ST. LOUISE SCHOOL PARENT BULLETIN

December 13, 2018
Dan's Blog
This past summer and fall, local news was full of stories of public school teachers striking and/or receiving unprecedented salary increases. This was connected with a recent lawsuit against the State of Washington alleging that Washington State (our state legislature) had failed to meet the state's constitutional duty "to make ample provision for the education of all children." The court found that Washington was unconstitutionally underfunding its public schools, and this forced our state legislators to come up with a plan to amply fund basic education. And the definition of "to amply fund" has basically boiled down to one main area - paying higher salaries to public school employees.
 
This school year, public school teachers in our state reaped financial rewards from the legislators' actions. All districts' teachers are receiving salaries that are unprecedented. Here are some local examples of 2018 teachers' raises:
  • Bellevue School District teachers received a 17.3% increase
  • Edmonds School District - 18.3% increase
  • Issaquah School District - 14.9%
  • Lake Washington School District - 12.2%
  • Mercer Island School District - 15.4%
  • Northshore School District teachers - 19.2%
  • Renton School District teachers - 12.4%
  • Riverview School District teachers - 12.4%
  • Snoqualmie Valley School District - 16.7%
Veteran teachers are now making more than $100,000 in many districts. Of course, teachers in the Catholic schools are not being compensated like this. There is no way Catholic school budgets can give pay raises anywhere near the increases seen in public schools. As an example, for this school year, Bellevue School District's average salary has increased to be in the $90K range; whereas, St. Louise teachers are averaging an annual salary in the $60K's. Another way to look at the discrepancy is that our current faculty is paid a total of $1,398,207, but if we would move them to the Bellevue salary schedule, they would be paid a total of $2,297,592. That means we would need an additional source of $899K to bring our teachers to par this school year!
 
I'm giving you this information on teacher-pay, so you can be aware that, now more than ever, we should be so grateful for the teachers who choose to teach in a Catholic school! There is an old saying that says, "Teachers did not choose their profession for the money." Well, this may soon not be true for teachers choosing to have a profession in public schools, but it will continue to be true for teachers choosing to work in Catholic schools.

Of course, the source for paying these public school teachers' salary increases is not coming from a magic treasury box sitting in an Olympia closet. It comes from your and my property taxes. Meanwhile, Catholic schools get no support from the government or tax payers; we need to rely on parishioners' donations, fund raisers, and the primary revenue source - tuition - to fund our budgets and determine any teacher raises.

So, the predicament for all the Catholic schools in Washington is to figure out how to give "fair and just" salaries to our 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 in 2019 and beyond.
 
...We can't pay our own teachers the same or close to these new salaries.
...We can't raise taxes to fund sudden salary surges.
...We can't raise tuition exorbitantly high so to solve the dilemma, lest we end up losing families who wouldn't be able to make drastically higher tuition payments.
 
What exacerbates the issue is that there is a teacher shortage, and there are only limited applicants out there who want to apply to teach in a school, let alone who are Catholic and can teach here.
 
...to be continued next week, when in this blog I'll talk about the benefits we can offer our teachers, and how we will continue to work hard to find and retain the best and brightest faculty. Meanwhile, between now and next Thursday, could I suggest you thank your children's teachers?!  :-)

Pax et bonum, 
 
 
Mr. Fitz
 
p.s.

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. Next Friday, December 21, 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 on the 21st.


The hot cocoa will be on sale next Friday 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. =
Upcoming Calendar of Events  
Today
  • Bake Sale at lunchtime to raise funds for junior high activities
  • Parents' Club Meeting at 6:30PM in the faculty room; all parents are invited

Wednesday, December 19
  • Christmas Concert featuring the singing of our 5th & 6th graders, 6:30PM in the church; all school families are invited (5th and 6th graders are to report to their homerooms at 6:00).

Friday, December 21 - NOON DISMISSAL
  • 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. Also, 8th graders Kate Leach and Lauren Lester, as part of their service project to raise funds for charity, will be selling cups of hot cocoa to all students (and parents) near the PreK classroom in the north wing of the original school starting at 7:55. 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.

Monday and Tuesday, January 7 & 8
  • School resumes for grades PK-6 on Monday, January 7.
  • School resumes for grades 7-8 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.
SCHOOL CALENDAR
Report Cards Arriving Tomorrow
      
       As report cards are sent home Friday by the teachers to their grade K-8 students, parents are asked to please refer to page 18 of our St. Louise Policies & Guidelines to become educated on how to read the various marks and grades.  Report cards are our official evaluation instruments, and they become part of a student's permanent file. You are encouraged to discuss report cards with your child and to work cooperatively with the teacher in an effort to help your child develop his/her potential.  Any concerns regarding the appropriateness of a particular grade should be promptly addressed to the student's teacher. 
       Please sign the 1st trimester box on the back of the manila envelope in which the report card will be delivered, and return only the envelope to the teacher on Monday. We reuse these envelopes, and your signature is confirmation to the teacher that you indeed received the card. The card itself is yours to keep.
         
