December 20, 2018
Dan's Blog
Last week, this blog explained the teacher-salary-predicament, causing concern for Catholic schools. I'd like to continue where I left off, explaining what can be done to help with this dilemma...

The predicament for all the Catholic schools in Washington is to figure out how to give "fair and just" salaries to our St. Louise teachers in a time when the "competition" is paying so much more, and at a time when the pool of teacher candidates to entice to teach in schools is low. With the tremendous pay raises in the public schools, Catholic schools are scrambling to determine what we can do.

The Catholic school principals of the Seattle Archdiocese came together earlier this fall to begin discussions on possible long-term answers to these immediate concerns. It's not something that can be solved as quick as a snap of the finger or as quick as posting a new school levy on a ballot. And the solution won't come in the form of simply paying teachers 17.3% more from one year to the next, like the Bellevue School District just did. The ongoing discussions with fellow Catholic school principals and the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools' Office will focus on benefits - both financial and non-financial - which could perhaps be added to teachers' employment packages in the future. I would guess the Archdiocese would not make any decisions until 2020 on potential ways to increase benefits to teachers.

What we all agreed at our gathering of principals that we can immediately do as a first step is to remind our current teachers and inform our perspective teachers of the many non-financial benefits they already receive when teaching in a Catholic school. For St. Louise teachers, we recently sat down to discuss this, and our teachers came up with this list of why they are blessed to teach here. Our teachers know that they:
  • Are able to teach to the whole child, which includes the spiritual/faith side of a child's development;
  • Are able to freely be themselves and share their own faith life with students. They don't have to make sure the phrase "Merry Christmas" isn't mistakenly uttered or that punishment will ensue if they respond, "God bless you" after a student sneezes.
  • Can be assured each year they will have a higher percentage of committed, involved parents than those in most public schools.
  • Have a say in curriculum choices and don't have a bloated, bureaucratic district office making all the decisions.
  • Have an average class size of 19 - much more manageable than many public schools who have as many as 30 in a class.
Those bullet points are powerful. That being said, eventually the talking points will have to move to addressing money - improving salaries if we want our current teachers to keep working here and if we want to attract new teachers to apply for any job vacancies here. Remember, a St. Louise teacher could leave for the public schools and make 50% more salary. That's a big lure. As we sign younger teachers who are starting families or wanting to buy a house, we want to make sure they can afford to stay and teach at St. Louise.
I'm informing you about the current state of affairs in teachers' salaries so you can understand why tuition increases in the future at St. Louise - and all Catholic schools - will have to be at higher percentages than what has been typically taking place. Whereas at St. Louise, we have had average tuition increases of 3%-5% most years, we will most likely have to push these higher. But again, we know we must balance this increase with the reality of not wanting to force some families away due to overwhelming tuition rates. So, unlike the tremendous surge in salaries at public schools this year, don't worry about a tremendous surge in tuition rates at our school next year - we know that's not the way to go.
The "we" I'm referring to is our school's Finance Committee, a group of five parents who work with me, the parish administrator, and the school bookkeeper on establishing appropriate tuition rates and faculty salaries each January for the ensuing school year. Father Gary gives final approval to these figures. (The 2019-20 tuition rates will be published January 31.) We intend to be wise planners who will find that appropriate level of a tuition increase - and salary increases - that all parties will find reasonable.
You are also part of the "we." Working together, we members of the St. Louise community can market to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers the benefits of a Catholic school education - and specifically a St. Louise School education - so to increase our enrollment of more first-time school families. The more first-time families who enroll here, the more revenue that will come in through tuition-income. The more revenue, the more we can pay our teachers.
If you can continue to push the attributes of a Catholic education to those you know who have toddlers and school-age children, you will help our enrollment numbers rise. (In addition, if a newly enrolled family notes that you were the person who referred them to our school, you are rewarded with one month's free tuition next year! Talk to Cindy Wagner for more information on this marketing incentive.)
Thank you in advance for promoting St. Louise School, including reminding people that we have an Open House on January 10, focusing solely on our middle school (grades 6-8), and an Open House on January 31, with all grade levels for viewing (grades PreK-8). Both evenings begin at 6:30, and if you bring a friend/neighbor/co-worker and let Cindy know, she'll slip you a Starbucks Charger Card so the next day you could potentially "seal the deal" with the prospective school family over a cup of coffee. Even if you don't have a friend to bring, you current families are invited to these Open Houses to meet the teachers your kids will have in 2019-20.
And thank you for praying for the continued success of St. Louise School and for a strong future for all Catholic education.
Lord God, Heavenly King,
          We thank You for the gift of St. Louise Parish School, where the message of Christ's life, death, and resurrection is proclaimed, where Christian community is experienced, where service to our brothers and sisters is modeled, and where high academic standards are cultivated.
          Increase our zeal for ensuring that all children and families can benefit from a high-quality Catholic education, and that Catholic schools grow in their ability to nurture the soul of our nation.
          And thank you for the determination and sacrifices of our St. Louise teachers and staff. May you continue to bless them.
          We ask this through the intercession of Christ, our model teacher.

