The Sentinel – September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015

Principal’s Message

During this first week of school the students have been practicing new routines and procedures, and most importantly, experiencing a faith-filled environment.  The single most significant way that our students are formed in their faith is through the Sacramental life of the Church.  As we begin this new year I want to share with you two changes related to the liturgical calendar and events within our school.

Students in grades three through eight will have an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the month of September as they begin the year anew.  As in the past, the children will also receive the Sacrament during Advent and Lent, although we will be scheduling a school-wide Penance Service for all of the children on one particular day in each of these two seasons.

Secondly, in order to more fully experience the saints and other prominent liturgical feast days, about once a month, we will gather for Mass on another day of the week instead of on Friday. This is so our students may be formed by the rhythm of the saints’ days and seasonal days of the Church’s calendar. The days that the school community will attend Mass other than Friday are noted in the school calendar.  All parents are cordially invited to join us for these liturgical celebrations.

Our theme for the new school year is “Building God’s House with Kindness and Mercy”, a phrase that is very similar to that of last year and one that is inspired by Pope Francis’ announcement of the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy. 

As the students, faculty and staff gathered for an opening assembly yesterday morning, we presented three ways that we will live and share this theme within our community.

We will build our “school house” with kindness and mercy, creating a space that is truly sacred and where the love of God is experienced each day through our interactions with one another.

We will build our hearts and minds, growing in knowledge and wisdom by applying our God-given talents.  During this year of increased focus on STEM initiatives, students will truly be “building” as they participate in hands-on learning in math and science.

We will build a home for the poor and suffering, providing them with hope for a brighter future.  I learned this summer that for little more than the cost of one year of tuition at All Saints, we can provide a family in the Caribbean with a new home.   I have invited the student leadership of the Student Council Association, the Peace & Justice Players and the National Junior Honor Society to collaborate on ways that we can direct fundraising efforts to assist the poor of our diocesan mission in the Dominican Republic in support of just such an endeavor.  This is an ambitious goal, but one that I know that our students can accomplish and one that will teach the children the importance of looking beyond themselves to the needs of the poor in our world.  Surrounded by a culture of affluence, it is important that we teach our students to be people of influence, people who can and will make a difference in our world.

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This week I also wish to share with you an update regarding our staffing.  Mrs. Traci Kessler, resource teacher, resigned from her position in August due to her relocation to southern Virginia.  We are grateful for her year of dedication and all that she did in support of both our resource program as well as the re-accreditation project.

While I continue to meet and interview candidates for this position, Mrs. Petrisek will oversee the entire resource program and assist with the planning for our second year of Title I services.

Emergency Information – PowerSchool Updates – Due September 4th

Parents are asked to submit and/or update their information in PowerSchool by Friday, September 4th.  The information you provide as part of this process is critically important in that it provides us with the necessary information to contact you in the event of an emergency. 

When updating your contact information, remember to also indicate your preference regarding whether you wish for your family information to be included in the School Directory and for your child to participate in any media efforts, i.e. photographs, video, etc.  Should you have any questions or difficulty with the database, please contact Mrs. Carroll at carroll@allsaintsva.org.

School Messenger Emergency Notification ~ SYSTEM TEST ~ September 10th

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 effectiveness of the system, All Saints will conduct a test on Friday, September 10th.  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 sign up for text alerts via SchoolMessenger, simply text the word “subscribe” to 68453.  You will know that you were successful if you receive the following automatic response SMS message: “You are registered to receive aprox 3 msgs/mo.  Txt STOP to quit, HELP for help.”  You can unsubscribe at any time by texting the word “stop” to 68453.

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.

Parent ~ Student Handbooks

The 2015-2016 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 11th.  Those families without access to the website are invited to contact the office to request a hard copy of the handbook.

New Parent Coffee

All new parents are invited to enjoy “coffee with the principal” on Tuesday, September 15th 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!

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.

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. 

