Principal’s August 2010 Newsletter

Dear Parents and Friends of All Saints,

Summer Greetings! I hope this letter finds you well and continuing to enjoy opportunities for rest and relaxation.  With little more than three weeks remaining before the first day of school, I wish to take a moment to share with you some important information related to the start of the new year.

I also wish to extend a warm word of welcome to those families who have just joined our All Saints community. I am delighted that you have chosen a Catholic education for your children and even more pleased that your decision has led you to All Saints!

Although school has been closed, there has been no shortage of activity on campus during the summer months.  If you haven’t visited the parish site since the final days of school, you are in for a real surprise!  As the church construction project has been brought to completion, the area directly in front of the school has been redesigned and landscaped in preparation for the dedication ceremony on August 14th.  The transformation is remarkable, creating an outdoor gathering space that is attractive and inviting for visitors and members of our community.

Each year our school and parish select a theme that serves as a focal point for our prayer and reflection.  This year our theme will be Living Stones, a reminder that each of us is called to give witness to the presence of Christ in our daily lives.  Through our words and by our example, we are called to inspire the children to lives of faith.  As a Catholic school community, this is our single most important task…building hearts, minds, and souls in the likeness of Jesus.

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As announced during the spring, we are pleased to welcome the following individuals who will be joining our faculty & staff for the 2010-2011 school year.

Mrs. Mary Gurley (Varela) ~ 2nd Grade

Mrs. Gurley is a graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in science.  For the past three years she has served as the Kindergarten teacher at Incarnation Catholic School, a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in Sarasota, Florida.  She has training and experience in differentiation of instruction as well as the use of creative drama and literacy centers to enhance the reading and writing program.  Through her knowledge of curriculum, strong organizational skills, and enthusiastic personality, she will be a wonderful addition to the faculty at our school.

Miss Michele Ritner ~ 4th Grade

Miss Ritner, a graduate of All Saints Catholic School and a former long-term substitute teacher in our program, is also already well acquainted with our mission and culture.  She completed her student teaching experience in the Prince William County School system and graduated with a Masters in Education from James Madison University this past spring.  It is a great joy for our school community to be able to welcome back one of our former students as she begins her career in education!

Miss Christine Gahagan ~ Music

Miss Gahagan is a recent graduate of The Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Music Degree.  While at Catholic University, Miss Gahagan was the recipient of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music Distinguished Scholar Award for Service.  She has served as the Manager of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Choir as well as the Co-Manager of the Catholic University of America Chorus.  With experience in musical theatre and performance, as well as liturgy, Miss Gahagan brings a strong skill-set to the music program at All Saints.

Miss Allison Sarmuksnis ~ 1st Grade Assistant

For the past year, Miss Sarmuksnis has worked as a kindergarten assistant at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna.  She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and has recently completed the coursework necessary to earn her state teaching license through the University of Virginia.  With experience and expertise in the Word Study approach, she will be a wonderful addition to our first grade program.

Mrs. Rosemary Antunes ~ Nurse

Mrs. Antunes is a graduate of St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing and has thirty years experience as a registered nurse.  Most recently, she has served as the school nurse at Christendom College and has worked in the labor and delivery unit at Fauquier Hospital.  With extensive experience in a variety of settings, Mrs. Antunes will bring a high level of competency and professionalism to her role as our school nurse.

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Miss Joanna McCullough ~Middle School Math Teacher

As announced during the spring semester, Miss McCullough will be our new middle school math teacher.  During the past year, she served as fourth grade teacher and, as such, is already familiar with diocesan and school procedures.  Miss McCullough joined the All Saints faculty last summer after graduating from Franciscan University with an undergraduate degree in education and a concentration in middle school math and social studies.  Her mastery of the curriculum, coupled with her demonstrated ability to engage all of the learners in her classroom, will further advance the program and our students’ understanding of math.

As you prepare for the beginning of the new school year, I hope that the following information will prove helpful.

Orientation Day for Students in Grades K-8: Friday, August 27th from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  The classrooms will be open for visits until 11:00 a.m. while cafeteria ticket sales and distribution of information will continue in the gym until noon.  This day provides you and your child the opportunity to meet teachers and visit classrooms.  On Orientation Day, parents/visitors are invited to park in either the front or rear parking lot.  Lunch and milk tickets will be available for purchase and the Uniform Exchange will be open.  (Although the Pre-Kindergarten program will host a separate open house event, parents are welcome to visit the gym to pick-up important information at this time.)

