Welcome Back St. Patrick Staff!


Important Upcoming Dates for Staff

August 1-2: Building is open and available to anyone who wants to come in. Kaci is in meetings at the chancery all day both of these days, but the office is open.

August 5: New teachers to Diocesan meeting; All Teachers Work Day (in classrooms)

August 6: All Staff Work Day

8:30-9:00 - Breakfast Meet/Greet and Welcome Back Activity

9:00 - 3:00 - Work in classrooms (Team meetings with Principal - each team will schedule)

August 7: All Staff Work Day (in classrooms)

Specials Teachers Team Meeting with Kaci - schedule time that's best for you

Mentors Meeting (Dana, Lindsy)

August 8: Faculty Meeting

8:00-9:00 - Breakfast and Welcome Activity (Yogurt, Fruit, Granola Bars)

9:00 - 11:00 - Faculty Meeting

11:00 - 11:30 - Father Matthew presentation

11:30 - 12:00 - Lunch (Taco Bar)

12:00 - 1:00 - Sycamore training for new teachers (or anyone who needs it)

1:00 - 1:30 - Mentor Meetings

1:30 - 2:00 - Committee Meetings (15 minutes per committee)

2:00 - 3:00 - Creating Individual Learning Plans

August 9: Faculty Meeting

9:00-11:00- Doreen Engel PD in church with diocesan teachers

11:00-12:00 - Lunch (provided by the Mall family)

12:00-2:00 - Doreen Engel PD with just St. Patrick staff (place TBD) - Please bring one lesson you would like to work on during this time. Doreen will work with us on differentiating this lesson for all learners.

August 11: School Mass and Prayer Walk (Your families are invited!)

8:30 - School Led Mass

9:45 - Prayer Walk

10:15 - Donut Meet and Greet

August 12: Optional Work Day (or take the day off if you're ready!)

August 13: Diocesan PD- Restorative Justice Training (time and place to be announced);

Back to School Night @ 6pm

August 14: Diocesan Mass and PD - Restorative Justice Training Part 2 @ St. Therese - 8:30am

August 15: First Day of School

7:15 - Gather in the lounge for prayer

7:25 - Gather outside to greet students as they arrive (in the gym if raining)

8:30 - Mass - This is a Holy Day. I am going to invite parents to attend mass with us, but we WILL have a school mass at 8:30. This gives you time to get to your classroom and gives K/8 time to pair up and 7/1 time to pair up.

A Back to School Prayer

Stay with us Lord,
open our eyes and set our hearts on fire,
as you open your word,
as you break your bread,
as we live your life.
Enrich us with your grace,
empower us by your Spirit,
enfold us in your love,
as we walk the journey of faith with you.


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Welcome Back!

Teachers and Staff,

I have never been more excited to kick off a school year than I am this year. We have so many incredible things happening for the kids in our school, and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of St. Patrick! That being said, the new year greets us with a lot of change. I know that change can be hard. Let's be honest, it's way easier to come and do the exact same thing in the exact same way we did it year after year after year. What's wrong with that afterall?

The world is ever changing, and in the world of education, it's important that we keep up. If we remain stagnant, we fall behind. If WE fall behind, our students fall behind, and I believe our students deserve more. I believe our students deserve to leave our school prepared for the next level, armed with the life skills and strategies that will enable them to become productive members of society, with their hearts on fire for Jesus Christ!

I hope that you will join me in embracing this year of exciting change. I truly believe we are on our way to making a name for St. Patrick, setting the bar for all other schools to reach. It won't always be easy. We'll have to work hard, we'll have to step outside of our comfort zone, we'll have to dig deep when it feels like we have nothing left, but at the end of the year, we will have been a part of something magical! Isn't that worth it?

This year, we will focus on professional development. We will challenge ourselves to learn, grow, and deepen our own understanding. We will challenge each other to be at our best. We will learn from our peers, collaborate with teams, and learn new strategies to use in the classroom. We will teach our students the value of hard work by modeling it every single day.

Below is a video of Brene Brown discussing "Daring Classrooms". I ask that you watch this video and hopefully find something that stands out that you could bring into your teaching this year or set as a personal goal for this year. We will take time to discuss your thoughts and feelings on August 8th. It's a 30 minute video, but you can put it on while you're cleaning the kitchen or folding laundry. I really believe it will resonate with you as we start a new school year!

