Principal’s Blog

Principal Steve Gromala – Holy Family Catholic School

August 29, 2019

Did you know that learning has a smell all its own?  Yes, it’s true!  No, it’s not that your child’s head is on fire (lol), but there is just something about learning.  You can see it, smell it…almost taste it…and it is truly amazing.  The price of learning is certainly not cheap, but I am working harder than ever with this tremendous faculty to ensure that the learning that takes place at Holy Family is way better than average.  In fact…exemplary!  It’s what we want and what you expect as a parent or supporter.

By now, many of you know that I have a specific vision for Holy Family Catholic School.  That vision is simple!  First and foremost, we will not apologize for our Catholic faith.  Instead, we will CELEBRATE our faith and ensure that each and every student becomes a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  Secondly, we will work to ensure that what we do at Holy Family is progressive…on the cutting edge of educational practice.  This won’t happen overnight.  We will GO SLOW TO GO FAST…but we WILL get there.  Yes, it’s true that it costs money to be progressive, but I’m tired of hearing from people that Catholic schools are old and outdated.  Aren’t you tired of hearing that too???

The Lord has spoken to me…yes, maybe that sounds far fetched, but He has.  He keeps telling me that if we focus on being Catholic with a capital “C” and are progressive with our approach, our students will be fully prepared for high school like no other.  Additionally, if we do all of this, enrollment will blossom for our storied Catholic school.

We have a very special story to share at Holy Family.  Most importantly, that we are truly a school family.  We love and care for our students as much as we love and care for the parents who send them here.  With your help this year, let’s work TOGETHER like never before to ensure that EVERY STUDENT receives a great education in a Christ-filled environment.

With Faith, Knowledge and Friendship,

Steve Gromala, Principal


May 8, 2019

Hello Friends of Holy Family!  It’s been a couple months since my last blog post and I thought it was about time.  I need to be better about future posts.  Usually I try to get into a little more depth in my blog than I can within the newsletter.  This time around I would like to talk some about literacy instruction at Holy Family.  There is no doubt that our teachers are hard workers and doing a great job ensuring that EVERY student is reading at a high level.  Although this is clearly the case to me, I know that we can do better.  Current research indicates that we should be using a Balanced Literacy approach as it pertains to reading, writing and word study.  Some of our teachers have had good training in this area, but as for others, they would admit that they could use more to ensure our literacy program is even better.

With this being said, I am partnering with Mr. Mulloy of St. John the Baptist School to hire the CESA 6 Literacy Center to provide top-notch literacy training for our teachers next year.  In fact, we will start in June and continue about every other month throughout the school year.  Our teachers will learn (or refresh their memories) about something called Guided Reading and the importance of leveling students so we truly know what reading level they are at and where to start.

Providing this training for our staff is going to be expensive, but well worth it.  Nobody can deny that literacy is critically important.  It is out goal to ensure that EVERY STUDENT at Holy Family is reading at high levels and if not, we will work tirelessly until they do.

With this will come the need for hundreds of high-interest leveled books of every genre.  We have many now, but will need so many more.  Of course, purchasing these books will cost thousands.  I am working hard with your Site Advisory Council to secure funding for both the training and the books.  If you can help, please contact me.

My goal for next year is to focus on Guided Reading.  By 2020-21, we will shift to focus on writing and word study (or spelling).  Like some of you, I like to know what the goals of organizations I support are.  I hope this helps you to know what just one of our huge goals are for the year to come.  If you have questions, come see me anytime.  I am passionate about this subject and love to share why I feel this is of urgent need.

A Proud ‘Comet for Christ’,

Steve Gromala, Principal


February 7, 2019

Hello Holy Family Supporters!  I just realized that it’s been awhile since I last posted anything to my blog.  Shame on me!  I will try to be better about this from time to time moving forward.  By now you have read that St. John Paul II Classical School will be moving by the fall.  This is wonderful news for our SJPII families and equally great news for all of us here at Holy Family.  I know that this is something that many parents have been waiting on for some time now.

