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St. Dominic Catholic School works to educate the whole child

April 23rd, 2012 9:26 am by Staff Report

St. Dominic Catholic School works to educate the whole child

St. Dominic Catholic School is open to children of all faiths from ages 3 years through fifth grade.

By Cindy Harmon

St. Dominic Catholic School has been part of Kingsport’s fabric for 66 years. Its unique approach to education provides for each child’s academic, physical and values needs.

Being a relatively small school with a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1 allows one-on-one teaching to be optimized and, with that, more material can be covered and in greater depth. Based on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills that compares the scores of St. Dominic’s elementary grade students to other children across the nation, St. Dominic’s graduating fifth-grade class has scored in the 99th percentile eight of the last 10 years. Grades 3 through 5 traditionally are in the top 15 percent across the board.

"The culture of the school supports and expects learning and is a loving and nurturing environment," said Marie Wilson, chairwoman of the school board and mother of two students at St. Dominic. "The teachers have more leeway in how they can structure their curriculum to meet both the academic standards and the needs of that class and the individuals in that class."

The academic program is complemented with a full set of enrichment courses, including twice per week music, art, library and physical education. There is even once a week health instruction from a registered nurse.

The preschool and its curriculum are fully integrated with the elementary school and designed so the children can easily matriculate into kindergarten. The preschool children participate in many of the upper level activities.

"I think the children are comfortable here, they are relaxed, they are confident, and they have a willingness to try. To watch them continue to grow and to go much further than they could see themselves going is amazing," third grade teacher JoAnn Rotenberry said.

It’s the teachers, administrators and parents alike that set the tone for compassionate learning.

"One thing that I really like as a parent is that the values that we expect from and instill in our children at home are carried through in their school day," Wilson noted, "and they are basic values - respecting ourselves, respecting others and respecting things. The spirit of the students is wonderful."

Dr. Dan Simpson, who has four daughters attending the school which is located at 1474 East Center Street added, "When you send your child somewhere for seven hours a day, where do you want them to go and what do you want them to be learning? This is not just about learning math and how to read, although (that's) extremely important, but how does the child learn?That’s what develops a well-rounded child and a well-rounded person in the long run. And as they transition into adulthood, which has its challenges, the more they are grounded in their values, the easier those challenges are. What we are able to provide is something more than just the rote academics. It’s that extra step that takes a little effort but, to me, it’s an investment. At St. Dominic’s, you get exceptional academic results, but more importantly you develop a value-based, well-rounded child."

Registration is now open for the 2012-2013 school year.

"This is an amazing gem," said Dr. Joni Sago, who enrolled her daughter in January. "Go sit in on class, watch them teach and watch the kids learn. It’s a great alternative for parents whose children may be doing fine, but want a different experience, something that feels a little richer."

If you have an interest or a need or are just wondering if St. Dominic’s might be right for you and your child, check out or call St. Dominic’s School at 423-245-8491 for more information. The school is open to children of all faiths from ages 3 years through fifth grade.

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