Annual Newsletter 2019-2020
St. Brigid of Kildare School
Dear Friends of Saint Brigid of Kildare SPICE,

I am sitting here writing this in my house where I have been alone for much of the last two months due to the COVID pandemic. In order to contain the spread of the pandemic, much isolation has been created. This has led to loneliness, depression, anxiety, frustration and craving for human contact for many people. In particular, I have witnessed this first hand from my dining room as I work remotely with the staff of St. Brigid School to make sure that our students are not only learning academics, but that they are socially and emotionally well and feeling part of our faith and school community. This has oftentimes taken precedence over the academic lessons. We have all discovered first hand how the sense of belonging and human connection is more powerful than we might have guessed.

It has been serendipitous and a blessing that last year we raised SPiCE funds to start our formal Social Emotional Program (SEL). With these funds, we started the year with raising awareness and offering training, discussions and enhanced resources to help our children with their social emotional needs. Little did we know how important these training and resources would become on March 13th when we last saw our children in our school building. Teachers have created so many different and unique ways to connect with students during this quarantine because they know how important it is to deliver more than math and reading content to the children that are in their care. Baking, dancing, crafting, singing together over zoom calls, office hours being offered to touch base with a teacher, driveway visits from a distance just to see a friendly face for a moment, spending countless hours trying to find a child who is not responding to any of our communications are just a few examples of outreach that have taken place these last few months. Our staff had to figure out how to help children socially distance themselves without emotionally distancing themselves. Teachers have the training and awareness to offer these opportunities. Along with this, we have offered additional counseling services this year and even through the last two months during the stay at home order.  All of this is a result of your generous support of SPiCE. 

In closing, I thank you for your support of SPiCE and ask you to continue to look for ways to share kindness, make connections and appreciate the diversity of gifts that people bring to our Saint Brigid of Kildare community.

May the Blessings of Saint Brigid be with you always,
Kathy O'Reilly
A Reflection from a Religious Education SPiCE Aide
I am honored to be a S.P.I.C.E. aid at St Brigid.

Once a week I am able to assist a student in their spiritual journey. This school year I was lucky enough to work with a sixth grader in the Sunday night program. Seeing him engage with his friends in the first ten minutes of fellowship has been heart warming. 

As we then head into the classroom, I work to adjust our daily teachings to their unique needs -- wanting them to always have the most positive experience I can offer, if only leaving with that feeling of being loved and supported. Isn’t that the essence of God’s teachings. 

Have you ever noticed that special needs children live in the present, never regretting the past or worrying about the future. I am the one who feels “special”, being assigned to help these wonderful children, and for that I am eternally grateful.

-Patty Cohan, Religious Education SPiCE Aide
2019-2020 Year in Review
After School Study Tables Program Continues
Saint Brigid of Kildare School continued the successful After School Study Table program for students in grades 5-8. The focus of Study Tables is to give students extra time to work on executive functioning skills, such as organization, time management, and study strategies, as well as giving children time to receive support with homework. This program is offered at no fee for any student in grades 5-8 and is offered three days a week for one hour each day. Parents sign their child up ahead of time so that there are adequate staff members available to assist students. This program plans to continue again in the 2020-2021 school year.
Crucial Conversations Launches New Format
Saint Brigid of Kildare SPiCE has been sponsoring Crucial Conversations parent workshops designed to help teach important skills related to parenting in today’s age. Since 2016, these workshops have covered topics related to parenting and resiliency, social media, drugs and addiction risks, anxiety, technology, and empowering the whole child.

On November 19, 2019, Saint Brigid of Kildare held the workshop Tackling Anxiety with Laura Lewis, Clinical Counselor and Assistant Director of the Suicide Prevention Program at The Ohio State University. With over 200 attendees, the workshop covered the recent rise of anxious kids, and shared tips to help children manage and reduce anxiety. The seminar also discussed common anxiety catalysts such as academic pressure and social media, as well as the positive impact of faith, family life and relationships. The evening began with prayerful meditation and ended with table talk and time for questions and answers.

During the winter and spring of 2020, Bruce McKenna, campus safety and security, led a new format for Crucial Conversations workshops -- small group discussions on various topics related to community, family, and personal safety.

The small group meetings were 30-minute presentations, followed by Q&A and discussion. January's meetings focused on how we're keeping your kids safe at St. Brigid campus, February's meetings were on social media, cyber bullying and predator grooming, and March's meeting was on active threats and safety in community and public settings. This small group format allowed for great discussion and multiple questions to be answered.

Check our website for more details and resources from previous workshops at
SPiCE Skill-Building Scoop Added
Last spring, SPiCE shared a survey with all school and parish families. Over 100 families completed the survey. Based on the results, families were seeking more information relating to homework, studying, time management, and organization. To address this need, we launched the SPiCE Skillbuilding Scoop -- a monthly article written by our Academic Support Team for the Wolfhound Wednesday. These articles included helpful hints and possible resources to utilize at home.  Topics covered included homework help, the importance of play, working memory skills and strategies, study strategies, tips for virtual school success and more. To read these articles, visit our website here.
2020 Corks for a Cause Wine Tasting a Roaring Success!
On Saturday March 7th, Hendricks Hall was filled with over 275 individuals celebrating the roaring 20’s while raising over $115,000 for our parish SPiCE program that benefits children in our parish and school with special learning needs.

This was the 13th wine tasting event since the founding of the SPiCE (Special People in Catholic Education) program in 2005. In the last 13 years the event has raised more than $850,000 for the hundreds of children in our elementary school and religious education programs that have been impacted by SPiCE. The program’s goal is to ensure that every student is seen as an individual learner. With this philosophy everyone benefits from collaboratively working together to make sure all children benefit from a Catholic education.

