The Sentinel ~ November 4, 2015

 

Principal’s Message

Each spring students in grades three 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 recent years the Office of Catholic Schools completed a review process to determine whether this current test best meets the needs of our students and to discern the potential for online testing.  After a period of research and consultation, the diocese has begun to transition to computerized testing through Scantron.  Nine schools are piloting the program during 2015-2016 and All Saints will implement the new testing protocols beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year.

One of the benefits of this new approach to testing is that the data will be compiled and analyzed very rapidly, providing teachers and administrators immediate feedback regarding the needs of the learners.  This efficient process will allow us to assess student learning three times throughout the year.  The first administration of the test will establish an individual baseline for each student from which progress can be measured throughout the year.  Although the battery of math, reading and language arts will be administered several times, the time allotted to the process is actually reduced.  Instead of investing the better part of one week for standardized testing, each grade level will test for approximately 1-2 hours within a three week window.  This process will occur at the beginning, middle and end of the academic year.

So as to prepare for online testing, we are providing our students more frequent experiences of computerized assessments.  With access to the computer lab, media/library center, and a mobile cart of Chromebooks, students now have greater opportunities to demonstrate their learning through classroom-based computerized tests.

For this year, the results of Terra Nova testing remain an important measure of student learning.  With this in mind, this week I am providing to you several testing charts which are linked to this letter and that will also be available for your review on our website.  The bar graphs are designed to provide a quick overview of grade level performance in reading, language arts and math for the test administered last spring and also include a comparison to diocesan averages.  All of the scores are percentile based, comparing the performance of our students and the entire diocese to that of the national norm group.

In the majority of grade levels across all three batteries of the test, our students surpassed the benchmark for top ten performance, i.e. 75 percentile.  Our students excelled in the reading and language arts sections, frequently scoring above the diocese average.    In mathematics, our students generally scored just below diocesan average, with the exception of the fifth grade which obtained a composite score well above the norm.

Mathematics continues to be an area for improvement as we strive to not only strengthen performance as measured by standardized testing but to better prepare our students for future opportunities in STEM related fields.  Through increased use of differentiation we are now more effectively targeting the needs of students in the math classroom.  Already the teachers have begun the process of pre-assessing students to gain insights into their current level of understanding prior to beginning a chapter or unit of study.  The results of this pre-testing enable the teachers to place students in flexible ability groups and to customize the learning for those who have demonstrated non-mastery, partial mastery or full mastery of concepts.  The resulting tiered approach allows students to be engaged in the learning process in a manner that is relevant to their current level of understanding.

Additionally, the teachers have already completed a process entitled Planning for Instruction, by which they have crafted clear, instructional goals that are linked to the Terra Nova data.  With the recognition of patterns across grade levels, there is the opportunity for teachers to collaborate and share new ideas and strategies.  With everyone moving in the same direction and with a prevailing “growth mindset”, I know that the efforts of our faculty will provide an enriched and even more challenging learning environment for our students.

Report Cards & Parent-Teacher Conferences

On Friday teachers will distribute first quarter report cards to students in grades 1-8 and progress reports for those in Kindergarten.  In preparation for the parent-teacher conferences next week, please take some time to review all of the information provided by the teacher, noting any special areas of success or difficulty.  Additionally, we encourage you to speak with your child to determine if there is anything that he or she would like you to address with the teacher.  Please feel free to make a list of any questions or concerns that you wish to discuss during the conference.  While the time for conferences is limited, the teachers are committed to addressing the development of your child and welcome any questions you might have.  Recognizing that experiences in the home also affect a child’s performance at school, the conference provides an opportunity to discuss any changes in routine, significant events, such as the death of a close relative or pet, or any other occurrences that might be affecting your child.  The better the teacher understands the specific needs of each of the children, the better he or she will be able to assist them in their learning.

Prospective Teacher Information Meeting (Tuesday, 1:00 p.m.)

Are you interested in teaching for the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Arlington? There are 44 schools within the Diocese offering instructional programs for all ages from pre-school through high school. Perhaps your certification has expired, or perhaps you are thinking of changing careers or returning to teaching after a period of absence. Do you have questions about qualifications to teach? Would you like to learn more about the mission of teaching in a Catholic School in a nurturing and caring, Christ-centered environment? Plan to attend the Information Program for Prospective Teachers on Tuesday, November 10th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the Art Room.  Sister Patricia Helene, IHM, head of the Marymount University Catholic School Leadership Program, Sister Karl Ann Homberg, SSJ, Assistant Superintendent for School Leadership and Janet Vetrano, Office of Catholic Schools Licensure Specialist will provide details about the opportunities and advantages of teaching in our Catholic Schools.

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Full STEM Ahead….

THE BOOK FAIR IS ON THE RADAR AND IS HEADING TO ALL SAINTS!!!

The All Saints Library is GEARING UP and celebrating the POWER OF READING in this year’s Book Fair.  Please mark your calendar dates for November 16th through November 23rd as the library transforms its space!   Excitement is already building literally as students use their savvy engineering skills to enter the Lego Book Fair Contest.   Check out the attachments to get energized by the Book Fair.

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Casino & Auction Night

The November 21st Casino & Auction “A Romantic European Evening” is a little over two weeks away.  Ticket price of $45 per person includes a gourmet dinner & desserts, live & silent auction, 3 hours of casino play and a photo booth.  Attire for the evening is Sunday best, business or business casual.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful evening with other All Saints families, teachers, priests and staff!

