New teachers receive warm welcome

Nearly 100 new teachers, who have joined the Diocese of Venice for the 2022-2023 Academic Year, were warmly welcomed during an orientation session on July 29, 2022, at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice. Much of this increase is due to new enrollment.

Jesuit Father John Belmonte, Superintendent of Catholic Education, opened the meeting with morning prayer. Father explained how starting all days centered on God is part of our Faith tradition, and this will strengthen the teacher each day and throughout the school year.

“By praying the morning offering, a very simple prayer which captures who we are as Catholic educators – dedicating our entire day to God,” Father Belmonte said.

To accomplish this, Father Belmonte said their work will reinforce the building of a “Catholic School Culture,” wherever they, as teachers, are assigned. A “Catholic School Culture” is the vision, values, systems, language, expectations, behaviors, and beliefs that increase a school’s and Diocese’s chances of accomplishing the strategy of fulfilling its mission: to introduce the world to its Savior.

During a midday Mass, Father Belmonte told the new teachers how the Lord wants them to set aside their worries, with the classroom and teaching as their chance to focus.

“Focus, not on yourselves or on your worries; instead focus always on the Lord to challenge your priorities. Focus on Christ always in your classrooms, this allows you to focus on your students and on their needs,” Father continued. “Do not be afraid or preoccupied by unfamiliar curriculum. The message is to make the Lord our priority.”

Throughout the day, the new teachers, learned about the Diocese and the crucial role they will play in helping to build up the faith-life of the students and families with whom they will interact. The group comes to their new positions with a wide variety of personal and professional experiences and skills. A few in the group are new to teaching and were joyfully welcomed. Still others have years of experience. It was also revealed that many moved to the Diocese in the past three years.

Being a Catholic educator is no easy task in a culture where there are countless external influences as people are bombarded by messages that are contrary to the Faith. This, Father continued, makes it increasingly difficult to get out the message of our Catholic traditions, values and faith into the world.

“We are facing huge headwinds as a Church and as a culture,” Father Belmonte continued. “That just places, in my opinion, even more importance on what we do. In a sense it has never been more important to have you do what you do because of all the things our children and families face.”

Jennifer Falestiny, Diocesan Curriculum Specialist, explained that the Diocese of Venice Catholic schools “do things better than other school systems. We have lots of programs and procedures in place that might seem overwhelming but is actually great and you will get it eventually.”

Falestiny explained how the Diocese has actively incorporated Catholic values and virtues through the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence.”

Throughout the day, the new teachers participated in a variety of fun tasks. Falestiny explained that the Diocese uses project-based learning to make learning visible and intentional. She offered a variety of pointers on how to incorporate such learning into the classroom with ease.

Each new teacher was provided with a comprehensive packet of information, as well as links to access numerous online exercises which will help augment their coming classroom work and make any new procedures easier to follow.

The new teachers also learned about the ongoing expansion of a project-based learning effort that is increasing the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) model.

Falestiny described the new partnership with FIRST® (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a company that facilitates a focus on education in robotics and organize the leading robotics competition in the world. This project places students ahead of the curve in primary technology fields while continuing to promote core Catholic virtues. This approach helps students develop cognitive thought processes and gain skills such as leadership, communication, complex problem solving, teamwork and creativity. The FIRST® program began in the fall of 2021 and is in the process of being fully incorporated into the entire Diocesan school system.

This effort, along with other endeavors, was made possible through the generosity of Bishop Frank J. Dewane who made a major investment in student success through his pledge to provide all Diocesan Catholic schools with age-appropriate kits and robots using LEGO products to eventually compete at the highest levels of competition through FIRST®. This is done while incorporating Catholic values and virtues.”

The 15 Diocesan Catholic schools work conscientiously to provide Christ-centered learning experiences that are transportable to the real world and provide the opportunity for children to develop life-long learning skills and to be successful beyond the classroom.

