Principal’s Letter

Prayer for Clarity

Good and Gracious God, may your words be like a lamp that lights my way. May your love be like a compass that gives me direction. May your truth be like a signpost bringing clarity. May your peace be like a measure that guides my decisions. May your hope be like a flag that declares I walk with you. May your words be in my mind. May your love guide my feet. May your truth be a sign, your peace be a measure, as I walk close to you today. Amen

Assistant Superintendent, John Sullivan, read this prayer as he began the principals’ meeting on Tuesday, and it stayed with me. In this pandemic, as we head into May, how do we preserve our traditional closing events, celebrate our graduates and their families, and prepare for next fall? We do so thoughtfully with clarity, love, and hope. In the path forward we continue to monitor CDC and Department of Health guidelines. Be sure to monitor the school calendar as we move through a busy May.

I also think about the Prayer for Clarity as I share news about additional faculty changes for next year. Mr. Joe Thomas, middle school social studies teacher and beloved 8th-grade homeroom teacher, is leaving St. John and the neighborhood. Mr. Thomas has been a steady presence in our parish school community, teaching both 4th grade and middle school during his 13+ year tenure. We will miss this master teacher, avid historian, and storyteller. Mr. Thomas always has the right tie or tale for the occasion. From Star Wars to Thomas Jefferson, he enriched not only the lives of his students, but those of us who were fortunate enough to sit in on his lessons, travel with him to DC, or work with him. Thank you, Mr. Thomas.

Ms. Ava Jones, the intermediate music teacher, is also moving on to take a full-time teaching position next year. Ms. Jones, aka Captain Senoj, has virtually flown us around the world, introducing us to the music of so many countries. We are delighted to have her back in the building for these last few months. Her quick wit, command of both the physical and virtual classrooms, and her enthusiasm for bringing out the best in student performance will be greatly missed. Thank you, Ms. Jones.

Bike to School Day was a great success. Thank you parents and students for your active participation. We had over 145 student riders. As our administrative team continues to meet with city planners working to make permanent the 1st Ave. Safe Street designation, we are reminded of the positive impact bikers and walkers have on reducing neighborhood traffic congestion and liming our school’s carbon footprint. Way to go St. John!

I realize many families have acquired Covid canines during the pandemic. While cuddly and cute, I politely ask you not to bring your furry friends on campus. The school will resurrect our “No Pets on Campus” signs as a reminder to our parish school community. This is for the safety of all.

As we prepare for the many activities that happen in May – Mother’s Day, MAP testing, First Holy Communion, promotions, and graduations – it is important to note that May is also Mental Health Awareness month. Living through the pandemic has significantly affected the mental health of everyone in our community. Please remember, as you are caring for others – your children, partner, family, friends, and neighbors – take some time for self-care. Ms. Shaw has resources on her webpage to help families prioritize their emotional well-being.

Thank you to all the moms/grandmothers/aunts/sisters/mother-figures for all that you do. I hope your family showers you with care and appreciation this Sunday and every day – Happy Mother’s Day!

Bernadette O’Leary