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Mr. Lootens' Blog

  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – March 23/24, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 3/20/2019

    As the school year progresses to Spring Break, we are beginning to shift our thoughts to the 2019-2020 academic year.  We are in the midst of completing our registration process and I am glad to report that everything is progressing very well.   Over 90% of our present students have already registered and we anticipate that a majority of those who haven’t will do so in the next couple of weeks.  We also have added several new families in our school community.  We anticipate an increase in our enrollment numbers for the next school year; this would be the fifth consecutive year of enrollment growth.  Finally, we have a number of openings for our Kindergarten; if you know anyone who is remotely considering Epiphany Catholic School as their educational choice for Kindergarten or any other grade, please contact me and we will attempt to initiate conversation on why we believe that our school is their best choice. 

    We will also be releasing the 2019-2020 school calendar to the community in April so you can coordinate your plans for the upcoming year.  Later bulletin messages will discuss specific items in the calendar as we attempt to make the best use of the time for learning and the professional development of our staff.

    We continue to strive to make Epiphany Catholic School something that the parish community is proud of.  Please keep us in your prayers.

    God bless,





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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – March 17/18, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 3/13/2019

    As we continue with our planning for the upcoming school year I thought I would share some thoughts on a project that we were able to complete through the generosity of the parish in Father’s Annual Appeal.  In the last year and a half we have experiences far too many problems with our HVAC system in the original (1964) section of our school; we had many assorted bills to fix this or that. Therefore a decision was made to replace the entire system. 

    With the money from the appeal we were able to do the following:

    • Install, after removing the old units, seven energy-efficient furnaces supplying heat to the eight rooms east of the office, the Small Gym and adjacent hallway.
    • Like the furnaces above, seven new air conditioning units (picture attached) were added in the rear of the building.
    • Rezone the eight classrooms to the east allowing for each room to control the temperature in the room.
    • Remove the two large air conditioning units from the ceiling of the Small Gym.
    • Remove the hood in the old kitchen along with the mechanicals located on the roof above it.
    • Remove the blower situated outside the north wall of the Small Gym.
    • Runs were added to supply heat and cool air to the corridor leading from the office to the west.
    • And finally, I realize it may seem trivial, we were able to cover the vents located on the floor of the Small Gym.

    Reminder for those who shop at Kroeger’s:  Please make sure that you have signed up for the Kroeger Community Rewards Program.  A portion of what you spend is rebated back to Epiphany Catholic School; please check out the program and how to select as our school as a beneficiary at www.kroeger.com/topic/community-rewards.

    Have a great weekend and may God bless you and your family!!!






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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – March 9/10, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 3/6/2019

    Summer learning loss is real.  All children lose some skills or knowledge over the summer months.  This phenomenon, commonly referred to as the “summer slide” occurs when student do not engage in educational activities during the summer months.  A great deal of research has centered on the summer slide and concludes:

    • Elementary school students’ performance regresses by about a month during the summer. This loss is cumulative over time creating producing a great learning loss over the years (Rand Corporation, 2011).
    • The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading lists summer learning loss as one of the three major obstacles to reading proficiency by the end of the 3rd grade (Gewetz, 2011).
    • The costs to schools to reteach after the summer slide have been estimated at $1,500 per student per year (Fairchild, 2002).

    Summer Solutions provides the necessary review and practice that helps students retain important Math and Language Arts skills learned during the academic term.  Each Summer Solutions practice book contains 30 lessons, along with Help Pages and an answer key for self-checking.  If students simply complete a lesson from each of their Summer Solutions workbooks just three times per week over the summer they are systematically re-visiting and practicing learned skills.  This type of academic engagement supports long-term retention and helps to prevent the summer slide! 

    Students are also encouraged to continue reading throughout the summer.  Our teachers will provide or have already, lists of books for student reading over the summer.  Also, local public libraries have excellent summer reading programs for children to participate in.

    Various rewards programs are being considered and will be shared with students before the end of the academic term.   Information on how to obtain Summer Solutions will be distributed later this spring.

    Please contact me at the office with any questions or concerns.

    Congratulations to members of the Epiphany Chess Team who recently competed in the IESA State Chess Championship held at the Peoria Civic Center in late February.  The 6th Grade team placed ninth in the over 50 team field.  Brothers Matthew and Simon Hunter each placed 2nd and earned silver medals.  Other team members included Lincoln Adelsbeger, Patrick Henehan and A.J. Holden.  Also, ECS’ lone 7th Grade entrants each medaled; Benedict Henrickson received a silver medal and Elijah Rariden received bronze.

    Congratulations to 7th grade student Jose Joseph who was notified this week that he will advance to the state competition in the National Geographic Geography Bee.  Jose won the school competition in January and then took a test to attempt to qualify for state which will be held at Heartland Community College later this month.

    Have a great week filled with the blessings of our Lord,



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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – March 2/3, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 2/27/2019


    Much has been written and debated, both positive and negative, about the Common Core State Standards.  It is not my purpose to present the case for either view; needless to say many other far smarter than I have constructed compelling arguments to this end.  Schools in the diocese are adapting to these standards; they will not drive the direction of our curriculum.

