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Reasons to go to a Catholic School-Academic and Non Academic
Kristin Grover

Why should you choose a Catholic School? In the state of Florida, parents really have the option of school choice which is a great asset for students to be able to choose the best school for them.  Catholic schools have a high academic rigor to prepare students for college in addition to developing the whole child.  Find out why our teachers choose to work in a Catholic School and why St. Joseph Academy is the right College Preparatory Catholic School for you!

 

As Catholic School Week approaches, it has me thinking.  Why choose a Catholic school”.  The state of Florida really leans towards parents having school choice, whether they choose their zoned public school, a different public school, a charter school or a private school.  It’s easier than ever before to choose the school that is right for your child.  I will follow this post with how the state helps pay for private schools, so stay tuned!

Now, onto why choosing a Catholic School.  Catholic schools fall into the private school category.  Many of the Catholic High Schools are College Preparatory High Schools.  So a parent may choose this option to ensure their child is ready for college.  More than ever,  students are given an easy way out of being prepared for life, because well, it’s easier…

Catholic schools prepare students for the future, both academically and socially.  They educate the whole child.  Help build their faith, instill social justice and produce a well rounded person.  So a Catholic education is more than just a college preparatory education.  It’s about having values instilled in your child at school as well as home.  It supports the goals you have for your child in more than just academics.  Teachers are able to share their faith and serve as good moral role models.

Community is huge in Catholic Schools.  When a parish and a school are connected, it really creates a sense of community that benefits parishioners and students.  

St. Joseph Academy Catholic High School isn't associated with a parish per se, but with several parishes around south Jacksonville, St. Johns, Palm Coast, Palatka and St. Augustine areas.  Our small school creates a family like community that cannot be replicated in any of the local high schools.  A student has the opportunity to really flourish in our environment with support from faculty, staff, and the community.

We employ many Christian teachers that really have our student’s best interest at heart.  They are truly living out their vocations, in fact,  Here are some of the reasons our teachers have chosen to teach in a Catholic School.

“I believe in developing the whole person, and that includes fostering our drive to create and admire beauty in all of God's creation.”

“In a sentence, I am able to teach the whole student spiritually and academically as opposed to a public school environment.”

“I don't think I really chose to work at a Catholic school, I think God chose me to work at a Catholic school and I accepted.  That being said, I do like being an active participant in my catholic community and enjoy assisting in educating their children.”

“The heart of Catholic education is a person, and His name is Jesus. I chose to teach at a Catholic school to assist in the spiritual, intellectual, and human formation of students, so that they may respond to real-world situations with faith, hope, and charity.”

“First beginnings of our Sisters’ teachings did include schools termed “public,” but a Catholic school system readily emerged to which we have been totally dedicated. I am thrilled to be back at my own alma mater!”

“To me, there is no higher calling than to pass on the Catholic Faith to future generations. This is why I teach at St. Joseph Academy.”

“I work at a Catholic school in order to help pass on the faith that I was given when I went to Catholic schools.”

“I chose to work in a Catholic School because I believe in the value of a religious education that first and foremost sees children as unique individuals made in God's image. To me, being a Catholic teacher is more than a job, it is a ministry that challenges me every day to put my faith into action. My duty is to serve all my students, nurturing their minds and spirits so that they can reach their goals and fulfill their potential. This is a calling that I enjoy taking on and that makes St. Joseph Academy the right place for me.”

“The reason I chose to work in a catholic school is because growing up catholic I struggled with the intersection of science and my faith. I saw this as an opportunity to help students who would also be faced with some of the same issues. I have been able to address these issues in my classes which has been an amazing experience for me. This is an experience I would not be able to have in a non-catholic school because it requires me to talk about the pope and his teachings. “

“I work in a Catholic school because I love my Catholic faith. It's great to be able to share my faith with students.”

“It is rewarding to be in an environment where it is not only "okay" to pray but highly encouraged to do so during every class.  Also, sharing activities such as a monthly all-school Mass is a great way to have my faith be part of everyday life.”

As I read through all these statements, I realize what a truly amazing faculty we have to help educate these students of ours.  St. Joseph Academy is a special school that holds many hearts for the time they spent here.

