September 6th Letter from Mr. Kelly

September 6, 2019
Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Dear SJS Catholic School Community,

One of the best parts of the job of principal is that I get to go into the classrooms often. I enjoy seeing the progress the students are making, and all the interesting projects. We certainly are blessed with a talented staff and students. And as I walk around I am reminded daily that we really have an outstanding school at SJS. We have specials classes that many schools no longer offer. We have a school counselor and registered nurse on staff to help students. And we have a great amount of technology available for the teachers and kids. We want students to have some Spanish basics, so we have Spanish class. And we want them to have social skills, so we have skills classes with Mrs. Laney. We also want students to be able to type and have technology skills, so we have Technology class, and so on. But we also want our students to develop their thinking skills, their problem solving abilities, and time management skills. This is where the Genius Hour concept comes into effect to help our students. So the amount of technology we have, the therapy dog, the specials classes, and the Genius Hour are all unique to SJS and really help to set us apart. Please spread the word about SJS and thanks for all you do as well.

I received a few questions about monitoring of student cell phones after the presentation at Curriculum Night. Thank you for your interest and vigilance. A few of the programs that may be a help to you and your monitoring are: SaferKid, and Qustodio. But there are so many apps and programs these days for parents that I suggest you do a little research to find the one that fits your needs and budget best. The important thing is that you are doing your part to make sure students are meeting your expectations for Catholic behavior on their devices. As part of our instruction here at SJS the students are also taught online and social media expectations. So you aren’t alone, we are working with you to reinforce Catholic values with technology.

Just a reminder 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.

There is much that we will do this year to make sure the students know our expectations for Catholic behavior. We will also be continuing the Positive Office Referrals. 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 instructing about the 10 Commandments this first quarter and each quarter will be a new foundational Catholic teaching. We 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.


William Kelly