Banner School: Blessed Sacrament, Wichita
For the second year in a row, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Wichita has been named a diocesan Banner School. The banner school award is the highest award given to a school for overall excellence in all elements of Catholic education. This year just two schools were named Banner Schools.
Blessed Sacrament excels in carrying out the mission and core values of Catholic education. With both traditional practices and the emphasis of Father John Jirak, the pastor, on promoting a spirit of Christian evangelization, the veteran faculty inculcates a respectful, prayerful atmosphere in church and in the classroom. Blessed Sacrament is a model of collaboration among parish, school, and diocese.
Academically Blessed Sacrament students rank in the top quartile of their peer diocesan schools on all diocesan and Kansas assessments. Blessed Sacrament students and parents rank the teachers highly on building strong relationships with students and providing a caring, supportive learning environment.
Of particular note is Blessed Sacrament’s Holy Family program. In the Holy Family program, eight children with moderate to severe educational deficits are taught by a licensed special education teacher in a pull-out setting. Supported by a grant from the diocesan Holy Family Foundation, Blessed Sacrament is pioneering this approach for the first time since the closing of the Holy Family Center in 1986. It is hoped that this approach can be replicated in other sites across the Diocese.
Diocesan superintendent Bob Voboril observed, “Former U.S. Secretary for Education William Bennett once said, ‘If you want to find a great school, find a great principal.’ Blessed Sacrament has an outstanding principal in Dan Dester. K-8 enrollment has jumped the last two years. Reports, projects, minutes, requests, all are handled promptly. Dan makes it easy for the teachers to do such good work.”
The pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church is Father John Jirak. Blessed Sacrament is located in the College Hill neighborhood in east-central Wichita.