Catholic Schools Week Liturgy
SFHS welcomed Most Reverend Ronald A. Hicks, Bishop of Joliet, who presided at the Liturgy during Catholic Schools Week. A live stream broadcast of Mass allowed students, faculty, and staff to safely participate from their classrooms, while students off-campus and the larger community tuned in from home.
- Bishop Hicks thanking Music Ensemble members for sharing their musical talents
- Some members of the Worship Team/Music Ensemble perform “Glorious” by BJ Putnam
- Faculty and staff are recognized for 5, 10, 15, and 35 years of service at SFHS. Most notably is Principal Raeann Huhn, who is celebrating 35 years.
Join Us On The SFHS Path
“There’s something RIGHT,
there’s something GOOD,
happening at this SCHOOL.”
Most Reverend Ronald A. Hicks, Bishop of Joliet
during his visit to St. Francis High School
“Finding Your High School Fit Involves Trust”
Sometimes middle school parents feel more angst than their child when making a high school decision. Students intuitively know where they fit after visiting, but we parents can become deluged with details. Finding your high school fit ultimately involves trust. When parents pass the baton to a high school, they trust the institution to “see” students and inspire them in their college prep journey. I like to frame the whole process as an adventure in self-discovery.
Parents, trust your gut and your child’s intuition. If your child loves their shadow day at St. Francis High School, for example, celebrate! It’s wonderful because a child who likes school will ultimately seek opportunities and excel beyond expectation. Also, probe a little. What do they like about the school? Middle schoolers may cite simple observations. I’ve heard students say about SFHS, “I like that people know each other.” “I like the way the teachers talk in class.” “I liked how I felt when I was there”. I suggest parents try to understand how such comments reflect a child’s personal needs and goals, then confidently pair their student with the right high school launching pad, thinking independently and of their child’s best interest above ancillary factors.
Sometimes it takes a few visits to develop trust. Spring is a perfect time for seventh graders to shadow and get a glimpse of what lies ahead. Parents of incoming freshmen, transfer students, and middle school students – consider coming for a tour. School tours are on Wednesdays on the hour or any weekday at 3:00 p.m. Call me with questions.
Maureen Isphording, Director of Admissions
"I Am St. Francis"
The SFHS “Alumni Merger” Perspective: Six Questions for Dr. Dave ’01 and Mrs. Katie Anderson ’01 Ryan, Alums Who Married
1. What college did you attend after graduating from SFHS? What is your current occupation?
Katie: I attended Miami of Ohio for undergrad and Saint Louis University for my master’s degree. I am currently employed part-time as a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Dave: I went to Saint Louis University for my undergraduate and medical school. I am currently a General Surgeon at Northwestern Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
2. How did SFHS prepare you for your university studies and career?
Katie: I graduated high school with such a strong academic foundation that I never felt overwhelmed as I transitioned into college life. In many ways, I found the everyday rigor and expectations of St. Francis more challenging than some of my classes at the university level. My teachers at St. Francis held me accountable. Students at St. Francis are held to high expectations because the teachers at St. Francis are committed to tapping into every student’s individual potential.
The idea of service is woven into the fabric of the St. Francis experience. It is no coincidence that both Dave and I chose career paths that provide a service to others. At St. Francis, we were taught to use our unique talents to serve others. As a speech-language pathologist, I continue to serve by helping others communicate.
Dave: I felt very prepared for the college level material but more importantly SFHS helped me develop the study skills to learn both in college and beyond. I was also able to earn early acceptance to SLU medical school due to grades and test scores while at SFHS. This was a great opportunity to help me achieve my career goals.
3. How has your SFHS education and student experience impacted your life?
Katie: Having met my husband at St. Francis I can truly say that attending St. Francis was the greatest decision of my life. However, aside from meeting the love of my life, my experience at St. Francis gave me the confidence, academic foundation, and sense of community that continues to shape my life.
