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

Principal's Note 8/1/18

Dear SJB Families, 

Please excuse this brief interruption of what I hope has been a wonderful summer. I am writing to tell you about new teachers and a few changes for the new school year. I will follow up with a note in mid-August with more information including a timeline of the start of the school year. 

Faculty News

  • Mrs. Griffith is our new 1st grade teacher, moving from 2nd grade and replacing Mrs. Capo, who retired at the end of last year.
  • Ms. Calabrese is our new 5th grade homeroom teacher, moving from 4th grade and replacing Ms. Lippert, who has left SJB. Ms. Calabrese now teaches 5th grade social studies, language arts, religion, and mathematics (with Mrs. Dalton teaching the other 5th grade math class).
  • Our new 4th grade teacher is Ms. Juliena Herritz, who taught 2nd grade in a Milwaukee Catholic school last year and who graduated from Marquette University in 2017.
  • Our new music teacher is Mr. Darren Shillingford, who taught music in a Trinidad elementary school and the Children's Choir of Washington. Mr. Shillingford replaces Ms. Franz, who has left SJB. Mr. Shillingford is a resource aide, as well.
  • Our new Kindergarten aide is Ms. Sarah Wendell, who previously supervised children in After Care. Ms. Wendell graduated from the University of Rhode Island, and she is an SJB alumnus.
  • Mrs. Castillo, our librarian, moves from 5th grade to 6th grade language arts.
  • Mrs. Irwin, our technology director and 8th grade social studies teacher, teaches an additional class, 7th grade social studies. 

Homeroom Change  

The 6th and 7th grades are swapping homerooms.  

The 6th grade homeroom is now in the science lab with Mrs. Seckers and Ms. Krupka. The previous 7th grade homeroom is now Room 6. 

Mrs. Smith and Mr. Lucey are now 7th grade homeroom teachers. They remain in the same classroom, the former 6th grade classroom, now Room 7. It's the room adjacent to 5th grade with the view of the parking lot. 

Third-Level Mathematics Class in Grades 5-8

Following the success of a pilot program, we are starting a third-level math group in grades 5-8.  By adding an accelerated math group, we are making our other grade-level math classes smaller. We believe the change will lead to more targeted instruction of skills and concepts and greater growth in mathematics.  Students are placed in math groups based on a review of their Scantron test results, grades, and teacher input. Parents of students placed in the new accelerated group are being contacted directly. We will continue to review the student placement of each group after each quarter, and in January we will re-evaluate the groups. We also will continue with our accelerated math program for 4thgrade students who demonstrate an aptitude and a need for a greater challenge in mathematics.

Meet Our New Teachers  

Our three new teachers wanted to introduce themselves to the members of our school community, especially the students. The new teachers already feel welcome at SJB, and they are excited to meet everyone. I asked each of them to write a little about themselves, and here is what they wrote: 

Ms. Herritz  - 4th Grade Teacher 

Hi SJB! My name is Ms. Herritz and I am thrilled to be your 4th grade teacher! I am looking forward to a year of learning and fun! I am a born and raised Wisconsin cheesehead. I attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated with a double major in elementary education and political science. I spent one of my semesters teaching reading in South Africa and hold the experience dear to my heart. I spent my first year teaching in the inner-city of Milwaukee. In my free time, I love to take my young rescue puppy for walks, cheer for the Green Bay Packers, and find new places to explore in the DMV.  

Mr. Shillingford – Music and Resource Teacher 

My name is Darren Shillingford, and I look forward to sharing my love of music with you as your new music teacher. I am a graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor's in Music Education. As a pianist who grew up on the small island of Dominica, I worked extensively with several choral groups throughout the Caribbean and most recently with the Children’s Chorus of Washington, DC.  In Trinidad, which has been my second home, I taught steel pan, and I was the organist for several churches and composed songs for the Catholic Mass. Those songs are now featured in the 2nd edition of the Caribbean Hymnal. Apart from my love of teaching, I enjoy cooking and traveling. My dream destination is Thailand. I look forward to getting to know the families, students, and staff of SJB.  

Thank you fo granting a few minutes of your attention. I will have more information in my next note in mid-August.

Please continue to have a safe and wonderful summer with your families.

Yours faithfully,

Brian Blomquist


St. John the Baptist Catholic School

12319 New Hampshire Avenue

Silver Spring, MD 20904


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