Tiger Talk! February 12, 2021

Tiger Talk!

February 12, 2021

 

Dear School Family,

I hope this email finds you well. It has been a busy couple of weeks around here. We had a wonderful Catholic Schools Week. Despite the time off for snow, we were still able to celebrate our Faith, Excellence, and Service. We prayed together as a school community with daily prayers specific to our Catholic school students and staff. I will share one prayer with you that we prayed as a group.

 

Almighty God,

You sent forth your Son as a beacon of hope for all people.

As Teacher, He has given us the prime example of the importance of education. As disciples, we look to him for inspiration and strength.

Thank you for the many people who have dedicated their lives in service to our schools.

Thank you for the teachers and administrators who sustain our schools.

Thank you for the parents who have given support and witness to

the importance of Catholic education.

Thank you for the students who work hard to further their education. Bless St. Anthony of Padua Grade School and the many people who advance our mission.

May our school be a home for those who seek to grow in openness, faith, love, intellect, and commitment to justice.

In Your name, we pray, Amen.

 

Exciting News! A Baby Tiger is on the way! I am very happy to announce that Mrs. Laura Angelo and her husband Chris are expecting a second baby girl in July. We could not be more thrilled about this news. We love our growing St. Anthony family. Keep Mrs. Angelo and her precious baby girl in your prayers for a happy and healthy pregnancy over the next few months and a safe and speedy delivery in July.

 

Lent Begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17th. Our Lenten theme is “Our Journey to the Cross.” We will still have our traditional Stations of the Cross in school on Fridays during Religion class. Each student (Grade 3 and older) has their own booklet so that they can participate. This year we purchased Stations of the Cross cards for the children to keep, so they can read the Stations at home as well.

 

Renaissance Testing begins on Tuesday, February 16th! Please be sure to arrive promptly the next two weeks. We ask that you be sure your students are prepared for this testing. They will need a book to read and headphones. Be sure they eat breakfast in the morning and come to school well-rested, so that they can stay focused. The two tests (Math and Reading) are typically only 30-45 minutes. They take place in the computer lab which is socially distanced with dividers and cleaned thoroughly in between testing times. The students did a great job with the testing in September, when we really were just trying to gauge where they were after learning virtually since March. We are looking forward to seeing their growth since we have been in person. We have to schedule many testing windows to accommodate half classes and keep everyone safely distanced. Therefore, if children miss their testing window due to lateness or absence, there may not be an opportunity for a make-up. If there is a specific learning need or an academic concern, however, we will schedule a separate testing time. This will take place outside of the diocese testing window and will be proctored by Mr. Shields or myself.

 

 

Community Builders Award: Just in case you missed my Facebook video (also on the website), I would like to share some special news. Each year we select 1-3 Community Builder Award Recipients. The Community Builders Award was established in 1999 to recognize volunteer members of the St. Anthony of Padua Grade School community for their commitment and dedication to the faith community of the school. The criteria for the Community Builders Award are:

*Members of Religious orders who have taught in the school or supported

the school on the parish level.

*Former Principals or other dedicated employees.

*Parents of former students who remain connected to the school

through volunteer activities for the school/parish.

*An alumnus of the school who has remained supportive and involved.

*Deceased person in the above categories who maintained a strong connection

to the school/parish during their lifetimes.

Staff members submit nominees to the Community Builders Committee describing why the nominee deserves this award. The Committee, with the input of the Principal and Pastor, chooses 2-3 persons to receive the award. The Committee Chairman notifies the nominees to see if they will accept the award which is typically presented during a special assembly. A plaque is given to the honorees and they are invited, along with their families and prior award recipients, to a luncheon provided by the school.

 

This year we decided to recognize some very special people who have truly helped grow our community and who have supported our school during this global pandemic. Mr. Shields and I are proud to present the Community Builders Award this year to the Parents and Students of St. Anthony of Padua Grade School. You are our loyal second family. We thank you for helping us thrive when so many places are struggling to survive and stay open. Thank you for your commitment to Catholic education. We know it is a financial sacrifice for many families. And we thank our students for showing up every day, in-person and virtually. We love you and we are so glad you are with us. Keep up the great work.

 

Food Drive Success! Thank you for the generous donations of food. Collectively we raised 230 pounds of food; more than one pound per student. The St. Patrick’s Center is always in need and always takes the time to send us a written letter of thanks for your contributions.

 

Registration Progress and Compliments! Thank you for being so prompt with your re-registration paperwork. More than half of our families have already re-registered. If you have not re-registered, please do so ASAP. Our enrollment is now open to the public. I am trying to plan programming for next year, and we do have four grades with a waiting list. Word had gotten out about the excellent quality education our students receive here at this school. While many schools and districts in our nation are still working on re-entry plans and COVID safety precautions, we have already celebrated over 100 days of school, fully-in person. I am so grateful. I am the eternal optimist, and I knew we could do this. I thank you for your openness and honesty when exposed to COVID and the extra precautions all of you have taken to keep my staff safe. I love them like my own family.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was fearful every single day that one of them would become ill. So, thank you, and keep up the good work. I know we have a long weekend coming. Travel wisely if you must travel. Remain in your family cohort. Continue to wear your masks and safely distance from those outside of your household.

 

Congratulations and God Bless our Second Grade Class! Second Grade received the Sacrament of First Reconciliation last night. We did an Examination of Conscience together and said the Act of Contrition as a small community. In our beautiful church, each child was able to meet face-to-face with Fathers Wrightson and Rinaldi. Students received a heart necklace from our Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality and a religious rope bracelet from Mr. Shields and me.

 

Water Refill Stations! I wanted to give you a quick update. They are scheduled to begin installation this upcoming Monday, while the children are out of school. I will let you know when the process is complete. This will save you money and cut down on our use of plastic water bottles significantly. Please purchase bottles with wider mouths than a plastic water bottle. The goal is to not touch the top of the bottle to the refill station. Young children have a very hard time doing that using the small openings of a plastic water bottle.

 

Facebook! If you do not already follow us on Facebook, you are missing out. We post pictures daily, and it is the best way to see what is happening inside the school. Follow us at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

 

Scheduled Emergency Drills: Please compliment your children. They have been doing an amazing job with our three emergency drills. They have been quiet, orderly, and very responsive. We just recently had a fire drill with our shortest recorded time. We fully evacuated our building in one minute and 5 seconds. Perhaps it was the snow on the ground outside that motivated them to move faster.

 

COVID Vaccination and Testing Update: Our entire staff continues to receive monthly COVID Testing. We were happy to be included in Stage 1B of the State’s Department of Education’s Vaccination Process. As of today, 29% of our staff has had the first vaccine and is scheduled for the second one. We continue to receive invitations every week. This is very promising!

 

School is Closed on Monday, February 15th, in observance of Presidents’ Day!

 

I hope everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day. Know that you and your children are very loved and appreciated!

