February 12, 2021
Dear School Family,
I hope this email finds you well. It has been a busy couple of weeks around here. We had a wonderful Catholic Schools Week. Despite the time off for snow, we were still able to celebrate our Faith, Excellence, and Service. We prayed together as a school community with daily prayers specific to our Catholic school students and staff. I will share one prayer with you that we prayed as a group.
You sent forth your Son as a beacon of hope for all people.
As Teacher, He has given us the prime example of the importance of education. As disciples, we look to him for inspiration and strength.
Thank you for the many people who have dedicated their lives in service to our schools.
Thank you for the teachers and administrators who sustain our schools.
Thank you for the parents who have given support and witness to
the importance of Catholic education.
Thank you for the students who work hard to further their education. Bless St. Anthony of Padua Grade School and the many people who advance our mission.
May our school be a home for those who seek to grow in openness, faith, love, intellect, and commitment to justice.
In Your name, we pray, Amen.
Exciting News! A Baby Tiger is on the way! I am very happy to announce that Mrs. Laura Angelo and her husband Chris are expecting a second baby girl in July. We could not be more thrilled about this news. We love our growing St. Anthony family. Keep Mrs. Angelo and her precious baby girl in your prayers for a happy and healthy pregnancy over the next few months and a safe and speedy delivery in July.
Lent Begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17th. Our Lenten theme is “Our Journey to the Cross.” We will still have our traditional Stations of the Cross in school on Fridays during Religion class. Each student (Grade 3 and older) has their own booklet so that they can participate. This year we purchased Stations of the Cross cards for the children to keep, so they can read the Stations at home as well.
Renaissance Testing begins on Tuesday, February 16th! Please be sure to arrive promptly the next two weeks. We ask that you be sure your students are prepared for this testing. They will need a book to read and headphones. Be sure they eat breakfast in the morning and come to school well-rested, so that they can stay focused. The two tests (Math and Reading) are typically only 30-45 minutes. They take place in the computer lab which is socially distanced with dividers and cleaned thoroughly in between testing times. The students did a great job with the testing in September, when we really were just trying to gauge where they were after learning virtually since March. We are looking forward to seeing their growth since we have been in person. We have to schedule many testing windows to accommodate half classes and keep everyone safely distanced. Therefore, if children miss their testing window due to lateness or absence, there may not be an opportunity for a make-up. If there is a specific learning need or an academic concern, however, we will schedule a separate testing time. This will take place outside of the diocese testing window and will be proctored by Mr. Shields or myself.
Community Builders Award: Just in case you missed my Facebook video (also on the website), I would like to share some special news. Each year we select 1-3 Community Builder Award Recipients. The Community Builders Award was established in 1999 to recognize volunteer members of the St. Anthony of Padua Grade School community for their commitment and dedication to the faith community of the school. The criteria for the Community Builders Award are:
*Members of Religious orders who have taught in the school or supported
the school on the parish level.
*Former Principals or other dedicated employees.
*Parents of former students who remain connected to the school
through volunteer activities for the school/parish.
*An alumnus of the school who has remained supportive and involved.
*Deceased person in the above categories who maintained a strong connection
to the school/parish during their lifetimes.
Staff members submit nominees to the Community Builders Committee describing why the nominee deserves this award. The Committee, with the input of the Principal and Pastor, chooses 2-3 persons to receive the award. The Committee Chairman notifies the nominees to see if they will accept the award which is typically presented during a special assembly. A plaque is given to the honorees and they are invited, along with their families and prior award recipients, to a luncheon provided by the school.
This year we decided to recognize some very special people who have truly helped grow our community and who have supported our school during this global pandemic. Mr. Shields and I are proud to present the Community Builders Award this year to the Parents and Students of St. Anthony of Padua Grade School. You are our loyal second family. We thank you for helping us thrive when so many places are struggling to survive and stay open. Thank you for your commitment to Catholic education. We know it is a financial sacrifice for many families. And we thank our students for showing up every day, in-person and virtually. We love you and we are so glad you are with us. Keep up the great work.
Food Drive Success! Thank you for the generous donations of food. Collectively we raised 230 pounds of food; more than one pound per student. The St. Patrick’s Center is always in need and always takes the time to send us a written letter of thanks for your contributions.
Registration Progress and Compliments! Thank you for being so prompt with your re-registration paperwork. More than half of our families have already re-registered. If you have not re-registered, please do so ASAP. Our enrollment is now open to the public. I am trying to plan programming for next year, and we do have four grades with a waiting list. Word had gotten out about the excellent quality education our students receive here at this school. While many schools and districts in our nation are still working on re-entry plans and COVID safety precautions, we have already celebrated over 100 days of school, fully-in person. I am so grateful. I am the eternal optimist, and I knew we could do this. I thank you for your openness and honesty when exposed to COVID and the extra precautions all of you have taken to keep my staff safe. I love them like my own family. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was fearful every single day that one of them would become ill. So, thank you, and keep up the good work. I know we have a long weekend coming. Travel wisely if you must travel. Remain in your family cohort. Continue to wear your masks and safely distance from those outside of your household.
Congratulations and God Bless our Second Grade Class! Second Grade received the Sacrament of First Reconciliation last night. We did an Examination of Conscience together and said the Act of Contrition as a small community. In our beautiful church, each child was able to meet face-to-face with Fathers Wrightson and Rinaldi. Students received a heart necklace from our Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality and a religious rope bracelet from Mr. Shields and me.
Water Refill Stations! I wanted to give you a quick update. They are scheduled to begin installation this upcoming Monday, while the children are out of school. I will let you know when the process is complete. This will save you money and cut down on our use of plastic water bottles significantly. Please purchase bottles with wider mouths than a plastic water bottle. The goal is to not touch the top of the bottle to the refill station. Young children have a very hard time doing that using the small openings of a plastic water bottle.
Facebook! If you do not already follow us on Facebook, you are missing out. We post pictures daily, and it is the best way to see what is happening inside the school. Follow us at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.
Scheduled Emergency Drills: Please compliment your children. They have been doing an amazing job with our three emergency drills. They have been quiet, orderly, and very responsive. We just recently had a fire drill with our shortest recorded time. We fully evacuated our building in one minute and 5 seconds. Perhaps it was the snow on the ground outside that motivated them to move faster.
COVID Vaccination and Testing Update: Our entire staff continues to receive monthly COVID Testing. We were happy to be included in Stage 1B of the State’s Department of Education’s Vaccination Process. As of today, 29% of our staff has had the first vaccine and is scheduled for the second one. We continue to receive invitations every week. This is very promising!
School is Closed on Monday, February 15th, in observance of Presidents’ Day!
I hope everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day. Know that you and your children are very loved and appreciated!
The measure of love is to love without measure. ~ St. Francis de Sales