2016-17 School Year

St. Michael School Students Write to Pen Pals in Maine

A group of St. Michael sixth and seventh grade students in Mrs. Theresa Betori’s, Mrs. Christi Vaughn’s and Mrs. Linda Niro’s homerooms have begun a pen pal group with students in Skowhegan, Maine. The classes are writing letters to eight students in grades sixth through eighth who attend a book club at the Skowhegan Free Public Library.

The pen pal project came to be when St. Michael School librarian, Ms. Natalie Dickerson, came across a post on a professional librarian social networking platform asking for middle school and junior high aged pen pals. After contacting the teacher and talking to her own students, the pen pal project began. Just before Thanksgiving break, the St. Michael students sent their first package to their pen pals 835 miles away. The package included their letters, some small gifts and a box of Malley’s Buckeye Chocolates, just in time for the holiday.

Upon coming back from Christmas Break, the St. Michael students received a box from their pen pals. The students from Main sent letters as well as bookmarks, chocolate covered blueberries, a Skowhegan Monopoly board game, photos of the class and locally made chap stick and “moose mints.”

The pen pal project will continue for the rest of the year.

St. Michael School Teacher Wins the National Catholic Educational Association Social Media Influencer Contest


St. Michael School fifth and sixth grade Social Studies teacher, Adam Cottos, was announced the winner of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Send A Teacher to NCEA 2017 Convention & Expo in St. Louis Social Media Influencer Contest. Winning this contest means that Mr. Cottos will be attending the NCEA 2017 Convention and Expo in St. Louis as a guest of the NCEA along with other prizes.


The NCEA is an organization that provides leadership and direction for Catholic Schools throughout the country through professional development opportunities for educators at the schools. Mr. Cottos was one of 12 teachers selected from across the country to participate in this 11 week contest which covered 10 themes; Why Choose Catholic Education, Professional Development for Catholic Educators, Service in Catholic Schools, Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service, STREAM, Exceptional Learning in Catholic Schools, Professional Learning Networks for Catholic Educators, NCEA 2017: Convention Expo Preliminary Sessions of Interest, Leadership in Catholic Schools and Catholic Identity.  The idea of the contest was to promote the Catholic faith through various forms of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogging etc.).


“I am so thankful for the support, ideas and prayers I received throughout this contest. It was an honor to be able to share the great work of the St. Michael community to educators from around the country,” said Adam Cottos.

St. Michael School Basketball Team and Cheerleaders Adopt Students for Christmas


The St. Michael School seventh and eighth grade basketball team and cheerleaders helped make the Christmas season brighter for 21 students from Louis Aggasiz Elementary School in Cleveland.


Each year, the basketball team receives a list of students and what they want or need for Christmas. The team buys and wraps the gifts which they then deliver to the students. On December 19, the basketball team and cheerleaders made the trip to Louis Aggasiz Elementary School to deliver the presents and meet their adopted students. This is the fourth year for the program and many of the players have had the same adopted student for multiple years.


“It is a very humbling experience for our children,” said basketball team parent Terese Yontek. “These students are asking for crayons, paper and socks; there’s no Xbox on the list, yet they are just as excited to open these gifts.”


The students weren’t the only ones who received gifts. Many parents of the basketball team and cheerleaders donated items to the teacher like coloring books and pencils. Besides opening presents, the basketball team sang carols and the cheerleaders did a special performance for the students.  Each adopted student also received a healthy snack bag to take home over Christmas break.

St. Michael School Students Go Caroling at Emerald Village Senior Living

 On Monday, December 19, St. Michael School fifth and sixth grade students went caroling at Emerald Village Senior Living to help spread some Christmas cheer. Besides singing Christmas carols, the students made 145 individual paper stockings and a Christmas message for each resident to keep as well as other decorations and prayer cards.


“The residents really enjoyed the caroling and had nothing but praise for our students,” said sixth grade teacher, Miss Melanie Wypasek. “They kept saying how much our visit brightened their day and helped get them in the holiday spirit.”


