September 4, 2013
Each spring students in grades two through seven participate in the Terra Nova, a nationally normed standardized testing program. The results of this annual assessment provide data with which we can determine the strengths of our curriculum as well as areas for future growth and improvement. Most importantly, the data becomes the basis for the annual instructional goal-setting process by which the teachers customize instruction so as to more effectively meet the needs of the children in our classrooms.
This week I am providing to you several testing charts which are linked to this letter and that will also be available on our website for your review. The bar graphs are designed to provide a quick overview of grade level performance in reading, language arts and math and include a comparison to diocesan averages. All of the scores are percentile based, benchmarking the performance of our students and the entire diocese to that of the national norm group.
When reviewing these scores and planning for the year ahead, a metaphor that I have found to be helpful is that of an annual “tune-up”. In examining the data, we can identify specific areas that need some refinement or extra attention. While there is no need for a complete “engine overhaul” as the majority of students scored in the top 10% of the national norm group, it is important that we view this as an opportunity to target our efforts so that the engine of learning at All Saints continues to move forward.
Once again, our students scored highest in the language arts section of the test with each grade surpassing the benchmark for top ten percent performance, i.e. 75 percentile. I anticipate that this subject area will continue to be an area of strength as we implement the new Empowering Writers program and continue with our well-established efforts with Word Study in grades one through five. Already, the benefits of this approach are proving quite beneficial – and measurable – as an inordinate number of our fifth grade students tested at the highest levels of the Word Study program last week.
While the math program compares quite favorably when measured against the diocesan averages, this is an area that we will continue to focus on strengthening. Within the math domain, students scored somewhat lower in computational skills, an area that teachers will continue to target through reinforcement of basic skills on a daily basis. Providing regular, on-going opportunities for our students to practice what they have learned will help them to sharpen their skills and retain concepts. I also anticipate that the expansion of the math program in the middle school will result in measurable gains for our students as they work in smaller classes in which they have been more authentically placed.
The teachers have already completed a process entitled Planning for Instruction, by which they have crafted clear, instructional goals that are linked to this data. With the recognition of patterns across grade levels, there is the opportunity for teachers to collaborate and share new ideas and strategies. Most importantly, with everyone moving in the same direction, I know that the efforts of our faculty will continue to provide an enriched learning environment for our students.
Congratulations, teachers and students, on another year of excellent test results!
Afternoon Dismissal – “First in, First out” Begins next week!
Next week we will return to the prior practice of “first in, first out”, meaning that parents assigned to the front parking lot will park in bay one as they arrive, followed by bay two and three. Those assigned to the rear parking lot will park in bay four followed by bay five. (Note: It is very important that parents park only in their assigned area, i.e. front vs. back parking lots, as the system has been organized based on the total capacity for each parking area.) On inclement weather days, parents will be asked to park in their assigned bays so that their children can walk directly to those areas.
Morning Arrival ~ Tips for Parents
With the Pre-Kindergarten program now in session, there is increased traffic in the rear parking lot during morning arrival. So that each child in the Pre-K may be escorted into the classroom by a member of the staff, all Pre-Kindergarten families are required to arrive via the rear lot. However, all other school families have the option of using either the front or rear lots during morning arrival. If there is a line of traffic entering the rear lot, parents are encouraged to use the front lot as an alternative. Additionally, parents are reminded to enter and exit the property using right turns only so as to maintain a steady flow of traffic on neighborhood streets.
Emergency Information Form
Please complete the diocesan emergency form and return it to the office by Friday, September 6th. This form is critically important in that it provides us with the necessary information to contact you in the event of an emergency.
School Messenger Emergency Notification ~ SYSTEM TEST ~ September 12th
The Diocese of Arlington uses the School Messenger notification service to send important information to families through phone calls, emails, and text messages. In the event of an emergency, All Saints Catholic School will activate the School Messenger system. As the system will only be used for this purpose, parents can anticipate that any communications received via this program are critical and deserve particular attention.
