Spotlight on Cheryl Drozd, St. Bonaventure Catholic School
Recently, our office hosted a professional development event for more than 200 educators from schools and parishes across the archdiocese. The ReligiousEd Symposium 2020 was initially planned as an in-person gathering, but became a virtual offering due to current restrictions. Archbishop Lucas welcomed attendees and speakers presented about about various topics related to teaching our faith.
One of the speakers was Cheryl Drozd, current pre-kindergarten teacher at St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Columbus, Nebraska. Drozd began a classroom bible study that has transformed into a robust program titled “In School with Jesus,” which can be found at inschoolwithjesus.com.
During the Symposium, Cheryl presented to teachers about the details of the program, as well as answered questions from fellow teachers about how to implement in their own classrooms and schools.
We followed up with Cheryl after the event to hear more about her work and her event experience.
When asked about how In School with Jesus (ISWJ) came to be, she said:
“There were several things that sprinkled out in my life over the years that led me to create In School with Jesus.”
Experiences while teaching Wednesday evening PRE and while substitute teaching shaped how she would end up teaching in her own classroom.
“God laid on my heart the importance of starting each day in my classroom with bible study. The response from both parents and students in my first Pre-K Catholic classroom was phenomenal,” she said.
About two and half years ago, with encouragement from her school principal, the formal writing and development process for the daily bible study curriculum In School with Jesus began.
With ISWJ, teachers guide students line by line as they learn to associate their lives with the bible.
Cheryl encouraged other teachers at her school, too. Multiple grade levels started the habit of starting every school day with a short reflection on Scripture. All noticed the difference this made for the students’ spiritual lives -as well as their own.
Parents reported their children coming home to have conversations at the Bible. They also requested help to continue their own scriptural reflections at home during summer breaks.
We’re proud of her example of classroom and faith leadership.
We asked how she felt about presenting to even more peers during the Symposium this year:
“I loved the dedication and unity that the Symposium brought. There was still a coming together, a time to join in small groups and a common theme of God being a center in all the videos and sessions. It is beautiful to be a part of such an awesome archdiocese and to have the privilege to talk about God daily in our work and to be able to pray together. These are privileges that we can’t take for granted. I thank God for His work in me and those around me. I am thankful to work in a Catholic School and for this opportunity to share with others.”
Read more Q&A with Cheryl Drozd below.
Q: What’s your favorite bible verse?
A: My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 1:6 “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” I believe that when God starts a project, he completes it. God will help you grow in grace, until he has completed His work in our life. We just have to trust and let Him lead.
Q: What advice would you give a parent who is starting out with developing a family prayer life?
A: I didn’t always give God the credit for the good in my life. My family and I would always end our day asking “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” By doing this, we would end our day on a positive note and count our blessings. But now, I have changed it to “How did you see God in your life today?” As a family, if you can take the time to see the people, opportunities and talents that God puts in your life each day, you can begin to see who He truly is, how much he loves you and what His purpose for you is in life. Start simple. Spend some time each evening at dinner or before bed praising God for all that He is.You will start building that relationship and notice how He works in your life everyday! Maybe try to think of 10 things you all saw as a family, with everyone participating and sharing together. (Examples: someone smiled at me today when I walked in the classroom, my co-worker waited for me to get out of my car so we could walk into work together, I scored a goal at practice, etc).
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Additional speakers at ReligiousEd Symposium 2020 included:
Vickie Kauffold, Assistant Superintendent – New Pre-K – 8 Religion Standards Rollout
Deacon Matt Halbach, PhD, Sadlier – Accompanying Children and Parents in the Faith Journey
Craig Dyke, Director of the Center of Family Life Formation – Pastoral Guidance on Gender Issues
Dr. Ron Fussell, Creighton University – Teaching the Faith in All Subject Areas
All archdiocesan curriculum standards are available on our website.
Our teachers are busy training in religion and in other areas to ensure readiness to confidently begin the upcoming school year.