The Sentinel ~ September 26, 2012

Principal’s Message

In the days following the Town Hall Meeting and e-mail distribution of summary points, I have had an opportunity to reflect further on the question of an Annual Fund and whether this might be the right moment to initiate such an effort.  Mindful of the ever increasing cost of expenses as well as the necessity of identifying another source of revenue to supplement tuition and parish subsidy, I am persuaded that such a development initiative is in the best interest of our school, now and into the future.  Perhaps most significantly, an Annual Fund would establish a formal process for soliciting financial gifts, an essential aspect of a comprehensive development program.   

While I recognize that the decision to move forward on this project is but the first step, I am confident that the outcome will, in the long-term, prove beneficial for our present community and the next generation of students who will pass through our doors.  Starting small, we hope to launch our first Annual Fund during the fall semester, providing parents, faculty, staff and community members with an invitation to support the mission of All Saints through gifts of prayer, gifts of time, and gifts of financial contributions.

As we initiate the process, we welcome any parents who might wish to volunteer in support of the project.  For more information regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact Mrs. Janis DeVore, Director of Marketing & Development, at jdevore@allsaintsva.org or (703) 366-1645.

Thank you to those parents who participated in the spring survey, the fall Town Hall Meeting, and the recent email exchange.  We appreciate the feedback and perspectives you have provided which have been an important part of our discernment process.  Look for updates in upcoming newsletters and emails as we prepare to kickoff this initiative.

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Central to the mission of Catholic education is a commitment to the formation of the whole person within the light of the teachings of the Gospel.  At All Saints our effort to educate all dimensions of the child ~ spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional, has been an essential and consistent element of our mission.

As a Catholic school, All Saints also affirms the role of parents as the primary educators of their children and we are privileged to have the opportunity to work with you as partners in this regard.  During the past several years, we have grown increasingly concerned about the many confusing messages that society as a whole, and the media in particular, place before the young people of today, particularly in regards to the topic of human sexuality.  In this day and age it is increasingly important that we insure that the children learn the beautiful teachings of the Church on this topic and that they fully realize and understand the gift of human sexuality within this framework.  Not to share this information with the children leaves them unprepared for the world they face and the many choices that await them in the years ahead. 

Over the course of the past several years All Saints Catholic School has implemented a middle school family life curriculum that supports our goal of educating the whole child.  The program is coordinated by the Diocesan Director of Youth Ministry, Mr. Kevin Bohli, and is tailored to the specific needs of each school community. The program consists of a parent presentation during which Mr. Bohli provides an outline of his presentations as well as resources for parents.  Following this presentation, he and an associate, Mrs. Celia Fruchterman, will meet with the students for three one hour lessons designed to provide the children with an understanding of the Church’s teachings on the topic of human sexuality. 

One of the advantages of this program is the involvement of outside professionals.  In addition to their expertise and experience, Mr. Bohli and Mrs. Fruchterman are unfamiliar to the students, which may put the students at greater ease in asking questions and discussing this topic.  A second advantage of this program is that it is designed to take place in a single-sex setting; Mr. Bohli will address the boys and Mrs. Fruchterman will speak with the girls.  Finally, in accordance with diocesan policy, this program is designed as an opt-in opportunity for parents and students.  Accommodations will be made for those children whose parents prefer that they not participate in the program.

Parents of middle school students are invited to a presentation to be held on Tuesday, October 9th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the gym.  As this is such a very important topic related to the development of your child, I ask that at least one parent from each family new to this program be present at the meeting.  In the meantime, should you have any questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Celebrate Calm Workshop for Parents

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.com.)  

School Messenger System Test Follow Up

Last week’s test of the School Messenger Emergency Notification System was a success.  This important exercise provided us with an opportunity to ensure that we are able to contact all parents/guardians in a timely manner.  In the event that you were not contacted by the school as part of this test, please contact the office at 703-368-4400 so that we may confirm your emergency contact information.

