The Good News
Saint John XXIII September 27, 2020
Rethinking: Finding new ways to Connect, Love, Teach
When we first heard of the re-entry guidelines and protocols from the provincial government, we sat together (physically distanced) with heavy hearts wondering how would we "connect, love, teach" in the ways we knew how. There was a sense of grief and loss as we tried to imagine not greeting our students with hugs or handshakes, not leaning in, not gathering the students on carpets to read a story. No field trips, or circles, or parent volunteers. It was a challenging time for us.
Team STJ XXIII: Continuing to Connect, Love, Teach
But as the innovative and creative educators that we are, we quickly started to rethink how we would continue to make our faith and learning community a place where each child felt a sense of safety, of belonging, of love and care. Each person on our staff contributed in some way to ensure that our students could be safe within the protocols but still experience the traditions and sense of our STJ community that we are so proud of.
Over the past month, I've been inspired and grateful every day for the amazing ways I see our staff and students responding to life at school within a pandemic. We have placed arrows on the floor and replaced desks with tables, taken away carpets and teacher reading chairs, and covered up smiles with our masks and yet...I see circles still happening (even in Kindergarten). I've witnessed a Bible Presentation with our grade fours where our Chaplain, teachers, and Pastor found a way to make it memorable and special with a walking field trip and a mass. I see the alternative "greetings" that continue to light people up. I see teachers taking students outside for physical literacy and stories, and picnics together. I see eyes twinkling over masks and our abilitiy to read "eyes" now is much more enhanced. I see phone calls, Googlemeets and videos, and so many more innovative ways to connect with our families. I see our teacher leads finding new ways to celebrate school-wide events like Orange Shirt day that still connect us in prayer and hope. Every single day I see our staff rethinking, creating, and finding innovative ways to teach and connect with our students. Assemblies will still happen, celebrations will take place, we will continue to connect, love and teach, just not in the exact same way we used to.
How our STJ parents are helping:
Through this all, what has also become apparent, is the support of our parent community. The reality is this-the extra energy and re-thinking that continues to be poured into teaching and learning right now is exhausting. Our STJ teachers, support staff and administration are tired and working so many extra hours than usual to make our school the amazing place it is. Those parents that have sent in emails or messages sharing gratitude makes a world of difference to us right now. The "thank yous for all you do" to our staff members at the end of a phone call or greeting is what keeps us going. These may seem like small gestures but the lasting impact is tremendous. The extra patience our parents are showing is so appreciated and noticed. The commitment to the protocols, the screenings, and the symptom checks all help keep our school safe and speak to the collective responsibility we all have. Most importantly, the understanding that the protocols and guidelines are put in place from AHS and the government and that we are bound by legislation to follow them, helps keep our school-parent relationships in tact. We all recognize how challenging navigating the protocols of the pandemic are and having that extra patience and compassion both ways helps us remember that COVID-19 is the problem, not one another.
I am so proud of our Saint John XXIII village and feel grateful every day for every person within our community who continues to show up with hope, grace and joy for our kids!
Mrs. Bonnie-Lynne Boehm, Principal
Thank you parents for all your support! The emails and messages of gratitude and support go a LONG way! We are grateful for this St. John Village. We have worked hard for a safe and welcoming re-entry and you have noticed!
Meet our Team SJXXIII-Each week we will highlight a few staff members so you can get to know our crew!
Fun in 1 Crew!
Ms. Stephanie Bennett-Grade 1 Teacher, Wellness Lead & University Student Facilitator
Hello St. John XXIII village! My name is Ms. Stephanie Bennett, and I feel so blessed to be teaching Grade One again this year. I love sharing my passion for learning and faith with the little ones here at St. John XXIII. In addition to being a classroom teacher, I enjoy my role of spreading joy and connection as one of the Wellness Leads for staff and students. This is my eighth year of teaching, but it is my twenty-first year of being a part of the EICS family, as I was also a student myself with our division from K-12. I attended Concordia University of Edmonton, where I received a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts. I am currently enrolled in EXCEL Academy and our division’s Aspiring Leadership program. I look forward to our journey together in faith this school year.
Some things that bring Ms. Bennett joy are: spending quality time with loved ones, being outdoors, reading books, and trying out new recipes!
Mrs. Lesley Holt-Grade 1 Teacher & Ed Tech/Curriculum Lead
Mrs. Holt has come full circle with St. John XXIII school, as she has been a student, parent and an educator here. She is thrilled that she has been given the opportunity to teach grade one after having taught grade 2,3,4,and 6 over her 20 plus years with EICS. Grade one has her heart and she appreciates the privilege she has as she gets to watch her students getting excited about their learning journey. In addition to her homeroom, Mrs. Holt takes on important leadership roles in our school as our Curriculum and EdTech Lead.
