Bishop McKnight has just signed a formal decree closing all Catholic schools through April 30. He cites the critical need to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
It is the duty and calling of Catholic schools to ensure the healthy formation – body, mind, and soul – of all students entrusted to our care. At times of national and international crisis, it is our call to serve our local counties, the State of Missouri and the United States by assisting authorities and contributing to the common good.
Unfortunately, with a formal decree suspending the public celebration of the liturgy and devotions, our school must remain closed through April 30, with all extracurricular activities canceled/postponed as well through that date.
Tolton Catholic will still observe Easter Break from Holy Thursday through Easter Monday. Students should take a break from learning during this time and return to their online school work on April 14th.
Bishop McKnight encourages families and individual to pray at home especially the Liturgy of the Hours, the Scriptures, the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which can all be found on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website; and to participate spiritually in sacred celebrations live-streamed from the Holy See (the Vatican), our Cathedral, or their local parish churches. The Jefferson City Diocese website has links and information on masses and celebrations, or visit parish Facebook pages for up to date information.
Bishop McKnight is also actively working with diocesan staff to prepare for the consequences of a decline in donations to our parishes and schools. On average, parishes receive 86% of their revenue from tithing by parishioners, which ultimately helps support our school; the inability to gather for Masses can have significant economic implications. Please continue to give financially to the best of your ability to your parish, as teachers and administrators are working diligently with online learning.
All faculty and staff remain committed to returning emails within 24 hours Monday-Friday. Please continue to reach out to us with whatever needs and questions arise. We are here to help.
As the situation changes, we will continue to keep you updated.
God bless you,
Jill McIntosh Gwenn Roche
Interim President Principal
We understand this is an unprecedented time in our history. We are so proud of our students, teachers, coaches, and staff for adjusting during this pandemic and being smart and safe. We will all get through this together. Let’s celebrate some of the highlights of our Winter Sports and Activities:
Boys Basketball: Head Coach Jeremy Osborne did another outstanding job with our Boys Basketball Program, finishing 20-5 on the season. They won the very prestigious Machens Great 8 Holiday Classic in Jefferson City. Nate Schwartze earned First Team All AAA Conference honors. Coban Porter and Chase Martin earned Second Team All AAA conference honors, and Jevon Porter was Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the AAA conference.
Girls Basketball: Head Coach Kevin Kiley played one of the most competitive schedules of any of our teams with one of the youngest Girls Basketball programs in Mid-Missouri. Assisted by Thaddues Hamilton and Joe Henke, this team with no seniors improved their individual basketball skills, had fun, learned to play as a team, and represented us with class both on and off the court. Sophia Elfrink earned Second Team All AAA Conference honors.
Cheer: Head Coach Laura Sasser’s Cheer Team is amazing. These young ladies attend more games and practice more hours than most of our other student-athletes. They bring energy, enthusiasm, and excitement to every event. They help lead our fans in a very respectful way, and are a very important part of the success of all of our programs. Our Cheer Team won the 2019 State Championship Title in Division 2 Large this year, making them back-to-back State Champions. Claire Thurnau was named to the All-State team.
Dance: Renee Hulshof, the Head Coach of our dance team, the Blazer Girls, coaches seven of the most talented student-athletes at Tolton. Many of our dancers have been dancing since they were 3-4 years old, still take private lessons, and also find the time to practice and dance together and represent us with poise and class throughout the state in their many competitions. These young ladies finished second at State this season and have their sights set just a little bit higher for next year.
Scholar Bowl: Scott Henderson is the Head Coach of our Scholar Bowl Team. At the AAA Conference Championships at Lutheran High School, our team narrowly missed winning first place when it came down to the very last question of the night. Our team was a very strong second. The team members were Silas Glaude, Isabella Ngo, Ella Redford, and Dylan Seidt. Dylan was a First Team All AAA Conference selection.
