Share |

 

 

 

 President Therber can be contacted by email at jtherber@scecina.org or by  telephone at 317.352.3282

  • Mourning Our Loss


    At the close of the school Mass on Wednesday, we sang "Blessed Are They". The lyrics are taken from the Beatitudes, which are at the heart of Jesus' preaching and are found in Matthew 5:3-12. In light of recent events, I couldn’t help reflecting on the second beatitude:

    Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

    The past two weeks have been a difficult time for our school community. The sad and sudden death of a long-time member of this Eastside community, Brian Hawkins, has impacted hundreds if not thousands of students, staff members, alumni, family members, friends, and colleagues on our campus and beyond. Clearly, much sadness remains.

    When tragedies occur, God does not necessarily promise clear or even any answers to the questions about why, how, or when. He does, though, invite us to comfort and support one another through presence and prayer.

    An image in my mind is Mary at the foot of the Cross while Jesus was excruciatingly punished for his beliefs, actions, and identity. What possible explanation would have sufficed for her? But she was present to her Son and has become a model of humility, comfort, and consolation for us.

    Similarly, the grace of God has provided an outpouring of comfort and consolation for our students and community. Sincere conversations, reflections, phone calls, handwritten notes, personalized e-mails, text messages, and more have built a strong support blanket for the Hawkins immediate and extended family, the Little Flower Parish community, and the Scecina Memorial High School community.

    We are blessed to have so many kind and generous professionals on staff. Guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, and support staff have joined minds, hearts, and hands with colleagues from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to support, comfort, and console our students as the Gospel of Matthew envisions.

    As we lift our eyes above the water level, let us also be thankful for signs of life in our midst. Earlier this week, I joined nearly 1,000 persons, including 10 of our students and staff, at the annual Right to Life dinner downtown. We celebrated the dignity of pre-born babies and the sanctity of life from conception until natural death. This week, many of our students from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and Holy Spirit Parish voluntarily received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. As the parent of one newly confirmed and sponsor of another, I am rejuvenated by the joy that these events provide, thanks be to God.

    Let us pray for the soul of Brian Hawkins and for his family. Let us seek peace of mind and heart through the knowledge that God wants to comfort those who mourn.

    May God always bless you, and may we cultivate in one another the eyes to see and the ears to hear the blessings that He provides.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Therber
    President



     

  • Enrollment at Highest Level in a Decade

     

    In the 1950’s, Scecina Memorial was one of only a few Catholic high schools for Indianapolis families. Upon our school’s opening in 1953, Catholic families responded enthusiastically to the opportunities Scecina offered their children to grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually. Enrollment soared, stressing the physical capacity of the school, and very soon it became necessary to build additional high schools.

    Today, best practices in education--as well as fire codes--will not allow for our building to accommodate the enrollment of those early years. (A 1:45 student-to-teacher ratio was a bit much!) But we have room to grow, and guided by our Strategic Growth Plan and in accordance with our mission, vision, and values, we have begun to intentionally increase our enrollment.

    Scecina Memorial High School began the 2014-2015 school year with a freshman class of 128 students and a total school enrollment of 430 students. This is the highest enrollment we have seen in the last decade!

    Students and staff pack the home stands for the school year's first All-School Mass.

    While this recent growth is cause enough for excitement, I am optimistic about the future as well. We are making a number of improvements that will strengthen our school and increase our enrollment further. Our vision is to be the school of choice for students and families seeking unique moments to learn, grow, and go forth to transform the world inspired by the light of Christ. This year we are undertaking new initiatives that will advance our efforts to achieve this vision.

    2014-15 Initiatives:

    • A new Master Teacher position. This role is responsible for integrating and sustaining daily professional development of SMHS faculty.
    • An expanded Guidance Department. A full-time career counselor for students will complement the efforts of the College Counselor and other members of the guidance staff.
    • An expanded Biomedical Science Program. A new course titled “Human Body Systems” is the second course in a nationally recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum.
    • Additional dual credit courses.  Courses in Biomedical Sciences, Computer Programming, Accounting, and Marketing are the product of partnerships with several colleges and universities.
    • A continued partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s ECHO program. This provides additional staff resources to foster a strong Catholic culture at SMHS.

    These initiatives will continue to fuel our recent enrollment growth and, more importantly, provide our families with the very best in Catholic education. In the months ahead, I will share additional initiatives designed to advance our school in a number of areas. I look forward to the opportunity!

    Over the past 60 years, the landscape of Catholic education in Indianapolis has changed in many ways. And while the days of 45 students per classroom are over, we remain committed to motivating our diverse and gifted community of students to attain educational excellence, be lifelong learners, and live as servant leaders in the inspiring footsteps of Father Thomas Scecina.

    Thank you for your continued support of Scecina Memorial High School.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Therber
    President



     

  • High Expectations, High Support

    Recently I received the fantastic news that Crusader baseball coach and 1968 alum, Dave Gandolph, was named Regional Coach of The Year. The award is impressive and well-deserved. How it was earned is impressive as well.

    The Crusader baseball program excelled this year, in large part, because Coach Gandolph created a team culture of high expectations and high support. “Expect to Win” was the team’s motto. They did just that—and often! Yes, it’s amazing what setting expectations can do. But at Scecina Memorial, high expectations are not reserved just for our athletic programs.college visit

    One of our Strategic Growth Plan goals is to create a culture of high expectations and high support at Scecina Memorial High School across all areas. Therefore, last school year, a group of faculty, parents, and volunteers, chaired by Principal John Hegarty, evaluated the strengths and limitations in our school day schedule.

    The committee reviewed factors such as the start and end times of the school day;the length and number of class periods;tutoring opportunities;and students' availability for college planning, academic advising, and other counseling topics. Following this assessment, the group recommended potential adjustments that would foster high expectations and high support for our students.

