St. Cassian School thrives today because of the deep family and community roots that not only support the school, but also build the students’ understanding of friendship, community and excellence. The school remains a top priority of the St. Cassian parish, which supports students, curricula, teachers, the principal, and the school. The St. Cassian School Foundation, comprised of parish and school families, provides much of the yearly capital needed to upgrade the facility or expand curricula, such as its recent technology investment.
The students benefit from the support of families who plan, participate in or attend events to support the students’ involvement with the arts, sports or community work. The families take ownership in creating events that teach the students important social skills. A few examples include fundraising and hosting a “sock hop” dance, a second grade breakfast, an eighth grade dinner and field trips.
Families also play a critical role in helping students plan community service activities, such as helping the homeless, visiting senior centers, executing food drives, and reading poems of gratitude to veterans. They are also instrumental in helping maintain a thriving sports program at the school.
Community partnerships enhance learning and broaden students’ perspective. The school’s proximity to higher education and excellent artistic centers makes the options numerous. The schools’ partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is a prime example of how the students educationally benefit through the expertise of visiting artists.
Students, their families, community members, and local artists join together each year for an annual student art gallery. Each student displays several pieces of art related to a specific theme. Working together, students and artists create pieces using many different mediums. Currently, a local artist is teaching photography to the students.
The school’s MIAD Elective program opens the doors to community members, parents and business owners to share their experiences and knowledge with students. For instance, a lawyer from a local law firm partners with one of the teachers to lead the Mock Trial and Legal System elective course.
Within the school and outside community, students put their faith into action by participating in several non-profit groups, such as the Human Needs Food Pantry of Montclair, Catholic Community Services, St. Michaels’ Parish Families in Need, and St. Cassian Parish’s Little Angels child care services. These service opportunities provide students with experiences that are critical to their development as productive, empathetic Catholic leaders.