St. Agnes is still strong: Parochial school is not closingSt. Agnes School is not closing – and that’s straight from the Bishop’s mouth.
By: Amy Chaffins, The Osakis Review
St. Agnes School is not closing – and that’s straight from the Bishop’s mouth.
In fact, since October, the St. Agnes School Board has been meeting with the Parish Council of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Osakis setting benchmarks for the school so Bishop John F. Kinney could determine its viability.
According to Father Dave Petron, school superintendent, the bishop is the only one who can close the school and he has expressed his support for St. Agnes.
In fact, the bishop has encouraged the school board to include its preschool program in its goals to ensure it will have students for the future.
Petron said the school board has been challenged by the rumors floating around the parish and community that the school is floundering.
“A small core of the parish seem to be set against the school and continue to question its viability,” he said.
That began the process of the joint meetings that included Linda Kaiser, director of Catholic Education Ministries for the diocese and Jane Marrin, chancery planning director.
These representatives work with Catholic schools throughout the diocese and already know the issues, Petron explained. “They have suggestions for dealing with problems to help us get better,” he added.
In addition to meeting with the parish council, the school board will host a listening session in March, open to the entire parish and community members, where anyone can ask questions.
“Our goal is to leave nothing unanswered,” Petron said.
For St. Agnes School’s newest leader, co-principal Kimra Kirksey, hearing anyone question the future of the school gives her more incentive to work harder to promote the success of the school.
A perfect example of the future of St. Agnes is kindergarten. Last year there were five kindergarten students, this year there are 12 enrolled, Kirksey said.
“It’s a very positive sign for the future,” she said.
The St. Agnes preschool program is also going well. This year, the school hired Cindy Wolterstorff to lead the program. She brings a lot of experience to the classroom along with the desire for it to be a Christian-based preschool.
With co-principal Pat Pospisil leading the religious aspects of the school, Kirksey focuses on enrollment and marketing.
Her latest goals are finding ways the school can involve the community.
One idea is expanding its current “sponsor a student” tuition support program to something along the lines of “adopt a student.”
Kirksey explained that a person willing to help a student with his or her tuition would become a school friend, being invited to school events, included in school mailings and acknowledged by the student with cards.
Those who choose to remain anonymous would still have that option.
Kirksey encourages anyone with questions about the school – whether considering enrollment for their children or those interested in getting involved to call her at (320) 859-2130.