Tiger Talk! May 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am sending this message early, since we are entering a holiday weekend. I am hoping this email finds you safe, happy, and healthy!

This past Sunday was the Sixth Sunday of Easter. At Mass, Father Beretta spoke about how Michelangelo responded to his 87th birthday. He was an accomplished man. People came to celebrate him and congratulate him for all that he had done in his lifetime. He interrupted the partygoers and simply said, “I am still learning,” as if to say that he was not done yet. Father said this was a beautiful reminder of how we are called to respond. It was a sign of a life well-lived and committed to learn and grow even more. Learning is the meaning of life. As we continue to learn, we do indeed grow. Our bodies start to diminish in the absence of learning. I saw this with my own father in his last year of life. We thrive when we are aware of our blessings and can appreciate what we have. Where there is learning and growing, there is hope. Father Beretta described this time we are currently in as the “greatest disruption to human life and community on a global scale.” We have to ask ourselves, “Are we still learning? Are we symbols of hope for others?” In the first letter of Peter we are reminded that we are called to always “be ready for people to ask you for the reason for the hope you have.” Think of that time in history. People were persecuted and risking their lives simply to be baptized and profess their faith. They were in hiding, but they were full of hope. As we are still somewhat locked away from each other, unable to end our school year as community and as a whole group in our church, let’s stay hopeful. All transitions in life come with challenges. We can use this time to renew our prayer life, to commit ourselves to continuing to grow, learn, and hope, and to remember that Jesus is always with us. He may not be following our timeline, but He made a promise to us to always be by our side. Our patron saint, St. Francis de Sales, referred to “knowledge” as the 8th sacrament and he reminded us to stay humble, learn, and be men and women of optimism. I love the Salesian philosophy that “hope” roots our lives, grounds our learning, and points us in the direction of living.

As we are winding down this school year, I am filled with hope and optimism. I am not going to lie. I am very disappointed to not celebrate our closing Mass as a school community. I am not happy that I can only have one graduate in the church at a time. I am very sad and honestly have cried because I can’t hug my students goodbye as I have for 19 years (especially my graduates). However, we need to be safe and remain hopeful that all we have done these past couple months will allow us to return healthy, happy, and stronger than ever in September. I do have high hopes for that. I will continue to use School Messenger email for communications, but will not do Tiger Talk for the remainder of the school year. Communication will be more frequent at times to keep you current on what is happening. I have just a few things to update you with right now.

 

New School Uniform: 

After multiple parent suggestions and with the approval of the parents on the Home and School Board, we will be changing the official school uniform. This will be a transition over the next school year, so no one needs to buy anything new right now. However, when it is time to purchase new uniforms, the new school shirt will be navy blue with the school logo. As always, that shirt can only be purchased at Rush Uniform. This color will be very helpful in preventing stains and should last longer than the white shirts. The school pants will be khaki school pants. Students will be permitted to wear solid white sneakers for comfort. I will not choose the solid white sneaker, but it must be solid white with no colors or colored embellishments. The official school uniform will be the same for everyone in the school. There will be no difference between elementary and middle school uniforms. Everyone will wear a navy blue polo shirt, and everyone will wear khaki colored pants. By 2021-2022, everyone is expected to be in the same uniform. The gym uniform will remain unchanged. I know that uniforms are really not that important at this time. It has been the furthest thing from my mind the past couple of months. However, I want everyone to be aware of the changes being made. When you go to purchase new shirts at Rush Uniform, the white shirts are no longer available. If your child is in 7th grade and entering 8th for the upcoming year, you do not need to buy anything new, unless you choose to do so.

 

June 3rd School Drop-off and Personal Belongings Pick-Up:

Please follow the directions in my previous email regarding picking up. Be sure to wear a mask and have only one adult approach the table with your oldest child’s teacher (except 8th Grade). Please stick to your scheduled time slot and be prompt, so we can accommodate everyone in a safe manner. Both delivery and pick up will be no-contact. Boxes will be available at each area for returning textbooks and iPads. Mr. McMillan will be checking and collecting iPads for middle school (per his email yesterday) and Ms. Cripps will check and collect iPads for 5th Grade.

 

Italian Festival Dinner Kit Fundraiser:

With the cancellation of this year’s Italian Festival, we are considering a Festival-themed Italian Dinner Kit Fundraiser to help the parish recoup some of the funds that would have been raised at this year’s Festival. Meal kits would include dry and frozen restaurant-quality foods, with size options designed to serve 4, 8, or 12 people.  Prices will be finalized based on products to be offered.  Meal packages would be ordered and paid for in advance, and would be picked up at the parish on a weekday evening.  If you would be interested in supporting this effort, please email Anthony Albence (aalbence@sapde.org) or send a FB message to our school Facebook page with the following info:

Name

Phone Number

Email

Serving size (for 4/8/12) & quantity of dinner packages you might be interested in purchasing.

 

Re-Entry Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year:

As you can imagine, especially those who know me well, I have several plans for next year. I have plans A through F in my brain, just waiting to be shared. I have so many ideas that I started a Re-Entry Team of 6 other staff members just so my head does not explode. I have looked at the layout of the school, how to space desks, how traffic will flow through hallways, how to move teachers rather than students throughout the day. The possibilities are endless. I am totally confident that we will be ready to implement whatever we need to do. My teachers had 4 hours’ notice to prepare for this pandemic and online teaching, and I am truly amazed by what we accomplished. I have friends in other schools and have heard horror stories. Teachers were unprepared. Students did not have access to books or electronic devices. Teaching started several weeks later and ended sooner. Some schools did nothing. We transitioned into remote learning, and our students showed up for class. They worked hard. On June 3rd, we will have completed our 180 days of school, ready to move on. They paid attention in large online group meetings, and I can assure you that is a challenge even for me. I could not be more proud of our school community. Parents became full-time teachers while running houses and still working full-time jobs. You all are amazing! Truly amazing. I am so grateful to each and every one of you for sticking with us through this time. Everyone stayed with us. 100% of you hung in there. Nobody quit. Nobody gave up. We are resilient! Although we have no idea what September will bring, I promise you that we will be ready for it. Next year will be a great year. We have to make up for some lost time and celebrations. There are people to be celebrated and acknowledged. It will happen, in God’s time.

So please stay safe! Be careful as the state slowly starts to reopen. I look forward to sharing with you when I have some good news to share about Communion, our graduates, and much more. I was able to attend a little Pre-Communion celebration online with our Second Grade class. That will have to suffice for now, until we can reconvene in our gorgeous church and I can give them our little gift. Mrs. Achenbach, Mr. Shields, and I are happy to say that we can at least see our graduates and their immediate families, one at a time, for a photo opportunity in the church. Each class made a little video for the Class of 2020, and we are finalizing that now. Anne D’Ascoli is currently working on her photo collage cd as well. That is always a tear jerker, seeing them all grow over the years. The 8th graders have their graduation gowns at home for family photos. Mrs. Achenbach delivered shirts and yard signs personally to each graduate’s house (wearing a mask and safely distancing). We are still working on a graduation program. I was so emotional that I even wrote them a poem to replace the one that we have used in the program for years. I just felt like they needed a little extra attention. We hope to gather everyone later this summer if restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, help me wish them well. Pray that they always remember they have a home with us. Pray for their health, happiness, and success. This is a very special class. I am certain that they will accomplish great things. Let’s also pray again in thanksgiving for our wonderful friends moving on after this school year. We hope to celebrate you soon, Kathy Potts, Mary DeJoseph, Isabella Spitelle, Ellen Tannenbaum, and Courtney Seehusen. We love you all and know you will not be able to stay away.

 

Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“There are difficult moments in life, but with hope the soul goes forward and looks ahead to what awaits us.” Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! May 1, 2020

Dear Friends,

Can you believe it is May today? Actually, now that you have been homeschooling, you are probably well aware of the day and are praying for June. May is a very special month in our school. We honor our Blessed Mother by praying the Rosary with our students during Religion class and celebrating Mary throughout the month. I was blessed to start my day today with the Seventh Grade Religion class, Mr. Limmina, and Mr. Colligan. We talked about scripture and I participated in their lesson. Mr. Colligan joined in for songs at the beginning and end of the class. It was like our own private Friday Mass. I miss those student-prepared school Masses and Mr. Colligan’s uplifting music very much.