My decision to attend St. Francis was driven largely by a desire to attend a smaller school than the large public high school my older brothers attended. I know that the fact that I was in a class of about 150 students rather than near 1000 helped shape me into the person I am today. I was able to participate in clubs and activities in an environment that made everyone feel welcomed and wanted and not just another face in the crowd. I love the fact that I knew and had at least some connection with every person in my class and also that I was known, and that people cared about me.
This sense of community has continued into adulthood. Today our closest friends are largely made up of Spartans. There is a sense of belonging that extends past high school and is very comforting. I know without a doubt that we have a support system of friends that we have known for over 20 years and who would drop everything to help if needed. That is a feeling that cannot be overlooked or minimized.
Dave: My best friend and girlfriend throughout high school is now my wife and we have two kids. Thus, I'm reminded of SFHS nearly every day. I keep in touch with many people from St. Francis and they are some of our best friends today. SFHS also instilled the Christian values in us that we try to live our lives by and teach our kids.
4. What is your favorite memory during your time at SFHS? OR What do you appreciate the most about your time at SFHS?
Katie: I really loved every aspect of the high school experience. As a cheerleader, I loved the excitement of Homecoming week and attending sporting events. The Spartan Olympics were always a highlight of the year and were a great experience for the whole school to come together.
Dave: Aside from meeting my wife, I think the size of St. Francis was great and provided me so many opportunities. I played varsity football and basketball through high school and volleyball my senior year. The size of SFHS allowed me an opportunity to play that may not have been available at a larger school but still with the ability to be highly competitive with those larger schools. Playing sports, particularly football, is probably my favorite memory. Although in high school one does not think about developing self-discipline, when thinking back developing the self-discipline to juggle school work and regular practice/extracurricular activities is what I now appreciate most about my time at SFHS.
5. What are you proud to be an SFHS alum?
Katie: I am proud that being a Spartan stands for loyalty, honesty, humility, and honor. I am proud to be part of a community that respects the tenets of our Catholic faith and holds its students to high standards of academic excellence.
Dave: I think SFHS is a great place to learn school material, but one also will grow in their faith. At SFHS you become part of a community that extends far beyond high school.
6. What is one word that encapsulates your experience at St. Francis High School?
Only at St. Francis High School
A Parent’s Guide to Opportunity in SFHS Mathematics
- “Teachers love what they do.”
- “My teacher makes math class really fun.”
- “Teachers really care about their students, not just academically, but their well-being too.”
- “My teacher has helped me both in AAT and AP Stats to apply complex mathematical dexterities to real-world problems.”
- “All the math teachers at our school are extremely resourceful and helpful. They are always there when I have questions before school, during class, and after school, and they constantly take the time to sit down and make sure that I really understand the material we're working on.”
Those are student comments about the SFHS math experience. Is the positivity surprising? Department teachers love math and create a path to fulfill each student’s math potential. But how much does this supportive atmosphere matter academically?
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., author of “Mindset” explains, “In one study, high school students talked about their math teachers. Some of them said that when they were stuck, their teachers sat down with them and said things like this: ‘Show me what you’ve done, let’s try to understand how you’re thinking, and then let’s figure out what you should try next.’ The students who were treated like this—as though understanding was of paramount importance and could be achieved with support from the teacher—were moving toward a growth mindset in math.”
SFHS students describe teachers who rigorously train students in the classroom while respecting individual learning styles and developing the whole person, even in math class. Academic excellence combined with a transformative math appreciation describes one aspect of the SFHS Math Department, which offers a wide range of coursework for students at all levels and a flexible curriculum that allows students to work to their strengths without tracking.
The Mathematics Department teaches mathematics for both its intrinsic value and to foster many important skills. The study of math helps students learn to ask questions, define a problem, evaluate information, use appropriate tools to both analyze and interpret data, and design solutions. Following the STEM curriculum model and using ACT Readiness Standards, the Mathematics department develops each student’s ability to become analytical and creative thinkers and to improve their problem-solving skills as a result. The curriculum provides opportunities for our students to practice logical thinking, organization, communication, and technology skills. The Mathematics Department provides a challenging and rewarding college prep program that empowers all students to realize their mathematical potential and to appreciate the value of mathematics.
