December 2, 2016
As we enter this joyous season of Advent, we pause and remember this is a time of patient waiting. “You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:8. In our busy society where Christmas trees are up and decorated the day after Thanksgiving and store shelves are overflowing with the latest and greatest gifts, let us not forget the true meaning of Advent and Christmas. We are blessed with the gifts of healthy children, safe homes, food, shelter, freedoms, family, friends, and so much more. We count our blessings daily here at St. Anthony’s and in a special way during Advent. We begin each Monday with our traditional Advent Prayer Service in the main lobby. We light a candle each week and remind the children that baby Jesus was and is the light of our world.
Our Advent theme this year was chosen by Student Council and in conjunction with our Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our theme is “Waiting with Patience and Joy.” I love this theme, because it was chosen by the students and is easy for all ages to understand. It also highlights two of our Fruits of the Holy Spirit: October’s “joy” and December’s “patience.” We are waiting patiently for Jesus’s birth, but as always in an elementary school, we anticipate His arrival with great joy and excitement. These next few weeks are busy ones, and I hope you are able to take time to join us for our many celebrations. Breakfast with Santa (Sunday, December 11th, 8:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.) is always a terrific event hosted by our Home and School Board. Do not miss it! There is food, crafts, a reading from Father Rinaldi or Father Nick, photo ops with Santa, and much more! Declamation immediately follows Breakfast with Santa at noon. We will be hosting this event once again, with the support of the Knights of Columbus. Secret Santa Shop is next week! A flyer for this event went home Wednesday. Our students will secretly shop (with your money) for priceless little gifts for family. Many parent volunteers assist the Home and School Board with this fun shopping excursion. Our younger students often have a personal shopping assistant to help make gift selections.
Final Week for High School Placement Test Registration – Attention 8th Grade Parents! I know you have received several reminders from me about this, but I strongly encourage all of our 8th Grade students to register to take our Diocesan High School Placement Test. Please register online for the HSPT at http://wilmington.stsusers.com
Congratulations to our November Students of the Month. November’s Fruit of the Holy Spirit was “Peace.” Congratulations to Matteo Roca (PreK 3), Katelyn McLaughlin (PreK 4), Desmond Denny (K), Brooke Brown (1st), Gideon Keen (2nd), Mark Johnson (3rd), Angel Rizzo (4th), Sarah Mazalewski (5th), Chloe Bowers (6th), Luke Burdett (7th), and Rachel Tomlinson (8th). Great job!
Field Trip Expectations – All field trips are planned to support student curriculum. Field trips are part of the academic school day, and assignments are most often planned around these trips. Please understand that we do not have a separate classroom or extra teacher to supervise children, should they wish not to attend a trip. A parent may choose to keep a child home on the day of a field trip, and the student will be marked absent. When the child returns to school following the chosen absence, he/she must seek out the missing assignments from his/her teacher. The teacher is not expected to provide extra credit or supplemental work due to the chosen absence. Thank you for your understanding.
Honors Assembly – Due to scheduling conflicts, we will have a brief Honors Assembly after 8:00 A.M. Mass on Thursday, December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Preschool and Kindergarten will dismiss after Mass, as Mass is long enough for them to sustain attention. 1st through 8th Grades will remain for the assembly. 4th through 8th Grade academic honors will be announced. We hope you can join us for Mass next Thursday.
Congratulations to Celeste Scarpato for winning 3rd place in the New Castle County Fire Prevention Poster Contest. Way to go, Celeste!
Punctuality/Absentee Reminder – As we begin the Second Trimester, I want to remind parents of the importance of being on time and present for school. Students who arrive late to school begin their day nervous. The late arrival to class disrupts the teacher who is teaching and the other children in the class who are learning. Often, particularly in Middle School, this disrupts several teachers, as students move from class to class. Please make every effort to arrive on time. Students are expected to be in class by 7:50 for Morning Prayer. Classes start promptly at 8:00 A.M. Promptness is extremely important on Fridays due to Mass. It is very disruptive to the entire school community and parishioners to have children arriving after 8:00 A.M. for Mass. Please also be sure to keep an eye on your child’s attendance. After 20 absences, a child may be retained in their current grade. Keep in mind that high schools strongly consider tardiness and absenteeism when considering applications.
Financial Aid for the 2017-2018 School Year – Financial Aid forms for the Diocese’s Share in the Spirit program will be available within the next two weeks. Forms must be picked up and signed for in the school office by an adult. We cannot send forms home with students. Applications are completed online through FACTS. Please note that we have a significant change to the financial aid process this year: all families who have received financial aid in the past, must complete the diocesan form online to be considered for assistance for the 2017-2018 school year. We cannot give consideration to families who do not complete the financial aid application. Completed applications are typically due in early March, so once a family has the form, please begin the application process immediately. We will be sending letters within the next week to all families who received financial aid for the current school year. The purpose of this letter is to stress the importance of applying for financial aid for the coming year. Please contact Mr. Shields or Mrs. Serio with any questions.
