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 Dr. Brettnacher can be contacted by email at jbrettnacher@scecina.org or by  telephone at 317.356.6377, ext. 1116

  • Catholic identity: Increasing the faith life of Scecina

     Greetings, 

    I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. 

    In my previous message, I told you about the Archdiocese of Indianapolis taking part in AdvancED accreditation. The accreditation process is tailored for our Catholic schools. One part of the plan is setting goals in three areas: 1) Catholic Identity, 2) Academics, and 3) Institutional Advancement. 

    President Joe Therber and I have put together a School Improvement Plan team of 15 that will help with the process. The plan will help our students to excel spiritually and intellectually. I’d like to explain more about the first area, Catholic Identity, and in later posts will address the other two goals. 

    Ms. Amy Noser, Director of Campus Ministry, is chair of the Catholic Identity subcommittee for SIP. The goal is to increase the faith life of the school. The interventions to reach this goal are: 

    • For the school year 2018-2019, the school will assess how to integrate our Catholic faith in all subject areas across the school to increase all students’ knowledge of our faith. 
      • We hope to have some of our Deanery priests help our teachers with examples of how to integrate our faith in all subject areas. <
      • We will book Joe Paprocki who has written over ten books on our Catholic faith to discuss this topic with our faculty too. 
    • Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, work at implementing activities listed in Catholic School Management’s audit of the Christian Service Program at Scecina Memorial High School to provide more service opportunities for all students.

      • We look to have students conduct more or all of their service hours at locally approved charitable, faith-based organizations. 
      • Our students, as part of the new graduation pathways (Service Based Learning), will reflect or create a presentation on their experiences to demonstrate their skills/experiences resulting from their service.

    In future posts, I will update you about our goals and interventions for the other two goals, Academics and Institutional Advancement. Should any student, parent, faculty, or community member want to make comments or suggestions to improve this plan, please send them to me at jbrettnacher@scecina.org. The committee will value your suggestions.

    We’ve got a busy December ahead with Finals and events such as the blood drive, Trivia Night, the turnabout dance, and the Christmas concert. Please check the calendar below, so you don’t miss out!

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • An overview of AdvancED accreditation and the School Improvement Plan

     Greetings, 

    The Archdiocese of Indianapolis takes part in AdvancED accreditation. What is AdvancED Accreditation? "A voluntary method of quality assurance developed more than 100 years ago by American universities and secondary schools and designed primarily to distinguish institutions adhering to a set of educational standards and policies"

    The accreditation process is tailored for our Catholic schools. One part of the plan is setting goals in three areas: 1) Catholic Identity, 2) Academics, and 3) Institutional Advancement. I would like to talk about the process of setting the goals. Please, note that the goals and interventions are in the preliminary stage.

    President Joe Therber and I have been putting together a school improvement plan (SIP) team of 15 people, including the two of us. The makeup of our committee includes the following categories: teachers, finance and operations, advancement, facilities, guidance, campus ministry, technology and curriculum development, academic success, president, principal, administrative assistant, parent, and student. President Therber and I will chair the Institutional Advancement committee. The chairpersons for the other goals are Catholic Identity, Ms. Amy Noser; Academics, and Mrs. Amy Fix.

    Over the next several weeks, I’ll use the Principal’s Blog in The Weekly e-newsletter to provide you with more information about each of the goals and the interventions.

    Have a great weekend,

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • New initiative pairs Scecina students with staff advocates

     Greetings, 

    A new initiative at Scecina aims to help our students excel spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially by giving them personal attention from a staff member. This new initiative, now in its beginning stage, is called the Staff Student Advocacy (SSA) program.

    Faculty and staff often are advocates for students. However, our initiative will assign students to staff to help support teachers’ efforts in the classroom and parents at home.

    In this beginning stage, Scecina’s Staff Student Advocates are responsible for providing guidance and advocacy to students most need of assistance based on grades, attendance, and behaviors. We want to help our struggling students live up to their potential by achieving spiritual and academic success, good attendance and behavioral habits. We also want to prepare each student for the next grade level and make sure they are college and career ready when they graduate from Scecina.

    Eventually, Scecina will assign every student to an advocate. Each staff member who wants to participate will develop relationships with at least five students. We want every student to know and feel comfortable to discuss his or her needs with at least one member of our staff.

    Some of the responsibilities of Staff Student Advocate are:

    • Gather data (grades, attendance, behavior, etc.) and track the progress of each student so he or she can better advocate for their assigned students.
    • Be available to students and provide him or her with a safe place.
    • Meet with the students once per week.
    • Talk to and listen to each student individually.
    • .Discuss with each student his or her progress.
    • When needed, communicate accurately and in a timely manner with a student’s teacher and parents.
    • Help students build relationships inside and outside of the classroom.
    • Keep accurate records of their meetings.

    Again, our goal is to help students succeed. I will keep you informed about our progress with the SSA program.

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • A view of Catholic education in the U.S. and at Scecina

     Greetings, 

    I wanted to give an overview about Catholic education throughout the United States. I thought you might enjoy some statistics about our Catholic students, schools, and professional staff.

    Enrollment
    U.S: 1,835,376 (1,274,162 elementary/middle schools and 561,214 in secondary schools).
    Scecina: 428 students.

