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Why We Teach Our Kids to Give

November 13, 2017
By Nick Tanis

While Thanksgiving and Christmas typically herald food drives and donations to those less fortunate, the hurricane season initiated an early giving season this year. The act of giving and service play an important role at CKS. We continue to try to instill these life lessons in our students because by teaching our students to give, we are teaching them that there is something more important than themselves.

I want to take a moment to look back on something our school community did a few weeks ago during our Be Like Bosco week. All of our students were impacted by hurricane season this year as they either hunkered down or high-tailed it out of town with their families in advance of Hurricane Irma. It made the pictures and news that came out of Puerto Rico during the next hurricane much more relevant to them.

CKS parents Griff and Mary Margaret Braddock can tell you some stories about Puerto Rico. Griff’s company, Braddock Metallurgical, has a plant in Puerto Rico – and his brother’s family lives there. They, like several of our school families, shared stories about the great need for supplies in PR. So, when the Braddocks offered shipping for CKS supplies to Puerto Rico, CKS families jumped at the chance and gave generously.

To give you a true sense of where our donations went, the picture below speaks volumes. Utuado, Puerto Rico, or as the town nicknamed itself after Hurricane Maria, Campamento de los Olvidados – Camp of the Forgotten – has been in the news on a regular basis. The town is not currently accessible by vehicle because the bridge was wiped out when flood waters surged. Supplies can only reach these communities by climbing the ladders atop a debris pile at the base of the bridge or on a shopping cart attached to a pulley and “ziplining” across the sections of the bridge. The picture was taken as some of the CKS supplies were being loaded in the cart for a trip across the bridge.

Your donations also helped families in several different towns, assisted many families flooded out of their homes and were even sent to a home for abused children.

Thank you for your generosity to Puerto Rico and to this week’s food drive for St. Vincent de Paul. These small but powerful examples of how far our kindness extends to others reminds our children why it is so important to give.


Private School Admissions – 5 Tips to Help You Navigate the Process

October 05, 2017
By CKS Admissions

It’s that time of year – the scorching heat is starting to make way for sporadic cool fronts, Halloween costumes are displayed in stores, Thanksgiving plans are being finalized and private schools have opened up applications for the 2018-19 school year.

Wait – what? Didn’t school just start? And we have to apply for next year already? For any first time parent, or first time private school parent, the admissions process can seem daunting. There are deadlines to meet, forms to complete and shadow days to schedule. As a parent, there is also an internal struggle – what is the right school for my child? Will I find friends there too? How do I know if I’m making the right decision for my family?

Try to keep these five tips in mind as you dive into the admissions process or help friends begin their journey:

Do Your Homework

Look at the school’s website, check out their social media, talk to your friends or friends of friends who attend the schools you are considering and ask for their honest assessment.

Tour the School

Hands down, the best way to get a feel for a school is to tour. What is the interaction in the classroom? Are students engaged? What is the pervasive feeling you get from the students and teachers? Could you see your child there?

Pay Attention to Deadlines

Admissions offices have a plethora of forms to contend with for each student. Don’t let your oversight of the deadlines put your child at a disadvantage for being considered.

Ask Questions

Be prepared to ask questions about everything from academic program offerings and the school’s philosophy on discipline to uniform requirements and where students go when they graduate from the school.

Have a Backup

You can do all the right things, get a great feeling about a school, already picture your children sporting the school colors and then get a wait list or denial letter. Private schools are competitive and there are often several candidates vying for few spaces. Remember that there are lots of good choices and that there is a school for everyone.

How can we help? The CKS Admissions process is open for the 2018-2019 school year. Contact us at to schedule a tour and see our school in action.

Put Some PEP in Your Parent-Teacher Communication

August 28, 2017
By Nick Tanis, Principal

Communication is one of the pillars of any relationship. This holds just as true in the relationships of parents and teachers. Education of students works best when teachers and parents view this relationship as a partnership. Yet, communication with teachers can be tricky for parents: some communicate too much, some too little or some do not communicate at all.

The truth is this: if you have any questions or concerns at all, contact the teacher! You are not bothering them, you are not stressing them out and you are not annoying them! Communication is key and educators know it! Follow the guidelines below to put some PEP in your parent-teacher communication.

