The Sentinel

September 3, 2014

Principal’s Message

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.

In recent years the Office of Catholic Schools began an initiative to consider whether this current test best meets the needs of our students and to discern the potential for future online testing.  While the process remains dynamic with a number of the details yet to be confirmed, I can share with you the following changes regarding the diocesan testing program.

2014-2015       We will continue to administer the Terra Nova, but only to grades 3-7.  In accordance with diocesan recommendations, we will no longer administer the program to second graders since studies have shown that testing such young students may yield results that are statistically unreliable.  Feedback on student learning will be based upon classroom assessments in math and language arts.

2015-2016       Adoption of new test with Social Studies and Science no longer included in the battery.  Online testing will be available though not required of schools.

2016-2017       Online testing will be required of all schools.

One of the benefits of online testing will be the fact that the data can be compiled very rapidly, thereby opening up the possibility for testing at multiple points in the year.  Subsequently, teachers would be better able to measure student growth and progress.  This remains a point of discussion at this time with details yet to be finalized.  As additional information becomes available over the course of the year, I will provide updates via our weekly newsletter.

New Parent Coffee

All new parents are invited to enjoy “coffee with the principal” on Tuesday, September 9th beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Activities Center.  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 an adjacent meeting room.  Plan to attend and meet other new families who have recently joined our community!

Emergency Information Form

Please complete the diocesan emergency form and return it to the office by Friday, September 5th. 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 Friday, 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.

CYO TRACK & FIELD/CROSS COUNTRY TEAM Organizational Meeting – Thursday, September 4th at 7pm in the Gym

Thursday night’s meeting is a great opportunity to learn more about the program — our new Head Coaches, Maria Bright and Emma Amison, are BRINGING IT! this year, and we are excited! Assistant Coach Kim Ulrich is looking forward to working with our distance runners, and reminds parents that she’d like some company: we have slots open for additional Assistant Coaches — come to the meeting and find out more!  Runners are welcome to attend the meeting, but note that this is NOT a practice night — we’re collecting registrations and giving out information about the program.

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.

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.

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.

Volunteer Opportunity – Playground & Cafeteria Supervision

The school is seeking VIRTUS compliant parents to assist with recess and lunch supervision from 11:10 a.m. – 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. Floribel Fleisig at ffleisig@hotmail.com for more information about this opportunity.

2014 All Saints Casino & Auction

The 2014 All Saints Casino & Auction is looking for donations from businesses or families for our live and silent auction as well as our raffles and prizes.  Timeshares, travel miles, sports tickets, or gift items are desired.  Attached please find more information on how to make a donation to make the event a huge success or please contact the planning team at solicitations@allsaintsvaschool.org

Volunteer Opportunities

If you are interested in receiving emails with upcoming volunteer opportunities please send an email with your name and email address to schoolvolunteers@allsaintsvaschool.org.  We are in the process of updating our list of volunteers who receive this email.  Any email list you may have been on in previous years has become obsolete.

From the Spirit Events Committee
Remember all DFE early dismissals before Lent are Chick-fil-A on Liberia Avenue Spirit Events. For the month of September these will be: September 5, 19, and 26. Mention All Saints, take the flyer with you, and the school will receive 20% of the proceeds as well. You can go anytime between 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. To cut down on photocopying costs, please use the attached template and bring it to Chick-fil-A. We look forward to seeing you there!

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Middle School Night

Middle School Back to School Night (Parents of Grades 6-8) – Thursday, September 11th beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Activities Center.

Parent ~ Student Handbooks

The 2014-2015 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 5th.  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.  To register for an upcoming training, please visit www.virtus.org.

In accordance with diocesan policy, 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.  

The diocese also requires volunteers who have completed the full VIRTUS training to attend an annual update entitled Keeping the Promise Alive.  This 30 minute video training is a prerequisite for volunteering in the school.  The following is a list of upcoming sessions.

We have scheduled the following opportunities for completing the half-hour VIRTUS update:
Thursday, September 4th in FKH at 7:00 PM

Wednesday, September 10th in the Art Room at 7:00 PM

Tuesday, September 16th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 PM

Thursday, September 18th in Meeting Room 2 at 2:15 PM

Note:  For this session, pre-registration by September 16th is required.

Wednesday, September 24th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 1st in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 PM

We are requesting advance registration by telephone or email for this brief update.  Attendance will be taken to ensure that you receive credit for completing the training.  If you have any questions or to register, please call Mrs. Janet Smith, Virtus Coordinator at the Parish Office, (703) 393-2158 or email her at jsmith@allsaintsva.org

(Note:  As Mrs. Smith will be out of the office from September 30th – October 14th, volunteers are encouraged to submit background check forms by September 22nd so that they may be processed in advance.)

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 5th            

  • Deadline for Submitting School Directory Contact Information
  • Parent-Student Handbook Acknowledgment Forms due
  • Emergency Forms due
  • School Mass (8:30 a.m.)
  • New Student Breakfast – Donuts & Juice (9:30 a.m.)
  • Noon Dismissal – DFE Faculty Meeting
  • Spirit Event: Chick-fil-A (6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, September 9th

  • 6th Grade Field Trip to the Edge
  • New Parent Coffee (PAC/9:00 a.m.)
  • Band Parents Meeting (6:45 Returning Parents/7:30 New Parents)
  • PTO Executive Board Meeting (7:00 p.m.)

Thursday, September 11th   

  • Middle School Night (7:00 p.m.)

Friday, September 12th    

  • Priests’ Barbecue
  • School Messenger Test (10:30 a.m.)

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