The Sentinel ~ October 17, 2012

Principal’s Message

While October is the month during which schools unite nationally in fostering “bully-free zones”, this is a commitment that we live out throughout the year at All Saints.  Through our Virtue Program and the full integration of our faith across the curriculum, students are encouraged to develop habits of respect, kindness, and compassion.  Over the course of years, these traits become embedded and part of the fabric of our students’ lives.  Nevertheless, it is vitally important that we explicitly remind our students of the dangers and consequences of bullying.  As such, this is an opportune moment for us to discuss this important issue with our students and to assess the progress we are making in striving to create a “bully-free” environment.

We now know and recognize that the challenge of bullying in our country is not going to simply disappear.  For this reason, our families and Catholic school are called to be counter-cultural, taking a clear stand against these behaviors.  It is our responsibility to guide the children in recognizing that each individual is created in the very image and likeness of God.  As such, respect and reverence should surround all interactions.  Similarly, the complexities and risks associated with technology in the 21st Century are a part of our day to day existence.  It remains our responsibility to teach the children how to navigate these information highways, always using technology in a manner that shows respect to one another and God’s creation.

This week I would like to invite all parents to participate in an anonymous, online survey for the purpose of assessing the level of bullying at All Saints Catholic School.  We estimate that it should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the survey.  Students in grades 3-8 will complete a corresponding survey during their computer class beginning this week.

Parents are asked to complete the survey by Friday, October 26th.  In advance, we thank you for your participation in our efforts to both assess our current climate and to establish benchmarks for future reference.  As this will be our fourth year of distributing a survey to parents on the topic of bullying, we look forward to analyzing the data to determine patterns and trends in our community and sharing the results with you in the weeks ahead.

If perhaps you are wondering what you can do as a parent to further support this initiative, I would offer the following suggestions:

1)       Take some time this week to review the topic of bullying with your son/daughter.  Help them to understand that the repeated, targeted nature of bullying is very hurtful, often resulting in wounds that last years, and in some cases a lifetime.  Help them to understand that all students have a right and expectation to be able to come to school each day to learn in an environment free of fear.

2)       Remind your child that, should he/she ever encounter an instance of bullying, it is vitally important that he/she share this information with a faculty or staff member.  If for any reason they are uncomfortable doing so, please contact your child’s teacher directly.  It is only with this type of information that we are able to take steps to help prevent future occurrences.

3)       Spend some time discussing with your child the practical steps that he/she can take to discourage bullying.  For example, sharing strategies or even role-playing appropriate responses can help to empower students not to laugh…not to participate…and to take a stand whenever they witness an instance of bullying.

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This week I would also like to provide you with an update regarding our Pre-Kindergarten program and an upcoming change in personnel.  Mrs. Davey, a long-standing member of our instructional team, will transition to part-time status effective Thursday, October 25th.  While she will continue to assist Mrs. Kardaras during the morning program, she has decided to resign from her afternoon role in order to pursue other opportunities related to her work as a free-lance editor and writer.

While we are saddened by the fact that Mrs. Davey will be unable to continue her fine work with PreK-3, we are delighted that she will continue as a member of the team, working with the students in the morning program.  In her place I have hired Mrs. Monica Carlin, a school parent who was a very active volunteer in the Pre-K program while her son was enrolled last year.  Additionally, she gained prior classroom experience as a substitute teacher in grades K-8 when she lived in Houston.   Already familiar with the procedures and routines, she has a strong understanding of the program and is delighted to be joining our staff.  With a cheerful demeanor and enthusiastic spirit, she will be a wonderful presence in our afternoon Pre-K.

In support of a seamless transition, Mrs. Carlin will “shadow” Mrs. Davey on Wednesday, October 24th and assume her new role on Monday, October 29th.

We thank Mrs. Davey for all that she has done in support of the afternoon program and we look forward to her continuing as a member of the morning team.

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With the onset of cooler temperatures, students are now permitted to begin wearing the Winter Uniform.  This applies to both the P.E. Uniform (i.e. sweatpants and sweatshirts) as well as the regular uniform (long sleeve shirts/blouses & sweaters).  This is a matter left to the discretion of parents until November 1st, the date at which all students are expected to begin wearing the Winter Uniform. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences ~ Appointment Slips

In the days ahead each student will receive a conference appointment slip confirming the date and time for the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday, November 8th and Friday, November 9th.   If you did not receive this information, please contact your child’s homeroom teacher.

SCA to Host Red Ribbon Week

Next week the Student Council Association has planned a number of special events in support of our school-wide celebration of Red Ribbon Week, an annual opportunity for our students to take a stand against drug and alcohol abuse.  Please see the accompanying flyer for more information about this weeklong event, including a dress down day scheduled for Tuesday, October 23rd.  Thank you to the SCA for all of their efforts in encouraging our students to live drug free!

2nd Grade Sacraments Update

The Group III First Communion will take place on Saturday, May 18th rather than May 25th as originally published in our school calendar.