Girls Swimming: We were very fortunate to start a Girls Swimming program this year with Jeff Hagan as our Head Coach. Coach Hagan swam at the collegiate level and brought a wealth of experience to our team. These student-athletes were in the pool most mornings at 5:30 a.m. before rushing to school with cold, wet hair to start their academic days. Lindsey Hervey, a freshman, was the State Champion in the 500-yard event and her sister Lauren, a junior, finished second in state at two events as well. This too, is a very young team and the future of our Girls Swimming Program looks very bright
Wrestling: Head Coach James Williamson quietly, efficiently, and effectively leads a group of student-athletes in one of the toughest disciplines in all sports. Most days, his team goes about their business practicing in one corner of our gym while the Boys or Girls Basketball team is practicing on the main floor. Teague Travis, a junior, was a State Champion for the third straight year. Brant Whitaker, also a junior, won his second consecutive State Championship.
I certainly want to thank all of these coaches, their assistants, and our remarkable student-athletes for not only competing at the highest level in their individual sport but also showing exceptional sportsmanship and representing Father Tolton Catholic High School in their competitions, in the classroom and in the community. We tell all of our student-athletes, “your uniform never comes off” – you are first and foremost representatives of our school.
Like most of you have heard me say on more than one occasion, the sport always wins! Games are won and lost, but the respect you show for yourself, your teammates, your opponents, your officials, your coaches, your parents, your fans, and your sport is what you will remember from your days and years as a student-athlete.
I also want to thank Head Coach Kevin Kiley, his assistants, Coach Hamilton and Coach Henke, as well as Head Coach Jeff Hagan as they have decided not to coach our programs next year. I respect this decision because I know if they can’t give it 100 percent of their energy, experience, and passion for the betterment of our student-athletes and our programs, it is time to let someone else lead. We are working to find the right fit for these positions moving forward. Candidates interested in a position with our Girls Basketball Program or our Girls Swimming Program should email their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Gary Link at the school address.
EVERYONE, Please BE SMART…and BE SAFE
JEFFERSON CITY – A life-long Catholic educator will take the helm of the Diocese of Jefferson City’s Catholic school system on May 1. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has named Dr. Erin Vader as superintendent of schools for the diocese. Vader, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Wesleyan University, currently serves as Coordinator for Schools Advancement for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas.
“Dr. Vader’s wealth of experience in Catholic education and her mission-based leadership is certain to ensure our students are equipped to be the next generation of Catholic innovators, community builders and holy men and women,” Bishop McKnight said.
“My first priority has always been the students,” Vader explained. “I’m eager to build on the very strong foundation in the diocese of forming young people to be critical thinkers, life-long learners, and servant leaders who want to make the world a better place for everyone.”
Vader has served as president or principal of three Catholic schools and taught at two additional Catholic schools. She has also served as an accreditation chair for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Education Department. During her three-year tenure as president of Fort Worth’s Nolan Catholic High School, she facilitated donations and pledges of more than $30 million, while stabilizing enrollment as the school transitioned from more than 60 years of Marianist leadership to lay leadership.
In addition to her doctoral degree, Vader holds a Master’s degree in Education, Educational Leadership from Texas Wesleyan, a Catholic School Leadership Certificate from the University of Dallas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has also been an adjunct instructor for Texas Wesleyan University.
“Bishop McKnight’s vision of Catholic stewardship and his work to facilitate our churches and schools as places where pastors and laity work together to create communities of compassion and mercy, speaks to me as a Catholic and as an educator,” Vader said. “In all humility, I want to help Bishop McKnight, the pastors, the religious, the administrators, teachers and families of the diocese, and help steward that vision in any way I can.”
The Diocese of Jefferson City comprises 38 counties in central and northeastern Missouri. Approximately 82,000 Catholics live in the diocese, worshipping and serving in 114 parishes. It includes three high schools and 37 elementary schools, with a total enrollment of approximately 7,000 students.
Donations will allow the school to focus on enriching curriculum
COLUMBIA – A $6.2 million dollar debt has been eliminated from the balance sheet of the Fr. Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight made the announcement to the parents, faculty and other school community members today at the high school, located at 3351 E. Gans Road.
