Principal Newsletter 3/2/2018

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Joseph Addison

OUT AND ABOUT:

  • Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
  • Happy Read Across America Day. Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. We celebrated today across the different grade levels from Pre-k wearing their Dr. Seuss shirts and baking a Seuss theme cake, to first grade bringing in pillows and sleeping bags and doing a "read-in," to the middle school spending time in Sustained Silent Reading. I have always felt that reading is fundamental for school success. How are you celebrating in your home?
  • Important registration information for next year: our school is committed to helping provide a Catholic Education to all families interested for the 2018-2019 school year. New this year the Bishop Scholarship Fund application will be part of the FACTS application!! The window to apply to the Bishop Scholarship Fund opened on February 1st and closes for returning families on March 15th. This means you must register for next year by March 15th and request financial assistance on the FACTS application. Please, if in doubt, apply for the Bishop Scholarship Fund. You must apply first to the Bishop Scholarship Fund to be eligible for our Tuition Review Committee. Any questions about this, please contact me.
  • What type of learning experiences do you want your child to have? How about having an awareness and appreciation of the genius of Shakespeare. Last week Ms. Mancuso arranged for Shakesperience Productions Company to come to our school and present a series of grade-level assemblies for our middle school classes. At each grade-level assembly students got a chance to discuss Shakespeare's use of language, to explore his use of iambic pentameter, discuss the audience his plays were intended for, and to interact and take part with the actors in a series of short scenes from Shakespeare's plays. It was a very engaging and valuable experience.
  • In 2015, Our Lady of Fatima School was reviewed and accredited as an independent Pre-K through 8th-grade school with a site visit by an accreditation team from the New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. Commission on Independent Schools. As a normal part of that accreditation process, we were asked to submit a two-year interim report this past January that addressed different questions and areas raised during the 2015 site visit. We received our feedback this past week from Jay S. Stroud. Director of the Commission, saying that our "Report was accepted without reservation and noted for its thoroughness." He went on to say, "The major recommendations within the Visiting Committee Report have been addressed and progress has been made in each area. " Beth Hamilton, Associate Director of the Commission on Independent Schools also corresponded with us saying our interim report "presented a school moving forward with energy and direction." All this is wonderful feedback for our school and confirmation of the direction we are headed.
  • I want to thank the entire staff, but especially Becky Garmmadella, Patty O'Shea, Kathleen Rooney, and Rose Highland for their extra work helping with the writing of the Interim Report.
  • Our Student Government hosted a wonderful Valentine Day Dance on February 15th. The gym was beautifully decorated and the activities and food were great. Congratulations to our all our Student Government members and especially our Co-Presidents Rebecca C. and Victoria V. for this successful dance and all their great Student-Government activities they have run this year. Bravo!
  • Rebecca and Victoria also this week visited the 6th grade ELA class to share their favorite books to inspire Ms. Mancuso's reading challenge, READO. Double Bravo!
  • We've had a number of different safety drills during the last two weeks. Before each drill, each teacher explained the drill in language appropriate for the age of their children. Last Wednesday we had a Lock Down Drill. Last Tuesday with the warm weather we had a fire drill. The previous week, we had an emergency sheltering drill. After the drills were completed, we met as a faculty and discussed what is working well and where we still need improvements. All these drills are done with the goal of keeping your child safe at school.
  • After the tragic shooting in Florida, school safety remains a daily national topic. I welcome any discussion or suggestions. Please call me if you have any questions or concerns.
  • I would recommend all parents to be very aware of and monitoring your own child's exposure to the on-going media coverage of the Florida shooting and discussion of gun safety in our country. We want our children to be alert and appropriately prudent, but not anxiety filled. How to achieve this balance in our media age depends on many factors. Please call me if you would like to discuss further.
  • We have been talking both as a faculty and with the Diocese about next year our school being a pilot school to provide more personalized instruction to our students. Personalized Instruction will be defined by us as "every child is educated in an environment that is personalized to meet their needs." This is a theory base that we can all get behind!
  • I am aware that everyone is very busy. I do want to remind everyone that you should be using the back door for drop offs and pick-ups. Our front door driveway is not designed to handle a number of cars arriving or leaving at the same time.
  • I am also asking everyone to use caution and patience in the back parking lot. The area of sight in the parking lot is limited and we are in the potential dangerous situation of cars driving out of the parking lot while students are leaving cars and walking toward the school. Please use extreme caution in this situation. Thank you for your help with this most important safety issue.
  • More exciting STEM news. Our STEM committee met and we are going ahead with a technology grant from Something Special and purchasing 20 android devices to power our Virtual Reality headsets. How cool is that?
  • It has been a long, cold winter. It is time for you and your family to have a night out of great food, great entertainment, and great fun. Please mark your calendar and come and celebrate with us at the St. Patrick's Day Dinner on March 17th. The dinner begins at 6:00 and tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. You can make reservations by emailing Anne Benanti at AC1498@aol.com
  • Coding for Kids is returning this spring as an after-school enrichment program. We will offer programs for six weeks. We will offer two age-group sessions: "Little Coders" for grades K-2 which will meet afterschool on Fridays from 3:15 to 4:15 and "Game Development Beginner-Intermediate" for grades 3-5 which will meet Mondays from 3:15 to 4:15." Classes will begin the week of March 5th so there is still time to sign-up. 
  • Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift to the Fatima Faith Fund. Last year we reached our fundraising goal of $75,000. This year we must raise a little over $100,000 in fundraising to stay in the "black." Any contribution you can make to the Fatima Faith Fund is greatly appreciated.
  • What can you do to help our school? Register your child for next year. Registration is vitally important in helping us begin to plan for next year. Thank you to the 25 families that have already registering for next year.
  • One positive financial development is the new tax law includes the new provision that college savings plans called 529 Plans can, beginning this year, be used also for K-8 Catholic education. Please make yourself aware of this important financial incentive.
  • Sign-up has begun for our summer basketball camp. It is a great camp that focuses on skills and fun and will run for four weeks beginning the week of July 9. It is run by Coach Joe Vazzari from Trinity Catholic and staffed by OLF alumni. The camp runs from 9:00 to 3:00 each day and the cost is $250 per week. Please contact Linda Sweeny at 203-434-3441 at lindasweeny@icloud.com with questions or to register.
  • Mark your calendars: we have set the date for the annual Sports Award Dinner. This year it will be Thursday, May 24th. We will have our first meeting to begin to plan for the Dinner on March 13th at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome!
  • It is March and we are almost through the flu season, but not quite yet. I am reminding everyone to please keep your child home 24 hours after the fever has gone and to please see your Pediatrician if your child exhibits any of the classic flu symptoms of the sudden onset of fever, aches in muscles and joints, fatigue, and a sore throat with a cough.
  • The Norwalk soccer organization Soccerviza is renting our gym this winter on Saturdays from February 10th to March 24 for children's soccer clinics. They are offering soccer clinics in 0ne-hour blocks for 4-5-year-olds, 6-7-year-olds, 8-10-year-olds and 11 -14-year- olds. They are offering students from our school a 10% discount to attend these soccer clinics. If you are interested in your child attending, you can sign them up at soccerviza.com.
  • Parent volunteers are critical for the success of our school and such an important part of the "Fatima Experience" for all our families. All the officers of the H.S.A. Board will have completed their two-year commitment at the end of this year(And a very successful time it has been!) and we are in need of new parents to step-up and to think about taking over their roles for next year. If you have some interest in helping our school in this way, please speak to Adrian Salageanu, H.S.A. Co-President, or email him at  salage@hotmail.com.
  • Our annual Spring Gala is April 21st and this year it is honoring our own Mrs. Kathleen Rooney. The theme is a Masquerade Ball and it is going to be an unforgettable evening of fun, joy, and memories. Please plan on joining us! The next Gala planning meeting is March 12th at 7:00 p.m. here at school. All are welcome! Visit our Facebook page for more information on the Gala.

