The Sentinel – Volume 10, Issue 7

Blue Ribbon Commendation ~ Letter from University of Notre Dame
Congratulations on being recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education. The community of educators at the University of Notre Dame joins me in celebrating this outstanding accomplishment with you.

This recognition follows years of hard work by students, parents, faculty, and staff, and hundreds of hours of preparation. In these days when some question the value of Catholic education, we are proud to see such excellence emerging in the Catholic community.

Blessings on the school year and congratulations once again. Your success is a beacon for others.

Message from the Principal
This week schools across the United States and Canada celebrate Bullying Awareness Week. Research indicates that approximately 20% of students experience bullying that significantly impacts their life at school, making this topic especially relevant for all who work in education.

As a Catholic school, our position on the topic of bullying is very clear ~ it is in direct conflict with the Gospel message, a teaching that affirms the dignity of each individual. Created in the very image and likeness of God, each child is a miracle of creation and to be treated with both reverence and respect. As a Catholic school, however, we are not immune to the ugliness of bullying.

All Saints has been proactive in analyzing the extent of bullying in our community and seeking more effective strategies to address specific instances. Two years ago we changed how we respond to initial reports of bullying. Whenever a new report of bullying becomes known, Mrs. Karcher, the school counselor, intervenes and learns as much as possible about the situation. Following her investigation, she contacts the parents of the alleged “bully” to initiate dialogue. The purpose of this contact is to alert parents to the existence of a concern and to encourage them to discuss the matter with their son/daughter. Within the context of this conversation, school policy is clarified and the parents are informed that if the matter occurs again, the issue will be referred to the office of the assistant principal. As an early intervention practice, this response plan has proven very effective during the past two years.

A second effort already in place is that of classroom lessons provided by Mrs. Karcher. Throughout the year she visits classrooms to help students better understand the nature of bullying and the negative effects that it has for victims and the community. Should concerns arise regarding instances of bullying at a particular grade level, she adjusts her schedule accordingly to address the matter in a timely manner.

As a part of the CARE program initiated by the Diocese, All Saints is implementing the following strategies this week to coincide with Bullying Awareness Week:

Surveys
Surveys are being distributed to students, parents, and faculty in order to assess their perceptions of the level of respect, bullying, and sexual harassment at All Saints Catholic School. Grades K-2 will receive a combined survey which parents and students are asked to complete together. Parents of students in grades 3-8 will receive a survey to complete from their own experience. Students in these grades will complete a separate survey in class. Parents are asked to complete the anonymous survey and return the copies to the classroom teacher by Friday. Paper copies of the survey are being distributed to students today. Although comprehensive in nature, completion of the questionnaire will require only approximately fifteen minutes. Please know that the information you provide will be essential to us in understanding the dynamic of bullying in our community, in helping us to develop relevant strategies and responses, and in measuring future growth.

Educational Component for parents, faculty, and students

1) Parents will be sent resources and educational letters in connection with lessons and presentations given throughout the year. The Counselor’s Corner on our website provides information and resources.
2) Students will receive education on this topic via school counselor classroom presentations, small group discussions, and classroom lessons and rules. Classroom teachers will incorporate these lessons, which include the Golden Rule

Activity worksheets and a prayer entitled She Was Kind to Me Today for grades K-2 in their teaching this week. Grades 3-8 will view webisodes and use resources designed by the U.S. Department of Education. These materials can be found on the following website: www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov. This webpage includes educational pamphlets on varying topics related to bullying. You can also access the webisodes presented at school to educate students on what bullying is, how to respond to it, and how to prevent it. Books and other resources are also included.

Additional Parent Resources
http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/adults/parents-and-family/family-do.aspx
The following webpage includes a pamphlet with common questions and answers parents may have regarding bullying as well as online respect and responsibility guidelines. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/bullying.pdf

Books for Children in Grades K-2
These short stories show different ways to deal with teasing. You can read them together and discuss the lessons.
Crysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Teasing by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Books for Children in Grades 3-5
100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes: This book addresses subtle put-downs among girls.
Super Emma by Jamie Harper
How to face up to the class bully! by Valerie Wilson Wesley
Books for Parents to Read on this Topic
Girl Wars: 12 Strategies that will end Female Bullying by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon
The Good Son: Shaping the Moral Development of our Boys and Young Men by Michael Gurian
Boys Should be Boys: Seven Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons by Meg Meeker

Peace Pledge
During last year’s Bully Awareness Week the students were invited to participate in a contest designing a pledge to be used throughout the school in helping students to do their part to make All Saints a bully-free zone. Congratulations to Jazmine Kenney, whose pledge was selected by the members of the Peace & Justice Players as our official school pledge! Since the beginning of the school year, students have been reciting this pledge prior to leaving their classrooms for recess and lunch.