Pax et bonum, 
Mr. Fitz

It's so great to be able to loudly and proudly say to you, your kids, and my employees, "HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!" When it comes to the generic, deflated "Happy Holidays," I reply, "Bah humbug!"

May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ child
be yours this Christmas!
Upcoming Calendar of Events  

  • There is no afterschool Kids' Club today.
  • Christmas Vacation begins at 12:00PM.
  • Come early this last day before vacation (7:55-8:10AM) to hear the School Band play Christmas songs outside the original school during morning carpool drop-off and/or to buy a cup of hot cocoa  near the PreK classroom in the north wing of the original school. Bring your $1 bills if you or your kids want a cup of cocoa. Students will be able to carry their cocoa inside to enjoy sipping in their classrooms during 1st period.

Tuesday, December 25
  • The liturgical season of Christmas begins! It is the feast of the Incarnation - the feast of God becoming flesh. On Christmas morning, the Divine is choosing to become one of us! Glory to the newborn King!

Monday and Tuesday, January 7 & 8
  • School resumes for grades PK-6 on Monday, January 7.
  • Note: Only for grades 7-8, school resumes on Tuesday, January 8. Students in grades 7-8 have a no-school day on Monday the 7th due to a junior high teachers' workday on 8th graders' high school applications.

Thursday, January 10
  • Open House at 6:30PM highlighting grades 6, 7, 8. If you know of a family with an upcoming grade 6-8 student, who might be considering transferring to our close-knit, safe, and academically-challenging St. Louise middle school, please invite them. Current 5th & 6th grade parents and students are also invited to the Open House, to meet next year's teachers and find out about the exciting curriculum and events that await students entering our middle school program!

Save the Date: Thursday, January 31
  • Open House at 6:30PM will be for all grade levels - PreK through 8th. Please invite your neighbor, co-worker, friend with upcoming school-age children to accompany you.
 Grab Some Cocoa and Christmas Music Tomorrow Morning
        A great tradition we have on the last day of school before Christmas vacation is to have our school band play Christmas music outside during morning carpool drop-off, while having cups of hot cocoa for sale. Tomorrow, plan on arriving between 7:55-8:10 to make sure you can hear the band playing and purchase your cocoa before they sell out.
        The Band will be playing outside the wing of the original school as you drive up, so keep the car windows down Friday morning. 
        The hot cocoa will be on sale tomorrow starting at 7:55 outside the north wing of the original school by the PreK classroom and Auction office. Eighth graders Lauren and Kate are in charge of the hot cocoa sale, raising funds for charity. Their cups will be sold for $1. (Please bring exact change - or tell the girls to "keep the change.") Students will be allowed to bring in to their classrooms their cocoa, sipping it during 1st period.
Thank You, St. Louise Parishioners, for Taking Care of This Before 2019
           Every year at this time, St. Louise Parish asks all parishioners to please commit initially to or recommit themselves to the financial support of St. Louise Parish by returning their completed Stewardship of Treasure Commitment Card. This commitment/recommitment may be done through the mail or collection basket by using a hard copy form (found in the church or at the parish office) or it may be done online at  If you have any questions about stewardship, please contact Jonathan Taasan, parish administrator.
          Please remember that if you are a school parent paying the contributing-parish tuition rate, this assumes you annually complete this Stewardship Commitment Card and, to the best of your ability, you fulfill this pledge throughout the calendar year. If a school family fails to tithe in this way, they can no longer receive the reduced contributing-parish rate, so please make sure you get this process completed before 2019 arrives. Thank you in advance for your financial support of St. Louise Parish!

