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Rochester Catholic Schools is excited to announce that after much discernment, a resolution to the VISION 2020 reconfiguration has been approved.

Commencing in the 2019-2020 school year, RCS will retain one traditional K-8 school, restructure and expand our middle school offerings, and expand our preschool programs to meet growing preschool and child care needs in our community. Please feel free to email questions to

For information regarding Summit Learning, please refer to the resources below:


Why a Middle School configuration (Grade 6-8)?

We chose this model to offer a viable option to every family. We are a premier educational institution that meets the spiritual, academic, social and emotional needs of our children - We expect to continue to provide opportunities for our system to GROW to meet the demands of our children and community. Offering two different middle school curriculums allows RCS to have multiple teaching/learning styles in both traditional and self-directed classrooms. The Middle School model will allow us to provide more opportunity to

  • focus on adolescence
  • work with the right strategies for academic, physical, social and emotional needs
  • identify more deeply each students unique needs, skill sets, and knowledge base
  • we can prepare for High School earlier
  • students can gain deeper understanding of content, organizational and study skills, faith
  • teacher content knowledge is more focused
  • provides opportunity for community building skills for students
  • opportunity to increase STEM activities
  • opportunity to enhance math and science curriculum"
  • opportunity to for students to build stronger social bonds with students who have similar interest
  • opportunity for Middle School students to further discover their own personalities

Continuing to have a K-8 options allows families and students to have that

  • Sense of community and family environment
  • Stay longer with the classmates you know really well and enjoy smaller class groups

How does a Middle School configuration affect RCS?

Moving Forward: Academic growth vision

  • St. John would become the premier state of the art middle school with cutting edge technology, robust academics, enhanced community activities and social clubs, athletics, fine arts opportunities
  • We would like to partner with St. Mary Univ., Univ. MN - Rochester, Mayo Clinic, IBM, etc. to offer optional programs
  • Partner with Mayo Clinic/DMC partnership to cultivate skilled labor for future employment opportunities and expose students to real world jobs
  • St. John to partner with Parishes to integrate youth religious education programs to help middle school youth mature as disciples of Christ
  • St. Pius and Holy Spirit to double growth of students in preschool and childcare
  • LHS 2nd floor transforms to a state of the art innovation and technology center
  • LHS offer college prep courses giving college credits, more AP offerings, and work-study programs for Social Justice

Financial Growth and Stability Opportunities:

  • Increase child care enrollment
  • Increase preschool enrollment
  • Increase middle school enrollment
  • Increase retention from middle school to high school
  • Reduced risk of student withdraw with multiple school model offerings

How does the reconfiguration affect staffing?

Staffing needs are driven by enrollment and student needs.

When will parents know which teachers will be teaching at K-8 school (for grades 6-8) and 6-8 school (St. John’s)?

A teacher’s teaching style can be very important to a child’s school success especially in the social/emotional domain. Teacher contracts are due by April.

What will be the sizes of the class size?

Class size average is 18 but different grades can go up or down based on student needs.

What traditions will the Middle School have?

We have no plans to stop any current traditions, such as the Amazing Spirit Race, and look forward to starting new traditions.

Will tuition increase with a Middle School?

There is no direct increase in operational cost or in tuition based on this reconfiguration, across the board it will stay the same, but the finance council did meet and approve a normal yearly cost to do business increase.

Who will be the Middle School Principal?

The Principal of Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist/St. Pius X is Mr. Matt Langsdale and Amy Heimer is the Assistant Principal.

Will there be bus transportation?

Busing is determined by boundaries. If a student lives in the St. John/St. Pius or Holy Spirit boundary area, they will receive busing to St. John’s as that is where the 6-8 school is for them. Students that reside in the St. Francis boundary will only be offered busing to St. Francis, as St. Francis has 6-8 offered to them at St. Francis. Students that open-enroll outside of their busing area are responsible for their own transportation.

