The Sentinel ~ August 29, 2012

Principal’s Message

It has been a great joy welcoming new and returning students to the 2012-2013 academic year.  Once again, the hallways and classrooms are filled with energy and enthusiasm as students meet one another and learn the details of day-to-day life at All Saints.

The cornerstone of our school is our commitment to faith formation, captured in our namesake…that all may be saints!  With the perspective that this is our top priority as a Catholic school community, this week I would like to share with you our new theme as well as an update regarding our Virtue Program.

In recognition of the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of the “Year of Faith”, Fr. Bob has selected the following theme for the 2012-2013 school year: The Gift of Faith brings us Joy and Hope. 

Reflecting back over the busy opening days of the year, I have already experienced a grace-filled moment during which this theme was demonstrated poignantly by one of our young students.  As families passed through the hallways during Orientation, a kindergarten student stopped me and asked whether he might share something with me.  When I paused and invited him to do so, he reverently bowed his head, closed his eyes and recited the Hail Mary.  I was touched not simply by his gift of faith, but even more so by the joy he expressed in sharing this gift with others.  What is also remarkable is that he stood in the exact spot where the faculty & staff gather each morning for prayer.   This intersection of hallways that we fondly refer to as the “rotunda” is indeed a sacred space for us.

Knowing that this space would be a place of prayer for years to come, one of the parish priests buried blessed medals in the floor shortly after the concrete was poured in 1998.  Since that time, the faculty and staff have gathered there each morning, pausing to reflect on the fact that our core mission is that of encouraging students to develop a closer relationship with Christ. However, on the occasion of last Friday, the roles were reversed as one of our students became the teacher, demonstrating that the gift of faith truly does bring us joy and hope.

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A second focal point for the school this year will be a continued commitment to the Virtue Program.  Begun more than a decade ago at All Saints, the Virtue Program is a systematic approach to fostering character formation in our students.  The purpose of the Virtues Curriculum is to instill in each child a desire to practice Catholic virtues both at home and at school.  Although specific, structured lessons are presented on a regular basis, the core of the program is the recognition of the many “teachable moments” that arise each day.  The goal is to make the practice of Catholic virtues not just another subject, but a way of life for each student. 

 Again this year, each month the homeroom teachers will identify one girl and boy who have exemplified the Virtue of the Month.  During our school-wide gathering, which will take place following our school Mass, these students will be recognized and presented with a special certificate in acknowledgment of their outstanding example.  Additionally, this year the students will also be presented with a small pin that they will be invited to wear through the following month and to retain as a keepsake of the wonderful example they have provided for their fellow students.  They will also receive a written explanation from their teachers indicating why they have been selected to receive the Virtue Award.  We are hopeful that these two additions to the program will add even greater meaning and value for our students.

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Once again the playground and back parking lot were filled to near capacity with families enjoying the opportunity to reconnect and share summer memories during the 8th Annual Welcome Back Barbecue.  I want to specifically thank Mrs. Janene Shaw, coordinator, for organizing the many details and for leading the PTO in hosting this wonderful tradition.  Countless parents commented as to how much they enjoyed the event and the wide selection of delicious food provided by the Jambalaya Shack.  I also wish to thank Mr. Jim Switzer and Mr. Mike Zahorchak for providing the music which helped to create a festive atmosphere.  Finally, I want to thank the parents and students who helped with the set-up, serving and clean-up following the event.  Working together they were a great example of the strong sense of community that surrounds All Saints!

 Next Week: Curriculum & Learning ~ A Summary Report of Terra Nova Scores & Instructional Goals for the New Year

 Virtue of the Month

The Virtue of the Month for September will be Respect & Responsibility.  Throughout the first month of school we will adopt the following plan and strive to maintain these objectives throughout the course of the year.

 1)      Wear your uniform with pride.

2)      Be reverent and quiet in church.

3)      Greet everyone cheerfully and by name.

4)      Listen quietly when others speak.

5)      Keep your desk and supplies neat.

6)      Stand at attention for the Pledge of Allegiance.

7)      Participate in Mass: Try to learn the responses and sing the hymns.

8)      Do your best work on every assignment.

9)      Turn all class assignments and homework in on time.

Virtue Prayer of the Month

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

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Emergency Information Form

Please complete the diocesan emergency form and return it to the office by Friday, September 7th. This form is critically important in that it provides us with the necessary information to contact you in the event of an emergency.

Click on the following link which will open the Diocesan of Arlington Permission for Emergency Care form.  You may complete the form by typing in the information, printing out the form, signing it and sending it in with your child.   http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/08/emergency-form.pdf 

Opening School Mass

On Friday morning students in Grades 1-8 will gather in the church at 10:00 a.m. for the annual Opening of the School Year Mass.  All school parents and families are cordially invited to join us as we gather to pray for the success of this new year.    

