Dear Monarchs Families:
Thank you for entrusting our school to work with you in partnership to educate your child(ren). Our team of Catholic ministers comes to this academic year full of hope and renewed in our commitment to serving Christ’s children with love, patience, and prayer.
Each of our learners comes to school with unique and varied gifts and talents. We welcome this diversity and aim to meet their individual needs through differentiated instruction. Through scripture Jesus tells us, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” Mark 10:14 and our school, in keeping with the mission of Catholic Church, aims to serve all children including those who have unique learning, physical, or emotional needs. Please know that it is our goal to help each and every one of our learners flourish academically, emotionally, and spiritually to his or her fullest potential.
Our annual school theme for 2016-2017, Sing a Song of Hope, is based upon Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope…preserve in prayer”. This theme also derives from an audience that our Pueri Cantores choir had with His Holiness Pope Francis on New Year’s Eve 2015. (Link to article about his address to this group: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2015/singing-does-good-for-the-soul-pope-tells-young-choristers.cfm) In his address to our choir children and their families, Pope Francis suggested that we, “Remember this: Sing and Walk, and in this way, your soul will enjoy more the joy of the Gospel”. Together we will walk the journey of faith and live the joy of the Gospel with a song in our hearts that gives us great hope!
We have added an additional homeroom class in 2nd and 4th grade this year and both of these grade levels will follow the instructional model piloted in 3rd and 5th grade last year whereby teachers focus deeply on one integrated and interdisciplinary curricular area: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), ELA (English Language Arts including Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking), and Humanities (Religion, Faith Formation, History, Reading, and Writing).
We also thrust open the doors of our new Monarch Makerspace Lab, formerly the Lower Lunch Room, with anticipation and wonder: What will our Monarch Makers create? From 3D printers, graphic design, wood working, fabrication, basic coding, Robotics, production of Monarch TV and Monarch Pride News, and more, our learners will be inventive, exploratory, and “always learning” from their mistakes in this creative space. This is where our Monarch TV broadcasts will take shape and our Monarch Pride Newspaper will come together through collaborative journalism. Your generous support of our Monarch Main Event last year help us fully fund the reconfiguration of this space, the purchase of innovative and flexible furniture, and the hiring a full-time Director of Makerspace and Blended Learning.
Consistent with Catholic Social Teaching and our Parish goals of integration, prayer, and stewardship, each grade level will host a month-long Stewardship Awareness Appeal. Sometimes these appeals will involve simple prayer and sometimes they will involve sacrifice and service. We have tied these appeals to the Liturgical calendar and Diocesan/Parish celebrations including the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Respect Life, Advent, Lent, Catholic Schools’ Week, and the Pastoral Services Appeal. In Leviticus 25:23-43, we are reminded, “What you own belongs to the Lord and is given for the good of all” and so it is that we will model this for our community.
Stewardship will permeate all that we do on campus, including how our learners work as a team to care for their workspace, hallways, and playground. The Parish has been generous and we invested in refurbishing the campus with new flooring, new learning toys on the preschool playground, new paint in our hallways and classrooms, new grass on the field, and new lockers for our 5th – 8th grade learners. As part of our College and Career Readiness campaign, we aim to help our learners value these new spaces and care for them respectfully and responsibly as team players. According to Forbes, the number one most sought after skill that employers and colleges seek today is the ability to work in a team structure (http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-2015-graduates/#7529ee8019f6). As a team, our learners will be responsible for preparing their homeroom classroom each evening for the learning that will happen the next day. We call this awareness and care of their space a Life Skill…for in life as adults we know that nobody wants to hire or work with those who are careless, irresponsible, or entitled. Our learners will learn to serve themselves and each other as they gain valuable skills that will serve them well beyond our classrooms. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in this educational focus.
Our school is fiscally well-managed and oversight is provided through our Parish Finance Council. We are blessed to be a debt-free school which is unique in south Orange County. In addition we are generously supported by a strong parish which helps to keep our tuition much lower than the actual cost of educating each learner. We are careful stewards and well use the resources available to us through fellowships and grants. This year alone we have three teachers involved in the Notre Dame Trustey STEM Fellowship, two teachers who have been granted fellowship participation in a joint STEM venture between the Discovery Science Cube and the University of Notre Dame which have all contributed to the growth and development of our school’s STEM program. We are also the recipient of several grants including a literacy grant from City National Bank, a science grant from Genentech, a tuition assistance grant from the Orange Catholic Foundation, and an administrative grant through a private foundation. This outside funding has supported our curricular enhancement, enrollment diversity, and administrative support in our Welcome Center which in turn allows me to focus more intently on curriculum and instruction.
Please know that I am available to you as needed throughout the academic year. I encourage you to email me directly with questions, suggestions, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also take time to follow our school on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stedschool.org/) Twitter to get the latest instructional news and updates.