In order to ensure the functionality and accuracy of the system, All Saints will conduct a test on Thursday, September 12th. A test message will be issued via recorded phone message, text and email to the emergency contacts of all students and staff at approximately 10:30 a.m.
In accordance with wireless carrier requirements and to protect against unsolicited text messages, during the year you may receive a text message providing you the opportunity to “opt in” should you wish to receive important School Messenger announcements via text message.
The message you receive will be similar to the following:
“Please OPTIN to receive TXT alerts from <<Customer Name>>.Rply OPTIN 2 register, STOP 2 OPTOUT www.schoolmessenger.com/txt Msg&Data Rates May Apply”
So that you may receive important communications from All Saints via text message, we encourage you to reply with “OPTIN” when you receive such a verification message.
To opt out of all text messages from SchoolMessenger, including the verification message, go to http://www.schoolmessenger.com/txtmsg/ or reply STOP to the opt-in message you receive.
The Diocese and the school do not pay for text message charges that may be incurred by the user. Check with your wireless carrier for possible charges.
Student In-Service ~ Sexual Harassment, Our Policy & Response (Grades 6-8)
In accordance with diocesan policy, students in grades six through eight will participate in a brief classroom presentation within the next two weeks on the topic of the prevention of sexual harassment. Mr. Conroy will visit each of the homeroom classes for approximately fifteen minutes, providing an overview of the diocesan policy and explaining to students how they should best respond if they encounter any behaviors of this nature. Should you have any questions about this policy or presentation, please do not hesitate to contact the principal.
Back to School Night
Back to School Night & PTO Meeting (Parents of Grades 1-5) – Thursday, September 5th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the PAC. 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 12th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the PAC. These sessions will provide parents with important information about our many programs and plans for the 2013-2014 school year. For this reason, at least one parent from each family is required to attend this session.
New Parent Coffee
All new parents are invited to enjoy “coffee with the principal” on Tuesday, September 10th beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Father Kelley Hall. Following a brief presentation, there will be time for questions and discussion about our school community and its many programs. Babysitting services will be offered in the adjacent meeting room. Plan to attend and meet other new families who have recently joined our community!
Volunteer Opportunity – Playground & Cafeteria Supervision
Thank you to those who have volunteered to help on the playground and cafeteria during lunch/recess. The school still has openings for VIRTUS compliant parents and Grandparents to assist the school staff with recess and lunch supervision from 11:10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and starting this week for parents and Grandparents to help specifically with the Kindergarten classes from 12:15-1:00 p.m. All volunteers will receive training in playground supervision as well as allergy awareness and will earn Points for Parents. Please contact Mrs. Holly Crocker at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this opportunity. As she is hoping to finalize the schedule in the near future, those interested in helping with this program are encouraged to contact her within the next week. In advance, thank you for your support and participation in this enjoyable volunteer position.
Coming up next Friday, September 13th, is the Priest’s BBQ. Several VIRTUS compliant parents to help prepare and serve the food with the priests to the students would be very helpful. Volunteers are needed from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you are interested in this opportunity to participate in this fun All Saints tradition please contact Holly Crocker at the email address above.
“Big Bash” to be hosted by PTO
Every year, the All Saints PTO throws a party to celebrate the grown-ups that make our school community so great: parents, teachers, support staff, priests and parishioners. Formerly known as the Casino & Auction, we have renamed this fun gathering the BIG BASH. Mark your calendars for this year’s Big Bash to be held on 11.16.13!
Our new party comes with an exciting theme, “HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS.” We hope you, your spouse and your friends will come and help us roll out the red carpet at our first ever BIG BASH event. This premiere event will be held on campus at the Parish Activities Center (aka The PAC)!
The PTO is working hard to put on this brand new of party…and we want YOUR HELP. Follow this link (http://vols.pt/wAStrq) to sign up at our online signup sheet organized by VolunteerSpot. We especially need help setting up, decorating, and cleaning up afterwards. Let’s work together to make a terrific night out and earn some money for the school at the same time. You may direct questions about volunteer opportunities to Christian Cobb at email@example.com.
We are also looking for donations of Michael’s craft store gift cards in any amount to support the class gift projects. Please contact Debi Woolfrey at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to make a donation (and earn points for parents)!
