The Sentinel – February 18, 2015

This week I would like to provide you with an update regarding the Design for Excellence reaccreditation project. Last Friday we sent the nearly two hundred page self-study document to the printer.  It is a comprehensive narrative that provides key information about our program in eight sections: Faith Formation, Leadership, Curriculum, Personnel, Services, Governance & Finance, Demographics and Facilities.

I want to thank the faculty and staff for working so diligently and at an accelerated pace since the beginning of the year to complete the project.  Each teacher served as the member of a committee that was responsible for responding to a specific series of questions related to one of the eight sections.  After gathering information, each committee then presented a preliminary report to the faculty at large for review and comment.  Through this consensus-building process the teachers had an opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on all aspects of our school and to identify objectives for future growth and improvement.  Occurring only every six years, it is a mammoth undertaking that requires tremendous commitment on the part of the faculty and staff.  I remain grateful for their steadfastness and dedication in completing this project which is essential, not only for reaccreditation, but for outlining a plan for the future of our school.

With the self-study document now complete, each of the committees is focused on gathering “evidence” in support of the minimum standards that govern accreditation.  Each committee is compiling a broad range of documents and photos that provide clear evidence that we meet or exceed the minimum standards.  All of this information will then be reviewed by the Steering Committee and placed in binders in advance of the arrival of the Visiting Team on March 24th.

This week I would also like to thank you for your completion of the DFE Parent Survey which we administered during the fall semester.  Approximately 70% of the parent community responded to the survey.  The high rate of participation suggests that parents in our school value the opportunity to provide feedback and recognize the significance of the Design for Excellence reaccreditation process.

The following charts summarize the parent response to the quantitative questions.  The data indicates that parents are overwhelming pleased with the commitment of the faculty, the leadership of the school, the experience of faith formation, and the overall rigor and effectiveness of the academic program.

LINK TO PARENT SURVEY CHARTS: Parent Survey Results 2015  

As part of the survey, numerous parents provided substantive feedback via the narrative response questions.  While the positive responses were very affirming of the overall experience of All Saints, the constructive feedback has helped the faculty and staff to identify opportunities by which we might increase effectiveness and the level of parent satisfaction.

Parents identified the following topics as areas for continued focus.  Although generally only 6%-8% of respondents identified any of these individual areas within their narrative response (the exception being that of recess concerns as represented by 13%), they remain viable opportunities for continued improvement as we strive to provide a world-class educational environment.  Each of the areas is followed by a list of strategies that the faculty have identified for future implementation.

Differentiated Instruction

  • Identify and implement additional strategies to respond to the varied needs of learners within a large classroom setting.
  • Incorporate flexible grouping strategies in order to address the individual needs of students in reading and math.

Math

  • Increase awareness of vertical alignment within the curriculum and plan lessons accordingly.
  • Create a manipulatives/resource library for all grade levels to utilize.
  • Explore the use of math websites and resources that can be used at school and at home for the reinforcement of skills.

Homework

  • Evaluate current homework strategies and implement procedures in support of a balanced approach that conforms to research and best practice.
  • Incorporate greater use of technology to support student learning and reinforcement of skills.
  • Encourage homework procedures and expectations specifically designed to add value to the learning experience.

Environment & Classroom Management

  • Evaluate current classroom management strategies to ensure a consistent school-wide approach that is positive and formative in nature.
  • Continue to implement strategies to nurture positive relationships between faculty, staff, students and parents.

Dismissal/Carpool Procedures

  • Continue to monitor arrival and dismissal procedures, implementing adjustments as necessary, in support of compliance, safety and efficiency.

Recess

  • A number of parents referenced recess, particularly in regards to grades three through five, as a priority for immediate change. Parents expressed concern that the time allotted for recess was interrupted by students being required to stop and pray The Angelus at noon.  After review of the survey results and consideration of the schedule, the length of recess was revised during the fall semester to ensure that students in these grades have the same amount of time for uninterrupted play as those in the primary and middle school grades.

