The Sentinel ~ August 31, 2011
It was wonderful to welcome back our students and families for the first day of school on Monday. It is always a joy to witness the smiles and enthusiasm of the children as they return to All Saints, a place that for many has become a “second home”. Anchored in the cherished traditions of our faith, our school provides a safe and nurturing environment where the students are encouraged to excel academically and to grow in wisdom and grace each day.
With the perspective that faith formation is our top priority as a Catholic school community, this week I would like to share with you our new theme as well as two other areas of focus for the year ahead.
The theme for the 2011-2012 academic year is Seek Christ in one another; Welcome Him into your Heart. This phrase, which will be announced at the start and close of each school day, correlates with the parish-wide vision for the new year. Rather than seeking an entirely new theme, Fr. Bob has recommended that we return to the concept of “hospitality”, one which was embraced by our school and parish in 2003. As such, this theme provides both an invitation and a reminder for us to reflect not only on the ways that we interact with one another, but also in how we welcome the stranger, the poor and the oppressed. It provides an opportunity for our students to live out the very goal of Catholic education: personal sanctification and a subsequent commitment to social change in the light of the Gospel message.
A second focal point for the school this year will be a continued commitment to the Virtue Program. Begun more than a decade ago at All Saints, the Virtue Program is a systematic approach to fostering character formation in our students. The purpose of the Virtues Curriculum is to instill in each child a desire to practice Catholic virtues both at home and at school. Although specific, structured lessons are presented on a regular basis, the core of the program is the recognition of the many “teachable moments” that arise each day. The goal is to make the practice of Catholic virtues not just another subject, but a way of life for each student.
This year the Virtue Program will be enhanced by a school-wide assembly each month during which we will introduce the new virtue to the students along with a corresponding prayer. Additionally, each month each of the homeroom teachers will identify one girl and boy who have exemplified the Virtue of the Month. During our school-wide gathering these students will be recognized and presented with a special certificate in acknowledgment of their outstanding example.
A third focus for the year will be the implementation of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal which will occur in Advent. It is vitally important that we take time as a school community to teach the children the new responses for the Mass as well as the corresponding music. However, even more important than this is the opportunity to explain to the students the meaning behind the changes and to foster even greater participation and reverence as we together learn the new responses for the liturgy. It is our hope that our school community will experience a particularly grace-filled year as we reflect on the richness of the Mass, the source and summit of our life of prayer.
And speaking of prayer, this year the PTO is sponsoring a Weekly Rosary gathering for parents that will coincide with afternoon dismissal. In addition to providing a prayerful recollection of the life of Christ, this time of prayer will also create a moment of peace and solace just prior to the busyness of afternoon dismissal. The PTO invites parents who are interested in participating to gather around the Statue of Mary in the courtyard on Thursdays at 2:40 p.m., beginning tomorrow, September 1st. In the event of inclement weather, parents are invited to gather in the church. Should you have any questions about this new program, please contact our coordinator, Ms. Megan Davies at 703-330-4516.
Blessed with a day of abundant sunshine – between earthquake and hurricane – the 7th Annual Welcome Back Barbecue was a wonderful gathering for both new and returning school families. I want to thank Mrs. Janene Shaw, coordinator, for organizing the many details that led to a flawless event. I also wish to thank Mr. Jim Switzer and Mr. Mike Zahorchak for providing the music which helped to make the occasion even more festive. Finally, I want to thank the PTO for their generous financial support and the many volunteers, both parents and students, who helped with set-up, serving, face-painting, and clean-up. Working together, they were a wonderful example of the strong sense of community that surrounds All Saints!
Next Week: Curriculum & Learning ~ Goals for the New Year
Virtue of the Month
The Virtue of the Month for September will be Respect & Responsibility. Throughout the first month of school we will adopt the following plan and strive to maintain these objectives throughout the course of the year.
1) Wear your uniform with pride.
2) Be reverent and quiet in church.
3) Greet everyone cheerfully and by name.
4) Listen quietly when others speak.
5) Keep your desk and supplies neat.
