Catholic Schools Week begins

We began Catholic Schools week with all the staff and students assembled in the Rec Center this morning for prayer. Bright yellow and blue balloons in yellow and blue (St. Joseph’s school colors) added a festive atmosphere to the stage.

This year’s theme is Raising the Standard. We try to do that, not just with academic excellence, but by forming ourselves and our Lakota (Sioux) students in all-around ways. Each attendee received a rubber bracelets with the words “body mind, heart and spirit,” engraved on them. Those are the holistic areas of child development and our own personal staff development on which we focus.

A good number of teachers and houseparents were out sick today. We’re getting the wave of flu and colds that hit other areas hard earlier. Our students have generally been staying healthier than our staff, but the health center has also seen a slight uptick in patients. We had a few subs in the school, but also had the help of some “student teachers.”

As part of Catholic schools week, some students in each classroom were given the chance to stand on the other side of the desk and address their Native American peers. Some gave out spelling words, others taught a few math problems. . .  Maybe it gave them a better appreciation for the work their teachers do.

My hope is that their experience in the classroom here will light the spark that will one day draw a few of them back to the classroom as educators.

After school, I went to Fisher Home (6th– 8th grade boys) for supper. The guys had come in from the playground and were kicking back watching cartoons before supper. I always want to have dynamic conversations with students, but like many adults I get lots of one word answers when I ask “how was your day?” or “What did you do in school today?”

Building relationships with youth, especially those who come to us from difficult home situations or poverty, takes patience.  I’ve learned to let young people talk about what they want to talk about and unfold their tale in their own time and way. Sometimes you have to sit through Sponge Bob and build rapport to set the stage for later. Around the supper table, the boys were relaxed and more talkative without much prompting and I did enjoy that time.

Icy roads canceled tonight’s basketball game, making it a good night to stay in and read a book. I don’t mind wintry weather that forces me to slow down and nurture my quieter, introverted side, as long as I know all the students and travelers are safely home.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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