Catholic School Board
St. Cecilia Catholic School Board Members
|Father James Secora, Pastor, President||233-3092 w|
|Susan McNicholl, Chair||231-0585|
|Stacy Ryan, Vice-Chair||337-1016|
|Kelly Grandgenett, Secretary||450-5498|
|Ervin Rowlands, Principal||232-5290|
Catholic School Board Minutes
The St. Cecilia band program contains lessons and concert band rehearsals on a once a week basis. The band offers a chance for your student to perform in a team atmosphere while indirectly enhancing your students sense of self reliance and personal responsibility. Playing a musical instrument also has a very positive effect on your students reading and mathematical skills.
St. Cecilia School first opened its doors on September 7, 1925, when an estimated forty-five students entered first through seventh grades. The longtime pastor (1917-1940) of St. Cecilia Church, Father Joseph Campbell, overcame adversity to supervise the construction of the first and only Catholic school in Story County, which was built on the parish campus at 122 Oak Street at an initial cost of $30,000. The original building consisted of six classrooms and a small gymnasium. The school was remodeled and expanded in 1960, during the pastorate of Father John Ryan, to add four additional classrooms, an audio-visual room, a teachers’ lounge, a larger gymnasium and school lunch facilities at a cost of $285,000. A hot lunch program was inaugurated in 1961.
Sister Mary Leonard Burke, RSM served as the first principal. Two other Sisters of Mercy from Cedar Rapids assisted her during the first year of the school. Sister Mary Florence Kobbe taught third, fourth, and fifth grades, and Sister Mary Virginia Patrick taught the first and second grades and music. After one year the eighth grade was added with Sister Mary Muriel Sullivan as teacher. In 1927, Sister Mary Gabriel Mahoney came to St. Cecilia as full-time music instructor. At the end of the third year, the first enrollment had more than doubled.
Miss Theresa DeMeulenare came in 1941 and taught the third and fourth grades until 1945, when she left to enter the Maryknoll Sisters. Since 1947, St. Cecilia School has had lay teachers on its faculty. Eventually, ninety-five Sisters of Mercy would serve St. Cecilia School for a total of 295 years of service, culminating with the departure of Sister Marilyn Whitty as principal in 1991, the last Sister of Mercy at the school.
A language program under the direction of Dr. Cecil D. McVicker, head of the Modern Language Department of Iowa State University, began in 1959. Students in eighth grade were taught French, while students in grades six and seven studied Spanish. The Great Books Program was initiated in grades seven and eight in 1961. Registered nurses of the parish were in charge of nursing services for the students of St. Cecilia School.
The school enrollment peaked in 1964 with 315 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. In 1965, six Sisters and three lay teachers instructed the 297 students attending the school. Eventually the kindergarten program was dropped due to space limitations, but shortly after the seventh and eighth grade classes were dropped in 1970-71, the kindergarten program was reinstated in 1974.
In 1972, St. Cecilia Church was demolished at the downtown campus and a new church was build at 2900 Hoover Avenue in north central Ames. After more than twenty years of having a split campus, plans were drawn to build a new education center on the grounds adjacent to the church on Hoover Avenue. During the pastorate of Father Dismas Veeneman, OFM Conventual, the plans progressed, leading to a new education center with nine classrooms, a gymnasium, a kitchen, a library/media center, offices for the administration of the school and religious education programs, and a seventy seat chapel. The new building was completed in 1995 and was connected to the church and social hall by a hallway to the parish offices and rectory. The former school building was sold to the Iowa Department of Transportation for renovation into offices.
The dedication of the new education center took placed on August 27, 1995, by Archbishop Daniel Kucera, OSB. The principal of the schoolduring the building and moving process was Mrs. Loretta Tracy. The pastor at the time of the dedication was Father Edmund Goldbach, OFM Conventual, with Father Terry Rassmussen, OFM Conventual, succeeding him as pastor in 1996.
During the 2016-17 school year, St. Cecilia School celebrates its ninety-first year of Catholic education. St. Cecilia School continues to provide a multi-faceted faith based educational experience for its students. The curriculum today includes the core subjects, as well as opportunities for religion, computer classes, library/media instruction, physical education, vocal and instrumental music, art instruction, enrichment classes, a school counselor, and teacher associates in all grades.
Meet the Staff
Mission and Vision
to our respected, faith based elementary school, where high-quality education is provided to many children in central Iowa. With a strong spirit of cooperation we work with family school, church, and community toward the development and success of the whole child- academically spiritually, artistically, socially, and athletically
The Archdiocese of Dubuque Catholic School System has established the following student learning goals.
Students at Saint Cecilia School will:
- Demonstrate knowledge of God and the Catholic religion and show evidence of spiritual growth
- Effectively communicate for a variety of purposes
- Observe, infer, analyze, and evaluate ideas, processes, structures, and organizations
- Solve problems and resolve conflicts individually and cooperatively
- Apply creativity and skill in the performing and fine arts
- Be responsible members of local and global communities
- Make decisions based on Gospel values
- Be responsible and respectful of the environment
- Formulate and achieve healthy lifestyles
- Effectively and morally use technology
- Develop lifelong goals and strategies for living
The vision of St. Cecilia School is to provide a quality, Catholic Christian education that stimulates lifelong learning and nurtures responsible, productive citizens. The goal will be attained by developing an academically and spiritually enriching educational plan designed to foster individual needs through curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment tools.
School and Community
St. Cecilia’s first opened its doors on September 7, 1925, when an estimated 45 students entered first through seventh grades. In 1972, St. Cecilia Church was demolished at the downtown campus and a new church was built at our current location. After more than 25 years of having a split campus, a new Education Center was completed in 1995 and was connected to the church.
St. Cecilia’s is an accredited PK-5 Catholic Elementary School operated under the auspices of the St. Cecilia Parish and the Archdiocese of Dubuque. St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames also supports our school.
Enrollment at St. Cecilia’s is approximately 35 PK students and 165 K-5 students. The school’s ethnic population reflects the community of Ames. St. Cecilia’s is accredited by the State of Iowa.
St. Cecilia’s School employs 15 part-time and full-time faculty and 14 staff members.
St. Cecilia’s school year consists of four quarters, each nine weeks long. The first semester ends in January and the second ends in May/June.
St. Cecilia School Excels in Iowa
St. Cecilia School is excited to share the results of a recent report, “Education in Iowa: An In-Depth Analysis of Test Data for ALL Iowa Schools”. The report shows the strength of Iowa non-public schools, including St. Cecilia School in Ames. The document looks at test score data at specific grades and reports the average proficiency percentages for a five year period (2007-2011) for all schools within Iowa.
According to the report, grades 3-5 at St. Cecilia School ranked 12th in the STATE out of 882 public and non-public elementary schools in Iowa! St. Cecilia’s 3-5th grades average proficiency over the last five years is 94.8%, meaning that over the five year period, 94.8% of the St. Cecilia 3-5th grade students tested as proficient.
St. Cecilia commends its leadership, teachers and staff for their commitment and hard work they provide to our students. Their dedication and quality of teaching is evident in the success of our St. Cecilia students.
St. Cecilia’s School offers a variety of extra-curricular activities to students enabling them to expand their academic and social skills, develop friendships, and participate in wholesome activities. These include After School Art, STEM, First Lego League, Foreign Language and Chess Club programs..