PTO Teacher Conference Day Luncheons

Every year, the All Saints Catholic School PTO holds a luncheon for the teachers, during teacher/parent conference days, to thank them for their hard work, dedication, and continuing perseverance to educate every student every day. This year the luncheons will be held on Thursday, November 8th and Friday, November 9th.  Donations and volunteers make the two-day luncheon a success! Please consider sharing your time, cooking talents and needed donations to this event. The teachers & staff appreciate the lovely lunch and thoughtfulness of the parents who provide this event for them.

Please use the link to sign-up for all donations & volunteer opportunities: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C054CA8AC2BA13-teacher.  Any questions, please feel free to contact Kate Bachman at KateBachman2002@aol.com

PVI Theater Fall Play

Fall is in the air and so is PVI Theater’s fall play, Tom Jones.  Based on the book of the same name (but not to be confused with the old movie or the old singer),  Tom Jones is a story filled with crazy characters, exciting fights, an epic chase, a blooming young romance, and an unfortunate foundling who is the most virtuous of them all.  Performances will be: November 8th at 7pm, November 9th at 7:30pm, November 10th at 7:30 pm, and November 11th at 2pm.  Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults and may be purchased at the door.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Annual Fund Volunteer Opportunities

All Saints is preparing to launch an Annual Fund this fall and we could use your help!  We currently have openings for the following volunteer positions:

Grade Level Captains

Responsibilities — assist in getting the word out about the campaign to parents in your selected grade level and encourage participation of gifts of prayer, gifts of participation, and gifts of financial support.

Database/Gift Processing Volunteers

Responsibilities—add incoming gifts of prayer, participation and financial participation to our database, assist in processing offline financial gifts.

Proceeds from the Annual Fund will be used to provide tuition assistance, address technology needs, and advance curriculum initiatives. During our inaugural year, the campaign will be organized into the following divisions: Faculty/Staff Division, Parent Division, Alumni Division, Parents’ of Alumni Division.

We have already heard from parents interested in volunteering to help with the Annual Fund. If you would like to join our team, please contact Mrs. Janis DeVore at jdevore@allsaintsva.org or (703) 366-1645.  Thanks for your support!

Veterans Day Celebration

Join us as our school community honors the commitment of the men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. We cordially invite all active duty, reserve, former and retired military personnel to attend our school Mass on Monday, November 12th at 8:30 a.m. Following the Mass, there will be an assembly in the gym, followed by a reception for our honored guests in Father Kelley Hall.  Last week, we sent home a packet of information regarding our Veterans Wall Display, an annual tradition by which we show our pride and gratitude for the sacrifices of those in our community who have served our nation through military service. For your convenience, a link to the packet is provided at the bottom of this newsletter.

Revised Diocesan Code of Conduct – Requirement for All Volunteers – REMINDER

In response to rapidly changing technology, especially social media, and in order to continue providing a safe environment for our children and youth, the Diocese of Arlington has issued a new Code of Conduct.  This policy makes clear the behaviors that are acceptable and ensures proper monitoring of all young people.

Copies of this new Code of Conduct will be available beginning Thursday, October 11th at the School office and the Parish Office.  All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to read and acknowledge this document and return the completed acknowledgments to Janet Smith, Virtus coordinator by Monday, October 29th in order to continue being eligible to volunteer with children/youth.

Please direct any questions to Janet Smith at the Parish Office (703) 393-2158 or via email at jsmith@allsaintsva.org  Thank you for your cooperation.

Criminal Background Checks for Volunteers & VIRTUS Requirements

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 a live Virtus training seminar (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, November 13th at 7:00PM in the Art Room
Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00PM in the Art Room

Diocese of Arlington Information Programs for Prospective Teachers

The Diocese of Arlington has scheduled Information Programs for Prospective Teachers throughout the Diocese.  Sister Patricia Helene, IHM, former Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese and the current head of the Marymount University Catholic School Leadership Program and Elizabeth A. Roach, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Personal from the Diocese Office of Catholic Schools will present programs highlighting the opportunities and advantages of teaching in our Catholic Schools.  Please see linked flyer for more information.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 18th

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

Saturday, October 20th

–          PTO Bingo & Pizza Night – Cancelled

Monday, October 22nd

–          Red Ribbon Week sponsored by the SCA (see flyer for details)

–          Picture Make-up Day

Tuesday, October 23rd

–          Red Ribbon Week Dress-Down Day

–          Bishop O’Connell H.S. 8th Grade Visit

Wednesday, October 24th

–          Gift of Human Sexuality Presentation (I) for Grades 6-8

–          1st Grade Activity Day

Thursday, October 25th

–          End of 1st Quarter – Adoration & Benediction (11:00 a.m.)

–          Noon Dismissal – Report Card Prep for Teachers

–          Middle School Movie Night (Gym/6:00 p.m.)

Friday, October 26th

–          Holiday: Mini-Institute for Diocesan Teachers

 

Links

– Parent Survey 2012: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KYBNGPP 

– Red Ribbon Week Flyer: http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/Red-Ribbon-Week-Flyer-2012.pdf

– Veterans Day Celebration Packet: http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/2012-Veterans-Student-Packet.pdf

– PTO Teacher Conference Day Luncheons Donations & Volunteer Opportunities Information: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/10C054CA8AC2BA13-teacher

– Information Programs for Prospective Teachers ~ http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/Information-Programs-for-Prospective-Teachers.pdf