During the orientation, the new teachers also took part in Diocesan Safe Environment training, and learned about their employee benefits from a representative of the Diocesan Human Resources Department, risk management, workplace safety, certifications process, as well as about standard and ethical conduct.

All Diocesan Catholic schools will open the week of Aug. 8. For more information about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/education/.

New teachers receive warm welcome

A large group of new teachers who have joined the Diocese of Venice for the 2021-2022 Academic Year were warmly welcomed during an orientation session on Aug. 2, 2021 at Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall in Venice.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Catholic Education, opened the meeting with morning prayer explaining that starting the day centered on God is part of our Faith tradition and focuses on what is important through the day. Father Belmonte later celebrated Mass for the group.

Throughout the day, the new teachers, who came to their new positions from a wide variety of personal and professional experiences and skills, learned about the history of the Diocese and the crucial role they will play in helping to build up the faith-life of the students and families with whom they will interact.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane addressed the new teachers, welcoming them and sharing his great respect for their answering the call be educators – taking the gifts they have been given to help others learn.

As Catholic School teachers, no matter what subject they teach, Bishop Dewane explained how they are now a primary contact for the students and families to the Diocese, a responsibility he expects them to take seriously in how they serve as teachers and as examples for the community.

To accomplish this, Father Belmonte said their work will reinforce the building of a “Catholic School Culture,” wherever they are assigned. A “Catholic School Culture” is the vision, values, systems, language, expectations, behaviors, and beliefs that increase a school’s and Diocese’s chances of accomplishing its strategy of fulfilling its mission: to introduce the world to its Savior.

“This is fundamental to what we do,” Father Belmonte said. “If students are getting a profound experience of a “Catholic School Culture,” then you have a much better chance of fulfilling your mission… (The Education Department and the Diocese) are here because we want all of you to have wild, unbridled success to accomplish that mission.”

Being a Catholic educator is no easy task in a culture where there are countless external influences as people are bombarded by messages that are contrary to the Faith. This, Father continued, makes it increasingly difficult to get out the message of our Catholic traditions, values and faith into the world.

“We are facing huge headwinds as a Church and as a culture,” Father Belmonte continued. “That just places, in my opinion, even more importance on what we do. In a sense it has never been more important to have you do what you do because of all the things our children and families face.”

Jennifer Falestiny, Diocesan Curriculum Specialist, presented information about the ongoing expansion project-based learning effort that is increasing the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) model. She described the new partnership with FIRST® (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the leading robotics competition in the world. This project will be placing students ahead of the curve in primary fields while continuing to promote core Catholic virtues by helping students to develop cognitive thought processes and gain skills such as leadership, communication, complex problem solving, teamwork and creativity. The FIRST® program will be active in various capacities when schools open on Aug. 9, 2021, with full integration within a few years.

This effort was made possible through the generosity of Bishop Frank J. Dewane who made a major investment in student success through his pledge to provide all Diocesan Catholic schools with age-appropriate kits and robots using LEGO products to eventually compete at the highest levels of competition through FIRST®. This is all being done while integrating Catholic values and virtues through the Diocesan curriculum called, “The Gifts of Christ: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Affability, Fortitude, Humility, and Prudence.”

The 15 Diocesan Catholic schools work conscientiously to provide Christ-centered learning experiences that are transportable to the real world and provide the opportunity for children to develop life-long learning skills and to be successful beyond the classroom.

During the orientation, the new teachers also took part in Diocesan Safe Environment training, and learned about their employee benefits from a representative of the Diocesan Human Resources Department, risk management, workplace safety, certifications process, as well as about standard and ethical conduct from Joseph DiVito, an attorney for the Diocese.

All Diocesan Catholic schools will open on Aug. 9. For more information about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/catholicschools/.

New teachers receive warm welcome

The more than 30 new teachers who have joined the Diocese of Venice for the 2020-2021 Academic Year were warmly welcomed during an orientation session on Aug. 3, 2020 at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School.

