Philosophy of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School exists to cooperate with parent(s) and/or guardians, the primary educators of their children in continuing the full Christian education of those it has been called to serve, the children.

The purpose of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is to provide for the students a Catholic educational environment, which promotes their understanding of, and sense of belonging to, an ever-changing yet God-sustained world. Teachers facilitate the holistic development of each student-- spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally, aesthetically, and physically.

Mission Statement

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School provides an excellent academic program founded on Roman Catholic values and teachings to prepare our students to be lifelong learners and active Christians.

Vision Statement

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is a faith-based learning community that seeks to transform lives through education and discipleship as we move forward as part of the global family.

Educational Goals


We strive to create a Christian educational environment where the parish clergy, teachers, students and parents can become involved in teaching and learning the message revealed by God, building a community based on fellowship in the Holy Spirit and fostering service to the community through prayer, peace, justice, and love.


In order to achieve this goal through interaction of the clergy, faculty and other adult Christians and students, we:

  1. Experience the teaching of Christ through prayer, Scripture, and liturgy.
  2. Promote awareness that God is with us today in love, and is alive and real.
  3. Clarify spiritual and moral values by learning the Church’s views, through studying Scripture and Catholic social teachings, and discussing how to live these values today.
  4. Build a communal and individual life of faith and prayer by providing opportunities for a variety of prayer forms, paraliturgies, and monthly school Masses.
  5. Encourage the understanding of, and participation in, the Sacraments.
  6. Emphasize and promote vocational awareness.


Our school strives to encourage continuous intellectual development by involvement with the knowledge and culture of past and present and by fostering curiosity, creativity and enthusiasm for whatever can improve the quality of life now and in the future.


To provide the opportunities for involvement with the knowledge and culture of the past and present we:

  1. Utilize basic group instruction and some individual instruction on essential facts, processes and skills for curriculum subjects (religion, reading mathematics, writing, English, social studies, science, music, art, and physical education).
  2. Work with small groups and individuals to build competence in the skill areas of these subjects, allowing for individual differences.
  3. Teach critical thinking problem solving skills.
  4. Integrate subjects across the curriculum to intensify learning experiences.
  5. Explain methods of research and plan assignments which can be explored in class.
  6. Use audiovisual equipment and materials, models, and manipulatives to enrich and reinforce learning.
  7. Evaluate student progress through testing.

To provide opportunities to encourage curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm for whatever can improve the quality of life now and in the future we:

  1. Provide time for discussion and/or hands-on-experiences in various subject areas.
  2. Assign projects in various subjects which elicit the students’ prior and acquired knowledge, skills, and original ideas.
  3. Develop projects involving service to the community at large.
  4. Exchange ideas and find new insights through faculty conversation, workshops, courses, and personal research.

To encourage intellectual growth is a lifetime endeavor and we try to create an atmosphere where intellectual accomplishment receives positive recognition, and thus presents wise use of mental powers as a pleasant, rewarding experience for self and others. To encourage intellectual growth as a lifetime endeavor we:

  1. Recognize students’ academic achievements at awards assemblies.
  2. Display and publish student work.
  3. Encourage student research and creativity for projects and contests.
  4. Sponsor informational and cultural programs for students, faculty, parent(s) and/or guardians.
  5. Invite adults to inform students about their careers and the preparations needed for them.
  6. Help students learn library, research, and reporting skills.
  7. Arrange field trips to local points of interest.
  8. Promote reading for enjoyment.


We encourage active expression of Christian concern for our fellow man through the application of Christian values in day-to-day living.


This goal is actualized when we:

  1. Foster independence in decision making and the acceptance of responsibility for one’s personal action.
  2. Develop concepts essential to honest communication with people.
  3. Encourage respect for the home, school, and community.
  4. Emphasize cooperation in human relationships.
  5. Provide training for leadership and responsible citizenship through the Student Council and its activities.
  6. Encourage school-wide service projects, such as food and clothing drives, mission awareness and support activities.


We strive to create an environment that is conducive to self-actualization.