P-Build with the Positive

While the school year is young—and we are all still in the honeymoon period—send your child’s teacher a positive message. Let them know something you appreciate about their class or something your child shared with you about school. Many times, communication to teachers requires their attention to make a decision, solve a problem or explain what happened in the classroom. It is a nice treat to get a positive communication every once in while that doesn’t require any action other than a smile!

E-Effective E-mail

Email has certainly changed the way we communicate. It has the power to simplify communication and simultaneously complicate it at the same time. Like any professional, teachers receive many emails—more than 50 a day is not uncommon. Unlike most professionals, though, there is little time built in to the work day for them to check e-mail. Afterall, we want our teachers interacting with our students, not their phones and computers. Help keep the clutter out of our teachers’ inboxes by remembering the E’s of email:

Etiquette–an email is not a text message, so double check for spelling/grammar and the proper title before clicking send so your communication is clear.

Emotions–while convenient, e-mail is the least effective way to communicate emotions. There is no font for sarcasm–and no one responds well to messages written in ALL CAPS

Efficiency–use emails to ask short questions that can be answered with yes or no, to summarize meetings, to notify of absences or to set-up a more in-depth conversation

Expectations–we have grown accustomed to lightning fast response times; however, as mentioned above we should want our teachers first priority to be our children, so do not expect an immediate response—allow a 24 hour window.

P-Add a Personal Touch

The most effective way to communicate with your teacher is personally–through a phone call or a conference. Your child will come home one day and say something that makes your head spin—for example, last week, a student ran up to me and asked if I knew that two kids were on the playground fighting. What the student did not know was that I was watching the two students who were arguing with words about whether or not a runner was safe in a kickball game. As adults, we hear the word “fight” and imagine two students surrounded by the entire school body, hitting each other.

In addition, you may have a question about a grade, assignment or lesson plan. These are all great opportunities to communicate personally, by phone or through a meeting with your child’s teacher, and put an end to any questions, just like I put an end to the students’ kickball argument—I saw the play and the runner was safe! Hopefully you can use these tips to safely add some PEP to your new school year teacher communication.

Back to School: 5 Tips for a Smooth First Day

August 08, 2017

It’s go time! Students everywhere are scrambling to finish summer reading and parents are searching for those last school supplies. You thought the school year could be stressful, but back to school time adds its own special twist. How do you ensure a smooth start to school for you and your student? Check out these five tips from seasoned staff members for surviving the first days of school:

Never Mind the Nerves—It is normal for your child to be nervous about starting the school year. Avoid the usual, “Oh, it’s going to be fine!” Instead, acknowledge that anxiety is common and give them time to talk about what’s bothering them—but not too much! You don’t want to over-dwell on the anxiety. Help them see the positives of a new school year and be enthusiastic! Our children might only listen to a fraction of what we tell them but have a knack for doing exactly what we do. If you are calm and excited, then they will be too!

Perfect Patience—The first days of school are tough on everyone! It has only been 40 days of summer, but everyone has to learn – or re-learn – new routines. This can be frustrating. Our children are going from home, where they may be only one of few vying for attention, to school, where they are one of many. Model patience for your child. Show them what to do when they are upset and create situations where your children have to wait, so they can practice perfecting patience.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff—There is nothing worse than waking up the first day of school with a feeling that you forgot to do something! Forgot to pack lunch or snack? We have emergency lunches. Forgot PE uniform on the first day? Consider the first week a grace period. All the supplies in the locker but your child couldn’t find a pencil? We’ll find one for them. Do not panic–we’ve got you covered! Starting the school year can be overwhelming whether it’s your first or tenth year! We understand it sometimes takes a few days to get the routine down, and we practice flexibility to get everyone comfortably through the beginning days of school.

Back to Basics—It is OK to admit that you let your children’s sleep routines slack over the summer, as well as their academic routines and their eating (cereal for dinner, anyone?). You are not alone, but if you want to make it through the first week without a melt-down then begin to introduce routines back into your schedule. Sleep is essential. Start by getting bedtime normalized, then move on to healthy eating habits. Once this is completed, your children should be a little more ready to face the school year.

Let Love Rule—Your children—no matter the age—need to know they are loved. While that doesn’t mean they will always like it when you give them a hug in front of their friends (we hear you, middle school parents!), they will appreciate it. They must feel safe in order to learn. Remind them every day that you love them, their teachers love them and God loves them.

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