The Diocese of Orange Catholic Schools is on a mission to showcase its schools that are hidden gems within their own communities.
LA PURÍSIMA CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN ORANGE RECENTLY HOSTED A PLAY DATE FOR A MOMS GROUP TO SHOWCASE THE SCHOOL TO PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES. PHOTO BY LOU PONSI/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
La Purísima Catholic School in Orange falls into that category.
Founded nearly 50 years ago by the Sisters of the Company of Mary, La Purísima serves to fill the spiritual, academic and social needs of students from preschool to eighth grade.
“We just want to make sure that they are aware that we’re here and that we’re open to share our faith with the community,” said Belinda Espinoza, the enrollment and marketing coordinator for the Diocese of Orange Catholic Schools. “Just what our values are and how we welcome others. To learn about all the wonderful things we’re doing and the difference that the kids are making in the community.”
To help spread the word, Espinoza reached out to friend and networking partner Flor Campos, founder of Mommies Unidas, a bilingual community support group for mothers.
With more than 6,000 followers on its Instagram page, MommiesUnidas organizes play dates at locations throughout Orange County.
La Purísima hosted the group’s playdate on Aug. 4.
LA PURÍSIMA TEACHER SAYDI DRUSYS HELPS A CHILD WITH A CRAFT DURING THE SCHOOL’S PLAYDATE FOR A GROUP OF MOMS AND THEIR KIDS HELD ON AUG. 4. PHOTO BY LOU PONSI/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
“I actually wanted to make sure that the moms in the group knew about the Catholic schools in the community,” Campos said. “I know La Purísima offers an awesome program, so I wanted the moms to be informed about it as well.”
About a half-dozen moms and their kids showed up and while the children were working on crafts under the guidance of La Purísima teachers, school principal Rosa Ramirez took the moms on a tour of the campus.
Ramirez began as a teacher at the school several years ago and has served as principal for seven years. But her roots in the La Purísima community go much deeper than that. Ramirez’s family has been a part of La Purísima parish since the 1950s. Ramirez attended the school as a child and sent her two children there as well.
“We do more than just teach the kids the academics,” the principal said. “It’s care for development as well as moral development. Our kids are not only college bound, but they’re Heaven bound. Our theme this year is ‘Journey to Sainthood’ and how kids and the adults are practicing being saints every day.”
Ramirez pointed out that La Purísima teachers recently completed three years of training at Loyola Marymount University to become certified in using the Blended Learning instructional strategy. Through the integration of technology, Blended Learning is designed to meet the individual needs of students and enable students to take ownership over their own learning, the principal said.
“Basically, it’s very much individualized attention,” Ramirez said. “We get to know our kids on a one-to-one level. They’re working within their ability groups. So, the teacher works with the kids for about 10 minutes in a small group of three, four or five students. The teacher is able to support the kids that need that extra support and push the kids who are ready for the next level.”
The school also integrates STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects in its curriculum.
LA PURÍSIMA PRINCIPAL ROSA RAMIREZ IS PICTURED ON THE SCHOOL’S PLAYGROUND. THE RUBBERIZED PLAYGROUND SURFACE IS WORN DOWN AFTER YEARS OF USE. PHOTO BY DREW KELLEY/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Ramirez is also trying to garner community support for the installation of a new rubberized playground surface. The current “well-loved” surface is frayed after many years of use and is very much due for a refresh.
Rubberized playground surfaces are safer, durable and easy to maintain.
A new surface will likely cost close to $50,000, the principal said. To learn how you might donate towards a new playground surface, contact Mrs. Ramirez at [email protected]