March 31st, 2017

"Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and hope."
 Pope John Paul II in 1981
   Consecrating the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary                                                                                 
  • Saint Patrick's Day was celebrated in fine form here at OLF. There was the second annual St. Patrick Day Dinner celebrated with delicious corned beef and Irish food, wonderful Irish Step Dancing, and great music. A special thank you to Mrs. Karin "O'Beggan," her husband, Joe Beggan, Andrea McLoughin, and Linda Sweeny for their work in staging such a tremendously successful event.
  • During the day, each class celebrated St. Patrick Day in an appropriate manner. For example, Kindergarten students began their day with an Irish theme Scavenger Hunt trying to find that tricky leprechaun!
  • Homework Club is canceled for this Tuesday, April 4th. It will begin again after Easter only for students needing help doing their homework.
  • Alumni basketball news: Jack Soucy, OLF Alumni of 2014 and a favorite OLF Summer Basketball Camp Counselor this past summer, was an important member of Trinity Catholic Varsity Connecticut Class "S" Boy's Championship Basketball Team last week. Way to go, Jack!
  • Important safety announcement. I am asking all parents to slow down while driving in the parking lot during the morning drop off. Since children are walking across the parking lot, as cars are leaving the parking lot, everyone must proceed with the greatest caution. This week I heard of a close call. Thank you for helping to keep our children safe.
  • Last Thursday, fifth-graders provided a "Living Museum" of New World Explorers. Our fifth-grade students stayed in character, knew their lines, had great costumes, and some even had background scenery! They provided a great learning experience for the other classes.
  • Talent Show Update: Georgia has had to change the date for the 3rd annual Our Lady of Fatima Talent Show. It is now scheduled for May 25th at 1:00 p.m. Sorry for this inconvenience. 
  • Last fall, we had a very limited number of families (less than ten) sign-up to receive their school supplies through Schoolkidz. In addition, these school supplies did not arrive until the end of September. As a result, I have not renewed our contract with Schoolkidz for the 2017/2018 school year. If this will be an inconvenience to any family, please let me know.
  • A "good"problem to have solved: Our Pre-K enrollment over the course of this school year has grown to 18 students. We want to keep a low teacher-student ratio, so we have added an additional assistant in the morning. Her name is Mrs. Jenina Rentas. Mrs. Rentas began working this past Monday. Mrs. Rentas worked 27 years for the Norwalk schools performing a variety of duties. Some of these duties were library assistant, resource aide, and K-5 aide. We are delighted to have Ms. Rentas with us and happy that are children have another nurturing adult looking after them here at school.
  • A not so sweet smelling problem has been solved. On some days, you might have noticed a not so sweet odor in the hall outside the gym. We have tracked it down to a nonworking pump in the septic tank from our outdoor modular classrooms. The pump has been replaced this week and I want to thank you for their patience.
  • Last Tuesday evening, we had the State of the School Report. Thanks to all the parents who took time from their busy schedules to attend! The "Big Picture" remains that our enrollment is growing, but for this year at least we must do additional fundraising to make up the difference in revenue and expenses. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and very needed for our school to "bridge" this time as our enrollment increases. Amazing fact: the expenses for our school have remained basically flat since 2011! Please see me if you have any questions or would like to discuss further.
  • What is the best model for a school? John Doyle sent me an informative article on how the Pre-K through 8th grade school model is the best model to prevent an achievement slide during the middle school years. Research shows consistently that English and math achievement is negatively affected in traditional middle schools. Here is the article if you would like to read more:
https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/ed/12/09/do-middle-schools-make-sense   (this one mentions the leadership aspect...)
  • What is one simple but powerful way to support our school? Register for next year early. In addition, Bishop Scholarship applications are due  tomorrow, April 1st. Please see Diane in the office with any registration questions. Also, please make sure that Diane is aware if you referred any new family to us so you can receive your discount. So far we have had 14 new students enroll for next year.
  • Mark your calendars: Saturday, May 13th is the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin appearing at Fatima.  We are having a long Spring Musical play practice that day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I am asking all students to bring their school uniforms to play practice and stay for the procession led by Bishop Caggiano, then 5:30 Mass, and then a reception hosted by the parish. All Fatima students and their families are encouraged to attend this very special and important day. All Fatima students are encouraged to wear their uniforms to Mass that Saturday! Each student who attends the Saturday Mass in Uniform will get a Dress-Down Day Coupon for the following week!
  • Last year, the Parish Tuition Assistance Program provided invaluable financial support to families who, for a variety of reasons, did not receive financial aid through the Bishop Scholarship Fund. To make sure we can support families wanting a Catholic Education in 2017-2018, but again are unable to get support from the Bishop Scholarship Fund, we have set up a GoFundme page. It can be found on the OLF Facebook page.  Any donation you could make would be greatly appreciated. Equally important, if you could simply share this GoFundme post on your own Facebook page. This would be of tremendous assistance to our school. Thank you for your support of our school! 
  • Attention all mothers of young children. Our Mother's Group has begun again.  The goals of the group are to provide a discussion and support experience for the mothers and also provide a socialization experience for the young children. We are meeting twice a month on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and we are partnering with the Wilton's Mothers Group. Our next meeting will be on April 5th and all mothers with young children under three years old are welcome. Please call me if you have any questions.
  • Last week our 7th grade social studies class had a guest lecturer. It was classmate, Madison. Madison taught a rigorous and engaging class on the Burr/Hamilton duel. She was demanding of her classmates and they all learned a lot. Great job, Madison. Only at Our Lady of Fatima!
  • The big H.S.A. Spring Roaring Twenties Gala will be held on April 29th at the Rolling Hills Country Club. Tickets are still available so invite your friends and get ready to party. You can reserve tables of up to eight people.  For more information contact Joanne Salageanu at  joanne.salageanu@gmail.com  or Carrie Shaffer at shaffercp@gmail.com.
Trish Kaczmarek. Trish is the teacher assistant in our Pre-K room. Pre-K teacher, Becky Gammardella, would tell you that she trusts Trish to take a co-leadership role in any activity that she is doing. In addition, Trish is an important part of our after-school program. As you know our school doors open at 7:30 a.m. Where can you find Trish before the school starts most mornings? She can be found sitting with the early arriving Pre-K students and talking with them. Thanks for all you do for our youngest students, Trish.

