St. Mary’s School adds Spanish program, sixth-grade class

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When students went back to class at St. Mary’s School in Niles last week, they were greeted with several new changes.

The private Catholic school, which is located at 217 S. Lincoln Ave., added a new sixth-grade program, Spanish class for kindergarten through sixth-grade students and an in-house Science Technology, Religion, English, Arts and Math program (STREAM).

Teacher Leslie Johnson said the changes came out of a two-day “Think Strategic” workshop that staff attended over the summer. The workshop focused on getting educators to incorporating group work, flexible seating and other interactive learning techniques.

“It was about thinking outside of the box,” Johnson said.

St. Mary’s School also upgraded its technology over the summer to include a wireless computer lab, new computers and interactive white boards. In addition, students are allowed to bring their own electronic devices, such as laptops or iPads, for use in the classroom.

“We want to tailor education to each child’s needs,” said Principal Sharon Gregorski, who also teaches religion at the school.

Teacher Patricia Butler is conducting the Spanish program, which students take four times a week, or 160 minutes a week.

Gregorski said students would take the STREAM program once a week, although the subjects included in STREAM, like math and science, would be incorporated into the students’ daily lessons as well.

Gregorski said the key to making it work was a willingness by staff to try new things.

“I have the best faculty,” she said. “They are so willing to be innovative and flexible so that every child is successful in their educational endeavors.”

Gregorski and Johnson praised the parents and church parishioners for their generous contributions to the school.

“Without them we would not be as successful as we are,” Gregorski said.

Currently, the school is offering new parents who enroll their children in the school free tuition through October.

For more information about St. Mary’s, contact the school by phone at (269) 683-9191 or by email at