Above and Beyond

FAITHFUL BEGINNINGS AT HIGHLAND CATHOLIC NURTURES WHOLE CHILD

At Highland Catholic School in St. Paul, the dedication of the preschool through eighth grade teaching staff is evident. They work to provide a stimulating environment that develops the whole child, enabling students to live up to their full potential.

“The teachers not only care for their students, but our whole family,” said parents Kelli and Chris Allen. “They show an interest in each of us so that they can better care for our children.”

Kassy Kenney, Highland Catholic School’s preschool director, said teachers are the key to its success.

“They are dedicated to the academic, physical, social, emotional and spiritual growth of their students,” she said. “The teachers believe they are on this journey not only with the child, but also in partnership with their families.”

The school is focused on academic excellence and grounded in the Catholic faith tradition. This mind, body and soul approach is important because research shows that the experiences children have in their early years have profound effects on their futures.

“Preschool is a child’s introduction to school. It sets the tone and lays the foundation for many years of education to come,” explained preschool teacher Susan Kammueller.

Stephanie Soucheray, whose daughter, Ingrid, participates in the Highland Catholic School Faithful Beginnings program, appreciates this perspective, especially during these formative years.

“The children are treated as individuals who develop and learn at their own pace and are treasured for being themselves,” she said. “Kids are not pushed to learn, but rather supported in an environment that allows them to grow.”

“Our Faithful Beginnings program goes above and beyond to meet the needs of children and their families,” Kenney explained. “Our school has a Catholic identity, and we welcome each child as a gift from God. Our preschool is woven into the entire school.”

This approach is significant. Positive relationships between children and responsive adults along with love, faith, trust and friendship are key building blocks in character development and are abundant in Faithful Beginnings. Parents notice the positive impact on their children.

Alumnus and parent Tony Leseman explained, “Our daughter’s experience has exceeded our expectations. Her teachers found a way to connect with her personally and to discover how she learns and understands.”

Parent Sarah Skillrud agrees.

“My children have unique insights and questions, which show they are processing all they are learning. This tells me they are starting their educational experience in a way that embodies their whole person.”

“The teachers truly care about and appreciate each individual child for who they are, and this sets the example that the children should do the same,” added parent Kristine Pelatt.

Parent enthusiasm is contagious. They recognize their children’s extraordinary learning experience, which makes the school the right choice for their family.

“We enjoy working in a partnership with the parents as their child goes off to school for their first time,” said teacher Jamie Buri.

Teacher Kelley Coffin added, “We pride ourselves in our education and love of teaching. Each child is treated with respect and love the second they enter our doors.”

This love and respect results in blessings that touch many people at Highland Catholic School and its community.

“It’s a blessing that the staff takes a genuine interest in our family and is involved in the community,” said parents Maddi and Brent Mernin. “Our children love seeing teachers and friends during Mass on Sundays.”

Parents Kelli and Chris Allen noted how Highland Catholic School creates an environment where their son is proud of what he learns and, therefore, is excited to learn.

Teacher Chris Peterson said she’s grateful to be involved in such a remarkable program.

“Through the Faithful Beginnings curriculum, children learn respect, love, forgiveness, service and compassion,” she said. “Being able to teach these virtues that I value so much in my own life is very rewarding to me personally and professionally.”

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