RCS has confirmation from ISD 535 Transportation regarding the below busing options:

  • All students that are currently in the Holy Spirit busing area will get transportation to St. John's. Even if that student lives in Oronoco. So, basically the only students that would not get busing to St. John's are the students that live in the St. Francis busing area, but choose to attend St. John's.
  • Holy Spirit will continue to be a transfer site. Siblings (that live at the same home) will get picked up at their normal bus stop together. Upon arriving at Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit student will exit the bus and the middle school student will get transported to St. John's.
  • Start/end times
    • St. Francis Start/end time does not need to change
    • St. Pius Start time/end time does not need to change
    • Holy Spirit start/end time does not need to change
    • St. John's start/end time does need to change by 10 minutes (Needs to start 10 minutes later in the day). This will allow enough time to make the transfers to Holy Spirit.
  • At this time, the bid that came back for the public transportation (city buses) was way higher than was expected. Jeff does not expect this to be a viable option for RPS. Which means that all of our students (K-12) will continue to be eligible for busing through the public schools.
  • Families are able to register their daycare as the pick-up/drop off site. Families that live outside of the busing area (NE Rochester, Byron, Pine Island, for example) could add Holy Spirit, St. Pius, or any other address as their "daycare" and get busing from that site...parents would need to get them to the "daycare".

Can St. Francis students be bused to St. John’s?

Not at this time.

Did I hear that if someone in St. John’s boundary wants to go to St. Francis, they would need to provide transportation and also vice versa?


If we live outside the St. Francis boundary but want to send our student there for grades 6-8 will busing be provided?

Not currently.

Will ISD #535 transportation allow the daycare exemption for the Jr. High students? (This is typically not allowed after grade 5.)

Jeff Kappers (RPS Transportation Manager) has verified that families can register a site (Holy Spirit specifically) for all students for daycare regardless of age.

Bus options to St. Francis if not in the district?

At this point, the only option would be using a day care address that is on the SF boundary or exploring city bus routes.

Would there ever be bus transportation/transfer options for students who want to switch schools?

Busing is determined by residence.

Where/when will kids that currently walk to HS be picked up? How long will they be on the bus?

Mr. Kappers, ISD #535 Transportation, may have a better idea of the ride time from Holy Spirit to Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist after bus routes and neighborhood stops have been established. Students who traditionally walked to Holy Spirit will be picked up in areas that the bus company designates.

For the expanded middle school enrichment offerings at St. Francis, will there be transportation to St. John’s for those?

Middle school enrichment offerings will continue as currently offered at St. Francis. If the fine arts enrichment offerings are expanded - we will be looking to expand at both locations.

Can my child transfer schools at a later date (2020)

As long as there are openings at the school, families may transfer.

What accelerated programs will be offered at the Middle School?

Students will use Summit Learning for the subjects of Math, Science, English/Language Arts, and Social Studies. Summit Learning is designed to meet students at their level while also allowing for students to reach a greater depth of understanding, thus challenging them if their level is more accelerated than others. With the components of mentoring, hands-on projects, and self-direction, the Summit Learning Experience is a personalized approach to teaching and learning to meet the needs and interest of each student. To learn more, click HERE.

Will Holy Spirit Grade 6-8 students automatically be enrolled at Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist?

A priority placement Enrollment Request Form has been sent to all incoming grade 6-8 students for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents may request either the Traditional (K-8 at St. Francis of Assisi) or Middle School (Grade 6-8 at Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist) model is best for their child. An enrollment acceptance will be sent to families in January 2019 to confirm placement. (Note: Bus transportation will only be available from Holy Spirit to Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. There will be no bus transportation from Holy Spirit to St. Francis of Assisi.)

Can all RCS middle school students attend the 6-8 program of their choice?

Yes, but this will be determined by the family’s need for transportation. Students not living in the HS or STP/SJ boundary will NOT be transported to the Co-Cathedral. Likewise, students not living in the St. Francis boundary will not be transported to St. Francis.

Will there be an open-enrollment option for students who want to change from homeschool? What would that timeline look like for registration?

When registration opens to the public, homeschool students are certainly welcome to register for all RCS program options.

Will you reconfigure again in three years if the Middle School model does not meet expectations?

RCS will continue to make changes to meet the needs of our community.

Do Holy Spirit families have a choice between St. Francis of Assisi and Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist?


After sending the enrollment sheet form is there a chance for changing our mind, if teacher placement is different than we anticipated?


Will there be external advertising for Middle School options?


Will the 6th Grade Buddy program continue for Holy Spirit students?

There is the possibility of middle school students returning to their K-5 elementary schools to visit and engage in multi-age activities, but the formal 6th grade and kindergarten program will not continue as it has in the past.

Will there be assistance if you go to St. John’s and find your child struggling with the self-directed learning?


Are there curriculum differences between St. John and St. Francis for overlapping grade levels?

By the end of 8th grade, all RCS students should have mastered the same curriculum concepts. We may need to do some transitional work to meet the needs of each student.