    Student Diversity
    U.S.: Catholic students represent 20.8% racial minorities and 17.8% are Hispanic/Latino.
    Scecina has a racial minority of 24% and 30% are Hispanic/Latino

    Non-Catholic Enrollment
    U.S.: 19% (349,139)
    Scecina: 27% (116)

    U.S. Catholic schools
    6,352 Catholic schools (5,158 elementary and 1,194 secondary
    Sixteen new schools opened and 110 were consolidated or closed
    Average per-pupil cost is $11,454, equating to a savings of $21 billion a year for the nation.
    Secondary school graduation rates: Catholic 99.2% (Scecina’s rate was 100% in 2017-18), other religious 97.5%, non-sectarian 93.9%, and public schools 84.1%

    Professional Staff
    Full-time equivalent professional staff number 153,289 of which 97.4% are laity (lay-women: 74.8% and lay-men: 22.6%) and 2.6% are religious clergy (sisters: 1.6%, brothers 0.5%, and clergy: 0.5%)
    Student/Teacher ratio is 12:1.

    We have a great Catholic school here at Scecina! Thanks for all you do for your children and for Scecina.

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • Fight the New Drug program will help students make good choices

     Greetings, 

    At Scecina, we continually strive to provide the best support for our students so they can make good decisions. For example, The Fairbanks Foundation awarded Scecina, Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Spirit, and Little Flower more than $100,000 for drug prevention programs. Our same four schools hosted Jodee Blanco, a leading expert and speaker on bullying to talk to our students. We purchased her anti-bullying curriculum too. 

    Scecina’s latest venture is to bring in a group called Fight the New Drug, with top youth speakers, to educate our students on the harmful effects of pornography. This event is offered in partnership with Marian University and is being presented at other Catholic schools. 

    We will have an assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 9, for our students. I believe this presentation will help our students make informed choices to avoid the “new drug.” 

    Fight the New Drug (FTND) has delivered age-appropriate and research-based presentations to over 400 schools. Psychology Today magazine, CNN, and “ABC Nightline” have featured the group. FTND’s focus is to educate our students on the harmful effects of pornography and to provide them with the knowledge they need to make informed choices. Some of their messages include: 

    • Few realize that teenagers especially are at risk when exposed to pornography.
    • The brain is most susceptible, during the teen years, to the chemical overload that comes with continued viewing of pornography, and addiction is a real danger.
    • Easy accessibility to pornography has turned the Internet into today’s “drug dealer” – a place where porn-related searches represent nearly 25 percent of all online inquiries. 

    ABC News said, “Fight the New Drug Destigmatizes the Topic and Uses a Scientific Approach.” One parent wrote, “Fight the New Drug’s presentation had our students laughing, participating, and learning.” A principal talked about the feedback he received from his staff: “I believe the message shared regarding the impact of pornography on the brain, relationships, and society was impactful for the students. I would recommend this presentation to all schools.” 

    Regardless of my belief about the presentation, you can opt out of having your child attend. You can pick up a form from our school receptionist, fill it out, leave it in the main office, and we will make other arrangements. 

    Please pray that our joint efforts will keep our students safe! As always, you remain in my thoughts and prayers. 

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • A Catholic perspective on Service and College Visit Day

    On Monday, September 17, Scecina has its annual service and college visit day. Freshmen and sophomores will do community service, and the juniors and seniors will visit colleges to determine which one will serve best their needs for academic (adult) formation. Allow me to discuss briefly about our students’ academic (adult) formation and service to others, which are two of the main aims of a Catholic education.

    The Second Vatican Council’s Gravissimum Educationis (Declaration on Christian Education) declared that “a true education aims at the formation of the human person in the pursuit of his ultimate end and of the good of the societies of which he as man is a member and in whose obligations as an adult he will share.”

    We (the bishop, parents and teachers) have an awesome responsibility of cooperating in the formation of our children. The bishop is responsible for fostering an education that the “Christian faithful” will think highly of because it is the primary means for the Catholic Church to assist parents in with the responsibility of educating their children, according to the Code of Canon Law.

    Parents must work closely with their children’s teachers, who they have entrusted to share in the responsibility of educating their children. Our teachers must be outstanding in their subject areas and “grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine” to instill in our students our Catholic values and morals.

    For these reasons, Scecina sends its upperclassmen to visit colleges and universities to give them the opportunity to think about their transition from high school to college.

     On that same day, the underclassmen will perform works of service in the community. Pope Francis stated, "Love and charity, are service, helping others, serving others. There are many people who spend their lives in this way, in the service of others. … When you forget yourself and think of others, this is love!" (Jubilee audience, March 12, 2016).

    The pope’s statement reminds us to teach our children to forget their own needs, and out of love, to serve others. An example of service to others for our children to emulate is Father Thomas Scecina, for whom our school is named. He was onboard the Arisan Maru, a Japanese warship, taking prisoners to a concentration camp when it was sunk by friendly fire. While the Arisan Maru was sinking on October 24, 1944, Father Scecina was hearing confessions and giving absolution until his premature death. It is important that we work together to teach our children to serve others out of love, charity, and duty. Most importantly, God calls us to serve others, and this is why it is so important for Scecina to have an annual service day. When we accomplish this aim, our children, as adults, are more likely to serve others for the good of society.