We are always welcoming additional volunteers and donations!  To make a donation or to inquire about how your business can become an event or program sponsor, please contact allsaintsauction@allsaintsvaschool.org.  To volunteer, please click on the link and see what opportunities we have available https://www.helpcounterweb.com/ci/signup/140e97a50f4.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.mkt.com/all-saints-catholic-church

Greater Manassas Veteran’s Day Parade
Don’t miss the Manassas Veteran’s Day Parade on Saturday, November 7 beginning at 11:00am in Old Town Manassas. This year’s parade will highlight Women in the Military. For additional information and details on the parade route, please see the Veteran’s Day Parade website at www.vetpar.org.

Carpool Rosary
Greetings All Saints Family! Are you looking to deepen your faith? Have you tried to pray the rosary daily and not always been able to find the time to do so? Carpool Rosary is the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude to our Blessed Mother and to ask for her intercession.  This year we will be meeting on School Mass days, just after drop off, around 8:05 a.m. Although usually on Fridays, some school Masses will fall during the week. Please meet at the Our Lady of Fatima statue, which is located in the church on the left hand side (where the Wednesday morning prayer group meets). For additional information, please contact Julie Mantooth (mantooth06@msn.com) or Megan Davies (meggie.davies@verizon.net).

Box Tops for Education

Students, Parents and Teachers…THANK YOU and what a great job everyone did!

With this summer’s collection and November 2nd submission of box tops, we can expect a check in the amount of $1,745.20 mid-December. Thank you for all your efforts. Here are the top four classes with the box top and soup label counts:

Mrs. Montano      3A       792

Mrs. Harrill           1A       542

Mrs. Honkus        5A       484

Mrs. Cummings   2A      466

(Note: all the classes in the lead are A classes)

Do not stop collecting! We have another submission date in the New Year. Keep clipping, ripping and turning in those box tops! Thank you all again.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Lion’s Club Vision and Hearing Screening

On Monday, November 9th the third, fifth and seventh grade students are scheduled for a free Vision and Hearing Screening by the Lion’s Club.  Screening will begin at 9:00 A.M.

A permission form is necessary for your son/daughter to participate in the Hearing and Vision Screening.  Please sign and return the form to your child’s teacher by November 9thNo screening will be conducted without a signed parental consent form.  Students who wear glasses should have them available for the vision portion of the screening.

Veterans Day Celebration

Join us as our school community honors the commitment of the men and women who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. We cordially invite all active duty, reserve, former and retired military personnel to attend our school Mass on Tuesday, November 11th at 8:30 a.m. Following the Mass, there will be an assembly in the PAC with American Legion Post 10 and featured speaker Amy Looney of the Travis Manion Foundation. A reception for all honored guests will follow in Father Kelley Hall. All are welcome!

PTO Teacher Conference Day Luncheons

Every year, the All Saints Catholic School PTO holds a luncheon for the teachers, during teacher/parent conference days, to thank them for their hard work, dedication, and continuing perseverance to educate every student every day.  This year the luncheons will be held on Thursday, November 12th and Friday, November 13th.  Donations and volunteers make the two-day luncheon a success!  Please consider sharing your time, cooking talents and needed donations to this event.  The teachers& staff appreciate the lovely lunches and thoughtfulness of the parents who provide this event for them.

Please use the link to sign-up for all donations & volunteer opportunities: www.helpcounterweb.com/volunteer

Any questions, please feel free to contact Ashli Thompson, 540-588-4904 or teacherluncheon2015@gmail.com

Thank you in advance & God bless you,

Ashli Thompson

Open House for 2016-2017 School Year

All Saints Catholic School will host an Open House for prospective parents on Thursday, November 19th beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Father Kelley Hall. All parishioners and members of the community interested in learning more about our school are cordially invited to attend.  Following a presentation and introduction at 9:00 a.m., tours of the facility will be provided. For more information, please contact Mrs. Joyce D’Eugenio, administrative assistant, at (703) 393-1490.

Spring Choral Concert – Change of Date

The Spring Choral concert originally scheduled for Thursday, May 12th will take place on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Activity Center.

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 sessions:

Saturday, October 31st, Church of St. James in Falls Church at 9:00 a.m.

Saturday, October 31st, Church of St. Timothy in Chantilly at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, November 3rd, Church of the Holy Trinity in Gainesville at 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 4th, Church of the Holy Family in Dale City at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 7th, Saint John the Evangelist School in Warrenton at 9:00 a.m.

Saturday, November 14th, Church of the Holy Family in Dale City at 9:00 a.m. (Spanish Session)

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

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

Tuesday, Jan. 12th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 9th in Meeting Room 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 11th in Meeting Room 2 at 2:15 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15th in Meeting Room 2 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.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, November 5th         

  • 7th Grade Field Trip to Williamsburg (6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Friday, November 6th              

  • School Mass (8:30 a.m.)
  • Report Cards sent Home

Monday, November 9th                       

  • Lions’ Club Screening

Tuesday, November 10th         

  • Teacher Information Session (Art Room/1:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, November 11th    

  • Veterans Day Mass & Assembly (8:30 a.m.)

Thursday, November 12th       

  • Noon Dismissal – Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Spirit Event: Chuck E. Cheese (11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

Friday, November 13th                        

  • Holiday – Parent/Teacher Conferences

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