Emerald Village Senior Living is an independent and assisted living facility in North Olmsted which St. Michael School has developed a relationship with over the years. Throughout the school year, students in fifth through eighth grade made Thanksgiving place mats for the residents and several resident veterans came to St. Michaels to talk to the students for Veteran’s Day.

St. Michael School Students Celebrate Christmas Around the World


On December 19, St. Michael School students in second through fourth grade experienced Christmas traditions from China, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Australia and Germany without leaving their classroom. Students received a passport which they used to collect stamps from each country they visited.


During their travels the students made lanterns in China; learned about piñatas and poinsettias in Mexico; decorated fans and enjoyed a small snack of ham and bread, the traditional Spanish Christmas meal; they ate a pizzelle while coloring a picture of La Befina in Italy; in Australia they made party cracker ornaments to hang on their tree and in Germany they tasted Stolle, a traditional Christmas dessert.


“Part of our curriculum requires our students to learn how to research,” said third grade teacher, Mrs. Diane Patterson. “We chose to do this activity as a fun way for students to learn about and share many different holiday customs while also practicing research and presentation skills.”

St. Michael School Cheerleaders Perform at Liberty Mortgage Company

On December 16, St. Michael School seventh and eighth grade cheerleaders were invited to do a special Christmas performance at the Liberty Home Mortgage Company in Independence for third grade students from Euclid Park Elementary School.  The company’s owner, Khash Saghafi, hosted this special Christmas event for the students which included the cheerleader’s performance and a visit from Santa Claus. The cheerleaders performed both their Fall CYO Cheer Competition routine, a special Christmas show and some interactive cheers with the students. At the end of the event, the girls helped Santa pass out gifts.


The cheerleaders included eighth graders Gianna Cifani, Emily Mathas, Anna Appenzellar, Kayle Walsh and Alyssa Mickalakes. As well as seventh graders Rachel Ressler, Grace Gallucci and Cooper Query.

St. Michael School Students Make Gingerbread Houses with Loved Ones


On December 7, first grade students at St. Michael School were able to make a gingerbread house with a loved one. Each year students invite a loved one to come and make a gingerbread house with them during the school day. After the house is made, the student is able to take it home to enjoy with family for Christmas.


"The holidays are such a special time for families and the St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School enjoys welcoming our students' loved ones to the school each year to make gingerbread houses together," said St. Michael School Principal Mrs. Margaret Campisi.

St. Michael School Teachers Use Personal Time to Learn Technology


Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the St. Michael School teachers have decided to take their free time to learn about technology and how it can be better utilized in their classrooms to enhance student learning.


Beginning in August, all classroom and specials teachers started attending technology training sessions after school once a month. The school year began with a Grade Book set up a refresher as well as a Discovery Education Webinar and an overview of current online educational subscriptions.  The September session was used to dive deeper into Discovery Education and the second through fourth grade teachers met to discuss setting up BrainPop.  To prepare for calamity days, October was used to cover Blizzard Bags and for November, Miss Natalie Dickerson held a special presentation on Digital and Online Primary Sources in the Classroom.


“The teachers are dedicated to making sure our students have the knowledge they need to be successful after St. Michaels,” said St. Michael School Principal, Mrs. Margaret Campisi. “Using their free time to learn new programs is truly going above and beyond for the benefit of our students.”

St. Michael School Students Participate in National Computer Science Week


St. Michael School students participated in National Computer Science Week by learning computer coding. Students in Kindergarten and first grade were introduced to Dot and Dash, two robots that help teach young students how to code.  Computer teacher, Linda Merk, purchased these robots with a grant she requested from the Parent Teacher Union (PTU).  During the introductory lesson, Merk coded one robot to play “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.” As the year goes on, the students will learn to create their own original music using code on the robots as well as other coding activities which involve programmining the robots’ movements.


“These robots are perfect for teaching younger students computer coding because they are more hands on,” said Linda Merk. “They were very excited and enthusiastic about learning coding with Dot and Dash.”


The older students joined in National Computer Science Week by participating in the Hour of Code, a global movement which reaches millions of students in over 180 countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.

