Wisconsin School Choice Program offers Milwaukee families the choice of sending their children to St. Agnes School without paying tuition, just as though they were attending a public school. But time is running out for this year. August 1-20 is the final enrollment period, and this isn’t something you want to leave to the last minute.
St. Agnes’ Parental Choice administrator, Amy Retzer, is ready to help you make this transition for your children. Parents can apply online, but there is paperwork to take care of to show that you qualify for this program—city of residence and income level, for example.
Retzer reminds us that “Choice seats are limited,” so it’s important to reach out to her as soon as you can. Contact Retzer at 262-781-4996 or [email protected]parish.org.
“Parents want their children to come to St. Agnes for a superior education, grounded in our Catholic faith, which is not necessarily available from their public school district,” Retzer said. “They want their children in a faith-filled environment that focuses on our personal relationships and that is grounded in our beliefs.”
Teachers at St. Agnes are dedicated to their students’ success and parents realize that. Parent Jessica Headson had Mary Langford as her own teacher, this fall and she is thrilled that her daughter, Summer, will be in Langford’s K5 class.
“The small class sizes here at St. Agnes give each teacher the unique opportunity to spend time with each student individually,” principal Rachel Kolbeck said. “Teachers are able to target their lessons to the individual needs of each student. Small class sizes help the teachers to meet the needs of every student.”
Choice parents are enthusiastic about our school. “St. Agnes is the place where we feel at home, from our kids to our parents,” one parent said. “The staff here treats each child as one of their own and there’s no other school I would trust with my kids. My daughter comes home each day HAPPY after receiving the same love and care she would at home.”
Kolbeck knows “children learn differently and at different paces. Individualized attention is key to student growth and ultimately student success.”
Choice parents are supportive of St. Agnes School. Sarah Toliver has two children here, a third grader and another in K3 this year. She said, “CHOICE has afforded our family the opportunity to provide our children with a strong foundation in the form of a Catholic education in a loving and diverse school. We are so grateful for this program and the chance it gives our girls to grow educationally AND in their faith.”
If you are interested in learning more about School Choice at St. Agnes, contact Amy Retzer at 262-781-4996 or [email protected]. The deadline for this school year is only weeks away.
Photo: St. Agnes school children have an annual tradition of having their photo taken in this cross formation, a reminder of their being a part of the Christian family.
" Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Mark 10:14
Three- and four-year-olds will be the newest groups of students at St. Agnes this fall. Rachel Kolbeck, the new principal at St. Agnes School, particularly encourages parents to enroll their three-year-olds in St. Agnes’ new K-3 classroom.
Parish member, Angela Grant, will be the K-3 teacher. A graduate of UW-Whitewater, Grant is licensed to teach early childhood and special education classes in Wisconsin. She has taught for 10 years at St. Sebastian School in Milwaukee.
“When they said K-3 would be starting this year, I jumped at the chance,” Grant said. Her two younger children, Caleb and Abby, attend St. Agnes and her oldest, Michelle, just graduated from St. Agnes this spring. Grant worked at St. Agnes School this past spring, providing learning support in grades 2-8. And she has substituted for six years in the primary grades and helped with lunch duty.
“K-3 is really important,” Grant said. “We provide socialization as well as academics. Students learn letter introduction and sound identification. They learn shapes and colors, numbers from one to 20, all the while doing group activities on the carpet and learning to socialize and interact appropriately.”
The K-3 program is reasonable in price, especially when compared to day care, according to Amy Retzer, School Choice administrator at St. Agnes School. “Day care costs can be exorbitant, but the St. Agnes pre-school costs is a reasonable $16.70 a day,” Retzer said. The school also offers bi-weekly invoicing to manage payments more easily.
“The program is fully accredited through the archdiocese,” Retzer said. And unlike other pre-schools, students will receive religious education as well as gym, music and art classes
Classroom location is another bonus: K-3, K-4 and K-5 classrooms are all housed in the same first floor wing of the building with their own outside entrance. Many parents and grandparents can easily drop off or pick up students for parents who work long hours.
“For someone working full time, this is a great option,” Retzer said. “I encourage St. Agnes grandparents to let their children know about this program, even if they don’t live in the area.”
While public schools draw their students from the neighborhood, private schools like St. Agnes have the advantage of offering their strong, Catholic education program to families from further away. People come because they value the education their children receive.
“St. Agnes has a great school community and faith community,” Grant said. “(There are) so many opportunities to get involved. And the teachers are welcoming and friendly."