 

Winter Blessings,

Mrs. White

The measure of love is to love without measure. ~ St. Francis de Sales

 

Tiger Talk! January 29, 2021

Tiger Talk!

January 29, 2021

 

Dear Families,

Happy Friday! I feel like every single week that we accomplish is a reason to celebrate still being together and healthy. This past weekend we celebrated the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, one of our patron saints. St. Francis de Sales is my personal favorite saint. I believe this love for St. Francis and his idea of “gentle strength” came from my roots here at St. Anthony’s as a student in the 70’s and 80’s. I then attended Padua Academy where our school motto was “softly but strongly.” Upon graduation, I decided to attend Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (currently De Sales University). It was there that my love for our patron saint grew even deeper. I found that he was a man very ahead of his time. He was very well spoken and well versed, and his quotes often struck me as having a counseling background. He urged us to have patience with ourselves and to be kind to ourselves and others. He practiced and preached about the “little virtues”. They include honesty, acceptance, generosity, humility, gentle strength, kindness, patience, simplicity, liberty of spirit, joyful optimism, interiority, courage, acceptance, and stewardship. His messages were simple, are still very relevant today, and are easily shared with our students. Check out some of his illustrated quotes on our Facebook page. Follow us at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

 

Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service: This Sunday, January 31st marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Information for the week was sent home already and has details outlined for each day. Despite our unusual circumstances this year and our limitations for pep rallies and celebrations, we still have a fun week planned for all. We will highlight our faith component with a school wide prayer service (via the PA system). We are once again reaching out to the local St. Patrick’s Center for our service component. Please remember those canned goods. We will be accepting them all next week, and I assure you that your contributions are very much appreciated. Should you wish to send in a monetary donation instead of canned goods, feel free to send that directly to the main office with cash or a check made payable to St. Patrick’s Center. Here are just a few highlights of our week. Students may wear their gym uniforms or school spirit wear that entire week. Sneakers are the required shoe each day, for safety reasons. On Monday we will honor our entire staff with a Staff Appreciation Day. Thank you in advance to our Home and School Association for sponsoring a lunch for our staff. On Tuesday,  we will have pajama day and a school-wide Bingo for all. On Wednesday, we celebrate our 100th Day of School and Student Appreciation Day. The Kona Ice Truck will be coming to give our students a special treat.  Thursday will be Spirit Day. Mrs. Orensky has activities planned in the gym for individual classes to attend. Friday will be Dress Down Day. Again, sneakers must be worn for safety. On Friday at 2pm we will have an 8th Grade Students Versus Parents Kickball Game in the field (weather permitting). Please stay tuned for a School Messenger, should that activity have to be canceled. Grades 4 through 8 will be attending that game, so be sure students are dressed appropriately to be outdoors. We are looking forward to this special week. I am a firm believer in Catholic education. In the past 20 years, I have seen the fruits of our labor. With the help of parents (the first teachers for our children), we send children out into the world. They return to us as adults (parents), and we are so proud of our graduates. They go on to do great and meaningful things.

 

Knights of Columbus Vocation Essay Contest: Once again, our students participated in the Annual Knights of Columbus Vocation Essay Contest. We were happy to learn that we had a winner from each grade that submitted essays. Our winners are as follows: Congratulations to 6th Grader Natalie Krevchuck, 7th Grader Patrick McLaughlin, and 8th Grader Giada Brown. Your essays were very well-written! Our winning essays will be eligible for the State Finals competition.

 

Lent is approaching! I cannot believe how fast time is flying by this year. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17th. Our schoolwide theme this year is “OUR JOURNEY TO THE CROSS.” This theme was chosen by students, and I think the use of the word “journey” is very appropriate at this time. We all seem to have been on one interesting journey this past year. With its struggles, we have seen a lot of blessings. With division in our country, we have seen great unity within our school community. We have witnessed love, inclusion, and compassion in our school. While sharing great losses this year, we have grown closer to each other in support and sympathy. With sickness in our families, we have grown to appreciate our health, even if it is not optimal. With job losses, we have stretched our resources to be sure everyone who wishes to attend our school is able to do so. During Lent, we will remember the great sacrifices Jesus made for us. We will talk about Jesus’s “journey” to the Cross and the significance of what that means to us as His believers. Despite limited access to the church, we will still be able to have Stations of the Cross; a long tradition here at St. Anthony’s. More details will follow as we get closer to that time. We do not plan to mix any grades. Everyone is still learning in their one homeroom cohort. Typically we would attend church as a large group. This year we may have to do Stations one class at a time or outdoors if weather permits.

 

2021-2022 Reregistration has begun! Thank you to those who have already sent in your reregistration within the past 48 hours. The sooner we can plan for next year, the better off we will be and the more programs we will be able to offer our students. Please be sure to send in all reregistration paperwork by next week, as we will open registration to new students at that time.

 

NOON DISMISSAL February 12th and School Closed February 15th! Please mark your calendars for February 12th and 15th, as we will not have another Tiger Talk! prior to those dates. We have a noon dismissal that Friday. NO AFTER CARE WILL BE PROVIDED. School is closed on Monday, February 15th for Presidents’ Day. Enjoy that long weekend.

 

COVID Precaution Gratitude: I just want to take a quick moment to thank you for your continued diligence and focus on our school priorities of masking, screening, handwashing/sanitizing, and distancing. We appreciate you keeping our school community safe and having children stay home if they show any cold or flu symptoms. Your individual efforts are allowing us to remain fully in-person. In my recent interview with Tim Furlong at Channel 10 News, I did brag about all of you. Unfortunately, the segment was focused on vaccinations, so my praise and shout out to our school families did not make the cut. Know that your efforts have really paid off this year. In a very unsettled and anxiety-provoking time, it is very nice to be able to come to work feeling safe.

 

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Please stay safe and be well. Once again, I would like to thank you for the gift of your precious children. Thank you for trusting us to “nurture them academically, spiritually, and emotionally, assisting them to lead enriching and fulfilling lives” as our mission states. As Catholic school educators, we are “Called to Serve” and I can’t imagine any other place I would rather serve every day. I look forward to a time soon when we are all back together face-to-face. Our teachers have started receiving invitations for their COVID vaccination, so I am filled with hope.

 

Winter Blessings,

Mrs. White

“Let us thank all those who teach in Catholic schools. Educating is an act of love; it is like giving life.” Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! January 15, 2021

Tiger Talk!

January 15, 2021

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope this email finds everyone happy, healthy, and well. As we begin Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar, I think it is safe to say there is nothing “ordinary” about the times we are living in right now. I was reminded last week at Mass of the very wise advice of our patron saint, St. Francis de Sales. “Do ordinary things extraordinarily well and with great love.” As I reflected on this quote, my entire staff came to mind. This fantastic group of very talented and caring people decided to spend their lives in the service of God and others. Despite a pandemic, family jobs lost, personal tragedies, sickness and loss, and having a 5% pay reduction in their salaries, everyone still comes to school each day smiling and ready to get to work. They collaborate and learn from each other. Never, in my 20 years here, has there been a time of such love and support shown for our students and for the common good of our parish school community.

