FROM MY DESK TO YOURS #1
August 14, 2016
“The Heart of St. Paul … Growing Together in Faith, Knowledge, and Virtue”
Dear St. Paul Families:
Welcome to the 2016-17 School Year!!!
Once again the staff and I have had a very busy and productive summer full of learning, writing, and collaboration. Lisa and I did manage to take some time to ourselves in July so, we are well rested and ready to start our school year.
I am very excited about this year at St. Paul. You will see many new things – old faces in new places, changes in classroom placements, curriculum, instruction, and collaborative teams working together for the good of our students. Each of these have their own unique characteristics and I feel very confident that rigorous, efficient, and informative classrooms and instruction will take place.
For the past three days we have been working together during our professional development establishing positive energy and learning about the benefits of collaborative teaming. You will notice a different look to the teacher bulletin boards. Each collaborative team has created a name, mission, and vision for themselves. These are posted at the tops of the bulletin boards. Their Mission and Vision states the desired outcomes for students throughout the school year and what they pledge to each other, the students and you.
Our main focus this school year is on positive energy for all and collaborative teaming. You will learn more about both of these in the weeks to come. Once again I will explain in greater length in my weekly bulletin. We will be continuing on our VBRD journey with a year-long theme focusing on Practice + Virtue = Positive Energy for All. There will be more to come on this in the coming weeks.
Below is a list of the work we have accomplished over the summer months and where you will notice the most change.
The Daily Five (Primary Reading Program) – Our Primary teachers have spent the summer training on a new approach to reading for our students. The Daily Five is a systematic approach to reading where the children will learn through mini lessons, small strategy groups, independent practice, and daily reading. The first thing that our students will begin to do is build stamina for reading and writing. It is very exciting to watch all three of our primary teachers take ownership of our new reading instruction. You will learn more about this at the Curriculum Night later in August.
New Literacy Library – Our teachers have spent many hours sorting and categorizing books and sets of books for our new reading instruction which goes along with the Daily Five. We have created a Literacy Library that will house all of the book sets that will be used in the reading program along with individual reading books for the students to use in the classroom and for evening reading. Through our Title I Grant we have purchased 120 of Kindergarten /1st grade sets, 80 1st and 2nd grade sets, and 80 2nd grade sets. Along with this, I have given the school all of my sets of reading materials for our children to use. I didn’t realize how many I accumulated throughout the years but it totaled 26 boxes of books! (My husband was thrilled that I am not taking them to our new house! I am thrilled that they are going to be used again for student learning.) This definitely was a win – win situation.
Relocation of the Preschool Classrooms – Our Preschool classrooms are now located on the Primary Hallway, the first two rooms on the left. Although our preschool classrooms were large enough to house the program, we were always concerned about the front door and where the classrooms were positioned in the building. Moving these classrooms to the Primary hallway also places them closer to the bathrooms which we all know is vital in preschool classrooms! Also, these two classrooms are behind hallway doors that can be locked if the need ever arises. It’s a much safer placement for our little ones.
Relocation of the Title One Classroom: Hurrah … The Title One Program will continue at St. Paul. It will be housed in Mrs. Jobst old Preschool Classroom. This room is sectioned off to accommodate a small secure classroom for our Title One classes and a storage area for the tables and chairs that have always seem to sit in our Parish Center Hallway. Jason, Ron, and I put together our creative juices and did some cleaning and pitching and found a functional home for this furniture so that it doesn’t present a safety hazard in the hall and is easily accessible for use in both the cafeteria and Parish Center.
Creation of a School Counselor Office: Ms. Krislyn O’Sullivan is back at St. Paul’s for a third year as our school counselor. Her role at St. Paul is vital to the children and their social and emotional growth. It was important for me to provide her with a space that has the privacy that is needed for meeting with the students. In the past, she had been using our conference room which was not ideal but functional. This year we can finally provide a counselor’s office. She will be located in Mrs. Moss’s old Preschool Classroom. This room was also sectioned off into three separate areas. Ms. O’Sullivan’s office will be the section of the room by the entrance door so that it will be easy for the students to find.
Creation of a space for our Daily Newscast – As you all know, this past year Mrs. McCaslin began a morning news broadcast for St. Paul’s daily announcements. (A wonderful opportunity for our 8th grade students) This was taped each morning for the teachers to show during the day. This year, we are taking the next step forward and creating a “live student broadcast” for our morning announcement. The benefit of this is the experience of the students being responsible for a LIVE production which many of them will be experiencing in high school. It also provides the entire school to once again pray together each morning and hear all of our announcements at the same time. Announcements will always begin at 7:50 am. each day. Mrs. McCaslin and I are very excited to bring this opportunity to our students.
