July 26, 2018
Summer greetings! August is right around the corner and the start of the school year will soon follow. I hope you are enjoying summer with family and friends. Although there are several weeks of summer yet to enjoy, I want to provide information to help you prepare for the opening of school.
Before closing the book on the 2017/2018 school year, I would like to congratulate the school community for a great year. Here are highlights, none of which would have been possible without the hard work and generous support of students, faculty, administration, staff, and parents:
- Successfully completed the WCEA/WASC accreditation process. In recognition of the quality Catholic education and commitment to ongoing school improvement, the accrediting commission granted full accreditation status for a six-year term.
- The Innovation Center opened and soon became a comfortable and exciting place where students from primary through junior high have access to technology, learning, creating, and troubleshooting. This project was funded by parents through auction Fund-A-Item.
- Technology integration was enhanced with the increased number of iPads in classrooms and with the 1:1 iPad program moving down to 5th grade. The iPad program is subsidized by surplus fundraising dollars.
- Technology integration was further supported by the creation of a new role, the Digital Media Specialist. In her new role, Mrs. Stein provided ongoing and innovative support for students and teachers in order to advance technology integration in all grades.
- Curriculum changes included a new grammar/writing series in K – 8th grade and Spanish instruction in 5th – 8th grade.
- Students in K – 8th grade had a wonderful performing arts experience displaying their singing, acting, and dancing talents in the musical Aladdin Jr. and enjoyed the performances in the newly remodeled Servite Theatre.
- The Academic Decathlon team had its best performance in school history with top finishers in several individual categories, 2nd in Super Quiz, and 4th place overall.
- The inaugural Mock Trial team performed with poise and confidence at the first-ever Junior High Mock Trial competition earning MVP medals and finishing 4th in the team competition.
- Students in K – 8th grade participated in the school’s first-ever Spelling Bee challenge.
- New teachers (Mrs. Haselby, Mrs. Conklin, Mrs. Raymond, Mrs. Uy, Mr. Mandry, Mrs. Maffia) successfully integrated into the SFA School community.
- 8th Grade East Coast Historical Trip enjoyed an unforgettable experience!
- Implemented “FIAT” (Faith In Action Today) awards in Preschool/Pre-K
Most of the staff is on break, but St. Francis School remains a busy place during the summer. Students are participating in Camp Wolf Pack, and Mr. Rodriguez is repairing, cleaning, and building. The office staff is handling administrative tasks, Mrs. Clarida is meeting with prospective families, and the administrators are preparing for their new roles aligned with the President-Principal model described in my recent email informing the school community about the new administrative structure.
St. Francis of Assisi School prides itself on our commitment to provide an excellent ‘whole child’ education. With this in mind, the administration and faculty work diligently to improve our school by enhancing our facilities and programs to better meet student needs. Here are a few of the exciting plans we have in store for the upcoming school year:
- Celebrate our 20th anniversary with Mass and blessing of the animals on October 4th
- By popular demand, casino games will return to Fall Fest
- Implement FOSS instructional materials to engage students with meaningful active learning experiences aligned with Next Generation Science Standards
- Implement Robotics program to provide opportunities for students to learn how science, math, technology, and engineering work together and to foster problem solving and critical thinking
- Implement new social studies curriculum in K – 8th grade
- Implement new reading series in 4th – 5th grade
- Utilize PLC (Professional Learning Communities) among faculty to facilitate collaboration time to enhance student learning
- Lay the foundation for a successful Capital Campaign to implement Master Facility Plan
The most important work takes place in the classrooms. During their summer break, teachers prepare for the upcoming school year by reviewing instructional strategies, revising lesson plans, updating curriculum, and reflecting on feedback from EOY parent surveys as well as administrative evaluations. I am very pleased to introduce our new teachers for the 2018/2019 school year.
- Melissa McCallick will be our new 4th grade teacher. Mrs. McCallick earned her BA degree in Spanish at CSU Fullerton and an MA degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. She is a credentialed teacher with 18 years elementary school teaching experience at Catholic schools.
- Laura K. Lodin (not to be confused with Laura M. Lodin – 8th Grade Teacher) will be our new music teacher. Mrs. Lodin received her BA in music from Scripps College, an MA in Education and teaching credential at Claremont University, and an MFA in film production at USC. She has extensive experience teaching voice and choral music.
- Hannah Setten will be our new Technology teacher. Ms. Setten earned her BA degree in Human Development from CSU Long Beach and an MS degree from CSU Fullerton. Ms. Setten is a credentialed teacher with experience instructing students in kindergarten – high school.
- Kelli McCarty will serve as our part-time counselor. Mrs. McCarty has over seven years of experience and training as a school counselor. Mrs. McCarty received her BA in Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and MA in Counseling at Argosy University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has a Personal Pupil School counseling credential.
- Jacqueline Lorenz returns to St. Francis School in a new role. Ms. Lorenz will serve as the Extended Care Director, replacing Ms. Dean who retired at the end of the school year. She will also work as a Learning Support instructional aide.
Please review the opening of school scheduling information, dress and grooming guidelines, and other materials that can be found on our website under the quick link “2018/2019 Start of School Information”. Pay special attention to grooming and uniform guidelines to prepare your student(s) for a smooth transition back to school. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Throughout the summer the office is open from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. The office will be closed during the week of August 6. Regular office hours, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm, resume on August 13.
Your children’s education is at the heart of what we do at St. Francis of Assisi School and we are truly honored that you have entrusted us with their academic, spiritual, and personal development. It is an honor to serve the St. Francis of Assisi school community. I am grateful for your support and I look forward to working with you and your children throughout the 2018/2019 school year. May the remainder of your summer be happy and filled with great memories!