23 October Letter from Mr. Kelly

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Dear SJS Catholic School Community,

We look forward to seeing you all at Parent/Teacher conferences next Thursday.  Every family is expected to be represented at a conference.  If you need help signing up, please contact the office or email the teacher.  For 5-8th grade the homeroom teachers will have notes from the other teachers.  But, if you want to see an additional teacher beyond the homeroom, that’s fine, just contact that teacher for a conference on another date.  Specials teachers are also available on conference day.  So, there is no school on the 29th or 30th.

We have coordinated virtual high school recruitment visits this year due to, you guessed it, COVID-19.  Yet, a common theme from those high schools is how much they enjoy have SJS graduates in their school, and how well-prepared those students are.  So, great job SJS!  Our emphasis on academic rigor is noticed.  We want to continue to challenge our students and have placed this expectation upon them: addition and subtraction facts mastered (able to recall the answer quickly) by the end of 2nd grade, and multiplication and division facts mastered by the end of 4th.  Parents may need to help their student reach this expectation.

There have been some colder mornings recently.  Fall is here and winter is coming.  And we want to take the students outside for recess as often as possible as the weather gets colder.  To do this the students need to come prepared for the cold weather.  Please make sure you send your student, no matter what grade level, to school with an appropriate coat and accessories like hats and gloves.  This will help the students stay safe and help recess to go more smoothly.

A special thank you goes out to our Athletic Association.  COVID has made athletic competition and practices more challenging than ever.  And our AA has worked hard to keep the kids safe while providing all the benefits of extracurricular sports.  This is very difficult and has led to tough decisions being made.  I have been impressed that the focus on school, and academics, and keeping the kids present in school, has been at the forefront of the AA decisions.  I know we all thank our Athletic Director Sammie Becker, the Athletic Association Board, and all the coaches for that vigilance.  If you are playing either basketball or volleyball this winter season outside of what we are offering here at SJS, we do require that you self-report any direct contact with a positive COVID individual so we can complete our contact tracing here at school.  If your league does not have a way to contact trace, I would strongly recommend you find another organization to play in this winter season.  I would also add, if there are not significant safety measures put in place in this outside league, I would recommend finding other alternatives.  School has to be your top priority.  This also applies to all outside activities like dance, karate, gymnastics, etc.  We are making these decisions to align with our local health officials and to keep our kids and staff safe and healthy.  At SJS we will continue to prioritize our school and academic community over any athletic and extracurricular activities.

I am so proud of our SJS staff and how they have taken on all the challenges of this year.  We are keeping kids safe in school.  We deliver 300-400 lunches daily to the classrooms.  Every student has a temperature check in the morning.  Our teachers rotate to other classrooms so the students don’t have to.  We provided a remote learning option.  Thank you to our staff, and way to go, SJS!  If you too are proud of our school and looking for a way to show your support, the upcoming SOAR Dinner provides you that chance.  You can attend the takeout meal event on Nov 21st (food orders due by Nov 6th).  You can provide an item or gift card for the silent auction.  You can purchase/sell raffle tickets.  A successful SOAR helps us all.  Please spread the word, and an email will be sent soon outlining all the auction items that are available.  Thanks for all you do.

William Kelly