Principal's Corner

February 26, 2021

 

Dear SJBS Community,

I hope that you and your families are finding all the strength and joy that you need right now. We are at the end of February 2021, which might be as amazing to some of you as it is to me. For whatever reason, I find that this year is racing past. However, I also know that some of us may have the opposite reaction -- that this pandemic time will seemingly never end. We all continue to pray for that transition to a more recognizably normal and less fearful time, but we also work at truly living in the meantime. Here are a few updates:

1. Thank you for your participation in the Readathon!
I hope that many of your students felt some extra motivation to read or listen to a good story over the past two weeks. As of this writing, 99Pledges indicates that our people have made $12,079 in donations. That is amazing! The Readathon ends at midnight tonight. I am very grateful to Donna Cunanan and the PTG team -- including of course our wonderful room parents -- and our teachers and staff members who have either made this possible or consistently encouraged students to participate. As I have said before, this has truly been a "win-win." Once we are able to identify students in each class who read the most, we will be announcing the recipients of 25.00 gift cards for Barnes and Noble.

2. Extension for the Cookbook recipe deadline
The deadline for turning in recipes has been extended to Friday, March 5. Look for more information about this on ParentSquare. We only have about 29 recipes at this writing, but we need quite a few more to create a great cookbook. Cover art submissions will also be accepted through March 5. February was a busy month with school activities, so the extra week should allow many of us to turn in some of our tasty family recipes. We can't physically gather right now, but this is a wonderful way to share something that may have real importance in our own families thereby enriching other families throughout our community -- what better way to do that than through food? Sharing treasured family recipes can also be a great way to honor people whom we love and who hold a treasured place in our memories. In this spirit, I know that I'll be sharing one (or two) of my mom's best Christmas cookie recipes. I look forward to seeing -- and making -- and then eating -- some of your family's best recipes as well.

3. Extended Care for 2021-22
I know that a number of you may be wondering about the status of Extended Care for next year.  I just want to assure you that we will be offering Extended Care beginning in August.  I will announce more of the details before the end of this school year, and currently our planning is in response to changes in county guidelines relating to COVID-19.  However, the bottom line is that there will be Extended Care next year.

3. Report Cards and Awards Assembly
The second trimester ends today, and the third and final trimester for the year begins on Monday.  The grade portal for PowerSchool will be closed this weekend while teachers work on their report cards.  The portal will be opened next Friday, March 5 at 5 PM for the release of report cards.  Mrs. Knox will be sending out information about accessing report cards before that time.  The second trimester awards assembly will be held on Zoom (Morning Prayer and Assembly link) immediately following morning prayer on Thursday, March 18th.

4. STAR Update
Students will be taking their third set of STAR tests for this school year between March 1 and March 15.  The teachers will be sharing any other information specific to each class.  In December,  the schoolwide percentile rank for Reading was 73.5 and for Math was 88.  This is student performance measured against a large norming group of students from each grade level.  This norming group took the STAR assessments before the pandemic.  In addition, our schoolwide results in Reading and Math are within a point or two of what they were in December 2019, before the pandemic.  Student growth has been similar as well to a year ago, as measured by STAR results. This a very encouraging sign of successful student learning under the conditions imposed by the pandemic.

5. New Writing Program
This week, the teachers began a two-month preparation to use a new schoolwide writing program, "Units of Study."  This is an outstanding program designed to help students to see themselves as writers and to become deeply engaged in their own writing process.  Each grade will do a 4-week unit on narrative writing in May, and then we will begin the first full year of the program in August.  It's a wonderful program which will benefit our students not only as writers but as thinkers and as problem-solvers.  By giving them a stronger means of self-expression, the program will also benefit students' social/emotional learning as well.  I credit the staff their willingness to make continual improvements in our educational program, even during the challenges of a pandemic year.  

6. Incentive Program Reminder
As I have mentioned in several previous posts, the school is offering an incentive program for school families who refer new families to SJB.  If  a referred family enrolls in the school and remains for at least two trimesters, the referring family will receive a school credit of $500 per referred child.  This credit can be applied to tuition, school fees, or your fundraising balance.  My thanks to the families who have participated in this by referring prospective families so far!  This program will remain in effect until November of 2021.  Please access all the information here:  
New Student Referral Program for SJBS Parents.

7. Additional Resources for Parents
Below are some links to more resources to help parents support children during the pandemic.  While cases are declining throughout the nation and a vaccine is gradually becoming available in a phased rollout, the reality is that we will be in this pandemic mode for some time to come.  I will continue to share further resources and am looking in to other opportunities the school can offer to support parenting during this time.
How to Be a Good Parent During COVID-19
Pandemic Parenting
UNICEF COVID-19 Guide for Parents
Healthychildren.org -- Signs Your Teen May Need More Support
Stanfordchildrens.org -- Teen Mental Health During the Pandemic

As always, SJBS families, thank you all for your ongoing support.  On a daily basis, I feel and see in our community that "Gospel spirit of love" that we talk about in our mission statement.  I wish you all a peaceful Lent. that will lead us all to a deep awareness of new life at Easter.

God bless you and your families,

Mr. Brazil


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