This URL QR-code will take you to the parish's Stewardship of Treasure page, where you may complete your Stewardship Commitment Card
St. Louise Parishioners Have Two More Weeks to Commit
      
           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 www.stlouise.org/treasure.  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!
         

 

Mrs. Neill helps the PreK engineers, Winnie, Olivia, and Clarissa, design and build a log cabin.


Light the Advent Candle 3

To help us Christians prepare for the coming of the King, St. Louise Parish has many liturgies and events in which you and your family may participate. 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.

An Advent Concert with the Maureen Still Band takes place tomorrow night at 7PM in the church.(Maureen is a St. Louise alumna and past recipient of our Distinguished Graduate Award!)
 
This Saturday at the 5PM Mass, you may attend the traditional Filipino Advent Night Mass - Simbang Gabi. This is followed by a reception in the Parish Hall for all families. Whether your ancestry be from the Philippines, or from Poland, Peru, or Panama, all are welcome!

 Consider Throwing Your Hat in the Ring
 
Among the plentiful volunteer opportunities at St. Louise for parents is the opportunity to step forward to serve as a member of the School Commission or the Parents' Club Board. Each group needs a few new members annually to start 3-year terms. The process starts with prospective new members making known their interest in the winter so the final selection of members can be made by the spring. For the 2019-20 through 2021-22 school years, the School Commission will be looking for three new members, and the Parents' Club Board will be needing two new members starting in September, 2019.

For more information on what each of these parent leadership groups do, please go HERE. You don't need any specific 'job skills" or education/work backgrounds on your resume to be selected for either group, but you do need a love for St. Louise School and a commitment to assist your kid's school in thriving.

If you'd like to talk more to current members of these groups to get a feel for the time commitment and/or to throw your hat in the ring, please feel free to contact a School Commission member:
Or talk to a Parents' Club board member:

Re-Take Photos Coming Home Today
         
          Photo print orders from School Photo Re-Take Day are being sent home with your child today. If your child had a photo taken on November 14, be looking for this large white envelope containing prints. If you have any questions concerning school photos, please contact Cindy Wagner .

 

Congratulations to the St. Louise Speech Team who competed with 20 other schools at the Bishop Blanchet High School Speech Tournament last Saturday. We are proud of all our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who competed, and want to make special notice of these top finishers:

 

  • Raizel Lagunero - Most Inspirational Award
  • Grace Andrade - 2nd place in Novice Dramatic and Finalist in Novice Impromptu
  • Jack Kehoe - 2nd place in Novice Humorous and Finalist in Novice Oratory
  • Courtney Stockwell - 3rd place in Novice Dramatic
  • Justine Utz - 3rd place in Novice Impromptu
  • Ellie Charles - Finalist in Open Humorous and Finalist in Open Expository
  • Mark Vanris - Finalist in Open Humorous
  • Fiona Wallis - Finalist in Novice Expository
  • Lauren Teders - Finalist in Novice Oratory

 

Many thanks are due the parents who have been serving as Speech Team coaches, as well as Shannon Wallis for her Speech Team leadership and Trina Legnon for her administrative assistance. Also, thank you to Frank Vanris for coordinating the pizza lunch and to the following people who judged at the tournament: Frank Buysse, Alessandro Catorcini, Kristy Charles, Theresa Estrada, Susie Goett, Sangeetha Kanicka Dass, Stasia Kehoe, Kim Stockwell, and Mrs. Patterson & Mr. Gallant. The Speech Team will next compete at the Seattle Prep Speech Tournament on January 19th.  

 














Big News on Starbucks Cards

Starbucks Cards are back in stock at a bonus rebate rate of 10.75%! Starbucks cards will help you meet your family minimum rebate and support our school even more quickly than their usual 7% rebate. This is a great time to stock up on cards for gifts or for you. We have $5, $10, $25 and $50 cards, and other amounts may be available by special order. This bonus rebate also applies to ScripNow and reloads orders on your Starbucks cards purchased through ShopWithScrip.com or MyScripWallet.com.  Get your bonus today!


