Nativity receives Innovations in Catholic Education Award

Baking is one of the Elective Week offerings at Nativity School, one of 12 recipients of the 2014 Innovations in Catholic Education Awards.

“We’re just a little school in El Monte so getting this national attention is such an honor,” says Sister of St. Louis Stacy Reineman, principal at Nativity Elementary School, one of 12 recipients of the 2014 Innovations in Catholic Education Awards from Today’s Catholic Teacher.

A special insert in the March issue of the magazine featured the 12 honorees. The awards will be presented during the NCEA National Convention in Pittsburgh later this month.

Nativity was selected to receive the award in the category “Innovation in Curriculum and Instruction” based on its popular Electives Week program, now in its third year.

The idea for Electives Week came three years ago when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles strongly encouraged elementary schools to add 20 days to their school calendars. Nativity added 10 days to their school year with plans of adding more in the years to come.

Sister Reineman decided to use five of those days for electives where teachers offer different educational “servings” (she presented popular classes in photography and in balloon art/twisting). Middle school students had options throughout the day, while the lower grades stayed together as a class and rotated through various subjects.

Students chose between a host of engaging and intellectually stimulating activities including such offerings as boot camp, science “Myth Busters,” embroidery (“quite popular with the boys this year,” says Sister Reineman) and — for the first time this year — a weeklong retreat for middle grade students which was well attended.

All baked goods made in the baking class were sold at recess and lunch time with proceeds donated to the Holy Childhood Foundation.

Exposing kids to different experiences and allowing teachers to use their talents made for a wonderful week, says Sister Reineman, adding that being recognized for their creativity was just the icing on the cake.

“I think one of the biggest lessons we have learned is that for those kids who don’t excel in traditional subjects, they find something during Electives Week that they can excel at and that’s neat,” she points out. “Especially when it’s kids who have been struggling. To see them be recognized for other talents can be just the boost they need.”


Things beyond our imagination

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Recently, at an academic dinner, I was sitting across the table from a nuclear scientist. At one point, I asked him this question: Do you believe that there’s human life on other planets? His answer surprised me: “As a scientist, no, I don’t believe there’s human life on another planet.


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October 4, 2015

  • Sunday, October 4

    Gerard Thomas Straub Book Signing, 9 a.m.- 1p.m., Holy Family Bookstore, 1519 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Straub will discuss his newly re-released book, “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi.” (626) 403-6133.

    St. Kateri Mass, 11 a.m., St. Marcellinus Church, 2349 Strong Ave., Commerce. Everyone is welcome to honor and follow in the footsteps of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Potluck and raffle immediately following – bring a favorite dish to share!

    Faith Support on Our Cancer Journey, 2-4 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. This afternoon of reflection will explore ways for those struggling with cancer can nurture their spirits and seek divine guidance and support. $25 ($20 if paid in full by September 25). (310) 377-4867.

    “Come and See” Vocation Event, 2-7 p.m., Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, 2927 S Greenville St., Santa Ana. Single women of high school and college age are invited by Sacred Heart Sisters to learn more about religious life. Dinner will be provided. RSVP by Oct. 3 at (714) 557-4583 or 

    Once Upon a Time: Stories to Awaken the Mysteries of the Heart, 3-5 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. $25. (310) 377-4867.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965.

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