I promise with all my heart to take a stand, lend a hand, and stop bullying now so our world will change for the better.
If perhaps you are wondering what you can do as a parent to further support this initiative, I would offer the following suggestions:

1) Take some time this week to review the topic of bullying with your son/daughter. Help them to understand that the repeated, targeted nature of bullying is very hurtful, often resulting in wounds that last years, and in some cases a lifetime. Help them to understand that all students have a right and expectation to be able to come to school each day to learn in an environment free of fear.
2) Remind your child that, should they ever encounter an instance of bullying, it is vitally important that they share this information with a faculty or staff member. If for any reason they are uncomfortable doing so, please contact your child’s teacher directly. It is only with this type of information that we are able to take steps to help prevent future occurrences.
3) Spend some time discussing with your child the practical steps that he/she can take to discourage bullying. For example, sharing strategies or even role-playing appropriate responses can help to empower students not to laugh…not to participate…and to take a stand whenever they witness an instance of bullying.

From the Health Clinic
Per the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), October 4 is the official day for northern Virginia to begin the Flu season. Flu season peaks in February.

As of September 19, 2009, the most current information available from the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC, 99% of all subtype influenza A flu viruses being reported were H1N1. This has been very confusing to our parent population. Physicians are assessing children and testing for Type A, Type B, and “other” Influenza. If your child tests for Type A and meets specific criteria set by the CDC, than the physician will conduct further testing to determine if it is Swine Flu (H1N1). According to CDC and the Virginia Department of Health, no matter what type of Flu an individual has, the treatment plan is the same. The secondary complicating health issues that can occur with Swine Flu can occur with any flu. The secondary complicating health issues usually occur with immune compromised people such as diabetics, asthmatics, pregnant women, the elderly and children under the age of 5 years old.

What we ask of our students is to continue with good hand washing and hygiene methods. They have been shown how to wash their hands. We have alcohol based hand sanitizer available for use if a sink and faucet are not available. Our children are coughing and sneezing into their sleeve, not outward onto others or their desk. Our students clean their desks every morning. Our teachers are cleaning light switch plates, cabinet knobs and any surface frequented by students and adults. Our cleaning company uses safe, environmentally friendly, cleaning products that kill 99% of “germs”.

As parents you are doing your part in helping your children stay healthy. You are providing good nutritional food and snacks, providing them with a multivitamin-mineral supplement, seeing they get outdoor exercise daily and they get plenty of rest and sleep each night. Please be extra diligent with hair cleanliness, face cleaning and oral hygiene.
The Virginia Department of Health encourages your children be immunized against the Flu virus and the H1N1 flu. Both are available now. The H1N1 vaccine is minimally available until November.

All Saints Catholic School is being extra cautious when your child comes to the health clinic. If we have a symptomatic ill child, they are separated from the “healthy” students. We ask parents not to return a student until they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine. If your child is coughing frequently and/or harshly and is poor with covering their mouth, keep your child home. Listen to your child’s complaints before bringing them to school. It will save exposure to other children and potentially, a second trip from work or home.

We have had an upper respiratory virus in the school as well as Strep Throat and flu-like symptoms. The Flu seems to begin with the child complaining that his/her stomach hurts or has a knot in it. They generally will not eat as much as they usually do or take longer than normal to eat. It then progresses to a sore throat or bad headache within 5-6 hours. Within 10-12 hours they typically have a fever, aches and they just want to sleep. The Flu symptoms usually continue for 3-5 days. I encourage you take your child to their pediatrician to determine if it is flu or an upper respiratory virus. Treatment is usually the same. Rest, fluids and possibly an antiviral medication will help heal your child quickly.

Bringing your child to school before they are fully recovered sets them up for another illness or a secondary infection.
If your child is absent due to illness, please send an “excuse note” in with your child upon his/her return. If you have a doctor’s note, that is preferred. If your child is diagnosed with Type A, B, or H1N1, I will need a doctor’s note. If you keep your child home due to flu-like symptoms, then write that on the excuse. If it is sore throat and cough, please write that on the note.
I hope these reminders are helpful to you as we officially enter flu season. Let us continue to work together to minimize the spread of flu in our school community.

