September 17, 2014
In the last few weeks I have received several questions regarding the position of the Diocese in regards to the Common Core Standards. Recognizing that there are probably other parents who are pondering this same question, this week I am providing to you an overview of the diocesan perspective, a message originally shared in one of last year’s newsletters. I hope that you find the information helpful and informative. Should you have any questions or if I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Recently the Common Core Standards have received significant attention in the media and been a source of discussion and debate in both political and educational circles. With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share with you some key perspectives that clarify the purpose and design of the Standards and also provide an understanding as to the extent to which they influence the curriculum of our school.
Perhaps a brief explanation of the nature of curriculum design in our diocese is a good place to begin. Each year the diocese initiates the review and revision of one or more areas of our curriculum, for example math or social studies. A committee comprised of staff from the Office of Catholic Schools and educators from around the diocese analyzes and considers nationally published standards, taking into consideration the various changes taking place in curriculum design. After review and discussion, the committee is then tasked with designing curriculum standards that will best address the needs of the learners in our diocesan community. The Diocese of Arlington has not adopted any national or Commonwealth set of standards, such as the Common Core or Standards of Learning, but rather seeks to study what is best and adapt it for our use.
The Common Core Standards were written by educators at the request of the US Governors in an attempt to ensure that students across the country are held to the same standards of learning.
It is important to note that the Common Core Standards are neither a curriculum nor a text. Rather, they are standards, i.e. statements of what a student should know and be able to do at a particular grade level. (Example: Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20. Math Grade 1: OA.A 2) A curriculum, on the other hand, includes what is taught, when it is taught, how it is taught and what materials are used.
Some of you have probably noted that some of our textbooks are beginning to include references to the Common Core. This is due to the fact that 46 states, not including Virginia, have adopted the Common Core Standards. As a matter of supply and demand, the textbook companies have begun to label their publications accordingly. A key point to remember here is the fact that the textbooks we use are considered a resource, not the actual curriculum. Each teacher plans instruction based upon the Diocesan curriculum, incorporating textbooks, strategies, manipulatives and technology in an effort to “deliver” the concepts and content in a manner that is engaging and effectively meets the needs of the learners. The textbooks remain but one resource in a teacher’s toolbox.
In the public discussion regarding the Common Core, a few misperceptions have arisen.
The Common Core forbids the teaching of Shakespeare. This is not true. The Common Core Standards do call for various types of reading materials: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc. Although the Diocese has not adopted the Common Core Standards, schools and teachers are encouraged to decide which actual readings are to be used in each of the literary areas, recognizing non-fiction as an essential element.
The Common Core Standards are secularistic. The Common Core Standards, by design, were written for the public schools in our country and as such do not incorporate our Catholic values.
The integration of our sacred faith tradition throughout the curriculum is what makes the enterprise of Catholic schools distinct and is in fact, essential to our mission.
All student records will be kept in a common data base. Not true. The records of any student in the schools operated by the Diocese of Arlington are kept at the school or sent to a new school only upon the request of a parent. No records are released to outside agencies, except in the case of a subpoena.
DFE Parent Survey – Responses due Friday!
Below is a link to the 2014 DFE Parent Survey, a questionnaire that we distributed to each family last week. All parents are asked to respond to the survey no later than Friday, September 19th.
The feedback that you provide is an important part of the review process and will guide the faculty as we plan for the future of our school. Please know that we truly value your time and appreciate your participation. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the office. In advance, thank you for your participation.
Uniform Policy Update – Sweaters & Sweatshirts
In recognition that the classrooms are sometimes cool during the warmer months, students are now permitted to wear the following with their Summer Uniform.
Girls (K-5) – Uniform Sweater
Boys (K-5) – P.E. Sweatshirt
Boys & Girls (6-8) – P.E. Sweatshirt
(Note: Students may only wear the uniform sweatshirt, not the Spirit Wear hoodie.)
PUBLIC NOTIFICATION – Special Milk Program School Year 2014-2015
All Saints Catholic School offers the Special Milk Program for Children. The school operates under the regulations relating to non-discrimination in accordance with the following policy.
The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at email@example.com.
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
DFE Visiting Team Report – Noon Dismissal (March 27th)
School will dismiss at noon on Friday, March 27th in order that the DFE Visiting Team may present a summary report to the pastor, principal and faculty beginning at 12:30 p.m.