So knowing this, what does this mean for Holy Family’s future???  First and foremost, the added space positions our school for future growth.  Secondly, sometimes sharing space can be difficult for even the best of neighbors.  As most of you know, I am working on overdrive to promote our great school and increase enrollment for next year.  Currently we have over 100 families enrolled, which is far more than we have had in recent history at this point in ‘enrollment season’.  This is super news and thank you to all those who are sharing your vote of confidence in our school by enrolling early.

While having a few empty classrooms does allow for growth, please remember that it’s going to take more than just me to spread the word about Holy Family School.  Your testimonials about our terrific teachers and staff is what will truly sell our school to new families and fill those rooms one by one.  As someone once said, “it takes a village”.  That is very true here at HFS and I have confidence that we can all pull together and do this.

Recently I had a couple nice parents (as opposed to those nasty parents :)…just kidding of course), reach out and ask about whether the 3EC and 4-K rooms would be separated next year.  In the spirit of transparency, all I can say at this point in time is that I don’t know.  While I plan to advocate heavily for this to happen, the decision is going to come down to whether we have the new enrollment to support the added classroom and teacher.  Your physical and prayerful support will make it happen.

I continue to enjoy my time working with the students, staff and parents of Holy Family School.  Each has been a special blessing in my life and I feel fortunate to have joined your family.

A Proud ‘Comet for Christ’,

Steve Gromala, Principal


November 29, 2018

As noted in my weekly newsletter, The Comet Communique, I mentioned that my priorities have been student safety, ensuring every child gets what he or she needs, marketing our great school, and ensuring our Catholic faith is front and center.  This week I want to focus some on my marketing efforts to raise school awareness, which WILL lead to increased enrollment.  As we sit right now, we are at 200 students strong.  We recently gained a new family and I have been receiving a few phone calls every week inquiring for more information.  These calls are coming organically without a tremendous amount of effort on my part, but I am a realist and know that more MUST be done to ensure families see the value in a strong Catholic education at Holy Family School.

My marketing plan for HFS is extensive and frankly, I’m going to need your help to carry it out.  I have been doing most on my own for now without a parent committee as many other GRACE schools have, but I would STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to help me promote YOUR SCHOOL.  To date I have three parents who have stepped up and want to be part of my newly formed Vitality Committee, which is awesome.  Our first meeting was supposed to be yesterday, but nobody showed.  This may be my fault so I plan to schedule another for the evening hours with the hope of attracting more families.

With the plan is to promote our school on sites such as ‘Let’s Go Mommy’, the ‘Green Bay Area Mom’s Blog’, ‘Green Bay Newcomers’, ‘Go Valley Kids’, the ‘Green Bay Pre-School Guide’ and more.  As you might imagine, all of this takes time and costs money.  Donations are graciously accepted to help me do more.  Hint, hint :).  

I am also working closely with Megan Pack, former HFS parent, who is assisting pro-bono (amazing) to redevelop our school brochure (which was many years old) a school poster, church bulletin inserts, a direct mailer to all parishioners with children ages 0-5 (that’s for SEVEN parishes) and much more.  Unfortunately a small budget will not allow me to purchase radio spots or billboards, but I also don’t feel that is our market.  Our focus ought to be on our Catholic families already members of our seven parishes.

Our marketing Key Messages are as follows…

  • Faith is our Foundation – We are well established in the Green Bay community since 1954.  Our faith is present and strong.
  • We Achieve, We Believe in Academic Excellence – We are ONE of only SEVEN IB middle schools in the state of Wisconsin and the ONLY Catholic IB middle school as well.  We believe in ensuring that EVERY child learns at the highest level in a strong, vibrant Catholic community of learning.
  • Make YOUR family part of OUR family – We are a strong community of parents, students and staff working together to ensure all children have a great Catholic school experience.

With your help, we can spread the word about Holy Family to all those looking for something more for their children.

I have also developed a Holy Family School prayer card.  The card is about the size of a baseball card and includes our new HFS prayer and general enrollment information on the reverse side.  If you should ever have an event and would like to pass some out to others you know, please do not hesitate to contact me.  This is what they are there for.

