Community worship is transformative.
At OLS, we pray together daily. This unites us as a community that shares the common belief that God is present in our lives and cares about what happens to us. This belief that we have a common Father who loves us has a transformative effect on children. They flourish in the light of His love experienced through the Mass and also through the Christ-filled love of our teachers and staff. They see their peers as brothers and sisters in Christ.
We anchor our children in their faith traditions ...
As at all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, we take special delight in celebrating the Holy Days of Easter and Christmas. These holidays which are stripped of all sublime meaning in our public school counterparts are truly festivals in our schools. The nativity plays, advent wreaths, and stories of Saint Nicholas ground our children in the true meaning of Christmas. The ashes, stations of the cross, and special prayer times of Lent infuse Easter with the full joy of the resurrected Christ. We offer what no public school can… a clear and personally relevant experience of Christ through these annual seasons in the church calendar.
Preschool thru 3rd grade celebrate Blessed Mary's Birthday. On September 8th, the preschool thru 3rd grade celebrate Mary's Birthday with a special prayer service and decorating a birthday card with a cupcake representing each of the students.
...and provide early opportunities to grow in their faith.
Of course, we prepare our children for the sacraments of First Reconciliation, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. But we also provide a variety of opportunities for our children to practice their faith.
Leadership in Youth Ministry
Students in 4th-8th grades can be trained as altar servers for mass celebrations.
Environmental Supports for Learning
Uniforms make a difference.
We are known for our beautiful uniforms, but why do we insist upon them? There are three main values from wearing the uniform. First, it is a great equalizer. Clothes are one of the most obvious ways that children start to signal their differences from each other—sometimes innocent style difference, sometimes less innocent differences in social class or group membership. The uniform takes this signal off the table. Our children come to school to work and praise God. They can express their uniqueness after school and at home. Second, our uniforms are practical. They are chosen to be comfortable in all weather, modest at all times, and functional for all activities. Third, the uniform makes it easier for parents. No worries about what your child will be wearing today. He or she can get dressed and ready with a minimum of decision-making or fussing. Trust us. You will love the uniforms.
Kindergarten through 8th grade is an essential support to middle schoolers.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, all our schools are Pre-K through 8th grade. This is not just an accident of history. Research has shown that keeping kids stable during the transition to puberty in the middle school years is valuable to ensure continual academic growth during this innately destabilizing time. When children are moved after the 4th or 5th grades and sometimes again into 7th grade, they have to learn new routines, make new social connections, and navigate new schedules. At our Catholic schools our older kids often form strong bonds with their elementary teachers and keep these important adult relationships into the turbulent tween years. The routines of our worship practices and annual community events ground them in the familiar. We also work hard at OLS to create community relationships between age groups—so that older kids see and interact with their younger siblings throughout the day and become mentors and role models to the youngest ones.
The OLS Way
We pride ourselves on high academic achievement.
Our Lady of the Snows has been on a roll. Since 2016 we have taken the ACT ASPIRE, and each year we take it, we have demonstrated growth far above national or archdiocesan standards. Whereas in 2016 only 32% of our 3rd-8th grade students were rated "Ready" or "Exceeding" in reading, by 2018 we had 48% (nearly half) in this group. Similarly, in Math, we have shot up from 42% to 58% in two years. This growth rate puts us in the top 5 schools in the Archdiocese for two-year improvement. We couldn't be prouder.
We embed technology into the curriculum in multiple ways.
We do not hide from the modern. We embrace the opportunity to engage with technology, but with an emphasis on “smart, safe, and selective”. At OLS we integrate technology in nearly all our classrooms and in after-school activities to support our learning objectives. In our technology programming, we teach kids to be smart about using information from the web. To be safe in all their online conduct, and to be selective about where they go and what they choose to see and believe. In our middle school technology curriculum, we lay the groundwork for our students to ultimately be technology shapers and makers—building skills in coding to prepare them for college and career—which in their future will always be technology enabled.
Our arts programming is top notch.
At OLS, the arts are never an afterthought. We know that the creativity engendered by artistic endeavor is in itself something that enriches a child’s life. Moreover, the skills are the entry point to many career paths whether fine arts, architecture, computer application design, or publishing. Students have Spanish, Gym, computer lab, and art once a week. Take a look at our student art gallery to see the amazing work done by our young artists. We also offer band and violin. Recent graduates have gone on to performance arts high schools.
We are committed to community activism/service.
Here at OLS we serve the community with our bimonthly Corporal Works of Mercy Projects:
Feed the Hungry/Give Drink to the Thirsty - November Food Drive -the classroom that collects the most food items won an out of uniform day
Clothe the Naked - February Clothing Drive
Shelter the Homeless - $1 Dress Down day, proceeds go to the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls
Comfort the Imprisoned and Sick - Create Easter placemats for Nursing Home Residents
Bury the Dead - Prayer Service for all our Loved Ones we have lost.
Next year we plan to incorporate the Spiritual Works of Mercy to a matching Corporal works and focus on a different one each month from September - May (excluding December and April).
Our teachers truly care about our students' growth and success.
Students learn more effectively because teachers take a personal interest in their success. Our students benefit from a small school setting. With only 1 class per grade, and an average class size of 16 students, each student receives the attention he or she needs. The teachers and staff provide a warm and caring atmosphere to nurture students’ social and academic development.
Our teachers have 75 combined years in teaching, ranging from recent graduates to teachers with over 35 years of experience. 33% of our teachers have their Master's Degree.