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St. John the Baptist
Catholic School
12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904 | 301-622-3076
Jan
26

Principal's Note 1/26/17

Lyon Center To Be Renovated to Make Way for Preschool

Apply for Pre-K Today

We are excited to announce a big step forward for our school. Applications are now open for our new all-day preschool program for the 2017-18 school year.

Father David has agreed to help the school complete renovations to the Lyon Center to accommodate a larger preschool room than the one that was originally planned. The new preschool room will have its own separate bathroom and its own secure entrance near the Lyon Center parking lot.  

In our first year, we will have a pre-Kindergarten class of 4-year-old boys and girls, and priority placement will go to siblings of school students and children of parishioners. We anticipate that we will have space for 16 to 20 children. 

We intend to have a teacher with certification and master's degree in early-childhood education and an all-day para-educator as a classroom aide. Those positions have been posted, and we have already started interviewing candidates. 

Because our preschool is still being formed, we may not know the answers to some questions for a few months. Here are some things we know now. 

Pre-K will be part of the school. Pre-K hours will coincide with the hours of the school day, beginning at 8 am and ending at 3 pm. Pre-K will follow the holidays and cycle of the SJB school calendar. Pre-K students will be able to attend Before Care from 7 to 8 am and After Care from 3 to 6 pm at the same rate as other students.  

The pre-K class will have a separate outdoor play schedule so that the students will have their own access to the Kindergarten playground equipment.  

We are aiming for a full-day pre-K tuition rate that'affordable to Catholic families and sufficient to meet the costs of operating the program.   

Our proposed pre-K tuition rate of $8,200 ($9,300 non-Catholiccompares favorably with the tuition rates of nearby private preschools. 

The SJB pre-K program will follow the policies, academic and religious standards of the Catholic Schools Office and the Office of Religious Education. Students will participate in the Personal Safety Program. We will follow our approach in emphasizing growth of the whole child – spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual – in partnership with the child’s primary educators, the parents. The pre-K population would have access to SJB’s outstanding resource services, library, arts and athletics programs.  

We will follow the pre-K learning standards for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Washington in readingscience, and math. 

SJB will meet all state and county requirements. The SJB School Advisory Board began researching the creation of a pre-K program in the fall of 2015, and a committee of teachers, parents, and volunteers has helped with the application process. A survey of school parents demonstrated a need for the program.

It is our belief that the addition of the preschool will strengthen the overall health of the school (we are now one of just two Catholic schools in the county without one) by drawing more families to SJB, into our Kindergarten and upper grades. More children and more families will only enrich our already vibrant SJB community.

Catholic Schools Week Begins Next Week 

If you were in Mass over the past two weekends, you probably heard one of our parents or one of our students talk about the benefits of a Catholic education. Eighth-grade students spoke from the lectern last Sunday about what SJB has meant to them.  

We continue to look for positive stories – and positive ways to tell people about Catholic schools. One simple way that any parent can help our school is to post a positive review on Great Schools,  K12Niche  or on Google (Google SJB Reviews). 

If you are posting something positive for the school on your social media page, consider adding the hashtag #ADWschools and #CSW17. It will connect us to other Catholic schools and lift our digital presence.

Catholic Schools Week Schedule 

On Monday (Jan. 30) of Catholic Schools Week, we will have Student Appreciation Day, and there will be no homework for anyone. 

On Tuesday (Jan. 31), our buddy classes will come together and make valentine cards for military veterans recovering in Walter Reed hospital. 

On Wednesday (Feb. 1), there will be a Living Rosary at 2:15 pm. Parents are always welcome to join us in the Rosary in the church. 

On Thursday (Feb. 2), we'll have Open House for our school parents from 8:30 to 10:30, Family Mass at 10:45, and Family Lunch in the gym after the mass. 

  • Parents who do not plan to come to the Family Mass should notify their child's teacher. 

  • Lunch for family mass was pre-ordered through the Gold Folder forms  and website. Same-day orders won't be available. Remember to bring lunch if you didn't order them. 

Friday (Feb. 3) will be Spirit Day. Students may wear SJB gear with casual attire or their PE uniforms. 

Reminders About Some of Our Website Resources 

Spring Play auditions and practice schedules have been posted on the Gold Folder-School Activities page under Parents 

The How Are We Doing page under Parents provides some assessment of our school. 

Our ArtCurriculumLibraryTechnologyELL and Spanish pages appear under About and Academics. 

What Does Blue Ribbon Mean? How Do Catholic Schools Compare?  -- Those two pages also appear under About and Academics. 

Under News, the SJB website can be viewed in Amharic, Vietnamese and Spanish. 

There is a Frequently Asked Questions page under Admissions. 

Parish Times Writer Needed 

Do you have writing talent? The school needs a volunteer to write and send articles to the Parish Times. There are just two more issues this year, with deadlines of March 15 and May 17. Please let me know if you can help. Send an email to brian.blomoquist@sjbsilverspring.org 

Open House for New Families is Friday 

New families are welcome to visit the school from 9 am to 11 am tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 27. School parents will take them on tours. And each Wednesday at 8:30 am in February, there will be walking tours of the school led by the principal. 

Please Use Main Entrance 

After the school day begins at 8:00, parents must enter the school through the front doors and check in at the front office, where they'll receive passes if they are expected in the classrooms. 

This issue of safety and security for our students will be enforced. I have told the teachers that they are not to open the side doors for anyone who knocks. One exception is Kindergarten. Parents who arrive a few minutes late for school may walk their Kindergarten children to the Kindergarten door and wait for one of the teachers to open it.  We appreciate your compliance with our security rules. 

Deadline for Bingo Tickets 

Please send your order form for Bingo tickets in, no later than Wednesday, February 1. Those orders received by Monday 1/31 will receive your tickets in next week's gold folder. Remember, kids need their tickets to be part of the raffle at the end of the night. No tickets will be sold at the door. 

Bingo Volunteers 

Anyone willing to help with Bingo, on Friday, February 3 (day or evening), please email Courtney Gardner courtneycgardner@gmail.com, with the times you can help (or an idea thereof). We will be working on the event all day, wrapping prizes, popping popcorn, decorating the gym, putting together bingo packets, making door prizes, etc. Even if you can come by for just an hour, that would be great, there's plenty to do! 

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