Donations from generous anonymous benefactors will allow the school community to focus on the future, Bishop McKnight said. “The donors know Tolton is providing a unique educational opportunity for high school students. Catholic education offers not just academic excellence, but also a formation of young people’s moral framework. By removing the burden of this debt, our benefactors have given us the chance to expand and enrich the educational and formation programs at Tolton.”
Most of the debt was incurred when the high school was built in 2009-2010. It includes a $337,585 loan from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Columbia.
“This is a game-changer for our school,” explained interim President Jill McIntosh. “We can now actively engage in plans to expand. This frees resources to enhance our curriculum, invest in faculty professional development and retention, and maintain and grow our facilities, which will tangibly enrich the lives of our students and our staff. I look forward with confidence to the future, not only for our Trailblazers, but with regard to the role we play in the larger Columbia community.”
The Fr. Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School, known as Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, develops students in spirit, heart, mind, and body, providing a rigorous academic program and expansive extracurricular offering in a Christ-centered environment. The school, which opened its doors in 2011, currently has 252 students in grades nine through 12. The school is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, which includes 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri and is led by Bishop McKnight.
Dear Tolton Families and Friends:
Peace be with you! We pray that you are having a blessed Advent!
We are writing to you this morning to inform you that Mrs. Gwenn Roche, principal of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, announced her decision to not return for the 2020-2021 Ministry Year this morning. This decision comes after months of discernment and prayer. Mrs. Roche will continue to serve as Tolton’s principal for the remainder of the 2019-2020 Ministry Year.
The Catholic Schools Office is engaging Partners in Mission to help identify and recruit high-quality candidates for this important leadership position. While the diocese continues to be open to exploring different leadership structures, the search will focus on a Head of School model wherein the principal and president responsibilities are merged. We will share updates with you as we search for a dynamic faith-based educational leader. Please join us in praying for the success of the search process.
Tolton will continue to have a Vice President of Advancement and Athletic/Activities Director to support our shared mission to develop students in spirit, heart, mind, and body. Tolton is also considering the addition of an Associate Principal role to further enhance ministry.
We also want to communicate our excitement about the VISION 2020 strategic planning process. Mr. Ben Potts, an independent consultant hired by the Diocese, has already received feedback from 223 students, met with 121 parents and community members, and discussed ministry with 26 faculty and staff members. If you have not yet been able to participate, or if you would like to encourage alumni or other community members to participate, please use this link.
The participation rate has been absolutely tremendous! These discussion sessions are providing valuable insights into the community’s hopes and dreams for ministry at Tolton. A preliminary broad summary of some emergent themes was shared with the faculty/staff this morning. Click here to view a broad summary of some of the initial highlights. While coding and studying all of the responses will take some time, we expect to be able to share a more comprehensive communication early in the second semester.
It is overwhelmingly clear that the community is passionately committed to high-quality Catholic secondary education in Greater Columbia. Bishop McKnight, Superintendent Fuemmeler, the Board of Directors, the Advisory Council, and Tolton’s faculty/staff share this passion and commitment. The evangelizing mission, academic excellence, and affordability and accessibility of Catholic schools are diocesan-wide priorities.
As VISION 2020 moves forward, we will develop a Steering Committee to shepherd the process and to engage the community in charting Tolton’s next decade. Please expect further communications in the near future about the Steering Committee and the VISION 2020 process.
The legacy of Tolton’s founding decade will be a blessing for future generations throughout Greater Columbia. Thank you to all those who have made the mission possible. With the continued commitment of students, teachers, families, and community members, we know that the sky is not the limit … Heaven is.
Fr. Tolton – Pray for us! Go Blazers!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Ms. Jill McIntosh and Mrs. Gwenn Roche
Last year we met with law enforcement representatives and others in workplace safety to create a list of needs for our campus. A number of identified needs have already been fulfilled (security blinds on the classroom doors, interior and exterior room numbering, installation of mirrors near the main entry, etc). The upgrading of parking lot lighting and installation of more perimeter fencing around the school were identified as priority items as well.
