Dear Parents and/or Guardians:
Recently, we experienced another horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It has become a common occurrence in our culture. We want to assure our parents that we put safety above all else at SJC.
Our Crisis Plan was updated, reviewed and approved by the Western Springs Police Department. Should any problem ever occur, the police are here at SJC within minutes. We also have protocol in place for a school lockdown. Our students and staff practice it and their response time, once informed, occurs under one minute. We have been commended by the Police Department for our swift action and quiet demeanor in which we approach the lockdown. We know, of course, that any emergency can change dynamics; however, we drill so that all children and staff know the procedure and it becomes intrinsic in case of an actual lockdown. If a situation would actually arise, the children and adults are trained to react immediately.
As you are aware, two years ago, we underwent a great deal of construction within the school office and the school chapel. We built a vestibule so that visitors would need to enter through double doors in order to enter the school building. The following procedures were put into place:
- The only entrance for visitors to the school at any time of the day is the main entrance – door one. No one is allowed entry through any other door.
- Ring the bell for entrance into the vestibule. Once you identify yourself, you are allowed access through the first set of doors. When those doors close, you are allowed through the second set of doors.
- Have your license ready to check into the building through School Check-in.
- Receive your nametag.
Besides the changes above, we have also employed after school receptionists to assure that the doors are no longer propped open. This has been very successful. Coaches or any other adult with a group in the building must sign in and then sign out again when their activity concludes.
When a tragedy occurs, as parents, it is a natural tendency to shield our children from seeing or hearing about the situation. With it on the news and the main topic of the continual conversation it has received, we need to have a few strategies in order to help us speak to the children. How can we help explain the unfathomable? Perhaps the following tips can help you in that task.
We must take our cues from the children. First, be sensitive to what they already know. If they ask about it, find out what they know before answering. Use simple language when offering prayers for people hurt but without identifying specifics. Limit the exposure of your young children to the news. Offer the children an opportunity to discuss their feelings. Give simple, honest answers. If they ask, will it happen at SJC, let them know about our safety measures. Reassure them. Let them know you love and cherish them. For more information regarding programs, services or supportive options please contact: Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, 100 East Eighth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202,
As we approach each school day, your child/ren’s safety is first and foremost in all that we do. We handle delicate situations with utmost sensitivity in an age appropriate manner.
Thank you for your continued support.
We wish to thank our parents who have worked non-stop in preparation for the Casino Night on 3/10/18. The proceeds from this party go toward the Teacher Recognition Trust and revenue within the school budget. The Teacher Recognition Trust (TRT) and the School Advisory Board (SAB) joined forces in making this happen. Our teachers appreciate all that our parents do in order that they may continue to dedicate their work to your children and the mission of St. John of the Cross Parish School. Come out and join us for a fun-filled evening!
Questions often arise regarding confusion about the difference between the annual fund and the SAB/TRT party. Your support of the Annual Fund is vital to the success of the school. The gifts raised through the Annual Fund are critical to covering the cost of educating your children. Our operating budget depends upon those generous donations. The dollars raised assist us in maintaining the current technological practices in education, classroom aides, overall staffing, etc. Our goal for the school year is $140,000.00. Thank you for your continued generosity!
As we enter the final weeks of Lent, we continue to collect small change in the classroom for our parish Rice Bowl and gently used or new books for Collegiate Charter School, our school Lenten Project. Your generosity has been overwhelming. We appreciate your donations to this book drive. At this time, we already have collected over 2000 books. There is still time to donate. Thank you!
During Lent, we stress the fasting, almsgiving, and prayer so that we might fully embrace the Triduum, beginning with the Holy Thursday liturgy, the only liturgy on that day. The priest blesses and consecrates the holy oils to be used throughout the year at special celebrations. The washing of the feet symbolizes the Passover Festival where Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in order to cleanse them of their sins so that they might carry out his mission of building His Church. Jesus exemplifies humility of service and the need to cleanse with water, a symbol of Baptism. He shares the bread and wine with the apostles, stressing the importance of our first Eucharist and the transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We continue the Triduum on Good Friday afternoon through our Lord’s Passion and the adoration of the cross, symbolizing the wood of the Cross where Christ died to save us. Finally, our Easter Vigil culminates the Triduum where the Paschal candle is lit; thereby indicating that Jesus is the Light of the World. The candle is present throughout the Easter season and used at special liturgical moments throughout the liturgical year. We celebrate Easter as the day our Lord rose from the dead to save us.