Please click here: http://vols.pt/wAStrq to sign up for All Saints PTO Big Bash on @VolunteerSpot today!
Use of Student Photos for Marketing Materials
In recent years, a formal marketing program has been implemented at All Saints and we are presently making a consistent effort to share the success of our program via local newspapers and our website. It is important that parents understand that they retain the right to object to their son/daughter’s inclusion in these printed or electronic materials. A “Waiver Information/Right to Object Form” (Appendix N) is located on the website within the forms section associated with the parent-student handbook. Please note: If the form is not returned, we will assume that you waive your right to object.
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.
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). To register for one of these two sessions, please visit www.virtus.org.
Saturday, September 21 (Father Kelley Hall/9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Saturday, November 9 (Father Kelley Hall/9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
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 scheduled the following opportunities for completing the half-hour VIRTUS update:
Tuesday, September 10 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Thursday, September 19 (Meeting Room 1/ 2:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 24 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, October 8 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, October 22 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, November 12 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, December 10 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, January 14 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, February 11 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, March 11 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, April 8 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, May 13 (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)
Support our School…Sign-up Now for the New Year!
All Saints currently participates in the Giant A+ Bonus Bucks and Harris Teeter’s Together in Education programs. These programs provide cash to our school based on the amount that registered customers spend each school year. Each program requires re-registration each school-year. If you have not already provided your card information, please complete the 2013-2014 enrollment form at the end of the newsletter and return to the office marked to the attention: Grocery Store Program Coordinator. Don’t forget to recruit family, friends, neighbors and coworkers by getting them to complete a form also. The coordinator will take care of registration for you!
We also benefit from Target’s Take Charge of Education program. The REDcard is an actual debit or credit card. For security purposes, please visit www.target.com/tcoe or call 1-800-316-6142 to designate our school, and then use your REDcard whenever you shop at Target to benefit All Saints.
CYO Track & Field
Our first track & field practice will be on Sunday, September 8th from 1-2:30 pm in the All Saints School Gymnasium. We will have registration and release forms for parents to complete (also, linked below), while the runners learn stretches and other basics for track and field events.
Coach Cathy recommends that runners start practicing on their own as soon as possible, to begin conditioning their bodies. Also, a sturdy pair of shoes are needed – they don’t have to be expensive, high-end or specialty, just running-style and well-fitting.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Coach Cathy or Ann Potocnak.
Thursday, September 5th Back to School Night for Grades 1-5 & PTO General Assembly Meeting (PAC/7:00 p.m.)
Friday, September 6th Deadline for Submitting School Directory Contact Information
Deadline for Submitting Emergency Forms
Deadline for Submitting Parent-Student Handbook Acknowledgment Forms
School Mass – Grades 1-8 (8:30 a.m.)
New Student Breakfast; Doughnuts & Juice with Mr. Conroy & Mrs. Campagna
9:20 A.M Grades 6-8
9:40 AM Grades 3-5
10:00 AM Grades K-2
Monday, September 9th 6th Grade Field Trip – “The Edge” Team-Building Experience
Tuesday, September 10th New Parent Coffee (FKH/9:00 a.m.)
Band Parents Meeting
6:45 p.m. Returning parents
7:30 p.m. New parents
Thursday, September 12th School Messenger Test Message (10:30 a.m.)
Middle School Night (Gym/7:00 p.m.)
Friday, September 13th School Mass – Grades 1-8 (8:30 a.m.)
Middle School Progress Reports
· Emergency Health Form – http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/08/emergency-form.pdf
· PTO Big Bash VolunteerSpot Sign Up – http://vols.pt/wAStrq
· 2013-14 CYO Cross Country/Track & Field Flyer – http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/09/9-4CYOXCountry-Track2013-14flyer.pdf
· 2013-14 CYO Sports Registration Form – http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=registration_form2013.pdf
· 2013 Catholic Athletes for Christ Sports Conference Flyer – http://www.allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/09/9-4-2013SportsConferenceFlyerfromCAC.pdf