September 30, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
It seems like almost in a blink of an eye that we’ve finished a full month of school! These September days have been filled with prayer, learning, reflection, activity, and growth - all vital signs of a vibrant Catholic school community. As I shared during my first week, it continues to be such a joy to get to know your students and all of you better. I’m big on learning names, and I’m glad to share that the names are, at long last, beginning to stick for both students and parents. Bear with me, please. I’ll get there!
Our faculty and I have discussed in these initial weeks of this school year a way we might give greater clarity to the relationship parents and volunteers have with a Catholic school community. As we’ve looked at the ways parents and volunteers are active in the school - assisting in classrooms, planning class and school parties and events, chaperoning and driving on field trips, assisting as recess volunteers, and the list goes on - we know that there are some safeguards that need to be put into place to provide respect and safety to our school community’s members and to sustain the strong sense of community present here. In the absence of a clear articulation of these challenges and expectations for all adults who work to promote the mission of our schools, it becomes difficult to appropriately address issues and conflicts as they arise. To promote a greater understanding of some general expectations the school has in place for the adults who work in partnership with us, we’ve developed a Parent & Volunteer Covenant. It can be accessed by clicking here and is available on the school website. In my experience as both a teacher and a principal, I’ve seen the significant value such a document can have in helping to hold all of us - faculty, staff, and administration included - accountable to expectations that help us to respect the dignity of all and resolve conflict and concern in ways that are appropriate for and supportive of the mission of a Catholic institution. This Parent & Volunteer Covenant will become a part of our Parent-Student Handbook and shared frequently, especially as parents and volunteers begin their service at St. Joe’s. We hope for all of you that it provides what we intend - clarity to the roles we all play and how we can work together in partnership to carry out this important mission of Catholic education in an environment centered in respect for the dignity of each person.
As I look at our online conference scheduler, I can see that many of you have registered for our fall parent-teacher conferences to be held on Wednesday, October 12, and Wednesday, October 19. For those of you who have not yet registered, we encourage you to do so soon. Online registration will close on the evening of Thursday, October 6. For details on how to register, please see the email sent on Thursday of this week. Our teachers and I very much look forward to having the opportunity to talk with your during our conference days.
Finally, for our graduates who are attending high school at Seton Catholic, I want to ask all of us to hold them and all their classmates, families, and teachers in prayer and wish them well during an exciting time for them. They’re wrapping up their first week in their brand new school building as I share this message with you. May all those there, here, and in all our area schools be guided to growth in their academic studies and in their understanding of themselves in relationship with God and others!
God’s blessings as we break for this weekend,
Joe Manning, Principal
THE WEEK AHEAD
Blessing of the Animals - Playground - 8:35 am
Regular Wednesday Start Time - 7:55 am
Mass - 8:10 am
Regular Wednesday Dismissal - 2:10 pm
First Reconciliation Parent Meeting - 6 pm
No schoolwide events or activities
No School - Teacher Excellence Day for the Archdiocese of Seattle (Teacher In-Service)
NEWS, UPDATES, & REMINDERS
Animal Blessing on Tuesday, Oct. 4
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis, we’ll have our annual animal blessing. The blessing will get underway right after our 8:30 am prayer & announcements that start our school day. Families are invited to bring pets or students can bring photos or drawings of their pets that can be used as part of the blessing. If your family will be bringing a pet, we’ll request that students go to class to get checked in as normal while parents take their pets to the covered area on our school playground. Pets will not enter the school. As soon as the day begins and all of our attendance is accounted for, all our students will join the parent and pets outside. We look forward to this special day!
School directory to contain email addresses - let us know by Oct. 7 if you’d like to opt out
We are putting the finishing touches on our annual school directory. New this year, we will publish parent/guardian email addresses with each family’s listing. Our directory listings contain parent and student names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If you do not wish for some of this information to be published or you’d like to opt out of having any of your information published in the directory, please let us know by Friday, Oct. 7. Additionally, please let us know if you have moved or have new contact information. All directory-related changes or requests should be made to Sheri Keller in the office so that we will have the most up-to-date information to pass along.
Touching Safety program to be taught in October & March
Our school will be presenting a sexual abuse prevention program called Touching Safety to our students in October and March of this year. The program is provided to us by the Archdiocese of Seattle and is taught in all Archdiocesan schools. It’s part of an ongoing effort to help create and maintain a safe environment for children. As a parent, you have the right to choose where your student participates. For more information on the program before you make a decision, please look over the program overview (click on the link). Should you choose to not have your child participate, please open and complete the opt-out form (click on the link). It only needs to be returned to school if you determine you do not want your child to participate. We ask that it be returned no later than Thursday, Oct. 6.
School share hour commitment explained
At Back to School Night, we handed out an informational sheet on the different family obligations (available here) to the school - one of them is share hours. Here is what was shared in that document:
Each family contributes 30 hours (20 hours for single-parent families) of their time and talent to the school and parish (10 of the 30/20 share hours must be in a church ministry for those families receiving a subsidy from St. Joseph Parish).
