The Sentinel – Volume 12, Issue 18

Message from the Principal

Happy New Year!  I hope that you and your family enjoyed the Christmas holiday and the many opportunities to celebrate the season. 

Next week our school will participate in Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week, a time during which we annually refocus our attention and direct our efforts toward the particular challenges associated with bullying.  Implemented as part of our program several years ago, this annual practice has raised the level of awareness among faculty, parents and students and provided an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to establishing a bully free environment.

I am particularly pleased to announce that we will begin the week with a special presentation for students by Mr. Jed Doherty of Jedlie Productions.  Mr. Doherty has designed a show that integrates the four principles of the Olweus Program, an internationally recognized anti-bullying initiative, with the teachings of our Catholic faith.  Through storytelling and magic, he will engage our students in thought-provoking exercises, all in support of creating a caring and respectful school environment.  He will begin with a presentation for students in grades Pre-K through 4 at 8:30 a.m. to be followed by a second presentation for grades 5-8 at 9:45 a.m.  Both shows will take place in the Parish Activity Center where there is more than ample seating for students as well as parents.  Parents interested in attending the show are cordially invited to join us for what I believe will be a very compelling presentation.

The following is a list of strategies that we will implement next week in support of Bully Awareness & Prevention Week.

Monday:            School-wide Assembly

                        Posters displayed in every classroom

  Daily announcements in support of bullying awareness & prevention

Tuesday:            Distribution of bullying awareness accessories to all students

Wednesday:       Dress Down Day (Jeans with Blue or Yellow Shirts/Sweatshirts/$1.00)

Thursday:          Video Presentations & Classroom Discussions

Friday:              Buddy Class Activity

One of the ways that we monitor bullying within our community and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies is through the bullying surveys which we distribute twice per year.  Again, I wish to thank those parents and students who participated in the process during the fall semester and offer a few insights based upon the data.

A total of 63 parents (18% ) responded to the electronic survey as compared to 43 respondents in 2010 and 145 in 2009.  While I would have hoped that more parents would have taken a moment to provide feedback on the topic of bullying, I believe that the low number of respondents indicates that concerns related to bullying in our community are not elevated at this time.

While the story is generally positive with few significant statistical changes over the course of the past several years, there is always more work to be done.  For example, not surprisingly the data continues to indicate that the playground continues to be the area in which bullying most often occurs.  In fact, a greater number of students reported feeling “so so” as opposed to “safe or very safe” on the playground, in the hallways and in the restrooms than in the prior two years.   At the same time, more students have responded that they have “never been bullied” (59%).

With this in mind, we have identified a number of strategies to both supplement our current efforts and to create an even greater awareness among faculty, staff and students.

ø  Display of visual reminders/posters in each classroom

ø  Annual publication & in-servicing of bullying policies for all faculty & staff

Perhaps most significantly, in accordance with our Design for Excellence 5 Year Plan, this year we will be reviewing the current structure for supervision of the cafeteria and playground, seeking opportunities to refine our procedures in support of best practice, predictability of faculty/staff involvement, and overall safety and well-being of our students.  Although not related to our bullying awareness efforts, the revision of our approach to playground management affords us an opportunity to give particular attention to the topic of bullying as we refine our procedures.

All parents are encouraged to take a moment to review the actual survey results.  A copy of the parent and student surveys can be accessed at the following links.  There you can view the number of responses submitted to each question of the parent and student surveys.

The keys to reducing instances of bullying, I believe, are education and communication.  When faculty, staff, parents and students share a keen awareness of the policies as well as the rationale and are committed to engaging one another in meaningful conversation when challenges arise, it is then that we effectively address the issue of bullying.  In the event that you ever have a concern related to a bullying incident, please contact us so that we can be aware and assist in resolving the matter.  The teachers and staff stand ready and welcome any feedback or concerns that you may have.  Additionally, Mrs. Karcher, Mrs. Campagna and I continue to closely monitor and address any bullying concerns that arise.  Please know that you can contact any of us at any time.

There is no place for bullying in any school environment, most especially in a Catholic faith community.  Recognizing the inherent goodness and dignity of each individual, it is our mission to instill within each student a respect and reverence for the sacredness of life.  Founded upon Gospel principles, our school provides more than simply instruction and academic opportunity for students.  Rather, All Saints provides formation, integrating the very best of our faith tradition seamlessly across programs and curricula.  As such, it is the continual focus on moral development, particularly within the context of our Virtue Program, which provides a strong foundation for our students.  Herein lies, I believe, our greatest antidote to bullying.  Let us continue to strive in this manner so that those who witness our community might echo the words of the Gospel, “See how they love one another.”

Finally, I wish to thank Mrs. Karcher, our school counselor, as well as Mrs. Coyle, Mrs. Bill and Mrs. Honkus for their assistance and leadership in planning our week long recognition of Bully Awareness & Prevention Week.  I appreciate their dedication to this initiative and know that the students will continue to benefit from their efforts.

Prayer of the Month ~ Prayer for Compassion

O Father, give us the compassion you want us to have and teach us to embrace each other with compassionate arms, no matter what our age, color, history, or belief. Help us to remember that you are Life Itself, and that you are using every one of our unique gifts to bring us together with you once again.  Amen.

