There was an unusual group of visitors at Boitanio Mall on Monday afternoon.
Shoppers were given the rare opportunity to look into a real live classroom.
Grade 6/7 teacher Nick Iachetta from the Sacred Heart Catholic School, set up his classroom in the mall as part of Catholic Schools Week in B.C., which runs from Feb. 6-13.
The Grade 6/7 class showcased the new 1-1 Netbook program recently introduced at the school, by principal Joe Calistro.
The program is one in which every student is issued a small computer to work with at their desk, Calistro says. “Teachers are able to use relevant technologies as students have immediate access to the world. The program has been a huge success.”
Also, shoppers were entertained by the band teacher Michael Butterfield and his Grade 4-7 band students who performed.
All Grade 4-7 students take part in the band program, as well as other fine arts offerings such as art and dance with local artists, Calistro says. “The students are receiving a very well-balanced fine arts program at the school.”
By 2:30 p.m., the lessons were over for the day and students were packing up and heading back to the school.
“The students and their teacher Mr. Iachetta enjoyed the opportunity of taking their classroom to the public, as the public does not often have the opportunity to see what is happening in Catholic schools,” Calistro says. “The students, teachers, and staff found the occasion to be very exciting.”
Sacred Heart Catholic School organized a whole week of activities to celebrate Catholic Schools Week starting last Sunday with a breakfast and open house for the public.
Monday, while Grade 6/7 students were in the mall, the school hosted the Ready Set Learn program for preschool children.
Tuesday there was an open house tea with performances by the choir, band, and ukulele groups. Wednesday was wacky hat day and two students were chosen to be honorary principal and vice-principal for the day. There was also a free hamburger and fries lunch.
The parent support group made up free T-shirts for every student and cooked a breakfast for staff one day and a dinner for staff another day.
Thursday there was a student/staff basketball game and Friday skating was scheduled in the afternoon.
Parent support group co-ordinator Leigh Pinette has three children at Sacred Heart and a preschooler who will be attending the school next year.
“I taught here for nine years and I just love the small class sizes and the family and parent involvement,” Pinette says.
She says they have been blessed this year to have Joe Calistro as principal, who is on temporary leave from his role as superintendent of Catholic Schools in Victoria.
“He has just brought a tremendous amount of knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm to the school,” Pinette says. He introduced them to Netbooks which parent fundraisers helped to purchase.
Sacred Heart is a kindergarten to Grade 7 elementary school. As is happening with public schools, she says enrollment has been declining, but they remain confident about the future of the school with 19 students registered in kindergarten this year and a waiting list for their day care and preschool programs.
She says they also have an after-school program which draws students from all schools in the community.
There is also a hot lunch and breakfast program for a small fee. She says tuition is $100 a month for the first child, and is adjusted downward for each additional child.
“We have one of the cheapest tuitions of all the private schools in Williams lake and the lowest of the Catholic schools in B.C.,” Pinette says.