    Please pray for our students as they perform service in our community and visit colleges. Also, pray that all of our children may hear God’s call and do His will.

    Joseph Brettnacher,Ph.D.
    Principal

  • Scecina, partner schools to host activist Jodee Blanco, adopt her anti-bullying curriculum

    Among many positive new initiatives at Scecina this school year, one of them is to enhance the social and emotional well-being of our students by implementing a new anti-bullying curriculum. 

    In partnership with Our Lady of Lourdes, Little Flower, and Holy Spirt Catholic schools, Scecina will host bullying survivor, expert, and activist Jodee Blanco (pictured below). Ms. Blanco is one of the country’s pre-eminent voices of the subject of bullying. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller “Please Stop Laughing At Me . . . One Woman’s Inspirational Story.” The book chronicles her years as a student outcast. It has inspired a movement inside the nation’s schools and has become an American classic. 

    Ms. Blanco will tell her story of her years as a student outcast to our faculty and staff, and students. Students will have a late-arrival day (9:30 a.m. start) on Tuesday, Sept.  25, 2018, so Ms. Blanco can talk with our teachers in the morning and our students that afternoon. 

    At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, the four schools will sponsor Ms. Blanco’s talk for parents, guardians and the community. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School will host that event. 

    Our schools will adopt Ms. Blanco’s anti-bullying curriculum, “It’s NOT Just Joking Around.” This curriculum is saving lives and making headlines. Organizations that endorse her curriculum include the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.s. Department of Justice, National Catholic Educational Association, American School Counselor's Association, and more. 

    Please mark your calendars now for Ms. Blanco’s presentation. Together, we can enhance the social and emotional well-being of our students by listening to Jodee Blanco and by implementing her anti-bullying program at our schools and in our homes. I look forward to seeing you at her presentation. 

    You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. 

    Joseph Brettnacher,Ph.D.
    Principal

  • It's been a great first year as principal of Scecina

    Dear Parents, 

    It is hard to believe that we just ended the school year. I want to thank the students, faculty, staff, parents, and community for your warm welcome and support in this my first year as principal of Scecina Memorial High School.

    Scecina had many accomplishments during the 2017-2018. It is difficult to list them all, so, instead, I will share three of my favorite school events.

    First, I am a teacher at heart. I enjoyed working with the faculty and staff on several initiatives (i.e., teacher induction, continuous school improvement, emergency operations plans, dialoguing with department chairs and faculty, and developing multi-tiered support systems to help students, etc.).

    Second, my favorite experience was chaperoning the trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Life (right).

    Finally, I enjoyed watching our students excel in co-curricular (band, theater, Key Club, student council, etc.), and extra-curricular activities (sports and club teams). I especially enjoyed any chance I had to talk with parents and members of the community.

    President Joe Therber wrote in his blog last week about many exciting new initiatives for the next school year. Rather than repeating those initiatives, I would like to share our new school improvement goals.

    The school improvement team, composed of faculty, staff, parent, student, and administration, met monthly to write a new school improvement plan. We established three very broad goals.

    Our Catholic Identity Goal is to increase the faith life of the school. Academically, our goal is to meet the needs of all learners. Finally, the Institutional Goal is to expand access to technology for all students and teachers to improve student achievement. To achieve these goals we wrote interventions (SMART goals: Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Responsible, and Time Bound] goals) and activities to accomplish them. I look forward to next year as we implement our goals and the achievements to come.

    Thank you for your support during my first year as the principal. I look forward to working with you as our school has a bright future. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Have a great summer!

    Joseph Brettnacher,Ph.D.
    Principal

  • Scecina's Campus Crusade: A fun day for a great cause

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Dear Parents, 

    What a great day last Friday for Scecina’s Campus Crusade day! It was my first experience with the Crusade. Allow me to share with you our goal progress, where the money is going, and student field events, and also recognize those who helped to organize the fun day. 

    Campus Crusade encompassed a walk-a-thon to raise money. This year the school set a goal to raise $13,000. I am pleased to inform you that as of May 10, we have raised $11,720. We are so close to reaching our goal.  The junior class has won the class participation competition and will get a pizza lunch.

    As a reminder, the money raised goes toward tuition assistance, academics, care of campus, student life (clubs and athletics) or campus ministry, and a $1,000 charitable donation this year to Catholic Relief Services of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. It is gratifying to know that the money raised will help our students, the school, and the community.

    During the day, students participated in field events. The events included a scooter race, dodgeball, musical chairs, walk-a-thon, water kickball, tug-a-war, and a dance office. Our students had a blast. The classes competed against each other to determine an overall winner. The seniors won the field event competition.

    Mr. Kurt Guldner, Mr. Mark Paras, and senior leaders (Isabelle Leffler, Libby Joson, Molly Griffin, Jack Wright, Cobie Dillard, Monica Higgins, and DeChelle Turner), helped to plan the field events. President Joe Therber, Mrs. Beth Murphy, Mr. Bob Globish, Ms. Gia Spaulding and Ms. Mandy Crandell worked on the campaign materials and finances. The faculty and staff supervised the events, and we had a cookout for lunch. The day seemed to go off without a hitch, and the students had fun!

