The Sentinel – Volume 11, Issue 9

Living Stones on the Pathway to Heaven…

Message from the Principal

Over the course of the past several years, our school community has worked together to create a bully-free school zone.  While we can be pleased with the progress we have made, this is an initiative toward which we must continue to direct time and resources each year.  If there is one instance of bullying, then there is still work to be done.

At last Friday’s Diocesan Educational Institute, I attended a presentation on bullying hosted by an organization that is on the forefront of bringing this issue to the attention of parents, schools and community members via media presentations.  The session touched upon the effects of bullying as well as the rise of cyber-bullying, a particular form of harassment that has gained specific attention in the news over the course of the past month.

What struck me most at this workshop was not the impact and effects of bullying, but rather the recognition that this challenge is not going to disappear.  For this reason, our families and Catholic schools are called to be counter-cultural, taking a clear stand against these behaviors. It is our responsibility to guide the children in recognizing that each individual is created in the very image and likeness of God.  As such, respect and reverence should surround all interactions.  Similarly, the complexities and risks associated with technology in the 21st Century are a part of our day to day existence.  It remains our responsibility to teach the children how to navigate these information highways, always using technology in a manner that shows respect to one another and God’s creation.

This week we have an opportunity to bring the matter of bullying to the forefront of our discussion once again.  I would like to invite all parents to participate in an anonymous, online survey for the purpose of assessing the level of bullying at All Saints Catholic School.  Each survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.   The Parent Survey on Bullying Fall 2010 is for parents of students in all grade levels. The K-2nd Grade Survey on Bullying is for students in Kindergarten, 1st grade, or 2nd grade to complete with the assistance of their parents. Students in grades 3-8 will complete a corresponding survey during their computer class beginning this week.

To expedite the survey process, this year parents are asked to complete by Friday, November 5th an electronic survey that can be found at the following links.  In advance, we thank you for your participation in our efforts to both assess our current climate and to establish benchmarks for future reference.

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 appropriateresponses can help to empower students not to laugh…not to participate…and to take a stand whenever they witness an instance of bullying.

*************************************************************************************

This week I would also like to announce that I am establishing a special Uniform Focus Group tasked with assisting me in reviewing our school uniform.  Adopted in 1999, the current uniform has been modified only slightly over the past eleven years.  As our community has grown and evolved during this time period, the surrounding economic climate has also changed significantly.  For these reasons, I feel that this is the right moment to initiate dialogue on the topic of our uniform.

As such, I will be meeting with a small group of parents and teachers ~ the Uniform Focus Group ~ to begin the discussion.  Our first meeting will serve simply as a listening for me and provide us an opportunity to identify key questions to be incorporated in a parent satisfaction survey, the results of which will be used in planning the scope and direction of the review process.

To recap, the initial feedback offered by the Uniform Focus Group will confirm whether the time is right to introduce a survey to the entire parent community.  Should this be the case, the feedback received from the community at large will help to determine the course of action for the group and decisions regarding the future of our school uniform.  It is important that I stress that this is not an announcement of a uniform change, rather the beginning of a process to closely examine the key issues relative to the uniform.  If there is broad consensus for change and we move in that direction, the existing uniform would be grandfathered during the period of transition.  For now, let’s take it one step at a time and see where the conversation leads.  I look forward to sharing updates with you in the weeks ahead as the process begins to unfold.

Parent-Teacher Conferences ~ Appointment Slips

Today each student received a conference appointment slip confirming the date and time for the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday, November 11th and Friday, November 12th.   If you did not receive this information, please notify your child’s homeroom teacher.

All Saints Middle School…Explore the Possibilities

On Thursday, November 4th, All Saints Catholic School will host All Saints Middle School … Explore the Possibilities, a night for parents to learn more about our middle school program. Parents are invited to meet our middle school team and discover the highlights of our curriculum as they tour each classroom. The meeting will begin in the Art Room on the second floor at 7:00 p.m.

Although you and your children are already an important part of our school community, we recognize that you may not be completely familiar with all our middle school has to offer. All Saints’ small, faith-focused learning environment will provide your child with: 

  • An interactive religious education
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Academic excellence through a challenging curriculum to help your child excel in high school and beyond
  • Technology supported instruction
  • Nurturing and welcoming community
  • Numerous extracurricular activities
  • Opportunities to help others through school-based service projects

This middle school information night will also be open to parents outside of the current school community. To allow us to properly prepare for this event, please RSVP by completing the form below or by emailing Janis DeVore at jdevore@allsaintsva.org.

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 Wednesday, November 10th at 8:30 a.m. Following the Mass, there will be a ceremony and question/answer session in the Parish Activities Center, followed by a reception for our honored guests in Father Kelley Hall. Students received a packet of information through their classroom teachers last week about our Veterans Wall Display which will further honor military personnel from our school community.