Katie Goett, St. Louise Class of 2018, recently placed fourth in the Star Spangled Skate Competition in Everett, competing in the free skate category. Way to go, Katie!

If you have news of accomplishments of St. Louise Alumni, please send this to Cindy Wagner.

Light the Advent Candle 4

Please take a look at the parish Advent handout that was previously sent home in the red Family Envelope or find a soft copy here. You'll find in it the Christmas Mass times at St. Louise Parish.

Advent ends on December 24, and Christmas of course begins on December 25. Christmas Season extends through the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6.

Epiphany is a wonderful event to discuss with your children and celebrate as a family. Go here for more information on how to celebrate this feast. 

Bring a Friend to School on the Evening of January 10th
          We are already preparing for admissions for prospective new school families for the 2019-20 school year. Even though we employ various marketing ideas such as road-sign advertising, online ads, and Church bulletin inserts, when it comes right down to it year-after-year, our best promotional product is YOU, the current school parent! We have a few incentives to encourage you to continue to market St. Louise School to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and extended family with children approaching the ages of 4-14.
          Our first incentive is to provide one-month's free tuition (valued at our in-parish 1-child rate) to a school family who refers a new family to us who end up enrolling here. There is a place on a new parent's enrollment form which asks if a current school parent referred them. If your name is listed as the referral-source when they apply for admissions later this winter or next spring, you get that free tuition (valued at over $600)!
          Another incentive is tied to our Open Houses.
We suggest that you current school parents not only encourage a prospective new school parent to visit, but that you accompany or meet that new family here on Open House night and give them a tour yourself. If you personally bring a prospective new family to an Open House (or tell them you'll meet up with them here once they arrive), we have a $10 Starbucks card for you. The idea of giving you this card is for you to continue the conversation of considering enrolling at St. Louise with the prospective family the following week over a cup of coffee. You're asked to help "close the deal," so to speak, and Starbucks is known for being a place for "business deals." ;-) And as I said, if you do indeed help, you'll not only have assisted in getting another great family in our school, but you'll be thanked with that larger reward of free tuition.
           Our next Open House is the week we return from Christmas vacation - on Thursday, January 10, from 6:30-7:30PM. Please no te that this is a special Open House in that we will solely be focusing on grades 6, 7, and 8. Please consider asking your friends with an upcoming middle school student to attend the Open House with you. You can drive them here or meet them in the parking lot at 6:30. Your and their kids are encouraged to come too. Once here, make sure you introduce the new family to Cindy Wagner, our development director, who will be greeting you at the front door inside the lobby. Cindy will jot down your name and make sure you get your Starbucks card the next day.
           Furthermore, if you are a current grade 4-6 St. Louise family and want to learn why our St. Louise middle school grades are so effective at preparing our graduates for success in high school, you're invited on January 10, too, so you can meet your kids' future teachers and ask them questions.
           Our final Open House of the admissions season - on January 31 at 6:30 - will be for everyone. All our grades PreK through 8 classrooms will be open for touring and talking with th teachers. 
           Thank you in advance for your help in marketing St. Louise School!

ReloadNow & ScripNow Allows You to Purchase Charger Cards Even When on Vacation

Families can still get more Charger Cards during the Christmas break with ScripNow and ReloadNow ecards. Place your eGift card order on or on on your mobile device. When you pay for your eGift cards with online payments (PrestoPay™), you'll receive the eGift cards immediately.