    If you have yet to donate to this cause and want to help us reach our goal, please send your donation to Mrs. Beth Murphy. Rumor has it that President Therber will spend the night on the school’s roof if we reach our goal.  Have a great weekend! 

    Joseph Brettnacher, Ph.D.
    Principal

  • Scecina activities ramp up as school year winds down

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Dear Parents, 

    I want to thank you for entrusting the school with your students. It has been a joy to be a small part of their lives. Know that our prayers are with the seniors and your family during this transition period. If I can be of any help down the road, do not hesitate to contact me. 

    Listed below are culminating activities for seniors and some information for underclass students. We also have a graduation page for the Class of 2018. Please review and contact me if you have any questions. 

    Senior Class Photo: During the school day on Thursday, May 3, the seniors will take their class photo in their caps and gowns. It is a dress-up day for seniors. Dress attire should keep with our Christian values. Boys dress attire includes business dress pants, dress shoes, dress shirt, tie, clean-shaven, and no earrings. Girls should wear modest-fitting dresses or business dress pants and shirt, along with dress shoes.    

    Campus Crusade: Scecina's Campus Crusade Walk-A-Thon is Friday, May 4. We raise funds for student programs and tuition assistance, as well as for Catholic Relief Services. The day begins at 7:30 am and ends with an early dismissal at 12:31 pm. Each student has an individual goal of $50. For families with multiple students, the goal is $40 or $25, depending on the number of students. Please see your packet for the goal information. 

    The last day to turn in money is Wednesday, May 2. I will allow each student who reaches his or her goal to dress out of uniform for the final weeks of school (May 7 to May 25). Also, they will receive a Campus Crusade out-of-uniform pass. Field events for the day include a scooter race, dodgeball, musical chairs, walk-a-thon, water kickball, tug-of-war, and a dance-off. 

    Final exams: For seniors, exams begin on Monday, May 21 (period 7 and 8 exams). All students take periods 1 and 2 finals on Tuesday, May 22; on Wednesday, May 23, students take periods 3 and 4 exams. On Thursday, May 24, all students take periods 5 and 6 exams with seniors dismissed at 10:40 am, and underclassmen dismissed at 11:30 am. Underclass students take periods 7 and 8 exams on Friday May 25 with an early dismissal at 10:40 am to conclude the academic year. 

    Senior Cookout and Awards Day: On Wednesday, May 23, there is a cookout for the seniors at 11:00 am. After the cookout, they will attend the Senior Awards Ceremony that begins at 1:00 pm in Scecina’s gymnasium. Parents are welcome to attend the Senior Awards Ceremony, which concludes at approximately 3:00 pm. 

    Baccalaureate Mass: It is on Thursday, May 24, at Holy Spirit Church (7243 East 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46219). Students should arrive at 6:00 pm. As in the past, the seniors will have a Breathalyzer test. Mass starts promptly at 7:00 pm. Students wear their graduation gowns (no cap). Dress attire for the boys includes business dress pants, dress shoes, dress shirt, tie, clean-shaven, and no earrings. Dress attire for girls is modest fitting dresses or business dress pants and shirt, along with dress shoes. 

    Commencement Practice: It begins at 9:00 am on Friday, May 25 in Scecina’s gymnasium. After practice, I release the students. Students may be out of uniform but should follow our out-of-uniform guidelines. 

    Commencement: It is scheduled for Friday, May 25 in Scecina’s gymnasium at 7:00 pm. Graduates should report to the cafeteria by 6:00 pm. As in the past, the seniors will take a Breathalyzer test. Dress attire for the boys includes business dress pants, dress shoes, dress shirt, tie, clean-shaven, and no earrings. Girls should wear modest-fitting dresses or business dress pants, shirt, and dress shoes. Please do not forget caps (with tassel), gowns, and any medals, cords, or pins. 

    Each family will receive 12 tickets to graduation: two floor tickets and 10 bleacher tickets. 

    You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. 

    Joseph Brettnacher,Ph.D.
    Principal

  • Scecina's Campus Crusade coming up on May 4

        

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Dear Parents and Friends of Scecina, 

    I want to tell you about Scecina Memorial High School’s upcoming Campus Crusade. The event is an annual school community “walking for each other” fundraising event. Students raise money for tuition assistance, academics, care of the campus, student life (clubs and athletics), and campus ministry by participating in the walkathon event on Friday, May 4. It will be a fun day of activities. 

    Students can start raising money beginning on Wednesday, April 18. Each student has the goal of raising $50. (There are other levels for families with more than one student.) I want to let you know some things about raising the money, along with incentives. Next, I will explain how your child can make “the ask” for donations. Finally, I will give some examples of whom to ask. 

    Students will learn about Campus Crusade after Mass on April 18. As I mentioned, the goal for each student is $50, and each student must turn in all donations by Wednesday, May 2. As one incentive, each student who turns in $50 gets to be out of uniform for the rest of the school year, starting on the Monday, May 7. Students who raise $100 or more will be entered into a drawing for a $250. We’ll announce more incentives later. 