When you enter our building, you are welcomed like family. We are a team. Our enrollment is stronger, because the word has gotten out. We currently have a waiting list in 4 grades (partly due to us limiting class size for safe distancing). I ask that you help us spread the good news of our school and of Catholic education. As we plan for next school year, I reflect once again on our school mission. We paid close attention this year to specific words in that mission; “safe haven,” “compassion,” “respect,” “support,” and “nurturing.” I believe we have done those ordinary things extraordinarily well. Our teachers are “called to serve” and have answered that call. I thank them once again for their dedication. They make my job so much easier!

 

Catholic Schools Week – Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated the week of January 31st. Once again, some traditions will have to be altered. We have a new theme for Catholic Schools Week this year. It is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” We will try to plan some activities around that new theme. For the “Service” part of the new theme, we would still like to do a canned food drive this week. Typically we use that donation as admission to our parents versus students volleyball game; a tradition for 8th Grade students. We will sadly be unable to host a volleyball game, but we do have a back-up plan. If you are an 8th grade parent, please try to be available on Friday, February 5th at 2pm. More details will follow.  Please feel free to start sending in canned goods from now until February 5th.

 

Celebration – On Saturday, January 9th, I had the joy and honor of celebrating Mateo Ahumada’s last chemotherapy with his family. Mateo is a former student (current Salesianum student) who has battled leukemia for three years. It was a wonderful day, with many St. Anthony friends and staff stopping by for a car parade. Mateo made the news on ABC, WDEL, and the Dialog. Mateo was my son Christopher’s church buddy here. When Mateo was diagnosed, Chris went to visit and offer support and encouragement. The two became friends. As God (not luck) would have it, both boys ended up with the same nurse. Nurse Blake was able to be there on Saturday and hand Mateo his last chemo pill. God is good! Having gone through a cancer diagnosis and treatment with my son, I know that cancer is something that can make many that are touched by it loose their faith and their hope. But I do believe in having hope, always staying positive, finding the bright side of life, and praying. This is a big beautiful world. We have to see past ourselves and look at all of our blessings. There are many!

I know these times continue to be extremely challenging for a lot of people. I am aware of multiple job losses and personal family losses that our school and parish community are experiencing. Just know that our school family is always here for you. I am always here for you. We have a strong prayer group that I believe is capable of miracles. Continue to be kind to each other. Everyone is battling something.

 

SCHOOL IS CLOSED MONDAY – School will be closed this upcoming Monday, January 18th, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School will resume Tuesday, January 19th.

 

Re-registration will open soon – We are confirming tuition rates this week. It is imperative that you re-register as soon as paperwork comes home. We will be filling spots on a first come, first serve basis.  Priority will ONLY be given to current students for one week, so please return your forms immediately. We currently do have new potential families waiting. There is a risk that your child’s spot could be filled, as we plan to re-open with our current social distancing precautions in place.  Again, forms can be sent electronically and a credit card payment can be made by phone.

 

Lunch Menu reminder – We really need your help with lunch menus. We MUST have payment attached to lunch orders. Please DO NOT send in a lunch menu without the payment included. Serving lunch here daily is a courtesy, and this is not a program that ever makes money. It takes a loss which we are willing to assume in an effort to keep cost low. I personally went through the menus this month, and it is a bookkeeping nightmare. Names are not on envelopes. Payments are not attached. We then have to copy and send the menu back to families to request payment. PLEASE follow the directions so we can continue to provide this service. If you do not have cash or a check to attach, you may call the office (the same morning) and give a credit card over the phone.

 

Welcome Back, Mrs. Jill Orensky! We are so happy that Mrs. Orensky has returned to teach physical education. During her healing, she attended several workshops and professional development opportunities. She returned with new equipment and fresh new (pandemic specific) ideas.

 

With Sympathy – Please keep Mr. John McMillan in your prayers. Mr. McMillan’s mother passed away recently and services were held this past weekend. We extend our love, prayers, and condolences to Mr. McMillan. He works tirelessly to keep us up and running and has been amazing since all of this craziness started in March 2020. Because he was prepared and proactive, our students never missed a beat. Virtual learning started on day one. For that reason, there was really no transition necessary to provide in-person and virtual options to our families. We thank John for his diligence and work ethic. We hope his cherished memories of his mother will help him during this grieving process. Losing a parent is never easy. It is like losing a part of your heart.

 

Mass for Life – Join our diocese and Bishop Malooly in prayer on January 29th at 10:00 A.M. Go to www.YouTube.com/DioceseofWilm for the livestream option or visit cdow.org for more details.

 

Water Refill Stations are coming soon – Prior to the Christmas break we ordered automatic water refill stations to replace our 3 water fountains that were disconnected due to COVID 19. We hope to have them installed soon. This is being done by National HVAC, which takes care of all of our HVAC needs. More details will follow. We hope to save you money on the purchase of water bottles very soon.

 

Thank you for keeping us safe! I want to take a minute to thank all of our parents for being so honest and forthright with COVID 19. It is touching all families. No matter how careful we are, we are bound to be exposed to someone with COVID 19. Thank you for notifying Mrs. Russell when this happens and notifying other families you have been in contact with outside of school. In order for us to remain open, we have to stay focused on this together. We still remain in safe cohorts here. Children stay in their classrooms, and teachers rotate. We do not mix classes. Please reconsider play dates and carpooling. Keep masks on and open all car windows if carpooling is an absolute necessity. We have windows open all day in school. Our heat is on full-strength, but fresh air is circulating. Keep screening your children! Our school nurse, Mrs. Russell, received her first of 2 two vaccinations on Tuesday night. Our entire staff should be vaccinated at some point in the next month. We continue to have monthly COVID 19 testing for all faculty and staff. We are all doing our part, and that is evident by our numbers. I hope and pray that it stays that way.

 

Stay well and be safe!

 

Winter Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“Health is one of the most valuable gifts desired by all . . . The fathers of the Church used to refer to Christ and His work of salvation with the title ‘Christus medicus.’ He is the Good Shepherd who cares for the wounded sheep and comforts the sick.” ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! December 11, 2020

Tiger Talk!

December 11, 2020

Dear Families,

I hope the beginning of this Advent season has been a peaceful and blessed one. Our Advent theme this year is “Waiting and Wondering.” We have talked to the children about what it means to have patience, as we await the celebration of Jesus’s Birth on Christmas Day. Each Monday we pray a special Advent prayer before we light the next candle on our Advent wreath (in the school lobby). The repeated theme in all of our prayers is that we are patiently waiting for Jesus to come. We talk about the faith, hope, love, and joy that came from a humble stable and the very simple birth of a baby boy. This supports our Corporal Works of Mercy monthly virtues as we continue to learn about sheltering the homeless with our Bible story, No Room in the Inn; The Flight to Egypt (Luke 2;1-7; Matthew 2:1-15). 

