The Sentinel ~ September 19, 2012

Principal’s Message

In an effort to respond to parent requests to reduce the number of times money is requested over the course of the school year for classroom activities and to provide a greater sense of predictability, this year we have developed a new collection process.  Monies needed for classroom activities and parties will now be collected at the beginning of the year through the classroom teacher, rather than as a room parent request, and will be kept in individual accounts at the parish office.  These accounts are very similar to the field trip accounts.  This will also help us to distinguish between activity funds (expected) and gifting money (voluntary and collected directly from room parent). 

Each homeroom teacher, in coordination with room parents, has estimated the approximate total cost of classroom activity and party expenses for the entire year.  This information will be communicated to you via a separate letter from the teachers later this week.  Note: Although we are striving to streamline the collection process, there will still be opportunities to donate food and/or treats throughout the year for certain school activities, providing another means by which parents can earn volunteer points.

Parents are asked to submit their activity fee no later than October 31.  A reminder letter will be sent out mid-October to those families who have not yet had an opportunity to send in the fee.   Since each classroom will have an individual account, parents with multiple children in the school are asked to submit payment per child, rather than combining amounts into one check.   

As this is a completely new process, there may be some “bumps in the road” during the first year of implementation.  It also remains possible that in some cases the total cost of activities may have been underestimated, necessitating a follow up collection later in the year.  Nonetheless, we believe that this new system will result in greater predictability for parents and an opportunity for us to consider and cut costs where feasible.  In advance, thank you for supporting this new effort and we look forward to your feedback throughout the course of the year. 

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It was very exciting to have our first general assembly meeting during Back to School night on Sept 6.  There is so much to be grateful for in this vibrant school community!  Thank you for your enthusiasm and support that evening and at all our events.  The meeting minutes from September 6 are linked to the Sentinel, as well as a copy of the handout provided at that first PTO meeting of the year.  Mark your calendars now for our next general assembly meeting on Thursday, Oct 4th.  

All Saints Catholic School PTO is sponsoring a FREE Celebrate Calm Parenting Workshop presented by Kirk Martin and his son Casey.  Learn practical strategies that work to:

•   Develop motivated, responsible children
•   Relieve anxiety, sensory issues and sibling fights
•   Improve focus, attention, and behavior in school
•   Eliminate defiance, disrespect, and power struggles
•   Create stress-free mornings, homework time and bedtime 

In an effort to make it convenient for all parents to attend the workshop, the PTO has scheduled two presentations for our community.  The workshop will be held in the All Saints gym on Thursday, October 4th from 7-9:00 p.m. and Friday, October 5th from 9-10:30am. Reservations are not required.   Please invite friends, neighbors and colleagues to what will be a highly engaging and beneficial workshop!  Come “Celebrate Calm” with the PTO and All Saints community!  .  (For more information about the workshop, go to www.celebratecalm.org.)  

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On Friday we will celebrate the gift of our parish priests at the annual “Priests’ Barbecue”.  A long-standing tradition at All Saints, this special event provides an opportunity for the children to visit informally with the priests during an outdoor lunch.  Indeed, we are blessed with very generous and gifted priests who truly make a difference in the life of our school!  We look forward to celebrating their goodness during this festive time of food and recess games on Friday during lunch.

Installation of SCA Officers & Representatives

On Friday afternoon the newly elected officers and class representatives were officially welcomed into the Student Council Association of All Saints Catholic School.  Fr. Jeb Donelan served as keynote speaker and shared with the students the “ABCs” of leadership, reminding them of the importance of living authentic lives of faith and service.   

The following is an excerpt from the speech given by Allison Rice, President of the SCA, which beautifully communicates our theme for this year.

Our school and parish theme for this year is “The Gift of Faith brings us Joy and Hope.”  When I think about someone with great faith I think of Mother Teresa. When Mother Teresa was 18 she left her home country and went to India. She lived with the poorest of the poor. She later got permission to start a religious order called the Missionaries of Charity; this religious order served the poor, homeless and dying in India.  Now WHY would a women in her 20’s leave everything she had, to start a religious organization in another country to care for the rejected of the country or as they call them in India, the untouchables?