Santa’s Secret Shop – This annual shopping event put on by the Home and School Association will be held on Tuesday, December 6th and Wednesday, December 7th in the Library. Students will be able to shop for their family and friends here at school during a selected time. A flyer was sent home on Wednesday with information and times of class shopping trips.
Thanksgiving Food Drive – Thank you to all of our families who gave so generously to the food drive this year. The food donations given to the St. Patrick’s Center are greatly appreciated. With the gift of this large donation, our church is also able to prepare gift baskets and deliver food to needy families in our school and parish community.
- Message from Felix Spitelli, on behalf of the Knights of Columbus – I am happy to report that the portion of food that I picked up on Friday totaled 373 pounds. It was delivered to St. Patrick’s Center today. It appeared to me that the split with the Christmas baskets for the church was about even. I am estimating that the total school collection was approximately 750 pounds. Awesome effort by all!
Preschool 3 has been talking about Advent and how they are preparing for Jesus’s birthday and even introduced a new student to the class, Chippy the Elf!
- Preschool 4 has an elf visitor from Santa. His name is Snowflake. They have been talking about Advent and doing Christmas crafts. They are also working on a new sight word book called The Pets.
- Kindergarten has been preparing for Advent and Christmas and even made their own Advent wreaths. They are also learning to count to 100!
- 1st Grade had a wonderful time on their field trip to Hagley Museum. The children learned about life in the 19th century. They dressed up in clothing from the period, did laundry and other chores, baked cookies, and participated in lessons in the schoolhouse.
- 2nd Grade is learning about even and odd numbers in Math and learning about the properties of rocks and minerals in Science.
- 3rd Grade is very excited because they are starting to learn multiplication and have started a new Science unit on electricity.
- 4th Grade has begun doing Advent activities. They will be talking about the Jesse Tree and creating ornaments to reflect the different branches of Jesus’ family tree.
- 5th Grade had a great field trip to the Franklin Institute on Tuesday. They explored the entire Institute, learning about our brains, the human heart and body, airplanes, simple machines, and saw an IMAX movie “Robots.” The students and parents had a great time on the trip.
- 6th Grade has been working on weathering and erosion in the Science lab. The students are enjoying their experiments.
- 7th Grade Vocabulary class finished Trimester One with a class that really moved. The class was broken down into teams of 4-5 students each and six stations were set up in the gym. Groups of students had to complete vocabulary review exercises at each station. The review consisted of all the words covered since the start of the school year and students had to hop, skip, run, or shuffle to each station. One student commented that the class was a blast.
- 8th Grade visited Father Rinaldi on Wednesday to give him our good wishes and deliver all of the cards that the school students have made for his speedy recovery.
From the School Nurse
Too Sick for School?
Below are some guidelines to help you make the decision about when to keep your child home from school. The recommendations are based on the guidelines provided by the Communicable Disease Program of the Department of Health and Human Services. They were developed to help prevent the spread of potentially contagious disease.
Keep your child home if he/she has any of the following symptoms:
|Fever||Greater than 100.5 F. May return when fever-free for 24 hours (WITHOUT the use of fever-reducing medication).|
|Vomiting||Any unexplained episode in the past 24 hours. May return 24 hours after last episode.|
|Diarrhea||Three or more unexplained episodes of watery or loose stools in 24 hours OR sudden onset of loose stools. May return 24 hours after last episode.|
|Rash||Any new rash accompanied by a fever. May return after rash goes away or clearance given by a health care provider.|
|Skin Lesions (Sores)||Drainage from a sore that cannot be contained within a bandage OR sores are increasing in size OR new sores are developing day-to-day.|
|Cough||Serious, sustained coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.|
|Other||Symptoms that prevent the student from active participation in usual school activities OR student is requiring more care than school staff can safely provide.|
Home is the best place for a child who is ill.
For those of you unable to attend the Home and School Meeting last night, I will forward some important information that was shared.
Advisory Board Update – Mr. Shields worked hard in my partial absence last year to set up an Advisory Board for our school. He invited several new people to join our parish school and work with us on marketing, enrollment, budgeting, and much more. This board advises the Principal and Pastor in the management of the business, property, and administration of the school to assure a sound Catholic educational program, consistent with Diocesan policies. Responsibilities include but are not limited to.
- Recommend administrative and operational policies needed to adequately operate the school in conformity with its mission.
- Oversee general business matters and monitor compliance with the school’s annual budget.
- Ensure that administration is accountable for policy implementation and overall operation of the school.
- Recommend tuition and other fees and costs to administration.
- Recommend adjustments to the school’s mission statement to maintain relevance of the school in a changing environment.
- Act as a resource for self-evaluations according to criteria approved by the Diocese of Wilmington Catholic Schools Office and Middle States Association for Accreditation.
Advisory Board Members: Anthony Alfieri – Parent and Investment advisor; John Keely- Elementary School Principal at St. Thomas the Apostle in Pennsylvania; Anthony Albence – Parish trustee; Father Nick Waseline – Pastor; Kristy Stellini – Parent and marketing; Dr. Marisa Rausher – Neumann University Professor/Special Education; Dr. Tammy Feil – Neumann University Professor/Special Education; Bob Shields – Assistant Principal; and myself.