Prayer Request! Please keep Ms. Mary Murray, our First Grade Teacher, in your prayers. Ms. Murray’s father, Gerard Murray, passed away last week.  His private (family) funeral service will be held this upcoming Tuesday. It has been a very difficult couple of weeks for her family. We send them our virtual love, support, compassion, and sympathy at this time. We have missed her and look forward to her return next week. 

Lunch/Water bottles/Snacks Reminders: 

  • Lunch – Be sure to pack a lunch for your child every day.  Cafeteria service is a Pre-Order option only. There is no daily ordering option
    • When you send in your monthly lunch menu, be sure your child’s name and grade are filled in (space is provided) and the payment is attached. We had several menus returned this month with no name. It took hours to figure out which students the menu belonged to. A fully operational cafeteria is a blessing. Not many schools are offering this benefit. Please help us keep it running smoothly. 
  • Water Bottles – Please send in multiple water bottles with your child. Our water fountains are not in use due to COVID.
  • Snacks – Each class has a designated snack time.  Please be sure to send a snack in with your child.  Other than recess, this is the break they look forward to the most during the school day!

NO AFTERCARE next Friday, December 18th! Please arrive promptly at 3pm next Friday, December 18th. We would like our staff to be able to start their Christmas break with their families right after dismissal. The school office will close at 3pm next Friday and will reopen on January 4th.

Christmas Break/Virtual Return

  • School will be closed for the Christmas Break from December 19th through January 3rd. 
  • Per the letter sent home from our superintendent, we will reopen virtually on January 4th. Information will be sent home over the course of the next week from your child’s teacher.  At this point, the diocesan plan is to be learning remotely for one week, Monday, January 4th – Friday, January 8th.  
    • For students who are physically in-school, we will be sending home books and supplies over the course of  next week so students will have everything they need for their week of online learning.

 

Congratulations are in order to the following people:

  • God Bless our Eighth Grade class. They are celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation this week and next. They have been preparing for months to be filled with the Holy Spirit and blessed with the Fruits of the Spirit…Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. 
  • God Bless Ms. Lexie Cazier, our Preschool 4 year old teacher! Ms. Cazier will marry her best friend this weekend. We wish them all the best; a life of love and laughter. 

Financial Aid for the 2021-2022 School Year – Financial aid application information has been emailed to all parents. Anyone wishing to receive any form of financial assistance for the 2021-2022 school year MUST complete and file the online application through the Diocese of Wilmington. Please know that an award or grant form this year does not guarantee an award or grant for next school year. A new application must be filed. The parish will not award any tuition money until the application process through the Diocese is finalized. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.

  • The deadline to apply is March 4th. There are no exceptions to this deadline.

Thank you for keeping the safety of our school family a priority. Because of your diligence and the hard work of my staff we have been able to remain open since September 1st. I am so thankful for that. Please do not relax with our four priorities (masking, safe-distancing, sanitizing, and daily screening) over the Christmas break. We are counting on all of you for our ability to continue in-person learning through next week and resume it on January 11th. If we hear any news about a change to our current plan, I will notify you by School Messenger email as soon as possible. 

Tiger Talk! will resume on January 15th. We will use School Messenger emails to communicate as needed. I wish everyone a beautiful and blessed Christmas with your families. I am looking forward to an exciting 2021! 

 

Love and Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“Advent is a time of waiting for our Lord, who will visit us all in our own hearts! The Lord is coming! Let us wait for Him!” ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! November 16, 2020

Dear Families,

I am sending Tiger Talk! early this week for planning purposes. We are entering a hectic pandemic holiday season. I want to be sure that everyone is informed of all important information for the upcoming weeks so we can peacefully enter the season of Advent when we return on November 30th.

Spirit Wear sales are open! If you need a gift for the holidays, school spirit wear is always a great idea. Online orders are now open for a brief window. Orders must be placed at http://www.customstitch.com/ by December 1st in order to have items delivered by Christmas.

Thanksgiving Planning: We will be sending home books and other items with students this Friday, Nov. 20th and Monday, Nov. 23rd (just to be prepared) in case we end up having to go fully remote. There is no plan for this at this time from the Diocese, and there is no plan for this on our part. However, due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Delaware, I want to be prepared. Please expect that your child will need some assistance with his/her belongings this Friday and next Monday.   If, for some reason, your child will not be in school next Monday, please notify his/her teacher directly to be sure all supplies are sent home on Friday.

Message from our Parish Trustee, Anthony Albence:

2020 Giving Tree and Christmas Food Baskets Programs

St. Anthony’s is offering two opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those in need this Christmas season. The Christmas Basket program is being coordinated in partnership with St. Pius X Council 4425 Knights of Columbus. In light of safety precautions in place due to COVID-19 pandemic, for 2020 the parish will offer these programs by furnishing gift cards to program participants.  Donations to support the programs may be made in a variety of ways:

  • purchase a gift card on your own to donate
  • make a contribution to be applied to purchase a gift card via the Grade School’s Home & School Board gift card fundraising program
  • placing a contribution in the weekly offertory collection or dropping off a contribution at the rectory to support the program between now and the end of November
    • Checks can be made payable to “St. Anthony of Padua Church” and mark your donation for the Giving Tree or Christmas Food Basket.
  • make a contribution via the parish online giving program to either of these programs (access online giving via the parish website: sapde.org)

*We are also in need of volunteers to deliver and make phone calls the week of December 13th.  In this season of giving, we hope that you can be generous to those in need.

Programs Contact Info:

Christmas Baskets Program

To add someone to the list of recipients, to volunteer to assist with the program, or for any additional information, please contact Chris Hostler at (302) 421-3700 or via email: chostler@sapde.org.

Giving Tree Program

Please contact Patty Roach at (302) 421-3700 or via email at: proach@stanthonynet.org

Thanksgiving Food Drive Reminder: We are still accepting donations for our Thanksgiving Food Drive. Thank you so much for helping us “feed the hungry.” Our school families have been very generous so far. Your generosity is making a direct impact on so many who have so little. Thank you! St. Anthony’s school families are always so giving. We are truly blessed!

Spelling BEE: Thank you to Mr. Tucker for organizing the schoolwide Spelling Bee! We will let you know the results once they are in!

Thanksgiving travel/gatherings: Please remember to keep everyone’s safety in mind if you chose to host a party, go to a party, or travel for Thanksgiving. I strongly discourage all three. The coronavirus spread in Delaware has been traced to adults; social gatherings, weddings, religious services, house parties, and eating indoors. According to the governor’s report last Tuesday, the only student-to-student exposures were due to carpooling without masks, slumber parties and socializing, a travel baseball team that went out of state, eating together (not socially distant) and tackle football at recess (no masks). We are taking precautions to avoid any of those situations.