Virtue of the Month Program ~ Compassion

The following is a list of ways that we will encourage the students to practice the Virtue of Compassion during the month of January.

1)       Pray for those people who are hungry or homeless.

2)       Give money to the poor box in church from your own allowance.

3)       Give food or clothing to those in need.

4)       Help at home without being asked.

5)       Keep your room neat and orderly to help your parents.

6)       Make a pretty card or write a cheerful letter to someone who is sick or in a nursing home.

7)       Listen quietly when your friend is upset or angry and needs to talk.

8)       Visit relatives, neighbors, or friends that are sick.

9)       Include new students in your games.  Introduce them to your friends.

10)    If someone doesn’t understand a lesson or a game, offer to teach them.  Do not make fun of them.

11)    Make someone laugh when they are feeling sad.

12)    Be kind to everyone you meet.

Spirit News:

Happy New Year All Saints Family! In light of our day off on Friday, January 27th, we have moved the Spirit Event that was supposed to be scheduled on Friday, January 13th to Friday, January 27th. As you have the day off, you have plenty of time to join us at Bowl America on Balls Ford Road. Details will follow in next week’s Sentinel. Come along for some great fun any time from 12-8 p.m. See you there!

CASINO NIGHT UPDATE

Fantastic prizes added to Raffle Ticket Drawing:  Kindle Fire • Reserved Pew for Easter Mass • $200 Gift card for Flynn & O’Hara • First in Carpool • Flat Screen TV • Points for Parents Excused.  Join the fun on February 11th at the Annual Casino Night and Auction.  Invitation package will be sent home next week!

VOLUNTEERS are needed to assist with a Class Basket/Project – please contact Holly Stefonsky athdstef40@comcast.net – Thanks!

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Tuition Assistance Applications for 2012-2013

Applications for tuition assistance for the 2012-2013 academic year are now available in both English and Spanish at the front office.  Again this year the Diocese of Arlington has contracted with FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment Company. FACTS has established an on-line application process that can be initiated through the company website (www.factstuitionaid.com.)

The due dates for applications and supporting documentation are as follows:

High School                 January 23, 2012

Elementary School      March 19, 2012

NOTE: All families with children enrolled in both high school and elementary school will need to submit an application by the January high school deadline.

Please note that ALL applications and supporting documentation must be received by FACTS by the date listed above, not postmarked.  Applications are not considered complete until FACTS has received the supporting documentation. Additionally, only those families who are verified by FACTS as having submitted all of the required supporting documentation will be eligible for diocesan tuition assistance.

An overview of the Diocesan Tuition Assistant Program can be found at the following link:  (http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/catholicschools/tuition_grant.php).

Those families interested in applying for tuition assistance for the Pre-Kindergarten program are invited to complete a separate application available in our front office.  As the diocesan tuition assistance program pertains only to those students enrolled in grades K-12, the Pre-Kindergarten assistance program is distinct and managed by All Saints rather than FACTS Tuition.

Open House for 2011-2013 School Year

All Saints Catholic School will host an Open House for prospective parents on Thursday, January 19th beginning at 9:00 a.m.  All parishioners and members of the community interested in learning more about the parish school are cordially invited to attend.  Following a presentation and introduction at 9:00 a.m., tours of the facility will be provided. For more information, please contact Mrs. Joyce D’Eugenio, administrative assistant, at (703) 393-1490.

Registration Schedule for the New Year

ø  Re-Registration for Current Families       February 1-15, 2012

ø  Application Period  for New Students      February 8-March 2, 2012         

                              (Including siblings for Pre-K & K)

Inclement Weather Reminders ~ Half Days & Cafeteria Menu

In the event of inclement weather, All Saints Catholic School follows the decision of Prince William County Public School System.  If the county schools decide to close, All Saints is closed for the day and all related activities are cancelled. Similarly, if the county schools decide to open late or dismiss early, All Saints responds in the same manner.  Note: Should the county system announce a delayed opening on a day for which a noon dismissal is scheduled at All Saints, the early release is cancelled and school ends at 3:00 p.m.  In this scenario, school will begin at 10:10 a.m. and extend until 3:00 p.m.  Please note:  On such days there are no cafeteria services available and each student is asked to bring a lunch and drink to school.

In the event that school is closed due to inclement weather, the cafeteria menu for that day will be prepared the following day.  However, in the event that school is closed two or more days in a row, the menu will be re-evaluated with changes posted on our website.

Upcoming Events

Friday, January 6th                     School Mass (8:30 a.m.) followed by Virtue of the Month Presentation (9:15 a.m.)

                                  National Geography Bee (gym/10:00 a.m.)

                                  Noon Dismissal (Faculty Meeting)

Monday, January 9th                   Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week

                                  Assembly Presentations:      8:30         Grades PreK-4

                                                                                  9:45         Grades 5-8

Tuesday, January 10th                 Bullying Awareness Accessories distributed to students

Wednesday, January 11th             Bullying Awareness Dress Down Day ($1.00)

Thursday, January 12th               Bullying Awareness Video Presentations & Classroom Discussions

                                  Enrollment Management Team Meeting (art room/7:00 p.m.)

Friday, January 13th                   School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

                                                Bullying Awareness Buddy Activities

Monday, January 16th                 Holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. Day  

 

Links