Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kindergarten @ ASA 

Did you know at ASA Kindergarten we:

  • Experience God’s creation and enrich our science skills through several outdoor learning days, as well as trips to the apple orchard and John Ball Zoo.
  • Celebrate what we are learning in math, like skip counting and number order on our special 100 Day! Students really get excited about the 100th day of school because of all the fun activities planned such as, decorating capes with 100 objects to wear like “Zero the Hero” and having a pizza party with pizzas shaped like the number 100!
  • Grow our faith by attending weekly Mass, weekly visits to the Atrium, and singing in the choir. 
  • Differentiate learning with reading and math groups so students flourish at their own level and pace. Students engage in work with letter and sound recognition, word families and early reading in the area of Language Arts. They work with number recognition, number order and even basic addition and subtraction word problems in the area of Math. The groups allow the students to receive extra support and enrichment as needed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Faith, Learning. Loving. Serving

A Year of Living Core Values Daily @ ASA Middle School

Faith - Each school day start with a quick prayer together in the gym. Each class also has its own special prayer routines. Often students start religion class with prayer intentions at the foot of the cross. On special Fridays that prayer extends to a school rosary, a class attending the parish Mass or a class visiting the chapel for Adoration. Students at both campuses join in praying the Angelus at lunch, and both campuses end with a special community prayer at dismissal. Often it is our students who lead and even write the various prayers we say together as a school community throughout the day.

Learning - From individual seat work to cross-grade level collaboration, ASA students are constantly engaged in learning in a variety of ways. From group discussions to technology supported skills practice, we strive to provide an education that meets the needs of all our individual learners as we focus on the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social and physical development of everyone in our community. 


As a community it is important to take time to be together to celebrate our community and faith, to have fun together and build relationships outside of our classrooms. Events like family movie nights, and our various whole school events, when we gather both campuses together at our parent parishes, allow us time to strengthen the bonds of our unique community. #WeAreOne
There are also numerous times within each school day that provide opportunities for character development and relationship buildings. Students interact while sharing snacks and lunch together. They are able to play together daily at recess and in various extra-curricular activities. Together they are developing important social skills.

Beyond the relationships fostered within grade levels, students at ASA learn to work closely with teachers and have plenty of opportunities to build relationships with students from other grades.

Serving - At ASA our mission is to serve, and partner with our families, parishes and communities, as we Form Saints to Serve All. Outreach to our local and global communities can be seen in countless school projects from, helping our parishes pack food baskets to providing service at Grand Rapids community events like the Bridge Run. Our students also reach out beyond their local civic community and have tackled projects such as recycling old groceries bags into floor mats for countries impacted by natural disasters like Haiti. Students also complete individual service hours with the support of their families each year.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Catholic Schools Week 2017 - Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service: 

Developing our talents at ASA to go out and Serve All 

We kicked Catholic Schools Week off this year with a Pack the Pew event at St Alphonsus on Sunday January 29th. It was great to have the ASA community gather together for a Sunday Mass AND donuts afterwards! Our students provided music while many alumni, and representatives from the Board of Directors and the Grand Rapids Diocese of Catholic Schools Offices joined us for the beautiful celebration. Mark your calendars for the next Pack the Pews at Blessed Sacrament on Sunday February 26th at 11 am! It is such a blessing to gather together and worship as one!  

On Monday of Catholic Schools Week, both campuses were visited by our friends from Catholic Charities of West Michigan. Representatives of the Foster Care Team played a few educational games with our students, highlighting the work they do with families to improve communication skills and relationships. The elementary students had an opportunity to pretend to be barnyard animals searching for their "families," while the middle school students gave instructions for building a PB&J sandwich, and learned the confusion from giving unclear directions. At the end of their visit we were also able to present the items collected during our Advent drive. The donations collected for the spirit dress-up days during CSW will also be sent to Catholic Charities to further support their work with West Michigan Families. 

On Tuesday of CSW our 3rd grade students represented ASA at the Diocese School Mass at the Cathedral! Also during the day all students decorated superhero capes, masks or wands. Students spent the week with teachers reflecting on how they are growing and developing their gifts and talents at ASA to go out into the world as heroes and saints to serve all! We are putting together a collection of all of these creations, pictures and reflections to share out later. There was so much creativity and innovation! Here are just a few example highlights:

On Wednesday February 1, 2017 we gathered K-8 at St Alphonsus for All-School games and Mass. The 6th, 7th & 8th grades led the K-5th grades in "minute to win-it" type games and a combined art project. The 5th grade provided us all a great service by helping the teachers pass out a light snack. We are excited to share a few snapshots of the fun here! Look for the art projects around school and the four parishes in the next few weeks. After games we gathered for Mass. Fr. Pat inspired us to be salt and light. We are one!


