The Sentinel – Volume 12, Issue 2

Seek Christ in one another; welcome Him into your heart.

Principal’s Message

Each spring students in grades two through seven complete the Terra Nova, a nationally normed standardized testing program.  The results of this annual assessment provide data with which we can determine the strengths of our curriculum as well as areas for future growth and improvement.  Most importantly, the data becomes the basis for the annual instructional goal-setting process by which the teachers “narrow the lens” of instruction so as to more effectively meet the needs of the children in their classrooms.

As announced last spring, mathematics is the current strength of our school as evidenced by the fact that our students exceeded the diocesan averages at four grade levels.  However, with reading scores that lag slightly below the diocesan average, I announced last year that this area of the curriculum will be a focus for analysis and reflection.  While our scores remain very strong and well above the national average, we recognize this as an opportunity to challenge ourselves and our students as we strive to further strengthen our learning environment.

As a starting point, over the course of the summer I closely reviewed the grade level results of the Terra Nova seeking trends and patterns.  Through that process, the faculty and I have identified the following reading objectives as areas to be targeted for improvement.

 Reading Comprehension  

ø  Analyze Literary Elements

ø  Respond to Literature

ø  Organize Information/Content of Selection

Phonics/Vocabulary

ø  Word Meaning

ø  Multi-Meaning Words

Having identified these objectives to be strengthened across grade levels, the teachers have already completed a process entitled Planning for Instructionby which they have crafted clear, measurable instructional goals that are linked to this data.  With the recognition of a pattern across grade levels, there is the opportunity for teachers to collaborate and share new ideas and strategies.  Most importantly, with everyone moving in the same direction and striving for the same goal, excellence in reading, I am convinced that we will see measurable growth in what is already a very strong program.

In addition to this targeted approach to instructional planning, I wish to share with you two new initiatives related to learning for the new year.

During the past couple of years, the first and second grade teachers have introduced a new methodology in our reading/language arts program entitled Word Study.  One of the benefits of this program is the recognition of the fact that there are several different levels of learners in each classroom and as such, the instruction can be customized for small groups.  Through this process, students are provided word lists that correspond with their particular level.  Since students advance at different rates, the groups are fluid with teachers making adjustments throughout the year so that each child receives the appropriate level of challenge.  This program is now being expanded to the third and fourth grades during the 2011-2012 academic year.  With this new methodology, the teachers will be further differentiating the learning and ultimately, better meeting the distinct needs of the learners in their classrooms.

Our professional development focus for the year will be assessment, particularly in regards to “formative assessment”, the process by which we determine the students’ understanding of new skills and concepts prior to a final test or quiz.  Again this year we have invited outside experts to lead two seminars for the faculty, providing our teachers with the opportunity to become more familiar with “best practices” and to collaborate on the topic of assessment.

These objectives and strategies will be the focus of our academic program and represent the faculty’s commitment to excellence in all things.  Of course, in addition to these school-wide efforts, individual teachers have identified their own hopes and dreams for the year ahead.  Look for the “Five a Day” approach to reading in second grade and even Spanish parties to celebrate success in our foreign language program. Indeed, there are many exciting things planned for the new year.  Let the learning begin!

Cafeteria Launches Online Purchasing Program

Beginning this week parents will have the opportunity to purchase cafeteria lunches through a secure, online system called PayForIt.Net. This will allow you to access your student(s) lunch account online to see what they are purchasing (i.e. lunch and/or drink only) and the balance of their lunch account(s). This will also enable you to add monies to your student(s) account as needed.  You will be able to use your credit card (Mastercard or Visa only) or your bank account.  There will be an Internet convenience fee of 5.5% for each transaction.  Please note:  Parents may still submit payment by check or cash by sending payments directly to the school as in the past.

As each family will be provided a code to access the system, it is important that we forward this information to you in a confidential manner.  Rather than mailing each family’s access codes, the majority of them will be distributed during the upcoming Back-to-School Night events.  Parents of students in grades one through five will receive their access codes via the homeroom teacher at Thursday evening’s event.  Parents of middle school students will receive their information at next week’s Middle School Night.  Parents of kindergarten students will receive their forms via their child’s take home folder.  The individual student identification number you receive will serve as your password to the PayForIt.Net system.  Please be sure to check your student(s) lunch account at least once per week as we will no longer be sending home charge slips.