    When making “the ask” for donations, students should explain to the donor that the funds will help more students get a Catholic education at Scecina. The students should explain that half of what they raise goes to tuition assistance, but the student has the option of designating where the rest of their donations will go. The money will go toward tuition assistance, academics, care of campus, student life (clubs and athletics) or campus ministry. Students should tell potential donors about their Scecina story (activities they participate in and why the school is important to them) to help raise funds. 

    Who are some of the potential donors? Scecina alumni are one example. Another example is grandparents and other relatives. Neighbors and friends are potential donors too. We ask that students do not solicit businesses. 

    In summary, this year’s Campus Crusade in Friday, May 4. We will have early dismissal (time to be announced later) after the walkathon and the activities end. Students have a goal of raising $50 or more, and there are special incentives to do so. A student can start raising money on Wednesday, April 18 and they must turn in all funds by Wednesday, May 2. The money goes towards tuition assistance, academics, care of the campus, student life (clubs and athletics), and campus ministry. Best of all, there are incentives for each student who raises $50 or more. Students will receive their Campus Crusade packets after Spring Break. 

    We'll see you all back at school on April 16. Have a great Spring Break! 

    Blessings,
    Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D. 

  • Scecina's Good Friday tradition

        

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Dear Parents and Friends of Scecina,

    I am writing to inform you of our school-day schedule, activities, and student attendance expectations for Good Friday, which this year falls on Friday, March 30. Good Friday is one of the most important and solemn days that the Catholic Church and other Christian traditions recognize every year.

    Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day, we observe the death, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We admire Jesus Christ’s selfless and faithful death on the Cross as a supreme act of forgiveness and trust in God’s mercy.

    Many Catholic schools choose to ensure that their students can prayerfully celebrate Good Friday. We at Scecina have chosen for many years to celebrate Good Friday liturgy as a school community.

    The school has shortened the school day for Good Friday. The school will provide our students and staff with a prayerful experience to remember Jesus’ obedience to the Father and his boundless forgiveness. We invite parents and family members to join us, as well.

    The Good Friday schedule for Friday, March 30, will consist of 34-minute classes as follows:

    Period 1 7:30 – 8:04
    Period 2 8:09 – 8:43
    Period 3 8:48 – 9:22
    Period 4 9:27 – 10:01
    Period 5 10:06 – 10:40
    Period 6 10:45 – 11:19
    Period 7 11:24 – 11:58
    Period 8 12:03 – 12:37
    Good Friday Liturgy 12:42 – 1:50

    As you can tell, the school cafeteria will not serve lunch on Good Friday. To commemorate Jesus’ extreme sacrifice, Catholics fast and abstain from eating meat on Good Friday. As a result, we invite students to bring snacks that they can enjoy during their fifth-period class.

    Finally, I wish to address student attendance expectations for Good Friday. In short, students are expected to attend school for the whole day, including the Good Friday liturgy. We close all school offices during the liturgy. Please place the highest importance on the Good Friday liturgy when making appointments or other scheduling decisions for this day. Once again, I invite you to join us for Good Friday liturgy! If I may answer any questions or concerns for you, please contact me. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

    Blessings,
    Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D. 

  • Scecina prayer service to honor victims of Florida shooting, support protest against school gun violence

        

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Dear Parents and Community,

    Our school has planned a prayer service for this Wednesday, March 14, to honor the sacredness of life. Our prayer service is in support of a national school protest against gun violence in schools. We will remember in prayer the 17 students and staff who lost their lives due to the senseless shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. We pray for everyone affected by the shootings and mourn with the victims’ families and community. The date of our prayer service marks the one-month anniversary of the shootings.

    Encouraged by our administration, students and their moderators from Campus Ministry, Student Council, and Crusaders for Life planned the service. It will take place at approximately 10:15 a.m. for 25 minutes immediately after our regularly scheduled Wednesday Mass in Scecina’s gym. All members of our community are welcome to attend.

    The service will include an introduction, opening prayer, time to honor each victim of the Parkland shooting, and a closing prayer. Fourteen of our students will read the names of the 14 students at Parkland who lost their lives followed by a prayer, quote or statistic and a minute of silence for each of the deceased victims. We will do the same for the three Parkland staff members who lost their lives. At the conclusion, students, staff, and the community will have an opportunity to sign a banner to support the sacredness of life, protest against gun violence in schools, and honor the lives of the victims.

    Students who wish to participate will stay for the prayer service and those who do not will be supervised in the cafeteria until the next period bell rings.

    Through prayerful reflection and action, our students, staff, and community can help make the world a better place while honoring the sanctity of life.

    Thank you in advance for supporting our expression of faith, and please contact me if you have any questions.

    Blessings,
    Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D. 

  • Prayers for Florida, safety at school

        

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    By now we all know about the tragedy that unfolded on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. A gunman began shooting just before dismissal, killing 17 and injuring 15 at the school. 

    Like everyone, I’m heartbroken about this tragedy, and my prayers are with the victims and the families. As the principal of Scecina, this tragedy reinforces for me the importance of keeping your children safe. I want to assure our families that our school has a safety committee that meets monthly and an emergency operations plan. All faculty are required to take Armed Intruder Training. From day one, safety has been a top priority of mine. 

