Dear SKS Families,

Next week Catholic Schools across the country celebrate Catholic Schools Week. The theme which changes every three years is a new one: Catholic Schools: Learn, Serve, Lead, and Succeed.

We are preparing our children for a world that is fast paced and ever changing. Experts believe many of our primary grade students will work at jobs that presently do not exist today. That’s hard to fathom. However, as the world changes exponentially in many ways, it still calls for us to teach core values such as loving to learn – a never ending thirst for knowledge. The world calls for us to serve, as many students and parents did on Martin Luther King Day last week and do regularly throughout the year. The world needs our next generation to lead, and to lead capably with values such as courage, integrity and compassion.  I like to think these are reasons why you believe in Catholic schools, and in particular, St. Katharine of Siena School.

This Sunday we open CSW with a mass at 9:30am. We hope many of you can attend that mass in support of our school.  Students are asked to wear their school uniform. A dress down pass be given to anyone that attends in school uniform. The 2nd collection that week will be to support our H&S fundraising efforts.

During the week, we will have a number of activities centered upon the CSW theme. Monday will be a focus on learning. Tuesday will be centered upon serving.  On Wednesday mentor students will be leading younger students in a STEM activity. On Thursday, we will have some fun with Minute to Win It games. Friday will be the annual faculty vs. students’ basketball game and remember it’s a 12 noon dismissal. All are welcome to attend. A full schedule of the daily activities is on the website and was sent home thuis week in a packet with each family’s oldest child.   Get your and your child’s WILDCAT SELFIE sent in ASAP to be posted on the school bulletin board. My selfie is already on it!  The Cooking Contest should be very exciting too!

On Tuesday, in two separate “Town Meetings,” I talked to grades KG -3 and grades 4 – 8 about many areas of importance:

For KG -3 the topics were:

  • Respect for personal space: The “invisible bubble” around each person and respect for people’s personal property too.
  • Having a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset (explained at their level). Think about the story of The Little Train That Could.
  • Technology: When in school, they are only on sites for educational use as per guidelines in the school handbook.
  • Recess Yard: Only playing games that are safe in the schoolyard. Be aware of others and play under control. No games that involve rough pay.
  • Being kind, caring, and sensitive to needs of others. Display values such as compassion and empathy.
  • Keep a love of learning foremost
  • It’s okay to fail as long as you are giving your best effort. Making mistakes is how we grow and learn.

For Grades 4 – 8 the topics were:

  • How are you contributing positively (or not) to the daily climate and culture to our school? Doing all the little things that add up to a positive environment and a safe school not just physically, but socially and emotionally as well.
  • We discussed how every student is called to serve and to lead.
  • As with the younger grades, importance of having a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset was discussed.
  • Being more aware, considerate, and sensitive to the needs of others. Practice “Respect for all God’s people” as in our mission statement that we recite every morning.
  • Being more aware of the use of technology devices in and out of school. In school, remember devices are only permitted for educational use. Students were reminded of the consequences for not doing so as stated in the handbook. Outside of school: Be aware of what you are saying and posting on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Finstagram (fake accounts). Avoid poor decsion makink such as: Foul languages on texts, hurting others with hurtful inappropriate texts, taking inappropriate pictures/videos of someone and/or posting pictures/videos without permission, making others feel excluded by postings. Being an Upstander rather than a Bystander in given situations. Being a “champion” for others, especially anyone who has been hurt by others. Stand up for others.
  • Dress code: Neat appearance and good hygiene is a must. Being in proper school uniform and looking nice and clean every day is esssential. Boys should have ties fixed properly, shirt tails in, and hair combed. Girls should make sure all components of their school uniform are per code in the Handbook, no sweatshirts, no makeup, etc. Boys and girls should make sure they have a neat appearance at all times.

Afterwards, I sent the 4th and 5th grade back to their rooms I discussed two other issues with grades 6 – 8:

  • Given the universal attention over the last several months about men showing disrespect to women, I discussed how boys are to show complete respect to all girls, treating every female as they would treat their own mother or sister. I encouraged every girl to be assertive and stand up to any behavior that is inappropriate by any boy. Certainly this expectation of mutual respect is true for any relationship regardless of gender.
  • I discussed the dangers of vaping and told students that we are aware that some of our  own students are vaping. The students were told that we are looking for a qualified speaker to address this issue with them in more detail to alert them to the significant dangers.

After next week, you will receive via email two important pieces of information:

  • The Continuous Improvement Survey for our school. Last year over 125 families returned this anonymous survey. We value feedback from our families. Please consider filling out this online survey.
  • A letter about tuition and streamlining our fundraising efforts going forward. The letter will ask you to answer two brief questions and for any additional input you may have.

You’ll see on the photos above that we had a great turnout for our MLK Day of Service, a great example of service in action. Also posted are projects from Miss DeFino’s 6th grade ELA class on figures of speech. How’s your onomatopoeia?

Take care,