A unique twist on a Catholic school in South Buffalo

Wed, Oct 3rd 2018 10:00 am
Notre Dame Academy
The gross motor skills lab located at the Abbott Road site of South Buffalo Catholic Notre Dame Academy. (Courtesy of Notre Dame)
The gross motor skills lab located at the Abbott Road site of South Buffalo Catholic Notre Dame Academy. (Courtesy of Notre Dame)

Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Buffalo are guided by the Gospel message of Jesus. At South Buffalo Catholic School Notre Dame Academy, the goal is to build a faith community in which teachers, students, parents and administrators support each other and grow in God's love. And growing they are!

This year the school will have two campuses. Students from pre-K3 though fourth grade will be in the building located at 1125 Abbott Road. Students in grades five through eight will be in the school located at 260 Okell St.

This unique set-up will allow teachers more room to continue to provide students with excellent academic programs that integrate the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of each child within the context of Catholic values.

"This is a wonderful development for our students and for our community in South Buffalo," said Tristan D'Angelo, principal of Notre Dame Academy.

"Two campuses give us exciting opportunities," she continued. "We do not want to lose the feeling that we are one school and are looking for ways to shine as students and teachers discover techniques to bridge the short distance between sites. We are already looking into using technology such as Facetime, with the idea of having our older students read books to their younger buddies across campuses."

D'Angelo also commented, "Our goal has always been to offer our students the best, most well-rounded education as possible. Utilizing two sites avails us to the space needed to improve student's educational experiences here at Notre Dame Academy. Students in pre-K3 through fourth grade will remain in our current site on Abbott Road. With the additional space we are able to open a pre-K for 3-year-olds, accept more students through opening an additional second-grade classroom, offer physical education multiple times per week helping to promote student health, and add a science lab so that younger students can have more hands-on experiences. One of our most exciting additions is the Gross Motor Skills room for our youngest students. This will allow for continued physical activity and growth during our cold winter months."

"Our Notre Dame Okell site will be for students in grades five through eight," continued D'Angelo. "It has been very exciting transforming a previously used space into a vibrant educational atmosphere. A science lab will also be an important addition to our Okell site. We are also working in conjunction with South Buffalo School of Music to expand our school's music program and all fifth-graders will either participate in chorus or instrumental band."

"Our STREAM lounge is an exciting space for our students," stated D'Angelo. "Through an Upon This Rock grant, we were able to supply the room with tablets to enhance learning and allow for an eLibrary. Students will be able to participate in a variety of STREAM activities both during and after school within this room.

"Each campus has 15 new iPads to utilize. Lawrence Rizzuto, the school music teacher, is especially excited to use them in music classes, in conjunction with a special app that will allow student to compose their own musical pieces. It is a very exhilarating time here at South Buffalo Catholic Notre Dame Academy!"

Catholic schools need to be illuminated by faith having their own unique characteristics. From the first moment that a student sets foot into one of the two campuses at South Buffalo Catholic School Notre Dame Academy, they will be entering a new environment that is governed by the love and joy of Christ.

"As canonical administrator of the school, the decision to create two campuses for one school was an easy one to make," said Father Bryan Zielenieski, who is also administrator of Our Lady of Charity Parish, in South Buffalo. "Being the only Catholic School in South Buffalo, we are blessed with a healthy enrollment. With this blessing comes a responsibility to make sure that the opportunity for a quality, Catholic Education is here, vibrant and offers the best for our children and their families.

"The reason why this makes so much sense is we are able to offer better educational opportunities focused on specific age groups. Our fifth- through eighth-grade building will be geared specifically to the needs of our junior high children. Our elementary building will offer a more directed wholesome environment geared to their specific age group. What parent wouldn't want an education focused on the specific needs of their children's developmental age?  We have an opportunity, for Catholic education, and the future of our children in this area. Why wouldn't we take advantage of it?" asked Father Zielenieski.

There is still time to register for 2018-2019 school year. Call 716-824-0726 today. To schedule a shadow day, or for more information on South Buffalo Catholic School Notre Dame Academy visit www.notredamebuffalo.org.  

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