Cross Walk: Thank you to Mike Kelleher for reaching out to the city to add a crosswalk at the corner of 10th and Scott Streets. Please pull your car down to the end of the street and proceed to the corner of 10th and Scott when dropping off students in middle school and 2nd through 4th grades. There is plenty of parking on both sides of the street at the corner. Many families are parking in the middle of the block and allowing their children to cross in the middle of the street. This is very dangerous as people come down that street quickly. There is no flashing light to even indicate to others that this may be the case. If you choose to drop your child off mid-block (not at the corner with Mr. Kelleher or myself), you MUST exit the car and cross them yourself. Please do not drop students off and leave. There are too many students jaywalking and crossing in between cars, and it is dangerous. Mr. Kelleher and I try to walk out in the middle of the street, but we do not always catch them.

Winter Coats: Our Knights of Columbus (through Bill Giles) have donated 24 brand new winter coats for students of various sizes. Please email Lynn Kee at lkee@stanthonynet.org with your child’s size. She can send a coat home with your child or arrange for you to pick it up in the main lobby.

Report Cards: Report cards will be distributed the week of December 7th. I will give you notice when they are sent home. We will mail the report cards home to remote learners, or you can email the teacher and have them scan and email it to you.

December Planning: For purposes of planning, there will be no after care on Wednesday, December 9th (staff Christmas gathering) and on the last day of school before Christmas Break, Friday, December 18th. Thank you for understanding.

School Re-opening Plan Cycle Three begins on November 30th – If you wish for your remote learner to return to school for face-to-face instruction after Thanksgiving, please email Mr. Shields at bshields@stanthonynet.org. Please give him a few days’ notice, so he can arrange for desks, books, and supplies to be arranged over the Thanksgiving break. This third cycle will run through January 18th. Cycle four will begin on January 19th.

I hope everyone has a peaceful,  blessed, and  happy Thanksgiving.  I know it will be an unusually quiet one for most of us. We will certainly miss our family and friends. I know that I will miss the noise and joyful chaos that comes from my side of the family and my husband’s side as well. I will miss the weekend-long celebration with our crazy extended families and all of the children. We had two babies born during this pandemic, and I can’t wait to hold them and hug them. It is torture not to kiss their cheeks whenever I see them outdoors (masked and several feet apart). However, next year, I want to have every single one of us sitting around the table again, with no empty seats at that table. That is my wish and prayer. It will be so worth the wait! I have faith that next year we will be able to celebrate our school turkey luncheon, have an all-school Thanksgiving Prayer Service, and celebrate all of our traditions again. I am praying daily for all of you and for your extended families. Be well and stay safe! You are all very loved and appreciated! Virtual parents, hug your children for me. I miss them and look forward in hope and faith to better things in our future as a school family.

The next Tiger Talk! will be sent on December 11th.  I will email shorter updates via School Messenger.

 

Thanksgiving Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! November 6, 2020

Dear Families,

For the months of November and December, we will continue to learn about the Corporal Works of Mercy and how we are all “Called to Serve.” We reflect on the thought, “Shelter the Homeless” and on the Bible verse, No Room in the Inn; The Flight to Egypt (Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 2:1-15). This week we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd. We also celebrated Vocation Awareness Week from November 1st through the 7th. Vocation Awareness Week reminds us that each of us is called to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The Lord speaks through us to His young people by our words and example. This week, we resolved to pray for vocations and instruct about vocations. This is very important as we look to the future of our church. I am honored to serve on the Bishop’s Committee and have the distinct pleasure of interviewing all potential candidates for the priesthood in the Diocese of Wilmington. We have wonderful young men in the seminary and we hope this number continues to grow. It is a long process that spans several years.

Congratulations to our Students of the Month: Our October virtue was “goodness.” Nicholas Savko – PreK3, Grayson Kinderman – PreK4, Logan Selby – Kindergarten, Megan Zweidinger -1st, Sara Barker – 2nd, Gabrielle Krevchuck – 3rd, Eryn Banks – 4th, Brooke Brown – 5th, Faith Jah – 6th, Lena Padovani – 7th, and Enrique Arce – 8th

Winter Sports:
Please be advised St. Anthony’s will not be participating in the Winter 20-21 sports season. After careful consideration, we have come to this decision in the best interest of our students, coaches, and volunteers’ health and safety. We understand and sincerely apologize for the hardship this decision may cause. I am sure the kids were looking forward to participating in sports this season and YAC was definitely looking forward to having them! In consideration of the current regional COVID cases, along with all of the work completed to date to ensure safe conditions for the grade school, we feel it best to err on the side of copious caution.

Thank you from our staff! To the anonymous family who donated very generous gift cards to everyone on our staff, I thank you. You really brightened our day. Thank you also to the McLaughlin and Krevchuck families for the delicious muffin, snack, and candy donation. Thank you all for recognizing our efforts in such a meaningful way. We love our jobs and our school families!

Lunch Menu and Cafeteria Reminder: Please remember that parents MUST order a month ahead on the lunch menu (and return it on time with payment) or pack a lunch for your child. We will not fill daily orders for lunch. This is a reminder that if your child forgets to bring a lunch, we will have them call you to drop one off for them. It is the parent’s responsibility to bring lunch to school. This is a “pre-order only” cafeteria for this school year. We appreciate your cooperation. We hope for a return to normal at some point. Please also remember to send water bottles in each day.

COVID Update: While the nation had its highest positive cases reported the week of October 26th, our Diocese was happy to report its first week of zero cases in all parish and diocesan schools. I want to thank our faculty, staff, and parents. In order for this to happen when cases are rising throughout the nation, this tells me that our families are really doing their part to keep their families and our one collective school family safe. I thank you. Please continue to follow our four priorities of masking, frequent hand washing (sanitizing), social distancing, and daily screening. It has paid off. We hope to continue to provide uninterrupted in-person learning for all who desire it.

Masks should be provided by parents: We have children coming to school without masks and with masks that are not properly sized. This is the responsibility of each parent. Please be sure your child’s mask is the correct size and that they come to school each day with a mask. We have been providing several masks each day. This is not ideal, as the children are more comfortable in their own mask, and it fits them better. Masks are to be worn in all grades (Preschool through 8th). We recommend each child bring an additional mask in their book bag.

Thanksgiving Food Drive: Please be sure to send in at least one item so that we have a nice donation for our annual food drive. If you wish to send a monetary contribution, feel free to do so. Cash would be preferred, but a check can be made payable to St. Anthony of Padua Grade School, and we will write one check. Our food donations go to the St. Patrick’s Center in Wilmington and to those in need in our own parish/school community. Any contribution (no matter how small) makes a difference in someone’s life.

Thanksgiving Break: School will be closed for students from Tuesday, November 24th through Friday November 27th. Teachers will report to work on Tuesday, November 24th for Professional Development and a much-needed faculty meeting and planning time. Wednesday, November 25th the school building will be closed entirely for a thorough cleaning. Thank you in advance for understanding.