While creating the needs list, we were notified that our current camera system will not be supported by the manufacturer after March of this year, making it especially high priority. Noting this deadline, and the need for additional security cameras across our campus, it was decided to make this the “Fund-A-Need” ask at the Gala; a grant application was also submitted for the purpose of supporting security upgrades. The fund-a-need was more successful than anticipated and provided funding for all proposed phases of the camera expansion effort. In addition, we were fortunate to be awarded some grant money, which will allow for the parking lot lighting upgrade to be implemented sooner than we anticipated.
Last week, the facilities committee met to discuss and prioritize the related work to be done. We hope to have new LED lighting in our parking lot, and additional exterior building lights installed, during spring break, if not sooner. All existing security cameras will be upgraded from analog to HD and new security cameras will be added to stairwells, the gym, science labs, music room, art room, main office, library, fish bowl and various hallways inside the building not currently covered by surveillance. A minimum of 5 additional cameras will also be installed outdoors, near exits, the press box and athletic field.
The areas of expanded surveillance were chosen based on a number of factors – their public use, value of equipment, dangerous nature of chemicals or tools, etc. that could pose a heightened theft or injury risk. The timing of the camera installation is yet to be finalized, but will be completed prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year at time that is least disruptive to classroom instruction.
Please note that security cameras are not currently being, nor will they be, monitored on a regular/daily basis; we trust our faculty to effectively manage their classrooms and utilize camera footage only if/as situations deem necessary to protect students and employees. These cameras are visual only, there is no audio functionality. And, in the event that footage needs to be reviewed, with the privacy of all in mind, it will be done discreetly on the small screen monitor that currently sits on the far corner of the main office reception desk; there are no plans to install a large-format wall monitor.
Please know that you are welcome to contact the office if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for the role you play in maintaining a safe environment for our students.
God bless you,
Gwenn Roche and Jill McIntosh
Dear School Families,
Last Monday Mrs. Creach notified me of her decision to retire from her position with Fr. Tolton Catholic High School. We all love and appreciate Mrs. Creach very much and want nothing but the best for her. Her last day with us will be this coming Friday, November 1. Below is a message she wants to share with all of you.
Mrs. Gwenn Roche
A heartfelt message from the front office:
When I started this job more than eight years ago, I had no idea I would come to love this school and the community it represents so much. The students and families of Tolton have been very good to me through these years. The best thing you have done is send your students here to grow and develop into young women and men who will become contributors to their communities.
I appreciate the kindness and generosity shown me to me by students and families. Though it has given me purpose and pleasure to serve you, I have decided it is now time for someone else to have the privilege of serving this community as the front office person. I will be retiring on November 1 and begin a new phase of my life, taking with me the many wonderful memories I have of being a part of Tolton. I hope that this community will continue to support the good work of this school by looking at all the amazing things that happen here and celebrating what God is doing through the leaders and faculty. I have loved these students and will continue to observe from afar how they become all that they can be because of the education they have received at Tolton.
Thank you for the ways you have enriched my life. I will continue to pray for my Tolton family.
God’s blessings to all of you,
Job Opening: Administrative Assistant
Due to Mrs. Creach’s retirement, Fr. Tolton Catholic High School has an exciting opportunity for an administrative assistant in the front office, reporting to the Principal. Key attributes for success in this position include the ability to stay on task after being interrupted numerous times by students, teachers and parents, excellent time management skills and a congenial personality as this role could also be defined as the “Director of First Impressions”.
Performs a variety of assigned general office duties, receives telephone calls and visitors and directs them to the appropriate location; responds to questions and requests for information and/or routes calls and visitors for appropriate responses; assists teachers and other school personnel in order to accomplish tasks or projects; compiles and distributes information; prepares correspondence, reports, and form letters; maintains and updates files, records, and logs; uses a variety of assignment-specific computer applications, software, and peripheral equipment to accomplish task; processes incoming and outgoing mail; maintains time and attendance information; schedules appointments and meetings; maintains calendars as necessary; uses the computer system effectively to enter, organize, sort, store, and disseminates materials and data for students, staff, and parents.
