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Mr. Lootens' Blog

  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – May 4/5, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 5/1/2019

    As we make our way through the final weeks of the school year, our attention is drawn more and more to planning for the 2019-2020 school year.   In the coming weeks we will provide our school families with a calendar electronically for next year.  For those that are already making plans I have included below some highlights of the 2019-2020 school calendar.  This calendar has been submitted to the Office of Catholic Schools for final approval; we are fairly sure of the information below.

    Diocesan requirements call for a school calendar of 174 days of student attendance, five emergency days, six days of Professional Development and two to four days of Parent/Teacher Conferences.  With these parameters in mind, our 2019-2020 school calendar includes the following:



    • First Day of Student Attendance is Thursday—August 15, 2019 (1/2 Day)
    • Tentative Final Day of Student Attendance is Friday—May 22, 2020 (1/2 Day)
    • Tentative Date of Graduation is Tuesday—May 19, 2020
    • Catholic Schools Week Begins Saturday—January 25, 2020



    • Thanksgiving        November 27, 2019 – December 1, 2019
    • Christmas            December 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020
    • Spring                 March 20, 2020 – March 29, 2020
    • Easter                 April 10, 2020 – April 13, 2020



    • Labor Day                          (September 2, 2019)                                                 
    • President’s Day                   (February 17, 2020)
    • Columbus Day                    (October 14, 2019)                                            
    • Memorial Day                     (May 25, 2020)
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day    (January 20, 2020)      


    Please contact me with any questions about this calendar or any other school-related concerns.              

    May your week be one of joy and gladness,





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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message - April 27/28, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 4/24/2019

    In mid-January, 5th and 8th graders at Epiphany Catholic School took the Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education (ACRE) as mandated by the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools.  Designed by religious education specialists, teachers and national Catholic leaders,  the assessment has two parts; Part I looks at Faith Knowledge while Part II examines student attitudes and opinions on a  number of topics associated with the practice of our faith.

    Based on the faith knowledge score attained, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has established classifications for student performance on the assessment.  Student scores are classified as Advanced, Proficient or in Need of Improvement which are presented in the table below.  While this score does not measure the conviction of one’s faith it does provide our religious education program with valuable information that can guide us in selecting or designing our religious education curriculum.





    8th Grade (National – 2019)




    8th Grade (2019)




    8th Grade (2018)




    8th Grade (2017)




    8th Grade (2016)




    8th Grade (2015)




    8th Grade (2014)




    8th Grade (2013)




    8th Grade (2012)




    8th Grade (2011)




    8th Grade (2010)




    8th Grade (2009)





    5th Grade (National – 2019)




    5th Grade (2019)




    5th Grade (2018)




    5th Grade (2017)




    5th Grade (2016)




    5th Grade (2015)




    5th Grade (2014)




    5th Grade (2013)




    5th Grade (2012)




    5th Grade (2011)




    5th Grade (2010)




    5th Grade (2009)





    We are proud of our students’ achievement; highlights of this year year’s assessment include:

    • Both our 8th Graders and 5th Graders had significantly more students in the Advanced range as opposed to the National Average.
    • 5th Grade scores were their highest since 2009.
    • As 5th Graders in 2016, 77.4% of students scored in the Advanced/Proficient range. This year 86.6% were at these levels.

    As always we thank our students for their efforts and a big thank you and congratulations goes out to the teachers of Religion both this year and in the past.

    May God Bless and Keep You This Week,



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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message - April 20/21, 2019 (Easter)

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 4/17/2019

    As we progress through Holy Week and our faith’s most sacred period I have been thinking a great deal on what it means to be part of a Catholic school.  How and why are we different from public schools?   A great deal has been written lately about Catholic identity and how it relates to our schools.  I truly pray that it means more than simply adding Catholic in between Epiphany and School…is our school an institution that truly practices the faith?  Are we in the “business” of making saints?

    As I contemplate this question, I have come up with a number of indicators that hopefully truly indicate that we are, in fact, perpetuating our faith for the children that attend Epiphany Catholic School.

    We need to insure that the values of the Gospels are taught and practiced daily in the classroom, on the playground and in the lives of our students and our faculty and staff.  The joy of being Catholic should be evident as soon as one steps foot on our campus.  Does our staff, students, athletic teams and everyone associated with Epiphany behave in a manner that reflects our Catholic beliefs?  Are we a place that loves its neighbors, respects human life and treats all people with dignity and respect?  Does our school educate the whole person, connecting significant life experiences with reflective, spiritual conversations and using a Catholic outlook to view the world? 

    We are also about the expectation of excellence.  We need to constantly assist our students in becoming the very best that they can be both academically and spiritually.  Are we accomplishing this lofty goal?

    Hopefully, these thoughts present us with goals that need and deserve our daily attention.  With the assistance of Jesus Christ, we will continue to offer the best education and spiritual development possible.

    May the blessings of God be with you and your family during this Easter season and throughout the year.


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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message - April 13/14, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 4/10/2019

    Service education is a vital part of the education our students receive at Epiphany Catholic School.  Our school and community have been very blessed by God; for this we are very thankful.  We are in constant search for ways for our students to devote their time, talent and treasures to those in need. 

