History of Saint Bernadette School
The Springfield Dominican Sisters were appointed to open St. Bernadette Parish School in August of 1949. Sister Benedict was the first principal and Father O'Brien was the founding pastor. Seven sisters served the educational needs of 365 pupils in the newly constructed twelve-room school building.
The first graduating class in 1950 consisted of 13 students. By 1952 the three classrooms formerly used as convent housing were needed, so a new convent was built for the sisters. In 1954 a second school building, "The Primary Building", was made ready for use. The total enrollment at that time was 774. The second floor of the primary building was needed for classes by 1959. An additional four classrooms were added to the main building in 1961. Enrollment grew to 1,257 children by 1965. In 1975, St. Bernadette School was one of the first Catholic schools to open a Preschool.
In 1994, an Extended Day Program was opened to provide for the needs of working parents. Today, approximately 100 students are registered for this before and after school program.
The Essential Learning Solutions Lab (ELS), a computerized therapy program that strengthens students' learning patterns and permanently improves academic performance, was established at St. Bernadette School in 1996. Sister Mary Ventura, Dominican Sister, was appointed Director of this program. The ELS enrollment has grown rapidly and has made a lasting difference in the lives of many children.
New & Exciting
Plans For the 2010/2011 School Year
Saint Bernadette School is happy
to announce a new stepping-stone in our history. Building on 60 years of tradition
in faith, values and excellence, we are venturing on to new places in the 21st
From the Principal: "I have truly felt blessed to be a part of the 60 years of tradition at St. Bernadette – a place of academic excellence and a strong formation of faith and values. I feel equally blessed to be a part of the exciting plans for St. Bernadette’s future. When Sr. Mary Paul (the Superintendent of the Archdiocesan schools) and Ms. Paty Welagala (our Associate Superintendent) proposed that St. Bernadette School become a “model” for the Archdiocese and become a multiage academy fostering Inquiry Learning skills and the implementation of technology in all curricular areas, the idea of changing our name to St. Bernadette Catholic Academy became a serious consideration. It was very important that the traditions of “St. Bernadette” and being “Catholic” remain a part of us yet we felt that we were becoming something more than the traditional school of learning. When we looked up the definition of “academy” in the dictionary it was defined as “a school of specialized learning” which is exactly what we are planning to become.
Our children will learn differently than others. The days of “Open up your Science book to p. 34 and begin reading” are over. We will still use textbooks as one of our learning tools but there will be many other additional learning strategies - websites on the computer, trade books, collaborative learning, learning centers, creative projects, and manipulatives." Mrs. Arlene Baumann
Century learning skills will be
implemented in all grades. Inquiry skills go beyond content knowledge. Students
are engaged in thinking skills that involve them in learning beyond a textbook
– hands on activities, group projects and computer-based learning.
Students learn how to use productivity tools: word
processor, spreadsheets, database and presentation software in our
state-of-the-art Technology lab.
They apply and integrate these skills as well as acquire new knowledge using
designated websites and virtual tours. Older students will use individual
laptops while younger students will work at mini-computer labs in each
classes, students are grouped together by ages-not by grade. Teachers will
focus on students’ individual learning needs. Research shows that this grouping
promotes cognitive and social growth and increases active learning.
St. Bernadette Catholic Academy continues to flourish with vitality, academic excellence, improved technology and updated texts. Some things are new but much has not changed: devoted parents, dedicated teachers and hard working students.