St. Therese Makes Big Changes

According to an article in the Seattle Times, St. Therese Catholic School in the Madrona neighborhood has made great changes to their program. Up until two years ago, St. Therese found the number of students dwindling. Enrollment was down to about 90 students, just about 10 in each class. As expenses continued to grow, closure seemed to be the only option. Leaders of the school wasted no time and begun to make changes in order to draw more attendance. They worked very hard making numerous phone calls, hanging up fliers, and adding a Pre-Kindergarten class to the school. Most importantly St.Therese is attracting family with their emphasis on computer instruction. Students are spending 30%-50% of the day on laptops, where their progress can be tracked. Because of the many changes they made, their attendance has nearly doubled to 173 students.

Photo Courtesy of: St.Therese School

With $433,000 in grants to date, $300,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Therese is the second Catholic school in the nation that practices a blended-learning model, computer-based learned as well as traditional classroom style learning. Similar efforts are being put underway at Holy Rosary in Tacoma, where they are also hoping to adopt a Spanish-speaking program to attract more Catholic Latino families.

With the help the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Therese has 190 laptops which is enough for each student in grades 4-8, and one for every 2 students in K-3. These laptops replaced 25 computers that were outdated, now students can feel proud of what they are using and accomplishing.

New Pastor for Madrona’s Catholic Church St. Therese

St ThereseCourtesy St. Therese Parish

This past Sunday was the last for Father Stephen Okumu (pictured) as St. Therese Pastor.  Father Stephen, as most parishioners call him, has been with St. Therese for the last five years.  He is leaving to become the Pastor of St. Bridget’s in Laurelhurst.

Father Charles Kanai has come to Madrona to replaced Father Stephen and Father Kanai is assisted by Deacon Greg McNabb who has been with St. Therese for the last several years.  Both Father Charles Kanai and Deacon Greg will also serve Immaculate Conception located in the Seattle Central District.  While no changes in mass times are expected in the immediate future, changes may occur down the road since both Catholic Churches have the same mass schedule.  In the interim, guest priests will assist to keep the current mass schedule.

Epiphany Summer Concert Series Comes in July!

Molly SwensonEpiphany will be hosting a summer concert series, with performances by an array of different musical artists! The concerts will be held every Friday night in the month of July from 6:00-8:00pm, outside in the Courtyard of Epiphany Church. So bring your kids, friends and family, blankets or lawnchairs, drinks, and even a picnic! Everyone is welcome whether you have connection with Epiphany or not. If it rains, the event will be moved into the Great Hall. Listed below is a schedule of musical performances:

July 6th: Brass Band Northwest

July 13th: Sambatuque

July 20th: Anzanga Marimba Ensemble

July 27th: Genesee Ramblers: Old Time Barn Dance

For more information please call Epiphany Church at (206)324-2573.

Epiphany church is located in the Madrona / Denny Blaine area at 38th Ave, between E. Howell & E. Denny.

Evensong at Epiphany Parish in Madrona

Epiphany SeattleEvensong is the most particularly Anglican service in all of Christian Worship.  It is sung regularly in many cathedrals and parish churches throughout this country, and daily in many places in England.  The choir traditionally offers certain portions while the congregation joins in the hymns and prayers.  The public is welcome to join the Epiphany Parish in Madrona on All Saints’ Sunday, November 6 at 5 pm for this service of rare and mystical beauty.  Epiphany Choir will sing music of prominent English and American Composers. 

Epiphany Parish is an Episcopal Church in the Madrona / Denny Blaine area located at 1805 38th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122.

What a Joke! Audit Rubber Stamps Seattle School Sale

Seattle Public SchoolsThis is old news and something I have not really commented on in the past, but now that a state audit has just rubber stamped the sale of Martin Luther King Elementary School to the lowest bidder, First African Methodist Episcopal Church (First AME),  this complete and utter bad joke has come up once again.  The audit finds that the Seattle Public Schools followed state law and district policy, but unfortunately the state did not audit for common sense.  At a time when government has no money, they took the lowest bid from a religious group that got their money for the purchase of the school from the state.  So Seattle Public Schools took money from the taxpayers of Washington State and in the process basically gave the former school to a  religious organization.   No complaints about separation of church and state?

What about key players working for the Seattle School District either being fired, charged with felony theft, and/or coming under heavy scrutiny for work related scandals.   Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was fired early this year over a financial scandal, former Seattle Public Schools official Silas Potter Jr. has just been charged with felony theft for alleging taking $250,000 from the schools, and Potter’s direct supervisor and a member of First AME (who won the bid for the school), Fred Stephens, has come under heavy scrutiny for his management that contributed to the scandal.

