The Sentinel ~ December 2, 2015

 

Principal’s Message

I am pleased to share with you that last week the children contributed a total of 1,234.4 pounds of food as part of the Thanksgiving Prayer Service.  Following the event,  representatives from the National Junior Honor Society arranged the donations into 50 pre-packaged meals that were later distributed to families in need through the Bethany Food Pantry.

This year we also initiated an outreach to benefit the St. Lucy Project sponsored by Catholic Charities as part of our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.  Thanks to the very generous response of families in our community, our school received $1,822.07 in contributions.  This is an extraordinary outpouring of support and I am grateful to all who participated.  To put this into perspective, this total dollar amount is approximately 3-4 times greater than our previous contributions for the Catholic Schools Care about Catholic Charities Week celebration.  More importantly, we know that Catholic Charities will accomplish great work in feeding the poor thanks to the kindness of our community.  I cannot help but think of the lessons learned by our students as they realized the connection between gratitude and generosity during our annual time of thanksgiving.

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This week we have begun our annual journey of Advent, a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas.  Amidst all of the joy and activity surrounding the preparations for the season, it is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that Advent is a beautiful season unto itself.

At All Saints we have established several traditions that help to create a tone of anticipation and waiting, in essence a time during which we invite the children to prepare their hearts for the coming of  Christ.

  • Advent Wreath Prayer Services ~ On Monday morning the students gathered in the Parish Activities Center for a school-wide prayer service highlighting the meaning of the Advent Wreath. During the second, third and fourth weeks of Advent, each Monday students will gather around three separate wreaths in each of the wings of the school where they will participate in grade level prayer services.
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation ~ Each of the students in grades three through eight will have an opportunity to encounter Christ in this beautiful Sacrament of healing and forgiveness. Rather than scheduling confessions by grade level, this year we have planned for our students to attend one of two communal Penance Services: grades 3-5 on December 7th and grades 6-8 on December 14th.
  • Toys for Tots ~ The Peace & Justice Players will once again sponsor the Toys for Tots drive beginning this week and extending through December 15th.

A Prayer for Advent ~ Week I

All-powerful God,

increase our strength of will for doing good

that Christ may find an eager welcome at His coming

and call us to His side in the kingdom of heaven,

where He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Tuition Assistance Applications for 2016-2017

As announced earlier this semester, the Diocese of Arlington has determined that SMART Tuition Aid will now review applications for tuition assistance and provide recommendations to school and parish administration.  Although we will no longer be partnering with FACTS for this purpose, FACTS will continue to process tuition payments for All Saints Catholic School.

Applications for Tuition Assistance for the 2016-2017 academic year are now available.  Please note that SMART requires that families submit online applications only rather than paper copies.

Applications, however, are available in both English and Spanish.  A link to detailed instructions and an introduction to the process is included in this week’s newsletter.

A copy of the online application can be found at the following website: http://www.smartaidforparents.com

The school code for All Saints Catholic School is 03089.

Due dates for submission of applications and supporting documentation are as follows:

High School                 January 25, 2015

Elementary School       March 14, 2015

NOTE: All families with children enrolled in both high school and elementary school will need to submit an application by the January high school deadline.

Please note that all applications and supporting documentation must be received by SMART rather than postmarked by the dates listed above.  Applications will only be processed by SMART once all required documentation has been submitted. 

Those families interested in applying for Tuition Assistance for the Pre-Kindergarten program are invited to complete the SMART process.  Although pre-school students are not eligible for financial assistance through the diocese, the analysis provided by SMART will guide the process for determining disbursements from funding through our school and parish.

An overview of the Diocesan Tuition Assistance Program can be found at the following link.

http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/catholicschools/tuition_grant.php

Should you have any questions about the application process, please do not hesitate to contact a SMART representative at (800) 360-8027 or our school office.

Virtue of the Month ~ Generosity

During the month of December, students will be encouraged to implement the following strategies:

  1. Give from your own money to help others in need.
  2. Give freely of your time without expecting anything in return.
  3. Ask for forgiveness when you have hurt someone and be willing to forgive them when they hurt you.
  4. Offer to help someone in class each day.
  5. Share your supplies with someone who forgot theirs.
  6. Do something helpful for someone at home without being asked.
  7. See if others want “second helpings” before taking some for yourself.
  8. Let someone else in your family choose the movie or television show you will watch together.
  9. Offer to help an older neighbor with a job like raking leaves or shoveling snow.
  10. Let another person ahead of you get a drink first at the water fountain.

Prayer of the Month ~ Prayer of St. Nicholas

Loving God, we thank you for the example of St. Nicholas, who fed the hungry, brought hope to the imprisoned, gave comfort to the lost, and taught the truth to all.  May we strive to imitate him by putting you first in all we do.  Give us the courage, love and strength of St. Nicholas, so that, like him, we may serve you through loving our brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Annual Bullying Survey

Through our Virtue Program and the full integration of our faith across the curriculum, students at All Saints are encouraged to develop habits of respect, kindness, and compassion.  Over the course of years, these traits become part of the fabric of our students’ lives.  Nevertheless, it is vitally important that we explicitly remind our students of the dangers and consequences of bullying.

In accordance with our school and diocesan policy, this week I would like to invite all parents to participate in an anonymous, online survey for the purpose of assessing the level of bullying at All Saints Catholic School.  We estimate that it should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the survey.  Students in grades 3-8 will complete a corresponding survey during their computer class beginning next week.

Parents are asked to complete the survey by Friday, December 11th.  In advance, we thank you for your participation in our efforts to both assess our current climate and to establish benchmarks for future reference.