Tomorrow would have been one of my favorite days of the year, First Holy Communion.  Please remember our sweet Second Grade class tomorrow. They have worked so hard to prepare for their First Eucharist, a day that will now be on hold until we can safely be together in our gorgeous church for this wonderful sacrament. Also this month, we typically hold our May Procession. For those of you who are not aware, the May Procession is one of our time-honored traditions. I remember it from my own school days at St. Anthony’s and from when my children attended the school. It is a special rite of passage for our Eighth Grade. Our entire student body reverently walks, two-by-two, through our halls, out the front door, up the street, around the fountain, and into our church. The Eighth Grade graduating class and Second Grade Communicants make a grand entrance. Once gathered together, we hold a prayer service where we sing our favorite songs honoring Mary and pray in a special way for her to watch over us. The May Court then places a crown of flowers on the statue of Mary waiting on the altar, surrounded by flowers from her children at St. Anthony’s. It is absolutely stunning and definitely a tearfully emotional moment. Eighth Grade wears their graduation gowns for the first time, and our Second Graders wear their Communion outfits or Sunday best clothing. It is an impressive sight to see 300 people walking silently up Ninth Street. Cars always stop to see what is happening, and parents gather like paparazzi. This year, we will be holding a virtual May Procession with our 8th Grade Class.

Nothing feels the same right now except our faith in God and our love for each other. I have been attending the virtual Mass at Salesianum for the last 6 weeks. During Father Beretta’s homily last week, he talked about “footprints in the sand” and how it related to Jesus rising from the dead and walking with His disciples. They were not even aware that Jesus was with them, walking beside them and talking directly to them. They did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them. Father reminded us that it is in our most troubled times that Jesus carries us in His arms. You may not see Him, but He is ever-present for us. Living in hope is always one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and for our families. God is always with us, walking silently or carrying us when we no longer have the strength to handle challenging days. These are challenging days for sure, but we have so much to look forward to in the months to come. Father said that this pandemic is not God’s plan, but however the world unfolds, God is with us. Challenges exist and God will be with us every step of the way. And as my favorite Salesian quote states, “Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.” Father reminded us at the end of Mass to believe that “there is more to be revealed in time; God’s time.”

Please remember in your prayers our good friends at All Saints Catholic School (ASCS). It was announced yesterday that the school would close at the end of this school year. As you can imagine, this is heartbreaking. When one of us closes, we are all touched by this. Our friends are there, and they will not have their school to return to in September. Some of those friends have already been through multiple school closings. I ask that you please pray for them. Reach out to them and let them know we are thinking of them. I talked to their principal, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Muir, yesterday. I wanted to reassure her that we were standing in solidarity with her and with her community.  Please know that every single child and family from ASCS is welcome at St. Anthony’s. Our home and our hearts are open. There is room in our school and in our hearts for all of their families. We will help welcome them into our school family, should they choose us. I have a few teaching positions open, and I have already started interviewing ASCS staff and considering them before others. We are a big collective family in our diocese, and we get better when we grow. God bless the All Saints community and God bless our Diocese!

Because of these challenging times, we will be following the diocesan recommendation to reduce the salary of our entire staff by 5%. A new salary scale was distributed by the Diocesan office this week. Obviously this is not ideal. I was not happy to report this to teachers during our Zoom faculty meeting this week that when they are working so tirelessly at home and accomplishing great things, their salary will not reflect their efforts. For the upcoming school year, every staff member will see a 5% salary decrease from this year’s salary. This decrease in no way reflects their accomplishments and dedication. They have impressed me beyond measure, and I could not be more proud of my friends. They are awesome! However, this will help to make up for a small portion of the revenue lost from not holding our Italian Festival. Due to city restrictions, we will not be able to secure a date for even a smaller scale festival in September as we had hoped. With that being said, we have secured a date for Casino Night. I hope you all will save the date and consider attending this adult event on November 21st. It is so much fun! More information will follow.

To help families in a small way during this time, we will not be charging the annual book bill next year. It is only $100 per child, but it is a small gesture. Mr. Shields secured the Payroll Protection Plan for our entire staff through this June, and we currently do not plan to reduce our current staff. On that note, if you have not already registered for the upcoming school year, please do so immediately. We would like to have an accurate count for ordering books. This year we had to order more than a hundred books (multiple subjects and grade levels) after the school year had started. I do not wish to repeat that. Please help us to plan accordingly for next year’s programs and staffing. We are so blessed to have a supportive parish and Education Fund. I thank Mr. Shields for his hard work in this area. He has been very busy balancing budgets, applying for loans, and planning for our sustainable future. Please reach out to him at bshields@stanthonynet.org if you have financial concerns. We will not turn a student away due to family financial strains.

To end on a positive, I have to make one more staff announcement for our school year. My good friend, Courtney (Mrs. Seehusen aka Ms. Palmer), will be leaving us at the end of this school year. Courtney and I became instant friends when she started. We have a lot in common. We both graduated from Padua Academy and Neumann University. We share the same values and love working with children and seeing their successes. Courtney was instrumental in helping with differentiated instruction for our struggling learners. She shares my value of social-emotional learning;  putting children’s emotional needs before their academics. I say this is “good” news because Courtney is leaving for a very good reason. Most people do not know that she drives an hour both ways every day from Maryland. Now that she is newly married and has a young daughter, Piper, at home, she wishes to stay at home with her family. They recently bought a new home, and she has started a very busy and happy life. Courtney has been with me for 13 years, so although she will be leaving the physical school, she will not be leaving us. She won’t be able to stay away. I will not allow it. She has been such a tremendous help and support to me both personally and professionally over the years. I expect to see her roaming our halls for years to come. I emailed Courtney today to ask if she had any thoughts to share. She said, “I have loved and cherished my time at the school, and it’s become a second home! I am leaving to be closer to home and spend more time with my family… It is bittersweet, I am looking forward to being available at home more, but it’s also just strange to think of not being at St. Anthony’s!” She added that she hopes her nephew, Shane, will let her “tag along on some field trips or something haha.”  I am sure that he will. I want to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Seehusen on their new home. I wish them much love and happiness. God bless you and your family. Thank you for letting us keep your mother. For those of you who are not aware, our school secretary, Mrs. Anita Palmer, is Courtney’s mom. We really are one big extended family!

I will be in touch again soon with Eighth Grade parents. I believe Mrs. Achenbach has already scheduled a meeting for us next week to discuss graduation. We have to honor government and diocesan restrictions. We will be unable to use our beautiful church or gather in parking lots or fields. Safety is our number one priority. We will be sure to celebrate and honor our graduating class in the most meaningful way possible. If restrictions are lifted at a later date this summer, we may do something differently. However, with our graduation date approaching, we need to be practical and realistic. These children and families have been with us for a long time. Some have been in this school community with siblings for over 20 years. The Mazalewski family will have their 12th child graduate. This is a very special time in the lives of our students. We will be sure to make them feel loved and appreciated until we can gather as a group in the future.

Have a blessed weekend! Please follow us on Facebook. I promise it will make you smile. The pictures that our teachers and families are sending me are truly the highlight of my days. I thank each and every one of you for opening up your homes and lives and sharing your children with us and with the world. Nothing is better than the smiling face of a child! My mom is home alone, now that my father (her husband of 50 years) is gone. She adores the pictures on our page. I think she is our biggest Facebook fan to date! I can’t be with her right now, so know that you are spreading joy to the elderly community as well. Thank you! Keep up the amazing work you are doing at home with your children. You are doing a fantastic job. I have always said we are partners in your child’s education. Never has that statement been truer than it is now.

The Diocesan office posted a Novena for the Coronavirus Pandemic. I will post that every day, starting tomorrow, for the next 9 days. Join me in prayer to end this horrible virus and let us get back to all of life’s little celebrations we may have taken for granted in the past. Be well and stay safe!

 

Love and prayers,

Mrs. White 🙂

 

“To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.” ~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! April 20, 2020

Dear School Family,

I hope this email finds you happy, healthy, and safe. As we continue in the hope and promises of this Easter Season and enter into the second month of distance learning, I just want to thank you all and tell you how impressed I am with what I am seeing. This is unchartered territory, and this school family has shown true grit and resilience. No decisions have been made about a date to safely return to school. However, if you follow the news from our governor, we have to plan for the possibility of not returning before June. I want to assure you that I am working tirelessly from my home office and that Mr. Shields is working diligently alone at school on both parish and school needs. We continue to strategically plan and remain just an email away, if you need us. We are here for you and pray for you always!

I have had the privilege of joining online classes and will do so even more over the next few weeks. Your children are amazing! My staff is incredible! We are on track with attendance and a plan for student promotion at the end of this school year. We have attended multiple online professional development webinars, collaborated greatly with each other, and learned so much in these past few weeks. It’s wonderful! I attend teacher level meetings in a new way, via Zoom or Google Meet. I am in regular contact with our diocesan office and principals with at least three administrator meetings per week. Terrific things are happening in our school and throughout our diocese! Good days will come again when we are finally together.

