Ascension School

Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community has been a long-time supporter of Ascension School, which is located in North Minneapolis. This is a neighborhood where eighty percent of kindergarteners enter into the school unprepared for kindergarten—many of which do not speak English—and 86 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, which is a state marker for poverty. Holy Name of Jesus is part of a core group of organizations who donate their time, talent and monetary assistance to this school.

Volunteer Opportunities at Ascension

There are many ways to get involved at Ascension School. Opportunities include:

  • Office Receptionist
  • Classroom Volunteer and/or Tutor for student at the grade
  • level of your choice (Training and teacher assistance provided)
  • Library Assistant
  • Storytime Reader

For more details regarding Ascension School and volunteer opportunities, visit Ascension Parish's School Information Page.

January 2020 Article

Sister Parishes: Growing By Sharing Gifts With Others

As we continue to reinvigorate the long-standing relationship between Holy Name of Jesus and Ascension parishes, each of us can help strengthen that bond by recognizing and sharing the gifts and blessings that we have received as a son/daughter of Christ.

The following testimonial is one example of how a Holy Name of Jesus parishioner is utilizing his time and talent to fill an important need at Ascension school, and in the process uncovering new blessings:

For Dr. Steve Reed, volunteering as a tutor at Ascension Catholic School is energizing.  “I love it!” he said.  “I love the energy of it. The kids there are just fun to be around. They are polite, energetic and eager to learn.  And they are so appreciative.”

Steve has been volunteering his time at Ascension for ten years.  He began working with 2nd graders and spent a little time with 5th graders, and now he has settled on tutoring 6th graders in math. He’s been doing that for the past five or six years.

The scholars are not the only ones who appreciate Steve’s dedication.  “Steve has consistently helped Ascension scholars learn and develop 6th grade math skills that have allowed them to complete higher-level math problems,” said Dennis Schildgen, former 6th grade teacher and current Title 1 teacher at Ascension. “While working with Steve, scholars learn the importance of showing their work and writing it down so they can see the math on paper and not just in their heads.  Steve has been a tremendous resource for me because I know scholars will get a high level of instruction with him in a small group setting.  He really explores different ways of showing scholars how to complete math problems that can be simple or quite complex.”

Did he need to brush up on his math skills to be able to help the scholars? “I know how to do the math.  It’s fractions, decimals, that kind of thing.  Sometimes it’s tricky to remember what some of the terms mean.” 

Steve has Thursdays off from his job as a physician of internal medicine at Park Nicollet, and he spends these mornings with Ascension scholars about every third week. He often will treat himself to coffee downtown before heading to Ascension.

Tutors make a big difference for Ascension scholars, Dennis said. “Sometimes scholars just need a little more time and attention when learning a new skill or reviewing something that is important to future assignments.  Sometimes a one-to-one tutor can answer questions the scholar may not want to ask in class. Other times scholars may need help with smaller details that can be forgotten but need to be reinforced after the lesson was taught.”

On occasion, tutors may help scholars study for important tests, Dennis said. “A lot of scholars look forward to the visits their tutors make and are excited to work in a small group or one-to-one setting.”

What keeps Steve at Ascension? “It comes back to serving those in need. These are kids who need extra help and who really have a bright future.  If I can do something to help them on their way, that’s what my faith is calling me to do.”

He urges others to give tutoring a try. “Try it once. You’ll find yourself drawn back to it.  If you can find your niche, the teachers and students are so welcoming. It’s just such a wonderful place to be.”

Ascension School is able to transform lives because of partners such as Steve.  Together we provide a rigorous, Christ-centered education that helps children make tremendous academic gains and go on to graduate from high school.  With gifts of time, talent and treasure from Holy Name of Jesus and other partners, we are creating futures full of hope.

If you are interested in giving tutoring or other volunteering a try, contact Margaret Conroy, Ascension’s Volunteer Manager, at or 612-760-3928.


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