It’s hard work opening up a new school. Just ask Suzanne Siekawitch, principal for St. Michael’s School in Snohomish.
“We’re a little busy,” Siekawitch said with a laugh. “In all reality, it’s very exciting. I’m as nervous as can be.”
St. Michael’s, which opens its doors for classes today, is the only Catholic school in eastern Snohomish County. The school’s 24 students are from Snohomish, Everett, Lake Stevens and Monroe.
Most of the students signed up for classes in the last two weeks, Siekawitch said. Parents can still enroll their children.
St. Michael’s will take children from preschool up to third grade, although original plans were to enroll only up to first grade.
Parents expressed an interest in enrolling older students, and in keeping their children in the same school, Siekawitch said.
Students will now be separated into preschool and multi-age classes. The multi-age class will have students from kindergarten through third grade.
Jodell Harvey enrolled her youngest daughter, Lilly, in St. Michael’s preschool because faith-based education is important in her family, she said.
Harvey’s husband grew up in Snohomish and the entire family is active in the St. Michael’s parish.
Having the choice to send Lilly to a faith-based school was nice, Harvey said. Harvey has two other daughters, one of whom she plans to enroll next year at St. Michael’s.
For now though, Harvey and Lilly are both looking forward to the start of school.
“She’s very excited,” Harvey said of her daughter. “I’ve met the teachers, they’re wonderful.”
Siekawitch at first was concerned about combining grades in the multi-age class. Kindergarten is an educationally intensive time, she said, and she worried about teachers having enough time to adequately teach and prepare students for the next grade level.
“Though our numbers are low, it’s still about being able to educate every child at the level they need to be educated,” Siekawitch said. “I am very confident in the teachers that we have.”
John Moser will teach the multi-age class. Moser comes to St. Michael’s with 28 years of teaching experience. Parish member and certified teacher Jennifer Bahr volunteered to help in the multi-age class, Siekawitch said.
A second parish member, Christina Meza, will teach the preschool class. Meza comes to the school with 15 years of experience, Siekawitch said.
Planning for St. Michael’s School began five years ago. The church last fall completed an $80,000 capital campaign to renovate school buildings and the church.