"SHOUT OUT I"

Danielle Mancuso. Ms. Mancuso excels at exposing her students to great literature. The 6th grade read the novel "Wonder" this year; the seventh grade read the "Adventures of Tom Sawyer;" and the 8th grade is going to read, "Macbeth." In addition, Ms. Mancuso believes in letting her students experience great literature through different mediums. Before Christmas, the middle school students saw the movie "Wonder" and the 7th graders got to see a series of one-act plays based on the writing of Mark Twain. This past week, Ms. Mancuso arranged for the entire middle school to experience a Shakespeare discussion and interactive theatre worship with the theatre group, Shakesperience Productions. In addition, Ms. Mancuso has the middle school students excited about her winter reading game, READO. Thank you, Ms. Mancuso, all you do to enrich the experience of our students in English Language Arts.

 

COMING EVENTS:

March 12th - Gala Planning Meeting at 7:00 p.m. here at school

March 12th - March 23rd - Iowa School-wide testing

March 15th - Last day for returning families to apply for the Bishop Scholarship Fund

March 20th - H.S.A. meeting at 7:30 p.m.

March 22th - Safe Environment Training

March 29th - No School for Holy Thursday

March 30th - No School for Good Friday

April 2nd - No School for Easter Monday

April 6th - Third Marking Period Ends

                 First Friday Mass - Grade 5 Hospitality

April 9th- April 13th - No School for Spring Recess

April 21st - H.S.A. Masquerade Gala

April 29th - Open House for New Families

May 4th - No School for Teacher PD Day

May 5th - First Communion for our Second-Graders at 9:00 a.m.

May 11th - Living Museum from Middle School

May 11th - Teacher's Supervised Movie Night

May 17th - 8th-Grade trip to Boston

May 19 -Spring Musical "Pulaski"

May 20 - Spring Musical "Pulaski"

May 24th - Sports Award Dinner

May 28th - No School for Memorial Day

June 1st - First Friday Mass - Grades 1 & 3 Hospitality

June 8th - Art Show and Spring Musical

June 14th - Flag Day

June 15 - 8th-Grade Graduation in the Church at 7:00 p.m. (This date is will not change).

June 22nd - H.S.A. Closing School Party

June 25th - Right now, last Day of School for Pre-K through 7th

And Finally:

Final words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.