St. Michael Kindergarten Students Attend Charlie Brown Christmas Performance

On Tuesday, December 6, Kindergarten students from the St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School attended the musical A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Magical Theatre in Barberton. After the performance, the cast introduced themselves, answered audience questions and sang some Christmas carols with the crowd.

“Our students absolutely loved attending this performance!” said Kindergarten teacher, Sue DiGeronimo.

The Charlie Brown theme has been carried through this school year with the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown theme for the St. Basil Open House, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for their Thanksgiving celebration and now during the Christmas season with the field trip to see A Charlie Brown Christmas.

St. Michael School PTU Hosts Annual Breakfast in Bethlehem


On Sunday, December 11, more than 350 people attended the St. Michael School PTU annual Breakfast in Bethlehem in the school's gym.


Throughout the morning, families were able to visit the live Nativity scene, put on by the St. Michael School Drama Club, and buy gifts in the Santa Shop. Breakfast was served all morning and Chris Cakes of Food TV made and flipped his “Flying Flapjacks” onto eager guests’ plates.


“Breakfast in Bethlehem has become an annual tradition for so many families,” said PTU President Christine Delmore. “It is such an important event to remind our students the true meaning of Christmas is spending time with family and celebrating the birth of Jesus.”

St. Michael School First Grade Students use STEM to Keep Boats Afloat 


St. Michael School first grade students in Mrs. Julie Bellomy’s class used STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to create floating cardboard boats.


The activity was an extension of the sink and float science unit the class had been studying.  Students were encouraged to use prior knowledge of past experiments and team work to build a cardboard boat, using only one sheet of cardboard and eight inches of tape. After construction was complete, students placed a small plastic person in the boats which were then tested in a tub of water. The students observed that the most complicated boats sank almost instantly, while the simplest boats floated the longest. In the end, the winning group’s boat floated for 15 minutes. 

St. Basil Students Collect Books for Children in Need


Students in preschool through first grade at the St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School collected books for children in need throughout the month of November.


The school had been contacted by a member of the St. Basil Christ Child Society to see if the students could help collect books for infants and children through age four who attend the Merrick House day care in Tremont.  At the end of the drive over 150 books were collected for those underprivileged children.

St. Michael School Fourth Grade Students Solve Fall Leaf Fiasco STEM Challenge


St. Michael School students in Miss Miranda Oltmanns and Mrs. Patricia Perhavec’s 4th grade classes completed a fall themed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) challenge. Students were presented with a real life problem; create a machine that would efficiently collect the leaves piling around St. Michael School. The students drew out their designs and answered reflective thinking questions to help guide the engineering process. Once their ideas were sketched out, using plastic cups, tooth picks, plastic spoons, tape, and straws, students created their leaf collection machines. The rules included using only ten materials and not being able to use their hands during collection. Finally, the students presented and explained their machine's design before testing in front of the entire fourth grade. The pair of students who could collect the most leaves in thirty-five seconds, was the winner of the challenge. The top groups collected over 100 leaves.


“This project was a terrific experience for the students to experience a real life problem and experiment with possible solutions,” said teacher, Miranda Oltmanns. “By using this collaborative effort, students were encouraged to listen to new ideas, as well as, not give up when their first, second, or even third design did not work.”

St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School Celebrates Thanksgiving with Charlie Brown


On Friday, November 18, Kindergarten students at the St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School gave thanks with a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The students began their celebration with watching the movie, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, followed by a snack mimicked after the movie’s meal; toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans. The cups used during the snack were yellow with Charlie Brown’s famous black zigzag on them and Peanuts characters were also on each snack bowl. After the snack, the students participated in several Thanksgiving activities and had a discussion about the importance of being together for Thanksgiving and that it isn’t just about the food, like the Peanuts characters learned in the movie.

The Charlie Brown theme has been carried through this school year with the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown theme for the St. Basil Open House and now the Thanksgiving celebration. The theme will continue through the Christmas season as well when the students go on a field trip to see the play A Charlie Brown Christmas.