I ask that you take a minute this week to reach out to a teacher, just to say hello or thank you. They have been asked to do something unprecedented for elementary school teachers. They have to teach in a completely new way, and they have done it with excitement, joy, and a total leap of faith.

I had hoped to make this next very special announcement in person, but I do not want to wait any longer. I have the pleasure of announcing the retirement of 4 incredible women who have over 100 combined years of Catholic education to be proud of. I know these fantastic women so well that I could write pages about all of them, but they are all humble, and we will celebrate them in our own way (as a school family) as soon as we are able to do so. These brief statements that follow will in no way match my tremendous love, gratitude, and admiration for their amazing work. I am blessed to call these incredible women my friends. I speak on behalf of our entire parish school community when I say, “Thank you, you are very loved, and you are forever our family, no matter where you go!”

Kathy Potts has been at St. Anthony’s so long (32 years) that her name is synonymous with our Kindergarten. Kathy taught both of my children and her own children (You can all imagine that now). Kathy has helped me over the years on many committees and tried to attend every single event we have had at our school. She is so well-planned as a teacher that I can walk into her classroom and start teaching for two weeks before I would even have to call her. I love hearing her talk to her students about Jesus as their friend. She teaches religion across all curriculum areas and instills a strong foundation for that faith formation that will occur over their next 9 years with us. Kathy has cried in my office because she cares so deeply for every child and their success. I always try to reassure her that this is “just” Kindergarten and they have so much time to grow. But for Kathy, there is no such thing as “just.”  She will find a plan, a sticker chart, a buddy, a mentor, or whatever it takes for a child to be a success (at the age of 5). Nobody has a larger collection of back-up plans for children. I will miss hearing her voice encouraging little learners, and I can’t imagine finding a new Kindergarten teacher that will require so little effort on my part as an administrator. Kathy, Enjoy your much deserved retirement and especially those grandchildren! Tell John you are the captain and judge of the house now!

Mary DeJoseph has been Kathy’s teacher assistant for 30 years. It is only fitting that they retire at the same time. I can’t imagine Mary without Kathy or vise versa. Our Kindergarten next year will be transformational. We will take that beautiful classroom and give it new life and new energy. As sad as I am about these two ladies leaving me, I am thrilled that they will not be separated. They have been a duo for so long. They finish each other’s sentences. Mary steps in and takes over a classroom, and the students are not even aware. That is what a fine oiled machine that classroom has become over the years. Mary has flourished as a teacher assistant over the years. When a licensed/certified teacher comes in to substitute for Kathy, their job is made easy. It is basically just a formality. That teacher becomes the assistant to Mary, who can run the classroom singlehandedly. The role of assistant has changed dramatically in my 19 years here. Photocopying and setting up centers and activities were the assistant’s typical  responsibilities in the past. Now, Mary teaches small groups and works 1:1 with our struggling learners and those who simply can’t sit still in class. Mary takes walks with students, refocuses students, and does all of the setting up for the multiple activities and lessons throughout their day. She never stops moving. She rarely sits, unless she is organizing papers to go home. I will miss Mary, and I thank her for her dedication to her position as it has changed so drastically in her time with us. Mary, Enjoy retired life and time spent with family and friends. I’m sure they will be thrilled to have you all to themselves again.

This year we will also celebrate the retirement of Isabella Spitelle, who has worked more than a quarter of a century in our building (29 years). Isabella is one of the most faith-filled and kind people I have had the pleasure of knowing. She also has seen her role as teacher assistant change with the times, and she has adapted with grace as she does in all things. Isabella has supported our school, our church, and our Kinghts of Columbus. She has organized many Chess tournaments, pasta dinners, essay contests, and declamation contests over the years. She is our best baker! John McMillan, our technology coordinator, is very sad Isabella will not be baking for us on a regular basis. Something tells me she will still be a presence in our school. She won’t be able to stay away! I know she can’t!  Isabella is so good at her job that we asked her to be the teacher assistant for two classes this year. She has done so, and she has done an amazing job in both classrooms. I truly will miss her. Every time I see Isabella she smiles at me in a new and youthful way. It was our little secret for a while. I tell her to stop smiling and she laughs. I know she is smiling because of a job well done and a retirement so deserving. I tell her I will miss her, and she knows how sincere I am. Enjoy your beautiful family, Isabella. Keep baking!

Last but certainly not least is Ellen Tannenbaum with 35 years of teaching in a Catholic school. Everywhere we go, Ellen sees another student she has taught. They are everywhere, and they all adore her.  I have told Ellen that she was a blessing to me personally but she has been a blessing to our entire school family. Those of you who know Ellen know that she is the most humble person you will ever meet. Ellen came out of retirement in 2015 to work at St. Anthonys when my son was diagnosed with cancer and I took a leave of absence. She took over teaching for Bob Shields as Math Specialist so he could take on the role of Interim Principal. That changed the trajectory of our little school family for the best. I can’t imagine my job without Bob Shields in the main office, and we could not have been luckier to find Ellen. She was supposed to be there to finish out a school year and she has been with us for almost 5 years. Ellen is one of the most intelligent people I know. She has a mathematical mind and teaching strategies that I can’t even comprehend. That is the one classroom I feel unworthy to substitute in. I feel like the children know they are being ripped off. Haha! I admire and thank Ellen for her unwavering tolerance and acceptance of all children and her grace and calming nature in all things. I have learned so much from you in our brief years together. I wish you good health and happiness in your new home. You are one of the strongest yet gentle people I know. Thank you for joining our family. You will be sincerely missed. Thanks for saving the best for last; St. Anthonys.  Maybe one of your many former students will want to teach Math for us 🙂  

Please join me in heartfelt gratitude by saying, “Thank you and God bless Kathy, Mary, Isabella, and Ellen! You are all so loved and appreciated for your years of service to others in this most precious mission of Catholic education.”

I end this Tiger Talk with the words of Pope Francis.

 

“Teaching is a beautiful job; as it allows you to see the growth day by day of people entrusted to your care. It is a little like being parents, at least spiritually. It is a great responsibility.” 

 

Love and blessings,

Mrs. Judy White

 

Please pardon any typographical errors from my dining room/home office 🙂

Tiger Talk! April 3, 2020

Dear Families,
I want to start by saying how extremely proud I am to be part of this amazing community. During these past three weeks, I have seen some really incredible things. This is a very scary and uncertain time for all of us, but it has shown us so many blessings. I am truly impressed with my staff. They have never taught remotely (solely) and have adjusted to this new way of life so positively and openly. They are excited and learning as they go and really challenging themselves to do new things.
Three full weeks have gone by, and everyone is starting to feel more uncertain about the end of this pandemic. Uncertainty leads to stress. I do not wish that for any of you. Be certain that we will all come through this and support each other as needed. I ask that you all have patience with others but first with yourself. This is an idea from St. Francis de Sales. Parents, you are not teachers, so please do not expect to be teachers. Our superintendent today told the principals that we should all be focused on “compassion more than content.” If you are anxious and stressed, imagine what our children are feeling. They will not remember what they learned, but they will remember how they felt and how they were treated. I have said it before but it bears repeating. These children are going to remember you being present for them. They are going to remember going for walks, watching movies, playing games; all of those things we never had time to do. They will remember family dinners; not what food they ate. They will remember the patience you showed when you walked away or humbly admitted you did not understand a lesson they were asking for help with.
Hang in there! Your children have shown tremendous responsibility and independence, particularly in the upper grades. They are turning in work in new ways and reaching out to ask for help. Let them do that. Let them ask the teacher for help. Grades 4 through 8 have email accounts and have been using those accounts long before this pandemic. Teachers are available 7:30-3:30 every day, Monday through Friday. Next week, we will still honor our scheduled Easter Break. I am not making any changes to the school calendar at this time. Students will have very little work on Holy Thursday (noon dismissal), as we really want to focus on Holy Week and all of the hope, joy, and renewal that Easter promises. This is the most important week in the Catholic church. It is the basis for our beliefs. Enjoy this special time with your family.
All events for April and May are canceled. We hope to reschedule many fun activities when we are back together. As you may have read, our Italian Festival has been canceled for the first time in 50 years. This is sad but it comes with a promise for new ideas and opportunities for fundraising events. Casino Night will most likely be our next main event. We hope to have a huge turnout for that once we are able to secure a new date.
In the meantime, please just love each other, stay safe, and be well. Please stay in touch with your child’s teacher. They miss your children very much. I just had a virtual meeting with my entire staff. It was so nice to see them. The recurrent theme from every one of them was how much they miss seeing your children. It is a new normal. I miss everyone very much. Keep plugging along. We will be together again soon.
Right now we remain on track, technically not having missed any school days. Some schools are just starting online education, while others still have no plans. We are ahead of the curve. I have total confidence that we will finish our school year strong, whether in the building or not. Only time will tell at this point.
Let’s hold each other in prayer. This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I hope it brings you some peace. If you are not friends with us on Facebook, I urge you to do so and stay connected. That is my primary means of communicating all of the good things that are still happening every day. It will make you smile. Today’s Gospel reminded us that Jesus has shown us many good works of His Father. Look for those good works. They are all around you.
I know some parents want more work for their students. Some parents want less work and are feeling overwhelmed. We continue to find a middle ground, and I believe it is working well. Just breathe this weekend. This is an elementary school. Your children will be fine. I assure you. You have my word! Remember that compassion outweighs content. You are doing your best. Teachers are doing their best. And at the end of the day, everyone’s best is enough!
I love all of you and hope you can relax this weekend. No more parents and grandparents teaching for two days!
Stay safe and be well!
Mrs. White 🙂
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.” St. Francis de Sales
***Please excuse any typographical errors!