K-3 teacher Angela Grant is with her husband, Wayne, and children:
Michelle (St. Agnes graduate, entering 9th grade at Hamilton High School),
Caleb (2nd grade at St. Agnes)
Abby (K-4 at St. Agnes)
‘Heart Works’ mission team brightens St. Agnes School
St. Agnes Parish has for many years sent parish volunteers, including teens, to less fortunate parishes in the Midwest to help with special projects like repairing homes, serving at food banks and doing lawn care for the elderly.
This summer the tables have been turned and a group of volunteers from nearby parishes arrived in early July to paint the school hallways. Being the recipient of others’ generosity may be a humbling experience. But the volunteers are quick to acknowledge that the experience is a really good one for them, both in terms of learning new skills and growing spiritually.
Corinna Ramsey, director of Youth Ministry at Good Shepherd, is familiar with St. Agnes where her children attended school. It was Ann Sherwood who told her about the need for painters at St. Agnes. Sherwood is St. Agnes’ mission coordinator. Ramsey organized the team to do the work here. The volunteers come from several parishes and are committed to their service and faith.
“Faith formation is important. We begin and end our day with prayer,” Tim Nolan from Good Shepherd parish said. “We go to daily Mass at the site where we work and sometimes go to outdoor stations at Holy Hill in the evening, depending on where we are working.”
Nolan is also a member of St. Agnes parish and a member of this “Heart Works” local team. Other group members are from St. James, St. Mary’s and Good Shepherd. This is Nolan’s fifth summer as part of a mission team.
“My involvement with work camp started with my mother and sister,” Josh Dreger said. “We’re good friends with the coordinator at Good Shepherd and St. James, so I signed up and have been doing it ever since. It’s my spiritual week.”
Kurt Harthun, from St. Mary’s and St. James parishes, organizes the Good Shepherd youth groups. He has done one-week projects for the past two years, using a week of his vacation time for this. “My wife is the only one working around the house and taking care of everything this week. She does a ton of work at home and now she does even more.”
Kurt added, “I like going to work camp because we learn valuable skills that we can use in the future,” he said.
Zoe Kastner from Good Shepherd parish is a first-time volunteer. Her cousin, Gabby Ramsey, invited her to join the group this summer. This is Ramsey’s fifth summer. She has done mostly paint jobs, but she’s also served meals for the homeless.
The national organization is called, “Catholic Heart,” but because of the pandemic, the Milwaukee Archdiocese has restricted mission trips that involve travel to other areas. So this local team searched out volunteer work on their own, like the paint job here at St. Agnes.
Katie Papador is from Good Shepherd. “I like volunteering,” she said. “Once you become an adult, there’s not a lot of time to do volunteer work, so I like doing it now. I have more time.” This is Papador’s fifth year of summer mission work.
These mission teams do other things besides painting. For example, Nathan Dreger from St. James Parish has built a wheelchair ramp and rebuilt a deck.
A diocesan group from Kenosha, “Love Begins Here,” joined the team at St. Agnes for one of the work days.
St. Agnes adults and teens who are interested in learning more about a St. Agnes mission group for next year should contact Ann Sherwood at [email protected]
Members of the “Heart Works” mission team include (front row: Zoe Kastner, Gabby Ramsey and Katie Papador and (back row) Tim Nolan, Kurt Harthun, Josh Dreger and Nathan Dreger.
Single person caption:
Kurt Harthun paints the trim around the fire extinguisher cabinet in the hallway.
Greetings and welcome!
We are glad you are here at the St. Agnes parish website! We have a lot of intesting ministries and faith formation programs for all age groups to help people grow spiritually and become involved as faithful followers of Christ.
Delve into the site to find various opportunities to use your time, talents, personal abilities and gifts to serve God and God's people, thus becoming a part of our vibrant school and parish community. Join us every weekend, on feast days and solemnities for prayer and worship at St. Agnes congregation.
Jesus is inviting each one of us to be the "salt of the earth and light of the world." As a Christian community, we are called to share the light of Christ with others through our good works, so that people may see the goodness of God and glorify our Father in heaven. Let us accept Lord's challenge and bear abundant fruit according to his will.
May the risen Lord be a constant source of inspiration to each one of you in building a deeper and better relationship with God and our fellow pilgrims in the journey of faith. I am immensely grateful to God and to his faithful community here for being companions in our journey together as one family!
You might want to explore our new program called FORMED for talks, lessons, and movies and use the feature of WeShare for online giving or registration to programs. Please don't hesitate to contact our parish and school staff or one of our ministry leaders with questions you may have about opportunities to learn and serve. We look foward to having you to be an integral part of our parish. Watch for future weekly updates that will help you explore our new site.
Fr. Joy Thachil SAC
Pastor / Administrator