November 4, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
Throughout November, we remember in our Church those who have gone before us and are celebrating life eternal with our loving God. We remember in a special way the saints, those special people of faith who have shown us the way of living a life for others - a life committed to following in the example of Christ. As a school community, we were able to celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints on Tuesday and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed on Wednesday. It’s been a meaningful week as we’ve reflected on the gifts that those who have gone before us have provided to all of us who remember them.
In this busy week that was filled at school with Halloween celebrations, two Masses, and a variety of other activities, I think it was easy for us to miss a really meaningful homily offered by Pope Francis as he celebrated Mass this week on All Saints’ Day. His message was simple but important - that the saints were genuinely happy people, and that the Beatitudes were their path to happiness and holiness. He shared that “We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.” He followed this statement with some modern-day “beatitudes” - not from Jesus, but inspired by Him - that can help guide us in our lives today, especially in our interactions with others. It’s a beautiful homily, well worth a few minutes of reading. The full text is available here.
I read Pope Francis’s homily on Tuesday evening as I prepared to guide our faculty on Wednesday through a reflection on our school’s current approach to service to others, and the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate. When we met, we began to brainstorm ways we can more fully engage our students in meaningful outreach that helps others but also brings our students growth in their understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and the various works of mercy. There is so much excitement for this work, and it only validated for me Pope Francis’s observation that fulfilling the Beatitudes truly does bring joy. We look forward to continuing our service planning and sharing the details with you in these coming months.
Before I wrap up this weekly letter, I want to briefly touch on the accreditation process. Many of you likely know that our school is accredited through the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA). As part of the accreditation process, every six years we go through a Self Study year that guides us through a reflection process on how well we’re currently supporting student learning and building an environment for students to grow and thrive. We are currently in our Self Study year. As part of the Self Study, we will be reaching out to all parents to gather your thoughts on the school, specifically its Catholic identity, programs, and overall support for student learning. Stay tuned for information as we go. This Thursday is the first day set aside in our calendar to devote some time to focused work that’ll prepare us to begin the Self Study process in the coming weeks. In our next school year, we will have a Visiting Team come to our school and give us feedback on our Self Study and what they have observed during the three days they spend with us. This visit will happen in the spring.
Don’t forget to adjust those clocks this weekend, and enjoy the extra hour of time with family.
Joe Manning, Principal
THE WEEK AHEAD
All Parish Work Day - 9 am to 3 pm (Meet in front of Marian Hall at 9 am)
Daylight Saving Time Ends
Monthly Prayer Service - Gym - 8:35 am
PTO Meeting - St. Ignatius Room - 8:45 am
Regular Wednesday Start Time - 7:55 am
Mass - 8:10 am
Regular Wednesday Dismissal - 2:10 pm
Early Dismissal - 12 pm (Teacher In-service)
4th & 5th Grade “Walk for Water” Fundraiser - Track - 11 am (inspired by the book A Long Walk to Water & being held to help provide clean water for the people of South Sudan)
No School - Veterans Day
NEWS, UPDATES, & REMINDERS
All Parish Work Day to be held on Saturday, Nov. 5
Join the parish and school community to spruce things up on the St. Joe’s campus on Saturday, Nov. 5. We’ll need help spreading bark, raking leaves, cleaning, painting, hauling, washing windows, and cleaning up the parish garden. Volunteers will meet in front of Marian Hall at 9 am and are encouraged to bring work clothes, gloves, wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels. Older children are welcome to work with parents. Lunch will be provided. This opportunity is eligible for parish share hours. To volunteer, contact Stephen Brown by calling (360)823-2846 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not able to be there at 9 am, let Stephen know when you can arrive.
4th & 5th grade students to raise money for clean water in South Sudan
Our fourth grade class this year read the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The book tells the alternating stories of two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. Our students were so moved by the experience of reading the book that they wanted to do something to help raise money to provide clean water to the people of South Sudan. They have elected to do a fundraiser on the track that’ll help them to understand how difficult it is to carry water, as the book’s characters, had to do to provide for themselves and their families. Fifth-graders, who read the book last year, will also participate in the fundraiser. If you’d like to make a flat donation to support providing more clean water options in South Sudan, please write a check payable to St. Joseph Catholic School by Thursday, Nov. 10 and bring to to the fourth or fifth grade teachers or the office, and we’ll make sure that our fourth and fifth grade classes are able to pass all the collected donations along to the organization that supports this mission.
Student safety at pick-up time
We have just a few notes to pass along regarding safety at the end of the school day:
If we continue to see safety concerns with students at dismissal, we will, unfortunately, have to close the playground to families after school.
