Tiger Talk! June 30, 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Happy Summer and Happy Fourth of July! Thank you to all parents and grandparents who served and are currently serving in our military. We appreciate the religious freedoms afforded to us because of your courage and service to our country.  God Bless you and your families, and thank you for your sacrifices.

School Activity:

We are very busy at school these days. Textbooks and new supplies are arriving daily. We are giving frequent tours to new potential families. Miguel is painting the stairwells and making our floors shine once again. We had a surprise visit this week from the fire department.  Rest assured that our smoke alarms are extremely sensitive! They pick up excessive heat and can sense chemicals present from cleaning products. It was a nice unplanned system test that got us moving early in the morning! And when I suggested a practice test of our panic buttons, Mr. Shields admitted to me that he “accidentally” tested that while I was not there one day. The police also rapidly responded. So, feel confident knowing that your children are safe in our building. As an additional safety precaution, we purchased walkie talkies to communicate with all staff members, wherever they may be. Should they choose to take the class for a walk or out to the field, they can be in constant communication with the main office and all staff. This is useful for after care as well and was a solution to the problem of a weak signal in the cafeteria and gymnasium. Mr. Kelleher has contacted the city to request our crosswalks be repainted as well. Mr. McMillan has added an additional security monitor to my office so that I will have eyes on the building at all times, not just when I choose to do so. Safety and security remains a top priority for me!

Operating Procedures:

When the new school year starts, the main entrance will be tightened up a bit. It is my decision that no parents will be permitted to visit classrooms in the morning. I cannot allow teacher interruptions once the academic day has begun. All visitors must report to the main office and leave messages for teachers. Please respect the fact that teaching time starts at 7:30 a.m.Teachers are responsible for supervising students and preparing them for their day. This cannot be done efficiently with parents dropping in unannounced. Teachers will be available by appointment only. This has always been the case, but it was not enforced this past year in my absence. Also, please try to arrive promptly to school between 7:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. Every late arrival to school is a disruption to teaching time. Teachers must stop teaching to give the late student directions. Please help us operate professionally and manage our time wisely.

Building Maintenance:

We will be doing minor construction in the technology room. We will be busting through the wall, directly into Mr. McMillan’s office.  This will provide privacy for the adjacent women’s restroom. We thank Mr. Dave Rizzo in advance for offering to do this work for us. I learned this week that Mr. Rizzo’s grandfather was the actual mason who placed our “established” cornerstone at the front entrance of the school. Traditions are alive and well here at St. Anthony’s. We continue to “value our past and embrace our future” as our school logo proudly states.

Happy News!

We have some very fun announcements to make. We would like to congratulate our school counselor on her marriage this past weekend. Ms. Laura Heisler will return to school as Mrs. Angelo. Blessings to Laura and her husband Chris for many happy years together. Ms. Lauren Dougherty, our Prek 3  teacher, was married his past year as well. She will also start the new school year off with a new name, Mrs. Lauren Kunkle. Lauren and her husband postponed their honeymoon so as not to interfere with the school year. What a wonderful employee! In addition, Chris Tassone’s daughter, Lisa, a former St. Anthony’s student, became engaged this past week. Congratulations to Lisa and her fiancée Eric!

I am proud to announce that we have two new hires as well! After a very long interview process, interviewing more than 10 potential candidates for the position, I have finally hired a full time Special Education teacher. Elise Schiccatano is a graduate of Padua Academy and West Chester University. At West Chester University, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education (Prek-4) and Special Education (Prek-8). Her most recent experience has been in grades 1 through 5. Elise volunteers every other Sunday at the Knights of Columbus Pasta Dinner. She believes that “Educating a child should be done in a collaborative way between parents and educators. It should be a team effort with both offering full support for the benefit of the child.” She stated that she has “always wanted to pursue a career where I could help shape children’s lives and make learning fun.” In her application she wrote, “From Kindergarten through high school I attended Catholic School and had extremely positive experiences for which I am thankful. I value the sense of community and nurturing environment that only a Catholic school can offer!”

Elise is energetic and enthusiastic and was described by former principals and co-workers as “wonderful, vivacious, intelligent, loving, caring, diligent, hard working, and awesome.” I liked her immediately, and I know she will be a great addition to our staff. Her roots are in Catholic school, and she brings a wealth of knowledge to us regarding varied assessments and accommodation plans for struggling students and those with different learning abilities. She will be working closely with teachers and Mrs. Angelo to be sure all students’ needs are met at their level. The goal is to have all students mainstreamed in the regular classroom setting, adding support when needed.  We will be moving away from the traditional resource room parallel education we offered previously with Ms. Casale. Students may still work in small groups, but the ultimate goal is to keep them in their classrooms by providing direct support.

I did not have to look far to hire a new preschool assistant. Currently, our numbers do not warrant the need for a third assistant. However, we hope to expand the preschool this year and not turn anyone away from the 4 year old class. In the past, we have capped the number of students in the classroom. This new position will help us grow. Both  preschool teachers told me that they would be really happy if I hired Cathy Truver. I trust their judgment. Cathy is a member of our Home and School Board. She is responsible for events like Santa Secret Shop and Casino Night. She and her husband Gary volunteer to help at most school events.  Gary is one of our coaches. Cathy has served as a substitute teacher assistant in the past, and she has an excellent relationship with my staff and students. Cathy was thrilled to accept the position. She is the parent of Haley Truver, Class of 2016, Mac Truver (6th grade), and Brenan Truver (1st grade). We welcome Cathy to our team!

Our little family continues to grow! Thank you for all that you have done to help. Thanks most of all for your most recent work at the Italian Festival. I was in the money room every night, so I didn’t see many of you. However, I counted the rewards from your hard work, one dollar at a time. We had a terrific successful festival week, surpassing last year! This would never be possible without our grade school parents and grandparents. Thank you again! I hope you enjoyed your time working at the festival and will join us again next year. We will soon announce the date for our festival workers party in August. Be sure to join us!

After much consideration of parent schedules and consultation with several parents, we have decided to combine Meet the Teacher Night and the first general Home and School Meeting. Both will be held on August 31st, from5:30-8:30. More information will follow. There will be a general meeting for all parents in the Ballad Room at 6:30. Please make every effort to attend. Meetings will be held in the primary grades from 5:30-6:30. Middle School parents will meet at @7:30 in the Ballad Room. These meetings will be specific to your child’s homeroom and grade.

Have a wonderful summer! We look forward to seeing you soon. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at 421-3743 or via email at jwhite@stanthonynet.org and bshields@stanthonynet.org

Blessings,

Mrs. White and Mr. Shields

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi