Holy Family vision statement
Our vision at Holy Family School it to serve God and the world by providing a challenging academic education integrated with Catholic values and morals, developing the whole person spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially.
The students at Holy Family Catholic School in Great Bend approach state tests with the focus that an athlete approaches the big game.
Like an athlete with a pre-game routine that is almost superstitious, the students expect the teachers to hand out mints and they also pray before every test, Principal Karen Moeder said.
“We just pray for God to help us do our best on today’s test,” she said. While none of this makes the students smarter, they do approach the tests with confidence and determination. Maybe that’s why, for the fourth time in five years, HFCS recently won the Governor’s Award. That award is reserved for the top 5 percent of Kansas elementary schools, based on the scores on math and reading assessments giveen to students in grades 3-6.
“They believe they know how to pass that test,” Moeder said. Students know they know the answers, or know how to solve a problem. They know their test scores count, and they believe in themselves.
The staff at HFCS was excited upon learning about the latest award at the end of the fall semester. Just before students left for the winter break, there was an all-school assembly and the school celebrated with pizza and pop. “We invited seventh graders (who took the tests the previous year) back from Great Bend Middle School and Hoisington Middle School to join us,” Moeder said.
Students who took the test got their own commemorative sweatshirts.
The success dovetails nicely with this year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week, “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” Catholic Schools Week is a national observance that starts Sunday, Jan. 27.
Moeder said HFCS doesn’t just want to raise academic standards, however.
“We’re interested in raising the standard in everything we do – in how we serve others, how we love each other and how we learn. Our mission statement is, ‘We learn. We love. We serve.’ That’s truly what we live by.”
Holy Family has 222 students from pre-school through sixth grade, making it the largest Catholic school in the Dodge City Diocese. Looking back on the academic success of her students, Moeder said it isn’t because, as some suppose, private schools can “cherry pick” the brightest and most exceptional students from the area. (HFCS has students from six different communities at present.)
It’s not the students who are different, as a whole, but their families, Moeder said. “We have exceptional families who are totally supportive of our school. People who send their kids here – they’re vested.” So, the parents who send students to HFCS know they’re expected to be involved in what the students are learning.