Trimester 1 ends on November 24th. Please continue to check PowerSchool (Grades 3 to 8). You will notice some changes to the first trimester report card. You may see a PASS/FAIL or an N/A in a special subject area such as Computer, Gym, Spanish, or Art and a PASS/FAIL in Kindergarten through Second Grade Science and Social Studies. Grading may return to normal for the second trimester, however, at this point, a few things needed to be adjusted based on the instructional minutes assigned to each core subject area.

Staff Christmas party – NO AFTER CARE Wednesday, December 9th! We will close school promptly at 3pm on Wednesday, December 9th, to have our faculty and staff Christmas party. Be sure to pick up students at 3pm for dismissal. We appreciate your cooperation. We would like to express our gratitude to the Home and School Board for sponsoring a staff painting activity and the Student Council for sponsoring heavy appetizers for this gathering.

Please have students dress warmly: This is just a gentle reminder to be sure students wear coats, hats, and gloves, as we will be going outdoors for breaks and recesses as long as it is above 32 degrees. All students in class will go outside with their class at this time, regardless of proper clothing, as there is no additional staff to stay inside to monitor those students. Administration and support staff go outside with classes. Classroom windows will remain open (at least cracked for air flow). Thank you J

 

Autumn Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over His head.”  ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! October 23, 2020

Happy Friday, Everyone!

I hope this email finds you happy, healthy, and ready for a fun-filled weekend. This is a very busy place, and we are certainly learning a lot and having a good time. We are making the most of our 6ft. distancing and masking. I was so excited today to supervise all school class photos. All classes were masked and then sitting (or standing) six feet apart. When we were ready for each photo, they temporarily removed their masks. I stayed outside for every photo shoot because I was so thrilled to see their faces. Your children are so adorable; every age. They were smiling, making funny faces, posing, and were able to look like they did prior to this pandemic. I had no idea how much I missed seeing them. When you can’t see a child’s face you miss the dimples, the missing teeth, the ornery grin, and the funny faces. Today I was able to see their real personalities, and it was truly the highlight of the week. We have been wearing masks at recess and when having gym outside. I never get to see faces. This was a great way to start the day.

 

Photo Retake Day: I thank Tina Gwynn for her excellent photography. All students were directed to a spot and did a class photo with their arms outspread. Once in their set spot they briefly removed their masks. Before moving at the end of the photo, masks were back on. It was such a nice time, despite the gloomy weather! Tina will offer one more day for remote learners to come for an outside photo, if you still need a retake. We have tried to be very accommodating. I wanted to be done with pictures at this point, as their purpose is for school IDs. However, Tina said she will return one last time, because two families contacted her. I will arrange that as soon as possible and let you know. It will be a very specific one hour window, because Tina does not charge me anything for her multiple visits. She is doing this as a courtesy.  Just know that if that one day does not work out for remote learners, the next photo opportunity will take place FOR EVERYONE in the spring. Once the photos are taken, please do not call/email the office with photo questions. Please contact Tina directly.

 

Planning: We are all settled in and things are running very smoothly this year, regardless of what is happening in our world outside of school. We are happy and thriving in this building. I hope that we can continue to do that. Please continue to make good choices and be smart about traveling and social gatherings. For purposes of planning, we do not foresee any changes being made to our current school plan to offer both in-person and remote learning options. With Delaware COVID-19 numbers not drastically declining, this plan will most likely remain in place until Christmas break. We have enough room for all students to return at any time, should you wish for your children to come back. We would welcome them back with open arms and a virtual hug. We are ready for remote learning, should the Governor change our current plan based on a change in Delaware’s positivity rate or spread. We are ready for whatever life throws at us! There may be a change to our school calendar for Thanksgiving week. If any change will be made, I will let you know next week, so there is time to plan accordingly.

 

Teacher Shout Out: Our teachers are doing what very few schools are doing (full day, everyday instruction). I think we are very blessed with excellent technology and a fantastic group of teachers. I recently learned that we have one of the highest percentages of licensed and certified teachers in the Diocese with only one outstanding license (currently pending). We are close to 100% and should be there soon. Thank you to my teachers for working so diligently to keep up with these licenses and with the professional development hours needed to do so.  I applaud you for the graduate courses taken and the Google Certifications earned. You are incredible examples of lifelong learners, and you should brag about your accomplishments more often. Thank you!

 

SchoolMessengerWith the seasons changing we want to make sure that you are able to receive text messages in case of a weather related school closing. To ensure that you have opted in to receive messages from SchoolMessenger please send a text to 67587 with either a “Y” or “yes”. On Friday, October 30th we will be sending out a text as a test of the system which you will not receive unless you have opted in.

 

PowerSchool Mobile App: There were some changes to the PowerSchool Mobile App server this year and fortunately the Diocese has provided us directions on how to connect with the mobile app. Please contact the school and ask for the IT department if you need directions and we will send them to you.

 

Called to Serve: As we enter November, we will continue to talk about the Corporal Works of Mercy and learn more about thinking outside of ourselves. Our topic will be “sheltering the homeless.” Our first two months focused on “feeding the hungry” and “giving drink to the thirsty.” To reinforce those messages and put them into action, we would like to hold a Thanksgiving Food Drive to share our blessings with those less fortunate than us. We will be asking students to donate items. For those of you who are still not shopping, you may make a cash donation in your child’s name and send it into the school office. Our preliminary list (if you are shopping this weekend) will be:

 

PreK – Stuffing

Primary (K-2) – Canned Vegetables

Intermediate (3-5) – Cranberry Sauce/Gravy

Middle School (6-8) – Instant Mashed Potatoes

A flyer will be sent home next week with greater detail!

 

Our next Tiger Talk will be sent on Friday, November 6th. We will return to bi-weekly communications, although you will still hear from me regularly throughout the week with grade-specific messages. Please follow us on Facebook. If you are not doing so already, you are missing out on some fun pictures and videos. We all could use a smile and a good laugh during the work day.

 

Autumn Blessings,

Mrs. White

“To change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us.”  ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! October 9, 2020

Dear Families,

 

Happy Friday! This month we continue to celebrate our Blessed Mother with greater intention. On Wednesday, we were able to participate in a virtual Rosary with Bishop Malooly and students from other diocesan schools. Each class participated virtually and said the Rosary together in their cohorts. I had the pleasure of saying the Rosary with the 8th Grade class. I thank Mr. Limmina once again for inviting me. It was the most relaxing and peaceful 25 minutes of my week. In difficult times I prayed the Rosary constantly. It is a nice way to quiet yourself from this loud world and to focus on something other than noise. If anyone would like a Rosary, please send me an email. I still have a few left.

