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

 

Tiger Talk! August 21, 2020

Tiger Talk!

August 21, 2020

Dear Families,

Please excuse the brevity of this email. I am currently my own Administrative Secretary and Administrative Assistant. I am answering the phone and door and giving tours. It is so fun in here right now. Fun Friday! I love the energy. I will be brief since you have been provided a lot of detailed information over the past few weeks. I am attaching tentative schedules for all grades. These are the schedules we plan to use for the first 6 weeks of school. I am thrilled to have everyone back in the building, and I am extremely confident that we are doing this safely. PLEASE be sure to give my staff the same consideration. Consider closing your social circles for the next week. Everyone on staff here is finishing their covid-19 testing and will be negative when we start the school year. I pray that you will help us keep it that way by making safe choices for your families. I look forward to seeing some of you on Meet the Teacher Day next Friday the 28th from noon until 3 (at your assigned times). Sign-ups will be coming from your child’s teacher in the next few days. I am equally excited to see my Preschool through 2nd Grade friends (last names A-L) for a noon dismissal on September 1st and the second half on September 2nd. Thursday, September 3rd will be our first day to have all on-site learners in the building for a full day. I am really looking forward to that. It has been way too long.

Remember that if you chose remote learning, your child’s belongings must be picked up between noon and 3pm on the dates assigned (Sept. 1st for last names A to L) (Sept. 2nd for last names M-Z). Our schedules are packed with professional development, so adhering to timelines is greatly appreciated.

Our teachers will be attending multiple trainings next week. One topic will be “Diversity and Social Justice” with DeVon Jackson. DeVon is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Salesianum High School. I had the pleasure of attending his training myself and wanted to share that with my staff. We continue to grow in the work of equality and social justice. We will have a two-day presentation with Gina Castelli. Gina will continue the training she started with us last year. Covid-19 cut us short. Gina offers teacher coaching in the areas of teacher language, responsive classrooms, and much more. She will be giving us 21st Century teaching strategies for this ever-changing world we live in. Our school counselor, Laura Angelo, will also be doing a Mental Health Awareness lesson with our staff so that we are better able to observe any warning signs of stress and anxiety in our youth. She has some fun ideas for classroom identity, self-esteem building, and positive thinking. We will close our week with a faculty retreat from our beloved Father Brian Zumbrum, O.S.F.S. We always look forward to his homilies and retreats. He is one of the most kind, gentle, and loving people I have ever met. He inspires me weekly with his writings and Homilies. His talks are always uplifting and genuine. The day before school starts, we will have the opportunity to attend our Diocesan Spirituality Day virtually. We will honor three staff members for their anniversaries: John McMillan and Laura Angelo for 5 years of service and Joanne Waritz for 20 years of service.

When you see your child’s schedule, you may notice that teachers will be teaching from 8am until dismissal. You may call the office to leave a message for your child’s teacher. You may also email your child’s teacher, but understand that they simply will not be able to answer any emails during the school day. They will be livestreaming, and some of them will be rotating to classes (to keep middle school children in safe cohorts all day). Any transportation changes MUST be reported to the main office. Remember your child’s numeric code (if provided) for pick up. Some teachers will assign this, since it will be challenging to identify parents with masks on. Also, please remember what door your child will be entering through each day. It will be the same door for dismissal. Please arrive on time. Once the school day starts at 8am, there will not be anyone supervising those doors. Late arrivals will have to enter through the main doors.  Please arrive between 7:30 and 7:50am daily.

Mrs. Orensky, our physical education teacher, is not able to return for at least the first 6 weeks of school due to surgery recovery. For safety reasons, I will not be introducing a permanent substitute at this time. I will be teaching gym to middle school students only, starting the second week of school, and I will formulate a plan to cover all gym classes moving forward. Mrs. Orensky is working remotely and developing lesson plans for me. In the meantime, Physical Education breaks will be provided by homeroom teachers. Mrs. Orensky hopes to return in mid to late October.

LUNCH from the cafeteria will begin on September 8th! Please be sure to pack lunch, drinks, and a snack for your children on September 3rd and 4th. Ms. Michele will be sending an email out next week with a lunch menu.

Keep practicing with masks for your little ones, as everyone is required to wear a mask entering and exiting the building, as well as when moving through hallways. Hallway travel will be very minimal (bathroom breaks only). All students will wear masks into their classroom. Once seated, there will be times to remove them. It is best to have them practice wearing them for extended periods of time now.

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay safe and be well!

“Do not worry about tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will be there tomorrow and every day.” ~ St .Francis de Sales

Please excuse any typographical errors!

 

Tiger Talk! August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020

Hello Friends,

I am sure you are tired of my long letters, but we keep planning and moving “forward in faith,” as our individual school plan falls nicely into place. I am so happy to share this next round of information. Thank you for your surveys! At this point, results show 70% of students will return to full instruction on-site, and 30% will choose remote learning.