There were nine different wines to sample, a wine grab and over 100 silent auction items that included sports tickets, spa packages and one of a kind experiences. This night would not be possible without the hundreds of hours of hard work from our volunteers and the Corks for a Cause committee. We would like to thank our sponsors for their generosity as well as the hundreds of auction items and wine grab donors.

We would also like to thank our event's speaker Olivia Assaf. Olivia has been a member of this parish since the day she was baptized. She is a proud graduate of St. Brigid School and Bishop Watterson and is currently a freshman at Ohio University. Olivia was one of our first students to be a part of the SPiCE program and she has become an advocate for children with specialized learning needs. She shared her educational journey and how SPiCE has been important to her and her family.

The SPiCE Corks for a Cause wine tasting could not exist without our many amazing volunteers. To become involved please contact Sarah Moore, Development Director St. Brigid of Kildare at 614-761-3734 or [email protected].
Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Program Launched
Thanks to our generous donors, Saint Brigid of Kildare School was able to implement the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum in grades PreK-2nd for all students this year. This program incorporates skills such as letter naming, rhyming, blending, and segmenting. All Preschool—2nd grade teachers attended a training on this program in August so they were prepared to introduce the 35-week program that consists of daily whole group 10-12 minutes lessons.

For students in need of extra support, portions of lessons were used in a small group and served as a “second dose” of phonemic awareness instruction. For more information on the program, visit
Social-Emotional Learning Program Continues
Thanks to generous donations raised at our 2019 Corks for a Cause event, St. Brigid of Kildare was able to continue developing a social-emotional program, designed to focus on the needs of the whole child.

This past year, the school implemented a social-emotional screener for grades 3-8 through a company called Panorama. The screener looked at several areas, including growth mindset, social awareness, school climate, teacher-student relationships, and sense of belonging. It analyzes these key areas for each student to determine where more intervention or support from the school may be needed.

By focusing on social-emotional learning skills, our hope is to help students foster their strengths, further develop positive relationships, understand emotions, and a variety of other things. Based on the results of the survey, we were able to focus lessons in religion, health, and guidance to address the needs of our students. Small groups and/or individual sessions with the guidance counselor were also created based on student need.

We are excited to continue to focus on and support each of our individual learners' needs. To learn more about the Panorama program, click here.
High School Planning Meeting Held
New this year, the SPiCE committee held a meeting for parents of children in the SPiCE program who will be entering high school soon. The meeting included several current 8th grade parents, along with SPiCE committee members and former St. Brigid parents whose students benefitted from SPiCE. It was a chance for parents (current and previous) to share things to think about when planning for the transition to high school, as well as to ask and get questions answered from parents who have been in their shoes. This was a great meeting that we hope to continue in the future.
2020-2021 A Look Ahead
SPiCE Announces New Scholarship Program
During SPiCE's 2020 Corks for a Cause Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, Deacon Frank Iannarino made the following announcement:

Parents with children who have special learning challenges face many costs outside of the tuition they pay at St. Brigid of Kildare. Additional expenses could include tutoring, counseling, therapy services, specialized medical care and more. We all know it is a sacrifice for a family to provide their children a Catholic education.  That’s why our parish has been putting together a long-term plan for the sustainability of Catholic education both in our school and religious education program, incorporating grants, financial aid and scholarships to aid in tuition costs.
Tonight, we would like to further that mission by asking you to help us establish a SPiCE scholarship program. 100% of the funds right now will be used to help those in our school and religious education program who are in our SPiCE Program to help pay for their tuition. But this scholarship program will not be for those children alone. We also realize that since the beginning of the SPiCE program 15 years ago there have been thousands of volunteers that have given of their time and talent to raise the money that we have used to create the SPiCE program we have today. We also are aware that there has been the support of students in our school and religious education program that have gone out of their way to reach out and aid children in our SPiCE program. So, we also hope to offer a SPiCE supporter scholarship for the families and the children that have lived the philosophy that the inclusion of all children in our parish community adds richness to all our lives and promotes understanding, compassion, and respect for all children of God.

"Jesus called them to him, saying “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16

With the generosity of the over 275 individuals that attended the event, the SPiCE committee was able to raise over $20,000 that evening to establish the SPiCE scholarship program.  In May the scholarship committee met and reviewed the scholarship process. There will be an application and selection process and then the committee will meet again to anonymously decide on the recipients that will receive the funding for the 20-21 school year. Thank you to all that supported this groundbreaking program -- you have significantly changed the lives of children and their families.

If you would like to support the SPiCE scholarship directly, please contact Sarah Moore Development Director St. Brigid of Kildare 614-761-3734 or [email protected].
Upcoming SPiCE Events
  • Corks for a Cause Silent Auction & Wine Tasting - Saturday, March 6, 2021

  • SPiCE Board Meeting Dates:
  • September 21st, 6-7 PM, Hendricks Hall
  • November 2nd, 6-7 PM, Hendricks Hall
  • February 1st, 6-7 PM, Hendricks Hall
  • May 3rd, 6-7 PM, Hendricks Hall
The SPiCE program at St. Brigid of Kildare thrives because of the time and talent of people like you -- without your support, these programs wouldn't be possible.

From volunteering to help with an event, chair a committee, or donate financially, any bit of help you can give to support our SPiCE program is deeply appreciated. Click the link below to learn about the many ways you can support SPiCE at St. Brigid of Kildare.