Note: Students in grades 5-8 are allowed to purchase an extra entrée for $1.00 on certain lunch days as noted on the calendar.  The additional $1.00 must be brought to the cafeteria on the day of purchase.  Also, all ice cream and soft pretzel purchases must be paid separately on the day of purchase.

Should you have any questions about this new program, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Wendy Matner, Director of Cafeteria Services, at 703-368-4400.

PTO sponsored QSP Magazine Sale

Beginning next week the PTO will once again sponsor a fundraiser for our school through QSP, a magazine subscription company.  Each student will receive an information packet as part of an opening assembly on Monday afternoon.  Details about the program are also available as a link to this week’s newsletter and on the corresponding website.

The key to this fundraiser is that parents and friends of All Saints are not being asked to incur any additional expenses.  Rather, recognizing that many in our community subscribe to magazines, we are simply requesting that when renewing, you do so through QSP, a company that will direct 40% of the proceeds directly back to All Saints.  While the program will be launched over the next two weeks, parents and community members can continue to renew subscriptions via the QSP website throughout the course of the year.  (In the event that your current subscription does not expire until later in the year, the company will track this and automatically initiate your renewal when your subscription expires.)

A few words about the incentives and awards for the children…As an encouragement for participation, the PTO is sponsoring a few incentives for students who sponsor a particular number of subscriptions. However, as we have purposely refrained from making this a major fund-raising focus for our school, the awards program has been streamlined.  Additionally, in the interest of fairness, the PTO has also decided that the prizes will be awarded by family so that the children may work together on this endeavor.

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The following is a list of important reminders that will help us maintain an arrival and dismissal system that is safe, efficient and courteous.

With the increased number of cars on the property, it is vitally important that all drivers be especially attentive, proceeding slowly and with caution.  

Parking:

¨       It is important that parents park only in those areas identified for our carpool system.

¨       Parents are asked not to park directly in front of the school building since this area is a designated fire lane.   Access to this area is restricted by traffic cones.

¨       Those visiting or volunteering in the school during the day are asked to park in the lot in front of the new church.  (Please refrain from parking in those spaces reserved for the clergy and from parking in Lot #2, directly across from the priests’ parking area,  as this section is used by the parish staff.)

¨       When arriving for afternoon carpool, parents are asked to refrain from parking on Stonewall Road and other areas of the property.  For the safety of the children, it is important that each family participate in the school organized carpool system. 

Arrival & Departure:

¨       When entering and exiting the property please use right turns only.  This will minimize the traffic that sometimes occurs on Stonewall Road, thereby helping us to maintain positive public relations with our neighbors. 

¨       In that our carpool system brings together many people, it is a time for discussion and community building.  However, once dismissal actually begins, we ask that parents wrap up conversations so that complete attention may be directed to the children and so that we might avoid any unnecessary delays.  

¨       When arriving for afternoon dismissal, parents are reminded to use great caution when exiting their vehicle.  We recommend that parents not open their doors until the next row of cars has arrived in the adjacent parking spaces. 

¨       For the safety of all involved, drivers are asked not to exit the carpool lines unless directed by a staff member to do so.  Teachers only wave drivers forward after verifying that the adjacent lanes are clear of pedestrian traffic. 

Special Carpool Privileges?

One of the more popular items at our annual auction is that of the privilege of being “first in carpool”. The families who win this item are invited to park in front of the dismissal area and have the opportunity of exiting the property in advance of the community.   It is for this reason that you will observe patrols escorting students to cars parked in front of the parking area during afternoon dismissal.

Several students from All Saints receive a ride home via a private shuttle arranged by their parents. As All Saints is but one stop for this service, this shuttle is granted special access and departs from the front of the school at 3:00 p.m.  (If you are interested in this private service that serves the Linton Hall area, you may contact Ms. Beth’s Shuttle Service at 703-794-7314.)

Morning Arrival ~ Tips for Parents

With the Pre-Kindergarten program now in session, there is increased traffic in the rear parking lot during morning arrival.  So that each child in the Pre-K may be escorted into the classroom by a member of the staff, all Pre-Kindergarten families are required to arrive via the rear lot.  However, all other school families have the option of using either the front or rear lots during morning arrival.  If there is a line of traffic entering the rear lot, parents are encouraged to use the front lot as an alternative.  Additionally, parents are reminded to enter and exit the property using right turns only so as to maintain a steady flow of traffic.

