Connections Newsletter

Home & School Volume 19, Issue 3, October 2018


Dear Saint Ambrose Parents,

Do you remember yourself in middle school? Braces, a magnified view of what others thought of you, maybe some stinky dances? I age myself when I tell you that I still cringe every time I hear Journey’s “Open Arms”.

In middle school, I was looking for control of my life. In my view I didn’t have a lot of choice, and one of the many things I was forced to do (in addition to turning down the volume on my punk rock music, working at my dad’s pharmacy and doing dishes) was go to Mass on Sundays. My thought was, I will go, but no one can force me to sing or participate. My dad always said I was gaining grace by being there, in the presence of God, and in the Eucharist. However, I did not think this was an hour well spent. I remember standing with my arms crossed and mouth closed for many Masses. The fact that I love to sing was not part of my equation. I wanted choice, and I was choosing “no”. Fortunately, Father Bill was the Pastor at Sacred Heart church. He was funny, kind and welcoming. He did not judge, but always noticed my attitude. I could not sustain surliness to Father Bill. He always coerced me into a smile (not quite full participation, but a tolerable neutrality).

Last year before graduation, I interviewed our 8th grade students about their experience at Saint Ambrose. I heard great feedback regarding the academic preparation and rigor of our program, but comments I heard most often had to do with faith: They said things like “there is good faith development here” and “I am challenged to be a better person” and “I am glad we go to Mass and Adoration” and “I love the service projects” and “we are taught to handle situations and focus on forgiveness”.

As we all work to parent our children in a fast-paced culture, I am grateful to have this school and this staff as part of the formation of our children. As parents we are the primary educators of our children, but I am always appreciative of all of the incredible adults that are models for my family.. I frequently tell my own kids that they have layers of people that care about them, that my children can lean on for mentoring, life lessons and examples of selfless living. I check in with my children periodically to see who they admire and who they might go to for advice. Teachers, their friend’s parents, aunts and uncles and neighbors have all made the list at different developmental stages for my children. This is a great question for your children regardless of their age-ask them who they want to be like when they grow up and why.

Our students are fortunate to have many caring people who want to help them get to heaven! I am proud of our Saint Ambrose school program that helps our students develop their faith. I do not lose sight of how I felt as a middle school student, and pray for our students to find people who welcome them to live the life Christ calls them to live.

Thank you for sharing your children with us.

Betsy Osterhaus Hand



Have you met our new staff?

You may have noticed we have a few new friendly faces in our hallways this school year. Mrs. Hand and I are excited to welcome seven new staff members to the Saint Ambrose community. When we interview new staff, we look for teachers who have a strong commitment to academic excellence and Catholic education. Our new teachers have impressive educational and career backgrounds and bring a wealth of skills to our school. Each of them believe that teaching is their vocation and we are honored to have them on staff. Here is some interesting information that you may not know about our new staff.

Abigail Zinke, 4th grade teacher

Background:Abigail is a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, as well as a 5th grade - 8th grade Math and Science endorsement. Before graduating, she worked as a tutor at Saint Mary’s literacy clinic.

Fun Fact: Abigail attended Saint Ambrose as a student!

Favorite Thing About Catholic Schools:

“I enjoy teaching at a Catholic school because it allows me to teach my students about Christ and help them grow in their faith.”

Anna Flynn, 4th grade teacher

Background:Anna attended Saint Catherine University where she received her degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in pre-primary and STEM.

Fun Fact: She loves spending time with her family, friends, dog (Sullivan), traveling to new places, exploring the outdoors, baking and reading.

Favorite Thing About Catholic Schools:

“I grew up going to a Catholic School from Kindergarten to 8th grade, being back feels like home to me. I love that we can focus on teaching the whole student and prepare them for life outside of the classroom.”

Christine Deignan, 7th Grade English/Enrichment Coordinator

Background:Christine has a Bachelor of Arts in English education and vocal music from Luther College. She has taught English at Edina High School and worked as an admissions counselor for Luther College. She student taught at Saint Ambrose with Mrs. Woolsey in 2015.

Fun Fact: She loves having indoor plants and has introduced a few plant friends to her classroom this year.

