Volume 20~ January 19, 2020
St. Joseph's Regional Jr. High School
News & Notes ~ Week of January 26, 2020
Mission Statement: St. Joseph Regional Jr. High School is a Catholic, inclusive school for 7th and 8th grade where students learn and grow in respect for God, themselves, and others, engage in academically rigorous curricula and a wide-range of meaningful service and enrichment experiences. 
Please help us promote our Winter Registration Celebration this Tuesday evening from 6:00pm-7:30pm. We already have 60 students registered for 2020 and it's only January (This year we started in September with 63, now we have 75) and more exciting is that we even have current 5th graders registered for 2021!! St. Joe's is growing at lightning speed and we don't want anyone to miss the chance to be part of our community before will fill our school! When we are bigger, we can do more of everything we're doing now: More unified prayer and spiritual development, More sports, more band, more drama, more clubs, more service work, more engaging academic work, more teacher collaboration, more partnerships with universities.
We are exactly one-half way through the school year and though many things have changed at St. Joe's, we are not slowing down!
First, please visit our newly upgraded website. Through my humble efforts I have gotten more content on the website, but I knew it needed a professional upgrade. So, I was able to acquire the support of a fantastic marketing intern, Nina Hinds (daughter of Mrs. Hinds, religion teacher at CLA), who has given this website just the look it needed.
Thanks to Nina, we now even have some new features INCLUDING an ABSENCE REPORTING page, where you can simply go in at any time of day and plan ahead, mark your student absent, tardy, or dismissed early and we will get that information, no phone or email call needed! You can even do it right from your phone! 
Next, students' progress is measured in several key ways this week. We issued report cards on Friday and students are wrapping up the second round of NWEA tests. Some students have demonstrated continued commitment to their studies. Continuously the message they get from me is this: within the honor roll, there are students for whom studies come easily and there are students who must work tirelessly. There is a place for each student who choses to be resourceful, dedicated and curious but you must earn it. The rigor of any academic program can be found at the intersection of a students' willingness to reach for the next hold and for that next hold to be visible and within reach. When I confer with students about their report cards, I am doing so on the basis of effort, conduct, AND achievement and I am teaching them to and expecting them to take full advantage of their small classes, the after school support and their material and social resources (setting up systems with friend). There is no excuse for not performing at their best. Therefore, you will see a robust list of honor roll students and some will be on the "ineligible" list for sports. There is a homework group after school for athletics - so getting less than a C is not acceptable. At the same time, my weekly meetings with teachers about their curriculum and students allows me to identify any necessary improvements in the instruction and assessment process to assure that the grades you see are a reflection of skills and knowledge.

In addition, those taking the reading classes will be doing a mid-year growth and engagement report this week. I do want the students to evaluate their own level of commitment to reading and of course we will be checking progress. Some have used this time to the fullest extent. They have logged in regularly to Goodreads, selecting books, recommending books, writing thoguhtful reviews, read a diverse collection of texts, and those students have radically shifted their thinking about their own agency in reading development. The myth that "learning to read" stops in the early grades is just that ~ a myth. People are always learning to read different types of text and for different purposes. There are new, richer, deeper aspects of literacy to learn through middle, high school and beyond.
The students have just finished the NWEA test on Friday. Though I have seen mid-year dips in improvement for a wide-array of reasons throughout the many years I have used this assessment, I will expect to see strong growth in individual students' performance and across the school. I will be reviewing this performance data and will keep my door open for conversations about students as I did before. Remember, this is one piece of a mosaic of our students' growth but a necessary measurement.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that our Bear Cave School Store has earned enough money to provide scholarships for 2 students to attend the NYC field trip. It is a valuable bonding and learning experience for our students and we don't want ANYONE to miss it. The Bear Cave was set up entirely for this purpose and we are proud that we are able to give this.

But here's the thing...
I've decide that going forward, I would also set up a Square option to donate for school field trips. The more students we embrace at St. Joe's, the more students will benefit from support in being able to participate in meaningful, supplementary experiences as we serve all demographic populations. This donation link can be found on our Family Page or go directly here.
In addition, if you are finding yourself in need of the support, you can send in an envelope with your child's name on it, permission slip signed, with just $1 in it, in good faith that you really do need support. Therefore, the students will interpret that you are paying for the fieldtrip and will be none the wiser. This $1 will be a message to me that you don't have the funds to pay for the trip but you would like them to be able to go and that in the event you are able to pay it forward another day, you will. I've been there. I know how humbling it can be to feel the financial pressure and I didn't want my kids to be embarrassed. I will use the funds from the donation account and the Bear Cave to help, no questions asked.