When the Visiting Team departs on Friday, March 27th, the Chairperson will present to the faculty and administration a summary report that will include the team’s determination regarding our accreditation, as well as commendations and recommendations for our future.  Over the course of the summer, all of the recommendations that the faculty have already identified as well as those from the Visiting Team will be used for the development of a Five Year Plan for our school.

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During the first semester, parents also had an opportunity to participate in the annual bullying survey.  While the response was very limited (approximately 23 parents), we value the feedback as it helps us maintain an awareness of the impact of this important issue in our community.  In an effort to update our message to the students, this year we have decided to host a special assembly for students in the lower grades.  Through the generous support of the PTO, Blue Sky Puppet Theater will present “Building Bridges”, an approach to peaceful conflict resolution, for grades K-5 on Friday, February 27th.  As the students in the lower grades sometimes confuse bullying with other behaviors related to friendship issues and disagreements, we believe that this presentation will increase their understanding, equipping them with effective ways to respond to a wider variety of social situations.

PTO General Assembly Meeting & Parent Presentation

Mr. Gregory Smith will speak on the topic of “Protecting your Children on the Internet” at the PTO General Assembly Meeting on Tuesday, February 24th beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Highlights from the presentation will include grade-level recommendations to be considered in both purchasing and managing devices as well as the “Top Six Things for Parents to Do Now”.

As this is such an important topic, parents who attend the presentation will be provided one Free Homework Pass for each of their children.

Copies of Gregory Smith’s book entitled Protecting Your Children on the Internet will be available for purchase for $20.00, cash or check only.

The presentation will take place in the Parish Activity Center from 7:00-8:30 p.m. with time for questions at the end of the evening.  Invite friends, neighbors and colleagues to what promises to be an insightful and important presentation for parents!

Re-Registration Forms ~ Due Friday, February 20th 

Parents are reminded that all re-registration forms are due in the office on Friday, February 20th.   Application packets for siblings new to All Saints were sent home last week to all families who responded to the enrollment survey in November.  In the event that you did not receive an application or wish to request one for another child, please do not hesitate to contact the office.

Band Trip Confirmed – June 5th

Due to inclement weather and subsequent closures this year, the Band Trip will take place on the latter of the two dates included in the school calendar, i.e. Friday, June 5th.  Please disregard the earlier date of Friday, May 22nd.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Registration Schedule for 2015-2016

  • Re-Registration for Current Families February 4-20, 2015
  • Registration for New Students February 11-27, 2015

                              (Including siblings for Pre-K & K)

Tuition Assistance Applications for 2015-2016

Applications for Tuition Assistance for the 2015-2016 academic year are now available.  Again this year the Diocese of Arlington has partnered with FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment Company.  FACTS has established an on-line application process that can be initiated through the company website (http://online.factsmgt.com/signin/3Q327)

The due dates for applications and supporting documentation are as follows:

Elementary School       March 16, 2015

Please note that all applications and supporting documentation must be received by FACTS rather than postmarked by the dates listed above.  Applications are not complete until FACTS has received all of the supporting documentation.  Only those families who are verified by FACTS as having submitted all of the required supporting documentation will be eligible for diocesan tuition assistance.

Should you have any questions or concerns about the application process, please do not hesitate to contact a FACTS Customer Care Representative at 1-866-441-4637 or our school office.

Upcoming Events

Friday, February 20th             

  • Re-Registration Deadline
  • Noon Dismissal Cancelled – Dismissal at 3:00 p.m.
  • Visit by Title I Teacher & Introduction to Students

Monday, February 23rd          

  • SCA sponsored Prayer & Penny Week

Tuesday, February 24th          

  • PTO General Assembly Meeting: Protecting Your Children on the Internet (PAC/7:00 p.m.). Free Homework Pass for Children of Parents who Attend

Friday, February 27th             

  • Registration Deadline for New Students
  • School Mass & Virtues Ceremony (8:30 a.m.)
  • Assembly for Grades K-5 (Blue Sky Puppet Theater – Peaceful Conflict Resolution/PAC/2:00 p.m.)

Links