4 September Letter from Mr. Kelly

Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Dear SJS Catholic School Community,

We continue to make great progress at SJS.  Thank you to all of our parents who have been supportive of the new school policies and procedures we have in place to keep the kids safe.  And, thanks to all of our students and staff for their flexibility.  Our plan seems to be working, so we are able to keep kids and teachers in school.  But, your continued vigilance is vital.  Please make sure over the long weekend that you are following the “3 Ws” that we have been discussing at school–washing the hands, wearing a mask, and watching the distance.  I get asked occasionally how long the new procedures will be in effect, and I really don’t know.  As long as the local and national health departments say we should wear masks and avoid crowds, we will continue to do so.  If we err, it will be on the side of caution.

The teachers will soon be administering one of our tests we use to drive instruction, the STAR test.  This online test will provide teachers immediate access to student results and strengths and weaknesses.  Then we can combine that with our own SJS Reading Benchmark test, Xtra Math, and the Terra Nova Test (grades 3-8 will be taking it in October) to gain a clearer picture of what each student needs to be successful.

Technology is a part of what we do at SJS.  The students use it in some fashion nearly everyday.  But, technology certainly has its downside.  The internet provides easy access to things we don’t want the kids to be exposed to.  So it is best to make sure you as parents are monitoring closely what your student is doing online and on their cell phone.  Set some expectations based on Catholic values, and make sure your student knows what those expectations are, and the consequences if they are not met.  If your student knows you are watching and monitoring that can make a big difference.  There are also a variety of online programs and apps that you can download which help monitor and block inappropriate material.  Discipline can be administered even online if a rule violation occurs.  So, your vigilance and effort is needed and appreciated.

We have worked in recent years to make the stories of our patron saints known to the students.  We want our students to feel a connection to our patrons.  So the teachers are focusing on the story and life of St. James this first semester, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the second semester.  It’s fun to ask the kids what they know about St. James, and get such complete responses.  It would be helpful to have you reinforce these details at home.  They are: St. James was a fisherman and one of the 12 Apostles called by Jesus.  He was part of the inner circle with Peter and John.  Was present at the Transfiguration and Agony in the Garden. Evangelized Spain, where his tomb and shrine have been a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. Only Apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament.  Feast Day is July 25th.  We also as a school are reviewing the 10 Commandments this first quarter.

No school Monday Sept. 7th for Labor Day.  Enjoy the long weekend. There also is no school on Sept 25th.  Thanks for all you do.



William Kelly