The state audit found that there was a valid market-value appraisal of the Martin Luther King School and First AME paid within 90% of that value, that Fred Stephens and his affiliate with First AME had no influence on the decision to pick their bid over the other bids that were up to 4 times as much, and that they had open, public process when making the decision.   My questions are these: If you got an appraisal of your home for $250,000 and someone offers you a $1,000,000 the next day, would you think that appraisal was worth the paper it was printed on?  Do you believe that Fred Stephens affiliation with First AME had ZERO influence on the decision to take a quarter of the money offered by another party?  Are public forums worth anything if the decision has previously been made no matter what the public says?

Yes the state audit is probably right, nothing illegal was done in this transaction that can be documented.  The Seattle Public Schools legally stole money from the taxpayers and there is nothing you can do about it.

St. Therese Halloween Carnival

Halloween MadronaSeattle’s St. Therese Catholic School in Madrona is having their third annual Halloween Carnival Saturday, October 29th from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  The carnival is held in the St. Therese gym which is on the corner of 35th and Spring.  The Halloween Carnival is free to public to enter and most activities are only $1.  Activities including everything from bouncy house to throwing a fishing hook over a curtain and pulling out a surprise.  It is a great event for young kids, if you are in the Madrona neighborhood come on by St. Therese – everyone is welcome.

And do not forget Madrona’s Halloween trick or treat event that Sunday.  Click the link for details.

Madrona Presbyterian Church Chat Regarding Proposed Women’s Shelter

Madrona Presbyterian ChurchThe following information was submitted to our Madrona blog.  Please attend if you are interested to learn more.

Madrona Presbyterian Church’s Community Coffee Chat Thursday, October 6th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Coffee Chat on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM there is a community forum regarding the Madrona Presbyterian Church’s goal to open a women’s shelter. All Madrona neighborhood residents as well as Madrona businesses and other entities are invited to attend. Madrona Presbyterian pastor as well as members will make a presentation with time for questions and feedback. The plan is to open the shelter for women and their children by this winter 2011.
Madrona Presbyterian Church
832 – 32nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

St. Therese Announces School’s New Principal

St Theresa Seattle

Theresa Hagemann

St. Therese has a new principal: Theresa Hagemann.  Hagemann will proceed the interim principal, Joe Budde, who replaced Eileen Gray who ran the school for 20 years.  Mrs. Hagemann comes to Saint Therese with ample experience.  She is currently the Vice Principal at St. Anne on Queen Anne.  Previously she was Vice Principal and taught at Christ the King School (north of Ballard) for 12 years.

Hagemann, who does not officially begin in her new position until July 1st, has already began planning for school next year.  She is excited to work with the kids, the St. Therese community, and the Madrona neighborhood:

I absolutely love working with children of all ages.  Their curiosity and love of life makes coming to work every day a joy.  I am passionate about Catholic education and working with teachers to create curriculum that inspires students to learn.   I am looking forward to working with the St. Therese community and neighborhood as we begin this new chapter.  We are a diverse community that nurtures faith, inspires learning and welcomes new families.

Hagemann is not the only new principal in the Madrona neighborhood.  Madrona Elementary, the public school just a couple blocks from St. Therese, appointed Farah Thaxton their new principal less than a year ago.  It is an exciting time for two of our local Madrona schools to get new leadership so close together.

Welcome Theresa Hagemann to Madrona!

Note:  For more information about Saint Therese School or to schedule a tour please contact Gina Purdy at (206) 324-0460 ext 117.

UPDATE:  St. Therese will have open houses where you can meet the new principal on Wednesday, March 30th for all grades (K-8) and Tuesday, April 19th for middle school (5th-8th grade).  Both open houses will be from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.

St. Therese Auction Big Success

St Therese SeattleSaint Therese is a catholic church and elementary school in the middle of Madrona.  For 80 years, St. Therese School has worked to build a school in Madrona that supports students across ranges of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds and the school’s annual auction helps achieve that goal.  Last night, Saint Therese had its annual auction at the W Hotel in Downtown Seattle, and while I am not privy to any of the financial information, it seemed to be nothing less than a big success.  The auction started at 5 PM and two silent auctions took place before dinner began at 7 pm.  The dining room had at least 25 tables with 10 people per table.  Around the outside walls of the dining room were “almost live” auction items, and as dinner started the live auction began.  Many items had fierce bidding wars but maybe none as entertaining as the Kenyan Dinner for up to 14 prepared by parish priest Father Okumu.  The bidding reached $1,800 when Father Okumu agreed to prepare two separate dinners allowing two groups to win the bid.

Congratulations to Saint Therese.  St. Therese has been a part of the Madrona community since 1927; here’s to the next 80 years.