The Good News

Saint John XXIII April 13, 2020

Leadership Message

Our Capacity to Love

It has been a month today that we began the journey of what “classes cancelled” at school meant for everyone. In one month or more specifically, day fourteen of “remote learning”, we have all been challenged beyond what we could have ever imagined. A month ago, our staff sat together, wide-eyed and wondering, with our school, empty and quiet; without the dynamic joy of children. It was an unfamiliar place to be and we struggled immensely in those first few days. It took a little bit of time to steady ourselves and then we remembered…

We remembered our commitment at Saint John XXIII-to connect, to love, and to teach. Teachers dove into a professional learning frenzy of technology integration with the determined intentionality of reaching every student, no matter what. They inquired and planned together; sharing what they already knew and were using in their classrooms. Educational Assistants and support staff rolled up their sleeves and stood right beside teachers, asking “where do you need me” and “how can I reach out?” There were videos made by the dozens of read alouds, mathematical talks, classroom routines, daily announcements, virtual assemblies, social stories, and anything we could think of to make remote learning and teaching somewhat familiar. There were other staff members reaching out quietly and confidentially to those we knew were hurting or vulnerable. There were no egos, no “cannots” or “I won’ts”. There were tears, a lot of them, each one of us having our moments of grieving and worries, overwhelming feelings of frustration and inadequacies. We got used to being in front of a screen, of hearing our voice in video, of looking past our “flaws” because we knew who would be on the other side of that screen or that phone receiver-our kids and their families. Our reason and our whys.

The two days we spent contacting our families, we led with two questions, “How can I help?” “What do you need?” We knew there was the professional accountability that we needed to deliver remote learning to our students, but what we do encompasses so much more than curriculum delivery. We knew there would be worries, struggles, and wonderings on the other side of those phone calls. Families struggling with child care as parents tried to balance work. Front line health care workers worried about bringing home the virus to their loved ones. Families facing financial difficulties and wondering how to feed their little ones. Parents, with children in different classes, even different schools, trying desperately to manage all the information flooding in. Families with children with complex needs trying make up somehow for all the supports removed because of COVID-19. People worried about their extended families and illnesses. The list went on, and we listened, we held, we prayed, and we responded in the ways our SJXXIII village knows how.

As we continue to navigate this together, we may not always get it “right” but I know every staff member at Saint John XXIII is committed to trying their very best to connect, to love, and to teach, “right now” from wherever we are. Dr. Brad Johnson, a teacher and administrator, shared on Twitter©, “Schools, remember this is not the new normal. This is just surviving a crisis. You don’t build a new home in a storm, you weather a storm and then regroup once it’s over”.

We will continue to weather this COVID storm together. We will continue to find ways to work together and find the grace and joy in the shelter. We will do this because of our capacity to love. There are stories emerging everywhere in our world of our capacity to love. Easter dinners with grandparents on Zoom© or Facetime©, Father Kris and Father Danial leading virtual masses for our parish, birthday parades, musicians sharing free concerts, donations, rainbow drawings and hearts in windows all around town, and our front line workers showing up every day, in spite of the risks. So many good news stories on social media. Then, there are the stories we will never read about but we all know. Families working through and together whatever trauma or challenge is right in front of them, suffering together, loving with mercy and grace.

Parents, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or any one of us and let us know how we can help. We have just emerged into our Easter season, a time of hope and joy and most importantly, of faith in resurrection. Our Catholic faith gives us the promise of everlasting and infinite love, beyond what we can possibly imagine. We can and we will find our way together, because of our capacity to Love-First, Last and Always.


Mrs. Bonnie-Lynne Boehm, Principal

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Spirit Days & Mrs. Boehm's Weekly Challenge

Our first Wednesday of the month Spirit day-Beach day was a huge hit! Thank you so much parents for sharing the Beach day spirit in the midst of ALL you are holding! AS one mom shared with Mrs. Boehm, "I may not know exactly how to support the curriculum at home but I am money at school spirit days!" Our next Spirit day is Wednesday, May 6th.

As we continue to find ways to keep the joy in our learning and growing together at Saint John XXIII, Mrs. Boehm will add a Weekly Challenge for you to participate in. No pressure at all please. :) We were used to taking many pictures during our school days and want to keep seeing and sharing the good news with our kids' smiling pictures! Each week there will be a simple, easily accessible from home challenge for students to participate in. Simply snap pictures of your kids engaging in the weekly challenge and send them in!

Please send your weekly challenge picture to Mrs. Boehm We will post these on our various school sites (Twitter, Facebook, and Weekly Smore).

This week's challenge: Signs of Spring (Easter)

and our Mystery Reader is...Mrs. Heesing!

