Mercy Peek & Ponder

Faculty/Staff Edition Sunday, January 31, 2016

Catholic Schools Week 2016

Sunday: Today was an overwhelming success! I thank you all for your dedication and welcoming way that has quickly made OLM a popular destination.

Monday: Please remember to have your students write letters to their parents in school. For the upper grades, this is a wonderful ELA assignment. Slight change to the lunch schedule: Parents/Grandparents are invited to join their children for lunch: K-3 – 11:45AM; 4-8 – 12:35PM. Noon prayers will be said at 11:30AM to accommodate the schedule.

Tuesday: Only 6-7-8 grades will attend the NJHS installation at 1:30PM. Siblings of inductees may attend the ceremony and reception. Thanks!

Wednesday: Home & School will provide lunch time supervision duties to free the faculty up to attend the luncheon at 12:05PM in the gym. Grades K-2 & 6-8 will play bingo together. Student Council will supply the prayer partners early this week. Grades 4-5 will play in their rooms.

Thursday: Please be seated and ready for the magic show by 9AM in the gym. Thanks!


Friday: THON; students wear gym uniform and THON shirts.

Terra Nova 2016 - February 26 to March 4

The Terra Nova Dates are Friday, February 26th (In View) to Friday, March 4th

The following procedures will be in place on these 6 days:

  • No morning assembly. No morning faculty meeting/prayers. Please say prayers as a classroom.
  • Two-hour delay schedule. If testing runs over the allotted two hour time - first period will be delayed (as needed) to accommodate.
  • Accommodations will be tested in resource room. "Specials" will assist with the accommodations. Lists and specific schedules for this will be forthcoming.
  • Post "testing" signs on doors. Silence is mandatory.

Terra Nova Testing (grades 3-7) Schedule 2016:

Monday-Thursday, February 22-25: In-View Practice Tests given

Friday, February 26: In-View Testing

Monday, February 29: Reading

Tuesday, March 1: Language

Wednesday, March 2: Math

Thursday, March 3: Science

Friday, March 4: Social Studies

Some talking points for parents:

The academic program at OLM is one that is research-based and in keeping with the most up-to-date information available to educators across the country and the world. We don’t aim low, but instead, extremely high! According to research conducted at the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Boston College’s Center for the Study of Testing, and the Georgian Court University’s School of Education, standardized testing for children in grades K-2 is not advisable or reliable.

Standardized tests are scary for primary school children, bad for their morale and confidence. Overwhelmed by the test situation, they often don t show what they do know and can do. Instances of children breaking down, crying, unable to face school, becoming literally sick with anxiety in the face of standardized tests, are common. Most teachers in the early grades understand the importance of maintaining their students’ level of interest and high morale, both of which tend to be undone by tests.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children has, for a number of years, come out against standardized testing of young children for some of these same reasons. Most seven-year-olds are still in the process of acquiring the complex skills involved in learning to read and write. They need a chance to consolidate these skills which, at first, are fragile and inconsistent. Premature testing, no matter how well intentioned, is discouraging to the learner like having a work-in-progress exposed to summary judgment. And no matter how well intentioned the tests, no matter what the disclaimers or reassurances, the results will be understood by the children as judgment.

Differences in background show up vividly in the early years of schooling: some children arrive in school never having actually handled a book or in some cases seen one close up; others have had books read to them since infancy. These differences tend to diminish in the face of their common school experience. Premature testing, however, by highlighting differences, will reinforce them in the minds of children. Young children are not likely to have the kind of perspective that allows them to see the possibility of catching up. Since they always know who did well and who did badly children will sort themselves out accordingly. They will be likely to characterize themselves relative to their classmates as good readers (like fast runners) or bad readers (like slow runners). The early identification some poor testers will make of themselves as academic losers will be difficult at the very least to undo later.

Teachers of kindergarten, first, and second grades know very well, from their ordinary classroom activities, which children are learning to read and write with relatively little difficulty and which need extra help. Evaluation is part and parcel of daily instruction, a built-in function. When an outside agency takes over the responsibility for evaluation, however, the teacher loses both autonomy and confidence in his or her own expertise and trustworthiness. We convey to the teacher the disrespectful message that we do not trust her/him to evaluate student progress. The hazard, then, is that teachers abdicate responsibility for assessing learning and rely for instructional guidance on the relatively thin, out-of-context and delayed information contained in the test results. In sum, K - 2 testing is the result of a pervasive and mistaken belief that the solutions to school achievement are more testing, longer hours and more homework, all of which are likely to be felt by children as burdens. These presumed solutions are not only inappropriate for young children but will prove counter-productive for both teaching and learning.

Standardized testing is not a state or federal requirement for children in grades K-2.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 provides for testing students beginning in grade 3. There is currently a bill in legislation that would prohibit the testing of students in kindergarten Through second grade.

The Association for Childhood Education has called on a moratorium on standardized testing for children in grades K-2 since 1991, saying standardized testing affects children’s learning and motivation to learn.


Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep and eats a healthy breakfast

Many teachers report that students who don't do well on tests haven't gotten enough sleep, and haven't eaten breakfast on the morning of the test. Doing both of these things will ensure that your child is working at full capacity (Narang, 2008).

Make sure your child is prepared

Some schools may supply the tools your child needs for the test, such as pencils, an eraser, paper, and a calculator. Others may require the students to bring those materials themselves. Check with your child's teacher to see if you need to provide your child with any of these materials. Also, check to see whether you child will be able to make up the test if she is sick on test day (Narang, 2008).

Remain positive

Staying calm will help your child stay calm. If she gets nervous about the test or is likely to experience anxiety during the test, help her practice some relaxation techniques that she can try once she's taking the test (Narang, 2008).

Some Schedule Changes ...

Faculty Meeting: Tuesday, February 9th will be for teachers of grades K-3 and specials.

Faculty Meeting: Tuesday, March 8th will be for teachers of grades 4-8.

Faculty Meeting: Tuesday, April 5th will be for ALL teachers - Middle States Prep

Faculty Meeting: Tuesday, May 3rd is cancelled.

Faculty Meeting: Monday, June 13th is for all teachers.

**Stations of the Cross for Monday, February 29th are cancelled - Terra Nova conflict.

Recess Supervision

Teachers, please remember to be active participants in supervision during recess - outside/inside, playground, snack recess, etc. Please encourage parents to become active in their duties.

I will be taking an online course on recess supervision this Thursday and I will pass on information to you.