The future looks bright for Sacred Heart Schools this year, both literally and figuratively.
With an increase in enrollment, six new staff members and a capital improvement plan to replace the lighting throughout the school, Sacred Heart’s administration is looking forward to strengthening what the building principals feel is a district that has a solid foundation for the future.
“The enthusiasm that the students and staff have here is continually growing,” Principal Dr. Gary Manning said. “One of our greatest strengths is we have a welcoming environment where others feel comfortable being here.”
The district has 50 new families who have chosen to enroll their children in the school and the district’s overall enrollment is up slightly from last year.
The district has 43 students enrolled in its two preschool sessions and 357 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
“I attribute a lot of our growth, especially in our new families, to the work that Liz (Suter-Van Leer) and the Foundation does,” Manning said. “They work tirelessly to get the message out about the district and put the best face forward for Sacred Heart.”
Manning is in his second year as principal and commented that he felt more relaxed in his role at the school this year.
“There are always things we are working to improve,” Manning said. “But we really have a great district and we don’t feel we need to go in and fix things that are working well.”
One area the district is focusing on this year is its communication arts program.
“We are looking at our communications arts curriculum and seeing if there are ways we can improve upon it for the students,” Manning said. “We have a tremendous new asset to help us in all our curriculum development with Mrs. Wilson.”
Holly Wilson has been hired by the district as a full-time assistant principal.
Wilson brings eight years of teaching experience in communication arts and social studies to SHS.
“I’ve taught in both the elementary and middle school,” Wilson said. “I love working with curriculum and that will be one of my areas of focus.”
The district has added some courses to the curriculum for the school year, increasing the number of dual credit classes available.
The district is also making some improvements to its facilities.
“We are very fortunate to have been working on an all-school electrical project,” Manning said. “We hope to have it completed in the next couple of weeks.”
All of the lighting fixtures in the building will be replaced with LED lighting. The project was funded through the school’s foundation and a rebate program through Kansas City Power & Light.
“We are always looking at our five-year strategic plan,” Manning said. “There is always something we can work on with our capital improvement projects.
“We had a lot of parents in the building over the summer with their children painting the hallways and classrooms,” Manning added. “We are always trying to build funds for our capital improvements and the Foundation is a tremendous asset in that area.”
Manning commented that the help and support from the district’s Foundation and the Sacred Heart Parish is one of the school’s greatest strengths.
“We are blessed here to have a group of individuals whose mission is to ensure that our students get what they need for the future,” Manning said. “The changes we are trying to make are focused on the students so they can have a safe and successful future in the world in which they live.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484