Unity at St. Joe's Through Service Work
Charitable Service Work at St. Joseph Regional Jr. High School
Our goal on Friday was that every student saw themselves as capable of learning something new.

Well....let's just say we now have a team of knitters! I love that when I walk the halls in the morning as the students are getting ready for the day and they pull out the knitting and crocheting they've been working on in the evenings to show me! I love that when I say "meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch for practice" this is what happens. We are building leaders from within.
Our next Service Work Friday will be February 14th, 12:30pm-2:15pm. If you'd like to volunteer time, thick yarn, needles, crochet hooks, circular looms, please let us know. We're happy to have you!
We will be donating the first scarves, hats and wash cloths to the Veteran's Administration. I have finished my first one!

If you have any drawstring bags like the ones that sheets come in OR small canvas bags that students could use as project bags, please send them in. If you don't have them and you would like to donate a pack of 15, I have added them to our Amazon Wishlist.
St. Joe's Classroom Spotlights ~ World Geography
A MESSAGE FROM Mr. Borromeo:

It is a very exciting time in our World Geography classes as we have begun the new term with a fresh start in a part of the world that I always enjoy teaching about: the Middle East/Southwest Asia. This region has such a rich historical, cultural and religious history that some of our students have learned about before and others are learning about for the first time. As we begin with Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the very beginnings of civilization, it also coincides with a recent announcement that I am very excited about and wanted to pass along to you all. 
Beginning on June 13th of this year, the largest collection of treasures belonging to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun will be on display in Boston at the Saunders Castle at Park Plaza. 150 objects from King Tut’s Tomb will be a part of the exhibit including 60 that are leaving Egypt for the first time ever. I have included a link below to the website that will allow you if you are interested in seeing this once in a lifetime exhibit. Through this link, you will be able to register for a ticket lottery that will grant you priority access to tickets before they are released to the general public. The exhibit will open on June 13 and run through January 2021. 
The other part to this unit that I am excited about (and by the nods and smiles I saw in class, I’m guessing the kids are too) is being able to teach the kids about Jerusalem and its importance to the people of the Middle East. Last year, I was able to find a documentary that showed three teenagers (the same age range as our students here) explaining what life was like for them in the city with such a rich historical and religious history. The students really enjoyed it because they got to learn about a fascinating city and also hear about it from someone that was their age. 
There is so much that we can learn about from this region and I cannot wait for the kids to see that for themselves. It is one of the units that I look forward to the most in our school year and luckily it falls at a time when we have a new beginning to the term. 

Mr. B

A heartfelt thank you to Collins family who have visited our Amazon St. Joe's Library Wishlist and purchased student books and professional books. You will see that I am continually adding high-quality literature into our library for the childrens' independent reading and for our grade-level units. I sign each books that comes in with the date and "Donated with love from the X Family to St. Joseph Regional Jr. High".
You may have spotted Where the Red Fern Grows , by Wilson Rawls, that many of you have sent to us from the wishlist. I have written this contemporary classic into our 7th grade language arts units. This heart-warming story, written in 1961, is about a young boy named Billy from the Ozarks who saves his money for two years to buy his own pair of Red-Bone Coonhounds. Together they learn to hunt and remain loyal to each other and to Billy. Through adventure, triumph and difficult choices and heartache, the three build an unbreakable bond.
As a severnth grader, I read this book for the first time and it continues to be one of my lifetime favorites. Where the Red Fern Grows truly did turn me into the reader I am today. This was my book.

In addition, students are ALL working toward the 2019-2020 Fisher Cats Reading Challenge. Last year, St. Joe's won $1000 for all of the reading the students completed!
~ Language Arts with Mrs. Deignan~
School Scripts Spelling Bee
Below are our class spelling bee winners! Congratulations to them! Please join us in the gym on Monday, January 27th at 8am to see them compete to represent St. Joseph Regional Jr. High in the state competion.

*Aimee W.
Brooke H.
Jasmine H.
*Torrey P. 
Xavier P. 
Owens A. 
*Emanuel M. 
Noah F.
Robinson M.
Erin C. 
Meredith M. 
*Ryan A.
Nehemiah O. 
Michael D. 
*Susan D. 

