Posted on July 1, 2021 · Posted in Academic News, General, News

Summer at St. Laurence High School is a time of change. Transitioning from one school year to the next, it serves as a perfect opportunity to welcome new students and faculty members, prepare the building for renovations to keep up with growth and plan for yet another great year.

The school’s biggest change this summer, however, is in the front office. As of July 1, Kristy Kane takes over as principal after spending a year working alongside Jim Muting, who retired after the 2020-21 school year.

Principal Kane takes over a school on the rise in St. Laurence, the fastest growing high school in the Archdiocese of Chicago. With a projected enrollment of over 900 students for the upcoming school year, St. Laurence will have nearly doubled its student population in just six years. It is the only Catholic high school in the southland to see significant increases in enrollment in six consecutive years. The 2021-22 school year will mark the first time in St. Laurence history that the school will be fully co-ed.

In her first year, Kane was able to comprehensively observe the school in all facets, taking the time to talk to students, teachers and parents in order to get an understanding of what makes St. Laurence special.

“What stands out about St. Laurence is the culture,” said Kane. “We have cultivated a mentality of innovation in our students and teachers, and I think that is a big reason why we have seen so much growth. Families want their children to receive a modern education that will prepare them for college and their careers, and we provide that through our curriculum and programs.”

Among the programs Kane is talking about is St. Laurence’s brand new International Baccalaureate Program – the first of its kind among Catholic schools in the southland. On top of that, Kane has extensive background coordinating Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses, which allows students to take college-level classes before leaving the walls of St. Laurence.

Kane also led the charge on the hiring of new faculty and student services staff members, a group which she is very excited about. “We already have outstanding teachers who truly put our students first,” said Kane. “We reinforced that with a vibrant group of dynamic educators that have a wide range of experience and proven track records of putting students in positions for success. I think they will truly set us apart from other schools.”

The Student Services Department specifically has been a big point of emphasis for Kane, who has already hired two new school counselors to help bolster the school’s commitment to college readiness. To her, that means putting students in positions to get accepted into better colleges or universities, earn more scholarships and graduate on time with less debt. It also means looking at how to increase the school’s efforts in supporting the social-emotional needs of students, an area that has already taken leaps and bounds in recent years.

The new counselors join an expansive list of employees who serve St. Laurence families that also includes an Athletic Counselor, a Psychotherapist, a full-time nurse, a Resource Director, Deans of Student Performance, Student Engagement, and Student Success and a Director of Sports Science and Performance. The investment in these roles have paid off tremendously for St. Laurence students with increased test scores, college acceptance rates and recognitions such as Illinois State Scholars in recent years.

With a year under her belt, Kane is ready to carry on St. Laurence’s upward trajectory and take the school to new heights. And after a summer of change, you can count on the Vikings to be back in August, bigger and better than before.