Tiger Talk! March 13, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy Friday! I hope this email finds all of you happy, healthy, and well. Despite the craziness of the outside world this week, we all had a great time, learned a lot, and did not panic over the coronavirus. We followed the CDC recommendations and kept your children safe while they were with us. Mr. Miguel has been hard at work, constantly sanitizing all railings, door handles, and light switches. Teachers have been cleaning and sanitizing desks and computers as well. I am always proud of how clean our school is. This is a time when it is most important. In this technological world we live in, we have no worries if we have to close school for an extended period of time (past the 27th). We are prepared and can communicate through our teacher websites, School Messenger emails, and social media.

On to lighter topics, thank you for participating in the exciting new version of Open House last night. We really enjoyed the new spin on things, “Family Fun Night” with games and crafts throughout the building. New families were met with hospitality as I knew they would be. Current families enjoyed game times with their children and their peers. A good time was had by all. I was so happy with the turnout in light of people canceling events around us. I love our school families!

Recently I have been checking student assessments and reviewing the tests, quizzes, and projects of all students. The work I am seeing is impressive. You may notice my trademark black tiger paw stamp and  orange writing on your child’s work. Each teacher sends me work samples, and they invite me into their classrooms when students are working on a project or doing presentations. Most recently, I had the pleasure of observing Third Grade making wagons out of tissue boxes. They made wagons after learning about the pioneer’s journey across America. See Facebook for pictures! I had the joy of doing centers with Second Grade yesterday. Ms. Lofink makes learning fun. Children played games and used kinetic sand to learn to spell this week’s spelling words. What a creative idea! I saw the Preschool 3 year olds’ Religion packet on singing our prayers to God. Yesterday, I saw Preschool 4 year olds’ work on colors, counting, and graphing. Middle school Religion projects were really impressive. I posted them on Facebook as well. First Grade did a terrific job on their most recent Reading test. Fifth Grade did an amazing job on their Number the Stars book test. In Kindergarten and Third Grade, I reviewed a few awesome English and Phonics assessments. I stopped into Mrs. Tannenbaum’s room to view all of her works in progress. Students created geometric figures that are above my brain capacity (judging by my recent origami fail at the principals’ retreat last week). Way to go, students! We have a bright group of youngsters in this building. I am sure I missed someone, but I wanted to let you know that I am proud of all the hard work I see coming across my desk each day.

Speaking of the diocesan principal retreat, I really learned a lot. As promised, I prayed for each and every one of you and for your extended families. I prayed for my continued faith formation in this spiritual mission. I was reminded of how important the work is that we do here every day in a Catholic school. A young student this week told me that he was shocked that Jesus loves us no matter what we do or how bad our behavior is. It made me think of how hard we can all be towards ourselves. Our retreat leader asked us to think about vulnerability. Initially, as leaders, we all felt that vulnerability had a negative or weak connotation to it. As a principal, we are called to make hundreds of tough decisions every day. We have to be strong in our convictions and know that everyone will not agree with our choices. We learned on retreat to think of the fact that being vulnerable makes us human. Not one of us is perfect. We need to be open to others and find the grace in our trials and anxiety and in this mission. During this time of Lent, I ask that you all remember that each and every one of us is vulnerable. Be kind to others and most of all, be kind to yourself. I think we are successful in helping and being kind to others. We need to have the same patience with ourselves. Look at your vulnerabilities and find strength and faith there; not weakness. Forgive yourself as easily as you forgive others. And remember, like a wise Third Grader told me, “No matter what you do, God is there; loving, forgiving, and accepting you just as you are.” He is there when we are most vulnerable. I can assure you of that from first-hand experience. You simply have to be open to see and hear Him.

In the weeks ahead, I do not know what will come of this coronavirus, but I have complete and total faith that we will handle it. My son missed a year and a half of his Junior year at Salesianum as he battled cancer. He returned Senior year, graduated with his class, and is now a Junior at the University of Delaware. I assure you that if we have to miss just a few weeks of school (at the elementary or middle school level), it is simply a tiny little blip in the rest of their lives. So, let’s keep washing our hands and avoid putting ourselves in any unnecessary danger. Let’s pray for those who actually are sick and suffering, and not cause undue anxiety by giving too much information to our children. May those who are sick, find strength and faith in God and in their vulnerability.

Reregistration Reminder – Thank you to all families who have registered for next year! We are very happy with our numbers so far. If you have not done so at this time, please send in your paperwork immediately. We are planning on book ordering, staffing, and online subscriptions based ONLY on the number of students registered thus far. As you can imagine, we need an accurate count of students so that we can staff accordingly. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

Lenten blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.” ~ St. Francis de Sales

Tiger Talk! February 28, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We began this season of Lent with Mass on Ash Wednesday. Father Wrightson was our presider at this Mass and during his homily, he reminded us of the importance of ashes.  He told us the ashes we received were not only a visible reminder of our faith, but a sign that something special would be happening inside us during the Lenten journey.  Our journey through Lent will help us grow in knowledge of God and Jesus. Father Wrightson also reminded us that the Eucharist we receive helps to nourish our souls for the journey to come.

This goes perfectly with the school’s Lenten theme “Walk with Jesus.” Our Student Council officers helped pick this theme and it is one that all of our students, from littlest Tiger to 8th Grader can understand.  During the season of Lent, we remember what Jesus did for us.  This is a time of year when many people “give up” something.  We are encouraging students to do something instead of give up something.  Doing a kind act every day of Lent is a wonderful way to be like Jesus.

Today began our Lenten tradition of Stations of the Cross on Friday afternoons.  Each Friday during Lent, a different grade reads the Stations of the Cross along with our presider.  This is a wonderful way to close out the week and remind the students of the importance of Jesus’s journey and sacrifice for us.  If you are able, come and join us on Fridays at 2:00 P.M. in the Church.  We hope to see some of you there!

Diocesan Principal Retreat – I will be out of town Wednesday, March 4th through Friday, March 6th of next week. I will be on retreat with the Catholic Schools Office and other administrators from our elementary and high schools in the Diocese. I will keep all of your families in my prayers as always! Mr. Shields will be available should you need him. We are blessed to work in a school where the principal can leave the building and all remains calm and peaceful. I was away last week from Tuesday through Friday on a Middle States Team visit and there were no issues. I complimented the children when I returned. I am so proud of them every day. They work hard and they follow the rules to keep everyone safe and happy. Our teachers do an excellent job of managing behavior and having a respectful and cooperative classroom environment. Thank you again for sending your children to St. Anthony’s. I assure you that they are in the best place. I obviously did not tell them I was out of the building, but I am sure they were aware that someone else was doing announcements and they did not see me.

Congratulations to Daniel and Stella Caesar! They have a new baby sister in the family. Welcome to Alexis, our newest baby tiger!

Congratulations to our February Students of the Month!  February’s virtue was “facing challenges without fear.” Congratulations to our brave students: Finley Banker (PK3), Jackson Lawrence (PK4), Colton Geiger (K), Ryan Neal (1st), Sylvie Keen (2nd), Delaney Loyola (3rd), Lilliana Stellini(4th), Amara Smith (5th), Braden Carroll (6th), Eliana Godlewski (7th), and Evan Cillo (8th). Keep up the good work!

After Care Changes – For an added level of security, access to multiple computers, and a more flexible play environment, After Care has been moved to the top floor in the Digital Library. Thank you for your flexibility. The children are very excited to be able to use the computers, sing and dance with the SMART Board, draw on the whiteboard walls and glass, and spread out by age level. I like the fact that I have a perfect view of all areas on the Digital Library on camera and that there are no exterior doors to access After Care students directly.

