PRINCIPAL STEELE'S NEWSLETTER - MARCH 29, 2018

PRINCIPAL STEELE'S NEWSLETTER - MARCH 29, 2018

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."         Pope John Paul II

OUT AND ABOUT:

· Last Friday, I attended the Youth Group Children's Stations of the Cross. Today, our 7th Grade performed a very moving Stations of the Cross. Hearing the children's voices and watching them act out the Passion of Christ was a beautiful reminder of the wonderful and blessed season and the growing faith of our students.

· Speaking of our Youth Group: they are starting a great new book project in April. Is your child looking for some new books to read? The week of April 2nd, Mara Fleming and the Youth Group will be collecting books and categorizing them in the main lobby. Then the week of April 16th you are invited to stop by and pick-up as many books as you would like to add to your home library for your children. Great idea, Mrs. Fleming and her Youth Group.

· A good book on parenting I have been reading during this longest winter is "The Yes Brain" by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Bryson. The authors say all parents want their children to be able to say "Yes" to life. The first characteristic that your child needs to develop says the authors is the ability to control and regulate their emotions and behaviors which the authors call Balancing. The authors spend time explaining the role of discipline in this process. They say "discipline is about teaching and building skills so that over time, you need to discipline less because your children are building skills to become self-disciplined." They go on to advocate for the value of unstructured play for your child to learn Balancing skills. They state: "Play is children's work. It builds cognitive ability, improving language and problem-solving abilities as well as advancing other executive functioning skills such as planning, predicting, anticipating consequences, and adjusting to surprises." I think of the joyful sounds of our students outside and playing during recess and after school. They make a strong case that we all need to build in unstructured play time for our children.

· Dr. Siegel and Dr. Bryson also discuss the important role of sleep in helping your child develop Balance. They say a child ages three to five needs ten to thirteen hours a sleep a night including naps; a child six to twelve needs nine to twelve hours of sleep per night; and a child thirteen or fourteen needs eight to ten hours of sleep per night." They make the common sense observation, "Think about your own experiences. When you get less sleep, don't you have a less balanced brain?" If you are looking for a good book on parenting to read, I highly recommend "The Yes Brain."

· Congratulations to Mrs. Beggan and her fantastic crew of volunteers for another wonderful St. Patrick's Day Dinner. The evening was high-lighted by great food, great community and great entertainment. A special Shout-Out also goes to 6th-grader Connor B. who performed with the group of Irish Step Dancers.

· What do plastic bowling pins and a plastic bowling ball, dice, peg boards, peg dominoes, plastic colored Easter eggs with jelly beans have in common? They were all used by Ms. Goodale to help teach her kindergarten students to write addition sentences for sums of ten or less. Bravo, Ms. Goodale.

· We will change to spring uniforms on Monday, April 2. The two big changes in the spring uniform are that sneakers can be worn on non-gym days by all students and navy blue uniform shorts can be worn for boys, and navy blue uniform shorts and skorts can be worn by girls weather permitting. Now, all we need is the weather to cooperate.

· Speaking of uniforms. Down the back stairs, as you know, is our place for the bins in our uniform exchange. Please stop by if your child has out-grown last fall's clothes. I remind everyone if you are picking up a new uniform or donating a gently used uniform to please make sure you leave the uniforms as you found them with uniforms either hanging on hooks or placed in the appropriate size bin. As always, your help is greatly appreciated.

· Do you want to know the difference in the staff between Catholic and public school? On our half-day last Wednesday, Carol Wiemer came in early to help Ms. Gammardella in Pre-K 4 because she knew Mrs. K was out for the day. I am telling you that would never happen in a public school. Bravo, Mrs. Wiemer!

· On Monday, I had the chance to visit St. Ann's School in East Harlem. St. Ann's describes themselves as "The Personal School." The changes they have experienced in children's engagement and learning through Blended Learning was truly impressive. We all know that every child learns differently and great minds do not think alike. In our transition to a more personalized and blended learning environment, we too will use technology to support and enhance personalized learning by providing web-based resources every day to all students.

· This leads to important registration information for next year: as we move to a more personalized learning environment and more technology resources,

I am asking all returning families to reregister by April 6th. This is vitally important as we plan the technology upgrades needed to meet our goals.

· Good news for all the parents speaking positively about our school. The school board has voted to give a $500 tuition discount to any family that referred a new family who enrolls in our school. If you qualify, please make sure I am aware of the family you referred so we can make sure you are credited with the discount.

· Important School Calendar Change: We now will have a full-day of school on Easter Monday. This is different from our calendar!! Please take note.

· The week of April 9th will remain a spring break. We have too many families with travel plans. With the nine snow days we have had this year it still puts our last day of school being June 27th. June 25, 26, and 27th will be half-days.

· We still need to use May 4th for Professional Development as we are planning special Personalized Instruction PD for our teachers.

· What type of learning experiences do you want your child to have? How about having choice in deepening their learning experience? Our 8th-graders are reading the Shakespeare play, Macbeth. In addition, Ms. Mancuso has given them the choice to work on a wide-range of related projects. Some of the projects include: the new English vocabulary created by Shakespeare, a history of the Globe theatre, weapons in Shakespeare's time, the connection between Macbeth and other plays by Shakespeare, and women's role in Shakespeare's time. The presentations were also diverse: some were interactive, some were in a skit format, and some were presentations. Bravo, 8th-graders!

· Cross-Country Practice 

 has started for all 5th through 8th-grade runners

 . Please encourage your child come and join the fun.

· The difficult winter is impacting our budget also with additional heating and snow removal expenses. 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 over $100,000 in fundraising to stay in the "black." Any contribution you can make to the Fatima Faith Fund is greatly appreciated.

· 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 or at lindasweeny@icloud.com with questions or to register. Do you know a good location to place a poster for our basketball camp? If you do, please pick take one from in front of the school office.

· Mark your calendars: we have set the date for the annual Sports Award Dinner . This year it will be Thursday, May 24th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.ALL FAMILIES ARE INVITED! Tickets are $15 for adults and all students and siblings eat for free. You can't beat that! Come help us recognize all of this year's athletes. The next Sports Award Planning meeting is May 8th at 7:30 p.m.

· What is the most powerful way you can teach your child about the importance of volunteerism and community service? By modeling this trait with your own actions! Parent volunteers are critical for the success of our school and such an important part of the "Fatima Experience" for all our families. Each family should be performing their hours at Something Special. In addition, we need help with the coming Spring Gala, planning the Sports Banquet, and we need to parents to replace our out-going H.S.A. officers. Please consider volunteering to help us for next year.

· Marking Period Time change: due to our eight snow days, this marking period, I want to extend the third marking by one week. Now we will end the third marking period on April 20 and send home report cards on April 27th.

· 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! Visit our Facebook page for more information on the Gala.

· Announcement of a new Gala Incentive: The class with the highest percentage of parental response to the Gala will receive a week's Dress Down Coupon for the last week of school. Which class will win?

· My wife and I went last weekend to see an inspirational movie recommended by Bishop Caggiano. The movie is called "Paul Apostle of Christ." Warning: the violence depicted in the movie against the early Christians in Rome makes it definitely NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN. The movie tells the story of the last days of St. Paul, the story of Paul's friendship with Luke (which I was unaware of), and gives a very realistic look at the struggles and persecution of the early Christian Church in Rome. Please consider checking it out this Easter season.

"SHOUT OUT I"

Susan Kellogg and Susan Schneider. We are so fortunate at our school to have not one, but two fantastic school nurses. Depending on the day of the week, either Ms. Kellogg or Ms. Schneider is responsible for the physical well-being of 134 students aged 3 to 14. This responsibility includes making a quick diagnosis in cases of illness or accident, administering medications as prescribed, consulting with parents on a wide-range of health questions, and providing counseling with students on the ups-and-downs of daily life. Ms. Kellogg and Ms. Schneider have their own unique personalities but they are similar in their positive approach to their work and the high level of professionalism they demonstrate every day.

COMING EVENTS:

March 29th - 7th-Grade Stations of the Cross in the Church at 10:15 a.m.

March 30th - No School for Good Friday

April 2nd - Change in the Calendar! Now full-day of school on Easter Monday with students switching to spring uniforms

April 2 to April 6 - Youth Group Book Exchange begins

April 6th - First Friday Mass - Grade 5 Hospitality

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

April 20th - End of the 3rd marking period - this is different from the school calendar

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

April 25th - National Jr. Honor Society Induction Ceremony

April 26th - Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade field trip to Everwonder.

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 5th - Wittingham Cancer Center Walk/5K

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 7th - 4th and 5th trip to the State Capitol

June 8th - Art Show and Spring Concert

June 14th - Flag Day

June 13th - H.S.A. Father & Daughter Dance

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 25/26/27 - Half-days of school

June 27th - Right now, last Day of School for Pre-K through 7th

           

And Finally:

Ms. Galasso is having her surgery on Tuesday. Monday we are switching to spring uniforms, in addition, Team Galasso is declaring Tuesday,  

PINK DRESS-DOWN DAY.  

Teachers will be handing students their pink t-shirts when they enter school. Go, Ms. Galasso!

HAPPY EASTER!