Principal's Newsletter: June 15, 2018

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
                                                                                                Dr. Seuss
All of us here at school will greatly miss the 8th-grade class which is graduating tonight. They truly are a special group of students. They are just good kids and each and every one of them will be missed here.
Wow - we've had a busy two weeks!
This past Thursday, 7th-grade parents decorated the gym and provided a wonderful 8th-grade Awards Luncheon for our 8th-graders and parents. It was a beautiful day! Many thanks especially to Carrie Mattison and Anne Benanti for all their work.
We had a fantastic Career Day on June 1st. Many thanks to the parents and community members who came and shared their career expertise and experiences. Our presenters included Mr. Gary Graeve, an oil executive; Ms. Joanne Salageanu, a scientist, Robert Cipolla, from the Wilton Police Department; Ms. Elaine Siladi and Mr. Silveri, FBI agents: John Doyle, architect; Mr. William Westcott, a criminal attorney; and Marissa Lowthert, an Investment Management Specialist. The students were inspired by this great range of presentations. As always, thanks to Danielle Mancuso and Karin Beggan for organizing this very worthwhile and educational event.
On June 3rd, the H.S.A. hosted a memorable Father-Daughter Dance in our school.  This event created lifetime memories for over forty families as fathers and daughters shared this special time together. A special thank you to Traci Bonafide for chairing this event.
We had an informative and interesting school meeting on June 6th discussing our new Personalized and Blended Learning Environment. Dr. Fredy Padovan was very powerful in describing how our new initiative will personalize instruction and create an enriching educational experience for all of our students.
Next year, as part of this new direction, we plan to have all K-8th-grade students spend time each day in their class using the Station Rotation Model. The advantages of the Station Rotation Model are that it creates smaller learning groups within the larger class; it employs a variety of tasks and activities to increase student engagement, it allows teachers to differentiate instruction based on individual needs, it allows students to engage with information in different ways, and it makes it possible for teachers to spend even more time working directly with individual students to improve their learning outcomes.
We had the most beautiful Spring Concert and Art Show on June 8th. For a small school our students demonstrated an extraordinary amount of musical and artistic talent. Amazing art was created by our students under the direction of Ms. Liz Fontana; amazing music was created by students under the direction of Ms. Lisa Stmecki.
 Thank you once again to Gerry Davis for filming and creating CDs of our Spring Musical, "Pulaski Park Rules." He dropped off several DVD's of the Saturday performance with Diane in the office. He is working on creating a video of the Sunday's performance. If parents want the Video stream they are available now. Just contact Gerry. The DVD's are $25 for one and $40 for both. He is still working on Sunday's performance but a limited number of Saturday's performance are available in the office.
One of our charges as educators is to help the next generation of teachers. This week we had Ms. Victoria Sondo observing in the middle school math room with Ms. Galasso and the middle school science room with Mrs. Highland. Ms. Sondo is a member of our Parish and is working on her Master's degree in education from Sacred Heart University.
Good news for all the parents speaking positively about our school. The school board has voted to give a $500 tuition discount to any family that referred a new family that enrolls in our school. If you qualify, please make sure I am aware of the family you referred so we can make sure you are credited with the discount.
Reminder to all Fatima sports families: your child's uniform(s) should be washed and turned into the school office in a ziplock bag with your child's name on it. Please return your child's uniform(s) as soon as possible.
Our motto, as you know, is "Service above Self." Fatima parents Lara Paschalidis and Mara Fleming will be collecting the following items to donate to the Men's Shelter at Bridgeport Rescue Mission.   Items can be left in the school hall and we will deliver the items to the shelter on June 22nd. They are collecting the following items:
New undershirts, briefs and boxers for men - Sizes M, L, XL, and XXL
New Men socks in all sizes
Twin size Blankets, Twin sheets, and towels
Soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors, 
Gently used slacks, shorts,  and jeans for men,
Gently used boots, shoes, and sneakers for men in all sizes
The next time you are in school, please take a minute to stop by our Lost and Found. We have many OLF sweatshirts that have been left in school.
We had a special event on Tuesday, June 5th. Mr. Zmek visited with our students and discussed his work on the Hubble Space Telescope for with our 4th through 8th-grade students. It was extremely interesting.
READING with your KIDS
Summer vacation is almost here and with the coming of summer, each family will have a new daily and weekly routine. One great new routine to consider getting into is the habit of a weekly family trip to the library. Reading for pleasure is one of the best habits that you can develop in your child. A while back, I was speaking to Dr. Gravity Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg has a PHD from Columbia University and specializes in teaching teachers the Readers and Writers model for teaching English Language Arts. I asked her if she ever found a student in 4th or 5th-grade who was walking around school reading a book for pleasure who was not a good reader. Dr. Goldberg said she had never seen that student. I said, neither have I. The moral is if your child reads for pleasure, it will improve his or her reading comprehension across all their school subjects.
Sign-up has begun for our summer basketball camp. It is a great camp that focuses on skills and fun and will run for four weeks beginning the week of July 9th. It is run by Coach Joe Vazzari from Trinity Catholic and staffed by OLF alumni. The camp runs from 9:00 to 3:00 each day and the cost is $250 per week. Please contact Linda Sweeny at 203-434-3441 at with questions or to register.
Ms. Mariah Berrios. Ms. Berrios is a treasure as our first grade teacher. She is already using the Station Rotation model in her classroom. Station Rotation is when students rotate through different learning stations set-up by the teacher with at least one of the stations being a teacher-led station and one of the stations dedicated to online learning. This past Wednesday, I observed Ms. Berrios utilize this model in a social studies class. Ms. Berrios led a teacher station that did a close read of a passage on Natural Resources. At the second station, students watched a short Nearpod video on chrome books and then completed a picture of natural resources found in the tree. If they became unsure, they could go back and re-watch the video at their own pace. At the third station, students listened to directions recorded by Ms. Berrios on a chrome book and then worked together on a poster of Natural Resources. Students were excited, happy and engaged. Bravo, Ms. Berrios!
Anne Benanti. The 2018 Yearbooks are here and they are beautiful! This is the direct result of the work done all year organizing, planning, and proofing of the Yearbook. The Yearbooks cost $40 dollars and are on-sale in the school office. Thank you, Anne, for all your work. The Yearbooks are fantastic!
June 15th - 8th-Grade Graduation in the Church at 7:00 p.m.
June 18th -20th - Final exams for 6th/7th graders
June 21st - Native-American in-school field trip for grades 3-4-5
June 22nd - Moving up ceremony in the church following 9:00 Mass
       H.S.A. Closing School Party
June 25th - Field Day - new date
June 26th - Talent Show - new date
June 25/26/27/28 - Half-days of school, after-school program will run on June 25 and 26
June 28th - Last Day of School for Pre-K through 7th
And Finally:
I want to take a moment and recognize the parents of the graduating 8th-graders. The 8th-grade students are graduating because of the vision these parents had for their children. They envisioned something more than just an education for their children. They envisioned their children going to a school where the values of the school matched the values of their home. They envisioned their children going to a school that taught the Catholic Christian values that will be, God willing, the foundation for the rest of their lives. They envisioned their children going to a school where each child could stay a child for the longest time possible. They envisioned a school where each child would be influenced by the model of "Service before Self" and then these on a daily and weekly basis, and then modeled that motto in their own commitment to our school. Bravo, parents! You will be missed!