Please explain more about the possibility of centralizing sports/activities and maybe shuttling to Lourdes?

Conversations are taking place about the timing and locations for sports practices. Currently, volleyball and Track & Field meet at St. John’s exclusively. We are looking at having more practices located at St. John’s.

Would the Middle School athletics continue to be combined with all schools or would St. John’s MS have their own team?

Athletics will continue to be combined.

What do you mean by social justice programs?

Social justice programs is in reference to emphasizing the themes of Catholic Social Teaching that inherently form the foundation of school service projects.

Will the 6-8 curriculum at both St. Francis and Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist be the same?

The core concepts to be mastered are the same. The elective opportunities may differ depending on the enrollment numbers (more kids=more opportunities).

Why isn’t the middle school (6-8) all inclusive?

There are families who desire a K-8 education and those who desire a middle school. By offering two options, we hope to better meet the needs of our families.

Are class sizes going to be 30, 40 or 50 kids at St. John’s as Matt Langsdale stated?

Matt Langsdale did not state that class sizes would be 30, 40, 50 kids. He said that with larger amounts of students in each grade level, there would be more opportunity for social development and other opportunities.

What schools were visited when investigating Summit Learning?

Wahlert Catholic High School and Mazzuchelli Middle School

Will Holy Spirit parish grants be honored at the Middle School?

The parish grant is awarded to families for all RCS schools. You do not need to attend the school directly connected to your parish to get the grant.

Is there a gym at the Middle School?


St. Pius/St. John is heavily dependent on volunteers to the point where they are continually begging for help. How will you fix that?

St. John/St. Pius, like all schools, asks parents to volunteer. They have volunteers, and can always use more.

Lots of middle school kids participate in afterschool activities. How will you coordinate after school pick up time?

After school pick-up for activities will remain consistent with current procedures.

What will be the impact of the upcoming diocese bankruptcy due to abuse have on the financial status of RCS?

No impact. School assets and budgets are separate from the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.

Safety protocol for being downtown? What’s keeping them from walking off?

Expectations of the students to follow directions. Supervision of staff members. Cooperation with parents.

How are teachers going to be educated in how to use summit learning?

Teachers will attend a 4 day training for Summit before the school year, and will be assigned a Summit Mentor, with monthly mentor meetings.

Will there be team building activities at the Middle School to integrate new Holy Spirit/St. Francis of Assisi students so there isn’t a tendency for an “us” and “them” dynamic?

Yes. Principals are actively working to create opportunities for students to connect with each other.

Define what special education is done at Kellogg before school starts.

Students that qualify for Special Education services receive those supports from 7:40 - 8:30 am at Kellogg. They are transported from their home to Kellogg for services & transported from Kellogg to St. John’s in time for 1st period. Services are determined by individual needs.

Your start times for Holy Spirit and St. John’s don’t allow for pick ups and drop offs at both schools.

Students may be dropped off at Holy Spirit between 8:30 AM and 8:55 AM. Students may be picked up at Holy Spirit between 3:35 PM and 4:00 PM.

Will you consider St. John’s start times/end times to accommodate parents to drop off at elementary school and middle school?

The school is open at 8:20 am for students to be dropped off, at no extra charge for Extended Care services. Doors opening at 8:20, with school starting at 8:45 (or 8:40/8:50 depending on the campus) allows for drop off at all locations.

Is St. John’s only offering summit learning?

Yes - for Math, Science, Social Studies, and English/Language Arts. RCS completed the initial steps for these content areas and was invited to apply to be a program participant. PE, Music, Religion, Spanish, etc will not use Summit.

Are middle schoolers going to have electives?


How will this affect 5th grade band, Christmas Programs, etc?

5th grade band will still be offered at St. Francis, Holy Spirit, and St. Pius. Christmas programs at St. Pius and Holy Spirit will feature K-5 students, while the St. John’s Christmas program will feature 6-7-8th grade students who attend St. John’s.

Will Mr. Fuhrmeister and Mrs. Killen move to St. Pius?

5th Grade at St. John’s will move to St. Pius.

Is there weekly mass at Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist?

Yes. Scheduled for Thursday’s in the 2019-20 School Year.

The Middle School children are at a critical time for faith due to their age and pressures. Can we get priests to come to the middle school- Pius, HS, Pax make an appearance?

All Rochester priests are welcome on Campus. Fr. Loomis, Fr. Thompson, and Fr. Hoang currently celebrate Holy Spirit masses and visit Holy Spirit classrooms. They will be invited to do the same at St. John’s.