If perhaps you are wondering what you can do as a parent to further support this initiative, we would offer the following suggestions:

  • Take some time this week to review the topic of bullying with your son/daughter. Help them to understand that the repeated, targeted nature of bullying is very hurtful, often resulting in wounds that last years, and in some cases a lifetime.  Help them to understand that all students have a right and expectation to be able to come to school each day to learn in an environment free of fear.
  • Remind your child that, should he/she ever encounter an instance of bullying, it is vitally important that he/she share this information with a faculty or staff member. If for any reason they are uncomfortable doing so, please contact your child’s teacher directly.  It is only with this type of information that we are able to take steps to help prevent future occurrences.
  • Spend some time discussing with your child the practical steps that he/she can take to discourage bullying. For example, sharing strategies or even role-playing appropriate responses can help to empower students not to laugh, not to participate, and to take a stand whenever they witness an instance of bullying.

Cafeteria Menu Change for Next Wednesday, December 9th

The cafeteria will be serving a Greek CHICKEN Gyro instead of the Greek Beef Gyro.  The rest of the menu will remain the same.

MANY THANKS FROM THE LIBRARY

A big THANK YOU goes out to all parents, students, faculty and staff that supported the recent Full STEM Ahead Book Fair…Power Up With Books!  What a great way to have celebrated reading and raise funds for school resources.  This fun-filled event could not be accomplished without our devoted All Saints families that graciously volunteered to make the Book Fair a huge success.  It is a blessing to have so many parents extend their volunteer hours throughout the week to handle the cashier station, sort inventory, write wish lists and pack up the enormous selection of books.  A special thanks to Mrs. Renata McLaughlin and Mrs. Johanna Catts for coordinating all of the volunteers. It truly was a team effort and a wonderful example of our community sharing their gifts.

70th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade

Once again, All Saints Catholic School will host a float in the annual Manassas Christmas Parade.  Below is pertinent information for parade participants:

  • Participants should meet on Reb Yank Drive between Centreville Road and Mathis Avenue beginning at 8:30 a.m., but should arrive no later than 9:30 a.m.
  • The parade will end at Peabody Street and Lee Avenue.
  • Parking is available in the parking lot of the Manassas 4 Cinemas & Nathan’s Dairy Bar, located on Mathis Avenue between Liberia Avenue and Reb Yank Drive.
  • Parade Permission Slip for students: Christmas Parade Permission Slip 2015
  • Each participating parent will earn 1 stewardship share for each hour of participation (including the wait/staging time).
  • Additional information, including a parade route can be found at gmchristmasparade.org.

If you have additional questions, please contact Drew Cooney at a_cooney@verizon.net.

Box Tops Update

Since our submission, we have already collected 2,130 box tops. Get your neighbors, family and friends involved by asking them to clip for you too!  Our next submission is in the beginning of March 2016. Here are the top three classes:

3A – Mrs. Montano      1066 2A – Mrs. Cummings   883 5A – Mrs. Honkus        709

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Evening with St. Nicholas ~ Friday at 7:00 p.m.

The 7th Annual “Evening with St. Nicholas” is this Friday, December 4.  Join us beginning at 7:00pm in the church.  All Saints students in NJHS & SCA will be serving as ushers, greeters, and readers.  Everyone is getting involved!

Please join us for what has become a beautiful tradition here at All Saints. The evening will begin with an Advent Prayer Service and traditional Advent carols in the church. The “Procession of the Shoes” will again be led by St. Nicholas himself! St. Nicholas and Mother Seton will be available for photos (bring your own camera) afterwards in the PAC.

This very popular community-building event is designed to help us prepare for the Advent season.  Once again, we will be collecting donations of new shoes, with the proceeds benefitting House of Mercy. Donation guidelines are: NEW plain colors of tennis shoes- white, blue, black, tan, or brown. No character tennis shoes, please.   

Thank you to those who have already volunteered to help before or during the event.  We can always use help, so go to https://www.helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer/homePage  to volunteer your time.

Thank you to those already donating cookies or cocoa for the evening’s refreshments. Donations of cocoa can be dropped off ANY day this week- attention Mrs. Almond or Mrs. Roccograndi, at the front desk.  Cookie donations can be dropped off Friday 8:00am – 12:00pm, at the front desk.  

Have a question about volunteering or donations? Contact event co-chair Mrs. Sarah Roccograndi at Sarah.Roccograndi@gmail.com

Applications for New Students (2016-2017)

Current families who wish to enroll a new student in grades Pre-Kindergarten through eight for the 2016-2017 academic year are invited to request an application via email at the following address: office@allsaintsva.org.

As requests are received, applications will be sent home to families with the youngest child currently enrolled in our school.  As in the past, we will continue to give first consideration to current school families before reviewing applications from new families. For this reason, it is important that current families submit their forms in advance of the deadline of February 26th.

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 the upcoming session:

Saturday, December 5th, The Church of St. Veronica in Chantilly at 9:30 a.m.

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, 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, December 3rd         

  • 8th Grade High School Placement Test

Friday, December 4th              

  • School Mass & Virtues Ceremony (8:30 a.m.)
  • Evening with St. Nicholas Prayer Service (7:00 p.m.)

Saturday, December 5th          

  • Manassas Christmas Parade (Permission slips required/Gather by 9:30 a.m. at parade site)

Monday, December 7th                       

  • Advent Wreath Prayer Services (8:15 a.m.)
  • Advent Penance Service – Grades 3-5 (10:00 a.m.)

Tuesday, December 8th          

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception Mass (8:30 a.m.)

Thursday, December 10th       

  • Enrollment Management Team Meeting (7:00 p.m.)

Friday, December 11th                        

  • 2nd Grade Field Trip to GMU Theater (9:00-12:30)
  • Deadline: Bullying Survey

Links