We are back! We started the year celebrating our Catholic identity; students in grade 8 led us in prayer over the intercom on Tuesday! The sounds of learning are ringing in the hallways. It feels, dare I say it, almost normal! The students are very good about their masks, and they are trying so hard to remain socially distanced – a challenge for them as they have not been together for so long! We will continue to remind them, and we ask you to add your support and good example outside of school. I sound like a broken record…but we must stay vigilant! Two of our Catholic schools have already had to close classrooms, and COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate in many others. Here at St. John, we had our first practice with one of our COVID-19 protocols when one of our teachers felt unwell. They remained at home and took a COVID-19 test. The results were negative, and they will return to school once twenty-four hours have passed since they last felt poorly. Please continue to pray for the health of our community. And if your child is not feeling well–keep them home and have them tested if they present COVID-19 symptoms.
Thank you again for taking the time to show us your vaccination records. Remember, you must be fully vaccinated to come in the building or to volunteer at any school or CYO events, even those outdoors. All volunteers must also complete the Safe Environment Training. The next training will be at St. John on Monday, September 27, 6:30-9pm in Egan Hall (you must be vaccinated to attend this training). More information can be found on the Parish website. Together we act for the common good!
Speaking of the common good, did you know that each of our grade levels has one extra student who does not physically attend classes? Our students pray for and financially support children in other countries who need financial assistance to attend school through an organization called Unbound. St. Teresa of Calcutta, our Saint of the Month, reminds us of the importance of small acts done with great love. On Sunday, we will celebrate our Unbound students at the 10:30 Mass. Attend in person or join us online through the Parish Facebook page. St John students will lector, and Rev. Cyrus Gallagher O.F.M. Cap. will speak about Unbound’s mission.
We continue to celebrate the Season of Creation, which runs from September 1-October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This marks a time when the global ecumenical family unites in prayer and action around the theme, “A home for all, renewing the oikos (household) of God.” It is our call to safeguard a place for all creatures, human and non-human. Look for opportunities in the parish to learn more about how you can participate.
We are also excited about our Jog-a-thon 2021 celebration! Last year showed us that Jog-a-thon, no matter what it looks like, is still one of the best ways to celebrate our community and have fun! An email from 99Pledges with a link to your student’s pledge page was sent yesterday. Support was strong in the first hours of giving; let’s keep it going! Tomorrow is our first Jog-a-thon raffle day. Families striving for $150 in donations qualify students for entry into a raffle for a $25 Scrip credit.
As we prepare for Jog-a-thon, we are also looking ahead to our Western Catholic Education Association accreditation renewal. To do so, we will embark on a rigorous two-year self-study. What do we expect our students to know, to do, to value, and to understand when they graduate from St. John? We aim to ensure that our Mission Statement and our School Wide Learning Expectations reflect our Catholic identity and our commitment to student achievement. The answer is much bigger, broader and richer than simply academic excellence. For example, in order to meet one of the many accreditation standards (Catholic Identity Standard/Benchmarks), every month our teachers will introduce a theme that connects the benchmark to SEL lessons and Catholic social justice teachings. For this month, our theme is humility, which will be woven throughout our teachers’ lessons. Our goal is to educate our students to be active, compassionate, positive citizens of the global community. As you are our partners in the education of your children, we will ask for your input as we formulate expectations for our graduates. Be on the watch for opportunities to participate.
I value and thank you for your partnership. Thank you especially to all the families who purchased their school supplies through Yubbler for this academic year; we earned a profit share of over $1,700! Your decision to shop at Yubbler, Smile.Amazon, Office Depot/Office Max have earned funds for our school. Thank you for your continued support! Together we can!