Our FWW, Mrs. Eleanor Heesing was our Mystery Reader from last week. She was born in a different country, loves elephants, and has three children and one grandchild

Mrs. Heesing was happy to share a read aloud story with you below! A beautiful book about courage! We will give clues for next week's Mystery Reader on Monday's assembly!(April 20th) Stay tuned!

Mystery Reader Mrs Heesing

Fees and reimbursements

Our EICS finance department is working closely and diligently with each one of our schools in the district to collect information re: school fees, transportation costs, project plans, etc. Once the information has been collected, the fee reimbursement will begin. It was important that this be managed collectively to have continuity of communication across our division.

Once again, we want to thank everyone for their patience as we work together to best support our students during this time.

Subscribe to our *NEW* School Youtube channel. Daily announcements, Friday Dance Parties, etc will be here soon! Linked below

Virtual Learning Considerations & Norms

As we figure out our new learning and teaching context virtually, a few important considerations:

  1. Digital Citizenship continues to be essential.
  2. EICS User Tech agreement applies in all classroom and school online contexts
  3. As we expand the accessibility of our classrooms, please continue to respect the privacy of all students and staff by not screenshoting or sharing any pictures or videos posted. All classroom sites will be private unless otherwise stated.
  4. Teachers and staff will place disclaimers on their sites or forums for use, copyright agreements, etc. Please abide by all of these.

  5. Staff will be working with students and parents on technology "norms" and etiquette. We are modeling these norms in our own staff virtual meetings daily.

  6. When students use their EICS Google platform (Classroom, Hangouts, Meet, etc) it will continue to be monitored by EICS for appropriateness, as it has always been.

  7. We have daily staff GoogleMeets, district GoogleMeets, and other weekly meeting commitments so please be patient as we navigate accessibility and balance.

  8. We are all on a steep learning curve and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility in our new roles. We will start slow and will not have all the answers.

  9. We are in this together-do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

We have collected information about our families having difficulty with technology and are responding as quickly as we can. We've got you...

Mental Health Coping & Connection for Children & Families During COVID-19 link below

Calling all SJ students! GRACE contest-Share your art, writing, poetry, or other presentation for a $50 prize!

GrACE Contest -A Celebration of Catholic Education 2019-2020 Theme: Love - First, Last and Always

GrACE exists to inspire, invigorate and embolden the spirit of Catholic education in order to unite, engage, educate and communicate with one voice on its behalf. GrACE, in partnership with the REAL Foundation, is happy to present this contest to all EICS students. This is our second annual GrACE Contest: A Celebration of Catholic Education.

We invite EICS students of all grade levels to submit work reflecting the importance of, and their experience with or contribution to Catholic education. This year our theme is Love - First, Last and Always. How have students shown love, or how have they contributed to the great message that God is Love?

Student Submissions could include such things as (but not limited to):

  • a work of art
  • a student poster
  • a formal or informal essay, original music
  • poetry, a presentation (video or otherwise) of social justice work

Please work on your project at home and submit to your teacher, our Chaplain, Mrs. Comartin ( or Mrs. Boehm ( when finished.

All entries need to be submitted by the end of the day, Monday, April 20th for consideration. EICS GRACE committee members will review and judge submissions and winners will be contacted at the beginning of Catholic Education week. There will be fourteen prizes.

Prizes for K-8 students=$50

OLA Parish News-Virtual Easter Mass with Fr. Kris & Fr. Danial this Thursday-10 am

A huge thank you to Fr. Kris, Fr. Danial, and all the parishioners who made the virtual Triduum masses possible! What an amazing parish we have to be able to celebrate our Holy Week together.

This Thursday, Fr. Kris and Fr. Danial, along with SAB, will lead a school Easter mass at 10 am.

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Saint John XXIII School Council News

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Get connected: Follow our Parent School Council Facebook Group:

St. John XXIII Catholic School-Parent School Council group on Facebook for updates and communication from our parent council.

LOOKING AHEAD...A week at a glance

Monday, April 13: Weekly Challenge: Signs of Spring (Easter)

Monday, April 13th

No classes-Easter Monday

Tuesday, April 14th

Remote learning classes continue-please make sure you are connected to your child's classroom

Wednesday, April 15th:

Remote learning classes continue

Thursday, April 16th:

Remote learning classes continue

Easter mass for EICS Fort Saskatchewan schools 10 am (live streamed with Fr. Kris)

Friday, April 17th:

Remote learning classes continue

We want to continue sharing: Please send and share pictures from home that you are comfortable sharing in our weekly newsletters to Mrs.

It's a Great Day to be a Saint John XXIII Kid!

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