April 26, 2018
Dan's Blog
In the wake of events at schools where deranged or evil people have entered campuses with the intent to harm students and staff, I wanted to talk about school security at St. Louise. As I've mentioned in past blogs, we have made recent changes at locking our more exposed north wing and Lavelle doors consistently, ensuring more visible nametags are being worn by staff, parents, and visitors, and will soon be having the North Sound SWAT come to do an assessment of the vulnerable physical spots on campus and within our school processes and staff training. The SWAT team's assessment report will be looked at by our school's Emergency Preparedness Committee, our parish administrator Jonathan Taasan, our pastor Father Gary, and me, and we will see if there are recommendations in their report that our school and/or parish can take on to improve or add in the weeks or months that follow.

The St. Louise faculty and I love your kids. We need to do what we can to protect them. Preventive measures, including hardening the building and mindset training of our staff could save lives should our school ever be one where a deranged or evil person chooses to enter to do harm. We are working currently at taking these preventive measures at St. Louise. One big example is we are determining the cost of adding a more direct access to the front office for visitors, and thereby keeping the main lobby doors locked at all times, except for when students enter at the beginning of the day and at the end of each recess period. As you know, currently the main lobby doors are open continuously from 7:15-4:15, and visitors, although asked to check in at the front office, often just walk straight to classrooms. If we are able to work out the financial and architectural means of creating a new direct access entrance to the front office for visitors, we'll attempt to complete that project this coming summer. That will allow us to have the main doors continuously locked during the day next school year, just as the far west and east school doors of the main building are locked at all times.

Another measure that has been taken at some schools that I would like to at least have a discussion around isn't a preventive measure, such as locked doors, but it's an offensive measure. Some schools throughout the country realize that if the preventive measures are breached, you must be prepared with offensive measures, and those offensive measures might be in the form of having armed security on campus. Schools might hire either plainclothes or uniformed, armed security to be ever-present around school. Moreover, other schools are training current staff (be it administrators and/or teachers) who already legally conceal-carry firearms when off campus, to now conceal-carry on campus and to add "security" as a part of their job description. The concern with the former measure is the cost, as hiring armed security is expensive. For the latter measure - training current school faculty to be trained at a level comparable to law enforcement so they can add "security" to their job description and thus, legally conceal-carry a firearm at school - there would be only the cost of the training. The school staff members would receive no additional salary. So, the concern for the latter isn't cost, but the concern would most likely be that this measure could prove disconcerting to some parents.
You may not realize that training school administrators and/or teachers is a school policy that has worked in various states for years and is currently being done in a few districts in Washington. (Note that only those who step forward and volunteer to conceal-carry on campus undergo this training; this isn't mandated for all staff at these schools.) Did you know there are over 23,000 schools in our country who have some form of armed security - trained current teachers/administrators or hired, outside staff? Washington State law does not allow a person to be on a school campus with a firearm, even if they have a conceal-carry license, unless the person is a law enforcement officer or is tasked to help with a school's security.
Similar to pilots who now carry firearms to protect their passengers after past airplane catastrophes necessitated this change in protocol, should St. Louise school be proactive and eventually move to having a few, highly-selected staff be provided the tools to protect our children should a would-be-killer enter our classrooms? Most likely, the majority of our school's staff (and most schools' staffs) would want nothing to do with carrying a gun while working at school. These teachers and other faculty members aren't comfortable with a gun, and thus would not be candidates for advanced training to conceal-carry around children. But I wonder if every school - including St. Louise - would have one or more teachers, staff, or administrators who already conceal-carry in their private lives and would volunteer to add "security" to his/her job description when at work, if allowed. These highly-selected staff, who would need to be approved by the principal and pastor (and would only be known by the principal and pastor as conceal-carrying) would need to commit to be trained at the same level as a public school's resource officer, which typically means earning a firearms certificate from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and then keeping up their firearm training annually. For more discussion on this debate of having armed security and/or armed teachers at schools, here's an interesting article.
But again please realize, at this time there is no plan for either hiring security from an outside company or training current employees with the ability to add "security" to their job descriptions. I just want to take an opportunity to ask what the St. Louise parent community thinks about adding either option to our campus in the future. Father Gary also is interested in getting a feel for what direction you would support us taking, as he is contemplating how the overall St. Louise Parish campus can be a more secure place during weekdays and weekends, both from a preventive and offensive standpoint. It's not that we've had security threats here, but we're just being proactive.

