Empowering Parents, Developing Kids

Wisconsin Parental Choice Program Enables Parents to Choose Best Educational Opportunities for Their Child

By: Hannah Henderson, Director of Advancement, Pacelli Catholic Schools

Are small class sizes, individual attention to students, high test scores, and innovative technology programs important to you? Have you thought of sending your child through a private school system but been held back by financial constraints? There is an opportunity for you to get the education you’ve always wanted for your child even if your means are limited thanks to the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

We have a rich history of promoting school choice in this state. In fact, Wisconsin is the home to our nation’s oldest and largest school choice program. It began with open enrollment amongst public school students for the 1998-1999 school year and has evolved to also enable families to select a private school learning environment if they feel it best suits the unique needs of their child.

Pacelli Catholic Schools is proud to participate in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP), commonly referred to as the school choice or voucher program, because of the opportunities it gives to families and to this community. I firmly believe that strong private schools make for strong public schools, and strong schools create rich educational opportunities which make for a thriving community.

Our state’s private schools educate nearly 123,000 K-12 students and employ more than 6,000 teachers, not including the countless other administrative and educational staff that work tirelessly on behalf of our state’s most valuable resources – our children. According to the Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools (WCRIS), if there were no private schools, state and local taxes would have to increase by over $1 billion to pay for those students’ education in public schools. Academics aside, think of the economic impact private schools have on our state!

I couldn’t put it better myself than School Choice Wisconsin, a statewide school choice advocacy group, who said simply that the WPCP program exists to, “empower families by advocating for quality educational options so parents can choose the best educational environment for their child.” That’s our vision for Pacelli Catholic Schools; to be an environment that fosters the unique gifts of each student to grow as disciples of the faith and leaders for the world.

Our children will be just that – leaders in our community, in our state, and in our world. Don’t we want to ensure they have a rock solid foundation in their preschool-12 education which gives them every opportunity to be successful adults?

Our teachers strive to give each student the attention, support, and challenges they need to grow as students and as people of faith and morals. Our students learn computer coding beginning in kindergarten. They’re achieving the highest ACT scores in the area. Last year they completed over 12,000 community service hours. Our schools have won 3 US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School Awards. We have over 5,300 alumni scattered across the globe leading in every field from law to medicine to social justice to manufacturing.

We might be Pacelli Catholic Schools, but our doors are open to all, regardless of your income level or faith. Don’t let concerns over how you’re going to fund tuition get in your way. The school choice program allows you to send your child to Pacelli Catholic Schools for free, so long as you meet the income requirements of the program. Beyond that, we award tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships and tuition assistance annually, including over $70,000 for this school year alone. Our goal is simple – to empower parents to provide their child with the best education and to empower our students to become leaders in their communities and around the globe.

Come join us at Pacelli Catholic Schools, currently enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year. For more information on applying for the school choice program, visit www.pacellicatholicschools.com/choice. The application period is open until April 20, 2017. Call 715.341.2445 with any enrollment questions, and we’re happy to help make your dreams of a Pacelli Catholic Schools education a reality for your child.

Stevens Point City Times: Empowering Parents, Developing Kids

January e-Newsletter: In the News

The following are news snippets from the January e-Newsletter highlighting the Pacelli Catholic School system, individual students, alumni, staff, and members of the PCS community who have recently been highlighted for their accomplishments.

Thanks to the generosity of so many around the holiday season, our students were able to deliver so many wonderful gifts to nursing home residents and the family crisis center. Special thanks to Mrs. Lorie Liss for coordinating once again!

Pacelli High School students began the new year with their two-week J-Term, a deep dive into a certain subject area or internship. Below are some highlights of our students’ experiences.

The PCS capital campaign raises $2.7 million, reaching the first two of three goals.

PCHS senior Christonna Shafranski was named as the Triple Threat of the Week for being a standout three sport athlete, participating in cross country, basketball, and softball.

Maureen Brocken, Pacelli Catholic Middle School teacher, was awarded a stipend from the Meemic Foundation to attend a green and healthy schools workshop on composting.

