News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.2, August 6, 2020
“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.”
~St. Josemaria Escriva


Many saints refer to the Rosary as a weapon that can defend us against all types of evil. St. Josemaria Escriva also notes that we should have confidence that our prayers will be heard and answered. Of course, we do not always receive the answer we would like! May this new year find us praying the Rosary with confidence and trust in Divine Providence.
At daybreak last week, some of our senior class assembled with Fr. Jon Jenkins and Head of School Mr. Watson to pray the rosary.
A LETTER FROM MR. WATSON
Dear Academy Families,

Here we are, on the threshold of an exciting school year. 

As humans, we will from time to time be called upon to endure seasons of real crisis. But endurance alone is not the purpose of human life. We do not ultimately endure one crisis only to make sure we are around to survive the next. We humans endure great stress because we are designed for something higher than mere survival.

In the grand sweep of history, it has been a testament to the vibrancy of a civilization that it understands the formation of the next generation as its highest earthly work. Famine, war, or plague, the great task of educating young people in the ways and wisdom of the community continues and must continue. 

So beginning this next week we will move forward. Cautiously. Purposefully. Together.

Your servant,

Matthew David Watson
Head of School
The Atonement Academy
REMOTE LEARNING RUN-THROUGH MONDAY, AUGUST 10

If you have selected Remote Learning for your Crusader, there is a required "Remote Learning Run-Through" on Monday, August 10th. The important handout about this entire process is available on our website. Click here to review it and be prepared for Monday!
BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION

PARENT-ONLY ORIENTATIONS

Because of our concerns regarding gathering in safe numbers, we are filming our Parent-Only Orientations. Click here to view the Lower School Orientation and this evening's Orientation for Middle and Upper School will be posted Friday morning, also on our website in the "In Case You Missed It" section.

SCHOOL UNIFORMS

The uniform company, Academic Outfitters, is running low on small size skirts and ties. Shoes Unlimited is also running low on small size loafers. Both companies are working on getting their stock replenished. White socks are in good supply at the shoe store as well. Our school will accept an reasonable substitute for any uniform item out of stock. If you have any questions, email Mrs. Powell at apowell@atonementonline.com.

SCHOOL LUNCH ORDERS

A Matter of Taste Catering is our lunch meal provider. Families will be able to pre-order meals through AMOT’s school lunch management software, EZSchoolApps. Please follow the directions to setup your account today. Please note that the School Zip Code is 78255 and the School Code is 111.

Also, Oak Dairy Farms will provide milk for students. To order, parents should log into FACTS SIS Parent portal. Please note that they system will only show partial month, but will show remainder of month after the second week has passed. Contact Mrs. Johnston for ordering questions and the business office for payments.

TEXTBOOKS

Here is a link for the Lower School Textbook List, along with this one for the Middle and Upper School.

SUPPLIES

Here is a link that will take you to the Middle & Upper School list, and this link will take you to the list for the Lower School. In addition, there is a separate list here for the PreK-3 and PreK-4.

-School Planners. Planners will be handed out to students in grades 3-12 by teachers and family accounts will be charged. Planners are consumable workbooks and will be used by remote learners as well as on-campus students.

-PE Bags. New gym bags are in and available for purchase at the front office. They are $10 each.

-Crates. Correction to the supplemental supplies for Lower School listed on the addendum: Only grades Kinder through Sixth will need crates. (PreK-3 and PreK-4 do not need crates.) The crates can be any neutral color: white, gray, black, red, or blue. 

-Other Supplies. Some school supplies are in short supply at stores. This is especially true for hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes. If you are having difficulty, please know that the school has enough to begin on August 12th. Please send them in when you do find them.
SAFE RETURN PLAN

As we prepare for our return to school, our first priority is the safety of our students and our employees. Thank you for partnering with us to carry forward the mission of Catholic classical education in these challenging times. The Safe Return Plan and all updates and revisions will always be sent first to your email inbox and then will be posted on our website at this link.
NOTA BENE: NOTE WELL

August 7-9
Texas Tax Free Weekend

August 7
Meet the Teacher & Supplies Drop-Off (Campus, 1:00-4:00 p.m.)
Families A-G 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Families H-P 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Families Q-Z 3:00-4:00 p.m.
* Middle and Upper locker assignments will also be available.

