Back to School: A Message from the Director of Education


By Jo-Ann Semko

After months of planning, we are eagerly anticipating the start of a new school year. Over the summer months, many of our teachers and administrators have been working to hone their skills, knowledge, and abilities as exceptional professionals by taking graduate classes, workshops, and seminars.

As we endeavor to maintain our status as premier Catholic schools, it is imperative that we continue to be on the forefront and cutting edge of instruction and pedagogy. We are constantly striving to improve our curriculum and this year we are proud to present an exceptional academic program to provide our students with the resources and opportunities they need to enhance learning and prepare for the future.

We have sharpened our focus and refined curricular areas, bringing more enrichment, project-based, and hands on learning for all students so that our students continue to be highly competitive when they leave our PK-12 programs and move on to the college of their choice.

This year, our school will begin their second year of the R.I.C.H. (Respect, integrity, Courage, Humility) program after an extremely successful first year. After much positive feedback from students, administrators, and parents, our Faith Families and ARISE program will also continue to be an integral part of all our Catholic elementary schools this year. Our secondary schools will continue with similar programs to cultivate and enrich the Catholic faith within their schools.

I would like to offer a heartfelt “Thank You” to those who help make Catholic education possible: to our parish priests, parishioners, and EITC, OSCT and SPE donors for providing scholarship monies to help our students attend and thrive in our schools. Your support financially, and your encouragement to our students to continue to strive to reach their spiritual, physical, emotional and academic goals is second to none; to the teachers and administrators that put their heart and soul into our schools each and every day; to the parents who choose a Catholic education for their children and continue to foster a connection to our faith at home; and finally to the students, who make our schools the successes they are with their dedication and eagerness to learn.

As always, we value the input and suggestions of community members, students, and parents. Please be sure to keep in touch with your school’s administrator, teachers and the Diocesan Education Office. We are one family and together we will stay strong, grow exponentially, and follow the path of Jesus Christ together each and every day.

We are the Catholic schools of The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and we invite you to come visit and learn more about us. Come join us as we walk with Christ and each other to achieve the goals, celebrate the successes and support the spiritual and academic well-being of our children.

[Jo-Ann Semko is the Director of Education for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown]