Teachers

Our school is made strong by the quality and caring of our teachers.  Each grade has a special role in creating and sustaining our community, and we seek growth in our students as they move from K through 8.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a very special and big year! At St. Patrick School, we are committed to faith and excellence as we focus on educating the whole child. Ms. Cawley, our new Kindergarten teacher, provides an environment where children feel nurtured, valued, challenged, and supported. She believes that encouraging risk taking and making mistakes fosters a love of knowledge.

Ms. Cawley believes that classroom environments should be safe, friendly, happy, and fun. Students need structure and consistency with the right amount of fun mixed in so they look upon school as an enjoyable place to be! When given the opportunity a child can achieve so much. It is our job to help each child develop at his/her own rate while providing a structured and safe environment to do so in.

1st Grade

Mrs. Carew and Mrs. Roth have an important task in First Grade and that is to help their students develop reading and writing skills. The primary focus in First Grade is the development of reading skills. Students learn phonics in order to apply phonetic rules in their oral and silent reading. They also develop their comprehension skills and a basic understanding of story structure. Additionally, students develop writing skills with a focus on spelling, handwriting, punctuation, and capitalization.  Writer’s Workshop, a daily writing program, fosters writing skills and penmanship skills.

Math skills are broadening in First Grade as students move to more complex math problem solving and computation. This is why “Automaticity” is so important. When children learn their basic facts early and solidly, they have the ability to handle more complex problem- solving experiences.  Mrs. Carew and Mrs. Roth are strong advocates of daily flashcard practice and drill, and they know how important these basic facts are in the scheme of life-long learning.

The First Grade classroom is always “happily” reading, writing, working on math, or collaborating on projects. The positive atmosphere fosters student collaboration, which is an important skill for all learners.

2nd Grade

Welcome to Second Grade! It is a very fun and very busy year for our little ones at Saint Pat’s and I feel truly blessed to be their teacher!

I am Mrs. Jensen and I graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in child development, and then went on to receive my Masters in Teaching in 2011. This will be my seventh year teaching second grade at Saint Pat’s and it holds a very special place in my heart. I love witnessing students begin to grow into themselves as independent thinkers and learners. One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching second grade is watching the students grow into fluent and eager readers with a true love of reading! Another big milestone in second grade happens as the students prepare to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Fostering student faith formation and guiding true understanding of these Sacraments is another reason why second grade is such a magical year.

It is my belief that each and every child deserves to have a classroom community where they are welcome, safe, and loved. If children are given the opportunity and the right environment they can achieve anything! I hope to show my students that learning is fun, mistakes are okay, and everyone is capable of success.

3rd Grade

Third grade marks an important time in students’ learning as they become more independent and mature learners. In third grade, students progress from practicing basic skills to mastering them and moving on to further developing more complex skills. Third graders become more advanced readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers, digging deeper into topics and beginning to analyze what they learn.

Mrs. Goralski provides a safe, joyful, and engaging classroom in which students are encouraged to do their personal best. Displayed in the front of the classroom is a Dr. Seuss quote, “Think and wonder, wonder and think!” creating a momentum for young learners to become lifelong learners. A “Responsive Classroom” management approach provides her community of learners with a set of practices and strategies that build academic and social-emotional competencies. Lucy Calkin’s Reading and Writing “Units of Study” supports a cutting edge method of learning where children can write clearly and skillfully and read flexibly and joyfully. Math instruction incorporates hands-on center activities and opportunities to explore the “why” behind mathematical concepts.

4th Grade

Mrs. Devincenzi has more than 13 years of experience teaching in Catholic Schools. She taught 1st and 2nd grade for 11 years and then took 15 years off to raise her three kids, ages 17-22. During this time, she became the Program Director of Girls on the Run Sonoma County, a certified triathlon coach and a business owner of a fitness studio. This will be her second year back as a classroom teacher. She loves teaching and feels blessed to be a part of the St. Patrick’s community.

Mrs. Devincenzi feels strongly that students should feel safe, comfortable, and free to express themselves in her classroom. Her students will be encouraged to take risks. They will learn that making mistakes is a part of the learning process. The 4th graders will learn to respect themselves and each other while embracing their unique qualities.

The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is continued from 3rd grade. This approach will help to develop a positive classroom community. Expectations will be clear and students will learn to take responsibility for their actions. Positive reinforcements will encourage students to stay on task. This will allow students many learning opportunities with little behavior issues.

Students will collaborate with peers and work independently on presentations and projects throughout the school year in all curriculum areas. The students will take ownership in all areas of their learning. They will be given choices and encouraged to challenge themselves with multi-leveled tasks and assignments.