Thus, at our upcoming, joint School Commission and Parents' Club meetings, Father Gary and I will host a Listening Session where parents can share their ideas, concerns, and questions about school security. Perhaps you have suggestions for enhancing student safety? Please come and share. We'd like to hear your thoughts on what direction the school (and parish) should consider going in the future for preventive measures (e.g. more secure, locked doors), and then for any offensive measures of security (e.g. an armed presence) should the preventive measures fail.

The Listening Session, as part of the joint School Commission and Parents' Club meetings, will be on Thursday, May 3, from 6:30-7:30PM. This will be in the school library, and it's open to parents only. If you can't make the meeting, please note that I plan on following up later next month with a Parent Survey that also will be asking for your input on school security, and specifically on your thoughts on adding offensive measures and/or relying solely on preventive measures.

Thanks for reading, 
Mr. Fitz

I am excited to announce I have hired Joellyn Jaster to be one of our 5th grade teachers next year! (Mary Talevich announced her retirement earlier.) Joellyn has experience teaching intermediate grades, experience teaching in Catholic schools (at three different schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese), but no experience living in the Pacific Northwest. A native of southern California, Mrs. Jaster will be moving to the greater Bellevue area this June as her husband is moving to a new job in this area. Accompanying them in the move will be two of their three sons, a high schooler and an incoming 5th grader...who may soon be trying on red sweaters and having his mom be the teacher in his classroom next door.

For my second big announcement, Wendy Blank has been hired as our new Pre-K teacher for next year! (Karen Salmon announced her resignation earlier.) We all know Wendy as the do-everything-teacher who has substitute taught in practically all the St. Louise grade levels as well as in our specialist classes, and this year she has been a co-teacher in kindergarten.  It will be wonderful having such a dedicated person as Wendy here next year as a daily faculty member! Did you know that Wendy also spent six years running a Pre-K vacation Bible school and five years teaching primary grades in the Seattle Public Schools? She is now helping Mike Fuerte and me interview for a new Pre-K instructional assistant. I'll let you know when that position is filled.
Upcoming Calendar of Events  
  • Flavorful Friday Treats - proceeds benefit 5th graders' sponsorship of NPH orphans
  • Spring Spruce-Up, 8AM-12PM; meet outside the north wing of the original school with your yard gloves, wheelbarrows, rakes, weed-digging tools, etc.
Thursday, May 3
  • School Commission & Parents' Club joint meeting, 6:30PM in the school library; agenda includes "Listening Session with Fr. Gary & Mr. Fitz regarding School Security"

Friday, May 4 - NO SCHOOL DAY
  • School Office & Kids' Club Closed today (teacher inservice)
  • Yearbook order deadline

Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6
  • First Communion for our 2nd Graders - Congratulations!

Wednesday, May 9
  • Information Meeting for Current 5th-7th Graders regarding Next Year's School Musical; 3PM in the Music Room

Friday, May 11 
  • Mass with Grandparents, 9AM; followed by reception at school

Saturday, May 12
  • Spring Spruce-Up #2, 8AM-12PM; meet outside the north wing of the original school with your yard gloves, wheelbarrows, rakes, weed-digging tools, etc.

 Saturday, May 19
  • Auction Deck Party, 6-8PM; RSVP here (limited childcare is available, so if you want to take advantage, please RSVP immediately and let us know the # and ages of your kids) 

St. Louise Mother Son Event ~ Sunday, June 10th, starting at 12PM ~ Moms & Sons, get ready to team up with your fellow moms & sons as you navigate a series of challenging problems that will stretch your intellect and physical being!   More details coming soon!


Our 5th graders were treated to a presentation last week that tied in perfectly with their Social Studies curriculum on the study of America's struggle for Independence from Britain in Colonial Boston. Thanks to a grant from the Parents' Club, Mrs. Talevich brought in an actor from "Living Voices" who acted out the struggle from the perspective of a young free black youth from Concord, Massachusetts. The 5th graders learned that free blacks could be captured and sold into slavery, learned about the Boston Massacre and Tea Party, and learned that the quest for liberty and justice is ongoing and complicated.