August 8
Campus Beautification (Campus, 7:00-11:30 a.m.)
For more information contact Mrs. Vale (melissavale09@gmail.com)

August 10
Remote Learning Run-Through (see critical information above)

August 12
First Day of School (Carline begins at 7:25 a.m.)
PTC Breakfast in the Piazza.

August 14
PTC Back to School Ice Cream Social

August 20
Class Sponsor Kick Off, 7:00 p.m. in St. Anthony Hall

August 28
Upper School Picture Day
PTC Room Mom Social
Upper School Tea (2:00 p.m. in Library)

September 4
Coffee with Mr. Watson (8:00 a.m. in the Common Room)

Check our school website for details.
SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENTS

Assignments to accompany summer reading are available on the school’s website link. For most grades, these were journaling assignments designed to help your child engage more fully with the book they were assigned to read over the summer. Assignments are due on the first day of school, so be sure to be ready to submit the assignment when school resumes next week.
WELCOME TO OUR CRUSADER NEW FAMILIES!

The Atonement Academy is happy to welcome forty-seven new Crusaders for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. We have additional families still touring and considering our school. Please pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance during their decision-making.

In addition, if you know of other families considering a move to a different school, let them know that some of our classes have space available. Interested families should contact us as soon as possible at admissions@atonementonline.com.

We wish to recognize our director of admissions, Mrs. Yolanda Joiner, for all her hard work this summer, giving tours as needed, processing applications, and enrolling our new students.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE

Join us on social media! Even if you are not one to post your personal activity, it IS a vehicle for information and engagement with our school!

FACEBOOK is an online social media and networking platform that uses the written word, photos, and videos to communicate with the world.

The Atonement Academy page is our public page. Anyone with an account can see the information here, so it is great for getting information out to the public and advertising our school to interested families. "Like" us on Facebook and ask your friends to do so as well! It can be a great venue for us to share all the good news about our school community! The page is managed by school representatives.

Atonement Exchange is a private group. Participation is limited to currently enrolled families and graduates of our upper school. A series of qualifying questions must be answered before a person is allowed to join the group, and at the beginning of each school year, the group is updated with our current families. It is a great private forum for our Atonement community to exchange information, books, uniforms, photos of school sports and events, and parent formation ideas. Posts to the Exchange are managed by school personnel.NOTE: There is still time to advertise and trade or sell your gently used textbooks and uniforms on the Exchange!

Atonement Sports is a public page that is managed by our department of athletics. School sporting events and photos are promoted on this page. "Like" the page on Facebook to follow sports-related information and activities.

INSTAGRAM is an online, worldwide photo/visuals platform.
Our account is found under theatonementacademy and is managed by school personnel. It provides visual content similar to what is found on The Atonement's Facebook public page.
OUR NEW HIGH ALTAR
If you have not been in Our Lady of The Atonement Catholic Church over the summer, you have not seen our new high altar, featuring a beautifully restored antique conventual altar and featuring our patroness, Our Lady of The Atonement. You should visit -- take a look and say a prayer for the new school year!

The triptych that was behind the high altar is being moved to the new building and will be preserved in a special heritage area.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW PAROCHIAL VICAR, FR. JON JENKINS
Fr. Jenkins and his family arrived in July, and within that short time, they have become familiar faces on campus! He answered the questions we typically pose to our faculty for our Crusader Times features.

What you currently teach, and what you enjoy about it?I don't currently teach at the Academy, however I have taught in the past for a Catholic School, teaching PreK-8th Grade Art, as I have an undergraduate degree in fine art, specializing in ceramics, although I am capable of all the arts. I've recently started working to improve on oil painting after watching too many episodes of Bob Ross': "The Joy of Painting."
 
