St. Bernard Grade School
On the first day of school in October 1912, 75 students in grades K-8 were welcomed to a brick four-room school house. St. Bernard Catholic School was officially opened. That first year there were three teachers, wonderful Sisters of Mercy, who taught three grades each. In 1917 the original school building, which is still in use today, was built.
As enrollment increased so did the size of the building with multiple new additions being added. In 1962 St. Bernard had its largest enrollment at 1213 students. There were so many students that some grades had to come in shifts! Even with students coming in shifts St. Bernard had to borrow rooms from the St. James Orphanage to accommodate all the students.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, new parishes were formed, new schools opened, parish boundaries were adjusted, and St. Bernard’s changed once again. Enrollment decreased and focus shifted to more individualized instruction and the inclusion of students from the surrounding neighborhood, not just the parish.
Today, St. Bernard serves around 170 students in grades PK-8. We have an onsite daycare for infants through school-age. We serve students from all over the city, and beyond. Many of our students receive some kind of scholarship or financial aid whether it be from the parish, grants, or the Children’s Scholarship Fund.
In recent years St. Bernard’s has focused on growing in community, building a STEM program, and implementing a BlendEd curriculum. At St. Bernard our students are welcomed, loved, and respected every day.
St. Bernard follows the rigorous standards laid out by the Archdiocese of Omaha Catholic Schools Office. We have high-expectations and strive to help our students meet them. At St. Bernard we place a special emphasis on data-driven instruction. To this end, we incorporate many tools to drive instruction in ways most beneficial to our students. In recent years we have added STARS assessments, Fountas and Pinnell benchmarking, and running records to facilitate student growth. These tools help teachers determine where students are and what skills need more practice in order to achieve individual and class success. Our 3-8 graders also take the diocesan mandated Terra Nova assessment every Fall.
Every day our students attend a series of cores classes as well as weekly/bi-weekly specials.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Computer (PK-2)
- Library (PK-2)
- Media Skills (3-8)
- STEM (3-8)
- Self-Directed Foreign Language
We have a new and growing STEM lab available to our 3-8 grade students. Each week they have one class period in the lab, it is also available to teachers for use when it is not being used for class. We are so excited about all the amazing opportunities our students have to problem solve, experiment, and learn in this new environment.
St. Bernard qualifies as a Title 1 school in the OPS school district. We have a Title 1 teacher who provides resource time to students who qualify. We have a visiting Speech Pathologist who sees qualifying students. We have an on-site Reading Specialist who works with students. We have two different math tutors who work with both our high-achieving students and those that need a little extra help. We offer the opportunity for 8th graders who have participated in the Advanced Math track to attend a math class at one of the local Catholic High Schools, setting them on track to take sophomore math as a freshman.
Technology in the Classroom
This school year, 2017-2018, we have gone Google. All students in grades 3-8, and all faculty members, have a school Google account. This means students have access to the full suite of Google apps including Docs, Slides, and Sheets. While the server is self-contained, keeping students safe from outside threats, students have access to their files from any device with internet access. Gone are the days of lost flash drives and “my computer crashed”.
Teachers are striving to incorporate technology into daily learning. Every teacher has an iPad and, while we are not 1-1, five iPads are available in every classroom. We currently have one fully functional Chromebook Lab that students use for self-directed foreign language, Media Skills, and other technology-based work. We have two desktop computer labs that are used for Technology class and student class work.
Our Mission Statement at St. Bernard is to “Make Christ Present in All We Say and Do”. We strive to live this out daily in every setting.
Mass is offered every Friday for the entire school as well as on every Holy Day of Obligation that falls during the school week. Students have the chance to more actively participate in the Mass when it is their classes turn to read, sing, and present the gifts. Whole school confessions are offered at least twice a year, during the Advent and Lent seasons.
Starting in 4th grade our students are trained as Altar Servers and take turns serving at the masses.
In 2nd Grade, our students receive their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Traditionally First Communion is held on Divine Mercy Sunday. This is such a beautiful part of our Catholic faith and truly a blessing to witness.
St. Bernard’s celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation every other year. Our next celebration will be in 2019. Students in 7th and 8th grade are confirmed during these celebrations.