- Please enter and exit - both by car and walking - from the parking lot off of Andresen. To keep all students and families safe, we want to keep pedestrians out of the exit lane that feeds onto Highland.
- Please do not cross or allow children to cross in between cars in the pick-up lane to get to the playground. If you will be crossing from the covered play area to the playground, please walk to the front of the car line - the first car position - and cross in front of the first car.
- Students should enter cars from the side closest to the covered play area. In order to prevent students from moving in front of vehicles, we ask that the driver side be the entry side.
- Please do not leave your children unsupervised once they are released to you. We’ve been finding a couple students a day who are walking around by themselves or playing without an adult presence.
Thank you to parent Halloween volunteers
Thank you to all our parents and volunteers who helped with our Halloween celebrations in our classrooms. The parties were a great success thanks to your support and efforts!
On-time arrival to school important to student success
Unfortunately we’ve seen an upswing in the number of student tardies over the past couple weeks. Please help us to make sure that all students arrive on time. On-time arrival to school has been proven in research to be connected to student success. In these next couple weeks, we will begin meeting with families who have developed a pattern of tardiness so that we can get back on track with timely arrival to school. We appreciate your support in getting all students off to a good start each day.
CYO basketball registration now open
CYO Basketball registration is now open for boys and girls grades 3-8.The registration is $142 per player. To register, please click on this link: http://cyostjosephvancouver.bonzidev.com/bball_info
St. Joseph will also offer Winter Hot Shots for 1st and 2nd grade boys and girls. The fee is $120 per player. Please click this link to register: http://cyostjosephvancouver.bonzidev.com/whs_info
Please note that registration will close Nov. 18, 2016. If you have any questions please contact CYO director Erin Novak at email@example.com.
CYO basketball coaches needed
Anyone who is interested in coaching CYO basketball for St. Joe's should contact CYO director Erin Novak at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please identify which team you would be interested in coaching (grade and boys/girls) and your coaching philosophy. Coaching interest should be shared by Nov. 18. Coaching assignments will be made in the coming weeks. All coaches will need to complete Called to Protect, concussion training, and ASEP certification. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Erin Novak.
One last call - share with us the names of Veterans for our annual wall of honor
As we approach Veterans Day, our “Wall of Veterans” will once again be on display in the main building’s hallway to honor our family members and friends who have served in the military. If your family is new this year and you wish to honor a family member or friend who has served in the military, let us add them to our wall. If you have given us this information in the past, we still have it and will continue to use it this year. If you have Veterans to add to our list or if you wish to make any changes to information you’ve shared in the past, please contact Anne McDonagh at email@example.com. Please send names, rank, years of service, where they served, and their relationship to your family. We strive to recognize, honor, and pray for all our St. Joseph Veterans, both living and deceased. Please submit names or changes by Tuesday, Nov. 8. We plan to have the posters on the wall between the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms by Nov. 10, and they will remain for two weeks.
St. Joe’s Holiday Bazaar - Share hours galore & search for entertainment performers!
There are many different ways to help out with the Holiday Bazaar (Nov. 19 & 20) this year: bake cookies, sell Christmas wreaths, lift tables….something for every interest and ability, and it all counts towards share hours! Check out our SignUp.com page to volunteer: http://signup.com/go/NaKAPR
Continued search for entertainment performers - Do you know of a dance studio, karate dojo, or musician who 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 on Saturday, Nov. 19 during the bazaar. Please contact the bazaar chair at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an entertainment performer who would like to participate.
Procurement underway for Bingo prizes
We are also working on procuring prize items for our Bingo event on Friday, Dec. 2. Prize items can be anything small, for example, Dutch Bros. gift cards which are conveniently sold by Scrip or other prize items that both students or parents would enjoy selecting from the prize table. You can drop your procured item off at the school office or in the PTO box. For more information, email Laura at email@example.com. Thank you!
PTO president-elect position open
PTO is looking for someone to fill its president-elect position. This open position would assist Laura Ashton, current PTO president, and on occasion stand in for Laura in her absence. After one year this person would become the PTO president. If you are interested in the position, please email a letter of your interest that shares the background and experiences that you would bring to the position to Laura Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Per PTO bylaws, both Laura Ashton and Joe Manning will review the letters.
Morning walking for parents to start back up in spring
With the weather turning wetter and colder, the parent morning walks on the track will be put on hold until the spring.
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” class 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.
Monday, Nov. 14, at 6:15 pm - St Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1 pm – Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Battle Ground
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.