Saints Speak – 2/14/19 – Happy Days Are Here Again
What a wonderful day today! It’s Valentine’s Day, and you can feel the love at All Saints. Our party parents are here; and the halls are filled with fun - scavenger hunts, games, valentine greetings and treats. Our junior high student celebration took place at Bowlero. On this day, I have seen this week’s virtue focus of friendship in action. What makes a good friend? It is someone that we can talk to, someone that we trust. Friends also share fun things together and make each other laugh. It is important to offer friendship to others. Friendliness is a virtue that makes others feel welcome. It makes our school a happy and enjoyable place to learn and be a part of.
Today, I felt and experienced kindness, joy, helpfulness, and caring – all of the components that make friendship real. I would like to recognize and thank all of our party parents, and in particular, our Room Parent Coordinator, Melissa McKinzie, for bringing the fun to ASCA. Happy Valentine’s Day!
I would like to thank all of the parents who took our recent parent survey. We had a terrific response rate statistically speaking; and I am grateful for those parents who took the time to complete the survey. I have read all of your comments and suggestions, and hope to answer some of the questions from parents who asked for clarification, or who were seeking further information.
- Why did we do the survey? As an educator and as an administrator, I have always tried to be collaborative in my approach. I trust my staff, do not micro manage them, and give them decision making authority in most areas. I think that it is important to seek other view points and opinions. While you can never please everyone with a decision; the best, fairest and most optimal decisions are made when all ideas are considered, and wise counsel sought.
- What is the best approach to seek answers to questions? We were unable to include all of the background detail for questions in the initial survey, which hopefully I can explain more fully in the following points. It was apparent to me in comments that were shared, that some of you had additional questions or concerns. If you ever have questions concerning the school or administrative related issues, I ask that you send me an email or set up an appointment to discuss your concerns. I will be happy to meet with you and address your questions.
- Calendar Questions: We are a unique school in that our students come from many different surrounding school districts, each who have a schedule that is specific to their student and school needs. Even the public school districts where most of our students live (203 and 204) have calendars that are different from each other.
At a recent Principal Institute I attended, one of the popular topics of conversation centered on school calendars, and beginning and ending dates in particular. Instead of making a unilateral decision concerning our calender for 2019-2020, I felt that it was important to open up a conversation with my staff and our school community.
In a perfect world, all school start and end dates, along with days off, holidays and spring breaks would be in sync for all schools. Many of you commented that we should base our calendar on the various surrounding school districts that they reside in, or where their child attends high school. Look at the variety of calendar dates below in the public schools alone (Catholic high schools have not yet published their calendars):
Ultimately, our school calendar has to serve the needs of All Saints, just as these district calendars do.
- Why are we having both a Spring Break and an Easter break this year? This was a decision that we did not have control over; and it will probably not be a concern in the next few years. The Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Joliet has mandated that all principals and teachers attend the NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) Convention that will be held in Chicago this year right after Easter, for three days from April 23 – 25. With the conference in the middle of the week following Easter, and our traditional Easter Monday holiday, from an educational perspective, it made most sense to not come to school for one day.
- Why 176 School Days? While personally, I would like for school to start after Labor Day, and end before Memorial Day, this decision would not be supported by School Code, which requires a minimum of 176 school days. As an accredited non-public school in the State of Illinois, we are required to follow School Code. All Saints will be audited by the state next month to renew our accreditation; and compliance with School Code is examined very carefully.
- Why the change in how snow days/extreme cold days are treated? Until this year, School Code considered the number of hours per school day that a school is in session to allow non-public schools with longer school days to not have to make up days missed due to snow or cold.
The Diocese of Joliet informed all Catholic school principals that the School Code regarding how these days will be treated beginning with the 2019-2020 school year will be the same as our public school counterparts.
This school year (2018-2019), we are not required to make up the snow/extreme cold days from January, 2019. Next school year (2019-2020), we will be required to have 176 school days in our schedule.
- What are the Joliet of Diocese calendar requirements? You might be surprised to know that there are many different elements and requirements that go into putting together our school calendar besides the beginning and the end of the school year.
We are required by the Diocese of Joliet to schedule the following institute and in service days:
- Four (4) local institute days (5 hours each). These days are a combination of diocesan institutes (October), DuPage County institutes (March), and local (ASCA) institutes (August).
- Four (4) faculty in-service days (2.5 hours each)
Please know that we have noted and are considering the comments that were shared in the survey concerning the ASCA school calendar, days off, and what those days off look like. Once the ASCA School Board reviews and approves our 2019-2020 school calendar, we will share it with our school families.
- Mandatory Service Hours - This survey item was discussed and brought forward from a recent SHPP (School Home Parish Partnership) meeting, our school parent organization. It is not the first time that mandatory service hours have been discussed in that setting.
Although this proposition did not come from school administration, I felt that it was important to bring the question before our school parents to see what you thought about the proposal.
We are so grateful for all of the parents and guardians at ASCA that volunteer. We all lead very busy lives, whether you are a working outside the home parent, or a stay a home parent. We are all at different stages of our parenting journey. I would be the first to admit that there are many days where I feel stretched very thin with my job, family and personal life. It is not easy. There are, however, many ways, both big and small, in which everyone can make a volunteer contribution here at All Saints.
