Ms. Monaghan's Message - June 29

Challenge. Inspire. Empower. Serve

Happy Fourth of July!

The 4th of July is approaching, and it is always a great time to reflect on the beliefs to which our country was built upon. It is also a nice time to spend relaxing with family!

I hope you and your family get some downtime over the holiday and are able to rest, relax, and just be together. I'm taking off next week to spend time with my kids, as the time for 2 of them to head off to college is quickly approaching and I'm clinging to them as long as I possibly can.

I'll be back in the office on Monday, July 9th ready to tackle the year ahead!

The Ultimate Royals Experience

Have you heard about the Ultimate Royals Experience auction opportunity?? Don't miss out! Not only could you have the epic Royals experience, but you can support our school's athletic program in the the process!

Check out the auction on Facebook and bid today!

New Contact Info

I have a new way for you to contact me directly! You can call me at 816-890-2670.

I will have this phone with me between 7:00 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Between the hours of 4:30pm and 7:00am, you can still contact me at this number, but I may not return your call/text until the following day.

On the weekend, I will most likely not return your call/text until Monday morning.

As always, you can email me any time, because I check my email throughout the evening and weekend, and I will get back to you in a timely manner.

Mark Your Calendar!

Sunday, August 12 is a Kick off day for our new year school! We will start at 9:45 am with a prayer walk for the students of St. Patrick parish and school. If you weren't able to attend this event last year, I encourage you not to miss out! There is something powerful about coming together in prayer for our kids!

Immediately following the 11:00 mass, we will have a "Come Home to St. Patrick" parish picnic. Hotdogs, chips, drinks and dessert will be provided! We'll have sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, hula hoops, bubbles, and more fun things for the kids! All you to bring is your lawn chair and a picnic blanket! (Table seating will be provided for those who need it.)

We want to welcome Father Matthew into the St. Patrick family by coming together as a community for some food, fellowship, and fun. Plus, I can't wait to see all of our students again!! Don't miss out!

Is Class Time Valuable??

Creating a Culture of Valued Class Time

For years, I have stressed over protecting my class time. It seems there is always something that pulls students from our classes (i.e, assemblies, rewards, service projects, etc.). While many of these things are important, I always felt it created this feeling in our students that their class time isn't really important. Even though I believed what they were learning in my class was valuable, if they were pulled out to go set up tables for the fish fry, what did that really say about what I was teaching?

This past year, I noticed that our students really didn't value their own class time. They were constantly looking for reasons to be out of the classroom, whether it was running an errand or having an extra recess, and when they had uninterrupted class time, they struggled to remain focused and diligent about their work. The thing is, we can't really blame them, because we have created a culture of "pulling from classes" to do other things.

Another struggle I noticed is that we have several students who come to school late. I'm not talking about running 5 minutes late because traffic was bad or having the occasional day when you oversleep and run in a few minutes past the bell. I'm talking about students who show up an hour or two late on a regular basis. Some of these are legitimate excuses like doctors appointments or trips to the orthodontist, which are completely understandable, but the student is still missing out on one or two class periods that day.

Education is the single most factor in a child's future success. Losing an hour or two a day, whether it's due to tardiness, leaving school early, or pulling students out of class for assemblies, takes away learning opportunities from our students. Even though a student makes up his missed work from those classes, he has missed out on the instruction, discussion, and teacher support in class that day. When this happens on a regular basis, the student is never truly learning or digesting the material.

This year, I want to focus on creating an atmosphere of protected class time. I have worked hard to rearrange our schedules so that there is time built in on Friday afternoons for "extras" like: assemblies, pep rallies, Panther families, service projects, extra recesses, and other rewards. These things are vitally important to our students, because they encourage our community spirit and service. I don't want to stop doing these things, which is why I have designated time on Friday afternoons that can be used for them. I will also encourage the teachers to only schedule extras during this time on Friday afternoons to ensure that their day-to-day class and learning time is protected.

Another way we will protect this learning time is by reducing classroom interruptions. For example, if your child forgets his backpack and you bring it to the office, instead of pulling him from class, we will take the bag to him. Instead of having students run errands for teachers during the day, we will have "office helpers" who will be runners for the teachers. Instead of pulling kids out of class for various messages, we will take the messages to the classroom. This ensures kids are spending their time in class, learning, versus wandering through the hallways. Not only does it protect that learning time, it keeps our students in the classroom where they are supervised.

How can you help at home? Here are a few simple things to let your child know that their learning time is valuable.

1. Arrive to school on time each day. Have a routine for waking up early, eating breakfast, and getting out the door with plenty of time to spare. Our first bell rings at 7:45, but students are allowed into the gymnasium at 7:30. Our tardy bell rings at 7:50. At this time, all students should be present for announcements, prayer, and a peaceful start to the day. When a student comes in late, he misses out on the opportunity to start off the day in a calm, prayerful way, and he misses out on the learning that begins. I know for myself that if I'm running a little late, it throws my entire day off. If you struggle to leave the house on time, try creating a carpool group with someone who lives near you!

2. Set up doctor and dentist appointments after school or on scheduled days off. Our school day ends at 3:15. If you're able, set up appointments for no earlier than 3:45. This allows you to make sure you can get there in time, while letting your child know that his time at school is important. This year, we have scheduled at least 1 professional development day (a no school day for students) per month. When you're able, schedule appointments ahead of time on these days so that your child doesn't have to miss any classes. I know that this isn't always possible. (Sometimes, we have to schedule appointments that work best for our own work schedules even if that means they occur during the school day. I get it! I'm a working mom, too.)