Also, please log onto Twitter, search #stpatscollab and scroll to find ideas that you might be able to use in your classroom this year. I would like you to find at least ONE idea that you can share with our group on August 8th.

I will ask you to set some goals for yourself this year.

* One goal that improves your teaching.

* One goal that improves your well being.

* One goal that improves your faith.

Be thinking about what you might consider for each of those areas. We will discuss further at our August 8th staff meeting.

I hope that your summer continues to be filled with late nights, relaxation, and fun! Enjoy every second that you can.

I can't wait to jump into the 2019-2020 school year, and I am incredibly grateful to have YOU on our team.



Exciting PD Opportunity for St. Patrick Teachers

Over the course of the past year, I have had the wonderful opportunity to get to know Doreen Engel. (see Doreen's bio below)

"Coaching and Professional Development for Catholic Schools (Elementary and High School) that desire to be more inclusive and more responsive to students with disabilities. Author of "Be Open: A Prayerful Guide to Inclusion in Catholic Schools", due in print in spring 2019. I have personally taught children in every category of disability in IDEA 2004. As a former Principal and Assistant Superintendent, I understand the administrative issues involved in teaching children with disabilities. As the Director for Special Education for the Archdiocese of Washington, I enabled many schools to begin, expand, and enhance their ability to include children with all types of disabilities. Special skills involve training to begin and implement Student Support Teams. Conversant in Spanish and Sign Language."

Doreen is a huge champion for Catholic schools and specifically trained in inclusion practices, differentiation, Universal Design for Learning, and teacher training. She is sought after across the country by Catholic schools wishing for staff training, and guess what....our little school is bringing her here!

I got to know Doreen this year and expressed an interest in coming to one of her conferences. I shared with her that I'd really love to bring my entire staff, but it wasn't something financially possible and she said, "Why don't I come to you?"

What??? I mean, how could our little school afford such an opportunity?

After making ONE phone call to Lynn Hire with the FIRE Foundation, I found myself on a conference call with Lynn and Doreen planning a day of Professional Development for our staff. This is seriously something I never dreamed would be possible!

On August 9, the FIRE Foundation is bringing Doreen to little St. Patrick School! In the morning, she will provide PD to anyone in the diocese who would like to attend. After lunch, per Doreen's request, she will work exclusively with the St. Patrick School teachers on Universal Design for Learning, teaching our teachers how to differentiate lessons for all learners in the classroom.

I have to tell you, I'm a little geeked out about this opportunity! This is not something a small school like ours can typically pull off, but the FIRE Foundation is making this dream come true for us.

This Professional Learning opportunity for our staff is HUGE and will promote our desire to create individualized learning plans for students of all learning levels. Our little school is making BIG waves!

You can follow Doreen Engel on Twitter @engelworks to learn more about her passion for Catholic Education.

2019-2020 School Wide Goals

Based upon our Staff Surveys, Parent Surveys, and Iowa Scores, I gathered the following school wide goals for this year:

* Increase student effort, motivation, and engagement

* Setting, teaching, and upholding clearly defined expectations

* Increasing Academic Integrity

* Teaching students to develop a growth mindset

* Utilizing STEM in our classrooms every day

Based upon our Iowa data, I gathered the following school wide academic goals for this year:


- By the end of May, all K-1 students will read at or above grade level as measured by running records.

- By the end of May, all 2-8 students will read at or above grade level as measured by CBM reading fluency passages.


- School wide, we will see at least a 10% increase in students’ scores in Reading Comprehension on the Iowa Test.


- School wide, all K-8 students will score at a 3 or higher on school wide writing assessments based upon the school writing rubrics.


- By the end of May, students in grades 2-3 will have mastered addition and subtraction facts.

- By the end of May, students in grades 4-5 will have mastered multiplication and division facts.

- By the end of May, students in grades 6-8 will have mastered all math facts.

- School wide, we will see at least a 10% increase in students’ scores in Math on the Iowa test.

- School wide, we will see at least a 10% increase in students’ scores on the diocesan math benchmark assessments.

Our Professional Development this year will focus on these goals.

Click the Links Below for Important Information and Dates


Click the link below for the schedules this year. If you notice any problems (specials that overlap, etc) please let me know. It was a little challenging spacing out specials this year, but I think it's figured out.

Once you have your classroom daily schedule ready, please: send it to me and Tonie, post it on your Sycamore classroom homepage and any other pages you're using (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), post it outside of your classroom, and create a copy home to parents later on.