Parent Organized Carpool Program

Recognizing the fact that a number of families in our community drive some distance to and from school each day, an effort is now underway to assist parents in identifying other families who live nearby and may be interested in forming a carpool.

All Saints parent Mr. Jim Griffin has volunteered to serve as a carpool coordinator. If you are interested in a carpool for your children, please forward the following information to him via email (allsaintscarpool@hotmail.com) and he will put you in touch with other families in your area who have expressed an interest in carpooling.

Name:

Address:

Phone Number:

Preferred email contact:

Number of children you need transported:

Number of spaces in your vehicle for transporting others:

Prefer to drive morning or evening, or no preference?

Recognizing that parents are solely responsible for determining transportation arrangements to and from All Saints Catholic School, the school assumes no role in this process and neither recommends nor endorses any particular carpool arrangements.  In the unfortunate circumstance of an accident or injury, the parent’s own personal automobile liability is primary in the event of a claim.  Nonetheless, the school values the collective efforts of parents and is pleased to support the initiative by communicating the opportunity to parents.

SchoolMessenger Emergency Notification ~ SYSTEM TEST ~ Wednesday, September 14th

The Diocese of Arlington uses the SchoolMessenger notification service to send important information to families through phone calls, emails, and text messages.  In the event of an emergency, All Saints Catholic 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 critical and deserve particular attention.

In order to ensure the functionality and accuracy of the system, All Saints will conduct a test on Wednesday, September 14th.  A test message will be issued via both recorded phone message and email to the emergency contacts of all students and staff at approximately 10:30 a.m.

In accordance with wireless carrier requirements and to protect against unsolicited text messages, during the year you may receive a text message providing you the opportunity to “opt in” should you wish to receive important SchoolMessenger announcements via 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 OPTOUTwww.schoolmessenger.com/txt Msg&Data Rates May Apply”

 

So that you may receive important communications from All Saints via text message, we encourage you to reply with “OPTIN” when you receive such a verification message.

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

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

Student In-Service ~ Sexual Harassment, Our Policy & Response  (Grades 5-8)

In accordance with diocesan policy, students in grades five through eight will participate in a brief classroom presentation next week on the topic of the prevention of sexual harassment.  Mr. Conroy will visit each of the homeroom classes for approximately fifteen minutes, providing an overview of the diocesan policy and explaining to students how they should best respond if they encounter any behaviors of this nature.  Should you have any questions about this policy or presentation, please do not hesitate to contact the principal.

New Parent Coffee

All new parents are invited to enjoy “coffee with the principal” on Tuesday, September 13th beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Father Kelley Hall.  Following a brief presentation, there will be time for questions and discussion about our school community and its many programs.  Babysitting services will be offered by Mrs. Carol Rice, coordinator of the Parish Nursery, in the adjacent meeting room.  Plan to attend and meet other new families who have recently joined our community!

Middle School Back to School Night

Back to School Night for middle school parents will take place on Thursday, September 15th at 7:00 p.m. Note:  This year the event will begin in the gym with a brief overview of the Edline program.

Schedule 

7:00 p.m.                 Presentation in Gym (Introduction to Edline)

7:30 p.m. First Classroom Session Begins

9:35 p.m. End of Final Classroom Session

Tuition Questions???

Should a question arise regarding your schedule of tuition payments, please contact Mrs. Joyce D’Eugenio, administrative assistant, at 703-393-1490.  She is happy to assist in providing additional information about the program and answering any questions that parents might have.

Use of Student Photos for Marketing Materials

In recent years, a formal marketing program has been implemented at All Saints and we are presently making a consistent effort to share the success of our program via local newspapers and our website. It is important that parents understand that they retain the right to object to their son/daughter’s inclusion in these printed or electronic materials.  A “Waiver Information/Right to Object Form” (Appendix N) is located on the website within the forms section associated with the parent-student handbook.  Please note: If the form is not returned, we will assume that you waive your right to object.