Favorite Thing About Catholic Schools:

“I love the community we enjoy as a result of our shared values.”

Mrs. Danica Rueb, Kindergarten Aide

Work/education background:Danica has a BS in Mass Communications from Bemidji State University. She worked in digital advertising for part of her career and at a radio station.

Fun Fact:You might see Danica at a Saturday or Sunday Mass singing in the choir and/or leading the congregation in song at St. Ambrose.

Favorite Thing About Catholic Schools:

“I love being able to share my faith and values with everyone I meet at school.”

Mrs. Meg May, Kindergarten Aide/New Family Coordinator/Office Project Manager

Background:Meg has BA in Spanish and Secondary Ed from College of St. Benedict. She has taught high school Spanish as well as Elementary Spanish.

Fun Fact: Meg works as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor at the Y and UpLift Fitness here in Woodbury.

Favorite Thing About Catholic Schools:

“I love that we have the ability to live our faith, talk about our faith and grow in our faith in our school. The community in Catholic schools is the BEST!”

Sadie Poehls, Kindergarten Aide

Background: Sadie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child and Family Studies. She has experience teaching preschool. She also has experience working at both Hennepin County and Dakota County before becoming a stay-at-home mom for the past 9 years.

Fun Fact: Sadie is married to high school sweetheart. They have been together for 27 years and married for 21 years.

Favorite Thing about Catholic Schools:

“I love the dedicated teachers and administrators. I also like that children are building a solid foundation, not only in their studies, but in their faith.”

Colleen Sorensen, Kindergarten Aide

Background:Colleen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Marketing and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. Her previous experience includes two years of substitute teaching in preschool, elementary, and middle school classrooms at Catholic and public schools.

Fun fact: Colleen has lived in seven states!

Favorite thing about Catholic schools:

“I love to be able to share my love of Christ with students and to watch them grow in their Catholic faith. “


Uniform Sale

Thank you to all families who donated gently used uniforms or shopped at the New and Used Uniform Sale in July. We made $2,096 on the Used Uniform sale and will donate remaining pants, shorts, and shirts to the Community of Saints School in West St. Paul and Risen Christ in Minneapolis. Our next Used Uniform Sale will be held in January 2019. If you are available for 45-60 minutes to help sort donated uniforms between now and January, please contact Anna Perez, Volunteer Coordinator. Dates for sorting to be determined and will flex to volunteers’ schedule.

Marathon Update

Thank you to all who participated in our Marathon fundraiser! Although our totals are not yet counted, we know that we are ahead of last year's second week totals with $27,583.00 in envelopes and on-line and $3950 in company matches. We are so excited to purchase more Chromebooks and to begin planning for our STEM lab flexible seating.
SAWFEST 2018 Highlights

Did you know that by making a simple change to how you shop on Amazon, you can help generate money for our school?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Break the app habit! Bookmark! AmazonSmile only works through the website not through the Amazon app.

  2. Sign on with your existing amazon password. When first visiting, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization. Browse the list and select “St. Ambrose of Woodbury”.

  3. Start shopping! Eligible items will be marked with:

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Out Shopping? Look for Boxtops

Box Tops for Education® is one of the nation’s largest school fundraising loyalty programs and has been helping schools succeed since 1996. With over 250 participating products, it’s an easy way for schools to earn cash for the things they need.

  • Each Box Tops coupon is worth 10¢ and they add up fast!

  • Saint Ambrose can use our Box Tops cash to buy whatever is needed most.

  • Please clip Box Tops from participating products and drop them off at school.

  • Visit the Box Tops for Education website for a complete list of participating products.

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We are approximately half way through our fall athletic season. If you have a child on one of our athletic teams, please be sure to thank our coaches for their time and energy. Without the energy and willingness of these people to be involved, our activity offerings would be impossible. Volleyball playoffs will follow the season for every team. Soccer playoffs will follow the season for teams earning an invitation (a substantial winning record is generally required).

With September behind us, it’s time to start thinking about winter activities. Saint Ambrose of Woodbury offers basketball for boys and girls in grades five through eight. The signup for basketball is already open.