    The standards in the area of English Language will require some shifts in our English Language instruction.  I will summarize these shifts as they pertain to Reading below:

    1. Building Knowledge Through Content-Rich Informational Text

    It is generally recognized that reading an informational text is harder than reading one that is narrative in nature.  By the 4th grade, the standards would like to see a 50-50 (Informational to narrative) ratio in schools when comparing what students are reading.  Informational text needs to introduce as early as possible through read-alouds, page 33 of the ELA Standards says, “…preparing for reading complex informational text should begin at the earliest age.  Read alouds lay the foundation for the reading and understanding of complex informational text.”

    1. Developing Academic Vocabulary

    The academic language of informational text is far different from narrative.  The exposure to informational text enhances the breadth of a student’s knowledge, lack of exposure narrows it.

    1. Understanding the Staircase of Text Complexity

    Reading Between the Lines, ACT, 2006 said, “…performance on complex text is the greatest differentiator between students who are likely to be ready for higher education.”  As students go on in their schooling, the text gets more complex. This exposure to complex text is the greatest predictor to academic success in college.

    1. Encouraging Text Based Answers

    College and the workplace require a person to be able to cite from text.  This skill, required by the standards in Grade 3, expects a student to be able to discuss evidence from text rather than from their own experience.

    May the grace of Jesus Christ sustain us daily,



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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – February 24, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 2/20/2019

    Last week we began examining the characteristics that should be present in our school that help to describe our Catholic identity as part of the movement to develop standards and benchmarks for Catholic schools.  This week I have listed three more of these:

    1. Commitment to Educate the Whole Child Epiphany Catholic School should strive to develop and implement academic, co-curricular, faith-formation and service programs to educate the whole child. 
    2. Steeped in Catholic World view Everything we do at Epiphany Catholic School should promote the following attributes:  the desire to seek wisdom and truth, the promotion of social justice, the discipline to become life learners, the ability to recognize ethical and moral grounding for behavior, and the responsibility to enrich the world with Gospel values.
    3. Sustained Gospel Values One important aspect in our mission as educators at Epiphany Catholic School is our participation in the Church’s evangelizing mission.  We need to constantly model and give testimony to the commitment to this mission.

    Finally, thanks to all who helped make Catholic Schools Week 2019 such a great success. Though the weather did not exactly cooperate we still had a great week.  Highlights of the week included:

    • The B-N Catholic Schools Mass at St. Patrick’s of Merna. It is a beautiful liturgy as the four schools gathered together to celebrate the Eucharist.  A special part of the Mass was that the Epiphany junior High Choir under the direction of Miss Molly Nixon provided the music, they sounded fantastic.
    • The week started with a beautiful prayer service.
    • Students gathered six boxes of supplies for our military; these were shipped off to Operation Gratitude.
    • Students were paired with counterparts from other grades to play games. We also were able to reschedule the always popular All-School Bingo.

    We have a great deal to be thankful for at Epiphany Catholic School.  The parish community has demonstrated constant support for our school.  We are thankful; we hope we make the experience at Epiphany where every week is a celebration of Catholic  Schools.

    God Bless,

    GO KNIGHTS!!!   


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    Posted by Mike Lootens on 2/6/2019

    Online registration opened for grades K-8 on, Friday—February 1st for existing families for the 2019-2020 school year.  The tuition structure for 2019-2020 is as follows:

    •  K-8 Single Child                              $  4,925.00                             
    •  K-8 Two Children                            $  8,575.00             
    •  K-8 Three + Children                      $10,825.00
    •  Non-Parishioner (Each)                   $  6,100.00             


    With a cost per student cost calculated at approximately $6,100.00, the parish is subsidizing over $1,000 for each child’s education.  Our single child tuition rate is at levels similar to other parochial schools in town.  The rate for multiple children is lower than other parochial schools.

    This year we will not be collecting a Registration Fee; that will be rolled into the tuition cost.  Also, as was shared earlier, all tuition payment will be made through FACTS.  Please also remember that presently, a number of our classes are closed to new enrollment; it would be wise to register early in order to safe your spot.

    Also this year, we are continuing the Parent Referral Program that was created three years ago.  The referral incentive is for current school families referring new families registering at Epiphany Catholic School in grades K-8:

    • $500.00 tuition credit for referring family per each grade 6 through 8 student enrolled.  (Limit of $1,200.00 total referral incentive per family for the school year).
    • $400.00 tuition credit for referring family per each grade K through 5 student enrolled.  (Limit of $1,200.00 total referral incentive per family for the school year).         

    To Qualify:

    • Referred (new) family must be paying full tuition; not receiving any financial aid from Epiphany Parish or the Diocese of Peoria.
    • Referred (new) family has not had a child in pre-school or at Epiphany Catholic School in the last five school years.
    • Referring (current) family must be identified by referred (new) family at the time of registration.

    Credit will be applied to January tuition payments; if tuition is paid in full, credit will be carried over to the 2020-2021 school year.


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