School Messenger Emergency Notification ~ Results of Test
Last week’s test of the SchoolMessenger notification system was a success. In the event that you did not receive messages via phone, text or email, please contact the school office so that we may update your contact information accordingly.
(Note: The test message was sent to all contact numbers for each child enrolled. Future messages will be sent per family to avoid this redundancy.)
8th Grade Parents Meeting (Wednesday, October 1st)
Mrs. Slovenkay and Miss Zwisler will host a meeting for all 8th grade parents on Wednesday, October 1st beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Activity Center. 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.
Lunch Menu Change
The following menu changes are being made due to the discontinuation of several pizza products.
- Thursday, Sept. 18th, the cafeteria will serve MEATBALL Pizza Pockets instead of Pepperoni Pizza Pockets
- Thursday, Sept. 25th, the cafeteria will serve CHEESE Pizza instead of the Italian Flatbread Pizza.
2014 Casino & Auction – “A Black & White Event”
Invitations for the 2014 Casino & Auction are going home with your youngest child by tomorrow, Thursday, September 18th. Don’t miss your chance for the early bird ticket price of $30 per person. Tickets include a gourmet dinner, dessert, beverages, live & silent auction, 3 hours of casino play with funny money, casino raffle prizes, photo booth and dancing, as well as door prize drawings at 7:15pm. Attire is business casual/cocktail. Cash bar serving beer, wine and specialty drinks will be available. Early bird price ends September 30. For more information visit the All Saints website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Pilgrim Virgin Statue Rotation~ Sign up Now to Host Statue in your Home
In keeping with the Holy Father’s Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary last year, All Saints School families are invited to renew their devotion to Jesus through Mary in a special way. Beginning Friday, October 10, two statues of Our Lady of Fatima will begin traveling to the homes of our school families for a week long visit.
Families who wish to participate can sign up online at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F084CAEAB22A02-pilgrim.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to sign up for the first available week in order to avoid gaps in the schedule. However, if there is an upcoming event or celebration that is particularly important to your family, i.e. wedding or anniversary, you are most welcome to host the statue during that specific week.
While the statue of Mother Mary is in your home, families are encouraged to pray together either part of or the entire 5-decade rosary for the intentions of our school as well as for your private intentions. Included with the statue you will find a DVD of “The Day the Sun Danced”, which presents the message of Fatima entrusted to three peasant children in Portugal in 1917.
Should you have any questions about the program, please do not hesitate to contact the rotation coordinator, Julie Mantooth (email@example.com).
From the Spirit Committee
Are you looking to meet up with your All Saints friends? Or perhaps you are new to the school and would like to get to know people in our school community. Please stop by Chick-fil-A on Liberia Avenue either Friday, September 19th or the 26th. In an effort to reduce photocopying charges, please will you kindly print out and bring the attached flyer to ensure the school is credited properly. We look forward to seeing you there!
Criminal Background Checks for Volunteers & VIRTUS Requirements
We have scheduled the following opportunities for completing the half-hour VIRTUS update:
- Thursday, September 18th in Father Kelley Hall 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.)
Thursday, September 18th
- Room Liaisons Meeting (FKH/9:00 a.m.)
- SCA Installation Ceremony (PAC/1:30 p.m.)
- Enrollment Management Team Meeting – cancelled
Friday, September 19th
- School Mass (8:30 a.m.)
- Noon Dismissal – DFE Faculty Meeting
- Spirit Event: Chick-fil-A (6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
- DFE Parent Survey Deadline
Sunday, September 21st
- Ministry Sunday
Wednesday, September 24th
- Paul VI High School presentation to 8th Grade (8:30 a.m.)
Friday, September 26th
- School Mass (8:30 a.m.)
- Noon Dismissal – Professional Development Day
- Spirit Event: Chick-fil-A (6:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
2014 Casino & Auction – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/parents/pto/all-saints-casino-night-auction/
2014 All Saints Girl Scout Letter – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=All-Saints-School-Girl-Scouts-Letter.pdf
Chick-fil-A Flyer (with info.) – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=2014sept-Chick-Fil-A-with-info.pdf
Grocery Program Sign-Up (which includes Target) – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=Grocery-Program-letter-2014-2015-with-TARGET.pdf
Going Home with Youngest Child Today – BoxTops for Education Handouts