Dear Parish School Families:
At the start of each new academic year, I marvel at the somewhat tumultuous transformation we experience from the restful days of summer to the tightly packed schedule of fall and the academic year that follows. We are a busy people and a busy culture. But in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” and so I ask you, what is it that we hope to accomplish through our busyness this year? Let us, as a community be purposeful in our planning and prioritizing of schedules and demands that we place upon ourselves. As a Catholic community, our faith and our families should take precedence. We invite your family to join us fully in all that St. Edward the Confessor Parish School and our Church have to offer. We invite you and we welcome you to join us in prayer at Mass, through stewardship and service to others, and in fellowship. Together, let us make our busy lives purposeful beyond the confines of this world and let us invest and build our treasure in Heaven. All are welcome at St. Edward the Confessor Parish School and Church.
The 2017-2018 academic year promises to be a tremendous year of growth for our entire community because learners and adults alike, we are “Always Learning”. This phrase has become more than a tagline for me and I am truly always learning. Ask Fr. Brendan Manson and he will tell you that I use these exact words to describe my many mistakes and lessons as a principal. Mistakes are really opportunities to learn. Let us model this tagline and be forgiving and loving of our children and others as we make mistakes, because we will, and recognize them as opportunities to grow.
Our entire instructional team looks forward to working with our Parish School families in partnership. We stand ready to serve your child(ren) academically, socially, and spiritually as ministers of Catholic education. We have prayerfully prepared for this year and in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, we will “preach by deeds” in order that they will learn through both our words, but more importantly, our actions. We invite you to join us in this endeavor as models of Christ, bearers of the Light, and purveyors of hope.
Our theme for the 2017-2018 academic year is Use Your Gifts to Transform the World. With this in mind, we will support each learner in discovering his or her God-given gifts so that they can share them with others. We are blessed because each of our learners comes to school with unique and varied talents. We welcome this diversity and aim to meet their individual needs through differentiated instruction which will allow each of them to reach his or her fullest potential.
Three Homerooms per Grade
Lower School: This year we welcome a new 1st grade homeroom which completes our build-out of three homerooms per grade and allows us to provide a “departmentalized platoon schedule” for learners in 1st through 4th grade. Simply speaking, we have enabled our teachers to teach to their instructional strengths as experts in two content areas versus teaching as a “jack of all trades”. Dedicated time and expert instruction are just two of the many attributes of this schedule. Our learners love it because they get to move throughout the school day and have the opportunity to know all three teachers at each grade level.
Upper School: Our homeroom sizes in Upper School (grades 5-8) range between 28-30 students. However, with 8 periods per day and additional faculty and staff supporting these grade levels, we are featuring class sizes of between 16-26 for core subjects like Writing, Literature, Mathematics, and STEM. Because of our strong upper school enrollment, we were blessed to have been able to promote Mrs. Rhobley Montelongo to the role of ELA (English Language Arts) Coordinator for Upper School, where she will serve as a co-teacher, mentor, and ELA coach for all of our ELA classes. In addition, we have hired Mrs. Amanda Lazinski to support small group math instruction within our math classrooms. Mr. Loungarikis is again offering a zero period Math class to complement our course offering throughout the day and courses are tied to the needs and proficiency of the learners, not the grade level, so there can be an array of students in each class ranging from 5th – 8th grade. We do not promote “assembly line” math instruction whereby each grade is limited to specific content, rather we provide courses in which the learners are developmentally ready, regardless of their grade level. This is all part of our differentiated approach to learning.
Digital Literacy Lab
In addition, this summer we converted our Digital Literacy Lab into a classroom space and opened a Creation Studio adjacent to our Monarch TV studio to enable instructional video production and a more flexible digital literacy space. Our Digital Literacy/Creation Team is eager to support in-classroom integration of education technology and special curricular projects. We are excited about the meaningful coaching and mentoring that our Digital Literacy/Creation Team will provide our homeroom teachers and content experts.
STREAM Assistants & Literacy Teacher Mentor
We have also augmented our instructional team with three part-time STREAM assistants and two Literacy Teacher Mentors. Our goal is to personalize and tailor instruction to meet the needs of each learner which means we will use small group instruction whenever possible coupled with our Blended Learning initiative. In education we call this differentiated instruction and our approach will be driven by data.
Stewardship Awareness Appeals
Consistent with Catholic Social Teaching and our parish goals of integration, prayer, and stewardship, each grade level will co-host month-long Stewardship Awareness Appeals. 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 Respect Life Month, Advent, Lent, Catholic Schools’ Week, and the Pastoral Services Appeal. 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 as we wish to model how to use the gifts that God has given us.
Careful Stewardship and Strong Fiscal Management
We are blessed, our school is fiscally well-managed and careful oversight is provided through our Parish Finance Council and Parish Business Office. Thankfully, we are debt-free, which is very unique in south Orange County – so your tuition and our fundraising efforts exclusively support learning and instruction. 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 and we are creative in how we fundraise including through our Monarch Annual Fund and Monarch Main Event which allow us to enhance and augment our Literacy and STREAM programs and our teacher professional development plans.
We love to share our “Always Learning” stories with others to please be sure to follow our school officially on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/stedschool, Instagram at http://instagram.com/theparishschoolatstedward, or Twitter @TheParishSchool to get the latest instructional news and updates.
Administrative Leadership Team – Ready to Serve
Please know that I am available to you as needed throughout the academic year and we also have an incredible team of Assistant Principals ready to serve you. I encourage you to email me or any member of our team directly with questions, suggestions, or concerns. My email address is CMuzzy@StEdSchool.org, please note that I set my own calendar and email is the preferred method of contact as I am often roaming the campus throughout the school day.
Again, we look forward to working with you in partnership this year. Let us together Use our Gifts to Transform the World!
Always Learning (really),
Catherine C. Muzzy, Ed.D.