Padua Academy Collaboration Projects – Padua Academy and St. Anthony’s have started collaborating on a number of service-based projects.  Here are just a few of the things our students have been doing:

  • Student podcast: We have joined forces with Mr. Leizear’s communication group. Our students and his students are working to create our first podcast.
  • Community Garden: We are working with St. Francis Hospital to begin a community garden to help feed the community. It is in the beginning stages, having held only one meeting.
  • Emmanuel Dining Room: Padua girls came to St. Anthony’s and worked with our girls who will be attending Padua in the fall as well as some girls from 5th and 6th Grade. They made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together for the EMD. Our girls had a wonderful time participating in this service activity.

School Marketing – Next week I will be doing my second radio interview for Italian Radio. I will be marketing the school and our upcoming Open House. However, you are our best marketers. Please continue to spread the word about our amazing school and all we have to offer. We tend to be humble, and people are often shocked when I tell them about our technology, special education services, certified and licensed teachers, and terrific facility. The response is always, “I had no idea.” That tells me we need to start bragging a little bit about what it is that we do well here. We are fully living our mission, “valuing our past and embracing our future.”

  • Open House #2 – We will have our second Open House next month. Stop by on Thursday, March 12th from 6:30 P.M. until 8:30 P.M. We will have a family game night while offering tours and introducing prospective parents to our school. As always, food will be served! We decided to try something new this year and had a nice turnout with the first evening (Family Movie Night). This takes the place of our traditional Sunday afternoon Open House in January. Everyone liked the new informal, family-friendly social format. We have ongoing tours and shadow days. We have had a lot of interest these past couple of months.

Class Notes:

  • PreSchool 3 has been experimenting with objects that sink or float. They are also learning the letter “S” and have enjoyed playing with magnetic sand.
  • PreSchool 4 has been working on letter sounds and learning new sight words. They are also learning how to be a kind friend to others. They have also done a robot programming experiment and got to watch the robot move on the routine they programmed it with!
  • Kindergarten has been learning about Lent and Ash Wednesday.  They practiced getting ashes on their hands with “unblessed” ashes.  They learned that wearing these very special ashes shows the world that we love Jesus.  They compared these very special ashes to a birthday hat because they are always so proud to wear that party hat.  Kindergartners are also proud to wear these ashes for Jesus.
  • 1st Grade had a wonderful time watching a performance of the musical Frozen at Cab Calloway School of the Arts.  They enjoyed a special candy heart math graphing activity for Valentine’s Day.  They are making a lot of progress in Reading and learning the different spellings of the long vowel sounds.
  • 2nd Grade has been working on writing research reports for Black History Month. They also have been learning about two-digit subtraction, fast and slow earth changes, and goods and services.

 

  • 3rd Graders were given the name of a famous African-American for Black History Month.  Each student had to do their own computer research for this activity.  Once finished, they will be presenting their reports to the class.
  • 4th Grade has been learning about the Southwest region of the United States in Social Studies. During Science class, they’ve been learning about the internal and external structures of both plants and animals. They are also excited because they will be starting fractions in Math class next week!
  • 5th Grade is learning about our solar system in Science class.  Many of them are able to name all the planets and differentiate between the inner and outer planets.  In Reading and Social Studies, the class has been reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  Students have been learning about World War II and the Holocaust.
  • 6th Grade is finishing up Helen Keller: The Story of My Life.  They will be jumping into Persuasive Writing using MLA formatting.  All three Middle School grades will be working with MLA formatting in the third trimester to help prepare them for high school.
  • 7th Grade students have started to work on their Lenten prayer services in religion class.  The services consist of a reading, a homily, petitions, examination of conscience questions and a closing song and video. Students are looking forward to presenting their prayer services to younger grades.
  • 8th Grade finished up their lesson on the Renaissance this week by participating in a painting activity.  The students chose a work by Michelangelo, sketched it out, and then painted it under their desks.  The works turned out beautifully and are displayed in the 3rd floor hallway.

 

  • Phys. Ed. Classes are about to begin a 3 week Yoga unit.  All classes have been playing Group Games the past few weeks and 4th – 8th Grade also took their first fitness tests.

 

Yearbooks – Yearbooks are on sale! They are $35. Please use the following link to purchase a yearbook. There will be limited yearbooks available for sale after the online sales. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Seehusen at cseehusen@stanthonynet.org.

http://jostensyearbooks.com/?REF=A01128770

 

From Mrs. Russell, our school nurse:

If your child is sent home from school with a fever/vomiting/diarrhea, they are not to return to school the next day per the 24 hour policy. Your child does not feel well enough to perform school work and they are contagious to their classmates.

WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL:

  • Fever – temperature of 100 degrees in the last 24 hours. Please do not medicate your child with Tylenol or Ibuprofen and then send him/her to school. The fever may come down, but your child is still contagious and won’t feel well.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea in the last 24 hours
  • Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye – white part of the eye or eyelid is red with thick drainage. Your child must have started treatment before returning to school.
  • Headache/Cough/Sore throat/Congestion severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform schoolwork.

How do I tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

Signs and Symptoms Influenza Cold
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual
Fever Usual; lasts 3-4 days Rare
Aches Usual; often severe Slight
Chills Fairly common Uncommon
Fatigue, weakness Usual Sometimes
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Chest discomfort, cough Common; can be severe Mild to moderate; hacking cough
Headache Common Rare
  • How is influenza spread?
    • The influenza virus is believed to be mainly spread by droplets that are released when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks.  A person could also become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching their own nose or mouth (the flu virus can remain infectious for up to 24 hours on a surface).  Young children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic health conditions are more likely to have complications if infected with the flu.
  • How long should they stay out of school and other activities?
    • Children need to stay out of school until their fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication and he/she is feeling well enough to participate in routine activities.

Also, if you are keeping your child home from school because of illness, please let the school know the reason why your child is ill.  This will help in monitoring the illnesses at school.

  • What is the treatment for influenza?
    • The treatment for influenza (a viral illness) is usually rest, fluids, ibuprofen and/or Tylenol for pain/fever. Antibiotics are not effective. Antiviral medications can shorten the course of the flu and prevent complications if given within 36 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin.  These are usually prescribed for those who are high risk (immunocompromised or have a chronic medical condition such as asthma). Contact your physician for the following complications: the fever gets better, then suddenly worsens; symptoms don’t improve within 2 weeks; can’t get rid of the cough or it begins producing thick mucus; or pain concentrated in a single area like ear (ear infection), chest (pneumonia) or sinuses (sinus infection).
  • How can influenza be prevented?
    • It is not too late to get a flu shot.  According to the CDC, the best way to avoid or lessening the severity of the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine, and it is recommended that everyone 6 months old and up receive one.  Even if the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it may help lessen the severity of the flu.

**Some routine practices that can prevent the spread of germs for any virus include: frequent, proper hand hygiene (scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds); cough/sneeze into your elbow/sleeve; keep hands away from your face; disinfect frequently used objects/surfaces; avoid contact with sick people, and, conversely, if you are sick, avoid contact with others.*

We will do our best here at school to keep the surfaces clean.  I need your help in keeping your child home if they are not feeling well and show signs of the flu.

If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other health issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.  Thank you and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Annemarie Russell BSN, RN, CPN,

St. Anthony of Padua School Nurse

 

From Home and School:

  • Save the Date for Casino Night on Saturday, March 28th from 6:30-10:30pm. Home and School is sponsoring this fun evening out for adults only! Bring your friends and your lucky charms to St. Anthony’s 4th Annual Casino Night Fundraiser!  Try your luck at Black Jack, Roulette, and Craps to win raffle tickets for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.  There will be a Silent Auction too! Tickets are $40 per person and include: $50 in gaming chips, heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, beer & wine.  You must be 21 to attend.  Ticket sales are final.  No refunds.

 

From the Parish:

  • March Parish Monthly Socials – The March parish socials will be held on Sunday, March 1st  in the Ballad Room of the Grade School, following the 9:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Masses.  Stop by for food, fun, and socializing with fellow parishioners and friends.  The social, as always, will feature a variety of great donuts and tomato pie from Serpe’s Bakery, delicious breakfast pizzas from Degnars Greenhill Deli, and more!  We hope you can join us!

 

From the Business Office:

  • Financial Aid for the 2020-2021 School Year – Financial aid packets are now available in the main office. All parents applying for financial aid to our school MUST apply to the Diocese first. Please be aware that without a completed application to the Diocese, a family will not be considered for financial aid through our parish education fund. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.