All of your eGift cards are housed in your wallet on ShopWithScrip and in MyScripWallet. You can print eGift cards and present them like a physical gift card in the store or redeem them from MyScripWallet. Redeem them online by entering the card number and PIN when you're checking out. You will need to setup the PrestoPay account for payments.

The Charger Cards office will be closed starting this Friday at 10AM until school resumes in January. However, we will have one last in-person sale's day this Sunday morning the 23rd outside the church at the morning Masses.

Charger Cards would like to wish all St Louise families a Merry Christmas and a Happy Blessed New Year!

Charger Cards...It's simple, it's thoughtful and it's truly the gift that keeps on giving! Of course, you may always purchase 24/7 at or for ScripNow, Reload, or Reload Now cards.                          
For more information on Charger Cards and online ordering, please visit or email chairperson Marsha at
Time to Sign-Up for CYO Volleyball
          CYO volleyball registration is now open to all St. Louise students in grades 4-8.  To sign-up, please go HERE. The registration fee is $75. Registration will close on January 18th. Late registrations may be accepted, depending the size of existing rosters, and at the increased cost of  $110..
          For more information, contact St. Louise volleyball coordinator, Joni Hoffman .
          Go, Chargers!

Congratulations to our Honor Roll Students
          The following 7th and 8th grade students earned placement on the St. Louise Honor Roll for the 1st trimester. To be on the Honor Roll, a student must earn no lower grade than a 90% in all core subjects - religion, math, science, social studies, language arts. In addition, a student must not earn a mark lower than a '3' in all specialist subjects and subcategories on the report card.
          Congratulations to:
Evie Aitken, Grace Andrade, Patrick Blaha, Anna Buysse,
Daniel Catorcini, Ellie Charles, Richard Conces, Liam Curran,
Emily D'Costa, Tim Doggett, Nate Eala, Modesto Estrada,
Andrew Gooding, Lucia Grisaffi, Colin Harris, Caitlyn Hoffman,
Jack Kehoe, Sarah Kujath, Allison Kussy, Raizel Lagunero,
Charlie Lambert, Kate Leach, Lauren Lester, Summer Manne,
Adara Martinez, Julius Moricz, Sydney Newton, TJ Russell,
Daniel Sandino, Ashley Santiago, Jonathan Silva,
Ellie St. Pierre, Courtney Stockwell, Ann Sullivan, Alexandra Szrama,
Ryan Tang, Lauren Teders, Ryan Tiotuico, Kimberly Tovar-Moreno,
Justine Utz, Fiona Wallis, Jenna Wilken, Joseph Yuen

Need a Non-Profit to Whom to Send Your End-of-Year Gift?

Please consider St. Louise Parish and/or St. Louise Parish School in your end-of-year giving. Most gifts to St. Louise are tax-deductible. If you have corporate matching through your employer, you can even double your gift!

Please go here  and/or here  for more information on giving to the school and/or parish. You many also contact our development director, Cindy Wagner , if you have more questions.

Thank you!
Save the Date

          Save the date for the return of Bingo to our parish! St. Louise Family Bingo Night will be on Saturday, January 26, at 6pm in the Parish Hall. For just $2 per card buy-in, the whole family can have fun winning prizes. There will also be raffles, food, and drinks for purchase. It's FUN for the whole family!
          Proceeds benefit Advocacy and Caring for Children (ACC), a volunteer organization that provides caring, funding, and advocacy for Western Washington children and families in need. Family Bingo Night is brought to you by fellow St. Louise moms of ACC St. Therese Circle

St. Louise Students Are Active Christians 
Student Learning Expectations - SLEs - are expectations that our students should know, understand, value, and be able to do by the time they graduate from St. Louise School. These 12 SLEs comprise four categories important to the development of a well-rounded student: an active Christian; a life-long learner; a well-balanced individual; and a community member. Each month, one or two different SLEs are focused on school-wide until the 12 expectations are covered by the end of the school year.
We combined the shortened school-day months of November and December and have two Student

Above, Aaron and Telwin from K-B wrote what they have done which shows they are working at achieving this month's SLEs-of-the-Month.
Learning Expectations focused on throughout the school from November 1 through December 21. One has been, "A St. Louise student is an active Christian who knows Roman Catholic teachings and traditions and has a working knowledge of the Bible" (SLE #1.2). The other SLE for November/December's focus has been, and "A St. Louise student is an active Christian who actively participates in the service for which God calls us" (SLE #1.3) . Below are highlights from some of the classrooms on how they have been working on achieving these SLEs.

Our 8th graders are finally reaching the year when they will become masters of the SLE regarding knowing Roman Catholic teachings and traditions and having a working knowledge of the Bible. In Mrs. Herridge's religion class this year, the 8th graders focus on Church history and are currently learning about early Christians who lived during the years of persecution. The students will create mosaics to represent the many faithful fore-parents who died for their Christian faith.
To demonstrate they actively participate in the service for which God calls us, every 7th and 8th grader completes many hours of service each trimester. The minimum requirement is to perform 10 service hours per trimester, but most students go beyond this amount. They serve in a variety of ways: altar serve; babysit; yard work; auction help; raise funds for charity; bulletin board help for teachers; etc. The St. Nicholas Breakfast was an example of the many organizations who benefit from our students' efforts. Many 8th graders created their own craft businesses and sold items for charities, while many 7th graders served breakfast to the guests that Saturday morning earlier this month.
To demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Catholic tradition, our 2nd grade students created ornaments for their Jesse trees that you'll find in rooms 2-A and 2-B this week. Here you see Miss Casey's class's student-created ornaments of a ram (Abraham's sacrifice), an apple (the fruit Adam and Eve ate), a ladder (Jacob's dream), wheat (Ruth working in a wheat field), a whale (Jonah's story), a lion (Daniel being thrown into the lions' den), fire (Elijah's story), and a scepter (Queen Esther saving the Jews).

Our kindergarten classes reenacted the Christmas story in their classroom for their parents. The KA and KB students demonstrated that they know the Christmas story, as their performance had students acting as the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as students depicting Joseph and the animals at the manger.

When we return in January, schoolwide we'll be focusing on two new Student Learning Expectations:
  • "A St. Louise student is a community member who honors the gifts of others and values the dignity of each person" (SLE #1.2);
  • "A St. Louise student is a community member who accepts leadership roles and collaborates with others" (SLE #1.3).
Parents can assist their children in understanding and achieving these expectations by talking about how their family members honor siblings' and parents' gifts, and how collaboration and leadership is needed for a family to run well and love much.
During the month of November, the 1st graders grade actively participated in the service for which God calls us. They collected coats for a coat drive for the St. Vincent de Paul Society's "clothes closet." A representative from St. Vincent de Paul came to talk to Mrs. Howell's and Miss Helfen's students about how their ministry works and who it helps. The 1st graders then took on the mission of performing the Corporal Work of Mercy to "clothe the naked." Above, the 1st graders show all the coats they donated.

Chess Team Finishes Fall Session

The St. Louise Chess Club (pictured here) wrapped up their 2018 Fall session after a couple of months of the beginning students learning the rules of the game and the advanced students learning advanced tactics and strategies.

Recently, a team of St. Louise players - Alejandro S., Chima A., Christopher A., Dane M., Harper S., Jetro A., and Lorenzo A. - attended the St. Anne Chess Tournament and put forth a great effort in a very competitive Congratulations to Lorenzo who, in this his first ever tournament, qualified for the state tournament later in 2019.

The Winter session starts on January 28, and you may contact Chess Club coordinator Oscar Antezana for registration information.

We want to thank Oscar for the time he puts in to lead Chess Club, along with his wife Karen Garvizu! Thanks also to the Chess Club volunteer helpers -
Anyichie Chika, Diane Sloss, Laura Bonner, and Marian Zappala!


Our own 6th grader, Elise, is cast in the lead role of Clara in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of The Nutcracker (photo © Lindsay Thomas)

St. Louisers Annalise, Maura, Elina, and Matilda are all cast as toy soldiers in The Nutcracker.

Prayer Inspiration for the Week

"When night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed, just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God's hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him - really rest - and start the next day as a new life."
~Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
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