 

Throughout this school year we will match a Fruit of the Holy Spirit with our Corporal Works of Mercy. Our Student of the Month from each class will be acknowledged for a specific virtue. September’s virtue was “Love.” I would like to recognize and congratulate the following students for being “loving” in the month of September. The following students were the Students of the Month:

 

Nicholas Padovani – PreK3, Riley Beach – PreK4, Jordan Lloyd – Kindergarten, Ronnie Mercante -1, Otto Vorhauer – 2, Kaitlyn McLaughlin – 3, Malik Bamidele – 4, Chase Willard – 5, Morgan McKeown – 6, Phu Nguyen – 7, and Natalia Alfieri – 8. Thank you for spreading love in our school community!

 

During the month of October, we will continue talking with your students about the Corporal Works of Mercy. We will focus on the idea of “Giving Drink to the Thirsty” and on the Bible verse of the Living Water (John 4:1-15). Our virtue will be “Goodness.”

 

Return to School Plan Phase Two: As we continue to await direction from the Diocese, we plan to continue our next 6 weeks as we have the first. We thank everyone who responded with their desire to continue virtually, and we are excited to welcome back some of our students on Tuesday. If you have not responded to Mr. Shields with your wish to return, please do so today. A written request must come prior to your child returning on Tuesday.

 

Parent-Teacher Conferences: If you have yet to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, please do so. Home to school communication is critical to your child’s success. These conferences are brief and can be held in person (safe-distanced) or virtually.

 

Photo-Video Release: In an effort to limit paperwork sent home, we will not be sending a photo-video release form home. If, for any reason, you do not want your child’s picture included on our school website or Facebook page, please simply email Mrs. Kee at lkee@stanthonynet.org.

 

Class Photos: Our photographer, Tina Gwynn, will return on October 23rd to take photos of students who were absent and to take socially distanced class photos (with in-person students only). For the class photo, it is too difficult to time when each class photo will be taken. Therefore, virtual students will not be present for the class photo. We were not planning to do class photos at all this year, but some families paid in advance, so we will honor that request.

 

8th Grade Confirmation will be Saturday, December 12th at 11am: A date for Confirmation has been determined. The original December date has been canceled due to the Diocesan high school placement test. This year Father Wrightson will celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.

 

Halloween: We will not be celebrating Halloween with costumes and treats sent in from home this year. Student Council will sponsor a free pajama day. On Friday, October 30th, students may wear appropriate pajamas to school with sneakers. No shoe alternatives are permitted. For safety, all students will wear sneakers.

 

Physical Education Class: I am very happy to announce that I hired a long term substitute teacher for gym class. Mrs. Tracy Harreld will start this Tuesday, October 13th. Tracy comes to us from within our diocese at Good Shepherd School. She was recommended by her principal. She was able to teach with me this week and meet almost every class.  She immediately had a nice rapport with our students. She brings with her several new ideas. I do have to admit that I loved teaching gym, but it is not practical any longer. I learned a lot about myself and have felt terrific. There is something to be said about stretching multiple times throughout the day. I am able to do a plank longer than most of your students. I bet you can’t imagine that. Ask them! Mr. Colligan is my witness. I want to thank Mr. Colligan profusely. He has been running all over this building for 6 weeks now. He has been delivering lunches, covering teacher breaks, teaching Spanish, assisting with middle school gym class, helping out with technology, and even helping students with math. He has offered to help Mrs. Harreld when she starts next week. I ask that you continue to pray for swift healing for Mrs. Orensky. She misses being here and still hopes to return.

 

Thank you! I would be remiss if I once again did not thank everyone for a terrific first 6 weeks of school. Everyone has followed our four priorities (masking, sanitizing, safe distancing, and screening). Thank you for helping to keep us all safe and healthy and able to remain in-person for learning. Our students are so happy to be here, and I love seeing them learning and playing with their peers. I now firmly agree with the American Pediatric Association’s claim that the benefits outweigh the risks for our young learners. I ask that you please continue best practices and screening your students before they come into school each day. Things have not changed enough for us to relax this in any way. Keep up the great work! Contact our school nurse, Mrs. Annemarie Russell, if you have any health concerns regarding your child. When in doubt about cold or allergy symptoms, we encourage you to keep your child home and contact your pediatrician.

 

Holiday Travel Restrictions: As you begin to plan for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted you to know that we will now require a two-week quarantine for anyone traveling to any state that has a COVID-19 positivity rate above 10% and/or if you are traveling/interacting with the general public or in a large gathering. Please consider staying in your family cohort and reducing your exposure to the general public. Continue to follow our four priorities of safe distancing, masking, sanitizing, and daily screening prior to school.

 

I hope everyone enjoys this long weekend and beautiful weather. We will see you on Tuesday.

 

Autumn Blessings,

Mrs. White J

 

Charity is infectious, it excites, it risks, and it engages! For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous!” ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! October 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

 

As I sit at my desk, I am finding it hard to talk about reminders and daily routines in this weekly communication. This morning I attended a funeral for a former student (age 27) who took his own life last week. He was always laughing, smiling, and talking, and he will be remembered that way forever. For those of you who know me well, you know I love these children like my own. I attended the viewing last night and saw many of my babies (all grown up). I want to take a minute and not be your child’s principal. I am still a counselor and a mother first and in my heart. I want to talk about mental health.  During this pandemic, mental health issues, self-harm, and suicide rates have increased drastically. The statistics are staggering. I just want to remind everyone to simply be kind and gentle to one another and to love each other unconditionally. We are all fighting some battle. Nobody has a perfect life. Often it is those who smile the most and appear to have everything under control that are fighting the hardest. My student, Sean, was a handsome, intelligent, successful young man from a beautiful, close, and loving Catholic family. He wanted to live, love, and laugh. Suicide takes just a few seconds. It is not often something that is planned out. It is said that during the act, people often change their mind. Sometimes, it is simply too late.

 

So my message today is not one of death and darkness. It is a reminder to celebrate all of your blessings. I am so happy to be with your tiniest blessings every day. Today Third Grade spontaneously broke into dance at the conclusion of my gym class. They are amazing little humans. They made my entire day (the whole week actually) without even knowing it. It is my great pleasure to be with your children every day. I am so happy we are back in school. It has been a busy, exhausting, and great month back. Hug your family. Be kind to each other. Know your limits and never be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. Life is not always easy. We all need a little help sometimes.

 

Please remember:

You are loved and valued!

You are perfect just exactly as you are!

You are always enough!

You are doing a great job!

You are someone’s world!

 

I am here for each and every one of you. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am available 24/7. In my toughest times, I pray the Rosary to Mary. October is the month that we pray most often to the Blessed Mother. I gave a blessed Rosary to every student in our school. I mailed Rosaries home to our virtual learners. Praying the Rosary is calming. Try it at bedtime or to start your day. Please remember to take care of yourselves. Take time in your busy life to do something you enjoy. Surround yourself with as much love and laughter as you can.