St. Michael School Fourth Grade Students Learn Google Classroom

St. Michael School students in Mrs. Patricia Perhavec’s fourth grade class have been hard at work doing research and learning Google Classroom. Students have been researching extinct and endangered animals and presented their research through Google Classroom. Using Google, students are able to collaborate and have access to tools that allow them to research smarter.

“This has truly been a great collaborative project that has both the students and fourth grade teachers excited!” said fourth grade teacher Patricia Perhavec.

Google Classroom is part of a set of apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Sheets, Slides and Drawings that connect the students and teachers, wherever they are, through the St. Michael School domain.

“The students have been enjoying Google Classroom,” said Google Certified computer teacher, Linda Merk. “When we tell them it’s time to shut down their computers, many students respond with ‘class is over already?’”

St. Michael School Students Honor Veterans by Writing Essays on Patriotism


In honor of Veteran’s Day, St. Michael School students participated in The Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism (NEOPAT) essay contest for the third year in a row.  The foundation provides scholarship funds for families with a connection to the military who are in need.  Students, kindergarten through eighth grade, were given the opportunity to write an essay about patriotism and what it means to them. 


On Tuesday, November 8, a special 8:30am mass and a breakfast was held to honor the Veterans.  During the breakfast the three essay winners were announced.  Each of the three students won a $500.00 scholarship that would be applied toward their tuition for the 2016-2017 school year.  The winners were sixth grader, Max Anderson, sixth grader, Savannah Horner and eighth grader, John Niezgoda.


“We truly enjoy holding this event for our veterans each year,” said St. Michael School Principal, Margaret Campisi, “It is a great way to get teach our students to be thankful for the freedoms we have and to be especially thankful for those veterans who have fought for that freedom.”

St. Michael School Students Learn Teamwork through Constructing Candy Corn Towers


St. Michael School third grade students in Mrs. Stacy Turk’s class built Candy Corn Towers to not only celebrate the season, but to learn the value of teamwork. In small groups, students were instructed to build the tallest freestanding structure with only candy corn and sticks. Throughout the activity, students learned that, just like team work, the best structure needed a strong foundation before making progress. Then, in order to stay standing, a wide base with a narrow top and reinforcing walls was needed. The tallest tower came out to be fifteen inches tall.

“Through the activity we learned that teamwork is very valuable and together we can use our problem solving skills to solve any problem,” said Mrs. Stacy Turk.

St. Michael Students Give Back to Community


The St. Michael School K-Kids and Builders Club members have been busy helping the community throughout the fall. During the month of October, the students collected hygiene and cleaning products for those in need.  These Items went to University Settlement in Cleveland where they were distributed to Cleveland families. From the collection, students were able to make up 50 boxes for those in need.


On Halloween, the students collected donations during Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. The students took boxes out during the times of Trick-or-Treating to collect donations. In total the students collected $370.00 for UNICEF. The money collected will go to help children in need receive medicine, better nutrition, clean water, emergency relief and education.


“We are so proud of all the great community service our students are doing,” said teacher Linda Kehl. “There’s no better way to show God’s love than by helping those in need.”

St. Basil Junior Kindergarten Students Visit Mapleside Farms


On October 20, the St. Basil Junior Kindergarten classes visited Mapleside Farms to see first-hand how a farm and orchard operate; for the last month, students have been learning about apples, the fall harvest and pumpkins.


The trip began with an overview of the orchard and the history of the farm including a list of the twenty types of apples grown there. During the tour of the orchard, students were introduced to several goats and learned that they have four stomachs. The classes were also able to look inside an original style tee-pee and learn about the Native Americans who used to live on Mapleside’s land.  Next, the classes went on a hayride throughout the orchard. Finally, students were able to see how the apples are cleaned and turned into caramel apples. Before they left, the classes were given a pumpkin to take back to school, which will be used as a geo-board, before they carve it.


“Mapleside is one of my favorite places,” said teacher Mrs. Erin Toth. “Not only is it a beautiful farm but it allows us to have a hands on experience with what we’ve been learning about in the classroom.”

