Saint Frances Cabrini Guardian
Principal to Parent Newsletter
We are almost finished with an entire quarter! It is amazing how fast this year is going. I have truly enjoyed my time here at Saint Frances Cabrini, and I already call this place my home. I wanted to update you on my life and the school, and provide some resources/reminders. Below is the full text, with details of my important quarterly updates. These main bullet points will be further explained below.
-My transition from teaching to administration and my Masters course work update.
-We are finding resources from the community that will assist our students in communicating better.
-We will be implementing a school-wide virtues learning program and Social Emotional Learning curriculum starting next year.
-We are having a MANDATORY Middle School Parent Meeting 5th-8th grade, November 13th 6:00-7:00 PM in the Gym.
-School Mass Dates
The school is in good shape. I have found the staff to be very helpful and very kind, as I know you already know. Cabrini has a very distinct Catholic culture, and it is felt when you enter the building and see all of the icons. It is no wonder the school was found by the Archdiocese to be Exemplary in Catholic Identity. Exemplary Recognition is a recognition of excellence above and beyond. The staff and I have been hard at work evaluating the school in the other Exemplary categories of Technology Integration, Academic Excellence, and Educating the Whole Child. We plan to identify areas where we can improve to become exemplary in all areas. This is a lofty goal, but I know we can achieve it, for the benefit of the students.
One of the areas that we are really looking to improve is Educating the Whole Child, which is not about academics or support. It is about all the other things in life, kids interacting with one another, and kids interacting with adults. I have found that kids often aren't very good at communicating with one another. There are many factors that contribute, which makes it hard to identify the issue. Regardless, I think schools across the country are behind the times, and need to begin to go back to the basics when it comes to essential human interaction. The best resource for this is the Catholic Church and its teachings through virtue. Some examples of virtues are Honesty, Modesty, Courtesy, Respect, Patience, and Foresight. All of these are in our religion text book, but they need to become a larger part of our daily life and become part of our common language. It is my goal to make this school one that has a virtuous culture.
Next year we will be purchasing two programs for the entire school. The first is called Second Step, a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum that is tied to the new state standards on SEL. This curriculum will be taught K5-8th grade, and will give the entire school common vocabulary and lessons to build a community of kindness. The second program is Disciple of Christ, Education in Virtue, a program developed by the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. I have included the websites for both programs along with the videos that help explain them. Please take some time to look them over. I am very excited to implement these programs next year, and see the growth in our students and families.
As for this year, the staff and I have discussed different things to try. One of the joys of Catholic schools is the opportunity to become really close with everyone in your grade because of the amount of time spent together. This can also cause problems when you get annoyed with someone or are hurt by one of your classmates. Jealousy and grudges can take place and fracture the class. This generally comes to a head in middle school. This used to be fixed by students talking with one another, but now parents are often more involved in fixing their kids' issues. We would like to help the students develop the necessary skills to deal better with conflict.
It is our goal to begin having conversations with the different groups to help them to communicate better with one another. Specifically, I will be meeting with the different grade levels of boys in the middle school. During the month I will be meeting with 5th through 7th grade. Lisa Tiegelman-Koepp, a certified counselor, will be joining us to lead the girls' conversation for 5th and 6th grade, and Dr. Melissa Gregory will lead the 7th grade girls' conversation. Terry Gardon will continue to have the 8th grade lead the school in some activities that promote cooperation and kindness in the school. The goal of these meetings will be to provide the middle school students with tools/skills to become more socially aware of how their actions might effect others. I find that most students don't even know when they've hurt someone. The person being hurt never expresses their feelings to the person who has hurt them. In my previous school, we had similar meetings, and they were very successful. The students came away with a better understanding of each other, and how to accept their differences a little better. We hope to have the same success here at Cabrini.
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT on CONFERENCES
We look forward to conferences and our parent meeting!
10:30 Sunday School Mass Dates
Sunday, November 11th 8th Grade
Sunday, December 9th 7th Grade
Sunday, January 27th 6th Grade
Sunday, February 10th 5th Grade
Sunday, March 17th 4th Grade
Sunday, April 14th 3rd Grade
Sunday, May 26th 2nd Grade
Introduction Video to Education in Virtue
Introduction Videos for Second Step
Website Links for Second Step and Education in Virtue
This is a website that is paired with a program we are looking into for next year!