Review the Following Prior to our First Meeting


Create Your Staff Interest Page Prior To Our Meeting

This year, I want to make our Staff Interest pages a little more fun! The PTO will need them, the office staff will need them, your parents will ask for them! Let's make them fun and personal this year using Bitmoji's and other pictures.

If you've never created a Bitmoji, it's easy. Google it, add it to your browser and start creating. You will see the Bitmoji icon on your browser window and you can search, copy, and paste anywhere!

At the bottom, add your "Look What I'm Reading" section, so we can laminate these and hang them outside of our classrooms again this year. Remember to update it monthly with a new book that you're reading. This should be a book that is what YOU are reading for your own personal enjoyment!

Check out the link below for my sample. Also, you can click the Bitmoji link to create your very own!

Newsletter Requirements

Bad News: One of the biggest sources of parent complaints is lack of communication.

Good News: We can solve it easily!

Each teacher is responsible for maintaining a weekly newsletter to parents that must be sent out no later than Monday morning for the current week. This newsletter should contain the following:

* Important upcoming school dates

* Important upcoming classroom due dates or deadlines

* Homework for the week

* List of spelling words and vocabulary words

* Other important classroom information for the week.

This doesn't have to be terribly hard. You can create a format and then just cut and paste each week. Once your newsletter is ready, you should:

* Post on your Class Homeroom page on Sycamore.

* Email newsletter home to parents. (Please add me - kcmon4@gmail.com - to this email)

Why do both? To cover yourself! This is a little thing that allows parents to feel informed and in control over what is coming up for their child and it is vital that we do it on a consistent basis.


Other Ways to Communicate

You will grow tired of me saying that communication is the #1 priority of our school, but I will keep saying it, because it's true! We are a customer based business and whether we like it or not, our goal is keeping our "customers" happy. Parents who are armed with information are happy parents. Happy parents = happy teachers. Happy parents and happy teachers = happy principal!

Believe me, I will never ask you to do more than I am willing to do. We live in the age of technology, so let's use it to our advantage. When you communicate with parents, be sure to do so in a multitude of ways to ensure you reach all parents. Post on your Sycamore page, email home, and maybe try one of the following ideas.

You could:

* Create a private classroom Facebook page (Maia is a valuable resource!)

* Create a classroom Twitter page (James is a Twitter guru!)

* Create a classroom Instagram page

* Class Dojo

* Create a Classroom Blog

* Remind 101 (text message service)

If you try any of these, please add me as an admin. This ensures I am able to see all communication and "covers" us if there is ever an issue. Parents love these formats because you can post daily pictures/videos, you can post homework (so they can print it from home if needed), you can post reminders when projects are due, etc.

I encourage you to choose ONE new way to communicate this year and add it to your weekly communication train. Keeping parents informed is the #1 way to ensure you have a smooth year!

K-5 Take Home Folder

This year, I am printing off a school calendar to insert in the backside of the Take Home folder. I have also created a frontside insert. You will need to add the student name and your name and email at the bottom. This should go inside every Take Home folder so that it is identifiable to parents.

Please utilize this as the source of sending home: homework, permission slips, other important school info. You can access the frontside insert at the link below. Just copy and paste onto your own document and then you can edit freely!

New This Year: Personal Testimony following All School Mass

I bet you read this title and choked a little. Maybe you went into panic. Your heart started pounding, you thought, "She's crazy!". Well...yes, I am a little crazy. :) But no need to panic.

When I visited another school for accreditation, one thing I LOVED was the personal testimony after the school mass. A student came up and spoke for just 5 minutes on what perseverance meant to her. It was so touching, because it wasn't perfect, it wasn't some incredibly well written speech. It was the voice of a 7 year old, probably written last minute, nervous...and brutally honest.

This year, I would love to inspire our students to get up at the end of school mass to talk about different topics like: What does St. Patrick mean to me? What does education mean to me? What does my faith mean to me? Why am I proud to be a Catholic? What does it mean to challenge myself?

I figured it would be something I could kick off by giving my own 5 minute testimony after a school mass. Then, if any other staff members are willing to do the same at a school mass, we could lead for the first month or so. Once the kids are used to this, we could invite them to volunteer. They would write a short speech, submit it to me so I could approve it, then share at the end of mass, right before we move to the rosary.


* Teaches public speaking -- which is HARD!

* Teaches confidence in serving at mass.