Register for the training course at www.virtus.org for one of these upcoming September sessions: September 9th at 6:00 p.m. – Good Shepherd in AlexandriaSeptember 16th at 6:00 p.m. – St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel in Fairfax

September 17th at 6:00 p.m. – Holy Family in Dale City

September 18th at 6:30 p.m. – Sacred Heart in Manassas

September 19th at 9:00 a.m. – St. Mark in Vienna

September 19th at 9:00 a.m. – St. William of York in Stafford

September 21st at 6:00 p.m. (Spanish or English) – Christ the Redeemer in Sterling

September 22nd at 6:00 p.m. – St. Agnes in Arlington

September 24th at 6:00 p.m. – Queen of Apostles in Alexandria

September 24th at 6:00 p.m. – St. Leo the Great in Fairfax

September 30th at 6:00 p.m. – Holy Family in Dale City

September 30th at 6:30 p.m. – St. Luke in McLean

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:

Tuesday, August 18th in Meeting Room 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 1st in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 9th in Meeting Room 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 15th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 17th in Meeting room 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 22nd n Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 24th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 29th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 1st in Meeting Room 2 at 2:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 13th in Meeting Room 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 27th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 10th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 1st in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

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

A Message from the PTO

The PTO would again like to welcome everyone back for the new school year!  We enjoyed seeing everyone at Orientation and the Back to School BBQ.  We hope that we were able to help everyone with any questions they may have had, especially our new families.  As you may already know we now have a volunteer website, https://www.helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer, which you will soon find under the PTO page on the All Saints website.  Please click on the link to create your login, you can start finding volunteer opportunities and logging hours once that’s done!  If you would like instructions on how to create a login or have any problems at all, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Johanna Catts, at schoolvolunteers@allsaintsvaschool.org. This is a work in progress so if you do not see certain opportunities that you are used to seeing available, please let us know.  All volunteer opportunities that were available with the Points for Parents program is still available with the Family Stewardship Program, plus more!  We truly hope to help everyone meet their Family Stewardship goal.  God bless and here’s to a great school year!

All Saints Casino and Auction night “A Romantic European Evening”

Please mark your calendars if you haven’t already done so, the All Saints Casino and Auction night “A Romantic European Evening” will be held on November 21st at 6pm! (As printed on the sticker in your school calendar.)  Please check the volunteer website for specific ways you can help with this event and earn your shares.  If you have any questions or if after checking the volunteer website you are still not sure where you can help but want to be involved, please contact Johanna Catts, our volunteer coordinator, she will point you in the right direction!

All Saints JCYO News & Information

Please check out the links below for news and information about the JCYO including Track & Field/Cross County Announcements, JCYO Sports and Family Stewardship Program, and a message from the JCYO Sports Leadership Team.  There is also a link for the 2015-16 CYO Sports Registration Packet.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 3rd         

–          Pre-Kindergarten Parent Orientation (Art Room/7:00 p.m.)

Friday, September 4th             

–          Deadline for Submitting Emergency Contact Information, Directory & Media Waiver Preferences via PowerSchool

–          Opening of the School Year Mass (8:30 a.m.)

Monday, September 7th           

–          Holiday – Labor Day

Tuesday, September 8th           

–          Band Demonstration Day

–          Pre-Kindergarten Open House (9:00-11:00 a.m. & 12:30-2:30 p.m.)

–          Back-to-School Night for Grades 1-5 & PTO Meeting (PAC/7:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, September 9th      

–          First Day of Pre-Kindergarten

Thursday, September 10th       

–          6th Grade Field Trip to the Edge

–          SchoolMessenger System Test (10:30 a.m.)

Friday, September 11th           

–          School Mass (8:30 a.m.)

–          Parent-Student Handbook Acknowledgment Forms due

Links

JCYO News & Information – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=ALL-SAINTS-EAGLES-NEWS.pdf

2015-16 CYO Sports Registration Packet – https://allsaintsvaschool.org/index/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2015/09/2015-16-CYO-Sports-Registration-Packet.pdf