    I put together a safety committee of more than 20 members. The liaison police officers assigned to our school by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) are members of the committee. I have assigned members of our safety committee to one of four teams: Prevention & Mitigation, Protection, Response, and Recovery. The definitions for prevention, mitigation, protection, response, and recovery follow. 

    Prevention means the capabilities necessary to avoid, deter, or stop an imminent crime or threatened or actual mass casualty incident. 

    Mitigation means the capabilities necessary to eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of an event or emergency. 

    Protection means the capabilities to secure schools against acts of violence and human-made or natural disasters. 

    Response means the capabilities necessary to stabilize an emergency once it has already happened or is certain to happen in an unpreventable way. 

    Recovery means the capabilities necessary to assist schools affected by an event or emergency in restoring the learning environment. 

    I believe it is critical to have an active safety committee. 

    Scecina has a comprehensive emergency operations plan. A big part of the plan is our organizational chart that specifies the roles and responsibilities of our faculty and staff when and if an emergency occurs. Each faculty and staff member has a flip chart with the protocols for various types of emergencies. Over the course of the year, we conduct drills with our students, faculty, and staff. At each faculty meeting, I review various protocols and give everyone an opportunity to talk about them, ask questions, and make suggestions. At the start of each school year, I provide our faculty and staff with emergency operation plan training. Should an incident occur, the school has an evacuation site for students and a gathering place for parents. I want to assure you that I am committed to continuous school safety, as are all members of our faculty and staff. 

    All faculty and staff are required to take Armed Intruder Training. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis requires this. Each year everyone must view the IMPD’s refresher course to stay up to date on the latest protocols on how to respond to an armed intruder. Know that I am committed to ensuring everyone gets the safety training they need to keep our school safe and secure. 

    Once again, I want to ensure you that a safe and secure school is a top priority of mine. 

    Peace,
    Principal
    Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D. 

  • 1:1 Technology and teachers on leave

        

    By Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.
     jbrettnacher@scecina.org

    Thank you to everyone who attended our first Update and Input Gathering last week and for the Parent Ambassador Team for hosting it. President Joe Therber and I discussed topics of importance to parents. It was a chance for you to hear directly from us and to tell us what was on your mind. Thanks for your attention and your thoughtful questions.

     We aim to keep you informed about what’s going on at Scecina, and so we hope to schedule more sessions in the future.

    Among the topics we discussed at last week’s session were the current or upcoming medical and maternity absences of four teachers; Scecina’s College and Life Preparation; and Scecina’s Decade of Success.

    Four teachers are taking extended leaves of absence for medical or maternity reasons. We have well-qualified substitutes who will aptly fill in.

    Dr. Charles Sinclair, who formerly taught science at Scecina, has been subbing for science teacher Sarah Smith, who is on medical leave.

    PE and government teacher Ott Hurrle is out for knee surgery. His sub is Noah Carpenter, who has the subject level knowledge and is a certified personal trainer. 

    Deanna Dean, who has been a youth minister, is filling in for Catholic theology teacher Margaret Zeh Fulford, who is going on maternity leave.

    Social studies teacher Nikki Rosswurm will start maternity leave around the first week of April and we have several candidates who can teach her classes. We will keep you updated.

    Regarding College and Life Preparation, I shared that the school is exploring the possibility of providing each student with his or her own computer, which is called 1:1 Technology. The parents in attendance were overwhelmingly in support of 1:1 Technology. The school has not committed yet to 1:1 Technology for various reasons, but we will certainly keep you updated about the plans.

    President Therber spoke about Scecina’s Decade of Success as the foundation for a future capital campaign for Scecina. His information is very important for the future of the school and will be the topic of his message to you in next week’s edition of The Weekly. So stay tuned.

    Again, thanks to all who came, especially to the Parent Ambassador Team for planning the evening and for the snacks, and also to Mrs. Angie Wilson for leading us in the prayer. If you missed the Update and Input session, we hope you can make the next one. We’ll let you know when we schedule it. I hope to see you there! 

    Peace,
    Principal Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D. 

  • The seriousness of sexting

    Whenever teenagers have access to a cellular phone, sexting could become a problem, without the right type of communication between a teenager and parent or guardian. Before communicating about the consequences and ramifications of sexting with your teenager, you may need answers to some basic questions. What is sexting, how is it transmitted, and is it permanent? Why is sexting serious? What can parents do to prevent sexting?

    What is sexting, how is it transmitted, and is it permanent? 
    Sexting occurs when a person sends partial or fully nude photos of themselves to someone else. Teens usually use their cellular phones to take the picture. The person texting can choose how they want to send their pictures. Snapchat is a popular app some teenagers use to send pictures because they believe the photo disappears; or does it. The person receiving the sexting can take a screenshot of the picture and send it to others, increasing the likelihood it is permanent. 

    Why is sexting serious? 
    When teens sext, often they do not think about the consequences or ramifications of their actions. The police and prosecutors consider the person sexting as possessing and distributing child porn. If convicted of sexting, registering as a sex offender is a likely consequence. Other ramifications of this type of action: depression, anxiety, fear of going to school, loss of self-esteem, and more. It is evident that sexting can have serious consequences and cause harm. 