 I want to recognize parents who have registered their children this week for next year:  Mara and Michael Fleming (registered their four children for next year); Tracey and Steven Bonafide (registered their two children); Clara and Gerry Davis (registered their daughter); Wendy and Horace Hankins (registered their son). In addition, Emeva and Chioma Enu, new parents, registered their child in next year's Pre-K class after a tour and positive encouragement from Dr. Maria Restrepo. This helps our school!

March 31st - Marks close for the third quarter
                        Career Day for Middle School students in the afternoon
April 1st - Children's Stations of the Cross at 12:00 p.m.
April 3rd - Eucharist meeting for second-grade parents only
April 5th - Mother's Group from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
                  7th graders leading Stations of the Cross beginning at 10:30 a.m.
April 7th - Report Cards sent home
                   First Friday Mass hosted by Grade 5
April 10th through April 14th - School closed for Spring Recess
April 15th - Parish Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast at 10:00 a.m. and ten dollars per family
April 17th - School closed for Easter Monday
April 18th - School resumes
April 19th - Mother's Group from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
April 21st - Movie Night for K-5 students hosted by OLF teachers
April 27th - NJHS Induction Ceremony at 1:00 p.m. in the gym
April 29th - H.S.A. Spring Gala at the Rolling Hills Country Club
May 2nd - H.S.A. meeting at 7:00 p.m.
May 4th - Rehearsal at 4:00 p.m. in the church for second graders making their First Eucharist
May 5th - Living Museum presented by middle school students
May 6th - First Eucharist for second graders at 9:30 a.m.
May 7th - H.S.A. Mother-Son event
May 9th to 12th - Scholastic Book Sale in the gym
May 10th - 5th/6th/7th grade field trip to Sturbridge Village
May 11th - 8th Grade trip to Boston
May 12th - School living Rosary celebrating Our Lady's appearing at Fatima
May 13th - Parish celebration for the 100th anniversary of Our Lady appearing at Fatima in 1917. Procession beginning at 4:45 p.m., followed by 5:30 Mass with Bishop Caggiano, followed by a reception at the church
May 14th - Mother's Day
May 20th - Spring Musical, The Snow Queen, at 7:30 p.m.
May 21st - Spring Musical, The Snow Queen at 3:00 p.m.
May 25th - Sports Dinner
May 29th - Memorial Day - No school
June 2nd - Spring Concert
June 6th - Professional Staff Development - No school for students
June 8th - 8th- grade luncheon
June 9th - 8th-grade graduation
June 13th - Field Day
June 14th - Kindergarten Graduation at 10:00 a.m.
June 21st - Last Day of School  (At present!)
June 26 to June 29th- Vacation Bible Camp
July 10 through August 4 - Summer Basketball Camp between 9:00 and 3:00
Last fall, David Bowman toured our school looking for a possible school for a foreign student from Romania. As we toured the school, David told our students about the orphanage he worked at in Romania. Our students were very interested in the orphanage and impressed by the poverty the children lived in. Under the leadership of our Student-Government, four large boxes of clothes and shoes were collected for the Petrosani Orphanage in Transylvania, Romania. The donations were sent with David back to the orphanage for Christmas. Today, we are sending home a thank you picture postcard from the students at the orphanage. It will go home with the oldest member of each family in our school. Looking at pictures of happy kids in Romania wearing your generously donated shirts, hats and shoes cannot help but put a smile on your face and thank you to Gianna for putting it on our Facebook page.
Also, I am very excited to tell you that David is planning to bring to our country a  student from Romania under an I-20 visa to enroll in our school. We are hoping to welcome "Costi" to our first grade class this May. Wow- what a story!


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