Thursday of CSW we had our evening 8th grade v. staff community basketball game at St Isidore. The 7th grade provided some school spirit by dressing up as Eddy the Eagle! We shared pizza and cheered on our two favorite teams. The 8th grade gave the teachers a run for their money Thursday night, but ultimately the teachers prevailed. The 8th grade proved they have saintly character and ASA eagle pride on and off the court with incredible sportsmanship and a very fun game! This was a great night of ASA community members living out our core values of faith, learning, loving and serving! 

Friday of CSW started with both campuses saying a rosary for our staff and volunteers at 8am! We are one! Friday also provided the chance for a rematch between the 8th grade and staff. This time the 8th grade had a huge, loud, supportive student section and the staff was blessed with the presence of Fr. Tom Cavera on the court! While the 4th-8th grade celebrated together in the gym to wrap up CSW the Kindergarten through 3rd grade attended a performance of The Lion King.

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate CSW and to everyone in the ASA community for the role you play in building our community of faith, knowledge and service as we work together to form saints to serve all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When Students Articulate Our Root Beliefs 

Over the course of the past year we have spent time talking about the beliefs that make us ASA. We focused in on 4 Root Beliefs that summarize what we as a community believe about who we are and why we do what we do. Those 4 belief statements are: 

  • At ASA We Believe That We Are One
  • At ASA We Believe That We Can All Grow
  • At ASA We Believe That All Things Are Possible Through Christ
  • At ASA We Believe That Creativity and Innovation Promote Success
In one of our very first middle school "Expert Session" our 6th, 7th & 8th grade students were asked what these beliefs mean to them. What they came up with is truly inspiring! Take a look:

At ASA We Believe That:

We Are One
  • We all believe in Jesus
  • We pray as one
  • We are all friend
  • 4 parishes, 2 campuses, 300 + kids, 100+ families, 1 school
  • We go to Mass together to grow in our faith
  • We are all working together to make the world a better place
  • We are one body in Christ
  • We can be one through the Trinity
  • We are all human
  • We are all unique yet equal
  • We are one community
  • We are all in this together
  • One family
  • We are one through Christ
  • There are times we have to overcome challenges or difficulties
  • Many helping hands make 1 big community of service
  • We are all children of God
  • We are one with God
  • We should all stick together
  • We should all participate
  • We are all created in God’s image

We Can All Grow
  • We grow as friends
  • We have a garden
  • We do MAPs testing to show growth
  • Our teachers help us believe we can grow
  • We all help each other grow
  • We grow in our faith and work to see Christ in all we do
  • We grow in love
  • We grow as a school
  • We grow in faith!!!!!!
  • We can all grow up into mature adults
  • When you put effort into something you can learn and grow
  • We grow from past experiences
  • Together we can do great things
  • We grow as one!
  • We grow in prayer
  • We can always do better
  • There is always something to learn
  • God give us strength to grow
  • We grow through learning
  • We grow in Mass, we grow in class, we grow by participating

All Things Are Possible Through Christ
  • We can do epic things with God!
  • We are unstoppable with Christ!
  • God empowers us to do good
  • We can make food at school
  • We have awesome kids at our school!
  • We can talk about faith at school!
  • Christ will always help us
  • We can be anything
  • Believing in Christ will help you be successful
  • We can succeed by Christ’s side
  • Christ can make things happen
  • Christ can lead us to victory over our problems
  • As long as we know Christ is with us we can do it!
  • God will help us prosper
  • Even the “impossible” is possible with God
  • God gives us strength
  • God will always help
  • Don’t give up
  • The Holy Trinity inspires us!
  • We can takes risks for our faith with God
  • We can solve all our problems (academic and social) with God
  • We can do anything with Christ by our side
  • God gives us strength to serve Him and others

Creativity and Innovation Promote Success

  • We can do creative things in class
  • Creative things make our school great
  • At ASA we keep (new) ideas in mind
  • Whatever you put your mind to you can do
  • Be creative
  • Be a problem solver
  • Being yourself and building the kingdom of God is a huge success
  • We should support and include everyone
  • We can make mistakes
  • Hard work pays off
  • Design, explore, love do things you never tried before
  • Lots of practice will lead to success. It might not be what you expected, but it will be good.
  • How do we spark creativity?
  • Be open-minded
  • Promote critical thinking
  • When we innovate and create we show that we are always capable of more
  • Try!