Some of you may want to be involved, but don’t know what to do. We can most assuredly help you find a place. Every volunteer contribution, no matter how many hours are involved, can make a contribution. I believe that volunteering connects us, can bring great joy and accomplishment, makes our community happier, more fun, and closer knit. Without volunteers, we would surely have to hire and pay people to perform the tasks that are performed by volunteers.
It was apparent from the comments shared in the survey results that many of you were not in favor of mandatory service hours. We will report these findings back to SHPP. I thank those parents who responded to the survey for your insight and thoughts with respect to volunteerism and service.
- Fundraising – A few of you expressed some thoughts outside of the survey questions with respect to fundraising, and I would like to speak to those comments.
- Most Fundraising at All Saints is Optional - You do not have to support the Book Fair, the ASCA Holiday Shop, Teacher Appreciation, Holiday Pie Card Sales, Tamale Sales, Change for Change, Junior High Talent Show – the list goes on and on and on. These optional fundraisers are geared toward building community and support for various groups at ASCA.
The wonderful thing about these optional types of fundraisers is you can support them and participate if you choose; however, you do not have to.
- All school families have a required Family Fundraising Obligation (FFO) - this is $500 for K – 8 families; and $250 for preschool only families. ASCA offers a number of different options to assist you in meeting this obligation rather than simply writing a check. This school year, you could purchase Yankee Candles, Butterbraid Coffee Cake and Wooden Spoon Cookie Dough, Lynch Creek Farms Wreaths and Centerpieces, and fresh poinsettia plants.
We offer Scrip gift card purchases each week throughout the school year – we all shop for groceries, purchase clothes, uniforms and gifts, go to Starbucks. You could be earning toward your FFO simply by purchasing Scrip cards to use at the establishments where you shop, dine, and otherwise frequent.
By supporting our DDA with a donation, you can also earn FFO credit.
Families who take advantage of every FFO fundraising opportunity that is offered can satisfy their FFO in its entirety, and even earn tuition credit. If you do not know how to take advantage of these FFO fundraising choices or have additional questions, please let us know.
- The All Saints Annual Fund Appeal - Most Catholic schools have an annual fund appeal that is part of their school budget, and annual funds are recommended by the Diocese. The Annual Fund Appeal is a fundraising effort that we ask the entirety of our school community to support to the extent that they are able. No gift is too small! Everyone’s contribution makes a difference when it is added to other gifts.
The annual fund appeal helps to bridge the difference between tuition and the cost of educating each student at All Saints. Each year, the Annual Fund Appeal helps to control tuition increases which benefits all school families; and makes Catholic education more affordable to families in our community, keeping All Saints competitive. You may not be aware, but contributions to the Annual Fund Appeal have allowed All Saints to not increase tuition for the past three years. This is truly an amazing result of the generosity of donors to the appeal.
We are grateful to not only our current school families who have donated to the appeal, but also to our alumni and other benefactors who have made contributions to the Annual Fund Appeal. If you have already made a contribution to this year's appeal, please accept my sincere thanks for your gift. If you have not yet made a contribution, it is not too late.
You can still make a donation to this year's annual fund appeal by clicking here.
The offering of your time, talent and treasure are gifts of stewardship that only you can give. They are special and unique to you; but have such power and potential to make a difference in the lives of others.
Lost and Found Table
Our lost and found table continues to grow with more lost than found items each day. Beginning next week, we will be clearing out the lost and found every Friday afternoon, and donating the unclaimed items. If your student is missing something, please have them regularly check the table before the end of the week to see if it turns up.
And remember, the best way to retrieve a lost item is to put your child’s name on it. It can then be returned!
March Hot Lunch Orders
March Hot Lunch Orders will be accepted through Tuesday, February 19.
Please remember the following:
1. Make a copy of your order form prior to turning it in. A picture on your phone works great!
2. Include your payment with your order form. Checks should be made out to All Saints Catholic Academy or ASCA.
3. Turn in your order by the order deadline. Late orders will not be accepted.
Please don’t be disappointed – turn in your order and payment early. Questions? Contact Jennifer Thornton at email@example.com.
Box Tops for Education
The next submission deadline for Box Tops is Friday, March 1, 2019. We will be collecting them from each homeroom on Friday, February 22 to allow time for processing.
Please plan to send in your box tops with your student by next Friday, February 22.
Six Flags Read to Succeed
Read to Succeed is an exciting program that encourages students in grades K through 6 to read for fun. Students who complete six hours of recreational reading earn a free ticket to Six Flags! Forms were sent home with students last week.
Please return your forms to the office by Wednesday, February 27 at the latest. Late forms cannot be accepted. If you have any questions please contact Courtney Devine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Assistance for the 2019-2020 School Year
Families who are seeking financial assistance are required to complete a FACTS application by the Friday, March 1, 2019 deadline. Even if you have received an award in the past, families seeking aid must reapply annually. All required paperwork must be uploaded to your application and verified by the deadline
To begin your FACTS application, please click here.
