Happy New Year School Family,
I am so excited to welcome everyone back and to share a special message of welcome to our new families. We are off to a great start. We had our annual opening prayer and flag ceremony on the first day of school. We welcomed new friends and faculty and enjoyed water ice and a soft pretzel treat together. It was a gorgeous day. Your students settled in and are already hard at work when I visit classrooms. Joy and energy have returned to the building.
Building the Kingdom of God
As previously mentioned and also printed in our Family Handbook, our Diocesan theme for the year is “Let Us Build the Kingdom of God.” We will be teaching the Beatitudes throughout the year, focusing on one per month. We begin our year praying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The world believes that the rich are blessed, but Jesus reminds us that it is the poor who are blessed – the poor in spirit and the material poor as well. During our faculty retreat we learned different meanings of this blessing. When we are poor in spirit, we are acknowledging our need for Jesus. By acknowledging that need, we will be welcomed in His presence. When we feel we have nothing of value to give, He gives us some small blessing in our day. As we build the Kingdom of God, we pray for a simplicity of life which encourages us to see with Christ-like eyes and focus on the needs of others. Throughout the month of September, students will learn about the value of simplicity.
If you are wondering why your children are asking to bring rocks/stones to school, I will explain. I have a pile of stones in the main lobby on our prayer table. I spoke with all of the classes about our theme and how we are all a part of the “Kingdom of God,” especially right here in our school. We talked about building structures such as the school and church buildings, but more importantly about building a community with everyone working together to make our school even better than it is. We talked about what an amazing world it would be if everyone lived with the values Jesus taught with the Beatitudes (simplicity, compassion, humility, justice, mercy, purity, peace, and courage). We are hopeful that everyone in our building, both students and staff, brings in a rock/stone with their name on it. This rock will be a visual reminder that we are a community of faith and learning, building God’s Kingdom, one person at a time.
Monthly School Masses
We will celebrate Mass as a school community at 8am on the First Friday of every month. Please join us on October 6th for our first Mass as an entire student body. Please be sure to arrive on time for school that day. Everyone will leave the building a few minutes before 8am. If you arrive after that time, you will be asked by office staff to walk your child to church and be sure they get to their teacher. Prompt arrival is so important. We do not want to disrupt the flow of Mass.
School Picture Day
School Picture Day is Tuesday, September 12th from 8am-10am. Students are to wear their official school uniforms that day to be photographed for school identification badges. We will have Spring Picture Day in March when students can dress up for photographs. Tina Gwynn is our photographer. She does a great job. All photos are ordered directly from Tina online. More information will follow. Look for her parent letter soon.
We are thrilled that the YAY Company has added a Grab-and-Go Cafe cart and refrigerator to our cafeteria. Snacks are available each day for a reasonable fee (approximately $1.75-$3). Drinks such as milk, juice, and iced tea, are available as well. In order for your child to purchase from the Grab-and-Go Cafe, you must have logged into YAY Company, attached a credit card to the account, and selected a pin number and dollar amount you wish to set as a daily limit. It takes less than a minute. Remember that regular weekly Yay Company orders have to be placed in advance and can be canceled if a child is absent by notifying the Yay Company through their portal.
We do not accept DoorDash/UberEats or any food deliveries for students. Students/parents are encouraged to pack a lunch or order from Yay Company. You can set up an account with the Yay Company in the event of an emergency where you do not have time to pack lunch for your child. They will need an account set up in advance.
Thank you all for your prompt return of important documents. Please be sure to return your child’s yellow emergency card ASAP! If your child has an allergy or takes medication at school, please be sure our school nurses have the proper documentation to ensure your child’s medical needs are met.
If you come to school during business hours (7:30am-3pm), please have patience with us if we ask your name, your child’s name, and/or the purpose of your visit. After you push the button, we will likely ask this information over the speaker, prior to opening the door. Please have patience, as this process is to ensure the safety of all students and staff members. It only takes a few seconds for us to screen visitors at the door.
Reminder to Parents
Students are expected to enter the classroom on their own. Please do not enter their classroom in the morning, for any reason. This violates our safety protocols of no visitors without an appointment and no adults in the classroom unless they have completed a criminal background check. The office will relay any messages to teachers, or you can utilize the teacher’s email.
If you know a certified teacher or licensed nurse (RN) interested in being a substitute, please have them forward their contact information to email@example.com to be added to our sub list.