This past week I was able to meet separately with all four teacher levels. I thank them SO MUCH for their time and ideas. They were a tremendous help ironing out details for us. We ended up revising the one schedule I was trying to make for remote learning to sync with in-person instruction. We left with four separate schedules by level that are tailored to best fit each age group’s needs. I can’t express strongly enough how lucky we are to have these professionals in our building. They didn’t take the (one schedule) slightly easier way out, where they would teach only the four major subjects and have extra teachers to relieve them for breaks. They chose to be in class all day from 7:30-3 with no scheduled breaks, offering full on-camera remote access for those choosing to homeschool. They will teach with the camera facing the Smart board/front of the room all day.  Middle school teachers will move between classes. Younger students will have one invitation to join the class (with a code) and stay logged in all day. Middle school students will have three to four codes; one for each teacher. These codes will come via email and can be used all year through Google. The camera may be turned off after each class, for transitions, when students have lunch and snack breaks, and at recess.

Know that if you choose remote learning it is a form of homeschooling, and you will be required to have your child attend class all day. The students at home will be muted to avoid class disruptions. Teachers will tell you how to ask them questions. This question time will not likely be in live time, as the priority and focus will be on those in the classroom. This varies for each grade. Fourth through Eighth graders will be able to use chat and email on their own and may interact. The younger students will need full parent support.

My teachers are so dedicated and ready to get back to work. I talk daily to many principals in this state and throughout the country, and I can tell you that we are offering the best option for our families, thanks to the willingness and flexibility of our teaching staff and our integrated technology. Here is what we know now, a week later! Again, anything can change at the state level. Regardless, we are ready for whatever life brings us!

Meet the Teacher Day! 

We decided to offer an “Optional Meet the Teacher Day” on Friday, August 28th from 12-3 pm. Teachers will send out a sign-up genius for their homeroom families to meet if they are interested. It will be outdoors, rain or shine. These will be in 15-minute time slots (Please be prompt and do not congregate).

Everyone, Please take note of your location for Meet the Teacher Day:

Pre-K, K,1, and 2  Kindergarten Courtyard to the right of the school

Grades 3-5 Main entrance on the front patio

Grades 6-8 Outside of the back gym doors (between the gym and rectory)

VERY IMPORTANT! Start of School Staggered Start Dates: 

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR GRADES 3 to 8 WILL BE SEPTEMBER 3rd! It will be a full day of school. Remote learning will start that day as well.

 AFTERCARE STARTS SEPTEMBER 3rd!

SEPTEMBER 1st and 2nd will be NOON DISMISSALS for half of the students in grades Pre-K through Second Grade ONLY! 

We will have a staggered return to school so that we can distribute books/iPads to remote learners. Primary teachers (PreK-2) will teach from 8-12 noon, and upper-level teachers will distribute belongings to all remote learners from 12-3 pm. It will be based on last names, so be sure to come to school on the correct day with last names beginning A-L on September 1st and last names beginning M-Z on September 2nd.  

Remote learners: All books and iPads will be prepared and packed in a bag or crate for you to pick up at school for all remote learners on September 1st and 2nd. Please know your date based on your last name and location based on grade level. Only those belongings will be prepared on the assigned date. Arrive anytime between Noon and 3 pm. 

No sign-up genius will be sent for this. Parents may have to wait their turn if they come at the same time. However, it should be very minimal traffic, based on numbers.

Tuesday, September 1st: First Day for in-person Preschool through Second Grade learners whose last names begin with letters A to LOnly preschool through Grade Two (last name beginning A-L) will be in the building. It will be a noon dismissal. That day, from noon to 3 pm, 3rd through 8th-grade teachers will hand out books and iPads for anyone doing remote learning (Last name beginning A to L ONLY) in grades PK-8. Please note the pick-up locations, as that is where your supplies will be. 

(Main patio) PreK-Fourth Grade remote learning materials will be distributed by Ms. Frederick, Ms. Waritz, and Ms. Cripps.

(Gym patio) 5th through 8th Grade remote learning materials and iPads will be distributed by Mrs. Achenbach, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Limmina, and Mr. Colligan.

Wednesday, Sept. 2nd – Same exact plan as Sept. 1st  except with only PreK-2nd graders reporting with names ending M to Z. All Students with names ending A-L will remain at home that day*Noon dismissal.

*Remote learners with last names ending M-Z will pick up the same as above. Same locations!

Thursday, September 3rd – All students Preschool through 8th Grade will be present. This will be DAY ONE for 3rd through 8th grade, a full day for all, and the first day of remote learning in all grades! I can’t wait! 

