School Counselor – At the Heart of Student Success!

Over the past few months, it has become clear that God is leading St. John’s to hire a full-time school counselor. St. John’s is creating a full-time counseling position, which Miss Sara Doyle will fill for the 2019-2020 school year! This position will impact our students in the most positive way possible and support students and teachers academically, socially and emotionally.
Miss Doyle will start her full-time counseling role in August when the new school year begins. She will oversee all student counseling needs (social, emotional and academic) as well as other pieces that fit with the role of a school counselor. Her focus will be to work with families, classroom teachers, resource teachers and school administration for the total success of student learning outcomes. 
We are confident having a full-time school counselor on the St. John’s campus will further enhance our record of exceptional learning with a foundation of strong Christian faith. Everyone at St. John’s wants what’s best for students and families, and we are excited to include this expanded role in our extensive offerings of support to your family! We are thankful to our school families and church members who support us each and every day, to carry out the good work of Christ-centered education.

Affordable Christian Education

St. John’s always strives to provide affordable, excellent Christian education. To help accomplish this we keep the cost of education low. Over the last two years, we have increased the cost of education LESS than the rise of inflation. LESS THAN 2%!

St. John’s has also give out over $1.5 million dollars in financial assistance over the last 20 years. Annually, we provide well over $100,000 in need-based assistance. If your family desires a Christ-centered, excellent education, but thinks that St. John’s is unaffordable, we’ve got help!

If you are a current family, financial assistance forms can be accessed through FACTS SIS (RenWeb). If you are a new family, stop in or call our Admissions Direction, Jodi, at (714) 288-4406 for more information! Check out our website too: We look forward to serving your family!

What’s New For Spanish This Year: Silent Sustained Reading (SSR)

With the change this year to block I implemented something I’ve wanted to implement for years:  SSR.  I have about 40 different titles of novels in Spanish.  They start at a 100 to 200 word level and work up to 500 + word level.   These novels are based on word lists of most frequently used words in daily language use in Spanish.  When a student works their way up into the more complicated novels, they still see many of the same vocabulary words as in the lower level novels, however in more complex sentences, richer contexts and accompanied by new words. 

How does the program work? 

Students self-select the books they will read.  There are two criteria:  1) It is at least mildly interesting to them.  An un-interesting book equals low language acquisition value.  However, I point out that they need to be patient: A limited vocabulary book is not going to be a best seller.  2)  It must be comprehendible.  A good percent range of known words is between 80 and 90% comprehension of the words.

We currently read 10—15 minutes a week.  The Spanish program includes a lot of reading so I didn’t feel the need to make this daily reading.

When a student finishes a book, they write a short book report.  The questions ask them to summarize the book, talk about their favorite part, write an advertisement for the book, and rate the book from 1 to 5 stars.  In 7th grade they must read 2 novels per semester.  In 8th grade it is 3 novels per semester. 

They receive two grades:  1) for reading.  All they have to do is read.  As long as they are not distracting themselves or others, they have an A for this effort grade 2) writing a book report—a reading grade.  

Expected Results?

Let’s start by seeing what the experts say:

Incidental learning of words during reading may be the easiest and single most powerful means of promoting large-scale vocabulary growth.

— W.E. Nagy & P.A. Herdman Quoted in Extended Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom

There is overwhelming research showing that recreational reading in a second language is a powerful means of improving grammar, vocabulary, spelling and writing ability ― and it is far more efficient and far more pleasant than traditional instruction.

― Stephen Krashen, PhD

For years I have offered a Free Voluntary Reading program in which students check out the same books now used for SSR to take home and read.  As they work through the books they unlock new levels (like gaming) and earn badges.  Usually less than 10% of the entire class takes advantage of this reading.  However, each year when I have tested a group of 8th graders using an independent testing service (Avant Assessment), students who read even one extra book in the FVR program scored stronger in reading and writing than those who didn’t. (This ACTFL approved test is based on the ACTFL performance guidelines, which include the California Standards).  Where I used to have the majority of students reading only the three class novels in 180 hours of study, with the SSR program I now have every 8th grader reading 9 novels.  Our testing has just begun for this year, but I expect to see an increase across the board in reading and writing for all test takers.  Next year’s 8th graders will be even more interesting as they will have read a total of 12 novels. 