*Reminder – Financial aid packets have to be completed and submitted by March 4th.

 

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook! If you haven’t followed us yet, look for St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

Lenten Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

During Lent, let us find concrete ways to overcome our indifference.”~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! February 14, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today at Mass, we listened to Father Mark as he reminded us that we should do all good things through God and that we should love and treat others as Jesus did.  What a fantastic reminder on this day of love! Thank you to our Home and School who organized a blood drive today in our Ballad Room. This is a wonderful way to live out two of our monthly virtues: January’s “giving of all one has” and February’s “facing challenges without fear.”  I know many people have not always been fans of needles and having blood drawn, but to do it for the needs of others is a wonderful way to live out our calling as Jesus’s disciples.

Congratulations to our January Students of the Month!  January’s virtue was “giving of all one has.” Congratulations to our students are always willing to help others and give of themselves: Bear Latina (PK3), Elijah Pak (PK4), Liam Teasdale (K), Sara Barker (1st), Gabe Hall (2nd), Cate Sargent (3rd), Nora Farrell (4th), Saniyah Hopper (5th), Lena Padovani (6th), Andres Lorenzo (7th), and Tina Kane (8th). Keep up the good work!

Congratulations and Thank You to our Science Olympiad participants! We had 26 students across 5th, 6th, and 7th Grades participate at the Science Olympiad held at St. Mark High School on February 8th. Our students won 13 medals from the events they participated in.  Thank you to Mrs. Ellen Tannenbaum who organized, coached, and encouraged all our participants. And thank you to the parents who came and spent their day at St. Mark’s either in the cafeteria  or navigating the building so students could make it to their events on time.

Thank you to the Wilmington Police’s K9 Division! Yesterday, some of their officers came to visit us and gave us a special presentation with the dogs they use for the K9 division.  All students were able to meet and pet Greta and Baylis.  The officers told us that our students asked really great questions and were very well-behaved.  Our students had a similar appreciation of the excellent canine behavior.  Below are some photos from yesterday, but be sure to go check our Facebook page to see videos of the dogs in action.

Yearbooks – Yearbooks are on sale! They are $30. Please use the following link to purchase a yearbook. There will be limited yearbooks available for sale after the online sales. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Seehusen at cseehusen@stanthonynet.org.

http://jostensyearbooks.com/?REF=A01128770

From our School Counselor, Mrs. Angelo:

  • I have some very exciting news to share; I will have a school counselor intern from Wilmington University for the rest of the school year!  She will be here most mornings and some afternoons.  She is very excited to be able to spend her internship here with us at St. Anthony’s.

From YAC:

  • Spring Sports Registration – Spring is in the air!  We are now registering athletes for track and baseball for St. Anthony’s Grade School.  Track is open to athletes in K-8th grade and baseball is open to athletes in 6th-8th grade.  Practices are twice a week with games/meets on the weekends. The season runs from March 2nd (practice begins) through May 17th. To register go to: http://www.stanthonyyac.com. Be Tiger Proud!

From the Business Office:

  • Financial Aid for the 2020-2021 School Year – Financial aid packets are now available in the main office. All parents applying for financial aid to our school MUST apply to the Diocese first. Please be aware that without a completed application to the Diocese, a family will not be considered for financial aid through our parish education fund. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.

*Reminder – Financial aid packets have to be completed and submitted by March 4th.

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook! I realize we have repeated this information many times, but Tiger Talk communication is only bi-weekly.  See all of the exciting things that are happening with your children on a daily basis. Teachers submit pictures to me, or I try to catch fun lessons in action. If you haven’t followed us yet, look for St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

 

Warm Winter Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

God can fill our hearts with his love and help us continue our journey together towards the land of freedom and life…”~ Pope Francis

Tiger Talk! January 31, 2020

January 31, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy Friday, everyone! We have had a wonderful Catholic Schools Week, and I am so thankful for all of our blessings. Thank you to my teachers for making this week an exciting one for our students. I received several compliments from students about how much fun they had. We took 215 students to the movies and bowling, and they were so respectful and polite. Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents should be very proud of their students. I certainly was!

Today at Mass, Father Wrightson spoke of the image of the Kingdom of God. He reminded us that we have multiple opportunities every single day to do good deeds and plant seeds of goodness (like the farmer). Just as a farmer is often surprised by what a tiny seed can produce, we can spread tiny seeds of goodness that will lead to great things. We all make mistakes at times. We do some things well and other things very wrong. Father challenged us to try to do more things well so the Kingdom of God can grow all around us and make our world a better and brighter place for all. He asked us to be the best we can be, which is something we pray and say several times a day here at St. Anthony’s. Our teachers and students do strive to “be who they are and be that well,” in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales.  Just as the farmer doesn’t know how exactly it is that all things happen with a simple seed, we do not know the endless possibilities of doing good deeds and simply being kind.  A small kindness can make a tremendous difference in the life of someone who is struggling. So, help us to continue to appreciate all of our blessings, smile, and be the face of Jesus. It seems so simple, but it is a beautiful tribute to God. Father urged us all to take a step back and see where God is helping us. Let’s create God’s kingdom together. It is not our kingdom but God’s and we are all a part of it. Let God show you the way. Together we can do and say things to build up God’s Kingdom and make our community an ever better place.

February is here! We are already preparing for the season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 26th. Students chose this year’s theme. It is a theme that all age levels (3-14) can understand. Our Lenten theme is “Walk with Jesus.” You will see this message throughout the building. I think we do an excellent job here at St. Anthony’s when it comes to walking with Jesus and following Him on His journey through the Stations of the Cross. Our students have Stations every Friday at 2:00 P.M. during Lent. Come out and join us. It is a peaceful and reverent way to start your weekend. Via Crucis is in full swing with practices on Sunday. If you have never seen these beautiful living stations, with student performers of all ages, be sure to plan on that for your Friday nights during Lent.

Our Diocesan monthly theme for February is “Jesus Walks on Water” (John 6:16-21). We continue to discuss Jesus’ miracles every month. Our lesson/challenge for the month of February will be “Facing challenges without Fear.”

Catholic Schools Week – We had an excellent week of activities to celebrate Catholic Schools Week!

  • On Monday, we celebrated our teachers! Home and School provided some breakfast treats and a delicious lunch for our teachers. All the teachers enjoyed their day.
  • On Tuesday, we saw a majority of both students and staff decked out in as much orange as they could wear! Some of our students even colored their hair and painted their faces!  We also had our School Spelling Bee. Congratulations to our school winner, 6th Grader Lena Padovani!
    • Our classroom Spelling Bee winners are: Sara Barker – 1st; Jeremiah Robinson – 2nd; Celeste Scarpato – 3rd; Tristen Clinton – 4th; Faith Jah – 5th; Lena Padovani – 6th; Andres Lorenzo – 7th; and Diana Lorenzo – 8th. Way to go!

  • Wednesday saw Mrs. Orensky and some of our 8th Graders helping all the students run through different activities in the Gym for Spirit Day.  The students had a fantastic time playing different relay games in the Gym.  Student Council provided Chick-fil-a lunches for all our teachers and staff in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day on Monday.  This was a fantastic treat for our teachers.

  • Thursday was Student Appreciation Day and all the students enjoyed some time out of school for a special treat.
    • Grade PK-5 went to the movies where they saw “Dolittle.”  They also enjoyed some popcorn and fruit snacks while there.  I was amazed to see even our littlest Tigers carrying their snacks without spilling them.  I was impressed! The students enjoyed the movie and kept sharing their favorite parts with each other.
    • Grades 6-8 went bowling at Main Event.  They enjoyed some cosmic bowling and time with friends.

  • Thank you to Home and School for paying for our movie and snacks! All of us, students and adults, enjoyed their trip!
  • Friday was the traditional 8th Grade vs. Parents Volleyball Game. Both teams played their hearts out, but the parents were victorious.  It was a well-played game by both teams!

I want to thank you once again for choosing to send your child to our school.  We value the decision you have made and take the educating of your child seriously.  It is our privilege to teach, love, and nurture your precious gifts.

Bishop Malooly’s visit: Bishop Malooly visited our school and met with all three grade levels. Third Grade did a song presentation in sign language. Preschool showed Bishop Malooly and Dr. DeAngelo how to pray before meals. Most surprisingly, Middle School was silent. I am not sure what happened that day, but nobody spoke. Our normally very chatty middle school was the most quiet I have ever seen them. When asked what they were learning, you could hear a pin drop in the room. Thankfully a couple students stopped by to greet Bishop Malooly personally before he left. It is so nice that he takes the time to go visit every single school in his diocese. For those of you who do not know this, Bishop Malooly submitted his retirement to Pope Francis last year on his 75th birthday. We will be sad to see him move on. He loves our diocese, and I have a feeling he will not go too far. We await the news of a new Bishop in the upcoming months. Pray for our diocese that we may be blessed again to have a Bishop who loves Catholic schools and works tirelessly to keep them running.

