A Note from the Principal

 

Hello Parents and Guardians,

                Thank you to all parents who attended last week’s Open School Night for grades 1-8; this evening gave you an opportunity to meet the teacher and hear the expectations the teacher has for your child this year. At the meetings, all parents should have received their log in information for Option C. We opened the Option C Parent Portal about 2 years ago. If you received your log in back then, the information is still the same.  If you’ve never logged into Option C, I ask you to do so. You’ll be able to see your child’s current attendance record for this year and all grades that have been posted for your child.  If you were unable to attend last week’s meeting, please reach out to your child’s teacher for the information.

                For those of you who used the Remind app to message your child’s teacher, you may have noticed that this year, we are using Remind as a one way means of communication – to send messages and reminders from the school and teachers to the parents and guardians. Parents are not able to send a message back to the teacher. The Diocese has asked that we do not engage in “texting,” with families. Instead, you can email your child’s teacher or send a message to the teacher through Option C. Of course, old fashioned methods of communication – a handwritten note or a phone call to the school are still acceptable means of communication. The only exception we are making to this is for the After School Program – the nature of the program really requires that parents be able to send messages because sometimes, emergencies arise and someone different will be picking up their child and Mrs. Merckling needs to know that. We felt like texting was the most efficient way to do this.

                On Friday morning, I hosted the first of my monthly Parent Meetings. A small but dedicated group of parents attended the meeting, for which I am grateful. Next month, I will hold a similar kind of meeting at night because I do know that daytime meetings are not convenient for parents who work during the day. At the meeting, I updated parents about what has happened at the Academy during the summer. The update included the following information:

                I am pleased to announce that we did receive AdvancEd Accreditation, an important step in our quest to earn an Absolute Charter from the NYS Board of Regents. I am grateful to all parents, teachers, students and staff who participated in the review.

                We are continuing to expand our iPad program; last year at this time, only students in grades 3 and 4 had iPads to use during the day. Throughout the last school year, we were able to expand the program to include grades K-2 in the iPad program. This year, I am pleased to say that we continue to expand the program and soon, we will roll out iPads in grades 5 and 6.        

                Of course, with all those iPads, we need reliable infrastructure to support them so that we can have many students online at once. Using federal funds called E-rate and though a grant from DeSales Media, we were able to have both the Academy building and the Pre-K for All building completely rewired. The work cost more than $100,000, but all the work was covered by e-rate and the grant. By the way, the iPads are also courtesy of a DeSales Media grant. DeSales has been a wonderful partner to our Academy.

                After the update, I opened the floor to questions, concerns, and/or suggestions. Parents brought up the following items:

  1. Parents are concerned about the safety of students outside in the morning because the barricades do not always go up as early as they should. Parents asked if they could put out the barricades, to which I said yes. Parents also asked if they could block the street with their cars because the do see some people move the barricades and drive through. I said that I was okay with that, but that I was concerned that parents could receive tickets from the police for blocking the street.
  2. Parents also asked about after school activities for students in the lower grades, because currently, only grades 4-8 are included in clubs. I mentioned that that issue had been raised in the survey that I sent out last June. I will send out another survey this week asking parents of students in those grades what types of activities they are looking for. I will also look to see if there is any parent or faculty member who is willing to run these clubs. I did mention that in most cases, teachers are not being paid for their after school activities, most do it out of the goodness of their hearts and their dedication to the Academy.
  3. Parents asked me to investigate the NYS Music Association which would allow or students who take private music lessons to participate in special activities. Parents also asked about the National Junior Honor Society. I will investigate both.
  4. Parents also mentioned that they had seen some shady characters engaging in lewd activities near the school. I did ask that when parents see such activity to the school so that we can call the police. I am working to establish a relationship with the 102nd because I believe it would be good for our Academy.

 

As I mentioned, next month’s meeting will take place in the evening. If you would like to reach out to me for any reason by email you can either email the school at info@stelizabethca.org or email my personal account at jshannon@stelizabethca.org.

Have a great week!