September Principal's Message

Our first full month of the 2020-21 school year has been packed with learning both in our traditional classrooms and in the many outdoor areas provided by our beautiful campus. Students are working to keep our school healthy and adapting to new routines of following specific paths in and out of the buildings, spacing appropriately for lunch in the MPR, and the many other COVID-related changes this year has brought.

We are grateful for the support of our Villa parents which is a key component to our ability to remain open and deliver in-person learning. It is wonderful to continue to educate our students and be together as part of our St. Ursula Villa community.

I am pleased to share a view into September's activities and hope you enjoy this overview of the many facets of a St. Ursula Villa education.
Kent Halaby
Interim Principal
Montessori Kindergarteners diagrammed the parts of an apple, learned about the apple's life cycle, graphed favorite apple varieties, and read a book about Johnny Appleseed in their unit on apples.
During an interactive read aloud of the book Slower Than The Rest, 3rd graders were asked to predict the next story event based on their knowledge of the plot and to share the prediction with their "thinking partner." This classroom technique allows students to practice meaningful conversation by learning to take turns, listen to each other, and reply to their partner's thinking, as well as to agree or disagree politely and then explain why.
7th grade STEAM students created and tested new mask designs and tried to engineer a design that would allow safely drinking while wearing the mask.
In Art class, Traditional 4-year-olds enjoyed hearing the story Perfectly Percy and created clouds and balloons for their version of a scene from the book.
The annual Teddy bear picnic is a cherished tradition and culmination of 1st graders' thematic unit about black bears. Students read several books and watched a video about the black bear, made a web of bear facts, completed a fact versus opinion page, and labeled and colored a black bear in its habitat. Children's Teddy bears came to school as subjects of a class book as well as special lunch guests while students enjoyed the book Blueberries for Sal.
3rd grade Art students participated in a "draw along" to the book Grumpy Monkey and used pencils and colored markets to create their own image of Jim the Monkey, a character in the story.
Montessori preschoolers enjoyed Gym class on the Manor House lawn.
4th grade Math students practiced 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit by 1-digit multiplication by rolling dice to create factors to multiply together. 
In Science lab, 7th graders utilized various tools to measure items and reviewed different units of measurement such as length, mass, and volume.
The Villa Way can be a perfect outdoor classroom space as demonstrated by these 1st graders using their portable desks to work on their writing skills.
As part of their "On the Farm" unit, Traditional 3-year-olds explored different farm animals and created a classroom barnyard of pigs, chickens, and cows.
By playing a version of the popular game "Battleship," 6th grade Pre-Algebra students practiced using ordered pairs to describe ship locations on a coordinate plane.
Toddlers learned about the animals that live on a farm in their "Farm Time"-themed crafts and activities.
5th grade Social Studies classes learned about the importance of timelines and how to read them, and then applied that knowledge to construct a personal timeline. They researched key events for each year of their life and constructed a parallel timeline of events that also happened during the same years. Topics of parallel timelines included Disney Movies, Sporting Events, U.S. Events, Popular Songs and many others.
1st grade STEAM students were challenged to think like civil engineers and build bridges and structures.
This bulletin board shares an important message for these Traditional Kindergarteners and the rest of us!
Due to the Corona virus, last year's First Holy Communion is rescheduled to this Saturday, October 3rd at St. Rose Church. The First Communicants - now 3rd graders - had a morning of reflection in the Manor House Chapel to practice and prepare for this important sacrament with prayer, meditation, and reflection about God's love. As an extra touch, the children read notes, letters, and cards from parents, family, and friends with blessings and messages for their special day.
4th grade Religion students learned about creeds - a formal statement of beliefs or aims which guide actions. Students created their own creed based on their beliefs and designed the paper to reflect their feelings.
In Religion class, 7th graders watched a documentary titled "The Speed Cubers" and connected the story to a verse from Scripture. The large group discussion centered around themes such as friendship, overcoming adversity, good sportsmanship, and showing character.
Ms. Laura Riehle, Campus Minister, gathered with Montessori Kindergarteners in the Manor House Chapel for regular meditation and prayer. Leading with a simple exercise called “My Hands Prayer,” the children meditate on their hands to enter into prayer with God in their "heart room."
Junior High students measured, cut, and assembled "sit-upon" pads for our Manor House students. Preschoolers use the cushions for snack and lunch outdoors as well as other outside activities, and say "thank you" to their friends for the thoughtful project!
The Villa has added Mindful Music Moments to the school's morning routine to create a more calm, focused, and balanced start to the school day. This program combines mindfulness and music education by playing a musical selection after morning announcements and encouraging mindfulness techniques. 
The Villa community has demonstrated support for Ms. Michelle Stamper, long-time Villa instructional assistant, as her niece, Joselyn, battles a rare form of pediatric cancer. To show their love and care, Junior High students decorated and painted rocks to create a colorful and inspirational rock garden for Joselyn.
Villa Parents' Organization (VPO)
VPO is looking for Room Parent volunteers! Click here to see the description of the modified Room Parent role for the 2020-2021 school year. If interested in volunteering, please sign up here by October 8th.

Please read this message from VPO Board Member and Room Parent Coordinator, Nadia Butcher: 

Hello Villa parents,

 I wanted to welcome new families and welcome back familiar faces. My husband, Bain, and I have 2 children, Alina (8th) and Livia (5th).  Like many parents who have been at the Villa for years, we have enjoyed volunteering in a number of ways. The service makes up a wonderful part of who we are as a Villa community. Due to this year’s pandemic, there are significant limitations on what we as parents can do to support the school faculty and students. Volunteering as a Room Parent is one of the more direct ways we can help our kids, teachers, and especially newer families to make the most of their classroom experience. I hope you will consider volunteering this year in any way that you feel most comfortable. 
Villa Boosters
Another great Villa volleyball season is wrapping up with GCCYS tournaments the week of October 12th. We thank the 22 volunteers and coaches who helped navigate COVID protocols and allowed this 6th grade team and 10 other Villa teams to play safely. Go, Eagles!
Faculty Feature
Ms. Ginny Verdin has been a 1st grade assistant for 7 years. She grew up in Cincinnati and is a Villa graduate (Class of '82). She and her husband have 2 college-aged sons - this picture is from a trip to Maine where their family has vacationed for generations.

More fun facts about Ms. Verdin:
  • Favorite Food: "Dewey's pizza! And chocolate, of course!"
  • Hobbies or Interests: Biking, hiking, kayaking, and "being creative either with decorating my house or holiday crafts."
  • Favorite Movie Quote: "You're killing me, Smalls!" from The Sandlot
  • Favorite Book: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Something Most People Don't Know About Me: "Growing up, my dad would hold screaming contests at the kitchen table while my mom was serving dinner. He would count down in a whisper, then we would all scream - and I always won!"
  • Why I Love Working at the Villa: "I started attending SUV when I was in 2nd grade. I am the second oldest of 5 siblings and we all graduated from the Villa. When I came to work here almost 7 years ago, it felt like coming home. It is truly a family - great teachers, great staff, great parents, and awesome students!"