    What can parents do to prevent sexting? 
    Communicating with your teenager about the consequences and ramifications associated with sexting is the best way to prevent it. Provide your teenager with articles about the seriousness of sexting. The more teenagers know about sexting, the less likely they are to do it. 

  • Help your child prepare for Finals Week

    Parents, 

    Thank you for working with us to aid in the education of your children. 

    As final exams begin next week, I would like to discuss: 

    • Exam dates 
    • The benefits of a good night’s rest and breakfast on academic performance, and the value of being at school and on time
    • A fresh start with the second semester. 

    Finals. Our first final is on Monday, December 18 (click here for the exam schedule). Students take their first and second-period exams. Third and Fourth-period exams take place on Tuesday, December 19. On Wednesday, December 20, students take their fifth- and sixth-period exams with an early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. Finally, on Thursday, December 21, students take their seventh- and eight-period exams with an early dismissal at 10:40 a.m. Once final exams are over, Christmas break begins with students returning on Monday, January 8. 

    Sleep and nutrition. Children need a minimum of eight hours sleep to improve academic performance. The researchers at Sleep Medicine reported that “sleep efficiency” is a powerful predictor of learning and academic success, especially in mathematics and languages. Research on the relationship between breakfast and academic performance indicates it improves cognitive functions. A good breakfast helps to enhance memory and neural efficiency along with a reduction in absenteeism and tardiness. Scecina even provides breakfast before school! 

    Second semester. The new semester, which begins Jan. 8, provides a fresh start for students. Research shows that good attendance enhances educational achievement. Attendance at school every day helps students develop a high quality work ethic that is important to success in college and the workforce. 

    In conclusion, please continue to reinforce our efforts at school to enhance your child’s academic performance by ensuring a good night’s sleep, the importance of breakfast, and the benefits of being at school every day. 

    Blessings, 

    Dr. Joe Brettnacher
    Principal 

  • You can help your child succeed at school

    Parents, 

    I want to thank you for entrusting us with the education of your children. Students are midway into the second quarter. Progress report night is Thursday, November 16, at 5:00 p.m. in the cafeteria. 

    First semester exams begin on Monday, December 18. In preparation for those exams, there are four methods to help your student(s) maximize their grades: 1) Use class time wisely, 2) make sure they complete their homework, 3) stay organized, and 4) take good care of themselves. 

    First, encourage your student to use class time wisely. Tell them they can master any course content. Encourage them to participate in class. Check to make sure they take good class notes. Explain the importance of being attentive in class. Finally, if they need help, have them take advantage of the scheduled times teachers are available to help. 

    Second, when your student gets home, make sure he or she does homework right away. Have them sit and do their homework in a quiet place where you see them do it. For every hour of study, they should take a 10- to 15-minute break to keep their minds alert. When reading students should take notes or highlight major concepts. Last, forming a study group can help them teach each other and remain focused. 

    Third, help your students to stay organized. Have them use a computer, notebook, or folder to keep class materials separate for each subject. Check their Crusader Daily Planner to see if they write down dates when assignments/projects are due along with upcoming quizzes or tests. Using the planner effectively helps to reduce procrastination and cramming for tests. 

    Last, make sure your student takes good care of themselves. They need to eat breakfast and nutritious meals. Students need to get plenty of sleep; eight hours is optimal. Staying active by exercising, playing a sport or joining a club helps to keep the mind and body fresh. 

    By working together, we can help our students to live up to their God-given ability! 

  • Students' safety is top priority at Scecina

    One of Scecina Memorial High School’s current initiatives is continuous safety improvement because this is a top priority. While we have a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan, we continuously evaluate and update it. 

    Our safety team consists of 20 members covering a wide array of expertise (i.e., President, Principal, Director of Guidance, Academic Advisor, Guidance Administrative Assistant, Business Teacher, Director of Academic Success Center, Campus Minister, Master Teacher, Vice President of Advancement, Athletic Director, Director of Marketing Communications, College and Career Counselor, Dean of Students, Facilities Manager, Assistant Director of Facilities, Receptionist, and Social Worker). It is important to have many different perspectives when continually assessing an array of crises’. Our safety team will meet with first responders too. At our upcoming meeting, we will learn about the Five Preparedness Missions: 1) Prevention, 2) Mitigation, 3) Protection, 4) Response, and 5) Recovery. I will provide brief definitions of these missions based what happens before, during, and after a crisis. Please note that several of these preparedness states do overlap (i.e., while we plan how to mitigate the loss of life before a crisis, during one, we assess, based on the situation, the best way to this). 

    Before a crisis, the team works on Prevention, Mitigation, and Protection. Prevention involves capabilities necessary to avoid, deter, or stop an imminent crime or threatened or actual mass casualty incident. Mitigation involves ways to eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of an event or emergency. Finally, Protection identifies the capabilities necessary to stabilize an emergency once it has already happened or is certain to happen in a unpreventable way. 

    Response activities occur during a crisis. Response means the capabilities necessary to stabilize an emergency once it has already happened or is certain to happen in a unpreventable way. 

    Recovery occurs after a crisis. Recovery provides guidance on how to assist schools affected by an event or emergency in restoring the learning environment. 