This is something that we must come together to conquer. At school, we can't say our class time is valuable if we're always coming up with reasons to pull kids out of class, so we are focusing on creating a schedule that allows for protected class time AND extra opportunities. At home, you can help by reminding your student how important being in the classroom is, by making sure they are at school on time, and by trying to schedule appointments outside of the school day whenever it is possible.

I know that, together, we can create a culture of valued learning time that empowers our students for the future!

Finding our JOY!

Our diocesan theme for the year is, "JOY: Jesus, Others, and Yourself". I love the idea of teaching our students to find their joy. As an adult, a mother of 4 teenagers, and a principal of a school, I often get bogged down by the day-to-day rush that is life. I get tired, which makes me cranky, which makes me feel guilty, which makes me stress, which makes me lose sleep, which makes me more tired. It's a vicious cycle that I've worked hard to end!

As parents, I think we work harder and harder to make sure our kids have everything they need, to be the "involved" parent, to serve our school and church community, to help with athletics/music/drama/other activities, and often leave ourselves on empty. Let's be honest, it's hard to fill others buckets when our own bucket is empty, and it's hard to help those around us find their JOY when our own JOY is buried somewhere in the backseat of our car under a pile of stuff.... (or maybe that's just my car!)

This year, I want to slow down, and empower our students to find their own JOY. Putting Jesus at the forefront of everything we do, every decision we make. Focusing on how we can serve others, make others feel good each day. But also, focusing on themselves, teaching them that YOU are important and you must work at keeping your own bucket full and your own JOY in tact.

Big picture

Focus on JOY

Here are some simple ways we can create a routine of focusing on JOY in our lives and ways we can teach our children to focus on the JOY in their lives.

1. Start each day with gratitude. Take a couple of minutes each morning to think of one thing you have to be grateful for that day. For me, this might be as I'm getting ready each day, reminding myself how grateful I am for a nice, safe home for my family, a job I love, the health and well being of my children, etc.

2. Connect with someone. Find a "buddy" who you can count on to be a positive influence in your life. Make a pact that each day you will connect to focus only on things that are positive, things that make you happy, things that make you laugh. For me, this is my dear friend, Holly. I know I can always count on her to give me a good laugh and be the calm in any storm and she can count on me for the same. I try to connect with her often!

3. Be of service to others. This doesn't mean you have to spend every day volunteering for so many things that you end up being more resentful than joyful. Just doing something simple, like making a special dinner for your family, offering to give a friend's child a ride home after school, bringing a coffee to a friend who's having a rough day. Any small thing that doesn't drain your own joy, but brings joy to someone else and makes you feel good.

4. Say affirmations out loud. I'll admit, this one seems so hokey to me. Kind of like that old Saturday Night Live skit. But I have found that when I am my most stressed, depressed, or anxious, if I take a minute to say out loud (not in the presence of anyone listening who might think I've finally lost it), "I am a good mom. I work hard for my kids. I work hard for my school." I begin to calm down and the anxiety decreases.

5. Practice deep breathing. Ok, so I have this friend who is obsessed with meditation and is always talking to me about how it changed his life. While I was happy for him, I thought...whatever. Last summer, as we were approaching the 1 year anniversary of my sister's death, I became very depressed and anxious and was just in a funk that I couldn't snap out of. I was talking to my friend one day and he said, "Kaci...just breathe." I went home that night and pulled up breathing exercises on Youtube and I swear, it has changed my life. When I am stressed, anxious, or depressed, I take 2-3 minutes, listen to some calming music, and focus on breathing in and out. That's it. In and out. Just this simple thing has helped me become a more positive, relaxed, less reaactive person.

6. Spend time with your animals. If you're an animal person, take your dog for a walk, sit on the floor and play with your cat. If you don't have a pet, but you still love animals, stop by a local animal shelter. For me, it's enough to just sit and pet our dog, or leash him up for a walk around the neighborhood.

7. Eat lunch without with distractions. This is a tough one for me. Often, I don't eat lunch at all, or I eat and run, or eat while working. Taking time to shut your computer, put your phone away, sit somewhere you normally wouldn't sit during the work day, and just be still can bring calm back into an otherwise hectic day.

8. Laugh! Find funny memes, funny videos, listen to your friends' funny stories and share your own. Find reasons to add laughter to your day. Give yourself time to push everything else aside and just laugh! This is something I do every single day. Maybe it's just sharing something funny with Tonie and Lisa or sending a cute meme to the teachers. Finding a way to be human and laugh at ourselves can reduce stress and remind us to be joyful.

9. Change up your vocabulary. I've noticed that in the past, I had a tendency to use some really negative words. "I can't handle this. I'm sick of this. I can't get all of this done. " It has really taken me some time to focus on changing up the negative talk that runs through my head. Whenever I start hearing the standard, "I can't" talk, I replace it with, "I can figure this out. I am capable of handling this. I know the right thing to do." It's not easy and requires being very intentional with your thoughts and actions, but practice helps!

10. Make your workspace a joyful space. One of the first things I've done this summer is to create an office that is more "me". I have pictures of my kids from our vacation, artwork with positive phrases, and a new comfy sitting area which makes my space feel more homey and comfortable. Do what you can to bring joy into your own workspace, whether it's an office or an area in your home.

This year, I want to help our students use these same strategies to help them focus on finding JOY in their own lives!

St. Patrick's School

The mission of St. Patrick School is to develop young men and women with active and creative minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs. We stress the total development of each child: spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. Encouragement is given to students to bring their lives into conformity with God's will and plan, so that He is glorified.