Before Christmas, Mrs. Kluck’s second graders spent time reading gingerbread stories and writing letters of advice to the gingerbread boy or girl.

Congratulations to Emily at PCMS for winning the Stevens Point Noon Optimist Club William E. Podell Youth Recognition Award for her positive attitude towards her classmates and school.

Our youngest PCS kids at the childcare center collected warm weather gear for Operation Bootstrap during some of our coldest days this winter.

Congratulations to PCMS students Shannon (6th grade), Amanda (7th grade), and Aidan (8th grade) on being named December Students of the Month!

Our 6th graders were treated to a chemistry demonstration at UWSP and a few of our 8th graders got to Skype with Bishop Callahan.

Some high school students attended the Chicago March for Life.

Thanks once again to George Check for the wonderful photos of both our boys basketball and girls basketball teams.

PCHS dance team recently took 3rd place at a competition.

Students in Mrs. Brocken’s middle school robotics class have been working hard to conceptualize and create motorized contraptions of all sorts.

See Pacelli in the news? Send it to pacelli@pacellicatholicschools.com for inclusion on our website, social media sites, or e-newsletters.

January Teacher Feature: Mrs. Dana LaMotte

Mrs. Dana LaMotte, Technology Integrator (Elementary & Middle School) & K-8 Coding Coach

Name: Dana LaMotte

Grade/Subject & School(s) You Work with: Technology Integrator (Elementary & Middle School) & K-8 Coding Coach

Where did you grow up and go to high school and college?
Grew up in Stevens Point. Graduate of SPASH class of 1987! Associates Degree in Business Management (Mid-State). Associates Degree in Graphic Design/Marketing (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College).

Where was your first job in education?
St. Peter’s – Learning Resource Aide

How long have you been working at Pacelli Catholic Schools?
Learning Resource Aide 8 years, Coding Coach 1 year

What do you enjoy most about working at Pacelli Catholic Schools?
Our students and building a relationship with them in which I can watch them thrive. Nothing is more enjoyable than being able to help a student push through a task, be it a homework assignment or writing code, and succeed. Their excitement is contagious and knowing that you helped them in some way is why I enjoy working within our schools.

What is unique about the education experience offered at PCS that you can’t find anywhere else?
The individual attention that our students receive, from teachers and support staff. It comes from a place of genuine caring and allows us to develop wonderful mentoring relationships.

Have you received any teaching-related awards?
Diocesan Support Staff of the Year 2016

What was your favorite class when you were a student?

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?
My parents are my role models. Their continuing love and support for each other and our family has taught me that these are the most important things in our lives. I’ve learned from them that being there for those you love can get you through anything and kindness goes a long way.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
Reading, hanging out with friends and family, upcycling antiques with my husband, and watching my son play sports/perform.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The power to heal. It is very hard for me to see people in pain.

What’s something that most people or your students don’t know about you?
That even though I’m a huge Iron Man fan, my favorite Marvel movie is Guardians of the Galaxy.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to a student?
You won’t always be good at things and that’s okay, but believe in yourself enough to try and get better at it and push towards the things you really want to achieve.

The Real Catholic Schools

Common myths about Catholic schools dispelled

By: Gregg Hansel, Director of Education, Pacelli Catholic Schools

Fake news has gotten a lot of press in the last twelve months. People have created stories to influence others’ opinions. Certainly this is nothing new. All of us have stereotypes and thoughts that we believe about any number of things. They may come from an off-hand comment someone made, a one-time experience, or handed down from family.

Education is no different. I hear things about post-secondary education, public schools, and Catholic schools that, at times, just boggle my mind. While I would never presume to speak for all institutions, I can speak for Catholic schools. Here is some real news about Catholic schools.

Teachers – The teachers in Catholic schools are not only licensed and certified by state of Wisconsin, they are also certified in religion instruction through the Diocese of La Crosse. Pacelli Catholic School teachers have earned many Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Awards, recognizing their great quality as educators.

