Striving for excellence at St. Ted’s

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

State of the School by Matt Benda

What a year! St. Theodore Catholic School continues to provide high quality educational opportunities for school age children in pre-K through fifth grade. We are extremely proud of our students’ success as they enter middle school, high school and beyond.

“Dear young people, the church expects great things of you and your generosity. Don’t be afraid to aim high.” — Pope Francis.

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At St. Theodore Catholic School, we do aim high. As an example, please consider that in 2009, 11 students graduated from St. Theodore Catholic School.

Nine of these students attended St. Theodore Catholic School throughout all of their elementary years.

Matt Benda

Matt Benda

This group is a part of the graduating class of 2015. Of the nine students who attended St. Theodore throughout all of their elementary years performed this year as follows:

• Five students graduated Summa Cum Laude

• Three students graduated Magna Cum Laude

• One student was on the B Honor Roll

We are extremely proud of our alumni as they strive for excellence.

In addition, our school received significant accolades for our achievements.

On May 18 the Minnesota Nonpublic School Accrediting Association Board granted the St. Theodore Catholic School with accredited status. As explained on the MNSAA website, this announcement “offers outside objective validation that a school has met high standards and is actively seeking a quality educational program.”

In particular, the on-site evaluation provided a listing of strengths and weaknesses as follows:

• Strengths: small classes, involved school board, dedicated teachers, supportive parents and commitment to school leadership.

• Areas of challenge: marketing and community awareness, enrollment, development and finances and technology.

We are extremely proud of the success of the people who are the core of our school — teachers, parents and students. Likewise, the school is committed to improving the behind the “back stage” items of enrollment, marketing and continued efforts to meet today’s technology needs.

The second recognition occurred when our school was recognized as a Blue Zones school. On June 4 St. Theodore School received word that we are officially designated as a Blue Zones school. This means that we are optimizing the school environment so that students eat better and are more active. We believe that our students can perform better when they eat more balanced meal and get a chance to be up an active on a regular basis.

According to a recent Mayo Clinic report, “physical movement benefits school performance. It can increase children’s grades by 10 percent to 15 percent.” We offer daily recess and a robust gym program to help our students succeed inside and outside the classroom.

As always, performance matters: 81 percent of our students scored above the national average in math, 87 percent in reading and 91 percent in language arts and science. We also continue to utilize the NWEA testing platform, which offers teachers and parents with customized reports to help our students improve during the school year.

All students also receive unique programs in Spanish, music and art as well as advanced experiences through field trips and the spelling bee. St. Theodore students also continue to lead the pack in the local science fair competition.

Students continue to perform acts of kindness through various activities, including regular contact with senior citizens at the nursing homes, tree planting and other acts of kindness. One of our primary goals is as follows: “To foster an awareness of opportunity to serve others in the school, community and world.”

St. Theodore School is now working in collaboration with the Diocese of Winona and the ACE Collaborative of Notre Dame to enhance the curriculum of our school. We continue to strive to ensure that we are continuing to meet the standards and continue to challenge our students.

Monthly, the Parents and Kids Eat Together program occurs where parents and students share lunch and exchange information. Please consider joining us for this event to learn more about our school community.

Please consider joining our school community — scholarship opportunities are available for those that require assistance. Do small class sizes, instilling compassion in children and offering academic excellence sound good to you? Please join us by calling 373-9657 or visit us at


Matt Benda is the chairman of the St. Theodore Catholic School Board.