September 1, 2014
Dear Parents and Friends,
I want to welcome each of you to what I think will be an exciting school year. We have many new families, faculty and staff that are eager to be engaged in our community. On the school side, Evie Wilkinson is our new junior high social studies teacher, Jeff Miller is the new physical education teacher, Angie Roggenkamp has joined us as a new assistant and Ethan Carroll is our new maintenance assistant. In the preschool and after school area, our new director is Shelly Hunt. On the parish side, we have Tammy Flippo as the new pastoral associate. Each of them brings new energy and I am having fun watching the gifts develop that they bring to us. If you see someone you don’t recognize, please take the time to introduce yourself and welcome them to our St. Gabriel family.
This year our school theme is “Filling Buckets.” Did you know that each person experiences over 20,000 individual moments in a single day? Each of these moments is potential turning points. A moment is a few seconds in which our brain records an experience. Our mood is created based on the number of positive vs. negative moments we experience during the day. Everyone has an invisible bucket whose purpose is to hold our good thoughts and feelings. Our bucket is constantly being emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great and happy. You fill a bucket when you say something nice to someone, do something kind, and even when you smile. We want students and staff to focus on positive comments and experiences when we interact. In this way, we are filling buckets; we are making people happy and productive.
We will be holding “coffee talks” this year to bring teachers and parents together. Our first talk is September 24. It will take place in the parish loft from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Our topic will be, “Using technology in the School.” There will be a teacher from each area, K-3, 4-6, 7-8 and unique areas, explaining how they use the iPads and other technology in their instruction. We will also explain our language lab and how Rosetta Stone is panning out, followed by a discussion on some techniques to monitor usage of devices in the home. I hope that we will see you there.
Our annual magazine drive will begin on Wednesday. Profits from the magazine drive go directly back to the students through rewards for Terra Nova test taking to purchasing incentives for our reading program. Thank you for supporting us by purchasing a magazine.
Later this month, we will be asking parents to take a survey as part of the accreditation process. We have a two week window in which to have these filled out and we would love 100% participation. Your responses help feed the direction that we develop for the future.
Finally, I would like to let you know some of our goals for this school year. Academically, we have begun a new foreign language lab to help all students become more culturally aware. Students in K-5 will be learning Spanish. Students in grades 6-8 may choose their language. The beauty about this is that students will be able to access their language from anywhere that has an internet connection. All teachers, assistants and parish employees were also given the opportunity to participate in a language study. We have also started a new reading service that offers online access. This will make it easier for those students that forget books. It also provides extra practice and instruction that students can get in their home or anywhere that provides internet access.
We are thrilled that our school qualifies, because of our test scores, to apply for Blue Ribbon status! In a few months, we will gather a team to begin the process of application. Our students worked very hard last year to do their best. Scores were up on national tests and we can move forward to achieve national recognition.
Another major goal this year is to continue in our efforts to provide security to our students. We are looking into plans to remodel the lobby area of the school so more control governing visitors and students will be present. Ensuring your child’s safety has always been a priority of mine.
We should have a new website up and running in the next couple of months. It will have a nice, sleek look and be very modern and easy to navigate. This website will have all areas of the school and the parish included on the same site to emphasize that we are one community.
I am also excited that our new pastoral associate, Tammy Flippo, is planning on having more of a physical presence in our school. She will be meeting with teachers and visiting classrooms in the next few weeks. She will also help with sacraments and has volunteered to eat lunch with students and teachers to get to know our St. Gabriel community.
As always, we are very flexible and will move to add more goals as needed to continually improve our school. This is a wonderful place to be a part of and I wish all of you a very happy, successful, and peaceful school year.
St. Gabriel the Archangel