How can faculty and staff become more involved in the configuration process in order to be ambassadors for RCS?

By continuing to speak positively, reassuringly to our parents and broader community. As details are fine tuned, information will be shared. Administration will continue to look at ways to involve various stakeholders in the successful implementation of reconfiguration.

How will Gifted and Talented Education weaved into our new configuration? Are we addressing this with our parent population? “Our Gifted Children: A Catholic Perspective on GATE” discussion.

The very nature and structure of the Summit Learning program addresses the needs of gifted and talented students.

Will Professional Development be provided for all RCS Faculty on the SUMMIT Learning style and classroom implementation. If so, when?

Not initially. The priority will be on providing it for those who will be using the Summit Learning platform.

Do our current teachers understand SUMMIT Learning vs. Traditional Learning to make a sound decision on what school best fits with each teacher’s gifts?

Probably not! This will be a priority as staffing criteria is developed.

Will RCS provide a means for parents/students to “assess” which school choice option would best fit their incoming 6th, 7th, or 8th grader?

Transition and bridge programs from 5th to 6th grade will need to become a part of what RCS does to help students adjust to school changes.

Will RCS provide a written explanation of how classroom instruction and assessment will “look” at SJ compared to SF?

This is being developed.

Will RCS commit to one-on-one academic counseling for all students and their families in grades 5 - 8 this year to assist parents in making the best choice and looking at options for grades 6 - 12?

This is not currently our practice, and would need to be researched before any commitment could be made.

How will report cards look at St. John's compared to St. Francis?

The core concepts of curriculum mastery will be the same. If electives are offered as part of the curriculum, report cards may need to be adjusted to reflect the variances in programming at each school.

Will a kindergarten buddy relationship be maintained at St. John's?

We will continue with Buddy Systems, but they may look different. We will have Buddy systems in each of the PreK-5 buildings, and will work to continue the bonds that the 6-8 students have developed with their previous campus.

What subjects will SUMMIT Learning focus on in 2019 - 2020?

Math, Science, Social Studies, English/Language Arts

Will St. Francis of Assisi stay self-contained in grade six, or will it become departmentalized?

The plan is for it to remain as is. Enrollment might dictate a need to change.

Will “Genius Hour” be implemented at St. John and St. Francis?

Genius Hour is currently in place at St. John. St. Francis is already in conversation about how we can implement either a class or an elective cycle that offers similar outcomes for our students. The Personalized Learning Team has begun laying out our work.

Are SUMMIT Learning and Traditional classrooms, plus any form of Genius Hour still meeting State of MN teaching minutes/subject area?


Music options -- Choir, Instrumental, and Orchestra -- will these be offered at both locations?

The current intent is to offer similar programming.

How will the ACE Curriculum be part of the SUMMIT Learning platform?

All Diocese of Winona-Rochester schools utilize the same curricular objectives. Where Summit Learning differs is how the curriculum is taught while maintaining the integrity of what is taught.

How are you going to handle the science program at Holy Spirit? (It is a staggered program that alternates each year.)

Holy Spirit students who attend St. John’s or St. Francis will need to take life science as 8th graders next year. Administration is aware of this situation not only in science, but in social studies and religion as well.

The following are the offerings beginning next school year:

Holy Spirit Catholic School
NEW Full Day Pre-Kindergarten 4 years old
NEW 5 Half/Full Day Mixed Aged Preschool for 3 & 4 years old
NEW Year-Round Child Care
NEW Preschool Enrichment Classes
Retain Wraparound Child Care for School Age Children
CHANGE K-8 to K-5 for Traditional Academics & Developmental Growth

St. Pius X School
NEW Full Day Pre-Kindergarten 4 years old
NEW 5 Half/Full Day Mixed Age Preschool for 3 & 4 years old
NEW Year-Round Child Care
Retain Wraparound Child Care for School Age Children
EXPAND from K-4 to K-5 for Traditional Academics & Developmental Growth

Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist School
NEW Middle School Program for Specialized Academics & Social & Spiritual Maturity
NEW Summit Learning Program
Retain Morning Child Care for School Age Children
CHANGE from Grades 5-8 to 6-8

St. Francis of Assisi School
Retain K-8 for Traditional Academics & Community Experience
Retain Traditional Preschool and Child Care Options

Lourdes High School
Retain Grades 9-12
NEW AP Credit and Dual Credit Opportunities