St. Michael School Receives Grant from USA Pickleball Association

St. Michael School sixth and eighth grade students are now learning how to play pickleball thanks to Physical Education teacher, Mrs. Linda Kehl. Kehl applied for a grant from the USA Pickleball Association and won. As a result, the school received a portable pickleball net, a replacement net, rule book, DVD, and eight paddles and pickleballs.


Kehl has been teaching her sixth and eighth grade students how to play pickleball in gym class. Recently, the class went on a field trip to pickleball courts in Elmwood Park in Independence.


“I’m so glad I get to teach my students about pickleball,” said Physical Education teacher, Linda Kehl. “They are really enjoying learning the new sport and playing on the new Elmwood Park courts.”

St. Michael School Teacher Participating in the National Catholic Educational Association Social Media Influencer Contest

St. Michael School fifth and sixth grade Social Studies teacher, Adam Cottos, is participating in the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Send A Teacher to NCEA 2017 Convention & Expo in St. Louis Social Media Influencer Contest. Cottos is one of 12 teachers selected from across the country to participate in the contest.

The NCEA is an organization that provides leadership and direction for Catholic Schools throughout the country through professional development opportunities for educators at the schools. The NCEA is sponsoring the contest and will be monitoring the progress of the contestants. The contest will take place over an 11 week period covering 10 themes; Why Choose Catholic Education, Professional Development for Catholic Educators, Service in Catholic Schools, Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service, STREAM, Exceptional Learning in Catholic Schools, Professional Learning Networks for Catholic Educators, NCEA 2017: Convention Expo Preliminary Sessions of Interest, Leadership in Catholic Schools and Catholic Identity.  The idea of the contest is to promote the Catholic faith through various forms of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogging etc.).

“St. Michael School does a tremendous job of passing down the Catholic faith to our students and I am excited to be participating in this contest so I can share the great work of the St. Michael community to educators from around the country,” said Adam Cottos.

Adam is encouraging everyone to follow and interact with him on the social media platforms his is using; www.twitter.com/acottos; www.facebook.com/mrcottos; http://acottos.edublogs.org and mr_adam_cottos on Instagram.

St. Michael and St. Basil Students Visit Heinen’s Greenhouse Education Center


On Thursday, September 22, students from the St. Basil Campus of St. Michael School visited the Greenhouse Education Center at Heinen’s Grocery Store in Brecksville.


The Greenhouse Education Center is a mobile version of how tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers are grown in the 130 acre Nature Fresh Farm in Leamington, Ontario Canada and a 45-acre farm in Delta, Ohio. As part of the #GreeninTheCity Tour, the mobile greenhouse has toured more than 75 locations across North America this summer educating the community about how greenhouse vegetables are grown. This field trip was part of the Heinen’s Grocery Stores Five Star Dinner school outreach program to provide wellness education to local schools.


The students learned about the various functioning aspects of a vegetable greenhouse including what the plants are grown in, how they are fed and how bumble bees are used to pollinate thousands of plants in the greenhouse. To end the trip, the students tried vegetable and fruit smoothies, which were such a hit, the teachers are going to incorporate a Smoothie Day into their snack time.

St. Michael School Students Participate in Annual National Walk to School Day

St. Michael School students participated in the annual National Walk to School Day on September 15.  About 200 students, teachers, staff, and parents walked from the Independence Kiwanis Pavilion at Elmwood Park to the main campus on Chestnut Road.  This walk has become a tradition at the school and all students are treated to refreshments afterwards.  


"Promoting healthy lifestyles and proper exercise is something we stress in our physical education classes," said Linda Kehl, physical education teacher.  "Our school community always looks forward to coming together for this annual event."


A special thank you to Mrs. Campisi, faculty and staff, the maintenance crew, the Independence police and their volunteer crossing guards as well as the builders club members.

St. Michael School Partners with Heinen’s to Teach Healthy Eating Habits



On September 8, Mary Alice Grassa, a childhood wellness specialist from Heinen’s grocery store in Brecksville, stopped by St. Michael School’s St. Basil campus in Brecksville to talk with students about eating healthy. The students were introduced to five SuperKids who have Super Powers from eating their fruits and vegetables; Kelly Kale, Blu Berry, Jack Apple, So Sweet Potato and GoGo Garbanzo.