  1. Add to the child’s self-image by making the student aware of being loved by God.
  2. Encourage students to develop their ability to express their feelings in an appropriate manner.
  3. Aid the students in developing and maintaining mutually satisfactory relationships with others.
  4. Discuss positive and negative means of handling emotions.
  5. Advise children whose expectations are too high or too low so that they may be encouraged to attain more realistic goals.
  6. Help students to think through solutions to personal, school and family problems using means such as group discussions and role-playing.
  7. Use teacher-principal consultations for any student with emotional difficulties, followed by teacher-parent-administrator conferences, as outlined in the school’s written procedures, and use referrals for outside professional help if necessary.


We initiate a broadening of aesthetic sensitivity by providing opportunities to experience and/or participate in the fine arts of music, literature, art and drama.


To encourage a development of these sensitivities we:

  1. Provide classroom experiences with art and music.
  2. Schedule outings for cultural events.
  3. Provide assemblies for enjoying performances by visiting professional artists.
  4. Help students distinguish various literary genres and learn some critiquing skills.


We attempt to meet students’ needs in the areas of motor skills development and to increase each child’s awareness and appreciation of the body.


To fulfill these physical goals we:

  1. Have physical education as an integral part of the curriculum.
  2. Teach the children the relationship between good health and all activities by providing information and discussion on physical growth, development, nutrition, and avoidance of substance abuse.
  3. Encourage children to actively participate in play during recess.
  4. Provide opportunities for extracurricular sports.

Parents’ and Guardians’ Responsibilities

Schools exist to assist parent(s) and/or guardian in the education of their children. Parent(s) and/or guardians have the responsibility to reinforce and foster behavior that is appropriate for a Christian child.

Parental influence remains the MOST important factor in a child’s development. The Church and school assist in the work begun at home. Parent(s) and/or guardians are encouraged to participate in their children’s education by helping to motivate them to fulfill their potential by encouraging reading, by supporting lifelong learning, by enabling responsibility, and by setting an example of cooperation and helpfulness.

By enrolling a child in Our Lady of Fatima School, the parent(s) and/or guardian enter into an agreement of partnership with the school in the education of their children. This school exits to assist parents with the educational and spiritual development of their children, but not to assume parental duties and responsibilities. In the same way, parents should not attempt to assume the teachers’ or administrators’ duties and responsibilities.

Our Lady of Fatima School is a parish school. Attendance at Sunday liturgies and participation in appropriate parish activities is part of the total educational experience for our children and parents have a serious obligation to be active in their parish. Parents who are claiming to be an in-parish family but are not active members of a parish or faith community will be expected to pay Category III tuition.

To be considered In-Parish for tuition purposes, the family must be registered with Our Lady of Fatima Parish and be using the Sunday envelopes regularly. Regularly is defined as at least three Sundays per month. No specific monetary amount is required. Parish records will be reviewed regularly to verify the status of families claiming the In-Parish rate. If the family does not meet these requirements, their tuition rate will be adjusted accordingly.

Participation in activities sponsored by the Parents’ Club and the school are absolutely essential to maintain our school. Every parent becomes a member upon enrollment of their child(ren) in the school and is expected to share in the work and the efforts of various activities. As necessary, parents should be prepared to help children follow through with their school responsibilities.

The Principal may recommend transfer of a student when the parents or guardians have failed to meet their obligations to the school which they accepted upon enrolling their child, or have been persistently uncooperative with the school staff, policies, regulations, programs or lines of communication or have interfered in matters of school administration or discipline to the detriment of the school’s ability to serve their own or other children.

The education of a student is a partnership between parents and school. Just as the parent has the right to withdraw a child if desired, the school administration reserves the right to require the withdrawal of a student if the administration determines the partnership between school and parent is irretrievably broken.

Students’ Responsibilities

The student is responsible for his/her own learning process as he/she grows in the capacity to accept that responsibility. The student should come to school prepared with necessary materials, necessary assignments and the attitude of openness to learn. Students are expected to be cooperative with the teacher’s efforts and to live well socially with other students. Students are expected to follow the school rules pertaining to behavior, dress code, homework and attendance.

Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs)

The primary goal of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is that our graduating students will have achieved the capabilities outlined in the SLEs, so that we may, as a school community, say that OLFCS students are:

1. Active Christians Who Are Able To:

    • participate in liturgies, pray using memorized and spontaneous prayer
    • serve others in their daily life
    • show respect for God, Church, authority, property, others and self
    • demonstrate basic knowledge of the foundations of the Catholic faith

2. Lifelong Learners Who Are Able To:

    • demonstrate a strong foundation in the basics of all subjects
    • read, write, calculate and use technology to research, evaluate and communicate information
    • participate in extra-curricular activities and/or fine arts activities

3. Effective Communicators Who Are Able To:

    • speak publicly with confidence and poise
    • write clearly and to the purpose, using correct grammar and mechanics (conventions?)
    • express opinions thoughtfully and with respect
    • demonstrate active listening, including good manners on all occasions

4. Self –Evaluators Who Are Able To:

    • plan, set, and work toward goals effectively
    • assess own work to reflect standards of excellence
    • hold self accountable for actions
    • assess own strengths and areas for improvement
    • recognize the importance of and make good health choices

5. Problem Solvers Who Are Able To:

    • work independently and collaboratively
    • resolve conflicts peacefully
    • analyze, consider alternatives, and make good, effective, and moral choices
    • respect different points of view and perspectives
    • develop and utilize leadership skills

Our History

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School was established in 1957 by Fr. William Kennedy, seven years after the foundation of the parish. The Daughters of Jesus, a Canadian Congregation with American headquarters in Montana, supplied three Sisters to staff the school which began with grades 1-3. A grade was added each following year until all eight grades were included.

The Daughters of Jesus, due to personnel shortages, withdrew in 1970 after assisting the pastor and school board through a smooth transition to an all lay faculty with Mrs. Karen Ristau in the role of principal. After Mrs. Ristau’s resignation in 1984, Sister M. Genevra Rolf, CSC, a Holy Cross Sister, served as principal until 1990. Another lay principal, Dr. Don Dirks, served the school until 1994 when Mr. Don Brimmer became acting principal. In 1995, Mrs. Linda Partlow, a former faculty member of the school for fourteen years, was appointed principal. After nineteen years as principal Mrs. Partlow retired in 2014. As the Parish searched for a new principal Dr. Rex Wetzel served as principal for the 2014 – 2015 school year. In the spring of 2015 our Pastor hired Mrs. Melissa Neder as the principal. We are poised for many great things and a bright future.

A new wing housing three classrooms was added to the school in 1963. The addition also added a library, science lab, and school office. The junior high (established 1980) and K-5 (established 1995) computer labs were combined into one lab beginning with the 2000-2001 school year. Due to a generous grant, the new lab was equipped with 36 new computers and 6 printers, as well as new furniture. A junior high science lab and a music room were re-established in 2000-2001. A kindergarten program was added in 1972 and the Extended Day Care program was initiated in 1985. In March 2000 a Steering Committee was established to guide the planning, financing, and construction of the OLF multi-purpose facility. Groundbreaking took place in March 2005. The building was completed and in use by August 2006.

In 2007-2008, the school and parish community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the school and honored its founder, Monsignor William P. Kennedy who served as pastor for over three decades before retiring as Pastor Emeritus. In June of 2004, our pastor, Fr. John Pruett retired. In January 2005 Fr. Khoi Pham was appointed as parish administrator and then officially named as pastor in June 2005. Fr. John Pruett passed away in May 2005.

The school currently serves about 220 children from 150 families. The majority of the children are still from the parish with the rest coming from neighboring parishes which have no schools. The staff consists of eleven certified teachers, part-time aides in grades K-5, a librarian, a P.E. teacher, a computer literacy teacher, and a Spanish teacher in grades 6-8.

In July 2016 the school was re-accredited by The Accrediting Commission for Elementary Schools of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA). A 6-year accreditation was awarded to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School (through June 2022).