Dear Parents of Saint Joseph-
We are SO happy to have our students back at school! They bring so much joy, life, and energy to our school building, and we missed them very much over Summer Break. Our students have done such a wonderful job transitioning from summer to back to school in just four short days. I am so proud of them! I can already tell we are going to have a fantastic school year.
This coming Wednesday, August 29 is our BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT. We request that at least one parent from every family attend this very important night. It is our one night to tell you about your child’s daily routine and our school/classroom expectations. We look forward to seeing you all as this night really kicks off our partnership in education. Please meet in the Basilica at 6:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there.
As I mentioned last week, in these next editions of the Principal Newsletter, I would like to focus on the academic goals we have established for this school year.
In my first year here at Saint Joseph, I worked with our faculty to identify areas where our academic curriculums could elevate to the next level of great. Here are the three academic areas we identified as needing upgrades that we plan to complete this school year:
1) Successful Implementation of the new English/Language Arts Curriculum
We purchased, received training, and will be implementing a new English/Language Arts program throughout all grades. In our TK-2 grades, we are implementing the SuperKids, which is a comprehensive reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary program. In grades 3-8, we are implementing several new curriculums that, in conjunction with one another, make for a comprehensive and rigorous English/Language Arts program: The Reading Writing Workshop (commonly known as the Lucy Calkins series) for reading and writing, the Wordly Wise Vocabulary series (previously used in grades 6-8), and finally, the Voyages grammar series. The use of all these components will give our students a very well rounded English/Language Arts curriculum that will set them up for success within their academic work.
2) Implementation of the Second Step Program in grades 6-8 (Emotional/Social Development Program).
Second Step is a program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL) that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments uniquely equipped to encourage children to thrive. More than just a classroom curriculum, Second Step’s holistic approach helps create a more empathetic society by providing education professionals, families, and the larger community with tools to enable them to take an active role in the social-emotional growth and safety of today’s children. We plan to evaluate social/emotional curriculum programs for grades TK-5 over the course of this year, with plans to implement social/emotional curriculum in all grades TK-8 next school year.
3) Further Implementation of our School Wide Technology Plan.
We will successfully implement the iPad program in grades TK-5. Each classroom in grades TK-4 has a classroom set of six iPads, to be used for learning stations to enhance student learning and student engagement, and promote students’ technological skills. Grade 5 joins grades 6-8 with the 1:1 device model, so all students in grade 5 have their own iPads, and all students in grades 6-8 have their own Chromebooks. The 1:1 device program aims to integrate technology into all curricular areas, which both enhances student learning in all classes, and also helps students prepare to enter high school and beyond with the technological skills that they need to succeed. We will continue to provide students and teachers with training and development so that students are comfortable using this technology within the classroom as well as at home. We will also introduce a typing program for students to become fluent keyboard typers. Finally, we will further utilize the Technology Lab to make it into a multi-purpose space, meaning that we will continue to use it as a Technology Lab, and additionally make it into a “makerspace” for a creative learning environment.
The excitement in the air at Saint Joseph is infectious. We appreciate all of your support, your time and your talents as we celebrate our “New Year!”
God’s Blessings on Each of Us,
Dr. Marquita Yriarte