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St. Rose of Lima principal, teachers
to learn about connecting with Latino families

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

DENISON – One principal and two teachers from St. Rose of Lima School have been chosen to attend a workshop to further their knowledge on building connections with Latino families.

“I am hoping this will help us understand how to better connect with Latino families, help us better understand the challenges they face and how to help them get the best education for their children,” said Patty Lansink, principal at St. Rose of Lima School in Denison.

Lansink along with Trisha Boettger, first grade teacher and Angie Stangl, third grade teacher, will attend a workshop this summer at Notre Dame. They will receive training on strategies for building connections with Latino families, and recruiting Latino families into Catholic schools.

“In the diocesan long range plan, we have identified enrollment management initiatives for a variety of populations. One group was working with our Latino or Hispanic populations,” said Dr. Dan Ryan, Ed.D., superintendent of Catholic schools.

Ryan noted he is familiar with Notre Dame ACE and their initiative to help k-12 education. They have done a lot of work involving Latino populations.

“I saw the Catholic Extension had a grant opportunity where they would support one school sending three staff members to a four-day training at Notre Dame ACE and the Latino enrollment initiative,” said Ryan.

“Dr. Dan Ryan approached me about applying,” said Lansink. “He asked for some input from me and submitted the application. Our current percentage of Latino families at St. Rose is 57 percent, so this is a wonderful opportunity to help us better serve this population in our school and parish. ”

There were four or five main questions, which Ryan and Lansink collaborated to answer.

St. Rose of Lima received the grant funded by Catholic Extension to attend the four-day conference. The grant is valued at approximately $6,000 for conference fees, materials and transportation and lodging costs. The diocese will cover the registration fees.

“This will give them an opportunity to learn from some experts in the field on what to do,” said Ryan. “Denison has shown some promising work in their enrollment. They have increased their population by 30 students and they had 50, so they are up to 80. It is a big percentage of increase.”

Ryan thinks the school is “in a strong enough place where they could take some of those things and move forward with them, but also network with other schools who are taking on similar challenges.”

The hope is for Lansink and her teachers to come back, implement what they learned at St. Rose and then possibly lead trainings in the Diocese of Sioux City about a year down the line, said Ryan.

“We have already started some of this work. Patty led a breakout session at the Diocesan Ministries Conference on Hispanic enrollment and their experience and recommendations,” he said. “She also did a similar presentation for the administrators. We are trying to spread some basic, foundational information for our administrators.”

Ryan said the overall goal is “to reach our mission – help students learn their faith so they can get to heaven and have a great education – with a newer population to many of our communities. We need to increase our knowledge.”

Lansink will go back to Notre Dame for a follow up to show the school is implementing what she, Boettger and Stangl learned at the conference.

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