    The results of this process have produced a new Daily Schedule that will greatly benefit our students in many ways. We have added a Resource Period to our school day that will allow students to:

    • Meet individually with an academic advisor on a quarterly basis (without conflicting with in-class time) to develop and review a personalized Student Success Plan.
    • Attend tutoring sessions with a faculty member for extra instruction, practice, and/or test preparation.
    • Meet with college representatives when they visit our campus.
    • Discuss college admission and scholarship opportunities with our College Counselor.
    • Complete homework during the school day.

    This enhanced Daily Schedule will foster high expectations and support for our students; and, just as it was with our baseball program, success and recognition are sure to follow. Thank you to our staff members and volunteers who generously shared their time and viewpoints to help make this enhancement a homerun! (I couldn’t resist.)

    In Catholic Education,

    Joe Therber



     

  • Growing According to Plan

    When it comes to thinking about the future, I have always liked this quotation from Lewis Carroll: “If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

    Fortunately, at SMHS we have a plan to guide our future. The plan was developed over several months through a process that involved over 250 individuals from the school and greater Scecina Memorial community. Our Board of Directors and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis administration approved it in November 2013. We call it the Strategic Growth Plan.
     

    Workers install "Cat6a" cable for faster data transmission.

    Today, I would like to highlight one Strategic Growth Plan area, in particular, in which we have made significant progress: Technology. For example, right now, we are wrapping Scecina in 33,000 linear feet of category 6a cable for data transmission. This improvement is analogous to transforming a bumpy country road into a modern freeway--the new US 31 freeway that bypasses Kokomo comes to mind. Traffic moves faster and smoother. Similarly, at SMHS data is going to move much faster and smoother.

    When our students return to SMHS for the first day of classes on Monday, August 11, we will have accomplished the following in Technology:

    • Completed significant technology infrastructure upgrades throughout the school building,
    • Purchased and deployed 70 new computers for faculty and staff in anticipation of a 1:1 student computing environment,
    • Purchased and installed flat screen panel displays in several classrooms with more planned,
    • Updated our management information system for reporting and supporting technology requests, and
    • Begun professional development for staff on the use of new devices and software.

    Many people have been instrumental in ushering in this new era of integrating technology into teaching, learning, and other school processes.I would like to thank everyone, and in particular our Technology Committee, for supporting these technology improvements. I am confident that their work will advance our effectiveness in service to our students and community.

    During the first year of implementation, Scecina Memorial staff and volunteer Implementation Teams have succeeded in meeting a number of objectives across all Strategic Growth Plan areas. I invite you to learn of these achievements over the coming months by reading my blog. Each month, I will highlight two implementation areas of the Strategic Growth Plan, including updates on our Facility Master Plan.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to Scecina Memorial High School. Through your generosity and support, our school will continue to grow and flourish as a ministry of the Catholic Church on the east side of Indianapolis.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Therber
    President

  • Looking Forward | Improvements and Expansions

    We understand that one of the unique features of a Scecina Memorial education is a personalized, Catholic Christian school environment. This environment fosters acceptance, compassion, and respect for the diversity that is among us. Personalizing attention, appreciating our students’ unique God-given gifts, teaching to foster academic success, and providing opportunities for students to grow in God’s plan for them are what we do best.

    Listening to the members of our school community and addressing their needs is an important part of this personalized approach to education. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the following improvements and expansions that you can expect for the 2014-2015 school year:

    • Scecina Memorial will begin a new era of technology in education. We will invest $300,000 during the next 14 months by hiring a Vice President of Technology, engaging in professional development for staff, upgrading technology infrastructure and wiring, installing classroom projectors, and providing teachers and staff with new computing devices, thereby setting the stage for providing students with computing devices. We will continue to urge our students to use technology responsibly and ethically while developing interpersonal relationship skills.
    • We plan to expand our Guidance Department by hiring a full-time counselor to specialize in Career Counseling services for students.
    • We will expand our Biomedical Science Program by adding a new course titled “Human Body Systems,” the second course in the nationally recognized Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science curriculum. The foundational course, “Principles of the Biomedical Sciences,” will continue.
    • In partnership with several colleges and universities, we are adding eight dual credit courses in English, Accounting, Teacher Education, and Marketing.
    • We are creating a Master Teacher position. The purpose of this enhancement is to integrate and sustain daily professional development of our faculty. Duties will include observing classrooms, providing prompt feedback to teachers, facilitating scheduled strategy discussions among faculty groups, and appraising teachers’ performance in concert with our Principal, Mr. Hegarty.
    • In Campus Ministry, we will build upon the successful experience we had this year by continuing and enhancing underclass retreats next year. Our partnership with the University of Notre Dame will continue. This partnership has brought us additional staff resources to coordinate and plan programs that foster a strong Catholic culture here at Scecina.
    • Starting with an expanded all-staff retreat for the 2014 – 2015 year, we will develop faith formation opportunities for our staff throughout the year and on an ongoing basis.
    • We will improve our building and classrooms by replacing lintels above gymnasium windows, tuck pointing sections of masonry, painting classrooms and stairways, and installing additional security cameras and new classroom lights.
    • We are preparing for the future through our Strategic Growth Plan. A top priority is to develop a Facility Master Plan that reflects our mission and helps us all to live it. Please look for more information on this exciting development as the year progresses.

    These improvements and ongoing programs are funded through a combination of alumni and friends’ support, parish and archdiocesan support, and tuition. They will add to our existing programs, which include:

    Looking ahead, the 2014-2015 school year will surely be a memorable one. Our current programs and these planned improvements will enhance the student experience and continue advancing the mission of Scecina Memorial High School.

    Thank you for your commitment and generous support of our school. I look forward to your continued involvement.

RSS Feed