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Curriculum and Instruction - Southern Tier Catholic School in Olean, NY - Finalist in 2020 Innovations in Catholic Education Award

Mon, Apr 13th 2020 12:10 pm

Curriculum and Instruction – Southern Tier Catholic School in Olean, NY –Finalist in 2020 Innovations in Catholic Education Award

The two finalists, awarded for their schools’ innovative project in curriculum and instruction are:
Southern Tier Catholic School, in Olean, New York, praised for its Social Emotional Learning
Program, and Saint Ambrose Catholic School in Brunswick, Ohio, awarded for its ‘Baby Boomers

Southern Tier Catholic School (STCS), serving students in grades PreK-8, is located in Olean, a low-
income community in western New York State—a community facing several challenges, including a
declining population and businesses that are closing. Students struggle with social-emotional needs,
including relationship skills, respect, problem-solving, empathy and self-esteem. School staff
understands that in order for these students to succeed academically, their nonacademic needs also must
be met. To do this, the school has adopted a strong emphasis on character development and social-
emotional learning.

Partnership with Catholic Charities of Buffalo
Southern Tier Catholic School was selected by Catholic Charities of Buffalo to receive social worker
services, which have been extremely beneficial for the students and teachers.
A social worker is at the school five days a week to provide lessons on social-emotional learning and
one-on-one sessions with students.

Another important step for STCS was its adoption—through the partnership with Catholic Charities—of
social-emotional learning assessments. Students are screened at the beginning of the year, identifying
areas in which they may need additional support. Social workers and teachers then use that data to select
the appropriate growth strategies to support each student’s needs.

Partnership with The Seneca Nation

The school has a large population of students who are from the Seneca Nation, so representatives from
The Seneca Nation are engaged to teach their language and culture to students. “This is a great way for
our students to practice empathy and respect, as well as learn about cultures,” STCS President Thomas
Manko said.

Southern Tier Catholic School’s emphasis on the whole child through sessions with social workers,
data-driven social-emotional assessments, and interventions and partnerships with the high school and
the Seneca Nation has had amazing benefits. Teachers have observed that students are getting along
better, and there are fewer conflicts on the playground as a result of their social-emotional work.
“Southern Tier Catholic School is a bright light for children and families in the Olean community, and
we are very proud that Today’s Catholic Teacher has recognized our school as a finalist,” Manko said.
“One of the reasons this school is so amazing is because of our commitment to serve the whole child.”

Learn more about Southern Tier Catholic School: stcswalsh.org




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