With the opening of the 2016 academic year, Holy Spirit School celebrates its fiftieth year of Inspiring Minds and Igniting Hearts and we are honored to continue the amazing traditions and service that the dedicated clergy, parishioners, faculty and staff who helped to first open the doors here instituted. The Holy Spirit Catholic Church itself was established on May 23, 1964 by His Excellency John Russell, Bishop of Richmond. The parish was formed by approximately 500 families. At the urging of the parishioners, the school was built and opened in 1966 with students in kindergarten and grade one. Holy Spirit School now educates about 400 students in prekindergarten through grade eight.
In June of 2007, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the school, and ultimately a multi-million dollar wing was added to include an updated library, computer lab, art workshop, science lab, and expanded space for the vibrant Middle School. The new space for the Middle School allowed Holy Spirit the opportunity to further differentiate the program as a distinct entity within the greater school community. This included the institution of an elective program and the continued growth of the advanced math program to include geometry. A sense of community and program unity has grown with the use of advisories and the institution of field trips that are attended by the Middle School in its entirety.
The “Little Sparks” Prekindergarten program has grown leaps and bounds at Holy Spirit with the inclusion of a full-day prekindergarten option and dedicated classroom space for the prekindergarten and kindergarten Extended Day Program. Holy Spirit School has available a Morning Care Program in order to meet the needs of working parents. A newly added school chapel assists in meeting the spiritual needs of the entire community.
The academic needs of students continue to be enhanced with the installation of SmartBoard technology in each of the classrooms used by grades one through eight. During the summer months of 2015 the wireless connectivity throughout the school was upgraded and 100 Chromebooks have been brought in for student use through the generosity of the PTO. Additionally the computer lab has been updated with new computers. Going into the 2016/2017 academic year we will be adding 100 new iPads for classroom use and to assist with our new robotics program.
Along with the other Diocesan elementary schools, Holy Spirit will be using the Scantron Performance Series as the diagnostic and placement tool. This computer-adaptive test be used to identify student ability levels and demonstrate growth over time. Holy Spirit uses BrainPop video resources as a staple in classrooms where teachers strive to meet the needs of the technology-oriented student.
Student life is strong and extensive. Clubs and activities range from Student Council, to the National Junior Honor Society, yearbook, school newspaper, Spanish Club, Running Club, Math Olympiad, Math Club, and Chess Club to name just a few.
Everything at Holy Spirit happens with the assistance of a fully supportive parent population and an active Parent Teacher Organization. Teachers recognize and respect parents as the primary educators of the students and strive daily to grow the collaborative relationship with parents. Volunteering in classrooms and on field trips, providing hospitality for events, and supporting families in need with prayers and meals are staples of the Holy Spirit School parent community.
Holy Spirit is blessed to have a wonderful relationship with the church parish. The Pastor and Parochial Vicars teach weekly classes throughout the school and provide opportunities for confession on a regular basis. Weekly Friday Masses provide additional teaching moments and interaction with students in the most sacred of celebrations. Clergy participation in both the special and daily events of the school is commonplace and generates genuine excitement in the students.
It may be “easy” to rest on the laurels of the first five decades of the school, but the education requirements of Holy Spirit School’s every-changing student population dictate the need to keep moving forward. With a faculty and staff dedicated to Inspiring Minds and Igniting Hearts, Holy Spirit School looks forward to an ever brighter future and endless possibilities.