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History of St. Joseph's Catholic School
St. Joseph School was established in 1896 to serve the Catholic students of St. Joseph Church Parish. It has been a landmark of the Ponchatoula area for generations. The school is operated by the church parish which for years has been served by the Dominican fathers. For many years the Notre Dame Sisters served as administrators and staffed the school. Presently the school is staffed by thirty professionals with several classroom aides and a full-time computer moderator. The school serves 384 students and their families.
Every child is instructed in the faith and morals of the Catholic Church each day. The length of the religion period varies from twenty minutes for the younger children to fifty minutes for the fifth through eighth graders. Sacramental preparation for Reconciliation and Communion highlights the program. Students attend Mass every Wednesday and on Holy Days throughout the year. The school day is punctuated by prayer. The students have been generous in the past in supporting the Missions and other charitable organizations. Service to their fellow man is emphasized as part of the religious program of the school. St. Joseph provides training for Altar Servers. The school takes much of its religious character from the Dominican fathers who served the school faithfully for many years. Father Paul A. McDuffie serves as pastor and is most supportive and involved in the school's religion program.
The aim of the academic program is to challenge the students to the limits of their capability. Students are leveled for math. The world today demands that students be work-oriented and achievement-oriented. With the cooperation of parents, the school makes every effort to develop those characteristics in its students. The school is aided in its efforts by a full-time librarian, a music program for all students, and a full time physical education teacher. Capable eighth grade students are enrolled in Algebra I, Biology I, and English I. Students receive high school credit for these courses. High school credit courses are taught by faculty members certified on the secondary level. The school assures that students have updated textbooks and appropriate supplementary material. The library facility is computerized and is being upgraded with substantial new book purchases. A commitment has been made to equip the school with the latest in technology. Computers are throughout the school, and a computer literacy for all students is a priority. Technology is an integral part of the school curriculum. Students in grades 6-8 are engaged in an iPad 1:1 program.
St. Joseph School staff rewards and teaches self-discipline, self-respect, and respect for the rights of others. It does so with parental support and cooperation. Self-discipline is nurtured in a caring environment that allows for individual differences. The school teaches students love for their neighbors both near and far. The school faculty and staff attempt to assure that students have positive experiences each day they attend school.
General School Environment
Effort is made to break the routine for students from time to time. Holiday parties, a Mardi Gras Parade, field trip days, Grandparents' Day, etc. have become an integral part of the school year. These activities develop a school spirit that is both healthful and enjoyable. The gymnasium provides an excellent venue for many of these activities. School is not only a place for hard work, but also a place for fun and friendship.
St. Joseph participates in the Northshore Independent Athletic League. Boys play flag football, basketball and baseball; girls participate in volleyball, basketball and softball. Over the years the sport teams representing the school have been very successful. Cheerleaders contribute to the spirit of the school. Graduating cheerleaders regularly make the high school cheerleading and dance squads.
The school provides Before and After School care from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a nominal fee. The cafeteria serves hot school lunches daily.
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