The Diocese of Sacramento Catholic Schools Department has 35 transitional kindergarten or kindergarten through 8th grade schools offering students and their families a valued and reputable Catholic School education. St. John Vianney Catholic School is one of the 35, and has been doing so in Rancho Cordova since 1960. In its 63rd year, SJV School continues to find blessings amidst the long weeks, big tests, challenging circumstances and evolving landscape of academics. Each family who choses a Catholic education at St. John Vianney Catholic School comes as a blessing. Each family brings to the school community their own Godly gifts. The educational options in the region are plentiful, the diversity is generous, possibilities are seemingly endless. Making a school choice can be overwhelming while juggling the constant duties and tasks of a parent/guardian. At St. John Vianney Catholic School students who want to be here are a gift from God that has been bestowed upon the St. John Vianney community, and for each of them we are thankful.
At St. John Vianney Catholic School history plays a role in the on-going enrollment of students. We are grateful that generations pass through the school, sharing in the opportunity to be part of the timeless SJV community of alumni, parishioners, employees, and friends of SJV School. Legacy families are important because they are tried and true. Dedicated and loyal. Knowing the potential of an education with St. John Vianney Catholic School. When speaking to students whose parents are alumni or cousins are in another classroom, their faces light up, they consider the school a home away from home. For the Mitchell family, they observed extended family’s experience with the school ahead of their own family timeline. The Mitchell’s today are very much in the midst of their own legacy at the school. Their oldest, Alvin graduated in 2021, Troy is currently in 4th grade and their youngest, Kyla is a kindergartener. Mr. Mitchell’s mother found St. John Vianney as her home parish after relocating to Mather, California which superseded his nieces attending the school. The familiarity with the church and school communities aided in the decision making processes when the time came for their oldest to enroll in kindergarten. You can find these beautiful legacy stories in every classroom at SJV School. The teachers and staff share in the journey, playing witness to families as they grow, celebrating moments of joy and supporting families in times of need. The years turn into decades where legacy families are woven into the fabric that is St. John Vianney Catholic School.
How does a family start their journey with SJV School? In talking with current families, we found that the methods are as diverse as the student population. The Wynn family, who have been enrolled at SJV since their son, Tristan was a TK student are now in their eighth year. They learned about the school as parishioners of the church in talking to others who coincidentally were alumni of the school. Mr. and Mrs. Wynn have an extra component of sentiment to the St. John Vianney community as it is the parish they were married in! Ultimately, when their son was old enough to enroll as a TK student, the school choice was obvious, “we fell in love with the family atmosphere at SJV” says Mr. Wynn. Now that Tristan is in middle school, a 6th grader this year, their family is choosing to stay with SJV School due to the rigorous academics that are preparing their son for his future. The skills students acquire right from the start as TK students and kindergarteners give Mr. and Mrs. Wynn a piece of mind that SJV School is preparing Tristan for high school academic expectations and beyond.
The Garcia family did their due diligence to research public and private school options at the time their oldest was to age-out of a local preschool program. When visiting St. John Vianney Catholic School Mrs. Garcia says she felt an “immediate connection” with the school culture as open and welcoming in a comfortable setting. The Garcia’s have been part of the SJV School and parish community for nine years, with their two boys, Nathaniel currently enrolled in 7th grade and Alexander in 3rd grade. The opportunity for their children to receive a faith-based education is important for Mr. and Mrs. Garcia. “Sometimes when they have specific questions, as a parent I may not know exactly how to answer religion related questions and I appreciate that SJV is there to talk about the Catholic faith, attend Mass and encourage community involvement.” In conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Garcia they beam with pride when talking about Nathaniel and Alexander and how as individuals they exercise their commitment to faith and that they carry themselves as virtuous members of the school community. It is these intangibles that SJV School strives for for every student.
Now that students are enrolled, what keeps them at SJV School? Families continue to choose St. John Vianney Catholic School year after year because of how it fulfills the needs of their child(ren). Serendipitously, this is often the case for the parent/guardian, too. “Our children’s favorite part of SJV School are the many activities throughout the year. This enables them to connect with their friends and we as a school community can also form close relationships” as stated by Mrs. Mitchell referring to how her three kids each found enjoyment at the school. To accompany the academic excellence at SJV, students have a vast array of choices to be active in outside the classroom. SJV School participates in the Parochial Athletic League (PAL), where 5th-8th graders compete on athletic teams against other Catholic schools. Students can participate in the school choir, Academic Decathlon, Student Council, altar service through the parish, Missoula Children’s Theater and, Mental Math Bowl among the other options. Extra-curricular programs require time management, team work, commitment and sportsmanship all while continuing to represent St. John Vianney Catholic School in the best light. The Mitchell family is passionate about parent involvement and how parents are stakeholders in the success of their children’s experience at SJV School. “We are able to build community, give our children a positive experience, and to model service and faith formation” says Mrs. Mitchell. One could make a case about the commitment made by families who continue to choose SJV School. There is a trust that all students are surrounded by a community with similar values, providing a layer of confidence, safety, love and support.
The collaborative effort to support the growth of children between parents/guardians and the SJV faculty is an intentional partnership. Mrs. Amy Hale, Principal of St. John Vianney Catholic School says, “parents are the first and primary educators of the child.” By choosing SJV School for their elementary years, it is the pleasure of the teachers and staff to walk alongside the family to educate the mind and inspire the spirit of all SJV School students. If you are a prospective family looking for a reputable school choice for your child(ren), one might consider listening to families who have direct experience with St. John Vianney Catholic School. The Wynn family feels comfortable calling SJV School their home away from home. “We enjoy the involvement that all the SJV families have in the school environment. Everyone feels invested in their child’s success” says Mr. Wynn. Many students have the opportunity to grow up at SJV, for some spending a decade of their life here before they embark on the next milestone as a high school students. It is a privilege that teachers and staff value to be able to participate in these formative years of a child’s life. The Mitchell family feels strongly about the investment in each student by the teachers at SJV School, providing the confidence parents/guardians need to know their child(ren) is receiving a well-rounded education. Students will be challenged academically, spiritually and social-emotionally all in a positive learning environment. This supportive culture provides the foundation for success of young people. The development of a students’ whole-self is critical in the development of their self-confidence and abilities to think critically while being conscientious of others. Developing these personal assets of each student is paramount at SJV School.
Knowing that parents feel the weight of decisions such as school choice, might we take Mrs. Garcia’s advice to keep an open mind when making a school choice. She continues to encourage anyone interested to inquire regardless of faith, because St. John Vianney Catholic School offers an opportunity for academic excellence along with the extensive extra-curricular goodness to enrich the experience of a student(s) and their family.
In conclusion, school choice is individual to each family. At St. John Vianney Catholic School the educational opportunity waits for those who desire to be part of the school’s legacy. At SJV School, students will experience what the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael made clear in the opening of the school in 1960. Students will Pray, Study, Love and Serve. Listening to the families of St. John Vianney Catholic School today, it is evident that these core values live out in the children and their families.
St. John Vianney Catholic School will provide faith formation to students and their families in a nurturing and community environment. Pray.
St. John Vianney Catholic School is committed to an academically excellent curriculum. Study.
St. John Vianney Catholic School has prioritized supporting the social-emotional development of its students. Love.
St. John Vianney Catholic School will make available opportunities for students to serve in leadership roles and for their community. Serve.
These four pillars are the foundation of the school and will continue to guide the school community and all who choose to be a St. John Vianney Catholic School Tiger!