¨       New families are invited to arrive early on Orientation Day.  All faculty and staff will be available to greet you and guide you through the school beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Returning families are asked to begin arriving at 9:30 a.m.

¨       Throughout the course of the morning, you are asked to keep your children with you at all times since the teachers will be occupied with meeting new students and will not be available to supervise children.

First Days of School: Grades K-8; Monday, August 30th.

8:10     Tardy Bell

8:15     Classes Begin

Since you will already have had the opportunity on Orientation Day to meet teachers and visit classrooms, you are asked to drop off your children in the carpool line by 8:05 a.m.  Students will enter the building via the breezeway connecting the new facility to the original wing and report directly to their homerooms. The breezeway doors will open at 7:50, at which time the cars in the front of the carpool line will begin dropping off students at the direction of patrols and the supervising staff.  Any child dropped off before 7:50 a.m. must be escorted to the Extended Day Program in Father Kelley Hall by a parent or guardian.

Dismissal will occur at noon on Monday for students in grades Kindergarten through eight. Dismissal for grades 1-8 will be at 3:00 p.m. for the remainder of the week.  However, the Kindergarten program will dismiss at noon for the entire first week of school.

At 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 3rd we will celebrate the beginning of the new year with a school-wide Mass.  All parents are cordially invited to join us for this liturgy as we pray for God’s blessings on our community in the year ahead.

Immunizations: Virginia law requires that parents of students enrolling in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten or first grade provide documentation of appropriate immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella.  All children who have not received a complete series of hepatitis B vaccine will be required to receive such immunization prior to entering the 6th grade. Additionally, in accordance with the immunization requirements for the State of Virginia, all 6th grade students must receive a Tdap booster before returning to school in the fall. Please be aware that providing documentation of immunization is a necessary condition for enrollment at All Saints. Those students who have not received proper immunization will not be permitted to attend school. Should you have any questions about immunization requirements, please contact our school nurse, Mrs. Antunes, at 703-368-4400.

Recently we were informed that the Virginia Department of Health no longer provides hard copies of the school entrance health form to private/parochial schools, physician offices, and day care/child care facilities in response to state agency financial cutbacks.

Effectively immediately, families and schools will only be able to access the MCH 213F (School Entrance Health Form) on-line.  Links to the form can be found on the Diocesan website on the following pages:

The form can also be downloaded from the Virginia Department of Health web site                           

Carpool Information:

As we begin the new school year, we will continue to use the revised afternoon dismissal process that was introduced during the spring semester.  As such, parents will again be assigned one of five parking areas based upon where their last name occurs in the alphabet.  Please be sure to stop by the “Carpool Table” on Orientation Day to confirm your assigned parking area.  Maps and directions explaining the dismissal process will be available.  All parents are asked to pick up and review these items prior to the first day of school.  Additionally, parents whose children will be walking to and from school will be asked to provide this information at that time.

2010-2011 School Calendar: New calendars may be picked up on Orientation Day.  We are grateful to Mrs. Laurie Short who again this year designed our school calendar.  The calendar was printed by JM Gaske with the financial support of local businesses that purchased adverstisements included in the publication.

Parent/Student Handbook: Information related to the updated student handbook will be issued to all families via the website and upcoming school newsletters.

Supplies: Supply lists were distributed in the spring in order that you might take advantage of sales during the summer.  Newly registered families received one at the time of acceptance.  Parents who ordered supplies through the school-organized supply project may pick them up on Orientation Day. All students are asked to come to school prepared with supplies on the first day of classes.

Uniforms: Students in grades 1-8 are required to wear the full school uniform during the school day and at designated school functions.  The following is a description of the uniform code for the “summer” months.

Summer Uniform: This uniform is worn from the first day of school through the month of October and from April 4th to the final day of school.  All of the items listed below, with the exception of socks, are to be purchased from Flynn and O’Hara Uniform Company. (703-503-5966).

¨       Khaki shorts

¨       Navy blue or white golf shirts

¨       White socks (Please note: Students are required to wear crew socks that can be folded over at the ankle.  Ankle socks are not acceptable.)

Optional –Khaki slacks (boys and girls, Gr.1-8), Khaki skirts (girls, Gr.5-8)

Shoes: Plain black leather athletic shoes only.  Shoes must not include white or colored stripes, blinking lights, etc.  Hightops are not permitted.

As we begin the year, it is important that all students wear the uniform as outlined in our student handbook.  Throughout the first several weeks of school, teachers will be particularly attentive to this policy in order that we may have a student population that is both uniform and neat in appearance.

