Saint Frances Cabrini Guardian

Principal to Parent Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter

Dear Parents,

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

My Life

I continue to make the transition from teaching to administration, and I have really enjoyed my time here! No regrets! It has been wonderful to work in the city I call home, and I feel blessed every day! As many know, I am in school to earn my Masters in Administration and Curriculum and Instruction. I completed an in-person accelerated class and an online class this summer. I took the month of September off, but class has started again in October. Concordia offers accelerated classes on the weekends during the school year. The first weekend this month, I will be in school for 16 hours. On the third weekend of the month, I will do another 16 hours, which will complete another class. It is a great deal of work and is at a very quick pace, but the in-person class is much better than the online experience. I have really enjoyed it so far despite the time commitment. I have been doing my best to balance school, being principal, keeping my faith at my center, and being a loving husband to my wife. So far, so good!

The School

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

One of the standards that makes a Catholic School Exemplary states, "The leader/leadership team and faculty assists parents/guardians in their role as the primary educators of their children in faith."(4.2 CSS) One of the ways this takes place for Catholic Schools is Parent/Teacher Conferences. We have Parent/Teacher Conferences on November 13th and 15th this year from 4-7PM. We will be making a change to further enhance the working relationship among parents, teachers and administration for the betterment of the students. The MANDATORY meeting for at least one parent or guardian in the household of a 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grade parent will be November 13th at 6:00pm. The purpose of this meeting is to provide parents with ways to help their students in the learning process of academics and social skills. After meeting with my staff, it became clear that this type of meeting would be very beneficial for all involved. We are putting together a presentation for you for that night that will unite us in messaging to our students. If you would still like to meet with a teacher individually, there still will be time allotted for that. Teachers will have slots open November 13th, from 4pm-5:45pm and November 15th from 4pm- 7pm.

We look forward to conferences and our parent meeting!

10:30 Sunday School Mass Dates

We are excited for our school to be represented at Sunday masses again this year! Here are the dates that each grade level will be participating. If you will be in town that weekend and would like your child to participate, please contact your homeroom teacher. Even if your child is not participating, please mark your calendars so that we have great showing of school families at mass. Thank you in advance!

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

Lunch Balance

If you have a lunch balance, please try to take care of that as soon as possible. I will try to have this reminder in at every quarter, because it is a good time to settle up. We appreciate it!

In Closing

I hope you find this quarterly newsletter informative and helpful. I am a very reflective person and I have talked to many of you, along with the staff and have come to these conclusions. I look forward to seeing you all at conferences and around the school. My door is always open, and I look forward to talking with you. I truly believe this is an amazing school and can achieve exemplary.

In Christ,

Will Waech

Introduction Video to Education in Virtue

Introduction to the Disciple of Christ Education in Virtue

Introduction Videos for Second Step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=WWavPce616Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7UilPvVgLM

Website Links for Second Step and Education in Virtue

RESOURCES

I also want to share resources for parents as we all work to help our students learn and grow as children of God. Two interesting resources are shown below.
PARENTEEN Connect

This is a website that is paired with a program we are looking into for next year!

THE GIFT OF FAILURE

This is the best book I have read when it comes to helping kids become independent!