    Please be assured that our team continuously assess and updates our Emergency Operation Plan. 

  • Students inspired by lessons of servant leadership

    Look around Scecina Memorial High School, and you will "Discover Opportunities." I had one of those opportunities when I was invited by the Key Club to talk about a passion of mine, servant-leadership (see photo below). 

    This past Tuesday, I talked to 30-plus students about the topic, and they did a great job of interacting with me to define, in their terms, what they believed is servant-leadership. I affirmed their definitions. Then I indicated that the ultimate servant-leader, Jesus Christ, defined the term best. Jesus wrote, "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26–28). 

    Next, I read a couple of my favorite passages from the Bible about servant-leadership and then moved on to contemporary servant-leaders. 

    Contemporary servant-leadership was popularized by Robert Greenleaf, in his book "The Servant-Leader Within: A Transformative Path" (2003). Greenleaf believed that a servant-leader is a servant first and out of that service comes a natural desire to lead. He talked about the "Best Test" to determine if one had become a servant-leader when he wrote, "… do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants" (p. 13). 

    From there, it was a natural progression to interact with students about our contemporary example of a true servant-leader, Father Thomas Scecina, for whom our school is named. When I asked one of the students to tell the story of Father Scecina, he said, "Father Thomas Scecina, as a prisoner of war, laid down his life serving others. As friendly fire sank the Japanese prisoner of warship he was on, he remained to administer the last rights to the other prisoners." 

    I explained that one does not have to lay down his or her life to become a servant-leader, it develops gradually. Also, I acknowledged they were servant-leaders by being members of the Key Club. 

    The Key Club is an international student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to serve, builds character, and develops leadership. One way to "Discover the Opportunities" at the school is to join the Key Club! 

    Joe Brettnacher, Ph.D.

  • Scecina students grow academically and spiritually

    Dear parents,

    The Indiana Department of Education (DOE) tracks how each school’s students have grown from one year to the next in comparison to their peers across the state. I am proud to report that the DOE announcement of school accountability ratings this past week showed that Scecina Memorial High School once again earned a letter grade of A for academic performance and growth. Indiana’s Growth Model tracks students’ academic progress from one school year to the next using standardized test scores. Based on multiple measures of academic performance and growth, including college and career readiness, our school’s overall points totaled 93.2, an A rating.

    As important as academic growth is, that is not the reason for our school, it is Jesus Christ. The following quote from an anonymous source says it best: “Let it be known to all who enter here that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes, the model of its faculty, and the inspiration for its students.” Jesus Christ is what sets us apart from public schools.

    Our public school counterparts are unable to allow their students to practice their faith on a daily basis. This daily practice allows us to provide our students with a holistic approach to education.

    Our teachers challenge their students to excel spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially. All four of these characteristics is important to the ultimate goal of Catholic education. That goal “… is to form boys and girls who will be good citizens of this world, loving God and neighbor and enriching society with the leaven of the Gospel, and who will also be citizens of the world to come, thus fulfilling their destiny to become saints” (Gravissimum Educationis, 8, [Second Vatican Council]).

    Of course, none of this is possible without the collaboration we have with you, parents and guardians, to provide your children with an excellent education rooted in Gospel values.

    Thank you for allowing us to take part in this awesome responsibility!

    Dr. Joe Brettnacher
    Principal

  • Late arrival days serve larger purpose

    Greetings,

    I wanted to explain about the five remaining late arrival dates for the first semester:

    • Thursday, September 28
    • Monday, October 9
    • Monday, October 30
    • Monday, November 20
    • Monday, December 11

    On these dates, doors open at 8:30 a.m., classes begin at 9:30, and school ends at 3:09 p.m. On October 9, Scecina Memorial High School has its annual Service and College visit day. The other four dates are for teacher professional development. I want to explain to you the reasons for these delayed starts.

    On October 9, ninth-graders and sophomores (underclassmen) will do community service, and juniors and seniors (upperclassmen) will achieve academic formation by visiting colleges. Some of the underclassmen service opportunities include doing work for the St. Vincent de Paul Society and several East Deanery parishes.

    Upperclassmen will experience academic formation when the seniors visit the college or university of their choices and juniors will take tours of Indiana, Marian, and Taylor universities.

    Service and academic formation is, in the words of Pope Francis, part of the “integral formation of the human person, both given his own ultimate goal and for the good of society of which he is a member.” Both the service and academic formation is part teaching students how to use their knowledge for the good of society.

    The other four dates (September 28, October 30, November 20, December 11) involve teacher professional development on how to use a Learning Management System (LMS). LMS software allows for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses or training programs.

    Teachers are using a software called Canvas to support PowerSchool, our LMS system. Canvas is a software package that provides a way to simplify teaching and learning by connecting all the digital tools teachers use in one easy place. Teachers will learn how to use best technology practices, so they can personalize and customize what is happening in their subject areas to meet the individual needs of our students.

    These five late arrival dates will help broaden the spiritual and intellectual horizons of our students. Also, they will provide our teachers with the professional development they need to use technology as accelerators to enhance student learning.

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers!

    Dr. Joe Brettnacher
    Principal

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