    Our junior high students, under the direction of Lisa Simpsen and Karen Overby, rotate through a nine-week section that focuses on service to the parish and school, fundraising activities for organizations outside of the school and the promotion of social activities for the school itself.  The following is a small sample of these activities:

    • Daily collection of materials in the school to be recycled.
    • Weekly efforts to keep the materials in the pews straightened out.
    • Catholic School Week Service Project of providing goods to Operation Gratitude for our troops.
    • Shelving of books in the library.
    • Canned food drives benefitting local food pantries.
    • Donations of gifts and cash in support of Catholic Charities.
    • Working with the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry to sort out bags to assist in food distribution. The group also takes a field trip to the pantry to learn more about their mission.

    Finally, our 8th grade students, who are required 25 hours of service to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, have been involved in the following:   

    • Sponsored a Red Cross Blood Drive with the Knights of Columbus in the Parish Hall in December 2019.
    • Assisted with summer maintenance around the campus.
    • Provided baby-sitting for Kindergarten Open House, last week’s Parent University and various other parish/school events.

    There are great lessons to be learned by providing service to others.  Service is an integral part of the education that our children receive at Epiphany Catholic School.  We thank our students for their hard work and dedication as we work to foster a culture of stewardship in our school.

    Speaking of service projects, this Sunday our School Club is having a Spring Clean-Up Day at the Outdoor Classroom.  They will be there from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm to refresh this beautiful part of our campus.

    May God Watch Over Us All,



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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message –April 6/7, 2019

    Posted by Mike Lootens on 4/3/2019

    The following is a portion of an essay penned by John Connolly arguing the benefits of a Catholic school education as he recruits students for Catholic boarding schools in New England:

    Considering a Catholic school for your child? Take a moment to review these benefits- they'll assist in the research process and help you to assess the school options in your area.


    Parents choose Catholic schools for their children because of high academic standards; values-added education and a safe school environment

    Catholic Schools stress the value of self-discipline and commitment.

    Catholic Schools encourage family input and involvement in the ongoing education of their children. Research shows that such a partnership results in higher attendance rates and lower dropout rates.

    Catholic School students score significantly above the national averages on standardized testing.

    Research shows that because of a greater emphasis on homework and study, Catholic School students develop more effective writing skills.

    Catholic School faculty members are qualified professionals committed to bringing out the best in their students as they grow in knowledge, skills, and values.

    Faculty and staff are role models who share their faith, their talents, and their time.

    The Catholic School curriculum normally meets state regulations and guidelines.

    Association and accrediting agencies help provide programs and instruments for internal and external evaluations on an ongoing basis

    Catholic Schools have an excellent success rate in educating minority students.

    Catholic Schools encourage each student to accept the challenges of being a better person in tomorrow's world.

    The emphasis is on participation by all students.

    Standardized test scores and a high college acceptance rate reflect that the Catholic School students are self-disciplined, self-motivated, responsible, and creative.

    Appropriate social and cultural activities, under school sponsorship, provide relaxation and creative outlets.

    Catholic Schools represent affordable excellence; there is an emphasis on efficiency and accountability.

    Tuition cost is often supplemented by the parish, so the Catholic community shares the cost of education.

    In addition to a strong program in the "basics," as well as challenging programs for gifted students, Catholic Schools add the significant "plus" of religious, moral, and spiritual development.

    Faith and Values

    Catholic Schools help students understand that each person is unique and valuable.

    Catholic Schools strive to create a special bond among the students, the home, the school, and the Church, so that all share the strong sense of community.

    In Catholic Schools, there is a mutual respect among students, faculty, and administrators which generates an atmosphere of care and concern.

    Catholic Schools join with the family to help students understand their special place in the family, the Church, and society.

    Students explore their faith through classes and activities in Scripture, Sacraments, Church, and morality.

    While not all students who come to Catholic Schools are Catholic, all share experiences of faith and values.

    These points systematically point to the benefits of a Catholic school education.  If you, or anyone you are acquainted with, would like to discuss these points further please do not hesitate to contact me.


    God Bless,



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  • Principal’s Bulletin Message – March 30/31, 2019

    Posted by Mike lootens on 3/27/2019

    Please see this flier that announces the Parent University at Epiphany on Saturday—April 6, 2019.  The topic will be Cultivating the Catholic Faith in the Family will be presented to assist Catholic families in their vocation of raising young people who will live a meaningful life in relation wth God into adulthood.  Please contact the School Office with questions

    Congratulations to 8th Grade student Chloe French for being selected as a Scholar Attitude Award winner by the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA).  Chloe will be honored at a banquet in late April.

    Begun in 1999, the IESA Scholar Attitude Award at first honored 14 outstanding eighth grade students, one from each of the then 14 IESA geographic Board of Directors divisions. With the expansion to 15 IESA membership divisions in the 2007-08 school year, the program now recognizes 15 individuals.

    The IESA Scholar Attitude Award recognizes the academic success, activity participation, and community involvement of the students in member schools. Chloe is the second Epiphany Catholic School student to win the awards, Eric Whalen was awarded the honor in 2011.

    May God Bless and Keep Your Family,


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