Mark Your Calendars … Don’t forget that the second annual Manassas Veterans Day Parade will take place in Old Town Manassas on Saturday, November 6th at 11:00 a.m. For additional information and the parade route, please visit www.manassasveteransparade.org/.

Annual  VIRTUS  Training Update

An annual 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: Tuesday, November 9th in Meeting Room 2 at 2:15 PM.

If you have any questions, please call Janet Smith in the parish office at (703) 393-2158.

Sponsorship for Calendar, Directory and Folders

Attached to this week’s newsletter is a flyer from J.M. Gaske, the company that publishes our annual calendar, directory and folders.  Parents and business owners interested in sponsoring an advertisement in one or more of these publications are invited to complete the attached form and return it to the school office.  In advance, thank you for your generous support of these projects.

Yearbook Cover Contest

The Yearbook Committee is hosting the annual Yearbook Cover Contest.  Details about the contest may be located in the flyer attached to this week’s newsletter.

Family Advent Wreath Workshop

The All Saints Office for Religious Education will be holding a Family Advent Wreath Workshop on Saturday, November 20th 10:00 am in the Gym. Make and decorate an Advent wreath and begin your family’s spiritual preparation for Advent.  Information and order form may be found in flyer linked to this week’s newsletter.

Square 1 Art

Square 1 Art catalogs were sent home with the children last week.  Your child’s artwork appears on the front cover of their catalog.  In the catalog you’ll find several different products which you can purchase.  The products will display your child’s artwork.  All orders and payments are due by Friday, 10/29/10. Please send your order and payment (checks payable to All Saints Catholic School) in with your child or leave order at the front office.  The order should be sent to attention of Kerry Balagtas.  The products are tentatively due to be delivered shortly before Thanksgiving.  The products would make great Christmas gifts for friends and families.  Any questions should be directed to Kerry Balagtas.  Kerry can be reached by phone at 703-365-7327 or by email at Kerryb17@verizon.net.  Thank you.

Casino Night & Auction News

Win two Tickets to see the REDSKINS play the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS on Saturday, December 12, 2010 at FEDEX FIELD.  Every item donated to the Casino Night & Auction receives one entry in the drawing for tickets.  Please click on the link in today’s newsletter for more information.

Paul VI Catholic High School Recycling/Shredding Event

Do you have old files, records, receipts, magazines, books, computer disks (yes – computer disks!!), or other materials of which you would like to have securely disposed?  The Paul VI Catholic High School PTO will be holding its Fall 2010 recycling and shredding fundraiser in the school front parking lot (adjacent to the McDonalds) on Saturday, November 20th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  As always, the proceeds will go toward the PVI Teacher Scholarship Program, and the donation will be $8.00 per box (12”x10”x15”).  The items to be shredded also can be brought in any container, and we will estimate the quantity.  Please help us to help you and benefit a most valuable cause – our PVI teachers!

The First Holy Trinity Fall Family Festival

Saturday November 13th 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Come see Mr. Tessier Perform LIVE!!! Throughout the day – Musical entertainment, puppet shows, juggling, balancing acts, church tours and more! There will be lots of food from area restaurants and our own Holy Trinity Ministries.  The kids can play games, climb, bounce, and race, have their face and hair painted, even use a catapult! We will have a Silent Auction, White Elephant Sale and lots of area vendors for your holiday shopping needs. Free Admission – with fees for some rides and attractions.

For additional information contact Debi Kromer at debkromer@verizon.net

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, October 28th

8th Grade Saints’ Café (FKH/8:25-9:40 a.m.)

Eucharistic Adoration (2:15 p.m.)

  • Friday, October 29th

End of 1st Quarter

Penny Bazaar (10:30-11:30 a.m.)

Noon Dismissal (Report Card prep)

  • Monday, November 1st

All Saints Feast Day Mass (10:00 a.m.)

Free Ice Cream at Lunch in honor of Feast Day, courtesy of the PTO

Transition to Winter Uniforms

§  Tuesday, November 2nd ~ PTO Executive Board Meeting (PLC/7:00 p.m.)

§  Thursday, November 4th ~ Middle School…Explore the Possibilities! (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)

§  Friday, November 5th ~ Report Cards sent Home

 

Going Home with Each Student

¨       Parent/Teacher Conference Appointment Slip

Going Home with Middle School Students

¨       Middle School Movie Night Flyer

Links

  • Parent Survey on Bullying Fall 2010: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F9GMW2C
  • Kindergarten-2nd Grade Survey on Bullying: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F955CW8
  • Yearbook Cover Contest:  http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/10/yearbook_cover_2010-2011.pdf
  • Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tickets:  http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/10/auction-redskin-tix.pdf
  • Gaske Advertising/Sponsor Form: http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/10/GaskeAdvertisingForm.pdf
  • Advent Wreath Workshop:  http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2010/10/AdventWreathFlyer2010.pdf