Quality – The quality of Catholic schools is outstanding. ACT scores at Pacelli High School this year averaged 24.7, the highest in the area. Pacelli elementary and middle schools have earned numerous national awards including 3 US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School Awards. We are one of very few schools systems in the entire state that teaches computer coding in every grade beginning in kindergarten, skills that our students will need in our ever-changing world. Our commitment to small class sizes means that every child gets individual attention and challenges.

Affordability – I can’t tell you how often I have heard that Catholic schools are not affordable; that we are only for the wealthy. Talk about fake news! Many families can attend Catholic schools at no cost to them through the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, or school choice program. Thanks to the generosity of community members, we are able to provide tens of thousands of dollars in tuition assistance annually, not to mention our countless scholarships awarded annually too. Work study programs are available at the high school level for students. Regardless of your income, Catholic schools can be affordable for you and your family.

Faith and Values –The cornerstone of Catholic education has always been making sure that students not only learn their faith, but put it into practice. The Catholic faith is infused throughout the day, and application takes it to an entire new level. Students take leadership roles in prayer, projects, and citizenship activities. Last year alone, our students of all grades contributed more than 12,000 hours of community service.

You don’t have to be Catholic to attend. – All are welcome in Catholic schools, regardless of their faith. In my thirty-three years, we have had families of almost every faith imaginable, and continue to welcome a diverse group of students today.

Opportunity – The opportunity to participate is tremendous.  If a student wants to participate in a sport or drama, they can and do. Extra-curricular programs are not only high quality, but inclusive. Fourteen sports are available and the fine arts offering is quite diverse including everything from Destination Imagination to multiple choirs and bands, musicals and plays abound. The beauty of a small schools system is if you want to participate, you have every opportunity to do so.

Our area is blessed with options for so many things, and as you can see, Catholic schools are a great option. Don’t let the myths and fake news out there get to you. Take a minute to reflect on the “real news” here and realize what a gem Catholic schools are in our community.

Stevens Point City Times: The Real Catholic Schools

FREE Coding Event for Kids

Kids Can Code! is a free community event, sponsored by Pacelli Catholic Schools and Skyward, encouraging kids ages 6-12 to learn about coding through fun, hands-on activities. Kids will have the opportunity to code simple computer games, program and control interactive robots, build their own video game with Bloxels, tinker with littleBits and more!

  • When: Saturday, February 11; 9:00-11:00 AM
  • Where: Pacelli Catholic Middle School; 708 First St.; Stevens Point
  • Who: Any child ages 6-12, beginners to intermediate
  • Cost: FREE! Registration is required. Space is limited.

Register Here

Every child in attendance will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win prizes!
Parents are welcome to stay and play, or drop off and pick up your child.

Questions? Contact Sherri Moscinski at 715-344-1890 or smoscinski@pacellicatholicschools.com

Sponsored By:





December e-Newsletter: In the News

The following are news snippets from the December e-Newsletter highlighting the Pacelli Catholic School system, individual students, alumni, staff, and members of the PCS community who have recently been highlighted for their accomplishments.

PCMS students did a fantastic job putting on their performance of Peter Pan & Wendy.

Check out the awesome work our K-12 students have been doing this year in our computer coding program.

An annual tradition continues as our PCHS athletes spent a morning at the Lincoln Center serving lunch and singing Christmas carols.

In keeping with the wildlife theme, St. Stan’s kindergarten students crafted cardinal ornaments for the Christmas tree at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Special thanks to Brian Dumler, golf professional at SentryWorld, who worked with students in grades 3-5 at St. Bron’s and St. Steve’s as part of the “Golf in School” program which teaches the four basic golf strokes to elementary students in fun and creative ways.

Grades 3-5 at St. Bron’s did some Christmas caroling at Whispering Pines to bring joy to the residents.

PCHS students had a blast attending the Green Bay Youth Conference celebrating their faith with peers.

8th grade mentors worked with their 6th grade mentees on festive art projects they delivered to local nursing homes.

PCHS band members helped shine light on the Advent season by performing at the Lighting of the Nativity held by the Knights of Columbus Council 1170.

