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Letter Regarding Staffing for 2011-2012

posted Jun 2, 2011, 5:23 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jun 2, 2011, 7:50 AM by Mike Tuntland ]

June 2, 2011

Dear Parents,

As we look ahead to the 2011 – 2012 school year, we’ve been carefully and thoughtfully assessing our current and future needs as we design the right classroom structure that will foster the best, most productive learning environment for our children. Our ultimate objective is to balance the talents of each member of faculty based on their area of specialty and overall strengths with the needs of the students where they can be inspired to learn and grow to their fullest potential.

Enrollment also plays a critical component in the staffing needs of the school.  As a private school that is not constrained by tax revenue limits or teachers’ unions, we are fortunate that we are able to hire in direct response to our numbers and, in the process, create an educational program that directly meets the needs of our students.  We fully expect our enrollment numbers to increase over the summer, which they always do, and we will be prepared to add additional teachers to our staff at that time to meet the increased enrollment needs. We also will be prepared to be flexible on our teacher assignments to ensure the most productive matches between our teachers and their assignments to maximize their teaching and ensure the most productive, inspiring educational environment for our students.

One of my commitments to you is to lead with transparency and to communicate openly. As our staffing assignments are now beginning to take shape for the upcoming school year, I wanted to share the current overview based on our current numbers. Again, keep in mind, that as enrollment numbers change, we will be making adjustments as needed.

Currently we have 7 children enrolled for Pre-K 3 and 16 children enrolled for Pre-K4.  These classes will be taught by Mrs. Georgen and Mrs. Snell, respectively; Mrs. Berardi will be the Instructional Aide for Pre-K4. We have 22 Kindergarteners enrolled, and at this time are planning to have one Kindergarten class, which will be taught by Mrs. Olsen.

We have 30 children enrolled for 1st grade, which supports two classrooms.  One will be taught by Mrs. Stehling and the other will be taught by Mrs. Singsank.  We are excited to announce that Mrs. Singsank’s current Kindergarteners will have the unique opportunity to remain with her for a second year if the parents desire continuity and a consistent learning experience for their children.

There are currently 26 children enrolled for 2nd grade.  This class will be taught by Mrs. Barr, with instructional support provided by Mrs. Marienthal.

Currently we have 19 children enrolled for 3rd grade.  We are in the process of hiring a teacher for this full-time position.

At this time, we have 20 children enrolled for 4th grade, 34 children for 5th grade and 23 for 6th grade.  We are currently planning to have one 4th grade homeroom led full-time by Ms. Wilczynski, two full-time 5th grade homerooms, one led by a new teacher (TBD) and the other by Mrs. Casanover, and one 6th grade homeroom with Mrs. Burke.  The 4th, 5th and 6th grades will function as an intermediate learning community, with Ms. Wilczynski, the new teacher (TBD), Mrs. Casanover, Mrs. Burke and Mr. Tuntland, teaching classes to 4th, 5th and 6th graders.

Currently we have 30 children enrolled for 7th grade and 28 children enrolled for 8th grade.  Mrs. Cantwell will have the 7th grade homeroom and Mrs. Carson will lead the 8th grade homeroom.  The 7th and 8th grade junior high learning community will be comprised of Mrs. Cantwell, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Carson and Ms. Melville, all teaching classes to our 7th and 8th graders.

Above and beyond our standard curriculum, we will continue to be highly committed to the arts, technology and special services at Saint Mary to further engage and grow our students. We are especially pleased to have these areas for the new school year to be led as follows: Technology (Mr. Tuntland), Music (Ms. Melville), Art (Mrs. Mellin), Phys. Ed. (Mrs. Mortensen), Spanish (TBD) and Special Services (TBD). 

With these changes, Mrs. DiDomenico, Mrs. Tomczak, Mr. Wojnar and Mrs. Walke will be leaving Saint Mary School. Please join me in thanking these members of our faculty for their years of service. We wish them nothing but the very best.

Along with a commitment to effectively aligning teachers and assignments, another important piece of our educational program is instructional minutes.  While independent practice plays a necessary part in the development of autonomous learners, maximizing student engagement with the teacher results in increased learning and yields higher levels of understanding.  It is my intention to protect the instructional minutes of the day as one more step toward enhancing our children’s overall learning experience at Saint Mary.

We’re excited to continue gearing up for our new school year at Saint Mary and coming together as one community – parents, teachers and administration – for the direct benefit of our children. I thank you for the opportunity to lead our school, and please know that my door is always open. I look forward to all the great things to come.


Nikki Raftery