Graduation requirement: 3 credits, must include Algebra and Geometry
*Designates a one-semester course
Quick Questions with Department Chair, Mary McCarthy:
1. How does a student get placed into math class freshman year?
A student's initial placement is based on several criteria, including scores on the entrance exam, teacher recommendations, and the rigor of the junior high curriculum. If a student would like to take Geometry or Honors Geometry as a freshman, he or she must take the Proficiency Test in April to show proficiency in Algebra 1. Algebra 1 is a crucial building block for success in future mathematics courses. We typically use that score for placement into Geometry or Honors Geometry. Occasionally, a freshman will begin his/her math studies in a higher placement.
2. How can a student get help when needed?
If a student needs extra help, all math teachers are available before or after school most days to answer questions. A student should talk to their teacher to arrange a time. Additionally, if a student feels more comfortable with peer tutoring, there are Math Study Groups through Microsoft Teams with National Honor Society members. One benefit to peer tutoring is that our NHS tutors have likely taken the math course with the same teacher in the past and know how the material is being explained. Another perk is that younger students working with a peer tutor regularly form a relationship with some of our upperclassmen, in which they then see a familiar friendly face in the halls.
3. How is technology incorporated into math lessons?
The math teachers use OneNote to distribute note sheets and worksheets. Students take notes on their Surface Pro devices during class, and most teachers allow students to complete their homework in OneNote as well. Additionally, the Math Department teaches students how to use a TI- 84 graphing calculators starting freshman year. This helps students become calculator proficient by the time they take the ACT/SAT during junior year. The Geometry classes also use a program on the computers called Geogebra to do labs that explore the properties and formulas they are studying.
4. Math can be a challenging subject for some learners. How do you make your lessons engaging for students and also relevant to life?
We try to demonstrate to the students how different lessons connect to each other and how content learned in previous classes is applicable in future courses. We do ACT/SAT prep in our junior-level classes so students see how all of the material they have been learning throughout high school will come together for college. Some of our senior courses help students prepare for college placement exams in math. We use word problems and projects to show students where math is used in everyday life. For example, the Pre-Calculus classes do a dream car/dream house project when they are working on interest and exponential equations to learn how financing works. We also investigate how quickly credit card debt accumulates. In Honors Pre-Calculus, we introduce check writing and balancing a checkbook. Trigonometry students do an outdoor lab to use what they learned to determine the heights of several SFHS landmarks.
A Sample of Experiences that Complement the Department
Math Team - Open to students with a special interest or talent in mathematics.
*Math Team has placed in the top 10 at State 22 times in the last 25 years.
Junior High Math Contest - Hosts middle school competitors each year.
*This year’s virtual contest took place February 1-5, 2021.
Peer Tutoring - Both National Honor Society and Math Team members are available for tutoring weekly and upon request.
*No charge to students.
Pi Day – March 14 is celebrated as Pi Day, as it falls on the 14th day of the 3rd month, or 3.14, the first three digits of pi.
*Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of the circle.
Be an Actuary event – March 10, 2021- Leaders from several actuarial associations and universities are presenting an informational and interactive presentation to our students. The purpose of this event is to give our students another example of how they can use math skills in a future career.
SFHS Featured on Fox 32 Pep Rally Friday
Feast of St. Francis
We hope you enjoy our talented choir singing the prayer of St. Francis
120 Full year and semester course offerings
19 Honors courses
17 Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses
CO-CURRICULAR: ACTIVITIES & ATHLETICS
24 sports programs
65% of students participate in the performing arts
77% of students participate in athletic programs
Provides opportunity for prayer and worship, retreats, justice and service, ministry leadership formation, pastoral care, and community building
SFHS Bus Service
St. Francis High School offers bus transportation. The school provides two-way bus service in the northern, western and southern suburbs, with students arriving to St. Francis High School by 7:25 a.m. and departing school after the Activity Period at 3:15 p.m.