Fr. Tolton Catholic High School is proud to announce a new exciting option for our upper-class students, Jump Start. TCHS is partnering with Moberly Area Community College and Lincoln University to provide college credit options for students who are completing their graduation requirements.
To sign up, please CLICK HERE!
The increasing interest in offering more college credit options led us to the dual enrollment programs at MACC and Lincoln University in Jefferson City. This is intended to compliment and expand upon our AP and dual credit class offerings.
The courses are dual enrollment:
Dual enrollment is different than dual credit classes. Dual-credit classes are taught by high school teachers using the college curriculum. Credit is dual, so given at both the high school and college levels.
Dual enrollment is different in that the high school credit is not given. Students are taking college classes for college credit during their time at high school without gaining high school credit. College credits are built to transfer to the student’s choice of college following high school graduation. All of these classes are taken online.
There is one exception to the no high school credit option in the area of math. Students taking math classes above AP Calculus will be given high school credit since TCHS does not offer anything beyond Calculus. There are a few students each year who would benefit from this option.
How does it work?
- Eligibility is determined first through credits remaining to graduate. There needs to be time in the student schedule to take the class.
- Students are eligible automatically if they have are a junior or senior with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Students with a 2.5-2.99 GPA require a counselor letter and parent permission.
- The classes are not to be taken instead of TCHS graduation requirements. For instance, a student cannot take a jumpstart English class in lieu of a senior level English class. Classes are not reported on the TCHS transcript or calculated into the GPA.
- Classes are taught on the regular college semester for MACC and Lincoln, with grades published by those schools.
- The Lincoln University cost is $150 a credit hour. MACC charges $78 a credit hour unless the student lives in Moberly, in which case the cost is $45 a credit hour. Students of MACC employed parents attend free. These costs are very reasonable compared to MU at $299 a credit hour and regular MACC classes at $105 a credit hour.
- Students are responsible for all coursework, meeting all deadlines and completing all assigned requirements.
Dear Parents and Students,
From time to time we will share information regarding specific school policies. This may serve as a reminder on a policy and how it is enforced, or it may be an opportunity to provide information regarding an update to a policy.
The policy provided below is taken from our Family Handbook. Please note that students are not to use their cell phones or other electronic devices during class without specific permission from a teacher for a purpose related to a class. Should students need to contact a parent they are welcome to come to the office and use the school phone or their own phone in the office. That communication should not take place in the classroom, hallways, restrooms, etc. We would ask that parents not contact students during the day by calling or texting student cell phones. Parents are welcome to call the school office and we will relay messages to students. The excessive use of electronic devices is creating a distraction in our learning environment. Please be aware of the consequences for not following this policy, as the policy will be strongly enforced moving forward.
As always, we welcome your questions and feedback. We appreciate your support and assistance with this issue.
Acceptable Use Policy
The school provides computing and network resources for the use of the students, employees and others affiliated with the school. Fr. Tolton Catholic High School provides internet access to all students and staff. Internet access allows classrooms and individuals to have access to information, software, news and opinion, and communication by electronic mail that originates from any point in the world. Members of the school community are encouraged to use electronic devices, software packages, and email for educational or school related activities and to facilitate the efficient exchange of useful information. However, the equipment, software, and network capacities provided through the school computer services are and remain the property of the school.
Appropriate or acceptable educational uses of these resources include:
- Accessing the internet to retrieve information from libraries, databases, and internet websites to enrich and expand curriculum is encouraged
- Use school issued email to post and share information
- Use proper email and internet etiquette
- Use electronic devices to complete classroom activities as directed by the teacher
- Use of personal computing devices to take notes during class
- Use of personal computing devices during study hall for studying or completing homework
- Use of Chromebook/Laptop to listen to music with headphones during study hall
This agreement applies to all electronic devices used at school. Once any student or staff connects to the school WIFI – regardless if using a school or personal device – any expectation of privacy is gone. The school has the right to confiscate any electronic device that violates the acceptable use policy of the school. Users consent to the confiscation and/or search of their device by the Administration or their agents should any suspicion of inappropriate or unacceptable uses arise. The decision of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School regarding inappropriate use of the technology or telecommunication resources is final. Monetary remuneration will be sought for damage necessitating repair or replacement of equipment.