The Social Studies curriculum in 4th grade is California History. Students begin the year studying the physical and geographic features that define places and regions in California. Students move on to describe life and interactions among people of California from the Native American to the Spanish Mission and Mexican Rancho periods. The students end the year learning about the Gold Rush and how it led to California statehood.

The Language Arts curriculum in 4th grade takes the students from learning to read to reading to learn. The goal in this classroom is to help every student become a proficient writer and reader. They will use the writing process to create expository, narrative, opinion, and 5 paragraph essays. They will be given plenty of time to read for the joy of reading and encouraged to read many books from different genres. Vocabulary, Grammar, and Spelling are all a part of the Language Arts curriculum.

The Math curriculum is aligned with the state standards/common core. The students will start with place value and move into addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of multi-digit numbers. They will also work with manipulatives and classroom centers on fractions, measurement, and geometry.

The 4th grade students will have speciality teachers in Science, Religion, Art, and Computers.

5th Grade

Ms. Lynch started at St. Patrick School in 1982, as a member of the first Kindergarten class at St. Patrick School and graduated in 1991. Several years later, she came back and is now the fifth grade teacher.

United States history comes alive in fifth grade! We travel back in time to learn about how our land was colonized and became a country. We learn about the thirteen original colonies and end our study with our annual Colonial Day! We also have an overnight in the middle of San Francisco Bay where we reenact how California played a role in the Civil War.

Reading is another ADVENTURE we take this year! Ms. Lynch shares her love of reading with each and every student. Whether it is a read aloud, class reading project, or independent reading, reading is a large part of our year.

Math is all about the little numbers. We spend much of the year with fractions and decimals. We add, subtract, multiply, divide, simplify, compare, and convert them. We sometimes even play games to practice what we learn.

Ms. Lynch believes learning is fun and adventurous and she hopes fifth grade is a magical year for all of her students.

6th Grade

Sixth Graders hit the big time when they are promoted to the Junior High at St. Pat’s. This is a transitional year where our students take on the added dimension of a departmentalized program. They have many teachers and lots of changes. Even the school uniform is different in the Junior High to help reflect this acknowledgement that it isn’t elementary school anymore!

Our Sixth Grade homeroom teacher, Mr. Mathis has lived all over the world. This adventurous childhood, no doubt, is what fueled his passion for social studies and his love of other cultures. He shares this passion with his Sixth Grade students particularly in his history classes. They are lucky to have an exciting and varied curriculum based on Ancient Civilizations. They see what life was like for the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, just to name a few.

Mr. Mathis ties his Language Arts and Literature curriculum into his history topics. In doing so, the students read about the Greek gods and Julius Caesar. In addition to continuing with a solid foundation in grammar, there is also a strong focus on expository writing.

7th Grade

Mrs. Hendriks’ favorite aspect of Seventh Grade is the quirkiness and individuality of each child. She uses her sense of humor and hands-on curriculum to really connect with her students. Her goal is for students to feel that they have an advocate in her.

The Seventh Grade is an exciting year. One of the highlights is having a Kindergarten “Buddy.” This is a wonderful opportunity for our 7th graders to take a leadership role in “mentoring” a Kindergartener, and our Kindergarteners get to make a connection with “one of the big kids!”

The social studies and literature curriculum is designed to give a solid foundation in note-taking and organizational skills. There is also a focus on studying and preparing for tests. This “executive functioning” curriculum is taught in tandem with a very hands-on, project-based curriculum.

Our Seventh Grade Religion program focuses on Jesus Christ. We study his life and times and explore ways to enrich our life through our deepening faith in Him.

8th Grade

Welcome to Eighth Grade! Eighth grade is an exciting year of growth, opportunities, and transitions. Eighth grade students are responsible, independent learners. They apply foundational skills to increasingly complex content in each subject area and they use these skills across the curriculum. They will work on algebra skills, gain knowledge of the physical sciences, study U.S. History, read literature and poetry, and strengthen their vocabulary and writing skills with a focus on the persuasive essay. They will also be enriched with art, music, technology, PE, and Spanish classes. Students will deepen their faith as they prepare for the celebration of Confirmation, act as role models demonstrating leadership skills as they fill the role of Clan leaders, and challenge themselves as they participate in the week long Yosemite Institute.

Mr. Forsell brings a wealth of experience to the position of eighth grade teacher and enjoys partnering with parents to help students make this important transition from elementary school to high school. He connects with his students and provides a learning environment where students feel emotionally safe to be themselves but also challenged to take risks and go outside their comfort zone. This rewarding year will allow the students to reach their goal of transitioning to high school with spiritual, academic and personal confidence.