As far as re-branding our image, our new school logo will be unveiled at a special Catholic Schools Week Family Mass on Monday, January 28, 2018 at 5:30 PM at St. Agnes Catholic Church.  This will be proceeded by our Catholic Schools Week Open House from 4:00-5:00 PM and will conclude with a wonderful Chili Supper being prepared by our 8th grade parents and students.  Bishop has been invited to the Mass; however, I have not heard if he can attend to date.  Some wonder why we would change tradition and have a Mass.  My response is simple…It is critically important that we worship together as a school family.  We are not like St. John the Baptist or Our Lady of Lourdes, which has their own church and school.  We are a blended family of seven parishes into one school.  It is important to be who we say we are…a family…a Holy Family.

Other Catholic Schools Week plans include the following:

  • Ceremoniously retiring our old logo and unveiling our new school logo and apparel
  • Off-Campus Field Trips – Movies, Roller Skating, and Bowling
  • An Official Proclamation honoring Catholic Schools Week in Green Bay by Mayor Jim Schmitt.
  • Potential visits by State Senator Andre’ Jacque and Representative Mike Gallagher for ‘Celebrating our Nation Day’.
  • Potential visits by seminarians and our clergy on ‘Celebrating Vocations Day’ and a special luncheon in their honor
  • Coffee and Uncle Mike’s Kringle for parents and staff on ‘Celebrating Staff and Parents Day’.
  • A Catholic Schools Week Carnival of mini-courses for students to enjoy on Friday.  If you can offer a mini-course, please let me know.  We need people to provide things like yoga, Zumba, nail painting, board games, karate, and so much more.  We are open to your ideas.

With that, so sorry my musings got a little long this week.  I am excited about the future of Holy Family and I love to share my plans for conquering Green Bay’s west side :).  Thank you for being supportive and your prayers.

A Proud ‘Comet for Christ’,

Steve Gromala, Principal


November 8. 2018

A strong school structure and culture will lead to our success!  One thing I know is that both of these are true statements.  I also know that a lack of a positive school culture will eat structure for breakfast.  As your new fearless leader, I am working on both.  One way I am trying to ensure our future success is by including teachers and parents in the process of governing our school.  Through a strong system or structure, our culture can and will be more positive than ever before and as I predict, Holy Family will be vibrant for another 64 years.

In late-September I had an epiphany here at Holy Family.  I realized that we have a lot of GREAT things going on, but we lacked a system or structure.  I had found that oftentimes the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.  So after thinking of this, I came up with a structure for our school moving forward.  It has been embraced by Fr. Patrick, GRACE officials, our faculty, and the Site Advisory Council.

If you click below, you will be able to see an outline of our system or structure.

Holy Family School Leadership Structure

As you can see within, we have various groups of teachers and stakeholders involved to ensure longevity.  The four committees at the bottom – Faith, Academics, Vitality and Experience – align nicely with the GRACE Strategic Plan and are all ways parents can get involved.  If you would like to serve on any one of these four committees, please contact me.  Currently we have gotten our Faith Committee up and running.  Next we will focus on Vitality.

As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, but I am confident that Holy Family will be back on the map in no time as Green Bay’s premier Catholic school on Green Bay’s west side.  No doubt…we’ve got this!

A Proud ‘Comet for Christ’,

Steve Gromala, Principal


October 24, 2018

Dear HFS Families and Friends,

I LOVE HOLY FAMILY!  I love this school so much that I have BIG dreams.  One of those is to ensure the long-term vitality of our great school and grow enrollment to what it once was.  While other Catholic schools are in decline across the nation, GRACE is growing and HFS has great potential to be bigger and better than ever before.  I feel the Holy Spirit within the halls of our school.  I see the Holy Spirit in our students, teachers and parents every day.  We can do this TOGETHER as a collaborative faith community, but I need your help in making great things happen.

Within the past month I presented a proposal for restructuring our leadership model at Holy Family to GRACE officials, Fr. Patrick, the faculty and our Site Advisory Council.  Everyone has been very supportive.  I see this is a way to ensure our school’s strength for years to come.  If you open the attachment (below), you will see that my structure starts with my Teacher Leadership Team.  This is followed by the Site Advisory Council and a new idea – the Pastoral Leadership Council.  Below them includes four (4) vital committees that will ensure our school is strong and present on Green Bay’s west side for another 64 years or more (we were founded in 1954).  Those committees include:

  • Faith
  • Academics
  • Vitality
  • Experience

Each of these four (4) corresponds with GRACE’s new strategic plan.   To learn more, CLICK HERE.