Families who wish to apply for funds from Empower Illinois who have not yet done so can click here to begin their application.
- Click here for step by step instructions in English for the Empower application.
- Click here for step by step instructions in Spanish for the Empower application.
We ❤ DDA 2019 - Coming Home!
Bid on a chance to enjoy the evening from the VIP Lounge
New this year, is the chance to bid to win seating in the exclusive VIP Lounge! Bidding will take place online only from Tuesday, February 19th through Friday, February 22nd. The highest bidder will win VIP seating with a great view of the stage with comfortable seating for 10, complete with a beer and wine bar, snacks, and cocktail service to the lounge! Watch your email for bidding registration information!
Auction Preview will OPEN TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19!
We are excited to begin unveiling the full line-up of AMAZING auction items. This year’s event will include incredible LIVE auction items such as Rolling Stones concert tickets, a Blackhawks game with a Zamboni ride and an amazing fine French dinner for six people! Plus a few new events, including a champagne toast, a VIP Lounge and the Wall of Fortune. Be sure to check the ASCA Facebook page - click here - and DDA website - click here - regularly for ongoing Silent and Live Auction updates. Take notes and beginning building your online bidding watch list!
Wine Pull Update
Thank you to the Board of Trustees, School Board Members and many other families who have so generously donated to this year’s Wine Pull. We are still in need of bottles of wine for the event. Please consider donating a favorite bottle of wine valued at $20 or more to help make this year’s Wine Pull a great success. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
DDA is seeking baskets of all shapes, sizes, colors and materials to package some of our wonderful auction items. If you have any that you would like to donate, please drop them at the Welcome Desk between now and Friday at noon. Thank you!
Calling all All Saints Super Fans!
We are looking for some outgoing, fun-loving people to help us at the event to reach our goals! We need help manning our new Wall of Fortune, the Wine Pull, the Cookie Pull and a couple other fun areas during the event. So if you have RSVP’d already, and are interested in doing a little more to help, please take a look at our Sign-Up Genius schedule by clicking here to see if there is a spot where you could help out. Grab a friend to join you as you show this special support for All Saints! Send any additional questions to email@example.com.
Teaching Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Community
This would be a great event to attend for our 2nd grade students who are preparing for their First Communion, or anyone who would like to know more about the Catholic Mass.
On Friday, March 1st from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Father Tom McCarthy will present Teaching Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Community. Learn the ‘why’ behind the actions of the Mass. Everything we do is for a reason. All are welcome! Holy Spirit is located at 2003 Hassert Blvd, Naperville, 60564. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from All Saints Athletic Association
This week’s YOGURT BEACH Home Co-Athletes of the Week are Macy Menendez (G5A) and Bruce Beard (B6B2). Macy scored 12 of her team’s 16 points versus St. Mikes. Bruce nailed a buzzer beater to capture the Boys 6B2 win over St. Mary Immaculate. Congratulations Macy and Bruce, enjoy your trip to “the Beach”!
From the Saints Sidelines . . . Only a couple more weeks of regular season games and our Saints were rockin’ the courts last weekend. Bringing home wins this week were – Girls 5A, 5B, and 7A; Boys 6B2, 7A, 7B1,7B2, 8B1 and 8B2. Keep up the good work Saints!
Current DPL standings have several of our ASCA teams in charge of the standings. Holding on to 1st place in the league is our Girls 5B and Boys 7B2 teams. In 2nd place are Girls 5A, 8A, Boys 5B, 7B1 and 8A; while our Girls 7A, Boys 5A and 7A are currently holding 3rd place in the league standings. These next two weeks will bring much excitement as we close out the regular season. Whether on the courts or off, our Saints make us proud demonstrating skill and good sportsmanship! Keep up the good work Saints!
BLUE OUT is BACK!
Be sure to come out to the ASCA gym THIS Saturday, February 16th for a SPECIAL afternoon honoring our 8th grade players and their parents! We have some fun things planned as we host our 8th graders one last time on HOME court.
The schedule for the afternoon is as follows:
- 12:00 pm Boys 8A vs. St. Dominic
- 1:00 pm Boys 8B1 vs. St. Mary Immaculate
- 2:00 pm Boys 8B2 vs. St. Joseph
Mark your calendars! The end of season banquet for basketball will be held on Thursday, March 21st from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
SHOUT-OUTS now available! Does your athlete have a birthday to celebrate? Do you want to recognize your son/daughter’s team or your son/daughter for their academic/athletic performance? SHOUT-OUTS are now available for $25 through the Athletic Association. Shout-outs will be placed on the digital scorekeeper’s table at all HOME games for one weekend. Be sure to purchase a shout-out to recognize your child’s special moment! Contact Keith Glab at email@example.com.
Check Us Out on Social Media - We welcome all of our new followers!!!
A Tremendous Thank You to the Cornerstone Sponsors of
A Green Tie Affair, ASCA Dinner Dance Auction 2018
For more information, please click on the Cornerstone Sponsor logos above. We encourage you to patronize these generous sponsors. Please share with them that you are an ASCA family.