P.E. Uniform: Students in grades 6-8 “dress out” for P.E. class.  (Those in kindergarten wear the P.E. uniform every             day, while those in first through fifth grade wear their P.E. uniform all day on days when     they attend P.E.)  Middle school students are asked to bring their P.E. uniform to school on days when they will attend P.E. class.  They may also wish to bring a pair of socks and athletic shoes depending upon the style of their particular uniform shoe.

The following is a summary of the new P.E. uniform for students in grades K-8.

Light Steel Gym Tee Shirt with Silk Screen Logo

Navy Micromesh Nylon Gym Shorts with Silk Screen Logo

Navy Sweatshirt with Silk Screen Logo (Grades K-5)

Navy Sweatshirt with Embroidered Logo (Grades 6-8)

Note: The previous P.E. uniform (royal blue shorts, sweatpants, and sweatshirts & white tee shirts) is             grandfathered for the 2010-2011 school year.  Students may continue to wear these articles during this        year of transition.

Criminal Background Checks for Volunteers ~ Fingerprinting Session

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 might visit the classroom for a special presentation once per year need not complete the background check process.  However, 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 may request a packet of forms from the front office.

Information for Kindergarten Families:

Parent Orientation Meeting: Parents who have a Kindergartner starting at All Saints this year are invited to a special orientation meeting on Thursday, August 26th at 7:00 p.m. in the art room.  Mrs. Marsha Vice and Mrs. Katherine Izquierdo will present an overview of the program and will be available to answer questions.

Uniforms: Kindergartners wear the All Saints P.E. uniform each day.

Information for Pre-Kindergarten Families:

Parent Orientation Meeting: Parents who have a Pre-Kindergartner beginning at All Saints are invited to attend a special meeting on Thursday, September 2nd at 7:00 p.m.  Mrs. Kardaras, Director of the Pre-Kindergarten, will highlight pertinent information about our program.  In addition, the rest of the program staff will be in attendance and available to answer any questions that you might have.

Pre-Kindergarten Open House: On Tuesday, September 7th there will be a special Open House for all Pre-Kindergarten students and their parents from 9:00-11:00 a.m. for those enrolled in the morning session and from 12:30-2:30 p.m. for those in the afternoon session.  The program will officially begin on Wednesday, September 8th.

Pre-Kindergarten students do not wear a uniform.  Rather, they are asked to wear comfortable, casual clothing that is conducive to their participation in the various activities that will occur each day.

ø      Back-to-School Night will be held on Thursday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the gym.  Following an opening presentation, teachers in grades one through five will present an overview of their individual programs.  A separate Back-to School program will be held for Middle School parents on Thursday, September 16th beginning at 7:00 p.m. These sessions will provide parents with important information about our many programs and our plans for the 2010-2011 academic year.  For this reason, at least one parent from each family is required to attend the sessions that pertain to their child.

Remember to mark your calendar for the 6th Annual Welcome Back Barbecue hosted by the PTO.  This popular and well-attended event provides a wonderful opportunity for families to visit with friends old and new as we begin another year together.  This year the event is again being catered byPizzeria Uno.  The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will take place on the parking lot and grassy area located behind the school.  Parents are asked to park in the front lot and to either walk around the school or pass through the breezeway entrances when arriving for the event.  Families are asked to bring lawn chairs and a cooler full of favorite drinks.  (non-alcoholic beverages only)  Although there is no need to RSVP, should you have any questions or wish to volunteer to assist with the event, please contact Mrs. Monique Schmeling at 703-791-0930.

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In closing, as you are already probably aware, the Benedictine Sisters in Bristow suffered a terrible tragedy on Sunday morning when three of the sisters were involved in a head-on collision on Route 619 while returning to the monastery to begin a week long retreat.  Sr. Denise was killed in the accident and the other two sisters suffered serious injuries and were subsequently taken to Fairfax Hospital.

The Benedictine Sisters founded All Saints School on their property in 1957 and have since maintained a special connection with our community.  Let us pray that they may be comforted and consoled by the presence of Christ, our Risen Lord, during this very difficult time.

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In the days preceding the opening of school, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 703-368-4400.  Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer!


David E. Conroy, Jr.



P.S. What better way to enjoy the summer season than with good food and good friends! Families of All Saints will be gathering at Captain Pell’s Restaurant in Fairfax on Friday evening!  Plan to stop by and meet friends both old and new!  For more information, please see the attached flyer.


Link to Captain Pell’s Restaurant Flyer: