posted on August 19, 2011 21:07
We had a wonderful start to school! We enjoyed seeing everyone at the Ice Cream Social. Beginning on Monday with a great professional development day for the whole school staff on Creating the School Family, we spent the day Tuesday planning how to implement these principles throughout the school year. Over time, we will share with parents many of the practices we’re using at school, as they will prove helpful at home, as well, and will create a consistent set of expectations for our students.
The first day for our students was all about teaching routines, building community and setting expectations. I hope your children told you about the exciting things we did—especially in our middle school grades where we began the year much differently than we’ve done before!
Time to Relax
Learning is most effective when one is in an attentive relaxed state. Stress and chaos keep us from focusing on learning, as we’re attending to the discomfort of the stress. Thanks to everyone for getting your children here by 7:50—doing so allows them to enter school with their class, put their things away, unpack for the day and settle in to the Morning Show to entertain and inform them of the coming day. This routine creates a relaxed state of readiness for the rest of the day. Your having your child(ren) here by 7:50 sets them up for success! Thank you.
Thanks for all of the tissues, wipes and paper towels. If you haven’t sent yours already, please do so soon so that we’re well-stocked for the year.
Student IDs have met with mixed reviews by both students and parents. We implemented student IDs at the pastor’s request, as our priests appreciate being able to call students by name when they visit school. This is a benefit for guest teachers, as well, and for those of us who are not classroom teachers, as we don’t spend the time with children necessary to know them by name. There are many times during the day when children interact with other teachers that the ID badges prove helpful. While I’ve never been much of an ID person myself, the benefits are undeniable and can easily outweigh the “institutional” feel that IDs sometimes have.
Parish Website Registration
Registering for the parish website is easy and necessary to access parts of both the parish and school websites. For example, we now post only daily menu options on the Fast Direct calendar and post all school events on part of the school website accessible only when signed in. While we don’t mind those outside the parish knowing many aspects of our school, it is prudent to provide access to field trip and other activity information only to our parent community.
8th Grade Student Ambassadors
Last year we began an 8th Grade Student Ambassador program so that we could allow all 8th grade students who wanted to serve the school to do so. They served in a variety of ways from regular classroom recycling collections to special projects. This year we’re expanding their service to better create and support our School Family. For many years 8th grade students have shared lunch and recess time with Kindergarten students and many of them have taken the opportunity to interact with the Kindergarteners and help them play in constructive ways. This year we have offered them the opportunity to volunteer some of their Academic Lab time each week to do the same with 1st through 4th grade students. Students in these grades become increasingly social and sometimes don’t do so with the compassion and grace we’d like to see. We will train our 8th Grade Ambassador volunteers to help younger students play and interact constructively and appropriately. We plan to do the training next week and begin using their services soon thereafter.
School pictures will be taken on Wednesday, 31 August. Additional information will be sent home in an upcoming Wednesday Folder.
In His Peace,
Gerry Kettenbach, Ph.D.