New families: In your first year only, the hours are reduced to 20 (15 for a single parent) in order to allow time for you to get acquainted with the school.
Share hour forms are available on the school website in the Forms & Publications section. Hard copies are also available in the office. When the forms are complete, please return them to the office.
Join us for Principal & Parent Prayer & Pastries (say that five times fast) each month
Mr. Manning would like to invite parents to participate in what will be the first of a recurring monthly event at our school - Principal & Parent Prayer & Pastries. Our first event will be on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 8:45 am in Marian Hall’s St. Ignatius room. As part of each monthly gathering, Mr. Manning will share a parent-focused prayer and provide opportunity for reflection and then there will be a social time for you to chat with other school parents in attendance and with Mr. Manning. Coffee and pastries will be provided. Mr. Manning likes to share with others the tasty creations of local businesses, so if you have excellent pastry or doughnut suggestions, please don’t hesitate to pass them along to him! We hope to see many of you at our first gathering.
Safety note - student drop-off to begin no earlier than 8:15 am (7:40 am on Wednesdays)
In an increased effort to make sure no student is ever without appropriate supervision, we need to request that students not be dropped off at school prior to 8:15 am (or 7:40 am on Wednesdays). If we notice students who arrive unsupervised earlier than those times, we will have them attending our morning Extended Care so that they have supervision. Families will then be billed for those days. If you recall, we extended our morning drop-off by five minutes this year in order to accommodate families and provide a little bit more drop-off time.
Sock Hop - thank you for a great community-building event
The faculty, staff, and PTO would like to thank the chairs - Erin Ince, Dana Myer, and Brandee LaPointe - for organizing a fabulous event last Friday. Additionally, PTO and the Sock Hop chairs would like to extend appreciation and gratitude to the 25 parent volunteers who helped to make the Sock Hop the success that it was. The volunteers are the people who make these events possible. Lastly, thank you to all of you who attended and made it once again a wonderful community-building event!
Box Top competition runs through Oct. 17th
The Box Top collection continues through Oct. 17. As you are collecting your Box Tops, please be sure to look at the expiration date. Unfortunately, we can’t collect funds on expired Box Tops and those will not be counted towards the contest.
Additionally, please only submit Box Tops. We are no longer collecting Labels for Education as the program has been discontinued. Thank you for your attention to these details, it helps out our Box Tops chair, Paige Brockway.
St. Joe’s Holiday Bazaar - limited space still available & search for an entertainment coordinator
There is still space available at our holiday bazaar, which will be held Nov. 19-20. If you are interested in reserving a space, please email the chair at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t delay - spaces are filling up fast!
Entertainment coordinator search: Do you know of a dance studio, karate dojo or musician that would like to perform during the Holiday Bazaar? This is a great opportunity for them to advertise their services plus provide entertainment for the shoppers and vendors. Our Holiday Bazaar chair could use help coordinating this. Please contact the bazaar chair at email@example.com to help coordinate entertainment for this event.
Morning walking for parents on the school track
Join us Monday and Thursday mornings, rain or shine, to walk/run on the track. Feel free to go out to the track any time after 8:20 am. Just sign in at the front desk first. Walking will end at 9:15 am. If you need to leave earlier than that, look for Laura Ashton - she will have a key to let you in.
Upcoming VIRTUS Safe Environments in-person trainings - needed to volunteer at school
All parent volunteers need to be up to date with the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Safe Environments requirements before volunteering this year. This means that you’ve attended an in-person VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” and have a current background check on file. Background checks are required in the first year of volunteering and then each three years after the initial in-person training. An online refresher class is also required each three years after the initial training is completed.
Here’s a list of upcoming area classes. If you are not yet up to date with training requirements, please plan to attend a class so you will be able to volunteer, help out in the classroom, and drive on field trips.
Saturday, Oct. 15, at 9:30 am - St Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6 pm – St. Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
You will need to pre-register for the trainings at VIRTUS Online. Begin the registration process by clicking on the “First- Time Registrant” button on the left side of the page. If you have any questions please contact Sheri in the school office at (360)696-2586.
Apply for free & reduced lunch now
Free & reduced lunch applications for this school year are available. For families who have applied in the past, we do need a new application each school year. If your family qualifies and you’d like to apply, please download the application below and return it to the school office. If you’d like a hard copy of the form, please stop by the office to pick one up.
Free & Reduced Lunch Parent Letter
Free & Reduced Lunch Income Guidelines
Free & Reduced Lunch Application Instructions
Free & Reduced Lunch Application
Spirit Wear chair needed
Do you like to spread Cardinal spirit? Then this position is a great fit for you. Responsibilities include managing inventory, selling product during school events with the help of volunteers and exploring new items for inventory. If you are interested in this position, please email Laura Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic School PTO on facebook
We have a school facebook page. You can follow us by searching for St. Joseph Catholic School. If you would like to become a member of the PTO facebook page, please send PTO president Laura Ashton an email from your email account associated with facebook to email@example.com.