To date I have begun meeting with our ‘Catholic Faith Committee’ a couple of times.  We have staff members, faith formation leaders and a parent involved.  More are welcome!  Next I plan to begin our ‘Vitality Committee’ to ensure we kick-off our marketing efforts in a BIG way starting with Catholic School’s Week (January 29-February 1).  If you would like to serve on this all-important committee, please contact me at 494-1931.  You may use your hours towards either your service or TSF hours (new).

Speaking of service and TSF hours, two members of our Site Advisory Council will be meeting with me soon to develop a handbook.  This will hopefully alleviate any confusion as to what you may or may not count towards your enrollment contract hours.  I recognized almost immediately that we need to be clearer with all of you so there is no wondering going on.

With all of this being said, I wish you a wonderful and blessed day.  Thank you for taking the time to read my latest musings.

Your Partner in a Christ-Centered Education,

Steve Gromala, Principal

Holy Family School Leadership Structure


September 27, 2018

Dear HFS Families and Friends,

Another week is in the books and we also close out the month of September.  It seems hard to believe that we have been in school for a whole month.  Time is sure flying by.  This week I have just a few exciting things to share.

  1. We are finalizing supports for students requiring Teacher Service Plans (TSPs) and GRACE Student Service Plans (GSSPs).  Letters to parents will be sent on Friday.
  2. Our Student Intervention Team meets again on Tuesday.  At this meeting we plan to focus our attention on our higher level learners and look for ways to support them.  We are also participating in a book study reading the book, Simplifying RtI.
  3. Please be sure read the GRACE newsletter included in your Purple Thursday Folder.  There are lots of good news inside.
  4. The S.A.C. has an excellent and exciting fundraiser coming at the end of October at the Green Bay Distillery.  Please consider attending.  More information has been included in my weekly newsletter.
  5. Speaking of the weekly newsletter, I have changed the name to the Comet Communique.  Don’t be alarmed.  It’s the same good news from school, but with a new banner and name.
  6. This week I met with O’Connor Creative to begin drafting our Marketing Plan for the school year.  I hope to have this completed by next week so I can share it with all parents.
  7. I am excited to announce that our Faith Leader, Mrs. Kekula, and I are going to be working with the staff to have a huge kick off for the month of the Holy Rosary, which is this October.  More details to come.  We want parents to be able to partake.

As always, thank you for sharing your student with us at Holy Family.  I love every one of them.




September 20, 2018

Dear HFS Families and Friends,

I simply cannot believe that it’s already Thursday.  The month of September has nearly passed us by and we are well into the start of the school year.  Last week in my ‘Blog’ post I was talking some about my dreams for Holy Family.  I was talking with a parent about my dreams and this person thought I should share why hopes and dreams with you.  So, with that, here goes…

DREAM #1 – EVERY child is guaranteed a GREAT Catholic education.  Wouldn’t it be neat to someday offer a 100% money-back guarantee?  My staff already embraces my ‘All Means All’ philosophy and we are working hard to ensure all of our kids get a fair shake at school.

DREAM #2 – Build enrollment!  Holy Family has so much potential for growth.  Next week I begin working on a marketing plan that will help ensure a strong enrollment for next year.

DREAM #3 – We need some color on our walls.  The structural bones of HFS are strong, but the walls are boring.  Please don’t take offense, but we desperately need to work with a professional to pick out some awesome color schemes that compliments the strong presence of Jesus in our school building and the great personalities of our students and staff members.  Do you know of someone who is a professional and could lend us their services free of charge?

DREAM #4 – Expanded Course Selections.  I have a dream for expansion in the area of computer literacy, STEM, and religious education. We live in a digital age and I want our kids to be leaps and bounds ahead of their peers in the area of technology.  I envision having every primary and intermediate student receive computer literacy instruction at least once per week and our middle school students at least every other day in the future.  This person would also serve as a digital integration specialist coaching other teachers.  I also would love to expand religion to have a dedicated religion teacher for all grades.  Not only would this ensure a consistent message regarding our Catholic faith, but also allow our great homeroom teachers additional time to collaborate with other homeroom teachers.