I have more dominantly taught scripture in the past, having been professor of Prophets, Synoptic Gospels, and Johannine Literature (the writings of St. John) for the Deacon School at the Archdiocese of Atlanta. I have also been a guest speaker on Ascetical Theology (also commonly called Spiritual Theology in the Catholic Church), focusing on spiritual disciplines such as Spiritual Direction, Confession, and Marriage Preparation. 
 
What you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy? 
Having spent some time now with the faculty and staff of the Atonement Academy, I appreciate the keen interest of the teachers and staff, and their willingness to learn, but also to make this school more of a community than merely a school. I also appreciate the eagerness of the students to shape their spiritual lives, by seeking Spiritual Direction and Confession. It is always my hope in giving good direction to have to do less and less of it, or to help the person to come to a point of getting all of the "big rocks" out of their shoes, and really to work on fine tuning the soul to their individual needs. 
 
What you look forward to in the 2020-2021 school year. 
I look forward to helping to move the spiritual development of not only the school, but the whole parish, towards a model of mutual accountability and mutual discipleship, and to be a model of a healthy community that nurtures itself with the guidance and protection of the clergy. In a place like this, where there is certainly an air of "pursuance of excellence," there is also always the potential for unhealthy competition. This is not something I have seen as yet, but it is always a temptation of pride to take us beyond a healthy mode of competition toward something more toxic. I would like to help to be a safeguard against such practices, while also fostering a community that supports, protects, and encourages its members to grow, knowing that they are surrounded and infused with the prayers and love of those around them. 
 
A bit about yourself: how you spend your leisure time, or what you are reading right now, or a favorite inspirational figure or quote, updates on your immediate family, or the like. 
I'm a bit of a "Renaissance man" in that I can really function well in a number of areas, particularly in art, music, and in making repairs and building things. Being a Priest doesn't allow for much "leisure time", but I try to spend what time I do have with my children, or doing things to provide for them. Usually, my one day off is spent grocery shopping. However, I do find mental relief in wandering through thrift shops, the Home Depot, or Art/Music supply stores, looking for ideas for that next project, anniversary or birthday gift. I also tend to get into a little bit of gardening at the end of each day: watering the plants, fending off the "dragons" (geckos and lizards) in my back yard, and putting away the kids' toys. As I drive around town, I tend to listen to books on CD, particularly presidential biographies. I'm currently trudging though Ron Chernow's biography of U.S. Grant. I also recently purchased The Epic of Gilgamesh which is a 5,000 year old Mesopotamian epic, which I hope to read soon. 
 
Something you wish we had asked!
My favorite book of the Bible is 1st John, particularly Chapter 4, which reminds us of the love God has for each of us. I believe many people fear returning to Church because they have some sense that they will get their lives in order, and then come back to God. Which, to me, sounds like someone saying: "I'm going to go to see the Doctor eventually, but not until I'm healthy." The Church is very much a hospital for sinners, not a country-club for Saints. But fear is often the inhibiting factor, so we need to be reminded of 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." Or verse 19: "We love, because he first loved us." God always make the first move, and our forgiveness is never deserved. That's why we call it mercy, which means "undeserved forgiveness." If we can learn to be merciful, and to speak to others of God's great mercy, perhaps they'll be less afraid and get the healing they need. 
FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: MISS LEARY
What you currently teach, and what you enjoy about it?
I teach choir--what’s not to love? The fact that I get to become Maria VonTrapp daily (teaching Do, Re, Mi) is absolutely surreal! “My heart wants to sing every song it hears…”
 
What you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy?
For me, this one is obvious: teaching for the first time!! As a fresh 2020 graduate, I am thrilled to begin my career as a music educator here at The Atonement Academy. I am also looking forward to working with every single student here; not many teachers have the chance to work with students of all ages and skill levels right off the bat!
 
What is something you are proud of?
I am a proud member of the San Antonio Mastersingers, the chorus of the San Antonio Symphony. In the past year alone I was able to sing at the Tobin Center under three world-class maestros, at a Spurs game, and even behind Andrea Bocelli! Being a part of a magnificent choir is one of the best experiences in the world!
 