Back to School Night

Back to School Night & PTO Meeting (Parents of Grades 1-5) – Thursday, September 6th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the gym.  Following an opening presentation and introduction of the PTO Board, teachers in grades one through five will present an overview of programs in their classrooms.

Middle School Back to School Night (Parents of Grades 6-8) – Thursday, September 13th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the gym.  These sessions will provide parents with important information about our many programs and plans for the 2012-2013 school year.  For this reason, at least one parent from each family is required to attend this session.

Homework Central

At the close of last year, we received notification that “Homework Hero” would no longer be available as of the end of June.  For this reason we are adopting a new platform for posting homework, one which has been designed by one of our school parents, Mrs. Tamara Halstead.  Similar to Homework Hero, all teachers will post an individualized classroom page that provides curriculum highlights and a list of daily assignments.  A link to each teacher’s page can be found at “Homework Central” located directly on our website at http://homework.allsaintsvaschool.org/.   (See Quick Link on homepage right sidebar or under “Academics” or “Parent Resources” tabs)

School Directory

In recent years, the process of verifying current contact information for families and authorization to include email addresses has been a multi-step project that has taken a significant amount of time to complete.  In an effort to improve both efficiency and accuracy, this year all families are asked to submit electronically the contact information they wish to be published in the annual School Directory via the new newsletter subscription system.  We ask that directory listing changes be made by Friday, September 7th.   Please note: We will be unable to include in the directory any changes made after that date.

1) Go to Subscription Management page

http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/parents/newsletter-directory-listing/manage-subscriptions/

2) Enter primary family email (these were imported from old newsletter list) for directory listing to receive email verifying account.  If email is not found go to New Subscription page (http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/parents/newsletter-directory-listing/) and select “School Directory Listing” and skip to Step 5.

3) Click link in email to verify account.

4) Go to “Subscribe” tab and select “School Directory Listing”

5) Fill out fields following the example formats for each field.

6) Submit listing.

We hope that these changes will enhance our communication with you and streamline some of our procedures.  Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@homework.allsaintsvaschool.org.

Parent ~ Student Handbooks

The 2012-2013 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 7th.  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 “substantial contact” with children are required to complete a background check prior to working in the school and to complete VIRTUS training within 45 days of commencing service.

 In accordance with recent clarification provided by the diocese, full compliance for an adult parent volunteer is not required for open events.  (An open event is one that is open to the public, infrequent and publicized, such as Field Day, concerts and special events/assemblies.)  However, full compliance is required for adult parent volunteers who wish to participate in closed events.  (A closed event is one that is not entirely open to the general public such as classroom activities, parties, field trips, etc.)  For this reason, all parents who wish to attend field trips or volunteer in support of classroom activities are required to complete the background check process and attend VIRTUS training. 

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 the school.  Those who have not yet completed the background check process may request a packet of forms from the front office.

We are hosting two live Virtus training seminars (the 4-hour training):

Saturday, September 22nd at 9:00AM in FKH
Saturday, November 17th at 9:00AM in FKH

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)

We have the following opportunities for completing the half-hour Virtus update:

Thursday, August 23rd at 7:00PM in FKH
Wednesday, August 29th at 6:30PM in Meeting Room 1
Tuesday, September 11th at 7:00PM in the Art Room
Thursday, September 20th at 2:15 PM in Meeting Room 1
Tuesday, October 9th at 7:00 PM in the Art Room
Tuesday, November 13th at 7:00PM in the Art Room
Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00PM in the Art Room

Calendar Change – Priests Barbecue

The annual Priests Barbecue originally scheduled for September 26th has been moved to Friday, September 21st.

CYO Cheerleading Meeting

There will be two sizing meetings for the CYO cheerleaders on September 7th & 14th from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Meeting Room 2.  For more information, please contact Mrs. Stephanie Ingignoli at singignoli@aol.com.

Boxtops

Please remember to turn in boxtops to count for the summer collection.  Please label the ziplock with your child’s homeroom and teacher’s name and submit it to the office by the close of this week.

Upcoming Events

Thurs., August 30th Pre-Kindergarten Orientation for Parents (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Fri., August 31st     Opening School Mass (10:00 a.m.)
Mon., September 3rd Labor Day Holiday
Tues., September 4th   Pre-Kindergarten Open House (Morning Session ~ 9:00-11:00 a.m./Afternoon Session ~ 12:30-2:30 p.m.)
  Band Parents Meeting (Returning parents @ 6:45 p.m. / new parents @ 7:30 p.m. in the Music Room)   
  PTO Board Meeting (Professional Learning Center/7:00 p.m.)
Wednesday, September 5th       First Day of Pre-Kindergarten
  NJHS Book Wrapping Service – Grades 6-8 (3:30 p.m.)
Thursday, September 6th Back to School Night for Grades 1-5 & PTO General Assembly Meeting (Gym/7:00 p.m.)
Friday, September 7th Deadline for Submitting School Directory Contact Information