Diocesan School Site Visit: We had the pleasure of hosting Ms. Carol Ripken, our Assistant Superintendent.  Ms. Ripken did a thorough review of our school, observed all classrooms, met with administration, the pastor, business manager, Home and School Board president, Advisory Board members, and our parish trustee, Anthony Albence. She complimented us on our strong Catholic identity, our service projects, our all-inclusive school, our technology integration, our hospitable students, our credentialed teachers, and much more. I look forward to sharing the report in greater detail with you in the near future. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to be here and talk about why they love St. Anthony’s. It really is a special place. Let’s continue to “be who we are and be that well” as a school family.

Renaissance Testing: We will be doing our next round of Renaissance Testing from February 3rd – February 14th.  Please be sure students arrive on time. For purposes of test validity and a quiet testing environment, once a test has started, students are not permitted to enter the computer lab.

Reminder about morning drop-off: Please use the front of the building, pulling up as far as possible, and have your child exit on the curbside. Do not park on the school side if you will exit your car for any reason. Please do not park in the bus zone across the street or double-park in the street. If you need to walk your child into school, please park across the street in the parking lot.  All children must cross at the corner with the crossing guard (this also applies for dismissal).  If you park on Scott Street (the side of the school), children can exit safely on the curb when they get out on the passenger side of the vehicle. This is a better, safer option. We do have before care as an option for parents who need to drop their students off early.  There is no supervision outside school until the doors open at 7:30 A.M.

Health and Safety Reminders from our School Nurse:

When to Keep Your Child Home from School

  • Fever – temperature of 100 degrees in the last 24 hours. Please do not medicate your child with Tylenol or Ibuprofen and then send him/her to school. The fever may come down, but your child is still contagious and won’t feel well.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea in the last 24 hours
  • Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye – white part of the eye or eyelid is red with thick drainage. Your child must have started treatment before returning to school.
  • Headache/Cough/Sore throat/Congestion severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform schoolwork.

If your child is sent home from school with a fever/vomiting/diarrhea, they are not to return to school the next day per the 24 hour policy. Your child does not feel well enough to perform school work and they are contagious to their classmates.

Thank you for keeping our school healthy!

Congratulations to our Knights of Columbus Vocation Essay Contest Winners! The Knights of Columbus hold a yearly vocation essay contest where students in grades 5 -8 are given a specific topic to write on.  The following students won for their class: Gideon Keen – 5th; Michael Vadden – 6th; Natalia Alfieri – 7th; Chastity Lam – 8th. Each winner received a gift card and their essay will be entered in the statewide competition.  Excellent job!

Financial Aid for the 2020-2021 School Year – Financial aid packets are now available in the main office. All parents applying for financial aid to our school MUST apply to the Diocese first. Please be aware that without a completed application to the Diocese, a family will not be considered for financial aid through our parish education fund. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.

*Reminder – Financial aid packets have to be completed and submitted by March 4th.

Yearbooks – Yearbooks are on sale! They are $30. Please use the following link to purchase a yearbook. There will be limited yearbooks available for sale after the online sales. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Seehusen at cseehusen@stanthonynet.org.

http://jostensyearbooks.com/?REF=A01128770

From Home and School:

  • Home and School Blood Drive – We hope you will consider supporting the blood drive St. Anthony’s Home & School is hosting at school on Friday, February 14th. The Blood Drive will run from 8:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. Please click on the link (https://donate.bbd.org/donor/schedules/sponsor_code) and enter code SAGS to schedule an appointment for that day.  A flyer will be going home next week. Thank you very much.

From YAC:

  • Spring Sports Registration – Spring is in the air!  We are now registering athletes for track and baseball for St. Anthony’s Grade School.  Track is open to athletes in K-8th grade and baseball is open to athletes in 6th-8th grade.  Practices are twice a week with games/meets on the weekends. The season runs from March 2nd (practice begins) through May 17th. To register go to: http://www.stanthonyyac.com. Be Tiger Proud!

From the Parish:

  • February Parish Monthly Socials – The February parish socials will be held on Sunday, February 2nd, in the Ballad Room of the Grade School following the 9:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Masses.  Stop by for food, fun, and socializing with fellow parishioners and friends.  The social, as always, will feature a variety of great donuts and tomato pie from Serpe’s Bakery, delicious breakfast pizzas from Degnars Greenhill Deli, and more!  Hope you can join us!

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook! See all of the exciting things that are happening with your children on a daily basis. We post many (adorable) photos. If you haven’t followed us yet, look for St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

 

Winter Blessings,

Mrs. White

 

“Kindness is the natural fruit of goodness of the heart.” ~ St. Katherine Drexel

Tiger Talk! January 10, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a terrific break and enjoyed the time with family and friends. We have a very busy January ahead of us.  I am including a longer list of activities than normal because there is so much going on.  Please be sure to regularly check your child’s folder/white envelope for important papers.  Be sure to check our school website and individual teacher’s websites for important information.

Important Reminders:

  • Friday, January 17th is a noon dismissal with NO AFTER CARE.  Please be here on time for dismissal.
  • There is no school Monday, January 20th in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Contacting Administration – If you have a concern or question that requires a speedy resolution, please call the main office and ask to speak with me.  You can also stop by school to see me.  I am here every day, all day and will be happy to see you and speak with you if needed.  I am in classrooms and meetings throughout the day. Much like my teachers, I am not able to check my email on a regular basis during the school day. I receive 200 emails per day.  I do not always see these emails until 24 hours later. That is how long it takes me to go through a day’s worth of messages.  I try to catch up on email from 4-11:00 P.M., and will typically respond the following day. Making a phone call to the main office or stopping in to see me is the quickest way to receive answers.

St. Anthony’s Open House/Movie Night – St. Anthony’s is rethinking the traditional open house.  Please come join us on Thursday, January 16th for a movie night! We will be showing a movie in the Ballad room with pizza and popcorn for everyone.  This is an opportunity for new families to come and visit our school, meet our staff, and see all we have to offer.  Please share this information with anyone who is interested in our school.  All are welcome!

Congratulations to our December Students of the Month!  December’s virtue was “helping others in need.” Congratulations to our respectful students: Riley Beach (PK3), Evelina Arcaro (PK4), Ezra Pabon (K), Daniel Caesar (1st), Jeremiah Robinson (2nd), Jun Chen (3rd), Chase Willard (4th), Kevin Reed (5th), Michael Vadden (6th), Sirriya Cruz (7th), and Eva Pellegrino (8th). Keep up the good work!

School Closings/Cyber Snow Days – As we are coming into the colder, snowier months, we want to send home a few reminders.  In the event of a school closing, a Facebook post will be made immediately. (Please follow us!) We will send out a School Messenger notification next, and the school website will be updated as well. In the event of a school closing due to snow, students are aware of the Cyber Snow Day protocol; particularly Middle School. Don’t let anyone fool you! All work from a snow day is due one week after it is assigned, so please allow them to actually enjoy the snow day if they get one. Let them play, make memories, and have fun!

Financial Aid for the 2020-2021 School Year – Financial aid packets are now available in the main office. All parents applying for financial aid to our school MUST apply to the Diocese first. Please be aware that without a completed application to the Diocese, a family will not be considered for financial aid through our parish education fund. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.

*Reminder – Financial aid packets have to be completed and submitted by March 4th.

Catholic Schools Week – Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated from January 26th – February 1st. The theme for Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Believe. Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”  Students are allowed to wear their gym uniform or spirit wear all week.  Please note that hoodies/hooded sweatshirts are not allowed to be worn during school due to safety concerns.  We will be having activities during the week.  A full schedule was sent home on Wednesday.  A short list of events and activities for the week are:

  • Sunday, January 26th – Catholic Schools Week Opening Mass – Church – 11:00 A.M.
  • Monday, January 27th – Teacher Appreciation Day
  • Tuesday, January 28th – Go Orange Day!
    • Spelling Bee – Gym – 1:50 P.M.
  • Wednesday, January 29th – School Spirit Day
  • Thursday, January 30th – Student Appreciation Day
    • PK-5th – Movie trip to see “Dolittle”
    • 6th – 8th – Bowling trip to Main Event
  • Friday, January 31st – 8th Graders vs. Parents Volleyball Game in Fournier Gym at 1:30 P.M.  Admission to the game is one canned good which will be donated to the St. Patrick Center.