Lion’s Club Vision and Hearing Screening

On Wednesday, October 10th the third, fifth and seventh grade students are scheduled for a free Vision and Hearing Screening by the Lion’s Club.  A permission form will be sent home today and is necessary for your son/daughter to participate in the Hearing and Vision Screening.  Please sign and return the form to your child’s teacher by October 5th.   No screening will be conducted without a signed parental consent form.  Students who wear glasses should have them available for the vision portion of the screening.

As in previous years, it is only with the support of our parents serving as volunteers that we can successfully run this screening.  We need 6 volunteers for the day which will be starting at 8:00 AM.  This is a great opportunity to earn Points for Parents. If you are able to assist with the hearing and vision screening, please contact Mrs. Roth at jroth@allsaintsva.org or  703-368-4400 ext. 207.  Thank you for your continued support.


Medication Policy Reminder

In accordance with diocesan policy and our school handbook, students are prohibited from carrying medication, including over-the-counter medicine, at any time during the course of the day.  All medications are required to be delivered by parents/guardians directly to the clinic, along with corresponding documentation.  Should you have any questions about our medication administration policy, please do not hesitate to contact our school nurse, Mrs. Roth, at 703-368-4400.

New Families

You are warmly welcomed to our community.  We are always looking for ways to make sure you feel comfortable and included in our very vibrant school community.  We have two suggestions to ease any “transition pains.”  First, don’t hesitate to contact your classroom resource parent and/or our welcoming committee chairperson, Mrs. Heidi Tamke (heidi.tamke@earthlink.net).  Additionally, you might consider signing up for the volunteer email ‘blast’ list. This helps us to keep you informed of volunteer needs throughout the year. It will provide you with many opportunities to get involved, make new friends and earn your 60 points for parents! To sign up: simply send a request to Sue Ferguson at: schoolvolunteers@allsaintsvaschool.org.

Parents’ Rosary Group

Please join us Friday morning at 8:00 to pray for our school intentions. The group meets in the church on the left side of the altar in one of the “wedge” shaped seating areas.  The rosary will be prayed weekly in that 30- minute window between morning drop-off and the 8:30 school Mass. All are welcome! 

Spirit Events

The Spirit Committee would like to welcome you all to the first Spirit Event of the Year!  Some of our new families might be wondering…”What is a spirit event?”  Spirit Events are opportunities for families to gather together to have fun, meet other members of our school community and support the school.  We will kick off this year with a fun fall greeting at Ticonderoga Farm.  Hay rides, mazes and fun for all.  Please click on the flyer linked below for more information.  This year the event is being held on Columbus Day, so you will have an entire day to enjoy with your family and school community.  We look forward to seeing you all there.  Fall is in the air!  

If you would like to join the Spirit Committee, please contact Megan Davies at meggie.davies@verizon.net.  We look forward to meeting you all and having a lot of fun.  Let’s have a super year!

Paul VI Catholic High School News

Paul VI Boys & Girls Columbus Day Basketball Camp.  Monday October 8th.  9 am – 4 pm.  Grades 2 – 8.  $55.00 per player.  Register at www.pvibasketball.com

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

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, 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:
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

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 27th            

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

Friday, September 28th                  

School Mass & Virtue of the Month Presentation (8:30 a.m.)

1st Quarter Interims Distributed

Noon Dismissal – Curriculum Mapping for Teachers

Tuesday, October 2nd                     

8th Grade Parent Meeting (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, October 3rd               

2nd Grade Field Trip to Orchard (9:00 – 1:00)

1st Quarter Lock-Down Drill (9:30 a.m.)

Thursday, October 4th                   

Celebrate Calm Workshop – hosted by the PTO (Gym/7:00 p.m.)

Friday, October 5th                          

School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

Celebrate Calm Workshop – hosted by the PTO (Gym/9:00 a.m.)

 

Links

–          Ticonderoga Farms Spirit Event ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/09/2012-10-08-Ticonderoga-Farms-2-11.jpg

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