Back to School Tips for High School Students
  • Catholic High School
  • Christian High School
  • College Preparatory
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Faith based school
Kristin Grover

It is August, and summer has come to an end. The buzzing excitement of back to school is in full swing. School supply shopping, uniform shopping, finding out what your new schedule is and comparing with your friends. All of the aspects of back to school can be so much fun.

Of course, there are always adjustments with back to school.  At St. Joseph Academy, we want our students to be highly successful individuals. We are here to help prepare them for life after high school. Teaching them these skills now will benefit them in their college and adult years!

Back to School Tips for High School Students

It is August, and summer has come to an end. The buzzing excitement of back to school is in full swing. School supply shopping, uniform shopping, finding out what your new schedule is and comparing with your friends. All of the aspects of back to school can be so much fun.

Of course, there are always adjustments with back to school.  At St. Joseph Academy, we want our students to be highly successful individuals. We are here to help prepare them for life after high school. Teaching them these skills now will benefit them in their college and adult years!

Make sure your kids are academically prepared for the new school year. What does this mean? Make sure your child did their summer reading! Reading is an important part of keeping your brain sharp during time off. Here at St. Joseph Academy we have a list of books that are part of our summer reading program which you can see here. These classics, like The Great Gatsby and A Passage to India.

Establish a sleep routine before school starts. Teenagers can sleep in with the best of them! It is important for them to get back into a routine before school starts so they are not experiencing any negative effects from a sudden sleep change while trying to keep up with their classes.

Get your kids pumped for going back to school with shopping (if that is their thing)

Once the kids have a good idea of how their classes will be, map out a study schedule. Block time off on their calendar for homework and studying.

Teach them how to organize. This is dependent on the student but see how they organize best, invest in a great planner, calendar, or even a dry erase board. See what works for them to keep their classes and schedules organized.

Teach them to enjoy their high school experience. School is tough and mentally exhausting, but we want our kids to be here and to be excited to be here. If they are well prepared, they will enjoy high school and be successful.

Set up an appointment with the Guidance Counselor if some support is needed. Our guidance counselor is a wonderful resource to students and can help with many aspects of high school life.

Research school clubs and organizations and get involved. We have several different clubs, check them all out here!

We are so excited to be back on campus for the 2021-2022 school year. Let’s make it a great year! Go Flashes!

Teaching your kids problem solving skills
  • Advanced Classes
  • Advanced Placement
  • Catholic High School
  • Christian High School
  • College Preparatory
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Faith based school
Kristin Grover

Supporting your High Schooler with Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving has gone by the wayside with recent generations. It's such an important life skill though. As a parent, I want to make life easier for my children, but that doesn’t teach them the skills they need to be successful in life. How can we, as parents, make our kids the most successful. Problem solving is certainly one aspect to this. What are the steps to problem solving?

1. Define the Problem

2. Brainstorms Solutions

3. Pick a Solution

4. Test the Solution

5. Review the Results

What are different ways to incorporate this into everyday life? Move the responsibility back onto our children! One of the biggest advantages of sending your child to a small college preparatory high school like St. Joseph Academy is that we will hold our students accountable. They need this at home as well. If they are having a problem we need to step through the steps of probleming solving with them.

Define the problem: This might be a hard step for our students. What is the problem they are experiencing? Maybe it's too much homework and not enough time to do it, a tough teacher that doesn’t understand them, not excelling at their sport, friends making bad decisions. There are so many different things that affect teens, the list really could be endless! The first step is defining the number one problem you are going to work at solving.

Brainstorming: OK this is fun, but it also will take some warming up to do. Human nature tells us how to solve problems, and we may be stuck on that one solution. We have to push our kids to come up with more than one solution. Let's take the homework problem as an example. Kids are busy, they have sports practice, church, youth group, spending time with friends and families, work obligations, clubs and volunteer work. Many things fill their schedules outside of the 7 hours they are at school. To come home and spend another several hours on homework seems like a big problem. So what are the solutions? Scaling back on obligations, learning some better time management skills, prioritizing homework before the extra curricular activities, and more. It’s important to come up with a handful of solutions, most of them from your child, but you can add one or two in there to get the ball rolling. If they come up with the solution, they will own it.