6) Stand at attention for the Pledge of Allegiance.
7) Participate in Mass: Try to learn the responses and sing the hymns.
8) Do your best work on every assignment.
9) Turn all class assignments and homework in on time.
The weekly newsletter will again be distributed electronically to parents via an email distribution list. Parents who have not yet registered to receive the mailing are encouraged to do so via our website ~www.allsaintsvaschool.org. On those occasions when it is necessary to distribute hard copies of forms, we will utilize the “take-home” folder in your child’s classroom. Wednesday will continue to be the day on which newsletters and important forms are distributed.
Opening School Mass
On Friday morning students in Grades 1-8 will gather in the church at 10:00 a.m. for the annual Opening of the School Year Mass. All school parents and families are cordially invited to join us as we gather to pray for the success of this new year.
Parent ~ Student Handbooks
The 2011-2012 Parent-Student Handbook can be accessed electronically via our website:www.allsaintsvaschool.org. Please take some time to review the policies and procedures of our school and discuss them with your children. Each family is asked to sign and return the acknowledgment form distributed today by Friday, September 9th. Those families without access to the website are invited to contact the office to request a hard copy of the handbook.
Criminal Background Checks for Volunteers & VIRTUS Requirements
As part of the diocesan initiative to maintain a safe environment for all of our children, all volunteers with “significant contact” with children are required to complete a background check prior to working in the school. As we begin a new year, in accordance with diocesan policy, only those parents who have completed the criminal background check are eligible to volunteer in positions that involve contact with students. Those who will be volunteering in the school on a regular basis or even repeatedly are required to complete the background check. Those who have not yet completed the background check process are invited to request a packet of forms from the school or parish office.
The diocese also requires volunteers who have completed the full VIRTUS training to attend an annual update entitled Keeping the Promise Alive. This 30 minutes video training is a prerequisite for volunteering in the school. The following is a list of upcoming sessions. (Please note: For planning purposes, volunteers are asked to confirm their intent to attend a session on the voicemail of Mrs. Janet Smith. 703.393.2158)
Wednesday, August 31st 6:30PM in the Art Room
Wednesday, August 31st 8:30PM in Meeting Room 1
Tuesday, September 13th 2:15PM in FKH
Tuesday, September 27th 2:15PM in FKH
7:00PM in the Library
8:15PM in the Library
Emergency Information Form
Please complete the linked diocesan emergency form and return it to the office by Friday, September 2nd. This form is critically important in that it provides us with the necessary information to contact you in the event of an emergency.
This year we are forwarding a link to the diocesan emergency information form:http://www.allsaintsvaschool.
You may complete the form electronically, print out the completed form, sign it and return it to the school. This will help you in filling out the forms and with multiple children you can just change the student name, grade, and specific health information for each child. Remember, we need to have one form on file for each child.
If you do not have access to a computer and need to have a hard copy of the form, just contact the school office and a form will be sent home to you.
Boxtops for Education
Please remember to turn in box tops to count for the summer collection. Please label the Ziplock bag with your child’s homeroom and teacher’s name and submit it to the office by the close of the week.
- Thursday, September 1st ~ Pre-Kindergarten Orientation for Parents (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
- Friday, September 2nd ~ Opening School Mass (10:00 a.m.)
§ Monday, September 5th ~ Labor Day Holiday
- Tuesday, September 6th ~ Pre-Kindergarten Open House (Morning Session ~ 9:00-11:00
a.m./Afternoon Session ~ 12:30-2:30 p.m.)
Band Parents Meeting (Returning parents @ 6:45 p.m. / new parents @ 7:30 p.m. in the Music Room)
PTO Board Meeting (Professional Learning Center/7:00 p.m.)
- Wednesday, September 7th ~ First Day of Pre-Kindergarten
NJHS Book Wrapping Service (3:30 p.m.)
- Thursday, September 8th ~ Back to School Night for Grades 1-5 (Gym/7:00 p.m.)
ø Diocesan Emergency Care Information Form ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.
ø Girl Scout Letter ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.