2 September Letter from Mr. Kelly

Friday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Dear SJS Catholic School Community,

I am very proud of our COVID efforts in recent years.  At SJS we navigated the uncharted waters of the pandemic very well, better than most schools, I think.  But, COVID is still a part of life at school.  So, there is a need for you to monitor for symptoms very closely.  Again, if ever in doubt you should keep your student home and consult your pediatrician.  It is best to err on the side of caution.  If we can keep sick kids out of school it simply keeps everyone healthy.  And your students are still allowed to wear a mask at school.  We will notify you via email if there is a positive case in your homeroom so that you can pay particular attention for symptoms.

We take great pride in the academic achievements of our students.  And we use several tools to help gauge our success and what tweaks we may need.  Students have already taken STAR tests, and will also be taking our SJS Reading Benchmark tests.  We also use Terra Nova standardized tests.  So, it is good to know that the last full week of the month will be our Terra Nova testing week for grades 3-8.  To ensure we get the most accurate results, ones that show our strengths and weaknesses, please have your student here, rested, and ready to test.  These test results will play an important role as we examine our school improvement goals.

Goal setting is a great way to start the school year.  I would encourage that conversation quarterly with your student.  Are expectations and goals being reached?  What is standing in the way of higher scores?  Has homework and studying been a priority?  Has test preparation been thorough enough?  One of my favorite parts about being in education is that there are so many opportunities for fresh starts.  Every quarter, week, and day gives us a chance to improve performance.  If you need help with goals for your student feel free to talk to our fine teachers.  We are also encouraging all the students to think of ways they can be Jesus for others, and see Jesus in others.  Feel free to use that terminology at home as well.

There is much that we will do this year to make sure the students know our expectations for Catholic behavior.  We will be continuing the Positive Office Referrals (5 kids already earned one).  As a Catholic school we want our students to be good and kind to each other, and this program recognizes and encourages exceptionally kind actions.  We will be teaching the students facts about each or our patron saints, St. James in the first semester and St. Elizabeth Ann in the second.  We also have the SJS School Pledge that the students memorize as it is said weekly.  The teachers have been covering this topic of Catholic behavior thoroughly as the year begins.  Clearly, once again, there are solid expectations for students as we work to make our school the best Catholic school we can be. Thanks for all you do.

William Kelly