October Virtue of the Month ~ Self Control
Students will be encouraged to demonstrate the virtue of self-control both at school and home through the following strategies:
1) Follow the rules.
2) Never interrupt someone who is talking.
3) Get into and walk in line without talking.
4) Be responsible for your space in the cafeteria or at the dinner table.
5) Listen attentively to morning and afternoon announcements.
6) Keep your feet and hands to yourself. Never kick or hit anyone.
7) Say only kind words.
8) If you get angry walk away from the situation until you are calm and can discuss it.

Prayer of the Month
Merciful Lord, let your Holy Spirit guide my life so that my soul may bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Renew my desire to be your faithful friend and servant, increase my loving dependence on you, and grant me that joy and peace of heart which comes from doing your holy will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SchoolMessenger Emergency Notification ~ SYSTEM TEST ~ Friday, October 9th

In times of emergency or when specific concerns arise, the school will activate the SchoolMessenger system. As the system will only be used for this purpose, parents can anticipate that any communications received via this program are serious and deserve particular attention.

In order to ensure the functionality and accuracy of the system, All Saints will conduct a test on Friday, October 9th. A test will be issued via both recorded phone message and email to all student and staff emergency contacts at approximately 10:00 a.m. In order to maintain familiarity with the process and verify accuracy, we will conduct a system test on a quarterly basis.

The Diocese of Arlington uses the SchoolMessenger notification service to send important information to families through phone calls, emails, and text messages.

To comply with wireless carrier requirements and protect against unsolicited text messages, you may receive an SMS message to the wireless number that the district has on file requesting that you opt in to receive important information from the district via SMS text message.

The message you receive will be similar to the following:
“Please OPTIN to receive TXT alerts from <>.Rply OPTIN 2 register, STOP 2 OPTOUT www.schoolmessenger.com/txt Msg&Data Rates May Apply”

So that you can continue to receive these important messages from your student’s school district, we encourage you to reply with “OPTIN” when you receive such a verification message.

To opt out of all text messages from SchoolMessenger, including the verification message, go to http://www.schoolmessenger.com/txtmsg/ or reply STOP to the opt-in message you receive.

The Diocese and the school does not pay for text message charges that may be incurred by the user. Check with your wireless carrier for possible charges.

Bingo Night Success!
Thanks to the dedication of Mrs. Linda Gaynord, event coordinator, and the Knights of Columbus, the PTO sponsored Spaghetti & Bingo Night was a huge success. With the hall filled to nearly capacity, many students and parents spent time with other All Saints families enjoying good food and conversation.

If you missed the chance to participate in the Bingo Night, mark your calendar for the next PTO Pizza & Bingo event scheduled for Saturday, February 6th beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Veterans Day Celebration
Join us as our school community honors the commitment of the men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. We cordially invite all active duty, reserve, former and retired military personnel to attend our school Mass on Tuesday, November 10th at 8:30 a.m. Following the Mass, there will be a ceremony in the school gymnasium followed by a reception for our honored guests in Father Kelley Hall. Students will also be receiving a packet of information through their classroom teachers about our Veterans Wall Display which will further honor military personnel from our school community.

Morning Arrival ~ Safety Concern
During the past several weeks, a number of parents have begun parking in the main section of the church parking lot and crossing on foot through the line of carpool traffic. For the safety of all students and parents, parents are asked to refrain from this practice. If it is necessary to park, such as in the event of a parent entering the school to volunteer, drivers are asked to park in the lot directly in front of the construction site for the new church. This will then allow parents and students to walk to the entrance of the school without having to cross through traffic.

The Virtue Flower Garden (VFG)
Plans are being made to bring color to our VFG. We are still in need of some parent volunteers to assist students in the painting process. Our VFG is basically a “paint by numbers” project – art and painting skills are not required. We are just in need of helping hands to guide the children. Tentative plans are to paint on the last Thursday of each month between 11:15 – 1:00. The first two painting sessions are scheduled for October 15th and October 29th. If you can help, please contact Mrs. Lisa Tamilio at (703) 791-5522 or email ttamilio3@comcast.net.

Campus Beautification Project
Thank you to those who have volunteered to do more in support of this project by taking on the other little jobs that haven’t been completed. If we all continue to do a little bit whenever we can and maintain what we’ve already done then the campus will look truly amazing by the Feast of All Saints when the big celebrations for the Blue Ribbon will commence. We also need a few more plants to fill in some holes. If you are interested in helping with a small landscaping project or donating a plant, please contact Holly Crocker at 703 330-8329 or thcrock@comcast.net . Most projects will take an hour or less and can be done at your convenience.

