September 2, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
What a wonderful week! It didn’t take long for the school to be surrounded by energy Tuesday morning as families began to gather outside in anticipation for the year to come. As soon as those back doors opened, and students and families began making their way to the classrooms it was clear that the school had come back to life after its summer rest. As your new principal, it was a great blessing to see how happy the students were to return and I’ve truly cherished the opportunity to meet so many of you this week and begin to see the love and affection you have for this community and the people who contribute to making it the special place it is. It’s been a week filled with great joy for all of us!
We are grateful to all of you for completing the beginning-of-the-year forms that were sent out before school began. We understand the work that goes into capturing that important information each year. If you still have forms hanging around at home, please get them to us as soon as you’re able. We like to get them all organized in these first weeks of school so that all of the important information captured on them can get to the appropriate people.
As I shared last week, each week I’ll offer a letter to the school community and include some detailed information about the week to come. We’ll also pass along important news, updates, and reminders. You’ll find that this week’s message is quite long since there’s so much to pass along as we begin the year. Some weeks will be shorter; some weeks might be longer. We encourage you to spread the word to other families that this weekly message - that’ll come out each Friday we’re in session - is the place to go for school news. Though our distribution process might eventually change, for right now people wishing to receive these messages need to opt-in to receive them. This can be done by signing up for the weekly newsflash on the school website. Please help us spread the word.
Though the information is included below, I do want to draw your attention in this letter as well to a special support we’ll be putting in place for this year. We’d love to have some parent volunteer support with lunch recess supervision and we’ll be creating a recess volunteer program that will allow you to earn school share hours. If you’re interested in serving in this new way, please contact vice principal Anna Raineri at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have your help!
Be on the lookout this weekend for news surrounding the canonization of Mother Teresa. On Sunday, Pope Francis will officially declare her a saint. We’ve discussed Mother Teresa at school, and it’d be great to have some follow-up at home so students can learn even more about the great example of faith she provided to us while on this earth and the incredible process of becoming a saint.
May you all enjoy this Labor Day weekend!
Joe Manning, Principal
THE WEEK AHEAD
No School - Labor Day
In-Person VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” Training (required before volunteering at school) - Marian Hall - 6:15 p.m.
Regular Wednesday Start Time - 7:55 am
Mass - 8:10 am
Regular Wednesday Dismissal - 2:10 pm
No schoolwide special events or activities
No schoolwide special events or activities
In-Person VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” Training (required before volunteering at school) - Marian Hall - 9:30 a.m.
Annual Fund Presentation at Saturday Evening Mass
Annual Fund Presentation at Sunday Masses
NEWS, REMINDERS, & UPDATES
Back to School Night coming up Tuesday, September 13
Mark your calendars for Back to School Night to be held on Tuesday, September 13th from 6:30 to 8 pm. We’ll begin in Marian Hall at 6:30 pm with teacher introductions and opening comments from Fr. Gary Lazzeroni and new principal Joe Manning. Then we will move over to the school for sessions with the teachers that’ll introduce you to important information regarding the year to come. Each classroom/homeroom teacher will offer two of the same sessions - one beginning at 7:05 pm and the second beginning at 7:35 pm. The exception is eighth grade. The eighth grade session, because it’ll contain information about the Washington D.C. trip, graduation, and other eighth grade specific items, will only be offered beginning at 7:30 pm and will extend for 15 to 20 minutes beyond the 8 pm end that all other grades follow. We look forward to sharing with you the plans for our year together!
Important safety notes regarding arrival and dismissal times
We have a few safety notes to pass along. Our back doors open at 8:15 am (7:40 on Wednesdays). If the doors are not yet open, please do not drop off your child. There is no supervision provided until that time. If we notice children left without supervision, they will be taken to extended care. All students and parents should enter through our back doors, with the exception of families who have paid for auction spots or those who are walkers who live across the street from the school. These families may enter through the school’s main entry on Highland Drive or the back doors. All play equipment is off limits before school.
Parents are welcome to enter the building at arrival and to walk students to their classes. At the start of the school day, we invite all parents in the building to come to the office to participate in the morning prayer over the announcements. Parents who will be remaining at school to volunteer or attend meetings will need to check-in as a visitor once the day officially begins at 8:30 am (7:55 am on Wednesdays). Any parents or guests visiting the school after the start of the day will also need to check-in through the office and get a visitor’s badge.
Then at the end of the day, before encouraging your child(ren) to join you and head home please wait until students are dismissed from the covered area after the end-of-day prayer. We also request that parents do not walk into the school from Highland Drive during dismissal. The gated area near the school is used for exiting car traffic and for safety reasons we ask that families enter from the parking lot in the back of the school.
Finally, we need to keep the parking in front of the parish and school offices free and available during arrival and dismissal times. Again, we ask that parents use the main church and school parking lot instead.
Reporting student absences
To help us with our school day and the accurate accounting of students, parents should call the school office or email Sheri Keller at email@example.com by 8:30 (7:55 on Wednesdays) to report student absences.
School lunch menu available online
The school lunch menu for September is available online at the school website. From the main page, click on “Lunch Menu” on the left side. You can also access it here. To conserve paper, we will not be sending monthly menus out this year. If you’d like a paper copy, we will have them available at the office for interested families to pick up.
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.
Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6:15 pm - St. Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9:30 am – St. Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 5:45 pm – St. John’s Catholic Church, 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.