This special visit was a part of Heinen’s Grocery Stores Five Star Dinner school outreach program, which provides supplemental wellness education materials to local schools. This year St. Michael School joined more than 20 other schools in this effort.


“More and more parents are having a hard time getting kids to make healthy food choices, so with this partnership with Heinen’s, we are hoping to educate our students to make the best food choices for a healthy life,” said Sue DeGeronimo, kindergarten teacher.


Later in September, St. Basil Campus students will take a field trip to the Heinen’s in Brecksville to learn about how produce is grown in Heinen’s Nature Fresh Farms Mobile Greenhouse Education Center. The Mobile Greenhouse is a 38-foot-long operational greenhouse. It was created to increase awareness about how produce is being grown from seed to cultivation in greenhouses.

St. Michael School Eighth Graders Attend “Got Prayer” Retreat


On September 22, St. Michael School eighth graders danced, praised God, reflected, forgave, and came together as a class in a retreat personalized just for them by Trinity High School.  This all-day retreat, held at Camp Christopher in Bath, Ohio, encompassed a myriad of ways to pray.  Whether through prayer and praise, Eucharistic adoration, Mass, a nature walk, or a half hour of silence, these students were touched throughout the day by the Holy Spirit.


The theme of the retreat was teaching the students how to pray as they navigate into a much more independent world of high school.  The students learned how their faith is their own responsibility.  Approximately 20-25 Trinity students facilitated the St. Michael “Got Prayer” Retreat.  It took the Trinity students about a month to plan.  Some of the activities included jubilant Prayer and Praise, a humorous skit, solitude, mini-group discussions, touching witnesses from the Trinity High School students and lots of delicious food, prepared by the high school students. The day culminated in an outdoor Mass, which parents of the students were able to join in, celebrated by Father Walt Jenne, pastor of St. Basil the Great Church.  The students were excited for Father Walt to join in their day and visit with them, as he did so often during the previous school year. 

“The students really bonded with their classmates during the retreat,” said Susan Mackovjak, eighth grade teacher. “They were able to leave with some wonderful, powerful memories and the tools of prayer to guide them in life's journey.”  

Students “Breakout” of Classroom To Explore National Parks as a Team


St. Michael School fifth and sixth graders in Mr. Adam Cottos’ classroom explored the National Parks by doing a “Breakout” on August 30. A “Breakout” is a process of figuring out clues by researching and investigating historical sites on the Internet, while using math skills to crack the code to “breakout of their situation.”

This was the first “Breakout” that the students were challenged with and they were quickly catching on to the process and the new skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. During this experience, the bus driver of a tour was kidnapped by Bigfoot, who then challenged the students’ knowledge of National Parks in order to rescue the bus driver. Students visited 10 National Parks during their journey.


The experience led to the students rearranging their traditional classroom setting to include flexible seating choices in order to increase their motivation to collaborate with their peers and be more engaged in their learning. 

“Students are eager to do more of these Breakouts,” said Cottos. “I'm eager to be with them along this journey! They did such a great job and I'm proud of them.”

St. Michael School Teacher Earns District/Building ICoach Designation from INFOhio



St. Michael School technology teacher, Mrs. Linda Merk, has earned certification as a District/Building ICoach from INFOhio, Ohio’s PreK-12 Digital Library. The certification requires more than 15 hours of group training and individual study, which was completed on her own time this past summer.


ICoaches—short for “integration coaches”—work with teachers to incorporate digital technology and research tools in their classrooms. Merk joins 370 other educators around Ohio who have received District/Building ICoach certification.


“District/Building ICoaches are a linchpin in promoting INFOhio’s free resources and services to educators across the state,” said INFOhio’s Executive Director Theresa M. Fredericka. “An ICoach has first-hand experience with the demands classroom educators face along with boundless curiosity about the newest educational technologies. And they love to share their excitement.”