I have many dreams, but these are just a few for now.  I will share others in the future.  I invite you to dream with me and let’s make Holy Family School the pride of Green Bay’s west side.

Your Partner in a Christ-Centered Education,

Steve Gromala, Principal


September 13, 2018

Dear HFS Families and Friends,

What an AMAZING start to the 2018-2019 school year.  I can’t say enough about the students and staff…and the parents too :).  It has truly been wonderful to get to know everyone.  Everyone has been so supportive and welcoming.

This week in my ‘Blog’ I want to focus some on dreams.  I’m not sure about you, but I LOVE a good dream.  Some people say that dreaming causes a lack of quality sleep, but for me, I always feel better rested when I dream.  In one of my recent dreams I was dreaming some about our school.  Some might say…”Why can’t he have more exciting dreams than that?”, but for me, this was a COOL dream.  I guess I have been thinking a lot about the future of Holy Family School since I arrived and this is why I am dreaming about the school in my sleep.  Like many of you, I have BIG dreams for the school.  There is huge potential for growth here and I truly look forward to working with the S.A.C., other parents and our supporting parishes to make all of our dreams come true.

I am currently in the process of drafting a school Marketing Plan for the 2018-2019 school year.  This will be shared soon with members of the S.A.C. and later shared with all of you.  An important piece to this Marketing Plan will be a survey given to staff, students, parents and key stakeholders.  The survey will ask you to address things you feel we can and should celebrate, things you feel we can improve upon, and your vision for HFS moving forward.  The data from these surveys will be incredibly valuable to me as I begin my first year.

With that, THANK YOU for a great start to the school year.  We are blessed to call each other family…a Holy Family of our own kind.  Let’s all be ‘Comets for Christ’ today.

Your Partner in a Christ-Centered Education,

Steve Gromala, Principal


August 30, 2018

Dear HFS Families and Friends,

All I can say is WOW.  What an amazing first day of school.  I am totally in love with my staff and my wonderful new students.  It is truly a blessing to be on this journey with each of you.  Each week in my Blog I will try to elaborate on some of the happenings here at school.  This is an extension to what I email families each week.  I hope you find this interesting and helpful.  Communication with you is very important to me.

Today we began our first day with the ‘Blessing of the Backpacks’ by Sr. Marla of SEAS.  It was so wonderful of her to do this for our students.  I think it really helped start the day off right.  Also, thanks to HASA for the great parent breakfast this morning.  We also had our first all-school mass this morning.  I have been told that the school has never had mass on the first day.  I am so happy we did because I truly feel it set the perfect tone for the school year.  Fr. Patrick’s message to our students was spot on.  We are blessed to have him as a spiritual leader for our school.

This week I would like to draw your attention to our school behavior expectations.  I have linked them below for you.  These are new.  I am told that HFS never had consistent expectations.  With the assistance of this awesome staff, we were able to put common expectations together so both students and staff are on the same page.  The teachers will be teaching the students all of these expectations over the next few days.

HFS Expectations by Environment-2018-2019

I also would like to draw your attention to the updated Student and Parent Handbook, which is saved to this website.  Please pay special attention to the ‘Chain of Communication’ information on pages 3 and 4.  Thank you!

HFS Student and Parent Handbook-2018-2019

Lastly, as a friendly reminder, please remember how important Third Source Funding is to the future health of our school and the entire GRACE system.  If everyone does their part, we will reach our goal of $92,000 and then some.  I have big dreams for our school including advanced technology and computer classes, updated classroom furniture, updated cafeteria tables, and lots of color on the walls.  None of this can happen without the concerted effort of everyone in the HFS family.

Thanks to all those who turned out at Back to School Night on Tuesday.  Despite the storms, we had an amazing turnout.

With that, have a blessed week and make it a great day…the Holy Family way.

Your Partner in a Christ-Centered Education,