* class winners 
These winners have their study lists and will continue to practice in the coming week. We wish them the best of luck!
Parent Engagement News

A MESSAGE FROM THE PTO:

Dear Fellow Parents:
First, thank you so much for your support of the school and teachers. I, for one, have definitely felt a sea change this year in the culture at St. Joe’s. I have enjoyed the opportunity to be more involved and gratified by the outpouring of support such that we were able to create a Parent-Teacher Organization and fund it to the point of giving Christmas gifts for teachers and supporting a whole school science project. This represents an amazing start, but the work isn’t done. We need more help. We need more people. And frankly we need more money. We have some ideas for further fundraising, but many hands make manageable work. We are all overstretched, overscheduled and overtired but the cause is worth it – our kids. Besides, the PTO isn’t just for kids and teachers, it’s for parents too. I’ve found the more involved I am the more I benefit from interactions, experience and advice from the parents I’ve met. Its been very helpful to speak with parents of older kids to get a preview of next year’s high school challenges, and after I stop screaming into my pillow, I feel much better.  I hope you will consider joining us on our monthly virtual meetings or reaching out to a PTO member ( flyingfurey1@comcast.net ) to offer help. Our next meeting is Feb 18 th at 7pm. Mrs. Florino’s newsletters have the link. Also please check our Facebook page (St Joseph’s Parents Group) for updates. I hope you’ll consider joining the team and getting involved – it’s good for you and easier to take than a giant multivitamin!
Best,
Gale Furey
  • CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE- Though I have worked on upgrading it on my own, I have had a phenomenal intern, a recent from Syracuse with a degree in Marketing, Nina Hinds, whom I met with to be our "secret shopper". I asked her to help us give our website the professional upgrade it really needed and she has done it!


  • PLEASE NOTE: We will not have school on February 11th (Election Day) and 17th (President's Day). Our building is used as a city voting location, as many schools are, so we do not want students here. We will, however, have a professional development day for teachers. Please note these days off on our lunch calendars. The school calendar will be aligned next year across all Manchester Catholic Schools.

  • PTO Meetings: February 18th, 7-8pm, Click here to join us by video! Please consider joining us. The meetings are remote, video gatherings for your convenience and the more members we have the more we can do to support our teachers and curriculum projects like Mr.Rosa's terrariums.

  • Our Advisory Board meeting will be on March 5th , 6:00pm-7:30pm in the St. Joseph's library. Notes from the November meeting are here. This board has been reviewing outward facing documentation to assure it aligns with our mission. In January, we will be reviewing the St. Joseph Regional Jr. High budget.

  • You may visit our Family Page to pay for the January 31st, 10am-12pm, snowtubing trip to McIntyre, just one of our Catholic Schools Week Activities. Please submit all checks or go online to pay by Wednesday.

  • All re-enrolling students are encouraged to register before January 31st at the discounted rate of $140. After that, registration will be the normal $250. Please do check out the new scholarship from CMC called the Hearts and Hands and DO APPLY! (see our previous Constant Contact and our website)
Bears Athletics

Basketball
  • The Boys' team has made the playoffs! Let's cheer them on this week!
Looking Ahead
  • We will be in need of a track coach!
If you or someone you know has experience participating in or coaching track and enjoys mentoring students, please ask them let Mrs. Martineau.
Always on Top!
Please note, I am monitoring grades, conduct and effort throughout the quarter. Students must maintain a minimum of C in each class and 3 or better in conduct & effort to be eligible to participate.
Important Dates Ahead

Looking Ahead:

January 24th: Report Cards were issued 1/24 and are due back signed by Wednesday, 1/29.

January 27-31th: Catholic Schools Week!
27th: School Spelling Bee at 8am in the gym and SPIRITWEAR DAY! Homeroom Games Begin!
January 28th: Pajama Day! Winter Wonderland "Registration Celebration" for ALL ASPIRING St. Joe's students AND RISING 8th Graders! Please invite 6th graders!
January 29th: Mass, 9:15am, wear mass dress code AT TRINITY , afternoon retreat with Sister Mary Joseph. We will be busing students to Trinity for this mass. Permission slips to come.
30th: Homeroom Games! Wear homeroom t-shirts
31th: SPIRITWEAR DAY! Snowtubing at McIntyre Ski Area, Hot Chocolate Social and Trivia
February 7th: Valentine's Dance (Bring-a-Friend), 7pm-10pm
February 11th: Voting Day, No School
February 17th: President's Day, No School
February 22-29: Winter Vacation
Enrichment at St. Joseph Regional Jr. High
New Activities ~ St. Joe's Choir
Choir will be meeting this week with lunch meetings for those interested. Mrs. Deignan has ordered the first songbooks and all students are welcome and encouraged to join! Our first performance will be for St. Teresa's Manor just after February vacation. Interested students should meet in the library on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at lunch.