January 3, 2020

January 3, 2020
"Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection."
Winston Churchill 
  • With the New Year, I wanted to remind you that The Bishop Caggiano is asking for the eight schools in the Diocese with an enrollment of under 200 to submit our re-enrollment update for the 2020/2021 school year on February 1st. This will be important information for the Bishop. 
    • The good news from this request for all Fatima parents is that we have an ANONYMOUS DONOR WHO WILL PAY THE REGISTRATION FEE FOR ALL CHILDREN WHO RE-ENROLL BEFORE JANUARY 17TH. This means you have two more weeks to take advantage of this fantastic offer. The anonymous donor offer is great news for all our families! 
    • In addition, the school board voted in December for just the standard 3% increase in tuition for next year with no new staffing changes planned. The re-enrollment form is attached with the new 2020/2021 tuition rates.
    • If you have any questions that might be impacting the re-registration of your child for next year, please do not hesitate to stop in and see me.
  • I am planning an important State of the School Report on January 21st at 7:00 p.m. in Mr. T's Room. Please mark your calendars! We will discuss this important re-enrollment issue. In addition, we will also look at our fundraising data, personalized learning data, local enrollment trends, and discuss the summer program. This is a challenging time for Catholic schools, but with a strong re-enrollment, we are well-positioned for next year and beyond. I hope to see you on the 21! 
  • Fatima has some wonderful traditions. One of the nicest ones is the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon on the Thursday before Christmas. Parents led by Clara Taveras and Diane Robinson provided delicious meals, set-up the gym, and watched the students while the teachers had an amazing meal. Our sincere thanks to all the parents who contributed to this special day.
  • New and exciting music opportunities for our students: OLF graduate and local guitar teacher, Bob Ricci met with our students on Thursday, December 19th. Mr. Bob will offer guitar and ukulele lessons to our students on Thursdays starting in January. Mr. Bob comes highly recommended to us! Middle school students can take guitar lessons in place of the traditional middle school chorus class. Primary and elementary classes will also be offered. The cost is a reasonable $20 per lesson. Please see the attached flier.
  • Are you keeping track of your 20 service hour commitment? Forms can be found outside of Diane's office.
  • I found the Christmas holidays to be a great time to catch-up on my reading. I read several non-fiction books but also reviewed Angela Lee Duckworth's 2016 bestseller "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." Ms. Duckworth defines grit as "the tendency to pursue long-term goals with passion and persistence." In Ms. Duckworth's research, she found high-grit scores to positively predict success in such varied environments as whether West Point cadets could complete grueling training, how successful sales personnel were in a time-share company, academic scores for Chicago public school students, and results for National Spelling Bee competitors. As Ms. Duckworth says when predicting our children's future success, "It is not just about your talent and ability, It's also about how much heart you put in it."
    • In reflection on my own experiences in education, I must say, my observations are the same as Ms. Duckworth: the most successful students who came back and spoke to me after going on to college and into the work world, were not the students with the highest I.Q. scores, they were the students who persisted with passion and discipline despite challenges and setbacks. In short, they had "grit."
  • D.I.G. soccer is back with a new after-school program: Capture the Flag. It will be in the gym for grades K-8.  Fatima Capture the Flag on Tuesdays from 3pm to 3:45pm starting on Tuesday, Jan 7th next week. For more information go to https://www.teamdigusa.com/ctf-tuesdays-fatima/
  • Another great Fatima tradition is back. The Knights of Columbus are holding their annual Free Throw Championship on Friday, January 17th in our gym for boys and girls ages 9-13. It begins at 6:30 and trophies are awarded for all age groups. For more information contact Peter Rubsam at 203-761-1461.
  • Speaking of basketball: the sounds of cheering fans, bouncing basketballs, and excited students are about to fill the school gym again. Our fabulous Tyler Ugolyn tournament is returning for the 13th year! It begins this year on January 26th. This is not only a sporting event but a Fatima community event! You do not need to have a child playing to enjoy and be part of the fun! I know several families, (Hello, John and Liz Doyle), who last year came each night for the great food. In addition to help in the kitchen, we need help at the door, working the scoreboard and keeping the scorebook. Please look for the link to Rob's Sign-Up Genius which will be sent out shortly. 
"Shout Out I"
Rose Highland.  Ms. Highland brings so much to our school. She teaches all middle school science and S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) courses, she teaches the K-8 S.TE.M. (science, technology, engineering and math classes), she co-teaches with Ms. Jovic all K-8 art classes except for the 4th/5th block taught by Mrs. G, she works weekly in the after-school and offers tutoring as needed to her science students. To all her classes Ms. Highland brings her energy and enthusiasm, her use of cutting edge technology, and the love for her students. In addition, Ms. Highland just received a grant from the Diocese to add a sewing unit to her STEM program. The unit will be called "Sewing For Good" Where would we be without you, Mrs.  Highland?
January 9 - January 17 -Midterm exams for middle school students
January 14 - Sodality Animal Encounter activity
January 17- End of the second semester
January 20 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No school
January 21 - State of the School Report in Mr. T's room at 7:00 p.m.
January 23- February 10 Tyler Ugolyn Basketball Tournament
January 26 - February 1 - Catholic Schools Week
February 13/14/17 Winter Break
February 21 - Restaurant Night
March 9th through March 27th - Iowa testing period 
March 14 - St. Patrick's Day Dinner
March 13 - Youth Group Stations of the Cross
March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - Green bagel sale for 8th-grade class
March 27 - Last day of winter uniforms
March 27 - End of the third semester
March 28 - Youth Group Stations of the Cross
March 30 - First day of spring/fall uniforms
April 3/ April 4 - School Play
April 9 - Holy Thursday - No School
April 10 - Good Friday - No School
April 11 - Youth Group Easter Egg Hunt
April 13 - April 17 - Spring Break
April 25 - Spring Gala
And Finally:
Do you want just one more example of how technology has become such a  part of the fabric of our lives? In our family, like in many families, we do Secret Santas every year at Christmas. This year with a daughter, Maggie, living in Chicago, and a son, Stan, living in Buffalo, it got a little more complicated. Also, because my daughter Elizabeth had her wedding the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we did not even have the opportunity to meet and draw names. The solution? the free app, Elfster. Elfster made the secret matches, allowed members to post their wish lists, linked to Amazon to make purchases, and followed up with email reminders. Wow! Ten years ago would we even have imagined this type of role for technology in our lives? It does make you wonder how new technology will be influencing the lives of our children by the end of this new decade.