A bit about yourself: how you spend your leisure time, or what you are reading right now, or a favorite inspirational figure or quote, updates on your immediate family, or the like.
Anyone who has met me knows that I reference Broadway musicals in nearly every conversation in which I partake. My favorite musicals include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Music Man, along with many other Golden Age classics. In my free time you will see me at the piano, on the phone with my cousins, or making a pitcher of sweet tea.
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: ALEJANDRO OLIVEROS

I was a proud student at the Atonement Academy for 10 years, starting in third grade and continuing on through high school, graduating in 2013. After graduating, I went off to Texas A&M to pursue aeronautical engineering. God very quickly showed me engineering was not for me, and I came back to San Antonio to pursue a degree in Choral Music Education at UTSA. My wife Maggie and I got married at Our Lady of The Atonement at the end of 2017, and we moved up to Fort Worth shortly after. I've been teaching at a grade 6-12 campus in Ft. Worth ISD, and I am thrilled to be returning to San Antonio this summer and to the Academy as Assistant Choir Director.

Two of my favorite experiences from my time as a student are the choral education and the upper school trip to Italy. It was surreal to see the seat of the Church after learning so much of the Church's history in class and performing music that was written for those spaces. I will never forget chanting the Agnus Dei in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and getting a nod of approval from the monks living there as they walked by.

In my free time, I've been coaching soccer and volleyball, singing barbershop, and enjoying the company of my lovely wife and our dog.
UPDATES FROM OUR ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

Lower School PE Safe Return Plan

The Atonement Academy Physical Education staff, and sport-specific coaching staff are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all scholar-athletes to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. Physical Education (PE) will utilize measures that ensure a healthy environment for all Crusaders.

Over the summer, hand sanitizer stations were installed throughout the gym for use by all of our students during the course of a regular PE class. Each evening, the locker rooms, bathrooms, gym floor, and bleachers are being disinfected by a fogger administered by the Atonement coaching staff. All PE equipment used will be disinfected before and after each use. Classes will enter the gymnasium through one entry point and will exit the gym through another set of doors. We will have a way of limiting close space due to classes coming into and out of the gym.

A few protocols to follow heading into the new school year:

- Grades PreK and Kinder will not change out of their school uniform for PE.

- Grades 1st-5th will be required to have gym uniform under their school uniform. (only black shorts, no red PE shirt required under school uniform this year). They will have PE class in their school uniform button up top, and black shorts under pants for boys, and blouse for girls. Inside of their gym bag should only be gym shoes, and a water bottle. They will not be allowed to use the locker rooms due to social distancing and the class size. This is also due to the average time it takes for these age groups to change in and out of their gym clothes.

- Grades 6th-8th will have locker room access and will be spread out in the locker rooms to ensure physical distancing. We will be able utilize both locker rooms as boys and girls will have split days for PE.

Students will be placed in assigned spots on the gym floor to begin each class, and they will be spaced out six feet apart. Face masks will be required indoors, especially when in locker rooms and close spaces. During warm-ups or exercises, students will be allowed to pull face mask down below their mouths to breathe more efficiently. There will be no water fountain access without a water bottle, and students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to class, so that they may use the fountain to refill their water bottles.
SCENES ON CAMPUS

Summer Tennis Camp in addition to various Conditioning Camps and welcomed donations of equipment were highlights of the athletics department this summer. Then began the annual PreK-K Picnic and the Teacher and Staff In-Service. Collections of PPE equipment and necessities were inventoried and assessed (That is Mr. Salas installing the dispenser). Getting classrooms ready for students are always part of the transition back to school, as our new faculty member and Kindergarten teacher Ms. Chaney and veteran 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Weems demonstrate!
2019-2020 YEARBOOK

The annual yearbook arrived in June! If you were enrolled last year and have not picked up your yearbook, stop by the front office and do so as soon as possible. Enrollment fees include one yearbook per family.