Principal’s Letter

What a year it has been! It will certainly be a year we will remember for a variety of reasons. Together we faced many challenges. Together we adapted to the necessary changes. Together we have grown and endured; and felt great joy and deep sorrow. By the grace of God, the willingness and courage of our teachers, and your cooperation, we made it! On Sunday, as we celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2021, we were so conscious of the power of that word – together!

There are many people to thank for going the extra mile this year. Pablo played a pivotal role in keeping our community together. He had the creativity to take the Covid guidance being shared with principals at the Diocesan level and re-imagine the shape and look of the school day. Our Re-Opening Task Force had the energy and organizational ability to put thought into action, creating safe educational spaces and implementing practices that would last the school year. Teachers and assistants took on new roles and teaching responsibilities to facilitate all modalities of learning throughout the year. And at each turn of the calendar, they were asked to do more, to re-invent themselves and their vocation, all while mustering up the courage to face a constantly changing Covid-19 landscape. Together We Did.

We are especially grateful to all our volunteers on the playground, in the kitchen, on the Scrip and Uniform Exchange teams, on the field, at the Jog-a-thon and Auction, who helped us navigate this year. I was delighted to see all the volunteers at Field Day today. Thank you. We, teachers and administrators, felt so supported by the Parent Association and the grade level teams. Thank you for your words of inspiration, the generous gifts and treats, and the encouragement to stay the course. We felt the love. Together We Did.

And our neighbors felt the love. We called upon your generosity as we hosted two ‘giving tree’ programs and four food drives since the start of summer 2020. You answered loudly each time with food and cash donations. The Year-End Food Drive was no different. St. Vincent de Paul Ministry sends their gratitude: “We (SDVP) are truly blessed! The pantry is in great shape for the summer. We had to double stack the peanut butter! We even added to the LOL (Lunches of Love) with sausage sticks, fruit cups and other ready-to-eat items. We are also grateful to you for the hygiene bags. These are passed out weekly at the homeless encampments. Many thanks again to our always supportive school families.” Together We Did.

Tomorrow, as a faculty, we will gather to toast an incredible year. We will celebrate our graduates as they are proof of our good work. We will also raise a glass to the families who are moving on, some of who have been with us for over 20+ years. Thank you to those parents who lived the Fair Share philosophy, spending countless hours in the numerous volunteer roles across our Parish School, in the library, on field trips, and in the classrooms! Together We Did.

Now we prepare for the 21-22 school year. We are excited to see the waning of Covid-19. The 2021-22 school day will be like a blast from the distant past! The pandemic has forced us to try new things in our school, and some of these practices will remain as we move forward while others will be abandoned. Health attestations and screenings will not be required, so we are looking forward to regular school hours. We may not be checking temperatures, but we will check uniforms! Make sure you read up on the uniform policy for next year, and do visit the uniform exchange in portable 41 for a good selection of uniform items. Let the pandemic hair color grow out before September! Masks will be required for all school personnel, students, and visitors on campus when we return so don’t toss those yet and stock up on new ones if needed. Regarding the next school year, there will be no formal communications from the Principal’s office through July but do expect to see an electronic summer packet with class supply lists and other helpful information for your family.

The theme of the 2020-21 school year–Together We Can–permeated all we did. When we sit back and reflect on the last 15 months, I hope you all feel a sense of pride for all accomplished this year in the face of a pandemic–Together We Did. Thank you. A sample of highlights from the last 15 months to reflect upon include:

2020

6/15: Re-Opening Task Force convenes first meeting
6/22: XDC opens for in-person childcare
6/24: XDC closes due to potential Covid-19 case
7/2: School issues first of series of messages regarding the Re-Opening Plan
7/6: XDC Re-Opens
7/30: School releases survey to parents regarding preferred modality (in-person or remote)
8/5: Governor releases new guidance on re-opening of schools. St. John’s plan is revised to a remote start.
8/6: Kindergarten Drive-Through Meet-N-Greet
8/20: Updated Remote Learning Plan (RLP) published to all families; Virtual All School Town Hall
8/27:  PreK Virtual Town Hall
9/1-4: Meet-N-Greets on the playground
9/8: Remote Learning Instruction begins. PreK opens to in-person instruction.
9/15-17: MAP Testing
9/15: Crispin’s Kitchen re-opens with curbside pick up
9/17: K-2 Virtual Town Hall; Re-Opening Plan published to all families
9/22: Grades 3, 4, 5 Virtual Town Hall
9/24: Middle School Virtual Town Hall
9/29-10/2: In-Person Jog-a-thon. We exceeded the 2020 Jog-a-thon goal and raised $100,000 for our school!
10/5: K-2 opens for in-person instruction
11/12: First case of Covid positive in the school community. No transmission was documented in the school.
11/1: Drive-By Celebration for Father Crispin, Pearl Jubilee, 30th Anniversary for his Ordination
11/5: Virtual PA Meeting, special guest speakers, Ms. Mansfield and Ms. Shaw, addressing Social Justice
11/24: Grandparents and Special Friends Day (Recording)
12/3: PreK-K Virtual Open House
12/15-18: Spirit Week
12/16: Primary Music Christmas Program (Recording)

2021

1/14: PreK-K Virtual Open House, Virtual PA Meeting and Parent Education Night
1/20: Grades 3-5 Hybrid instruction in cohorts begin
1/26-28: Virtual State of the School
1/31-2/5: Catholic Schools Week
2/8: Grades 6-8 Hybrid instruction in cohorts begin
3/1: CYO launches registrations for spring sports
3/19: Virtual Auction. We raised over $380,000, including over $150,000 in Fund-a-Need donations!
3/27: The Little Mermaid, Jr. MS Virtual Play Opening Night
4/19: ALL students back to campus for in-person instruction 5 days a week
5/14: Slime Day, Jump Rope for Heart. We exceeded our goal of raising $10,000 for the American Heart Association and raised over $17,000!
5/17-21: MAP Testing
5/19: Pop-Up Clinic for middle school students over 12 years old for the first dose of vaccine
5/24: Virtual Welcome for Kindergarten Families
5/27: Virtual Welcome for New Families Grades 1-8
5/26-27, 6/2: In-Person First Holy Communion
6/2: Graduates’ Honor Parade
6/6: In-Person Baccalaureate and Commencement
6/7-9: In-Person Confirmation Masses
6/9: Kindergarten Graduation Drive-By; Pop-Up Clinic for MS Students over 12 years old for the second dose of vaccine
6/11: Last Day of School

And now we rest. I wish you all a blessed summer. Continue to remain vigilant in keeping your families safe, and we look forward to seeing you all in late August.
Bernadette O’Leary