St. Bron’s 3rd graders led the school in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

Our students at every building put on wonderful Christmas concerts to get us in the holiday spirit. Click the links below to see photos and videos from each school.

See Pacelli in the news? Send it to pacelli@pacellicatholicschools.com for inclusion on our website, social media sites, or e-newsletters.

December Teacher Feature: Mrs. Lindsey Retzki

Mrs. Lindsey Retzki, 3rd Grade, Pacelli Catholic Elementary School-St. Stephen

Name: Lindsey Retzki

Grade & School You Teach: 3rd Grade at St. Stephen’s Elementary

Where did you grow up and go to high school and college?

I grew up right here in Stevens Point and attended Pacelli High School. After high school, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for their education program.

Where was your first teaching job?

My first teaching job was a 3rd grade position at St. Vincent de Paul  in the Assumption Catholic Schools district in Wisconsin Rapids.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 3rd year teaching in my own classroom.

How long have you been teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

This is my first year teaching at St. Stephen’s.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

I truly enjoy the staff and other teachers I work with. Each individual is hardworking and passionate about education. It makes a great environment for our students to learn in.

What is unique about the education experience offered at PCS that you can’t find anywhere else?

The incredible, dedicated and experienced teachers. The system is filled with teachers that have been in the system for years. Many of them actually were my teachers in elementary, middle, and high school.

What was your favorite class when you were a student?

My favorite class was science class for its investigative and explorative nature. It is also my favorite class to teach.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Honestly, as a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. I would actually make my little brother play school with me. He hated it. 🙂

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?

My biggest role model is my mom. She is the most patient, generous, and positive person I know.  

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?

I love playing sports. My favorite sports are basketball and volleyball. I also enjoy watching movies, spending time with family and friends, country music, shopping, and coffee!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

If I could have one superpower, I would want to be able to fly. I love traveling but, I really do not like the long car rides.

What’s something that most people or your students don’t know about you?

I am unable to whistle.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to a student?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes is how you learn best.

Pacelli Gives Back

Service learning, love of community service instilled in each child at Pacelli Catholic Schools

ellen-lopas-1By: Ellen Lopas, Principal, Pacelli Catholic Elementary School-St. Bronislava & Pacelli Catholic Middle School

Service is an important component of a Pacelli Catholic Schools education. Our mission and vision for our students and staff is to provide assistance in many different aspects of our community.

At the high school level there are many ways we help the students to find the value of helping their community. Each year the entire senior class has a service day in which students go to various community agencies, neighbors, and our local parishes to perform acts of service. During the eight hour event, students helped rake lawns, move mulch, paint stairs, tear down a fence, and detail a number of cars for the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The high school also requires that each student document 15 hours of community service over the course of the school year. So far this semester, our high school students have served the community by recording over 1,800 hours of service outside the school day. Many of our high schoolers volunteer at local agencies, nursing homes, parishes, and more, often reporting that by serving the community they feel a stronger commitment to others and start to see their community through a bigger lense.

National Honor Society is another avenue that the high school students are a part of that requires service hours in the community. About 40% of our junior and senior classes participate in National Honors Society. The students are required to model the pillars of academic excellence, leadership, high moral character, and service to others. By the end of the year, each NHS student is required to log fifty hours of community service and leadership. As a school, this one club with just over forty students will log over 2,000 hours of service.  

At the middle school level the students are required to give three hours per quarter in service. There are many different types of service and we want the children to learn what kind of service is good for them. We want this to become a life skill and the students will learn how good it feels to help others.

Pacelli Catholic Middle School is also once again embarking on an international outreach project for Christmas with Casa Hogar, the orphanage that our Diocese founded in Lima, Peru. Our entire middle school is going to be putting together Christmas gift bags, which will be brought to Peru by students from Wisconsin Rapids who are going on a mission trip there this year. Next year, Pacelli High School students will again take their mission trip to Peru taking gift bags with them, too. We have a chance to demonstrate faith in action, and that is what being a Catholic is all about. We have seen first-hand the priceless reactions and smiling faces on the children of Casa Hogar when they receive gifts from us which truly makes our service worthwhile.

