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St. Peter's top ranked middle school in Business First list

by jmaloni
Mon, Jun 25th 2012 10:20 pm

Officials at St. Peter's Roman Catholic School in Lewiston report the school is now the top-ranked middle school in Niagara County according to "Business First Guide to WNY Schools 2012." St. Peter's took the top honors for private middle schools in the eight counties of Western New York, as well as the top ranked school outside of Erie County. Overall, the school is ranked No. 4 out of 211 middle schools in Western New York.

Last year, the school was ranked No. 8 according to St. Peter's Principal, Denis Coakley. "Our success as a school is based upon our shared commitment - as faculty members, administrators, and parents - to educate the whole child, not simply for tremendous success on state tests and assessments, but to truly transform our wonderful students into 21st century success stories, young men and women of character, conscience and accomplishment."

Coakley, who assumed the role of St. Peter's principal in September, 2010, said the school's rankings reflect not only the efforts of the middle school faculty, but also teachers in every grade who have helped prepare St. Peter's students throughout the years.

St. Peter's pastor, Rev. Michael Zuffoletto, commented, "When I joined St. Peter's last August, I knew we had an excellent school. Now it is of great pleasure that all of Western New York knows this as well. We are blessed with a talented faculty and administration who are dedicated to ensuring that each child in our school receives the finest education, both from a spiritual as well as academic perspective. And we are blessed with children who are ready to embrace not only instruction on core subjects, like English and math, but also on how to be a child of God in today's society."

The St. Peter's middle school faculty attributes the middle school success to a number of factors. Glenn Olejniczak, who has been the school's 6-8 grade ELA instructor since 2008, notes, "St. Peter's performs so well on the ELA exam because our middle school students benefit from working with a dedicated, nurturing group of teachers; from a challenging curriculum across all content areas; and from learning within a true sense of genuine concern and support in such a warm environment." St. Peter's middle school holds the No. 2 ranking in English in Western New York.

From a math perspective, Thomas Emerson, the middle school's math teacher since 2009, credits the school's partnership with parents for the high ranking. Says Emerson, "One of the keys to the exceptional educational achievements of our students is the high expectations of their parents as well as our teachers. Whenever possible, we partner with parents ensuring the academic skills necessary for student success."

Marlene DiNardo, the middle school social studies teacher since 2006, views the achievement from an overall perspective. Says DiNardo, "Success at St. Peter's RC School begins with each person ready, willing and able to do their part. The middle school faculty uses a team approach with regular meetings to address issues and challenges. The faculty is fully accredited and strives to stay current in instructional and assessment strategies. Teachers constantly reflect and evaluate ways to improve. The families are involved and interested in their children's progress. The students' unique talents and strengths are cultivated in order to enhance their classroom experience. The physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs of each student are addressed because at SPS the 'whole' student is taught. Positive character development and effective study skills are encouraged so that they can reach their highest potential in a safe, nurturing environment."

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