Father John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Catholic Education, opened the meeting with morning prayer and an introduction to what he believes is the mission of Catholic Schools: to introduce the world to its Savior. With that anchor, Father explained, Catholic Schools can do great things. Father Belmonte also celebrated Mass for the group before lunch.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane addressed the new teachers, welcoming them and sharing his great respect for their answering the call be educators – taking the gifts they have been given to help others learn.

As Catholic School teachers, no matter what subject they teach, Bishop Dewane noted that they are now a primary contact for the students and families to the Diocese, a responsibility he expects them to take seriously in how they serve as teachers and as examples for the community.

The 15 Diocesan Catholic Schools work conscientiously to provide Christ-centered learning experiences that are transportable to the real world and provide the opportunity for children to develop life-long learning skills and to be successful beyond the classroom. The schools offer cross-curricular learning experiences through STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math), as well as traditional learning environments that instill strong foundations in reading, writing, and math.

During the orientation, the new teachers also took part in Diocesan Safe Environment training, heard about their employee benefits, risk management, workplace safety, certifications process and about standard and ethical conduct.

All Diocesan Catholic Schools will open on Aug. 17, 2020. For more information about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/offices/offices-departments/catholicschools/.

To hear Bishop Dewane and Father Belmonte speak about the reopening of Catholic Schools on Aug. 17, check out the podcast at https://dioceseofvenice.org/our-bishop/relevant-radio-podcasts/.

Teachers shown love for their hard work

During weeks of unexpected and unplanned distance learning an even greater appreciation for teachers has developed as parents recognize the hard work and dedication required in forming young minds.

Vehicles drive through the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School adorned with signs and waving students and parents in honor of the teachers who are waving back.

With students now home out of heath and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents learned quickly the hard work and dedication it takes to teach children: all day – every day.

This St. Joseph Catholic School teacher shows off a lawn sign and huge cards and basket of goodies presented to her as part of Teacher Appreciation Week in Bradenton on May 6, 2020.

To coincide with National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 5), many Diocesan Catholic schools encouraged their students to take the initiative to honor their teachers. Posters, drawings and videos were posted online while two schools hosted parades to honor their teachers.

On May 7 vehicles full of students wound their way through the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples where teachers were lined up to greet them. Horns blared as students and parents alike waved and shouted expressions of love, thanks and longing for a return to the classroom.

Vehicles drive through the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School adorned with signs and waving students and parents in honor of the teachers who are waving back.

Organized by the Seton Home and School Association, a variety of signs adorned the vehicles: “We love our teachers!” “I love Seton!” “We appreciate you!” “The best teachers are at Seton!” “Thank You!” “We are so blessed to have teachers like you!” “Thank you for your hard work and love!”

One sign summed up the feelings of many: “Thanks 6th grade teachers. It is not so much what is poured into a student, but what is planted by the TEACHER that really counts!”

A similar parade was held May 6 in downtown Venice to honor the teachers at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School. Signs on vehicles expressed the same sentiments as in Naples such as “We miss our Epiphany teachers and staff.”

The teachers honored during both parades rejoiced, some with tears of joy, in being able to see their students in person versus through an internet video-classroom.

St Joseph Catholic School administration showed their appreciation for their teachers by delivering gift baskets and lawn signs. Students in the school Builder’s Club prepared a special “Coffee Cart” bag, wanting to keep their annual tradition of bringing a coffee cart to each classroom during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Correspondingly, teachers across the Diocese miss their students as well and have been creating signs and video messages to share on school websites and social media accounts.

At St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral the teachers compiled a video to their students. Danielle Pendleton, a mathematics teacher, used a math formula with the final answer (I <3 u) which translates to “I love you.” Spanish Teacher Laura Baker showed off a colorful poster noting she is missing all of her “amigos” big and small, while Literature and Religion Teacher Julie Dudek shared a limerick and encouraged her students to share one in return.

These are just a few examples of how the teachers and their students are staying connected while missing each other because of continued distance learning.

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