Visual Arts teacher, recently completed the Lion athletic logo mural in the Fitness Center. No surprise there. But that’s not the only mural work that Ms. Kelley, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, has done — check out www.jennykelley.com for an eyeful of why I say that the JPII experience is one of unusually high teacher quality. I bet you’ll agree.

Having Fun and Doing Good

That’s the formula. Not ‘Either/Or’ — but ‘Both/And’.

Starting on Sunday, JPII students and staff are set to have a lot of fun with Spirit Week and its various competitions, activities, and themed-days.

Amidst the week of fun is also our chance to do good. Students will compete to raise money for the Haitian Health Foundation, whose founder, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, will speak at the school on Monday, November 8. The Haitian Health Foundation assists some of the poorest persons in out hemisphere to meet their basic needs. I challenge JPII students to come through huge for the needs of Haiti’s vulnerable with a big week of collections. At JPII, having fun and doing good go hand-in-hand.

Check out the week’s HHF activities.

Give and Take

Getting ready to serve as Assistant Chairperson visiting Arlington Catholic High School for the school’s NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation visit. While I’m not eager to be away from JPII for three full school days (esp. my Philosophy students!), the experience will provide a helpful vantage point for the NEASC visit to JPII just two weeks later. This is the right stuff in this busy, NEASC-laden month. Stay tuned!

Long Overdue

While I rarely feel truly ahead of the game in information technology usage, I recognize its critical importance in preparing students (and our school) for their world, so I do my best to keep up. While blogging once felt “ahead of the curve” (or at least inside the curve!), the advent of Twitter, Facebook, etc. and the school’s aggressive forays into these arenas forces a sharpening of  what Brick by Brick tries to communicate — not so much school information, but meaning and voice.

Forgive my lenghty layoff. To catch up:

  • The first-ever JPII Summer Advanced Mathematics and Leadership Academy was an unqualified success. Thirty-three incoming 8th and 9th grade students developed their algebraic skills using science technology freed from the time constraints of the typical school calendar. Throw in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens and you’ve got a program with real value.
  • I’m proud and impressed by the summer organizing efforts of JPII students committed to social action and Christian service. There were three Christian service activities organized by Holy Cross Intern Annie Cervin. The Gospel of Jesus Christ demands living in a new way…these service opportunities provide an opportunity to do just that.
  • 60+ campers at Coach Demanch’e Cape Cod Football Camp. Football’s coming!
  • Friends of JPII Tripping Lily are throwing a CD-release party at the school on August 15. They’re a cool group of acoustic musicians and it’s going to be a great event.

Its clear the JPII is growing and reaching out, even in the summer months. Now if only my posts could keep up…

The Right Habits

Aristotle famously asserts that excellence is not an act, but a habit. We know that our lasting impact on young people comes when we assist them in developing the right habits –habits of personal effectiveness, habits of caring for others, habits of justice, habits of worship and praise.

Again this year, 30+ JPII students will join thousands from across the country in Washington, D.C. to participate in the March For Life. The March provides an opportunity for young people to live their faith and grow in their commitment to the least among us.

Read Hannah Dulmaine’s thoughts from the ’08 March.

Those ‘left behind’ will have no ordinary school days — instead taking part in a faculty-created ‘Inter-Session’ program designed to broaden students’ knowledge and experience in ways that the traditional school day do not allow. We will prepare a meal for homeless clients at NOAH shelter in Hyannis, and join our Marchers ‘in spirit’ through viewing and analysis of The Spitfire Grill, a feature film that tells the story of each person’s God-given dignity.

Most significantly, students will receive training (and stuff!) in Sean Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, a high-quality leadership and character development program based on Stephen Covey’s well-known The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Mr. Catelli is well-versed in the Seven Habits, and my Master’s training in Educational Administration took as its foundation the Seven Habits, so we know through personal experience the value of this program. Having recently completed a certification program in the Seven Habits for Teens, I look forward to the opportunity our student will have to deepen their own effectiveness. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you bumped into Covey’s Seven Habits in your professional or personal life? Make a comment and consider this an open thread!