Dear St. John School Families,
How can a month with 31 days feel so very short? When you think of all we’ve accomplished together, it’s no wonder it feels as if October flew by.
Our fantastic PTL had a banner month for sure. Lisa Friebel’s organizational acumen was just the right touch for orchestrating the delivery of more than $27,000 worth of frozen pizzas and desserts. Meredith Wanamaker sorted through more than 8,000 box tops. Gala Oates coordinated the availability of samples, order forms and volunteers to sell a fresh selection of Cougar wear. Sarah Borchelt, along with several volunteers, made an expanded Scholastic Book Fair possible so teachers’ and students’ reading wish lists could be filled. The profits from the Book Fair will be used to purchase new books for the library. Lynne Edwards put together a tremendously fun Trunk or Treat event. We had lovely fall weather and a great turnout for this time of “frightful” family fellowship. A whole team of talented and creative room parents decorated doors throughout the school in a tremendous show of appreciation for teachers and staff. Another team of volunteers is working on enhancements to our Christian environment such as solving the technical glitches to provide music throughout the school during morning arrival and painting scripture on the walls. Awesome is the word that comes to mind when I think of what a hugely positive impact these dedicated people’s efforts have on our school community. I pray they have been blessed by using their time and talents for such good. We are grateful.
October brought the dedication of our new gymnasium bleachers and our first ever Alumni Night. The evening included time for former student-athletes to peruse old yearbooks and team photos as they socialized. We did an official ribbon cutting and dedication of the bleachers as the alums prayed proactively for all students, parents, grandparents, athletes and coaches who will sit on those bleachers in the years to come. Pastor Hower also dedicated the cross made of the wood from the old bleachers. Our Annual Fund campaign commenced on that same evening, October 5, allowing the alums the first opportunity to pay it forward, connecting past to future by being a blessing to St. John students of today and tomorrow.
We knew we wanted the Annual Fund campaign to have a distinct starting date coinciding with our alumni event. If you recall, the 100/100/100 concept emphasizes accomplishing the bulk of the fund raising for the Annual Fund within a relatively narrow window of time: 100 days. What amazed me was when I counted forward on the calendar 100 days from October 5; the 100-day window closes on the weekend of my 50th birthday in mid January. Please know that I would consider it the best birthday gift ever if we were to meet or exceed our financial goal so that we can come close to covering our budgeted operational costs for the year. We need each family to participate to make that happen. The 100% participation aspect of the goal is aimed at having everyone feel proud of and literally invested in the culmination of this campaign. Even the kiddos are in eager anticipation of some benchmark celebrations. They are watching the orange paw prints being added to the progress tracker in the lobby. As we reach 25% of the goal, we will schedule a carnival-style lunch celebration. As we reach 50% of the goal, we will have a fun teacher swap, a super popular celebration we tried for the first time last year. At 75% of the goal, we’ll have a movie assembly, saving the original teacher theatrical skit creation for the finish line. You can track our progress on the school website. Don’t underestimate the value of your contribution so let’s be all in. I made my donation, as have several others on the staff. Together we will get there.
The middle school staff’s efforts to implement a new program of student portfolio compilation and student-led conferences is further evidence of what we can accomplish when we work together. With aims of having students improve their ability to set goals, reflect and self assess along the way to deepening ownership of students’ learning, the 5-8 teachers collaborated to realize such outcomes. The portfolios are substantive archives of student work and the first-quarter student progress conferences were opportunities to review and revel in that work. Any time you try something new, it is bound to need a few tweaks here and there. We greatly appreciate the input from parents who chose to fill out the post-conference survey. Your suggestions will help us further shape and refine a format that was overwhelmingly well received as being in the best interest of students. As the student-focused conference format does represent a culture shift, please know that we want you to contact any teacher with your questions as they arise; parent-teacher dialog, clarification and partnership should not wait until conferences.
We have also heard your desire for some parent training regarding digital citizenship so you can better calibrate your role in helping your child navigate the information age. For your convenience, Rob Jacklin is offering two parent sessions, one at 8:30 on the morning of November 12 and the other at 7:00 on the evening of November 13. These sessions will generally be geared to middle school families, so I strongly encourage anyone with a middle school child or a child soon to be in middle school to attend one of these. Please look for specific communication to come from Rob and the other middle school teachers.
As we look ahead to November, we are preparing for our first of two Admissions Open Houses. On the evening of November 21, we will host prospective families who want to hear about our school. Student ambassadors will be on hand to give tours, and various teachers and staff will be available to answer questions. Here’s where you come in. You, our current families, are the best marketing tactic. When you speak with such passion about the place where your child is not only getting a top-notch education but is daily reminded of the love Jesus has for him or her, you leave no doubt that this is a special learning community. Please invite someone to attend the Open House at 7:00pm on November 21. We will make it worth your while, as we are looking to increase the tuition rebate for documented referrals. Help us expand enrollment by being invitational. We are in a competitive market place, and we believe our school is one of the very best options around. Spread the word!
If your child is part of our current 6th grade class, that November Open House will also include an opportunity for you to interact with the 7th and 8th grade team. We not only want to invite new families to join us, we want your child to finish strong. So, instead of waiting until January when the current 4th graders will learn about “stepping up” into the transition year that is the 5th grade experience, we invite you and your 6th grader to join us on November 21 to hear what we have in store for you. More information will be coming soon.
God bless you and your busy family. The bustle of the holidays will soon be upon us so remember to take time each day to deepen your relationship with our gracious Lord and Savior, the Light of the world.
Living in the Light!
Principal, St. John School