At the elementary level, all three of our schools do canned food drives, coat collections, money drives, and creation of gifts and caroling for nursing homes and the cancer center, among many other community projects. Even our early childhood center contributes to many of the same services in our community as well as collecting necessities for military veterans stationed overseas and cards for homebound people through meals on wheels.

Service learning helps young men and women to become members of their community who are caring and supportive of everyone. Pacelli Catholic Schools are committed to service and preparing our next generation of adults to care for and support all those in the community they live in and beyond.

Stevens Point City Times: Pacelli Gives Back

November e-Newsletter: In the News

The following are news snippets from the November e-Newsletter highlighting the Pacelli Catholic School system, individual students, alumni, staff, and members of the PCS community who have recently been highlighted for their accomplishments.

PCMS students are putting on Peter Pan and Wendy this weekend at the high school. Shows will be Dec. 1 at 7pm, Dec. 2 at 7pm, and Dec. 3 at 2pm. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.

4K & kindergarten students at St. Stan’s held their annual Thanksgiving Friendship Feast with families full of songs, treats, and service projects. St. Bron’s elementary students also held their Thanksgiving Fun Fest.

Frank Runyeon, former star of As the World Turns, presented “Salt & Light: A Comedy for Kids” to K-4.

Weston from PCMS was congratulated by Mr. Joseph Cahill from the VFW for winning the Patriot’s Pen Contest.

Joe Odhiambo, NBA All-Star Performer (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09), Former Phoenix Suns & Mercury Player, and World’s Greatest Basketball Dribbler (12-time Guinness World Record Holder) came to St. Stephen’s to motivate students and show off a few tricks.

PCMS 7th graders made cards for veterans at the Veteran’s Home in King to thank them for their service.

St. Stan’s 2nd graders dressed as their favorite saints in honor of All Saints Day. St. Bron’s students also observed this special day.

Kids in our childcare program at St. Joe’s had a giggle filled game of red light, green light with Mrs. DeeAnn.

Congratulations to our students who affirmed their faith by celebrating their confirmation.

PCHS hosted a blood drive collecting 47 pints of blood, surpassing the goal set by the Red Cross.

Pacelli alum Payton Hintz ’14 was named to the Association of Division III Independents 2016 All-Independent Women’s Volleyball Second Team for her efforts on the court for the Mount Mary University volleyball program.

Marten Machining hosted 6 PCHS students for a day of hands-on learning about their business.

The PCMS peer mentor program continued with lunch and a game.

PCHS senior Jacob Schulfer recently completed his Eagle Scout project, a prayer garden at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Polonia, and officially earned his Eagle Scout rank. He joins fellow PCHS senior Philip DiSalvo who completed a beautification of the PCHS front entrance and earned his Eagle Scout rank in October.

Congrats to all of the PCHS fall athletes who were honored for their All-Conference performances this season.

PCHS held their annual Veteran’s Day Service, honoring those who have served our country. See even more pictures by clicking here.

Congratulations to our Bridge Mixer Marathon Group grant award winners – Jenna Feltz of St. Bron’s and Kathy Hansel of St. Steve’s.

PCMS student Nic won a Kindle Fire by entering a poetry contest in Mrs. Jakusz’s writing class last spring.

PCHS drama students put on the play “Dear Finder” directed by Carrie Gruman-Trinkner. Special thanks to Wendie Cliver, WCM Photography & Creations for the great photos of the performance.

St. Stan’s s 2nd graders made scarecrows and wrote fall themed poems to cheer people in the oncology department at St. Michael’s and the Brookdale Senior Living facility.

Special thanks to the Knights of Columbus Council 1170 and the Intellectual Disabilities Fund for your donation to our schools from the proceeds of your annual tootsie roll sales.

Nic & Nate, PCS students, were nominated by Mr. Dahlseng to perform in a state band and orchestra concerts – 2 of only 300 students total selected from the 1,200 nominees to perform.

See Pacelli in the news? Send it to pacelli@pacellicatholicschools.com for inclusion on our website, social media sites, or e-newsletters.