Yearbooks – Yearbooks for the 2019-2020 school year can be purchased online by visiting http://jostensyearbooks.com/?REF=A01128770. Each yearbook costs $30.  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Seehusen at cseehusen@stanthonynet.org.

School Spelling Bee: Our school spelling bee will be held on Tuesday, January 28th at 1:50 P.M. in the Gym. Winners of the classroom spelling bees from 4th to 8th Grade will compete.

Upcoming events:

  • January 13th – Pajama Day – $3
    • Band Concert – Gym – 2:15 P.M.
  • January 14th –  Diocesan Visit
  • January 16th – Movie Night/Open House – Ballad Room – 6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
  • January 17th – Noon Dismissal – NO AFTER CARE
  • January 20th – No School –MLK Day
  • January 22nd – Bishop Malooly visit – 10:00 A.M.
  • January 24th – Trimester 2 Midpoint
  • January 26th – January 31st – Catholic Schools Week (See above for events.)
  • February 3rd – February 13th – Renaissance Testing

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook! I realize we have repeated this information many times, but Tiger Talk communication is only bi-weekly.  See all of the exciting things that are happening with your children on a daily basis. Teachers submit pictures to me, or I try to catch fun lessons in action. If you haven’t followed us yet, look for St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.

Blessings for a healthy new year,

Mrs. White

“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”  ~ St. Francis de Sales

Tiger Talk! December 6, 2019

Dear Friends,

I hope this first week of Advent has been a peaceful one for all of you as we enter into this very busy month. I hope everyone will find some peace over the next few weeks and time to reflect on all that we have been blessed with in our lives. We have food, clothing, shelter, religious freedom, safety, and the love of family and friends. These are basic needs that so many people in our world lack. Our Advent theme this year was chosen by our Student Council officers – ”Believe in Miracles.” This beautiful and simple theme aligns nicely with our Diocesan theme this year; “Believe and see the glory of God.” I was pleased with the fact that the students had “miracles” on their minds as they brainstormed for a theme. “Miracles” were mentioned in all of the themes they suggested.

We continue to learn about Jesus’s miracles every month. This month we are reminding students to help others in need, which brings me to a very happy thought. Thank you so much for your generous contributions to our annual food drive. This food benefits those in our community as well as the St. Patrick’s Center. This year you donated 986 pounds of food! Wow! The generosity in this small parish school never ceases to amaze me. Thank you! Thanks for a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch as well. Our Home and School Board and several terrific parent volunteers showed up that day to make it a success. The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed it. As expected, both of my own adult children conveniently returned that day! My son had an interview “in the area” and my daughter showed up to work early for After-Care that day. The cubed turkey is a big hit! This tradition is one that children remember fondly as they leave us. Thank you to everyone who made that day a success. Ms. Michele let me back in the kitchen again this year to serve everyone. I may be promoted to chef next year, but I am not counting on it. It has taken me a few years to master the serving line. I may stick to what I know.

Today we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas. Father Mark spoke of St. Nicholas in his homily today.  He reminded us that St. Nicholas is someone we can use as a role model because he would provide things people needed without looking for personal recognition.  Today in school, the sound of a bell was heard over the PA system.  St. Nick snuck in at some point and left a little treat for Preschool through Second Grade students.

Trimester 1 Report Cards – Report cards for Trimester 1 will be sent home next week.  Parents need to sign and return the envelope to school. You keep the paper copy of the report card at home.

Congratulations to Ms. Anne Burbage! Ms. Burbage is getting married! God bless her on this new vocation. We wish her all of the best and can’t wait to welcome her husband to our school family!

Congratulations to our November Students of the Month! The virtue for November was “helping others in need.”  Congratulations to Olivia Thompson (PK3), Jordan Lloyd (PK4), Noah Lindsey (K), Brennan Lott (1st), Noel Pulliam (2nd), Cole Williams (3rd), Jessica Garcia (4th), Gillian Patterson (5th), Phu Nguyen (6th), Giada Brown (7th), and Brianna Ramos (8th).  Way to go!

Santa Secret Shop takes place on Tuesday, December 10th and Wednesday, December 11th.  Students will shop with their class at an assigned time. Information was sent home on Wednesday, December 4th with an order form and the schedule for shopping. If you did not get that dark green flyer, check with your children. An order form/shopping guide was attached.

The Christmas Show will be at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, December 20th! Don’t miss our annual Christmas concert this year. Each class will be showcased to sing a couple songs. Our Band will be performing as well. We will be at maximum capacity in our school gym so arrive early for the best seats! Thank you to Mr. Colligan and Ms. D’Amico for helping prepare them for this day. We have a noon dismissal on Friday, December 20th! There is no after-care provided that day. Please arrive promptly at noon (if you are not attending the show) so that our faculty and staff may begin their Christmas vacation.

From our School Nurse:

It is once again flu season.  Here is more information about it. How do I tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

Here is a table from the CDC that should help you:

Signs and Symptoms Influenza Cold
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual
Fever Usual; lasts 3-4 days Rare
Aches Usual; often severe Slight
Chills Fairly common Uncommon
Fatigue, weakness Usual Sometimes
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Chest discomfort, cough Common; can be severe Mild to moderate; hacking cough
Headache Common Rare

How is influenza spread? – The influenza virus is believed to be mainly spread by droplets that are released when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks.  A person could also become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching their own nose or mouth (the flu virus can remain infectious for up to 24 hours on a surface).  Young children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic health conditions are more likely to have complications if infected with the flu.

How long should they stay out of school and other activities? – Children need to stay out of school until their fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication and he/she is feeling well enough to participate in routine activities.

Also, if you are keeping your child home from school because of illness, please let the school know the reason why your child is ill.  This will help in monitoring the illnesses at school.

What is the treatment for influenza? – Antiviral medications can shorten the course of the flu and prevent complications if given within 36 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin.  Influenza is a viral illness; therefore, antibiotics are not effective.  If you or your child exhibits signs of the flu, please contact your physician right away.

How can influenza be prevented? – It is not too late to get a flu shot.  According to the CDC, the best way to avoid or lessening the severity of the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine, and it is recommended that everyone 6 months old and up receive one.  Even if the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it may help lessen the severity of the flu.

Some routine practices can prevent the spread of germs include: frequent, proper hand hygiene (scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds); cough/sneeze into your elbow/sleeve; keep hands away from your face; disinfect frequently used objects/surfaces; avoid contact with sick people, and, conversely, if you are sick, avoid contact with others.

We will do our best here at school to keep the surfaces clean.  I need your help in keeping your child home if they are not feeling well and show signs of the flu.

If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other health issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at the school.  Thank you and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Annemarie Russell BSN, RN, CPN

St. Anthony School Nurse

arussell@stanthonynet.org

Christmas Break – School will be closed December 21, 2019- January 1, 2020.  We will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

January 16th is Family Movie Night! Look for more information to come! Join us for pizza, popcorn, and a movie from 6:30-8:30 P.M. Doors will open at 6:00 P.M. This event is free, as it will take the place of our traditional January Open House. We will open registration for the 2020-2021 school year that evening.

Our next Tiger Talk will be on January 10, 2020.  I am including a list of events for the rest of December and the beginning of January since these next weeks are so busy for many of us. I hope you all have a blessed Advent season and a peaceful Christmas filled with joy and love!

Advent Blessings,

Mrs. White

“Miracles happen. But prayer is needed! Prayer that is courageous, struggling, and persevering, not prayer that is a mere formality.”  ~ Pope Francis

 

December 2019

  • December 9th – Advent Prayer Service – School Lobby – 8:00 A.M.
  • December 10th – Santa’s Secret Shop
    • 6th Grade Field Trip – Delaware Theater Company
  • December 11th  – Santa’s Secret Shop
  • December 12th – Ugly Sweater + Add-on Day – $2
  • December 13th – 3rd -5th Grade Field Trip – Wilmington Courthouse
  • December 16th – Advent Prayer Service – School Lobby – 8:00 A.M.
    •  Student Council Meeting – CANCELLED
  • December 17th-19th – Peppermint Count during lunch
    • $0.50 for each guess or 3 for $1
  • December 19th – Pajama Day – $3
  • December 18th – 8th Grade Field Trip – Christmas Show/Lunch – 8:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.
  • December 20th  – NOON DISMISSAL  – NO AFTER-CARE
    • Christmas Show – Gym – 10:00 A.M.
  • December 21st  – January 1st – School Closed for Christmas Break
  • January 2nd – School Reopens
  • January 6th – Student Council meeting – Computer Lab – 3:00-3:30 P.M.
  • January 16th – Family Movie Night