Important Note…

New building entrances for the school day: To keep children in safe cohorts and with limited exposure to any other class, we will utilize all available entrances. This will be your child’s entrance and exit every day for at least the first 6 weeks. Remember, every child (Preschool through 8th Grade) must wear a mask to enter our building. There are NO exceptions! Nobody enters the building except students and staff for the first six weeks of school. We hope to be able to ease up on these restrictions as soon as possible.

Entrances are as follows! 

Preschool 3– 9th and Scott Street side doors. The teacher is present. The assistant waits in class.

Preschool 4– 10th and Scott Street side doors. The teacher is present and the assistant waits in the classroom.

Kindergarten-  Kindergarten side door in the paved courtyard. The teacher will greet students outside and escort them in. The teacher assistant will be in the classroom.

First Grade and Fifth Grade– Main entrance to the building. Mr. Shields will greet students at the door and send them directly to their classrooms.

Second, Third, and Fourth Grades– Back door Gym entrance (the path between gym and rectory). Mr. Colligan and  Mrs. Angelo will great them and be sure they go directly to class. Mrs. Angelo will keep an eye in the hallway on the main floor to avoid congregating.

Sixth through Eighth Grade – Students will enter and exit using the cafeteria (Ballad Room) double doors on 10th Street. I will greet them and send them directly up the back stairwell to their classes. Mrs. Burbage will stand in the hallway on the top floor (outside of the library) to be sure students go directly to class.

Our school day will remain at 7:30 am 3:00 pm. At dismissal, teachers will walk all students outside using the designated exit doors. Your child’s teacher may assign you a number code for picking up your child at dismissal. Please do not take it personally. I really do not recognize anyone with masks on. We need to be safe! Each child will be assigned a number. You will simply say your child’s name and code number. Please be sure to share this number with grandparents/friends who may also pick up. 

Friends,

I think we are offering the best program possible. I am so proud that my teachers are willing to teach online all day, every day.  I know this is new, but they are already almost pros! Last year was practice for the real deal this year.

We are able to offer our remote families a full day of curriculum, five days a week. Thank you to my staff! Your child’s teacher may share the teaching schedule on the first day of school or sooner. Homeschool parents, please be prepared to have your student attend class from 8 am-2:45 pm each day. Obviously the preschooler remote learning day will have a mid-day break due to nap time.

Please be prepared daily when you drop your child off. We are not permitted to use our water fountains! Please be sure to send water bottles, lunch (or order it), and snacks for your child to last them all day (and through aftercare). No food or drinks will be distributed to anyone from our staff (other than our cafeteria service at lunch). I will provide more details about lunch later. Mrs. Michele has some ideas for selling snacks. This will be different from previous years. If you forget your child’s lunch, water bottles, or snack, you will be called to return with them.  There will be no charging lunches and ordering that day. Meals will be prepared based on lunch menus only.

Recess will be outside. Teachers will teach outside as often as possible, so that teachers and children may remove masks. Fresh air is important. Children will have access to play equipment, and it will be sanitized frequently.  We will install cellular access points outside of Kindergarten, the gym, and the main lobby. Therefore, iPads will work outside, close to the building.

We will still do our emergency drills. We will begin with a Code Yellow in September with me guiding it and walking and talking everyone through it. I will also do one announced fire drill, and it will be the same as always- fast exit and quiet. The only difference is it will require a mask for everyone (including preschool). This will be done in late September.

We also have walkie talkies for every teacher. We are able to communicate with classrooms in various ways (PA system, walkie talkies, email, and cell phones). School safety remains a top priority!

COVID-19 testing for staff! 

All staff members will have COVID Testing the week before school starts and will have results prior to our return. After this initial testing, we will all be retested monthly (25% of us per week at a time).

Specials:

Kindergarten through 5th Grades will have no specials during the first week of school. During the second week of school, we will add gym! That schedule will be determined later. Special teachers will now be helping with these new protocols and assisting homeroom teachers throughout the day.

Attendance

We will still call those parents of absent children. We may use the school messenger phone call option. This will only apply to in-person learners. Class attendance for remote learners will be taken by the teacher and entered directly into Powerschool.

A student absent from remote learning will have to see a peer about what they missed. Teachers will not provide additional work or 1:1 re-teaching. Since we are available all day, we will not record any classes. They will all happen in real-time. If a family chooses remote learning, the responsibility falls with the parent to stay on top of lessons. I have great faith and total confidence in you! Our parents did an outstanding job from March through June. You got this!

I am sorry this is so lengthy. Believe it or not, this is not everything I still need to share. But it is a great start! I will be back in touch next week. Enjoy the remaining weeks of what will surely go down in history as one of the most interesting summers of all time.

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

Stay well and be safe!

Mrs. White 🙂

Please excuse typographical errors!

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