by Cori Hilsgen
All Saints Academy School administrator Karl Terhaar said the St. Joseph site is offering some new academic options for the 2014-15 school year.
New options include an extended day, which adds 50 more minutes to the school day. The school day will run from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. ASA teachers had requested more time to work with students, and this will allow them additional time.
A Spanish specialist will teach Spanish weekly to preschool through sixth-grade students who will receive lessons three times each week for 30 minutes.
Students who struggle with reading will have a chance to work with a reading specialist who is trained in the Barton Reading Program, a program that helps students learn phonics so they can decode words easier and also teaches the rules of spelling.
The teaching staff at ASA will continue attending workshops related to the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. Intermediate teachers will begin their third year of math workshops, and primary teachers will begin their second year of science workshops.
Terhaar will train teachers on Project Lead the Way. This is a STEM program many area high schools use and elementary schools are beginning to use.
Since transportation to half-day preschool can be a challenge for some families, ASA will offer shuttle-service transportation to families who have children in the preschool program.
The Waite Park ASA campus site closed last year. That meant consolidating three schools to the two locations of St. Joseph and St. Cloud.
President Chris Schellinger said the decision to close the location was a very difficult one for everyone and hard on many people.
“Fortunately, we have been able to welcome more than 70 percent of the Waite Park students to either the St. Cloud or St. Joseph campus,” Schellinger said in an email. “Also, due to a number of retirements, we were able to retain nearly all of our teachers and staff.”
He said a positive result of Waite Park closing is ASA has been able to offer teachers and staff raises for the first time in many years. The school is also investing in teachers through professional development and continuing education during the school year.
Schellinger said the St. Joseph ASA location has a 10-percent increased enrollment from last year.
“It looks like that will be the trend for some time,” Schellinger said.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.