GUSTINE - A small but beloved Catholic school welcomed students back to the classroom Tuesday for the start of a new school year.
The opening enrollment stood at 120 pupils, said Principal Chandra Brace, down about 15 from the closing enrollment last spring.
A number of new families have enrolled students, she added, and additional pre-kindergarten pupils are enrolling daily.
Our Lady of Miracles offers a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade program and serves students from Gustine, Newman and surrounding communities.
Brace said that she is pleased with recent staff additions and looking forward to the year ahead.
One of the new hires is retired Gustine Elementary School teacher Kathy Silva, who will teach fifth-grade math and English in morning sessions.
“We will be able to split our 5/6 combination class in the mornings so that those subjects are taught separately,” Brace told Mattos Newspapers. “It is exciting to be able to split out that class for a portion of the day. It will be beneficial to the teachers and the students.”
Brace said OLM will continue working with its Rosetta Stone program, which was implemented.
The school is also preparing for an October accreditation visit by a delegation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, often referred to as WASC.
Brace said the majority of the school’s enrollment is at the lower grade levels.
Parents will sometimes opt for a public school setting when their students reach what would be middle school, she noted.
“We always stress to parents that middle school is a hard time,” Brace remarked. “We may not switch classes (as middle schools typically do) in the traditional sense, but we have learning centers that mirror switching classes.”
The strength of Our Lady of Miracles Catholic School is providing a sound education also incorporates faith-based values in a close-knit, family-oriented environment, the principal reflected.
“We have some things at Our Lady of Miracles Catholic School that are very unique and special,” Brace concluded.