For anyone who has worked or donated something, please remember to credit yourself for Points for Parents on the school website. Parents earn 3 points per hour that they volunteer working on the landscaping and 5 Points for donating something. Thanks again!

Volunteer Opportunity ~ Resource Volunteers
Do you have experience in education or working with young people? Would you like to participate in an activity by which you can help to make a difference in the lives of individual children? The resource program is now seeking volunteers to work with students in small group sessions to provide one on one assistance. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact Mrs. Jean McMahon in the resource program.

Middle School Progress Reports ~ Correction
Letter grade equivalents were included on the top of each progress report generated for students in the middle school last week. In accordance with the new diocesan policy, All Saints will only be issuing percentage grades this year. As such, please disregard the scale that was inadvertently included on this first run of progress reports.

Virtus Training Update
A 30-minute review of the warning signs of abuse and the steps we can take to keep our children safe is required for all clergy, employees and any volunteers who have contact with children.
This valuable reminder will be presented on Saturday, October 24th in Meeting Room 1 at 10:30 AM. If you have any questions, please call Janet Smith in the parish office at (703) 393-2158

Box Tops for Education ~ Box Tops Homeroom Contest
All box tops submitted through Oct 16th and marked with the homeroom will be counted. Go to www.boxtops4education.com for a complete listing of products and to enter The Big Clip sweepstakes. Last year’s box tops earned the school over $1300.

Paul VI Catholic High School
Junior High Night Under the Lights ~ Special Invitation for 7th & 8th Graders ~ The Student Government and Parent Organizations at Paul VI Catholic High School extend a special invitation to all 7th and 8th graders and their families. Please join us for Rally in the Alley and varsity football on Friday, October 16th. The Rally will begin at 5:30 PM. At the rally there will be free food, tee shirts and tons of fun, games and prizes for all everyone. The Football game begins at 7:00 PM. All 7th and 8th graders will receive free passes to the game.

Paul VI Youth Basketball Coaching Clinic ~ For all CYO Coaches on October 19/20 from 6:30 – 9:00 at St Leo the Great School Gym in Fairfax VA. Cost is $10 per day. Speakers include Scott Allen Paul VI Girls Basketball Coach, Jeff House (former UVA Assistant/WNBA Assistant Coach) as well as many others. It’s a great way to prepare for your upcoming season!

Pope John Paul the Great High School
Adult Bioethics Seminar II at JP the Great ~ A 4-session overview of the semester class “Principles of Ethics” is being offered for adults at Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School on Tuesdays, October 6 and 20 and November 3 and 17 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm. Principles of Ethics is the second course of the 4-year Bioethics Curriculum at JP the Great. There is no cost for the seminar, though the text book, Called to Happiness: Guiding Ethical Principles, by Sister Terese Auer, will be available for purchase for $10. Please RSVP by calling 703-445-0300, or via email to rsvp@jpthegreat.org.

JP the Great Open House / Applications Now Accepted ~ Applications are now being accepted at JP the Great Catholic High School for students who will be in 9th, 10th or 11th grade next school year (2010-2011). For important dates, instruction, and to apply on-line, please visit www.jpthegreat.org. Also, plan to attend the Open House on November 8 from 2 – 4pm. You’ll learn all about JP the Great programs, meet the faculty, and tour the state-of-the-art campus.

Upcoming Events

Friday, October 9th ~ Test of the SchoolMessenger Emergency Notification System (10:00 a.m.); Middle School BBQ & Games Night has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 10th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Monday, October 12th ~ Columbus Day Holiday
Wednesday, October 14th ~ First Communion Parent Meeting (5:00 p.m. & Bilingual Presentation at 7:00 p.m.)
Thursday, October 15th ~ Family Life Parent Presentation for Grades 6-8 (art room/7:00 p.m.)
Friday, October 16th ~ Spirit Activity: Plantland (3:00-8:00 p.m.)
Sunday, October 18th ~ First Communion Parent Meeting (3:45 p.m. & Bilingual Presentation at 6:45 p.m.)

Links
¨ Plantland Spirit Event Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Veterans_event_flyer.pdf
¨ Veterans Mass & Reception Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Veterans_event_flyer.pdf
¨ Pope John Paul the Great High School Open House Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/jpg-open-house-fall09.pdf

Coming Home with 6th Grade Students
¨ Letter from the Principal regarding Seton High School Deferred Acceptance Program