Our children will attend Stations of the Cross as a school on 3/6, with grade 4 leading us. Our St. Patrick/St. Joseph liturgy always seems to fall during Lent, as we celebrate the liturgy on 3/19 at 9:15 AM in the church. As has been custom each year, our LRC staff and Fine Arts teachers organize a Prayer Service on Holy Thursday, 3/29, at 9:45 AM in the gym. We reenact the events leading to Jesus’ Crucifixion.
I pray that you celebrate this special season with your families and fully embrace its significance for you and your children. May the blessings of the Lenten season and Easter Triduum be with you and yours throughout the year.
CURRICULAR PROGRAMS UPDATE
On 3/22/18, representatives from the State of Illinois will visit SJC and complete an audit of our records, curriculum, etc. Upon completion of the visit, SJC should continue to receive its Non-public School Recognition. This occurs approximately every five years. We are confident that all requirements will be met.
One School One Book
Mrs. Sue Michalowski, our School Librarian, just completed the 4th annual One School One Book month-long reading event. She offered podcasts, where families read together each night. Daily trivia questions were asked of the students, with Mrs. Michalowski awarding a few prizes at the end of the reading. She also staged a Lemonade War, based upon the story, in the school cafeteria (MPR) last week. The different grade level teachers participated. The children loved it! Thank you parents, teachers, students, and especially Mrs. Michalowski for the success of this program.
Aspire testing for grades 3-8 occurs following Spring break during the week of 4/16/18. More information to follow in the April newsletter.
Report cards go home on 3/2/18 with the children.
UPCOMING MARCH ACTIVITES/EVENTS:
- 3/2 – Out of uniform; Grade 3 – Shedd Aquarium Field Trip; 8th grade retreat
Fortnightly for 8th graders, 7-8:30 PM in MPR
- 3/6 – Stations of the Cross at 2:15 PM in the church
- 3/9 – Student Council Dance, grades 7 and 8, 7-9 PM, gym
- 3/10 – Casino Night at Chicago Marriott Southwest, Burr Ridge, 6:30 PM
- 3/12 – Athletic Board Meeting – 7 PM
- 3/13 and 3/14 – Book Fair, sponsored by Parent Association
- 3/15 – Special Lunch
- 3/16 – Field Museum, grade 2; 8th grade Fortnightly from 7-8:30 PM, MPR
- 3/19 – Liturgy, Sts. Patrick and Joseph, 9:15 AM in church
- School Advisory Board Meeting on 3/20 at 7 PM, PC
- 3/22 – State Visit; Regional Fair, grade 4 at 6:30 PM in the gym
- 3/26 and 3/27 – Preschool Easter Program
- 3/28 – Grade 5 – Northern Illinois Food Bank
- 3/29 – 9:45 AM, Holy Thursday Prayer Service; Easter break begins at 3:30 PM
- Scrip continues each Tuesday and Thursday. For information regarding Scrip, please check the website or contact Mrs. Tisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seasonal Illness Update
Thank you for your vigilance in monitoring symptoms of illness and keeping students out of school. We did not have the high numbers of absence that many other schools have had and I feel it is due to all of you keeping ill students at home as this prevented much spreading of the various illnesses. We are experiencing fewer reports of Influenza A and B and fewer reports of Strep throat in our community this week, however, we are not yet finished. There continue to be absences due to each of these illnesses. We are still experiencing multiple absences due to stomach virus and a cold that includes fever and coughing. Please continue to keep those with symptoms at home so we can keep everyone as well as possible.
Allergy Alert– Spring allergy season is just around the corner. Please be prepared if you are vacationing in a warmer climate this spring as the allergy season further south begins earlier.
- Join us for our final Catholic Parenting Renewal (CPR) of this year! Sunday March 4 6:30pm in the SJC Parish Center Lower Level. We have an awesome panel of experienced parents of teens willing to share the joys & challenges of leading their teens through prayer, formation and service! Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f49abab22aaf58-catholic
- TIME, TALENT, TREASURE – We remind our parents to continue and include any volunteer hours online and submit them when you have reached 15 hours. Those hours are due 4/15/2018.
- PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN – It is imperative that any parent volunteer completes the steps of the “Protecting God’s Children Safe Schools Program” before they may volunteer in their children’s classrooms, field trips, coaching, etc. For information regarding the program, please contact Mrs. Wingert at email@example.com or 708-246-4454.
- We continue to keep Rachael Schopp and Father David in our prayers each day.
- Mrs. Sue Bak is recuperating from her recent surgery. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.