Criminal Background Clearance
Every parent is encouraged to get criminal background clearance. It is valid for 5 years. This parish was built with and thrives on volunteerism. We love our parent volunteers! The cost is $45.00 and the form required may be found on our school website. Click Parents, then New Student Registration Forms. Scroll down to Other Forms and click on Criminal Background Clearance. Any parent wishing to chaperone a field trip, help in a classroom, or volunteer in the school must have clearance and watch a video prior to doing so. This is a Diocesan policy that we take very seriously.
Attention 8th Grade Parents – Diocesan High School Placement Test
We sent information home by email distribution and also in paper form (with your child). Please be sure to register to take the HSPT. We encourage our families to register early.
Bright Arrow is our new communication method. This replaces School Messenger which we previously used. Please be sure to OPT IN for text messages. I understand how easy it is to miss an email when you receive hundreds per day. Opting into the text message feature is ideal!
New Exterior Doors
You may not have noticed but we recently invested a significant amount of money to update every exterior door except the main entrance. This was done to improve the safety and security of the building. All doors lock automatically to keep people out, but they open with a simple push in the event that we need to exit quickly. I thank Mr. Shields and Mr. Hernandez for their work in securing a grant from DEMA. The doors were costly due to the fact that they had to meet new specifications and also had to be historically accurate. Our church is considered a historic building, and because our school is within 50 ft. of that building, there are special requirements.
School Calendar/School Information
Please check the online school calendar regularly at sapgs.org. It is updated daily with new events. You are also able to navigate to teachers’ individual websites where information on homework, tests, projects, and other class related information is posted.
Please keep an eye out for the occasional Paw Print email. Paw Print is a shorter newsletter than Tiger Talk that contains reminders about important dates and events.
Follow us on Facebook at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni, & Friends. Our Facebook page is updated regularly with information and pictures of daily activities.
Important Safety Message
It is urgent that I express my genuine concern about the safety of all students at arrival time in the morning. We do everything within our power to make this the safest school. I am constantly making improvements and upgrades to our building and security. I am extremely disappointed when I see parents dropping off students in very dangerous ways each day. This is a city street with public transportation across the street. Please be mindful of that. I have seen buses unable to pass and proceed.
Please follow these procedures for morning drop-off:
- Pull up as far as you can on our street.
- Please do not double park to drop a child off in the street.
- Only pull forward. Please do not drive in reverse to back into a spot out front.
- Please do not back into the crosswalk.
- There is a bus zone across the street from the main entrance. Please do not park there.
- Please do not leave a car unattended to walk a child into school. The front of school is for drop off only.
- Please make every attempt to have your child exit the car on the curbside.
- If you pull up to school and there is not a spot available right out front, drive into the parking lot or drive around the block once. Spots open up immediately.
We have seen several near misses with our students this week. I hope you will re-evaluate your drop-off procedure to ensure that every child can arrive safely to school each day.
Instrumental Music Program
We are happy to welcome Northeastern Music once again. We will have a new band teacher this year. Her name is Carly McClendon. Ms. McClendon was here Wednesday to take a tour and meet all of the students in Grades 3-8. Band lessons will take place every Tuesday morning throughout the year. It is always great to see how much they learn from September to December (Christmas Concert). We hope you will consider having your child join the band. It is a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn an instrument and to showcase a hidden talent they may be unaware of at this point. There will be a virtual parent meeting on September 12th at 6:30 pm. More information will follow after Ms. McClendon does her instrument demonstration next week with the students.
This year we will have four testing windows during the school year. We will be testing students in the areas of Math and Reading. The test is a computer generated test that takes approximately 20-45 minutes depending on the grade level. The test provides a wealth of information. We look forward to sharing the results of the first round of testing (September 11th through the 29th). More details will follow.
Home and School Board
We will be meeting next week. I look forward to sharing with you all of the ideas we have for family fun this year.
- Friday, September 1 – NO AFTERCARE
- Monday, September 4 – School closed for Labor Day
- Tuesday, September 12 – School Picture Day – 8am – 10am
- Parent Virtual Meeting for Band program – 6:30pm
- Friday, October 6 – Opening School Mass – Church – 8am
- Monday, October 9 – School closed for Fall Break
We are so happy to have your children back in school with us. We are on our way to having another fantastic year at St. Anthony’s, building up to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of our Italian Festival and the 100th anniversary of our parish. Huge milestones! I hope you and your family are able to join us for special events and new traditions during the school year.
Love and Blessings,
Judith J. White, M.A.
“To be friends with God means to pray with simplicity,
like children talking to their parents.”
~ Pope Francis