Charger Cards for Christmas

Charger Cards have in stock a wide variety of brands with low denomination cards perfect for gifts for family friends, coaches, and teachers. Here are a few
  • Starbucks: $5, $10, $25, $50        
  • Taco Time: $10
  • Panera Bread: $5, $10, $25
  • Cold Stone Creamery: $5, $10
  • Target: $10, $25                                
  • Walmart: $10, $100
  • QFC: $15, $20, $25, $50, $100
  • Amazon: $10, $25, $100
     

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 www.shopwithscrip.com or myscripwallet.com for ScripNow, Reload, or Reload Now cards.                          
 
For more information on Charger Cards and online ordering, please visit www.stlouiseschool.org/chargercards or email chairperson Marsha at chargercards@stlouiseschool.org
 
Casey Schoenlein, recent WSU star and Pac-12 All-Academic team member, got her start in volleyball a dozen years ago joining St. Louise's CYO team.
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!

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!
Tuition Assistance Grants
Accepting Applications Now for Next School Year
         
St. Louise Parish School is committed to make a Catholic school education accessible to our current and prospective school families by providing tuition assistance grants.  The decision to award grants is determined by the school after parents complete the necessary online application through FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment. We strongly encourage any family who has a financial need to complete the application. Note that applications submitted by April 15, are more likely to receive assistance for the upcoming school year, as the majority of St. Louise grants are awarded to those applications. Additionally, early applications submitted by January will be considered for an additional $1,300 in aid through the Seattle Archdiocese's Fulcrum Foundation grant program.
  
St. Louise Parish School tuition assistance grants provide financial aid to approximately 10% of our students each school year.  Families receiving tuition assistance are typically asked to pay part of the actual cost of tuition; "full scholarships" are infrequently awarded. These tuition assistance grants are based solely on financial need. Families who receive tuition assistance grants are still asked to fulfill their other financial obligations to the school and parish - admissions application fee, school fund raiser contributions, and church stewardship commitment. 

If a tuition assistance grant will help make a Catholic school education accessible to your child/children, by no later than April 15, please complete the FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment application online, pay the $29 application fee, and mail or download the required supporting documentation. The fee collected by FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment is to compensate this company for the financial aid assessment and advisory services they provide St. Louise Parish School. The $29 fee is non-refundable, even if you are not awarded a tuition assistance grant.
  
For early-applicants - those families who complete the FACTS application and submit the required supporting documentation by January 5  - you will be considered for two grants. Besides the typical St. Louise Tuition Assistance Grant funded by our Fr. Phil Wallace Endowment Fund, you will also be considered for a Seattle Archdiocese Fulcrum Foundation Grant of $1,300.
  
FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment will analyze your application using an algorithm involving your income and expenses, and then provide both the Fulcrum Foundation and the St. Louise Finance Committee with a recommended amount of tuition assistance need your family has. Both Fulcrum and St. Louise separately use this recommendation to make their decisions on which applicants will receive grants and, if so, how much assistance they will receive. All information you provide remains confidential; only our school bookkeeper and principal will have access to the names and other identifying information on the applications

You will be notified by the Fulcrum Foundation in the spring  if you have been awarded a Fulcrum Grant. You will be notified by June 1, by St. Louise School if you have been awarded a St. Louise Tuition Assistance Grant.  If aid is given from one or both sources, the school bookkeeper will inform you by June what your reduced monthly tuition payments will be starting in July for the upcoming school year.
  
The directions for filling out the application to be considered for tuition assistance are stated online. It is essential that this application is filled out completely; leave no shaded boxes blank.  It is also essential that a copy of your most recent Federal Income Tax Form 1040 and copies of your W-2 Wage and Tax Statements, along with additional documents as required per the instructions, are sent to FACTS. These may be sent by downloading them online per FACTS's instructions, or mailing them: PO BOX 82524, Lincoln, NE 68501. Whichever method you choose to send in additional documents, these must be submitted by January 4 (to be considered for two grants), or by April 15 (to be considered for one grant).

Please note: If you have filed for an extension with the IRS beyond their April 15th deadline, you are allowed to use your previous year's tax forms/statements instead for documentation for your tuition assistance application. Please explain this in your application.
  
If you have questions, please contact FACTS directly at 866-441-4637 and/or contact the Fulcrum Foundation and/or contact our bookkeeper, Amy Thielman.

 

 

The 6th graders provided service to the St. Vincent de Paul foodbank in south Seattle, donating and distributing food to those in need. This is part of the 6th graders' yearlong service focus on the Corporal Work of Mercy - Feed the Hungry.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bingo Returns to our Parish

          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

 
Prayer Inspiration for the Week

"God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer."
~ Saint Mother Teresa 
 


PARENTS in PRAYER
All parents are welcome every Wednesday-schoolday at 8:15 a.m. to pray with fellow school parents in a small-group setting. Please check in at the school office.
 
See what's happening on our St. Louise Facebook page