Principal Notes 12/11/2015

St. Cecilia School

Notes from the Principal

Professional Development for St. Cecilia Staff

At times parents wonder why students are out of school so often for in-service days. You are faced with the difficulty of finding daycare every Wednesday and at least six times during the year there is no school and arrangements are needed for the full day. I know this is an inconvenience for the parents, but our staff needs an opportunity to meet for professional development activities.

During the 2015-16 school year we will deal with a variety of topics but our main focus is on the following:

1) Math Curriculum – This past summer we purchased new curriculum material that is designed to meet the needs of our students and the revisions in the Math curriculum that are found in the Iowa Core. Staff is learning how to use the tools that are part of the curriculum to meet the varied needs of all students in the classroom.

2) Learning Communities – Each year the staff members will meet in small groups to discuss a topic or interest that they feel is important to them and the students at St. Cecilia. This year the staff is focused on a book review that discusses character traits for the students and staff in the building. The staff is reviewing this material with discussion of implementing with the students in the future. The materials build on the PBIS mission of the school and will help your child become a better leader.

3) Faith Formation – Each month the staff takes time to build their personal faith. This year we are working with Katie Patrizio, Director of Faith Formation, as she guides the staff on a study of the Sacraments of the Church. As the staff develops a better personal understanding of the Sacraments they will be able to share that with your child.

4) Reading Curriculum – Last year we spent a majority of our time on reading curriculum implementation and in the second year we are reviewing and continuing to develop the skills to meet the student needs. This includes our Benchmark Literacy program and the FAST materials that are used to determine the strengths and weakness of each students reading skills.

5) Preparation for Special Events – This time takes many forms, but includes Mass preparation, special events for Advent and Lent, Catholic Schools Week, and any other activities that require common planning time.

6) Technology – This year we are taking ten to fifteen minutes at the start of in-service days to talk about the technology they use in the classroom. We want teachers to become more comfortable with the tools that are available and take advantage of the resources that can improve learning in the classroom.

7) Data Review – Each year we look at a variety of data points to see how we can improve the classroom. This includes individual student data to see what a particular student may need and classroom data to determine if there are areas in the curriculum that need a higher focus for students. We use the information to help guide individual and classroom instruction decisions.

8) State or Federal Required Trainings – These include training for a variety of items from Blood Borne Pathogens, Civil Rights regulations for the lunch staff, or training on harassment. This is a partial list and the list continues to grow each year. Fifteen years ago the mandated training required about an hour to start the year, but with time this list has grown and now can require up to a full day to start the year, and during the course of the year there will be special trainings for a portion of the staff to meet federal or state mandates. The training is valuable and we have to find the time to complete the training.

9) Planning Time – This is not individual planning time for staff, but time to plan as a group on the programs and activities that we can be working on to continue to see St. Cecilia grow and be a top school in the state of Iowa. We are working to ensure that we stay current in our teaching practices and provide the students an outstanding faith based academic program that is the best in Iowa.

As you can see we have a number of topics that we are covering this year and that is why the time we have each year for in-service activities is critical to our success as a staff. What the staff can gain in these trainings will make them more effective in the classroom and will result in more productive classroom for your child.

As an administrator we continue to look for options to train our staff to meet the needs of the students. One option is to look at summer training, but the problem with summer programs is finding the resources to fund that type of training. Not having that option we look for ways to make the training happen within the traditional school year. By having early outs and in-service days we are able to give the teachers and staff the time they need to improve their skills. As you know from your work experiences we need to have a well-trained staff to continue to provide excellence in the classroom.

Please stop in if you would like to visit more about our in-service program and I hope everyone understands that the time we give up for in-service makes us more effective as a staff to meet the needs of your child.

Big image

This season Iowa State Women's Basketball is excited to host the first ever School Day on Tuesday, December 22 as the Cyclones face Northern Arizona at 2 PM! Students, teachers, and chaperones are invited to attend the game for FREE, simply by signing up on the link below. We were able to reserve 90 student tickets and 30 parent/staff tickets. We will send your tickets home in your child’s Friday folder next Friday, December 18.

In addition to experiencing Hilton Magic, game day promotions will be geared towards kids and the day promises to be a ton of fun!

