Tulare’s St. Aloysius appoints new principal

St. Aloysius School, a Catholic school offering a faith-based education to students in grades transitional kindergarten through eighth, is proud to appoint Holly Zamora to the position of principal.

“St. Aloysius is so much more than a school,” said Reverend Monsignor Rick Urizalqui, who serves as the pastor for St. Aloysius School. “It is a community of students, families, teachers and St. Aloysius parishioners who all come together for the education and spiritual growth of these children.”

No stranger to the Tulare campus, Zamora previously served as the school’s third grade teacher for eight years. She was the school’s Standardized Assessment Coordinator responsible for the administration of the St. Aloysius STAR Testing Program, collaborating with other instructors to analyze student data, enhance curricular practices and develop any necessary intervention initiatives. Zamora has also served as a member of the Leadership Team responsible for creating accreditation reports and organizational strategic planning.

“My goal is not only to uphold the St. Aloysius commitment to providing the best possible education to our students,” said Zamora. “But also to nurture the welcoming culture that sets apart our school community; and I plan to do so in a way that ensures the resiliency and financial security of our school for the future.”

Zamora believes this challenge can be met with a combination of strategic vision and fiscal responsibility. As one of her first orders of business, Zamora has combined grades four and five, and grades six and seven for the 2019-2020 school year. They will be taught as blended classrooms, each led by one teacher with the support of a teacher’s aide.

“The blended classroom format is a commonly employed strategy, especially among smaller Catholic schools,” said Mona Faulkner, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Fresno. “Blended classrooms allow our schools to provide students in smaller classes the same level of quality education, while being responsible stewards of the school’s finances.”

In the blended classroom format, teachers in each of the two blended classes will leverage differentiated instruction to accommodate both grade levels equally, and the students will continue to be challenged throughout the curriculum. St. Aloysius plans to teach its core subjects – language arts, math, science, social studies, and religion – through “centers” of students in small groups as well as larger grade level groups. While one group works through a guided lesson with a teacher, another works together through practice, and another works independently to assess what they have learned; all along the way, students are building important interpersonal skills.

“It’s important to remember that every classroom is actually a blended classroom,” offered Zamora. “A classroom may only have one grade level of curriculum, however, there are always students with varying levels of skill within a grade. Every student works at their own pace, it’s our job as educators to accommodate their ever-changing needs.”

Zamora graduated from California State University Fresno with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Linguistics. She received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential through CalState TEACH (California State University Fresno).

She was an English as a Second Language Instructor for two years at SoongSil University in Seoul, South Korea; and while overseas, published three English language learning textbooks. She’s served as an English teacher at Caruthers High School in the Caruthers Unified School District, and was an Early Literacy Teacher at Pittsburg Adult School in the Pittsburg Unified School District. Zamora is a Dodgers Baseball fan, she enjoys dining out, and is married with four children, all of whom have graduated from St. Aloysius School.

St. Aloysius’s new principal, Holly Zamora, welcomed students on their first day. Courtesy St. Aloysius School

 

The philosophy of St. Aloysius School is founded on the principle that the whole person is to be educated in an atmosphere of Gospel spirit and truth. As such, faith is integrated throughout the curriculum.

Grades TK though 8, attend weekly mass every Friday morning. Classes from grades K-8 take turns preparing the liturgy and through this hands-on experience, learn to better appreciate the parts of the Catholic Mass and what it means when Catholics come together as a faith community to celebrate the Eucharist.

St Aloysius emphasizes the importance of becoming more Christ-like and the practice of virtues helps the students and staff to do this. Each month the school highlights a specific virtue such as prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, faith, hope, or charity. Students who embody those virtues are recognized at a school-wide assembly

The school participates in normal public school activities such as its “buddy program” between eighth grade and kindergarten students, “Poetry and Prose” competitions, and sixth graders’ participation in SCICON.

But the school offers some unique learning experiences. “God’s Green Garden” is where each grade has a plot they tend to growing fava beans, a traditional Portuguese food, tomatoes, figs and herbs. The students also grow natural loofas and combine them in gift sets with the herbs and sell them at the farmer’s market.

Zamora said it was an important out-of-the-classroom experience.

Ultimately Zamora is “just looking forward to getting children excited about coming to school and wants parents to have a say in their child’s education.”

The 2019-2020 school year started August 7. The school offers enrollment opportunities throughout the year. Those interested in learning more about St. Aloysius School or enrolling students in classes should visit www.sastulare.com, or stop by the school’s front office located at 627 Beatrice Drive in Tulare.

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