Pick a Solution and give it a try: Now it's time to pick the most appealing solution, with the caveat that if it doesn’t work we will try a different solution.

Now that we have gone through the steps of problem solving, what are ways you can foster this at home? Ask a lot of open ended questions so your child has to really think, revisit old problems and step through the sequence for practice. Focus on the process of problem solving over the actual problem. This process really helps students develop a growth mindset which will help them succeed. Model problem solving, put this into practice for your own problems and let your kids learn from you!

I’d love to hear how you practice problem solving with your kids.

Homework Strategies
  • Advanced Classes
  • Advanced Placement
  • Catholic High School
  • Christian High School
  • College Preparatory
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Faith based school
Kristin Grover

The alarm rings at 6am, you arrive at school at 7:30, spend the next 6 or more hours going to all of your classes, finally, the last bell. Now, an Anchor Club meeting and Volleyball practice. It's 5:30 and you can go home. Your mom has dinner on the table and you are just wiped. You are tired. You had a long day. There is still more to do though! All of that homework. There must be a better way than going non stop for 14 hours a day. Let’s explore some homework strategies to make your days go a little smoother when you can.

The alarm rings at 6am, you arrive at school at 7:30, spend the next 6 or more hours going to all of your classes, finally, the last bell. Now, an Anchor Club meeting and Volleyball practice. It's 5:30 and you can go home. Your mom has dinner on the table and you are just wiped. You are tired. You had a long day. There is still more to do though! All of that homework. There must be a better way than going non stop for 14 hours a day. Let’s explore some homework strategies to make your days go a little smoother when you can.

Strategy number one: Eat Healthy! It is important to maintain your energy throughout the day, and this means a healthy balanced diet. You will never maintain your focus to get your homework done after a full day of school and activities if you are having sugar and caffeine crashes. Keep the meals balanced and you will notice a difference in your focus and energy levels.

Strategy number two: Create an inspiring and organized space to do your homework. Have you ever tried to sit down in a cluttered space to study and you get distracted. There is so much to look at. In fact, I think I'll clean my desk right now instead of continuing to type! Ok I’m back, that’s much better.

Strategy number three: Get rid of distractions. See what I just did there? I got rid of the distraction of my messy desk, my cell phone isn’t in the room, there is no TV, it’s just me and my computer. In your case, you and your chromebook and text book. Getting rid of distractions helps you focus and get your studying or work done much faster! Who doesn’t want to be done faster! If you are starting to get easily distracted, take a break, go for a walk and get some fresh air. You can come back to it refreshed and ready to refocus.

Strategy number four: Make it part of a routine. Set a homework time. Keep it consistent. Consistency makes for success.

Why Should I Participate in Extracurricular Activities
  • Catholic High School
  • Christian High School
  • College Preparatory
  • Faith based school
Kristin Grover

Your college application starts now. You are a freshman in high school, and today is the first day of your college resume. What does that mean for you? Are you looking forward to college, have you started thinking about where you want to go? Sure, you may be 14 or 15, but it's time to start figuring it out because colleges care what you do in high school. They care about your volunteer service (good news, we require it), they care about your academic performance, but they also care about how well rounded of a person you are. Can you juggle college life, meet new people, interact with classmates and professors, and perform academically well while maintaining a social life? High school is where you learn how to do this! Develop these skills now while you don’t also have to cook yourself dinner.

Why Should I Participate in Extracurricular Activities

Your college application starts now. You are a freshman in high school, and today is the first day of your college resume. What does that mean for you? Are you looking forward to college, have you started thinking about where you want to go? Sure, you may be 14 or 15, but it's time to start figuring it out because colleges care what you do in high school. They care about your volunteer service (good news, we require it), they care about your academic performance, but they also care about how well rounded of a person you are. Can you juggle college life, meet new people, interact with classmates and professors, and perform academically well while maintaining a social life? High school is where you learn how to do this! Develop these skills now while you don’t also have to cook yourself dinner.