By: Sr. Stone, 7/8th grade Spanish

Starting the Day with Prayer

In honor of Lent’s 40 days of prayer we prayed for a friend. Students wrote down their name and a prayer request on a piece of paper. They then crumbled the paper and tossed it into the center of the room. The students picked up a random prayer request, found a quiet area, and prayed for that classmate. Super fun! 

By: Natalie Lincoln, 3rd grade


We have been learning about rainbows in kindergarten this week. How they are formed, the intricate science behind them, and of course Gods great promise attached to them.  We learned that when sunlight hits certain water droplets rainbows are formed.  We did A LOT of fun rainbow themed activities this week. The class voted on their lesson and they chose this fun STEAM activity called M&M science rainbow.  

The kids arranged various patterns of M&Ms in a large circle on the edge of a plate. We gently added enough water to the middle of the plate until the water was touching all of the M&Ms. Over the next few minutes the students watched as their own beautiful rainbow formed right before their eyes! 

We learned that the hard shell of the M&Ms is made with water soluble colors. When the water touched the M&Ms, the colors began to dissolve and run into the water. Because of the shape of the plate and the positioning of the M&Ms, the colors had nowhere to go except into the middle of the plate, forming a beautiful rainbow as they do.

By: Laura Nelson, Kindergarten

Learning about life in early Orange County

Stick a sock in it? Put it through the ringer? Ring up a friend?

Our third grade classes had the opportunity to take a field trip the Heritage Museum and Kellogg House in Santa Ana. Five generations ago, Hiram Kellogg was one of the first influential architects in our local area. He was one of the first to have electricity in his home and loved boats. He designed his house with many ship themes, including using a ship mast as the center
point of his house. The Kellogg house was passed down from generation to generation prior to being made into a museum for students to learn about our community’s past.

On this trip, students learned that life was very different back 100 or so years ago. Entertainment was playing a piano or organ, or listening to music on a phonograph. But phonographs wouldn’t stop on cue, so you would ‘stick a sock in it’ to mute the sound. Washing clothes was done by hand, and then ‘put through the ringer’ to squeeze out the water before hanging up to dry. Talking on the phone required a landline, and you would have to know the correct code/pattern to ‘ring up a friend.’ This trip was a fun experience for our students, as they got to discover our local history in a very tactile and hands-on way. The Heritage Museum and Kellogg House allowed these students the opportunity to through hands-on experience. Learning reinforced beyond the traditional classroom walls.

By: Jeff Courvoisier, 3rd Grade

STEAM Plus Friends Equals Fun!

Over two days last week we celebrated some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books with different STEAM activities and a shared reading get-together with our Chapel Buddies. Some of the highlights were drawing crazy animal pictures and making a flip book of more creatures Gerald McGrew might have had if he ran the zoo and using many different building materials to engineer special places we’d like to visit after reading, “Oh the Places You’ll Go. We didn’t want to leave out mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills, so we used pattern blocks to create a multi-colored fish that showed how blocks fit together to fill a given space. We practiced counting by twos, fours, and hundreds and used visual discrimination after reading “The Foot Book.” We made paper plate turtles and stacked and counted them after we read “Yertle the Turtle.” We also talked about the many grown-up themes of some of his books, namely, the importance of individual rights, caring for the environment, and embracing diversity.

The relationship between first graders and their seventh grade Chapel Buddies made it possible to have an awesome shared reading experience. The first graders were proud to do lots of the reading and the seventh graders got to relive some of their own previous journeys into all those tongue-twisting rhyme stories. It was an awesome celebration of “Read Across America” for sure.

By: Pam Cook, 1st grade