We organize teams in early November, and play begins the first week in December. The teams typically play three games before Christmas, take two weeks off for the holiday, and play seven more games in January and February. The season ends with CAA playoffs in late February and early March. The fee for basketball is $85.00. Our “A” squads will generally play Thursday night games. Our “B” boy’s squads will play Thursday night games. Our “B” girl’s squad and all “C” squads play Monday night games. Of course, energetic coaches will be needed to manage our teams. Like all of Saint Ambrose’s programs, the athletic department is subject to the Archdiocese policy mandating VIRTUS training. Our program depends on coaches coming forward and performing the training. Please help us locate coaches and get them VIRTUS trained.

We ask our athletes and families to consider our activities, signup for them, and pay the fee in advance. Doing so allows us time to create the appropriate number of squads, hire a number of coaches, and order the necessary amount of new equipment. Last minute additions can create problems in team splits, equipment ordering, and coaching assignments. This year we had a lot of late registrations for soccer. Saint Ambrose has a late basketball registration fee if you have not signed up by November 1st. Your athlete should sign up during October to guarantee his/her placement on a team. You will be able to sign up online at:

4HG (For His Glory).

4HG is a movement to create a healthy sports culture in our Catholic Schools started by Matt Birk, former Minnesota Viking. Check out his website where he states, " We believe athletics, when done right, serve as an invaluable tool for developing well-rounded children.

In grade school, students should be encouraged to play all sports. 4HG will equip coaches to ensure kids have fun and get better while keeping a Christian focus. Effort and teamwork are valued above talent and results. 4HG reinforces that the family is central and sports should fit around the family, not vice versa".

Our Saint Ambrose coaches and staff are working on creating a 4HG clinic for all athletes and parents. We are very excited to bring this into our school and feel passionate that it will bring the best of everyone out. We are looking at having numerous special guests at the event to help us kick it off. Stay tuned.

Bruce Whynott

Athletic Director

(651) 768-3025


Smile! Picture Time is Here

Monday, October 8—Class Picture Day. Students must wear their Saint Ambrose of Woodbury School uniforms for the group picture.

Tuesday, October 9—Individual Picture Day. Students may be out-of-uniform; please follow the published out-of-uniform dress code.

Visit our the Current Family page of our SAW school website and our Facebook site. Don’t forget to “like” Saint Ambrose of Woodbury Catholic School on Facebook! Check out our School Calendar for month-to-month planning.

School Masses:
Join us every Tuesday at 2:30pm for All School Mass.

*Please note: Thursday, November 1st is All Saints Mass. There is no Mass on Tuesday, October 30th&


November 6

District is not in session this date, therefore transportation will not be available to our families. Parents will be responsible for transportation on this date.

Event Chairs Needed

Do you remember when your oldest child was getting ready for Kindergarten? Your child had so many questions. You had so many questions! We are looking for two event chairs to help with our Kindergarten Gingerbread Event (November 29 from 5:00-6:30 PM) and Kindergarten Information Event (January). These events give prospective kindergarteners and their parents a chance to meet our great teachers, tour the classrooms and have their questions answered. This is a great opportunity for current kindergarten or first grade parents to get involved! Each event is planned by our office staff and the teachers. A HandS Board member will help you along the way. What will you need to do as the event chair?

Kindergarten Gingerbread Event: Coordinate with Meg May event time and expected number of families. Coordinate set-up and clean-up of a small meal of hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Inform other parent volunteers how they can help at the event. Answer questions from new kindergarten parents and show your pride in our school!

Kindergarten Information Event: Coordinate with Mrs. Hand event time. Inform other parent volunteers how they can help at the event. Answer questions from new kindergarten parents and show your pride in our school!


October 8 Class Picture Day

October 9 Individual Picture Day

October 11 Evening Parent/Teacher Conferences

October 16 Evening Parent/Teacher Conferences

October 10 CSCOE Mass of the Holy Spirit

October 17-19 No School- MEA

October 26 Mid-Trimester

November 6

District is not in session this date, therefore transportation will not be available to our families. Parents will be responsible for transportation on this date.

November 8 Individual Picture Re-take day

November 22 & 23 No School- Thanksgiving

November 27 Science Fair

November 30 End of 1st Trimester