You may be thinking, ok….how do I do that? Well, it’s all about balance. Being a well rounded individual person. Colleges want to know that you can be an asset to their university, not just a number who makes grades. Start by finding out what you are interested in. We have a wide range of clubs and sports at St. Joseph Academy. Do you enjoy sports? Well, we have a variety of sports throughout the year.

Fall: Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Swimming, Volleyball

Winter: Basketball, Cheerleading, Soccer

Spring: Baseball, Softball, Tennis, Track, Lacrosse

Ok, you may be thinking, that’s great and all, but I'm not into sports. Well we have a long list of other clubs that may interest you!

Anchor Club-Service
ASL Club-American Sign Language
ASL Honor Society
Drama
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Interact Club
International Club
Mu Alpha Theta
Music Ministry
National Art Honor Society
National Honor Society
Prayer Club
Quill and Scroll International Honor Society
Robotics
Science Club
Science National Honor Society
Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica
Spanish Club
Sports Broadcasting
Student Council
Students for the Poor
Veterans Heritage Project

So here’s the advice. Get out there, get active and participate in some activities. Build your college resume to show the admissions board you are the best version of yourself academically and socially.

How to Afford a Catholic Education
  • Alumni Scholarships
  • Catholic Education Scholarships
  • Catholic High School
  • Christian High School
  • College Preparatory
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Faith based school
  • Family Empowerment Scholarships
  • financial aid
  • McKay Scholarship
  • scholarships
  • step up for students
  • Whole Child
Kristin Grover

So, you would love to consider a private school for your child, but it’s expensive and thought it was never an option.  Good news, we live in the state of Florida, where our governor is pro school choice.  What does that mean? It means there is scholarship money available.  Private school is an option!  Ok ok, tell me more…

Last night, I was scrolling through facebook, and our local school postponed a town hall meeting that many parents had been anxiously waiting for.  See, our local school is overcrowded and parents have been voicing their concern for months.  So the school board decided to host a town hall so parents could officially voice their concerns, but it was postponed.  Now I'm sure the reason it was postponed was legitimate, but it got me thinking.  We, as parents, don’t have control over the issues at the school, which makes school choice so important. 

Ok, onto the point…What is School Choice?  School choice is the opportunity to send your child to the school that is the best fit for them.  Maybe it’s the local public school, maybe it’s a different public school, a charter school or a private school.  The state of Florida has created scholarships out of tax dollars to help send your child to a private school.  Let me repeat that.  The State of Florida uses tax dollars to create scholarships to help you afford private school.

Time to talk about options.  First are the Family Empowerment Scholarships, Step Up for Students and the McKay.

Option number one: Step up for Students.  This is an income based scholarship that allows families to receive scholarships for their children.  Ok don’t stop reading yet! I know what you are thinking…income based, no way we will qualify.  But hold on, you just might.


First and foremost, all military families, active and reservists qualify regardless of income.

If you are military, go ahead and hop on to Step up for Students and apply!

 

Secondly, the income limits allow for more and more families to participate in this scholarship program every year.  It helps to target the middle class and give them the opportunity as well.  A family of 4 can make up to $116,000 for the 2022-2023 school year. The income levels work on a sliding scale.  Here are the income limits for 2021-2022.  They will be increasing for the next school year.

Option number two: The McKay Scholarship.  In July of 2022, the McKay Scholarship will become a part of the Family Empowerment Scholarship of Unique Abilities.  The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, originally created in 1999, provides scholarships for eligible students with disabilities to attend an eligible public or private school of their choice. Students with disabilities include K-12 students who are documented as having an intellectual disability; a speech or language impairment; a hearing impairment, including deafness; a visual impairment, including blindness; a dual sensory impairment; an orthopedic impairment, an other health impairment, an emotional or behavioral disability; a specific learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia; a traumatic brain injury; a developmental delay; or autism spectrum disorder. (The Florida Department of Education website)

The School has a handful of scholarships as well that I encourage you to check out on our website.  There are options to help you afford St. Joseph Academy for your high school.  If you have any questions about the options, I urge you to reach out to our admissions office to discuss them!