St. Dominic School’s “Top Ten” List

#1. We care about each other.

Principal Marvin and Mrs. Reak Sletten greet students by name when they walk through the doors in the morning. Middle School students give high-fives to the younger students in the hallways. 2nd graders are reading buddies with Preschool students. Teachers celebrate students’ accomplishments, big and small. Our community comes together to support families during hardship. SALT, our Student leadership program, makes our school a safe and fun place to learn. And our students leave with long-lasting friendships and the feeling that at St. Dominic School, they were loved.

“As we viewed it, our only option was St. Dominic School because it fits well within our family values. Everyone wants what is best for all children in their academic career, and St. Dominic’s teachers do just that!”

“Kids are loved. I cannot imagine any school doing that better than St. Dominic School.”

#2. Everyone is welcome here.

Our families come from all walks of life. Teachers embrace different learning styles and nurture all abilities. Students learn about diverse cultures, world religions, and socioeconomics. We appreciate and celebrate differences, and at St. Dominic School, everyone belongs.

“I will never forget the strong sense of inclusion and warmth from the moment you enter.”

“I felt that my children were in a community where they were valued individually, given a multitude of opportunities and taught to respect and value differences.”

“The biggest thing I noticed, almost immediately [in high school], was that I was much more mature when it came to diversity. We were prepared far better than my peers at other local schools. … Activities like the 8th-grade mission trip, and other real-world classroom experiences, taught us to understand our privilege and move forward to create an inclusive and diverse community.”

#3. We live our faith.

The Catholic spirit informs everything we do. We create toiletry bags and make pillows for people in transition from hardship. We volunteer at Northfield Retirement Center and the Family Residence, brightening residences’ days through service, singing, and visiting. We pack food bags for the Northfield Community Action Center. We create Birthday boxes for underprivileged families who cannot afford to have a Birthday Party for their child. We pray. We say thank you. We come together for student lead weekly Mass. At St. Dominic School, we have Christ in our hearts, every day.

“This is a wonderful, welcoming, happy place to send your children where they will grow in God’s love for themselves and others.”

“I loved that faith was part of, not separate from my children’s education.”

#4. We develop the whole child.

Our students learn academics. But they also learn respect and kindness. They learn to care for the environment. They create a Mini-Moving Art Museum on the city of Northfield’s plow blades. They work with the city to solve real-life issues like better alternate uses for Greywater at the Northfield Treatment Facility. They play outdoors and have free time with friends. They laugh. They perform. They lift each other up and take pride in the success of the whole group. At St. Dominic School, we know that academics are just one part of a child’s education.

“St. Dominic School gives kids confidence – all the small and big things, from pride to reading at Mass, to the Christmas Program, the kids learn presentation skills. Those are important, too!”

“Leaving St. Dominic School, I felt I had a strong sense of self.”

“St. Dominic’s academic program is great. More importantly, they excel at teaching healthy relationships, self-love, time management/organization, a love of learning, and they connect the dots both academically and socially.”

#5. Our teachers’ ROCK!

Our teachers genuinely care and recognize that each student is unique and special. They listen. They respond. They meet students “where they are at” and challenge them to grow. They teach extra-curricular activities after school, such as STEAM Club. They know family members by name (even grandparents!). And they live the values that they teach. At St. Dominic, our teachers make the difference.

“I will never forget Mrs. Balvin and Mrs. Peterson. They both encouraged my love of writing and provided me with many of the formatting and grammatical skills that I have utilized in high school. I will also never forget Mrs. VanRokel. She was the first person to encourage my love of performing, which has led me to an amazing place in my high school theater program. Those three truly changed my life.”

“The teachers are exceptional, not only as educators but as examples of compassionate humans who had high expectations but also huge hearts.”

“Dedicated and supportive staff [are] typically willing to go above and beyond what is expected and required of them.”

#6. Learning happens here.

Our academics truly set us apart from the rest. We have a unique Preschool program and a full-time Prekindergarten program that is offered to students one year away from Kindergarten. Our partnership with Groves Academy works with children in Preschool-3rd grade in the area of Literacy. This program is proven to increase reading levels to excel levels above the state reading standards. Khan Academy creates a rich Math curriculum preparing students for advanced classes in high school. Enrichment works with students testing above or below grade average in reading and math to ensure they are being challenged appropriately. Our unique middle school Language Arts curriculum develops strong readers — and strong writers. Our STEM Lab provides enrichment opportunities. We use the latest technology, like robots in our STEM Lab, and our days are filled with hands-on, experiential learning through school held academic fairs, field trips, Virtuous Leadership assemblies, spoken word, and so much more. And at St. Dominic School, all of this happens in a positive, respectful, safe environment where learning can occur.

“St. Dominic School prepared me exceptionally well for high school coursework. I left with basic formatting, studying, and time management skills that have been endlessly useful for me.”

“St. Dominic School does an excellent job of preparing its students for the rigor of high school.”

“Students are taught how to be learners. They are ready for the next educational levels.”

#7. We’re the right size.

Our school is small enough that everyone knows everyone’s name. Our Preschoolers are in the same building as our 8th graders. Our learning environment is flexible and adaptable. Our classes are small enough to give 1:1 attention. Classes are small enough for students to form deep bonds with their peers and teachers, and each child has ample opportunity to shine. But our school is also large enough to provide after school programs like STEM, Basketball, and Volleyball. We also offer Spanish, Music, Art, and STEM. Our classes are large enough to differentiate instruction, teach teamwork, and encourage students to interact with others across grades and classes. At St. Dominic School, we find that our size fits all.

“It’s small enough to where you feel like you know everyone there, you are not just a number at St. Dominic School, you’re family.”

“I knew that [my children] would always be noticed every day.”

#8. Our community is large but tight-knit.

We are proud to say that the St. Dominic School community includes not only our students, but our families, our neighborhood, our alumni, and parishioners. Our community comes together to support one another, to worship, to volunteer, fundraise, and to celebrate. The community gives to us, and our students give back to the community. At St. Dominic, it’s all about the people, and our community is why we are here.

“I still feel connected to my peers from St. Dominic School to this day. I felt like it was a wonderful community, and I will never forget the connections I made with the teachers and my fellow students.”

“The kids feel connected to each other and the teachers.”

“The sense of community… probably the #1 thing I’ll always remember.”

“[I love] how much the parents get involved and help enrich the school by volunteering and giving of their time, talent, and treasure.”

#9. We have strong leaders, and we grow strong leaders.

Our school has flourished under robust and steady leadership. Where other schools have struggled, we have stability. We have core values and a clear mission. Our teachers have longevity. And at St. Dominic, we develop these leadership qualities in our students, who arrive at high school ready to join, able to role model, and eager to lead.

“With a positive work environment for staff, parents, and students, I believe the school operates with Christ at the center of everything it does.”

“St. Dominic School reminds us of our grade school in that they know all the children and families well, there’s longevity among faculty, fun traditions, and all-around solid academics.”

“Great, motivated and well-educated teachers, [with] an admin team who cares deeply for the school, its students, and its success.”

#10. We make it work!

We do everything we can for families who want to send their kids to St. Dominic School. We offer financial aid, scholarships, and parishioner grants. We have before and after-school care. We have extra-curricular learning opportunities for students. We partner with Northfield Public Schools to meet the special needs of our students. We have a school nurse and counselor. And we have fantastic support staff who help bring it all together.

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