Only students who have a signed Acceptable Use Policy Form on file are allowed to use any electronic device, including personal devices and devices owned by Fr. Tolton Catholic High School. Students must be working on a school-related assignment to be able to use any electronic device either provided by the school or brought from home. Any violation of the Acceptable Use Policy will result in the student losing the privilege of working on the computers in our building. This would cover electronic devices used both during study hall time and during any academic course in which the student is enrolled where the teacher has integrated technology into the curriculum.
Cell Phones and Personal Electronic Devices
Cell phones, smart phones, I-pods and other personal electronic devices are to be turned OFF from 7:50am to 3:15pm. Students are not permitted to call, text, check the time or otherwise use their phone or other electronic devices in the classrooms, hallways or restrooms during the school day, with the exception of lunch periods. Students are allowed the use of cell phones during their assigned lunch period. Use of the cell phones during this time should be limited to school appropriate activities. Students are not to wear earbuds or headphones, and they should not be visible, during times that students are not allowed to use their phones or other electronic devices.
Students who are ill and wish to consult with their parents or to go home are to report to the school office to report their illness. Students will be permitted to use their phones from the school office in order to speak with their parents. Students are NOT to call their parents regarding an illness without reporting to the school office.
The normal consequences for having cell phones or personal electronic devices turned on at unauthorized times are as follows: the phone/device is confiscated and turned in to the Principal. The phone can be retrieved after payment of a $20 fine.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2019
New leadership team for Tolton Catholic to be Doug Callahan, Jill McIntosh, Gwenn Roche
COLUMBIA — Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, announced today the leadership team for the Fr. Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School. Doug Callahan, Scout Executive of the Great Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America, will serve as president; Jill McIntosh, currently Tolton’s director of Advancement, will serve as vice president, a new position for the school. They join Gwenn Roche, the current principal of the school.
In announcing the appointments, which are effective Sept. 1, Bishop McKnight said they were made on the unanimous recommendation of the search committee which had been charged with selecting a president.
“I am grateful to the search committee for their thorough review of all the candidates and for their vision in setting Tolton on a sure path for a great future, not only for the school, but most importantly, for our students,” Bishop McKnight said. “A Catholic school is a place where young people receive not just academic lessons, but lessons in how to be better disciples, to contribute in a positive way to the Church and society.”
Callahan comes to Tolton after serving for 20 years as the Scout Executive for the local Boy Scout council. “I always considered that work a calling, a vocation,” he explained. “But now I consider this role a higher calling. I am excited about this new opportunity to serve the families of Central Missouri, especially in making quality Catholic education more affordable and accessible to them,” he said.
Callahan, a native of St. Louis, has been involved in supporting Tolton High School since its founding; he is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Columbia and his daughter was a member of Tolton’s first graduating class.
In addition to serving as vice president, Jill McIntosh will continue in her role as director of advancement. McIntosh holds degrees in marketing and management from the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business and has worked as a major gift fundraiser for the university. She continues to oversee fundraising, corporate relations, events, alumni programs, marketing and admissions for the high school. She is an active member of Sacred Heart Parish and has children enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School.
Principal Gwenn Roche, also a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, has been involved in Catholic education for more than 20 years. A graduate of Avila University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, she has served in Catholic schools in the dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Peoria.
“This leadership team brings many gifts and talents to Tolton,” said Kenya Fuemmeler, interim superintendent for the diocesan schools. “They will enable the school to build the capacity of our students to be 21st century Catholics who are willing to solve problems for our communities through a Catholic lens and a Catholic education.”
The Fr. Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School, known as Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, develops students in spirit, heart, mind, and body, providing a rigorous academic program and expansive extracurricular offering in a Christ-centered environment. The school, which opened its doors in 2011, currently has 250 students in grades nine through 12. The school is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, which includes 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri and is led by Bishop McKnight.
CONTACT: Helen Osman
email@example.com | 573.635.9127 or 512.785.3006