 

I must end on a positive note. You should know that your children are very loving and kind. You are doing a fantastic job. I am in classrooms constantly and I have been spending recess, teacher breaks, and full gym classes with your children. I am fortunate to observe little random acts of kindness all day long. You should be very proud. This school is a loving family. The teachers model empathy and kindness. Your children have obviously learned from you (their first teachers) how to treat others. I have great hope for our future and the future of this world as these little ones grow up. They will be good and kind leaders. We need compassion and tolerance in our world, and I am certain this group will lead the way. Keep up the great work. To my homeschool moms and dads (and grandparents), you are doing an amazing job. Thank you for sticking with us digitally. I look forward to when we all can safely be in person again.

 

Autumn Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

Two of Sean’s favorite quotes:

 

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  ~ Maya Angelou

 

“Only in darkness can you see the stars.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Rest in peace now, Sean. Today is the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, celebrated as a Feast day in our church. How very appropriate!

 

 

 

Tiger Talk! September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

Dear Friends,

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a good week. This weekend we celebrate Catechetical Sunday. Each year the church celebrates Catechetical Sunday recognizing those dedicated to serve as catechists. It is an opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. It is an opportunity for all of us to rededicate ourselves to this mission as a community of faith. Every Catholic school teacher is a “catechist” by word and example. I would like to take a minute to publicly thank my teachers for all of their hard work and dedication. I am so proud of everyone, and I am amazed at what they are accomplishing with both in-person learners and those students at home. This was our first full week, and I think everyone (including students) will sleep well tonight.

While covering Second Grade for a brief break today, I told them they looked sleepy. One student said, “This week seemed like 10 weeks put together.” I asked if it was a good 10 weeks. His response, was, “Yes, real good; just really long.” I would have to agree! We had a faculty meeting this week and shared our successes, and there are so many to announce. From completing online virtual tests with students in and out of school to mastering the concept of 6ft. distancing, we are busy learning and growing together. I must admit that teaching gym to every class is appearing to be a challenge for me. I am going to look for a physical education teacher for two days a week to come in while Mrs. Orensky continues to heal and possibly prepare for another foot surgery. Before I post this job, I want to mention it to this group. We have several teachers in our school family. If any certified teacher is interested in coming in to teach 2 days a week, please email me directly at jwhite@stanthonynet.org. I have changed the gym schedule around to try to spread it out a bit. It is simply not practical for me to devote two entire days to gym.  Please note the following gym days for your child/children. This new schedule will begin on Monday. Middle School gym remains the same. I thank Mrs. Angelo for helping me with this and agreeing to teach Kindergarten through Second Grade. I will teach Third through Eighth Grades until we can find a substitute. Preschool will have gym/playtime with their teachers.

Tuesdays: Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Grade Gym

Wednesdays: Seventh Grade Gym

Fridays: Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Grade Gym

 

DPH COVID Response: We received a complimentary follow-up call from the Department of Public Health. That does not happen every day! Our liaison told Mrs. Russell that she was very impressed that we took their “recommendation” seriously and that we actually quarantined a class. This was not a mandate. However, when we started this school year I made a promise to families that we would not only adhere to all mandates and requirements (everyone must follow) but that we would honor all suggestions and even recommendations from DOE (Department of Education), DPH (Department of Public Health), and CDOW (Catholic Diocese of Wilmington). With that in mind, Mrs. Russell, Mr. Shields, and I met last Friday and discussed our plans. We knew that quarantining was not necessary, but we understood it would reinforce our commitment to best practices. I was pleased that Mrs. Russell received that call. In a recent separate communication with a representative from the Department of Public Health, I invited them to come observe us at any time. They said they were happy to have an ally and it was a pleasure speaking with a school that was honest, transparent, and open to their visit. Sadly, that has not been their overall school experience. The representative was also impressed to hear we had quarantined an entire class based solely on their suggestion. I did clarify one rule with them. Children and teachers are able to remove their masks when outside and safely distanced. Although Delaware is requiring masks in public, students and teachers are permitted mask breaks outside. They are also permitted mask breaks in the classroom since our desks are 6 ft. apart. Masks may be removed for snack and for eating lunch, as long as students remain seated.

Coronavirus Update:

The class that was asked to do remote learning for two weeks is able to return next Wednesday, September 23rd, two weeks following potential exposure. No further cases have been reported. No students or teachers developed symptoms because that child adhered to safe distancing and masking protocol and the family was honest and proactive in their response to the potential risk from home. This return date is earlier than we originally stated, based on guidelines from DPH. We look forward to welcoming them back on September 23rd!

Reminders to stay home: Continue to monitor your child every morning. If they do not look like they feel well, please keep them home. Students who test positive may never run a fever, so fever alone is not your only indicator.   Thank you to all of our parents who have made arrangements to keep children home for cold and allergy symptoms and have a COVID test prior to their return. A runny nose may be a child’s only COVID symptom. Call your doctor and follow their advice regarding coughs, scratchy throats, headaches, and even minor cold and allergy symptoms. Parents have been initiating COVID testing, and we greatly appreciate that. We have the technology and capability to instantly transition a child from in-person learning to remote learning. We are here to help. Please keep our school nurse informed.  I asked Mrs. Russell to resend the screening letter again today. Everyone in this building does a screening prior to coming into work, even though we are continuing to be tested every month. We are already into our second round of staff COVID testing. We are hopeful that things will continue to run smoothly. I do ask for your help in keeping your social circles tight.

Renaissance STAR Testing. Our benchmark testing will begin on Monday, September 28th and run throughout that week. Testing typically takes place in the morning, so please be sure your children arrive to school promptly, after a good night sleep and breakfast. For those of you who are new to us, STAR Testing takes place three times per year and is a half hour computer-based test in the areas of Math and Reading.  Students take a Math test one day and Reading on a different day. We will not be testing remote learners the week of Sept. 28th. We will test them once they return to the building.

Thank you to our Assistant Superintendent, Carol Ripken:

Today, Ms. Ripken came out to do a school visit to review my diocesan administrator goals for the year. It was a unique visit. Prior to COVID, we would hug when she entered the building. Typically she is able to go into classrooms, sit down, observe and interact with teachers, and engage with students. Today, she filled out a COVID Screening. I took her temperature, and she met with me in my office, safely distanced 6ft. and wearing her mask. After our meeting, she walked around and simply poked her head into classrooms to say hello to our students and thank our teachers for their excellent work. We appreciate her visit and thank her for her time. She gave me some excellent ideas for STAR Testing that I look forward to sharing with my staff.

 

School Photo Purchasing will CLOSE this Monday, September 21st.

If you do not log in by Monday, you will not be able to purchase school photos. All ordering will be done online. If you have any questions, contact Tina at ttgwynn@comcast.net or 893-5905. See attached link.

 

https://www.kgwynnphoto.com/Preorder974282898

This was supposed to be short and sweet. Oops! I will wrap it up. Keep up the great work. Tell your students they are doing a fantastic job. Continue to have patience with yourself. Stay safe and be well. Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings,

Mrs. White J

“Catechists are people who keep the memory of God alive. They keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others.” – Pope Francis