* Allows kids to share their own experiences with peers.

* Helps inspire kids to be on fire with their faith...and willing to share that fire with others!

If you are willing to share something at the end of mass in August or September, please let me know. I can give you some topic ideas if you are struggling to come up with something. I hope many of you will consider doing this. Our students LOVE when we lead by example!

New This Year: Faculty Committees - All Full Time Staff

If I have learned anything in the past 2 years, it's that I literally can't do this job alone.

This year, I am going to implement committees filled by our entire faculty/staff. Each committee will appoint a leader, will meet throughout the year to work on specific tasks, then report on those tasks during faculty meeting times.

You may chance to choose from:

Social Committee: Organizes quarterly staff get togethers outside of school, purchases gifts or plans something for special events (weddings, baby showers, funerals, etc.), collects social committee dues and uses them as needed.

Fundraising Committee: What can we do on a monthly basis to fundraise for professional development? My goal this year is to be able to send each teacher to some type of PD opportunity, but we need the funds to do it. Could we hold a dress down day fundraiser? A pizza lunch? An after school, "Parents Night Out" on a Friday? The goal of this committee is to come up with a monthly idea to fundraise money to go directly towards professional development.

Families Committee: Organizes families events on a quarterly basis, prepares supplies needed for events, seeks out opportunities for families to complete service projects.

Special Events Committee: Organizes and plans for events like: PIE Night, Veterans Day assembly, Open House, Catholic Schools Week, Grandparents Day, Intramurals, etc.

Faith Formation Committee: Helps lead Faith Formation activities for staff.

Staff Wellness Committee: Works to create monthly wellness activities and incentives for staff, helps coordinate with room parents on planning healthy monthly luncheons, etc.

Academic Integrity Committee: Resource for teachers needing assistance with: planning differentiated lessons, creating Individualized Learning Plans, following Student Education Plans. Finds PD opportunities for teachers when needed. Visits teachers classrooms to provide feedback, etc.

Behavior Management Committee: Resource for teachers needing assistance with specific student behaviors, creates incentives for student behavior, serves as an advisory team when discipline issues arise.

Please carefully consider which 2 committees you'd like to be a part of. Committees will have time to meet on certain faculty meeting dates, but may organize a meeting outside of those times as well. It should not require too much extra time. Click the link below to sign up for your committee choice. Once the slots are full, you will be required to select a different committee so sign up quickly!

New This Year: 8th Grade Academic Advisors

As you all know, each year we battle 8th grade apathy early on. Our 8th graders tend to give up around October and we spend the rest of the year fighting to keep them engaged. This year, we are going to combat this student apathy with 8th Grade Academic Advisors.

Each 8th grader will be assigned a faculty/staff advisor. You will find time to meet with your advisee at least once a week. During this time, you will discuss their goals (where do you want to go to high school, what do you want to do after high school, what do we need to do to get you there?). If a student is struggling to get work turned in, or struggling with behavior, you will want to meet more regularly and find ways to help motivate the student. If your advisee is on the right path, you will meet just to keep her motivated and establish a relationship.

Click Below to see the list of Advisees. If you know you have a good relationship with a student, please add your name to the box next to his/her name. I will fill in the blanks as we get closer to the start of school.

You may be thinking...when will I have time to meet with students? You could meet with them quickly in the gym before morning prayer. You could grab them out at recess or at their lunch time. You could meet with them at the end of the day. This is not intended to be added after school. The intent is to have short informal meetings during the school day.

** Don't worry, I will provide training on the advisor/advisee relationship.

New This Year: No Lesson Plan Turn In Requirements

This sounds great, right??? But, it comes with a downside.

This year, we will NOT be purchasing Planbook lesson planning tool. Instead, I would like you to use Google Docs to create your lesson plans. You can do this in any format that you choose. I will share your Google Folder with you and you can do your planning right there. This will avoid the extra step in having to download them and then upload them to the folder - which I know is a pain.

By doing this, you will not be required to submit lesson plans to me. As long as your plans are in the Google Folder that is linked to our Accreditation requirements, you won't have to worry about sending them anywhere!

You can access your Google Folder below. I've also included some Google Lesson Plan templates in case you are interested. There is a PDF at the bottom of the newsletter that has a few different templates as well.


New This Year: STEM Classes

Dana and Danielle will implement STEM classes this year. Because this is new, we are open to any and all ideas or suggestions you may have. We want this to be a hands on, investigative experience for the kids.