Something that brings Mrs. Holt joy are the “lightbulb moments” when you see a student who believes they “can’t” realize they “can”.
Mr. Mitch Higgins-Student Teacher (Concordia)
My name is Mitchel Higgins and I am a student teacher doing my final practicum with Ms. Stephanie Bennett in Grade 1. I am originally from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan and I am so excited to be at St. John XXIII Catholic School. The community of Fort Saskatchewan has become a new home for me and I am blessed to work with the St. John XXIII students. I am an avid hockey fan, especially the Ottawa Senators. I enjoy being active outside by going for walks, biking the awesome trails around the community, and going for the occasional run. My passion for teaching comes from the bright little faces I get to interact with everyday. I am committed to making each student of mine feel loved, welcome, and safe.
Something that bring Mr. Higgins joy is: seeing students thrive in their learning environment!
Orange Shirt Day: Wednesday, September 30-Share in the spirit of reconciliation and wear orange
Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself. It brought together former students and their families from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, Southern Dakelh and St’at’imc Nations along with the Cariboo Regional District, the Mayors and municipalities, School Districts and civic organizations in the Cariboo Region.
The events were designed to commemorate the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Chief Justice Murray Sinclair challenged all of the participants to keep the reconciliation process alive, and as a result of the realization that every former student had similar stories.
On this day of September 30th, we call upon humanity to listen with open ears to the stories of survivors and their families, and to remember those that didn’t make it.
What are we doing at St. John XXIII? Our Indigenous Leads-Ms. Bourassa and Mrs. Joly-Davis, Our Wellness Leads-Ms. Bennett & Mrs. Ekdahl, and and our Chaplain-Mrs. Comartin have created three school-wide activities for Orange Shirt day to share our spirit of reconciliation. On Wednesday, we will engage our students in prayer, a school-wide Reconciliation Heart, and an Indigenous Story "Trail Tail". Ask your children about our day.
IMPORTANT: *Please update Student Medical Info in your PowerSchool Account
Please do not use the Powerschool App. Use the powerschool website in the link above.
Medical Forms: Please update all medical information for your child. We use this important information to alert any staff members, including substitute teachers of any existing medical needs we need to be aware of. We also need to update any pre-existing medical conditions that will be checked for COVID symptom screening.
If your child has a medical alert that we should be aware of, we will require a new medical form that is available in your powerschool account. If you child requires use of an epi-pen, please make sure this is filled out ASAP. We like to keep a student's epi-pen on hand at the office in case of emergency. At the very least, we need to know where a student is keeping their epi-pen. If you have questions, please contact the office.
If you require assistance, please contact Mrs. Potter 780-998-7777 or via email email@example.com
Picture Day this Friday-October 2
Our Online Learners can come to the school between 3:45-4:00 pm to have their picture taken. Our M/W Kindergarten class is scheduled for 9:10-9:35 am on Friday. Please come to the front door and your child will be let in to have their photo taken. If you have any questions, please contact the office at 780-998-7777.
We will have a Retake day after Fall break for those students who miss Picture Day on October 2.
Message from Mrs. Heesing: Family Wellness Worker
Our first Celebration of Learning and Principal Call Home-Congratulations!
Grade 4 Bible Presentation & Mass
Many thanks to our Chaplain, Mrs. Jackie Comartin for planning such a memorable day for our fours. Special thanks to Father Kris for leading mass and blessing our bibles, and sharing such important information about the word of God with us. Thanks to Mrs. Selinger, Mrs. Schaub and Mrs. Comartin for journeying with our fours on Friday and all your leadership, planning and guidance!
Late Arrivals: What to do? Please ensure your child gets into school safely
September 30: Orange Shirt Day & Pathway Parent Meetings
October 2: Picture Day
October 7: Early Out Dismissal 2:23 pm Spirit Day: School Colours (blue and yellow) or STJXXIII Clothing
October 9: No school for students-PD day
October 12: No school-Happy Thanksgiving
Growing Brains & Sharing Smiles! It's a Great Day to be a Saint John Kid!
Congratulations and Blessings to our students who received their Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. Send your pictures to Mrs. Boehm firstname.lastname@example.org
OLA Parish News
Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic Parish
Rev. Kristopher Schmidt
Cell phone: 780-995-3930
Link to Fr. Kris homily: https://soundcloud.com/frkrisschmidt
Rev. Danial Dsouza
Cell phone: 780-710-3128
Saint John XXIII School Council News
Preparing for the upcoming year:
Mrs. Boehm and Ms. Astalosch will be meeting with our past PSC executive this week to plan for the school year and book a date for executive elections. Meetings will be held this year via Google Meets. If you are interested in becoming a Parent School Council Executive member or a class rep, please contact Mrs. Bonnie-Lynne Boehm email@example.com
First PSC meeting and elections will be held in October.