West Virginia Catholic Schools Are Ready to Move Mountains This School Year

Colleen Rowan Photo Pictured are new administrators in Catholic schools. In the front, from left, are Stephanie Slone, assistant principal of Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School; Kim Burge, principal of St. Michael Parish School in Wheeling; and Amanda Weatherwax, assistant principal of Parkersburg Catholic High School. In the back, from left, are Michele Martin, principal of St. Paul School in Weirton; John Pennington, principal of Ss. Peter and Paul School in Oak Hill; and Patrick Blanc, principal of St. Joseph Parish School in Martinsburg.

By Colleen Rowan
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s 25 Catholic Schools are ready to move mountains in Catholic education. With the new theme for this academic year, “MOVING MOUNTAINS-EMPOWERED BY KNOWLEDGE-TRANSFORMED BY FAITH!”, the Department of Catholic Schools also unveiled a new logo, which may be seen at the bottom right of this page.
This is not all that is new with Catholic schools in West Virginia. With the start of the new academic year, Superintendent Mary Ann Deschaine took time to share more exciting news in Catholic education in the diocese and her hopes for students and the Catholic schools across the state.
“We are very excited about the upcoming school year,”  Deschaine said.
“All of our Catholic schools eagerly await the opening of the new school year,” she said. “Intentional planning and preparations are underway in anticipation of eager, faith-filled students!”
A Principal/Pastor Workshop featuring keynote speakers who focused on student engagement, classroom educational best practices and a retreat to refill the principals’ “spiritual buckets,” Deschaine said, was held. An added treat for the principals and pastors attending was the opportunity to meet Bishop Mark E. Brennan who visited with them during the Aug. 1 workshop which was held at St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charles- ton. Bishop Brennan celebrated Mass for them and then shared dinner with them.
“We were very honored that Bishop Brennan shared part of his day with us and celebrated Mass at the Principal/Pastor Workshop,” Deschaine said. “It was such a pleasure speaking with him, listening to his words of encouragement. He acknowledged the hard work and dedication of our Catholic school administrators, staff, school pastors and families. Bishop Brennan made us feel very appreciated for our contributions to the Catholic School Ministry.”
The Catholic school community of the DWC is also welcoming new administrators this year. They are: Stephanie Slone, assistant principal of Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School; Amanda Weatherwax, assistant principal of Parkersburg Catholic High School; Kim Burge, principal of St. Michael Parish School in Wheel-ing; Michele Martin, principal of St. Paul School in Weirton; John Pennington, principal of Ss. Peter and Paul School in Oak Hill; and Patrick Blanc, principal of St. Joseph Parish School in Martinsburg.
“They are faith-filled individuals who have said yes to our Catholic School Ministry,” Deschaine said. “Each person brings their own unique gifts and talents to their ministry. We’re excited that they said yes, and look forward to seeing where the Holy Spirit leads them.”
Two workshops for the diocese’s new Catholic school teachers were held recently by the diocese’s Department of Catholic Schools, and the new teachers are eager to engage in their new ministry, Deschaine said.
“During our New Teacher Workshop, we explored innovative ways to implement our curriculum, discussed our new assessment tool, NWEA, and how the NWEA assessment will assist teacher’s in designing and implementing individualized student curriculums.”
The day closed with prayer and reflection.
According to the diocese’s Department of Catholic Schools, Catholic schools in West Virginia are continuing to implement mobile technologies including Chromebooks and iPads into the classrooms. Some teachers across the diocese are using a program called Nearpod to enhance the effective use of the 1:1 devices. Schools are also utilizing Google Apps for Education in order for students to use technology to create, share and collaborate on a variety of projects.
Teachers continually receive training on new learning and teaching strategies. This summer, more than 50 teachers attended technology workshops. During these workshops, there were networking opportunities and training sessions on a variety of technology topics including: growth mindset, Nearpod, Coding and Google Apps for Education, and more.
These technology tools and enhancements offer students academic excellence in institutions that provide a foundation in the Catholic faith.
“Our Catholic schools are grounded in Gospel values and church tradition from beginning to end,” Catholic schools officials said. “Whether it is in the classrooms, sports arenas, assemblies, or service projects, the Catholic faith is being lived by the entire school community.”
Students enrolled in the diocese’s Catholic schools have daily religion classes, pray throughout the school day, attend weekly and monthly Masses, and attend retreats and penance services. Students also engage in service to those in need.
There are 19 Catholic elementary schools and six Catholic high schools in the diocese with more than 5,022 elementary and secondary students, and more than 500 professional staff.
The Diocese of Wheeling Charleston’s school system is the 16th largest in West Virginia in num-ber of students, and the eighth largest West Virginia school system in number of schools. Thirteen counties are served by West Virginia Catholic schools.
For additional infor- mation about the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools, visit  wvcatholicschools.org.