Collaborative Teams: This year we have established 6 vertical collaborative teams. These teams will meet together weekly with me to improve communication, learning environment, teaching strategies, professional development, and data driven dialogue centered around student learning. Working in teams will give us many different hats sitting at the same table to problem solve in the area of student achievement. The staff is excited to join in this opportunity. More to come on this in future bulletins.
Communication through teacher Bulletin Boards – In response to many parent requests we have made an effort to add uniformity to the teacher weekly bulletin’s so that they are much easier to navigate and read. They will have a different look!!! Our staff created a template that works for all of the individual needs of the staff and the weekly announcements that they make. We agreed on a deadline for the postings … Monday mornings each week by 11:00 a.m. I will be monitoring this very closely with the hopes that it will have a positive impact on our parent’s needs.
Computer Science Classes for Staff: Every staff member will continue to participate in 50 minutes of professional development in the area of technology per week. This is a mandatory class for teachers and has been scheduled into our weekly plan time. Our staff is thrilled to have this opportunity again which will propel our classroom technology. Every teacher in the building requested that we continued with this learning which will increase the students’ engagement in daily learning.
Care Team/Learning Consultants/Learning Lab: Our Learning Lab location has changed to a classroom where our consultants can utilize additional technology with the children. This year it will be house in Mrs. Bick’s old second grade classroom.
Report Cards: The report cards have been reviewed by the staff this summer and you may notice some tweaks in the language and the format. Nothing earth shattering, I promise. The biggest change that you will notice is the Middle School Report Card. Our teachers have created a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade report card instead of one for the entire Middle School. This helps to define grade level learning targets and not be quite as general as in previous years. The biggest difference is in the area of math.
Each week I will feature one change with a more detail explanation so that we can all learn together in small doses instead of overwhelming ourselves. Next week, our feature will be our school theme and how that will be incorporated into our day throughout school year. I can’t wait to share!!!
I’m hoping to see many of you at the Open House on Sunday, August 15th. If not, the staff and I will be waiting at the doors on Monday morning to start the 2016-17 school year!!! See you then.
With blessings from my heart,
HATS OFF TO THE FOLLOWING:
Our wonderful Maintenance Team – for having our building in “Tip-Top” shape for the beginning of school. They worked endlessly moving classrooms and creating magic so that our school looks fresh and clean!!!
The Marketing Team – This group has worked endlessly this summer putting together our new Ambassador Program and various parent/school summer activities. Our Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade “playdates” were a huge success thanks to them! The turnout was unbelievable.
St. Paul Ambassadors – Thank you for volunteering and supporting our new families at St. Paul. You have been wonderful mentors! I have heard so many thankful and positive comments from our new families.
PTO/Mother’s Club – for sponsoring an Italian “Back to School” Luncheon for the staff this past Friday. The food was delicious and much appreciated after three days of hard work!!!! Thank you
P’Sghetti’s Pasta and Sandwiches – for donating all of the yummy food for the Friday Luncheon. We appreciate your generosity and always LOVE the menu”.
Mrs. Lisa Murphy – for putting in many, many summer mornings with me. I can’t begin to tell you how very valuable Lisa is to our school and how very much I appreciate her. Thank you, Lisa, for going that extra mile with me this summer.
St. Paul Staff – for the giving of your time and energy to learning new things, the positive energy creating staff unity, and working collaboratively to do what is best for our students! We are so very lucky to have such a dedicated group of educators!
Mrs. Cathy Slade – Cathy hand painted a beautiful cross in our gym for our students and community. (You need to peek into the gym and see it.) She never ceases to amaze me with her talents. We are so lucky to have her in our school community. Thank you, Cathy. It looks wonderful!!!
THIS WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Monday, August 15
o Welcome Back to School – Arrival 7:30 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.
o Opening All School Mass – 8:00 a.m.
o “Boo Hoo Breakfast” (sponsored by Mother’s Club/PTO) – 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. All parents are invited! We hope you all received your Evite.
o NOON DISMISSAL (Kindergarten – 8th grade) – Regular Parking Lot procedures.
Preschool Dismissal – 11:45 a.m.
Tuesday, August 16
o Kindergarten – 8th grade – Full Day of School – 7:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
o Preschool – 11:45 a.m. DISMISSAL – We will begin full days on Wednesday, August 17th
Wednesday, August 17
o Full Day of School for All
o No All School Mass
Thursday, August 18
Friday, August 19st
o HURRAH!!!! We made it through the first week. Let’s Celebrate!!!