St. Joe’s CYO volleyball registration closes today - September 2
St. Joe's volleyball registration for the 2016 season will be closing today, September 2nd. If you are considering having your child play, please register ASAP. We won't be able to reopen registration once it is closed. We are also in need of a fourth grade coach. Please feel free to contact Erin Novak or Patty Jayne with any questions about playing or coaching. Erin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360)989-6448.
SCRIP needs your help
The SCRIP program still needs volunteers to help sell SCRIP. One person is needed Thursday mornings (8:30 to 9 am), and two volunteers are needed for Thursday afternoons (2:45 to 3:15pm). If you are interested and available, please contact Kim LaValley at email@example.com. Columbia Sportswear $50 passes are still available. With this gift card you will receive a pass to the Columbia Store good for up to four people. Passes are valid until Oct. 2, 2016. Please note that the SCRIP counter will be open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 to 9am and afternoons from 2:45 to 3:15 pm in the church nursery.
Express interest in serving as a room parent for our K-5 classrooms
Room parents serve as support coordinators for each K-5 classroom at St. Joe’s (middle school classes do not have room parents). They may assist the classroom teacher with classroom parties, assist with volunteer recruitment efforts, support the teacher, and assist in other ways defined by individual teachers. To help streamline the process for parents expressing interest in serving as room parent for a specific class and for selection of the room parent each year, PTO and the school together have set up the following outline:
1-Parents interested in the room parent role will email PTO room parent coordinator Alyson Short (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express interest by Friday, September 9th. Please include your name, child’s name, class, and a 4-5 sentence paragraph that explains your interest in serving in this role.
2-Alyson Short, room parent coordinator, will then forward all interested names to each teacher.
3-In order to be inclusive as possible so as many parents as possible might have a chance to serve as a room parent at some point in their child’s time at St. Joe’s, preference will be given to parents who have not served as a room parent before. If there are a number of parents interested in serving in the same class, the room parent may be randomly selected. Only one room parent will be named for each class, but the named room parent may ask another parent to assist her/him with carrying out the responsibilities.
4-By Wednesday, September 21st, room parent selections will be made and communicated to the selected parents.
Lego Robotics club to begin meeting next week
Our Lego Robotics club will meet Wednesday, Sept. 7th in the Cafeteria at 2:30pm. This club is open to students in Grades 4-8. There will be two teams – red team will meet Mondays and Wednesdays right after school until 5 pm, and Blue Team will meet Mondays from the end of the school day until 5 pm. Parents interesting in coaching, mentoring, or helping are welcome. Cost is $150 per student and includes t-shirt and tournament fees. Please contact Larry Dickerson at email@example.com or (360)601-9242 for more information. Larry is a school parent and longtime volunteer with the Lego Robotics Club.
School directory coming soon - let us know of changes or opt-outs
We will soon be compiling our annual school directory. If you have moved or have new contact information, please email Sheri Keller in the office so that we will have the most up-to-date information to pass along. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not wish to be in the school directory please email Sheri with your request.
Income / Free & Reduced Lunch Qualification Survey - We’re Looking for 70% Participation or Higher
Did you know that we may not be receiving all the federal money that’s available for us at St. Joe’s to help our students reach their fullest potential? The money that local districts allocate to area private schools to support student learning depends on a few different pieces of information, and one of them is the income of the families of the students we serve. We don’t have accurate data on how many of our families qualify for free and reduced lunch and how many don’t. If we can get a high enough percentage of families who share this data with us, we will be able to bring more money in for our school. The information you share with us will be kept confidential and we share with the local school district only the data we receive, not the names of the families and their associated income levels. Be on the lookout next week for the survey, and please consider participating so that we can seek out and receive the federal funding that’s available to our school. Free & reduced lunch applications for this school year will also be made available through email next week.
Support the St. Joseph Catholic School Annual Fund
Next weekend will mark the kick-off to the St. Joseph Catholic School Annual Fund. New principal Joe Manning will be speaking at each of the weekend Masses and sharing how important Catholic education is to the families who receive it. We encourage you to attend this weekend to hear some reflections on the important mission being carried out at St. Joe’s.
Opportunity to participate in local American Heritage Girls troop
American Heritage Girls is a faith-based group where girls acquire leadership, teamwork, badgework, camping and outdoor skills in a fun environment that will assist them in developing life-long skills. The group’s mission is "Building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country." Vancouver Troop 360 meets from 4:30 to 6 pm at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Mondays from September through May, except for the first Monday of each month. To check out this organization, the next meeting for parents and girls will be on September 19th. Girls in grades K-12 are eligible to join! More information can be found on the AHG website: https://www.americanheritagegirls.org or you can contact Jamie Kohler at Holy Redeemer by calling (360)885-7780 or emailing at email@example.com.
Recess volunteers needed for the year
Beginning this year, we will be putting into place a schoolwide volunteering opportunity for parents to assist at our lunch recesses. If you are free for the entire block of time between 11:05 am and 12:30 pm at least a few days a month and are interested in helping to be an extra set of eyes and ears at recess times, please let us know by emailing Anna Raineri, vice principal, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recess volunteer trainings will be provided later in September. More details to come!
Follow St. Joseph Catholic School on facebook
If you’re not yet following St. Joe’s on facebook, we encourage you to join us there! We look forward to seeing you online. Visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stjoevanschool/.