August 28, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Families,
It was so wonderful for all of us to begin connecting and reconnecting with you as you dropped in for the variety of events held here at school on Thursday. I particularly enjoyed meeting so many of you for the first time, especially the students who recalled from my visit last spring that I love jokes and puns. I learned at least five or six I had never heard before! I’m so grateful to be joining you all, and I very much look forward to getting to know all of you and your children in this coming year.
By now, you have likely learned who your child’s classroom or homeroom teacher will be for the year. Our class lists were shared by email and posted on the school’s front doors at the end of the day on Wednesday. I do want to offer an apology for some of the errors that were on the first set of lists posted and shared. There were some misspelled names and a few students who were accidentally omitted from the lists. We will work to make sure that school communication in the future is more carefully considered before sending it your way. If you haven’t yet taken a look at the class lists, please do so before the first day. It’ll help you to figure out where your child is headed once you arrive at school.
As I mentioned in the Back to School letter mailed home two weeks ago, the staff and I are working on a communication plan to better share school news, reminders, and upcoming events with you. Though we’re still in the planning stages, I can let you know that each week we will email out a letter from the principal, a look at the coming week, and a collection of news and reminders. You’ll notice some of that in place in this message. Below this letter, you’ll find a look at what’s to come next week as well as some important information to have on your radar as we prepare for the start of school.
We can’t wait to see you all on Tuesday. Enjoy these last couple days of summer!
Joe Manning, Principal
THE WEEK AHEAD
Last Day of Summer!
First Day of School for Grades 1-8!
Kindergarten Appointments - as scheduled with our kindergarten teachers
Half Day - 12 pm dismissal
First Day of School for Kindergarten!
Regular Wednesday Start Time - 7:55 am
Mass - 8 am
Welcome Assembly for Students - 1:35 pm
Regular Wednesday Dismissal - 2:10 pm
No schoolwide special events or activities
No schoolwide special events or activities
NEWS, REMINDERS, & UPDATES
One More Addition to the St. Joe's Faculty
In addition to our new vice principal and teachers whose names we passed along in the Back to School mailing, we have one more new faculty member to share with you. Elizabeth Litsey will join us this year to be our reading and learning support teacher. She’ll work with students in Grades 1-3 for small-group and individual reading throughout the year and also assist with our learning plans for students in need of learning accommodations. Before joining us at St. Joe’s, Elizabeth taught at Our Lady of Lourdes here in Vancouver for the last seven years.
Don’t Forget About From Drop-off on the First Day of School
Many of you were able to drop off your forms when you visited on Thursday, but for those of you who were unable to do so, please make sure those forms come with you or your child on Tuesday morning, our first day of school. They should be given to your child’s teacher.
Reminder About Student Drop-Off & Beginning of the Day
Please remember that student drop-off takes place at the back of the school, not at the school’s front doors. Please see the map shared in the Back to School packets for details. Doors will open at 8:15 am. Students needing to arrive earlier than 8:15 am should be enrolled in our extended care program. When doors open at 8:15 am, students will report to their classrooms. This allows a 15-minute drop-off period before our day begins at 8:30 am. Students are marked tardy if they are not in their classroom by 8:30 am.
Change to End of Day Pick-up Procedures & Addition of End-of-Day Prayer
On our first day of school, you’ll notice a change to our end-of-day procedures as we prepare for dismissal. We want to make sure you’re aware of it as it may impact the way you pick up your child.
To close each day, we’ll be gathering for a school community prayer. All students, including walkers and those going to after-school activities, will meet at the covered area to join in the prayer and then we will dismiss. For parents who have been used to meeting students at the school door as their classes made their way to the covered area, this will be a change for you. We instead invite you to join us for our end-of-day prayer. As soon as we recite the prayer, dismissal will begin. For those who drive up to pick up your child, the only impact this will have on you is that we will not begin loading cars until we’ve prayed together. Not only do we hope the addition of an end-of-day prayer brings a positive closure to our day, we also hope that using one staging area from which all students dismiss provides some more security and structure to what is a very busy time at our school.
So you, too, can begin getting used to the prayer students, faculty, and staff will recite, we’ve provided the text here:
Loving God, we pause to pray to thank you for this beautiful day. As our time today comes to an end, we go with your love; we go as your friends. Protect us from all fear we may find, and help us love and serve others and always be kind. Amen.
We’d love to have you join in the prayer with us if you’re here for dismissal. We will evaluate how the addition of an end-of-day prayer goes and make changes as needed to help students get safely to you at the end of each day.
Wednesday Drop-off & Pick-up Times
With Wednesdays being days we gather with the parish for weekly Mass each morning and the days we dismiss early for staff meetings and staff professional development in the afternoon, we want to remind you of the Wednesday schedule. On Wednesdays, school doors open at 7:40 am and school begins at 7:55 am. Dismissal on Wednesdays begins at 2:10 pm.
Nut Allergy Aware Classrooms & Cafeteria Seating
In order to improve clarity regarding our peanut-free signs that have been outside our classrooms, we’ve changed the wording on our signs to better reflect our community expectations regarding peanuts and nuts in the classroom. Our classrooms will now have signs posted near their doors that read:
“We are a nut allergy aware classroom. Though nuts and items containing nuts may be packed in student lunches, they are not to be taken out, consumed, or shared in this room.”
Students are notified of the nut-free cafeteria tables at lunch time and we request that any students who have nuts in their lunch avoid sitting at those specific tables. As a general reminder, please be sure not to bring treats to school that contain nuts if they are to be distributed to students. We appreciate your help in following this expectation and helping your child understand the importance of having these protections in place for our students who have allergies.
Extended Care Registration
Extended care is available both in the morning before school starts and in the afternoon once school dismisses. We sent a Newsflash last week as a reminder with information how to enroll. For registration information, please click here.
Schoolwide Events & Activities Calendar - Update
We’ve noticed a typo on the Schoolwide Events & Activities Calendar shared in this year’s Back to School packets. Field Day will be on Friday, June 2nd. Please note the change. We’ll provide an updated Schoolwide Events & Activities Calendar on the school website soon.
Recess Volunteers Needed for the Year
Beginning this year, we will be putting into place a school-wide 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!