Emergency Information Form ~ REMINDER ~ PAST DUE

Please complete the linked diocesan emergency form.  Forms were due 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.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/08/emergency-care-form.pdf

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.

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 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)

Tuesday, September 13th               2:15 PM in FKH

Tuesday, September 27th                     2:15 PM in FKH

                                                  7:00 PM in the Library

                                                  8:00 PM in the Library

QSP Magazine Fundraiser Kickoff! 

Help support All Saints again this year- our magazine fundraiser will run September 12- September 26, with the kickoff assembly on September 12th at 2:30 in the gym.  40 % of all sales goes directly back to All Saints! Look for your packet to come home on Monday- thanks for your participation!

Carpool Rosary

All Saints PTO held our first Carpool Rosary on Thursday. It was truly a wonderful expression of our faith. A special thank you goes out to those who joined us. We will continue to meet weekly in front of the Statue of Mary in the courtyard on Thursdays at 2:40 p.m. Just to clarify, if there is inclement weather, we will meet in the main church area around the statue of Mary. 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. Should you have any questions about this new program, please contact our coordinator, Ms. Megan Davies at 703-330-4516

Volunteer Opportunities

Nursery Volunteers:  Monday, September 12 (9:30am-10:30am)  and Tuesday, September 13th (9am-10am).  VIRTUS-trained Volunteers are needed to staff the nursery during the Room Liaison meeting and the New Parent Coffee.  This is a great opportunity for parents with younger children at home.  Please contact Carol Rice to indicate interest and for more details (ckrice@verizon.net)

Lunch volunteers:  Additional help is currently needed on Mondays, Thursday and Fridays.  This is a great opportunity for parents with young children and does not take up much time.  We are also looking for “rainy day” helpers.  On days when there is no recess due to weather, volunteers are requested to sit in the class rooms to supervise the children during indoor recess so the teachers can enjoy their full lunch break.  For more details on any lunch volunteer opportunities, please contact Sue Ferguson (sferguson1@comcast.net).

Interested in finding out how you can volunteer at All Saints?  Get our volunteer emails. To sign up to receive these emails send a message to schoolvolunteers@allsaintsvaschool.org. You will be notified via email as new opportunities arise.

Chess Club

The Chess Club will again be held from 3-4 pm the first and third Thursdays of the month, beginning on October 6th.  It is open to all students in K-8 and will be held in the Art Room.  Please see the link below for more information and the application form

Cub Scouts Dens Now Forming for 2011-2012

Attention all boys in 1st through 5th grade!  Cub Scout Dens are now forming for the 2011/2012 Scouting year! Pack 1188 has been proudly serving the All Saints community for over 30 years and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus George Brent Council #5332. Cub Scouts offers a range of age-appropriate programs that provide fun and adventure while helping build your son’s leadership, teamwork, faith, physical/mental fitness, and spirit of service and duty, helping him grow into a competent, caring, adult of good character. Boys can start at any level and no prior experience is required. Our next pack meeting is in the Knights of Columbus Hall at 7 PM on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. If you have a Scouting-age boy who might be interested, give us a call. He can come to a Pack meeting, see what’s going on, and decide if it’s something, he wants to be a part of. No pressure. No obligation. To get the details call or e-mail either Cubmaster Randy Waddy, (703) 283-0717 /rrwaddy@yahoo.com or Committee Chair Tommy Reynolds at (703) 963-1281 /tommy.reynolds@verizon.net.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 7th                   First Day of Pre-Kindergarten

                                  NJHS Book Covering Service (3:30 p.m.)

Thursday, September 8th                       Back-to-School Night for Grades 1-5 (Gym/7:00 p.m.)

Friday, September 9th                            School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

                                  New Student Breakfast; Doughnuts & Juice with Mr. Conroy & Mrs. Campagna

9:20 A.M Grades 6-8

9:40 AM  Grades 3-5

10:00 AM                Grades K-2

Monday, September 12th                       Room Liaisons Meeting (9:30 a.m.)

PTO Magazine Subscription Kick-off Assembly (2:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, September 13th                      New Parent Coffee (9:00-11:00 a.m.)

Wednesday, September 14th                 School Messenger Test Message (10:30 a.m.)

Thursday, September 15th                     Sexual Harassment In-Services (Grades 5-8)