Saint John the Baptist Catholic School: Educating generations of students

Saint John the Baptist school alumni parents pose with their children who currently attend the school.

Three generations came together to express their fondness for Saint John the Baptist School. From the left, Stephanie Waite (nee Boutelle), granddaughter Emma, age 11, and brother Jack, age 6, with their mother Melanie Dowell, all attended the Catholic school.

St. John the Baptist Catholic School
835 2nd Ave NW
New Brighton, MN 55112
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Saint John the Baptist Catholic Parish School and Preschool educates students for life, and has for generations.

Located in New Brighton, the school enrolls 443 pre-K through eighth-grade boys and girls, and provides personalized classroom instruction in standard subjects as well as opportunities for participation in sports, music, arts and extra-curricular activities. The school also encourages students to grow in their faith.

Stephanie Waite (nee Boutelle) began school at Saint John’s in the 1960s, then her daughter Melanie Dowell attended, and now a third generation — Emma, age 11 and brother Jack, age 6 — are enrolled. 

“I received a strong, faith-filled education with a foundation of high principles that are still relevant today,” Stephanie says. “The school mission statement of JOY — Jesus Others Yourself — is a good core philosophy.”

“Absolutely, I would agree,” Melanie adds. “I love that my children can grow their faith in school. It makes me very proud. In my heart I always knew where I wanted to send my children to school.”

Both Stephanie and Melanie say the school provides a safe, nurturing environment that instills a sense of community.

Fifth-grade Emma feels the same way: “I like Saint John’s. I like learning about Jesus.”

Stephanie’s parents live in New Brighton and also are members of the church. “Sometimes there are four generations of our families in the pews for services,” Stephanie says with a smile.  

She continues, “My parents decided all of us would attend Saint John’s,” and with affordable tuition and financial assistance programs, it was possible.

“One of my fondest memories of school was in sixth grade when we were confirmed in our faith. It was a great highlight. Cool things happen here,” Stephanie adds.

Melanie says she, too, has so many good memories. “In second grade I made my First Communion. We received religious training as part of education.”  And now with her daughter in school, she says, “We have come full circle. I feel very blessed.”

Personalized instruction

The school curriculum is fully accredited and meets state and national standards. Up- to-date technology, a hands-on science lab, and iPad use starting in kindergarten help keep the students on top of the learning curve. The middle school uses the flipped classroom approach in math, a new concept to improve learning.

With high standards and creative teaching methods, nearly 75 percent of Saint John’s graduates go on to advanced classes in high school.

“I had my mom as a Spanish teacher,” Melanie adds with a chuckle.

“Yes,” says Stephanie, “I came back to the school and taught Spanish for 10 years.”

At Saint John’s, it is not unusual to have alumni on the staff, and many former students are part of the school community.

With small classroom sizes, students receive more individualized instruction. In addition, students learn organizational and study skills, as well as sound financial skills.

Ginny Slack and her children John and Emily represent two generations at Saint John’s.

“It is remarkable that some of the alumni are on the staff. That says something about the school,” Ginny says. “The school is special, more like a family and community.” John enjoys second grade and little Emily, currently in pre-K, is already looking forward to kindergarten.

Saint John’s will continue in its mission, as it has for generations: to educate children in all aspects of their lives to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

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