The only reason Mother Teresa did this was FAITH. She said she received a “call within a call” from God. Her faith made it possible for her to put her whole heart into her mission.  She served with great Joy and Hope. Mother Teresa once said, “Joy is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love. Joy is a net of love with which we can ‘catch’ souls.” We may not be called to live with the poorest of the poor in India, but we are all called to live out OUR gift of faith WITH joy and hope.  Through prayer, service projects, learning about the Saints and treating others with kindness and respect we can grow in our faith. Mother Teresa once said, “I will never understand all the good that a smile can accomplish.” Here at All Saints we have our own version of this quote; as Father Juan says “NO, Donkey faces!”  

We congratulate the following students and wish them every success and blessing as they begin their year of student leadership!

Officers

President                                               Allison Rice

Vice President                                      Josephine Bennett

Secretary/Historian                             Kelly Crocker

Finance                                                 Nicholas Mills

Religious Activities                              Rachel Kreitzer

Health/Safety/Ecology                        Drew Michak

School Spirit                                         Savanna Malone

Class Representatives

4A                                                           Jenna Delaney

4B                                                           Lily Feltman

5A                                                           Zachary Mills

5B                                                           Drew Rice

6A                                                           Collin Foster

6B                                                           Jack Houser

7A                                                           Kaitlyn Emmons

7B                                                           Brightney Varghese

8A                                                           Caton Brisbin

8B                                                           Vivienne Penders

8th Grade Parents Meeting

Mrs. Slovenkay and Miss Zwisler will host a meeting for all 8th grade parents on Tuesday, October 2nd beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Art Room.  Important information will be shared regarding the high school application process and the special events & activities that are part of the 8th grade experience at All Saints.  At least one parent from each family is asked to attend this important session. 

Lock-Down Drill ~ October 3rd (9:30 a.m.)

Eight years ago our school-based Crisis Management Team implemented quarterly lock-down drills to familiarize students and staff with our security response plan.  Each drill is clearly introduced as a practice with teachers and staff providing age-appropriate instructions to the students.  The first drill for the year will occur on Wednesday, October 3rd at 9:30 a.m.  (Please note: This drill has been scheduled for several weeks and is not in response to any concerns specific to All Saints.  Rather, it is another exercise by which we maintain a state of preparedness should the need ever arise to secure the facility and safeguard the children.) 

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, 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

PVI Invitation to 7th & 8th Grade Students ~

PVI would like to invite all 7th and 8th grade students to Junior High Night Under the Lights at Paul VI Catholic High School on Friday, September 21st.  Rally in the Alley beginning at 6:00 (Free Food, Fun, Tee shirts) and Varsity Football at 7:00 (free admission for 7th and 8th graders).

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Emergency Information Form – Past Due

Completed Emergency Forms were due in 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.  Those families who have not yet submitted this information are asked to do so as soon as possible.

Parent ~ Student Handbooks – Past Due

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.  Parents who have not yet signed and returned the corresponding acknowledgement form are asked to do so.  Those families without access to the website are invited to contact the office to request a hard copy of the handbook.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 20th

Enrollment Management Team Meeting (Art Room/7:00 p.m.) – Rescheduled for Thursday, September 27th

Friday, September 21st

School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

Priests’ Barbecue

Monday, September 24th

SCA sponsored Spirit Week (see attached link)

Tuesday, September 25th

PTO Executive Board Meeting (PLC/7:00 p.m.)

Thursday, September 27th

Enrollment Management Team Meeting (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)

Friday, September 28th

School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

1st Quarter Interims Distributed

Noon Dismissal – Curriculum Mapping for Teachers

Links

Spirit Week Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/09/spirit-week-2012.pdf

Celebrate Calm Workshop Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/2012/09/14/celebrate-calm-stop-defiance-yelling-sibling-fights/  

PTO General Assembly Meeting (Sept. 6, 2012) ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/09/general-pto-6-sept-2012.pdf

PTO Back to School Flyer ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/09/Back-to-school-PTO-flyer.pdf