Hello, St. Louise Families!
I wanted to send a BIG Wonderful Life thank you to these dedicated volunteers! Gaby Gonzalez, Gabby Schmidt, Cheryl Sutton, Megan Kirk, Paul McCulloch, Sarah Pierce, Arlene Isaksen, Marian Zappala, Amy Manne, Jacintha Vimal, Elizabeth Armenta and Karen Salmon. I appreciate you coming by the Auction Office last week! It's great to know we are going into the auction season with so many of our fall tasks complete!
I also wanted to take a moment and thank the many of you who have already turned in your Procurement/Donations! Your generosity is such a gift to our community! So many of you are exceeding the $225 requirement and building on that with matching from your workplaces! You are AMAZING!

4 Things You Need To Know This Week about It's a Wonderful Life at St. Louise

1. Please purchase and donate Charger Cards - see the Wish List here.
2. Underwrite Live and Raffle items by making your donation via check or by clicking here.
3. RSVP for the Deck Party on May 19th! Email your RSVP here.
4. Tuition Raffle tickets launch this week! Purchase them at $50 each or 3 for $125. Only 200 will be sold, so this is a great opportunity to have a chance to win half tuition for the 2018 - 2019 school year! Sales begin this Friday outside the Charger Card office! Drawing will take place on 6/15.
In today's Red Envelope, you will receive a few flyers about the Auction. Please review them when you get a moment. They outline our Procurement Contests for May, and go into more depth about meeting your Procurement and Donation goals. 
Visit the Auction website for all auction information, plus, you can fill out your procurement forms online this year!
Julianne Read
St. Louise Parent & Auction Director
Be a Leader...Earn 50% Tuition Stipend

       Our Parents' Club is looking for two new Charger Cards co-chairs to begin immediately to learn how to run this fund raiser, and then take over the program in August for a minimum commitment of two years (the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years).
        Shadowing of current Charger Card chair, Megan Kirk, would take place now so that you are well prepared to step in to the role of co-chair by August, when Megan steps down after her time running the program. Some of the co-chairs' work can be done remotely, but some must be done at school, such as order processing and Friday morning window sales.  The time commitment varies seasonally, but averages eight hours per week, per co-chair. Attention to detail and organizational skills are a must, and strength in working with numbers and providing customer service is a plus. It helps if one of the co-chairs knows Excel and QuickBooks.
        Each chair position earns a 50% tuition reduction for each co-chair's child.  Another benefit of chairing the Charger Cards program is that it is a great way to interact with our St. Louise community and make a positive impact in an important school program. You can find a friend and apply together, or apply independently and the Parents' Club will help pair up a co-chair with you.
        If you are interested or have questions on the position, please contact Megan or Kelly Miller, incoming Parents' Club President.
How Well Do You Read This Weekly Bulletin?

   If you are reading the Parent Bulletin thoroughly each Thursday morning, here's your chance to be rewarded as a committed, involved parent. Email Dan Fitzpatrick with the answer to the following question, and the FIRST 5 PARENTS with the correct answer will each win a new St. Louise logo-hat (as pictured at left).

 Our parish and school is named for a French woman, Louise de Marillac, co-founder with Vincent de Paul of the "Sisters of Charity" and patron saint of social workers. Her feast day used to be March 15 (the anniversary of her death), but in 2016 it was changed to a new date (the anniversary of her beatification). When is the new feast day of Saint Louise?

Way to Go, Chargers!

          Two of our volleyball teams are still in the CYO Playoffs! The 7th grade boys' team and the 8th grade girls' team both won their first-round and/or second-round tournament matches and are in the semifinals this Saturday the 28th:
  • 7th grade boys play at 9AM at Holy Family, Kirkland; if they win, the Championship match is Sunday at 6:30PM at Blanchet HS;
  • 8th grade girls play at 11:00 at St. Luke, Shoreline; if they win, the Championship match is Sunday at 3:30PM at Blanchet HS.

Go, Chargers!

The Parish Is Hiring

St. Louise Parish seeks an ideal team player to serve as Pastoral Assistant for Junior High Youth Ministry. The successful candidate will be an active, practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church; enthusiastic in evangelizing middle school youth; have three years of successful experience in youth ministry including two years coordinating a Confirmation program; excited about preparing youth to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation; some formal training in theology or systematic catechesis; highly motivated with excellent interpersonal skills; able to lead teams of volunteers effectively. Competitive salary and excellent benefits in accordance with Archdiocesan guidelines. Contact Jonathan Taasan for more information and application packet. Open until filled.

See what's happening on our St. Louise Facebook page