Maybe you are completing a Science unit and have an idea of a project your students could work on during STEM class time. Or maybe there is a technological skill you think your students need to learn and could work on during STEM class time.

Please collaborate with Danielle Motta (grades K-5) or Dana Nolan (grades 6-8) to ensure we are getting the most effective bridge between what you're doing in class and what they are doing in STEM class!

New This Year: Typing Games

Because we no longer have a traditional "computer" class, making time for typing practice in the classroom will be essential. You could have students play typing games right before recess or at the very end of the day. Whatever you decide, please ensure your students get typing practice often!

You can access the typing games below.

New This Year: Online Foreign Language

This year, we will ask parents to send in a library card number, along with their child's pin number, so that we can utilize Mango or Muzzy, the Mid Continent Library's online foreign language programs. You can give your students time once or twice per week to work through the foreign language program on their own.

This is NOT a graded thing, so you won't have anything new to add to your plate. Just simply give your students time each week to work on the program. You can find the Mango and Muzzy programs at the link below.

New This Year: Class T-Shirts

This year, our students are asked to pay $8.00 to order a class t-shirt that will be worn on field trips. Your class will have the same color of t-shirt as the one you order for your staff shirt.

New This Year: Individualized Learning Plans

After spending hours pouring over survey results from parents and staff, data shows that there are concerns in a few specific areas.

1. Student motivation

2. Meeting the needs of all learners

3. Challenging all learners

This year, we will be implementing quarterly Individualized Learning Plans for all students who are not currently on a Student Educational Plan. At the start of the school year, you will be asked to give your students a Learning Style Assessment to find out what type of learner each student in your classroom is.

Then, you will meet with each student to review his/her Iowa assessment data and identify areas of strengths and weakness. Based upon these areas, you will help the student create quarterly goals and a method of practice that he/she will work on/track daily and assess/track weekly. These can be quick formative assessments that are targeted just towards one specific skill.

For example, if a student was low in "Measurement", he would spend 10-15 minutes daily completing tasks geared towards teaching measurement skills(online games, activities in the classroom, etc.). On Fridays, he would take a quick 5 minute assessment (not a grade) that he would track each week. At the end of the quarter, you will meet with the student again to assess how he/she is coming along on the goals and readjust as needed.

You are probably asking yourself, "When will I have time to do this??" The reality is, we have to MAKE time. Our small class sizes must be a benefit to our students. When we have less than 20 kids (sometimes less than 10 kids!) in a class, we have an obligation to give them as much individualized instruction as we possibly can. We have to make our small size a large benefit!

You can find a sample of an Individualized Learning Plan below.

New This Year: No Hoodie Options

Because we constantly struggle with hoodies even though we've offered way too many choices, we are eliminating the hoodie option from our uniform wear and replacing it with a navy or hunter green crew neck sweatshirt. Students will still have the option to wear any of the Dennis uniform outer wear choices or a basic navy/hunter green sweater or cardigan.

We will also option a new "religious" spirit wear shirt that will be allowed on special spirit wear days. You can purchase the new crew neck sweatshirt or religious shirt as well! Check out the online store below.

** Note: The current online store closes on August 16.

New This Year: Jeans Days???

I want you to be comfortable when you teach, and I know that there are many nice, dressy styles of jeans that people enjoy wearing. This year, I've decided to change up the staff dress code.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: Business Casual Days (nice jeans and a nice shirt/blouse)

Wednesday: Business Dress for Mass (slacks, skirts, dresses)

Friday: Spirit Wear (jeans and a spirit wear or green shirt)

Please remember to look professional every day and adhere to our own rules on dress down days for our kids like: no shorts, no leggings, no skinny jeans, no sweatpants or yoga pants, etc.

New This Year: Classroom Changes

Our 5th grade classroom is going to relocate up to what was once the computer lab. This will keep our entire elementary on one level. Danielle's STEM classes and Inclusion Classes will take place in the former 5th grade classroom. This is an exciting change for us!

After School Clubs

Do you have an idea for an after school club? I would love to provide daily opportunities for our students to participate in. In the past, we have had Tech Club and AV Club, but we will not have those clubs this year. Because of this, I would love to replace them with equally fun opportunities!

If you have a passion you would like to share with our kids (dream BIG!), please let me know. We can schedule clubs any day of the week but Wednesday, because that's reserved for our faculty meetings.

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St. Patrick 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.