Special Ed. Program Update – We are so pleased with Ms. Schiccatano’s program implementation. It has been a work in progress. She is meeting the needs of all of our students. This was a position I always wanted here, and it has been a smooth transition adding her to our staff. She has identified students with needs for simple accommodations and those with implementation of IEP’s from public schools. Students who previously could not have their academic needs met are now being served. She has a very tight schedule, seeing most students within their classroom and some in very small groups. Our initial idea was to have a full inclusion model, but we learned after a couple of months that some students prefer and benefit from small pull-out times to work 1:1 with her or our counselor, Mrs. Angelo, in small groups.
Our Advisory Board had many suggestions about scheduling and the approach to our Special Education program. They helped us write the job description for this program. I consulted them with my potential candidates, and they continue to be involved with this process on an on-going basis. Ms. Schiccatano recently met with the Advisory Board and presented her program. It was received very enthusiastically because it is unique to the Diocese. We are blessed to be a school in the Diocese of Wilmington with a full-time nurse, counselor, and Special Education teacher. We are blessed as well here at St. Anthony’s to have the parish and Pastor support to do so.
Diocesan Board Liaison– Dr. Valerie Denton represents our school at the Diocesan level. This is the first time in 15 years that I have ever met a board liaison. She has met me at night, toured the school, joined us for an Advisory Board meeting, and attended Barnes and Noble Night this week. She even helped me wrap presents. Her purpose would be to present any concerns we have to our Catholic Schools Office.
Safe Students Online – Attention 5th through 8th Grade Parents: Safe Students Online is an excellent resource to keep your children protected online and through the use of social media. St. Anthony’s values this program and has paid for all of you to utilize it at no cost. We benefit nothing from this service but peace of mind knowing that we have given you the opportunity to support your children in making good and safe choices in this electronic world. We have no access (nor would we want to) to any of your child’s social media. This is a private service provided to your family. Welcome emails will go out on Friday to all 5th – 8th Grade parents who have not already activated an account. It is a very simple process. An attachment will include greater detail. We would love to have 100% participation, since we are paying for the service. For more information or to ask any questions, feel free to call Tim Polizzi, Vice President, at (484)588-4753. Tim is the proud parent of 3 children in Catholic school. For more information please click Safe Students.pdf
Gift Card Program – Paul Ceresini gave a presentation on the simplicity of using our gift card program and how it can benefit you and the school. You can receive money off of your tuition by using this program. There are over 700 stores to choose from. Simplify your holiday shopping, and support our grade school at the same time. Check out the website at www.shopwithscrip.com
Business Office News
Tuition Payment Dates – Occasionally a family may need to adjust a tuition payment date. This is to inform you that the Business Office will need a minimum of 3 business days’ notice to change that date. If you should need a date changed please contact Lisa via email at email@example.com or at 302-421-3707.
- December 3rd/4th – High School Placement Test
- December 5th – Advent Prayer Service – Lobby – 8:00 A.M.
- December 6th – Santa’s Secret Shop – Library
- December 7th – Santa’s Secret Shop – Library
- 3rd Grade Field Trip – George Read House – 8:45 – 11:45 A.M.
- December 8th – Immaculate Conception Mass – Church – 8:00 A.M.
- Honor’s Assembly (after Mass in Church)
- December 9th – 6th/7th Grade Field Trip – Dickinson High School – 9:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.
- Confirmation Dress Rehearsal in Church – Confirmation clothes-5:45 P.M. sign in (Candidates & Sponsors)
- December 10th – Confirmation – Church – 10:00 A.M.
- December 11th –Breakfast with Santa- Ballad Room 8:00 A.M.– 12:00 P.M.
- Declamation Contest – 12:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
- December 12th – Advent Prayer Service – Lobby – 8:00 A.M.
- December 13th – 14th – Prevent Child Abuse Speaker – Kindergarten -4th Grade
- December 13th – 8th Grade Field Trip – Delaware Theater Company
- Preschool & 4th Grade Field Trip – Playhouse – 8:45 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.
- All Catholic Christmas Concert – 7:00 P.M. at St. John the Beloved
- December 16th – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Field Trip – Wilmington Courthouse –9:45 A.M. –12:00 P.M
- Christmas Concert – Gym – 1:30 P.M
- December 19th – Advent Prayer Service – Lobby – 8:00 A.M.
- Cyber Bullying Presentation 3rd – 8th Grade – Ballad Room – 9:00 A.M.
- December 21st – Noon Dismissal – Profession Development (Catechetical Certification)for Teachers
- December 23, 2016 – January 2, 2017 – Christmas Break – No School
- January 3rd – School Resumes
- January 5th – Math League – St. Anthony’s – 3:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Mrs. White and Mr. Shields
“No one is more patient than God the Father: no one understands and knows how to wait as much as He does.” ~ Pope Francis