“Mrs. Merk is definitely a building leader. Taking personal time to learn more about these digital tools will directly and positively affect the quality of instruction our students receive,” said Mrs. Margaret Campisi, principal, St. Michael School. 


For more than 20 years, INFOhio has provided online digital resources to Ohio’s PreK-12 schools and is one of the country’s largest library and information networks. In addition to library software group licensing and support, INFOhio provides a collection of online academic research databases to all PreK-12 students and their families as well as classroom information technology and curriculum support to educators.

St. Michael School PTU Welcome Team Hosts Annual Back to School Blast


On Friday, August 26, St. Michael School PTU Welcome Team hosted its annual Back to School Blast and Dance Party for more than 300 preschool through first grade students and their families at the St. Basil Campus.

Throughout the evening, there were many activities for students and families to participate in including dancing to DJ Silly Willy, learning Zumba with instructor Denise Downing, visiting the Make-Your-Own Sundae Bar, dressing up in blue and gold spirit wear, and getting faces painted by the St. Michael eighth grade volunteers.

“The Back to School Blast was such a tremendous success and it was our biggest turn out ever,” said Erin Sobecks, St. Michael School PTU Welcome Team member. “We are thrilled that so many families took the opportunity to spend time together and get excited for the new school year!”

A special thank you to the PTU Board Members, teachers and staff of St. Basil campus and members of the Welcome Team including Jeffrey and Erin Sobecks, Cara and Justin Kazmierczak, Maureen and Todd Stadler, Elisa and Emma Guritza, Melanie Huggins, Barbara Matas, Dawn Ward, Santa Incorvaia, and Liz Unger.

St. Michael School Hosts Diocesan Technology Conference For More Than 200 Educators


On Wednesday, August 3, St. Michael School hosted more than 200 Catholic School educators for the annual Diocesan Educational Technology Conference for the Office of Catechetical Formation and Education.

The day began with prayer and Keynote Speaker Michael Fisher, a former teacher who is now a full-time author, consultant, and instructional coach. Fisher works with schools around the country, helping to sustain curriculum upgrades, design curriculum, and modernize instruction in immersive technology. He has taught a variety of grade levels and content areas over the years, primarily in middle schools.


Teachers also were also able to talk with vendors from technology and education-related organizations who lined the St. Michael School gym.


The rest of the day consisted of breakout sessions for teachers to learn more details about integrating technology into the classroom. Some of the topics covered included iPad integration, implementing 1:1 Chrome Books, Activ Table, Activ Panel, STEM, Google Classroom and many others. Two teachers from St. Michael School, Diane Patterson and Natalie Dickerson, were presenters. Computer Teacher/Technology Coordinator Linda Merk was instrumental in preparing for this conference at St. Michael School.

“Our teachers, especially those that attended and presented, are an excellent example of going over and beyond, while utilizing all the tools possible to make our students learning at St. Michael School an exceptional experience,” said St. Michael Principal Margaret Campisi.

St. Michael School Hosts Third Annual Kindergarten Boot Camp


This past July, 20 soon-to-be Kindergarten students attended St. Michael School’s third annual Kindergarten Boot Camp. The week-long program was open to any child entering Kindergarten, even if they were not attending St. Michael School in the fall. The goal of the boot camp was to give the students tools necessary to be successful in Kindergarten as well as getting rid of the nerves associated with starting school and instead build excitement about Kindergarten.  


Each day started with prayer and sharing activities, similar to a typical school day. The rest of the day consisted of practicing fine motor skills and completing basic math and language arts activities. Students were also able to run an obstacle course, do science scavenger hunts, alphabet relays and water and bubble activities throughout the week. Teachers read aloud Commotion in the Ocean and students made their very own jellyfish.


“It is a very exciting week!” said Kindergarten teacher Sue DiGeronimo. “The students come in unsure of Kindergarten and leave feeling prepared and excited for the upcoming year.”

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St. Michael Campus

6906 Chestnut Road

Independence, OH  44131


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8700 Brecksville Road

Brecksville, OH  44141


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