Erv Rowlands

Ervin A. Rowlands

Principal, St. Cecilia's School

Hour of Code - from Mrs. Tesdall

This week has been the Hour of Code in technology class. Each class from kindergarten through 5th grade has spent an hour in the tech classroom playing games that teach the beginnings of coding. The students work collaboratively on these games. It is so great to see them working together to solve the coding problems. It is fun, too!

If your student(s) want to try these coding activities at home, here are the links to the activities each grade did.


First Grade:

Second Grade:

Third and Fourth grades:

Fifth grade:

All hour of code tutorial links, including those for older students and adults

Also, thank you so much to everyone who volunteered for Hour of Code. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Christmas concert details and DVD order

Please note that we’ll be closing out our Christmas Concert DVD orders on Wednesday, 12/16/15. So if you’d like to order a DVD, please do so soon!

Christmas concert details and DVD order

Math Night Recap

Did you miss Math night and wonder what was talked about? See the links below to see the Powerpoint and presentation given by Mrs. Hand, Miss Beaudry, and Mr. Rowlands.

Math Night Parent Slide Show

Video of Math Night Parent Presentation


It's Christmas time! Let us do the shopping for you! Scrip cards make fantastic gifts and with so many retailers to choose from, there is certain to be something for everyone on your list. Let the Scrip elves know how we can help you complete that shopping list and all the while supporting our wonderful school and parish. Reminder: Monday, December 14th is the last day for ordering in 2015! You can always order Scrip Now and Reload with your Presto Pay Account. We will start SCRIP again on Monday, January 4th.

Scrip Order Form

After Mass – Classroom Receptions – Two dates still open!

Once a month each class will be sponsoring the all-school Mass and reception following Mass. We are looking for a couple of volunteers to help get the reception set-up and help the class that is sponsoring it. Basically you would just show up for Mass about 20 minutes early - stop by the office where Lois and Tilda will have everything ready for you take to the social hall to set up and get the coffee started. After Mass, you can help serve the cookies and drinks and clean-up after the reception. You probably don't want to sign-up to help at the Mass that your child is sponsoring because you will be invited to attend the reception with them. If you are interested in helping with one (or more!) of these receptions, please sign up at the following site:

School Events

  • Monday, 12/14: 8:45 a.m. Advent Assembly – All are Welcome!
  • Tuesday, 12/15: 7 p.m. Christmas Concert at Ames City Auditorium – All are Welcome!

  • Wednesday, 12/16: 9 a.m. All School Mass and 11:15 a.m. 4-Year-Old Preschool Christmas Luncheon
  • Monday, 12/21: 8:45 a.m. Advent Assembly – All are Welcome!
  • Tuesday, 12/22: 9 a.m. Stations of the Nativity by 5th Grade and 1:30 p.m. Early Dismissal
  • Christmas break starts at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 12/22/15 through Sunday, 01/03/16. School resumes at 8:25 a.m. on Monday, 01/04/16. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Other Opportunities


ACPC has part-time positions available for caring, energetic individuals to work with school age kids in their Before & After School Program for the Spring Semester. Hours would be Monday-Friday 7:00-8:15am and 3:00-6:00pm (Wednesdays 2:00-6:00pm).

We are looking for individuals that are able to work a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, a Tuesday/Thursday schedule or Monday-Friday schedule throughout the semester.

When applying, please complete an application from our website ( and send with your Spring Class Schedule to or 920 Carroll Ave. Ames, Iowa 50010. If you have questions, feel free to call Allison at (515) 460-8855.

Sports Iowa Indoor Sports – Ages 6-18

Soccer Skills meets weekly and uses a combination of teaching fundamental skills and drills to develop and improve the player’s ball handling, field movement, and shooting abilities.

Agility meets twice weekly with emphasis on endurance, balance, and coordination to provide an advantage to the athlete. Age appropriate training, including games for the 6-11 year olds and technique training for the 12-18 year olds keeps kids interested and focused on improving their ability to compete.

Lacrosse meets weekly and provides an introductory class on the basics of play to kids in elementary and middle school. Basic rules, fielding, and throwing techniques will be taught through a mix of drills and games.

Randi Wineinger



SportsIowa Flyer