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St. John the Baptist
Catholic School
12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904 | 301-622-3076
Sep
4

Principal's Note 9/4/19

 

 

Dear SJB Families,

We're off to a terrific start at SJB. Students are getting back in their school routines, and the learning pace is picking up. Thank you for the great turnout and spirit on Back to School Night. It was wonderful to see so many parents here for the reception, prayer service, and classroom presentations.

Back to School Barbecue -- Remember that our Back to School Barbecue will take place on Friday at 6 pm at the top of the SJB field. See the Gold Folder for information.

Check Emails for Portal Login Credentials -- Emails with login credentials were sent to parents on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Please make sure you are able to log in on the Parent Portal. The Portal is our online hub for student information. It includes cumulative grades for students in grades 4-8, current homework assignments, and class unit overviews.

Please Return Survey and Transportation Form -- Please remember to return the family income survey and Transportation Form. Greater participation in the survey helps the school receive federal education dollars. Our goal is 100 percent participation.

Parent Handbook -- We've spoken to students about our mission as a Catholic school, our expectations of students, and our rules and procedures as they are spelled out in the Parent Handbook. I encourage parents to review the updated Handbook with their children.

Seeking Someone to Coordinate International Night -- We do not yet have a date for one of our most popular events -- International Night -- because we don't yet have a parent volunteer willing to take the lead. Please contact me or our H.S.A. President, Jessie Fitzgerald, at jessiefitz27@gmail.com, if you are willing to give it a try. We'd really like to continue the International Night tradition. If you are willing to coordinate, we will provide you with a binder of helpful information on what to do and we will support you with set-up instructions for the staff. Please remember that past leaders have taken International Night in  new directions. We are open to scaling back and simplifying the event, lightening the burden on the organizer, in order to allow it to happen.

Fire Alarm Replacement Work and Fire Watch Plan Continue -- Replacement work on the fire alarm will continue for an estimated 4-6 weeks. Electricians worked over the summer and continue to work at night on installing a new fire alarm system for the school and church. SJB students and teachers have been told that we are continuing with the Fire Watch plan, originally implemented in May. The Catholic Schools Superintendent and Montgomery County Fire Marshal have been updated regularly. Several members of the SJB staff have been assigned to the Fire Watch team. Team members understand their daily assignments of inspecting different parts of the building, and teachers have explained the response plan to students. The Fire Watch plan was developed under the guidance of the Marshal.

A Review of the Fire Alarm Breakdown and Response -- When we received notice from our alarm service in May that major parts of the system had failed, the occupants of the school and church were informed, the Fire Marshal and School Superintendent were consulted, and families were notified in a school-wide email. The pastor was responsive, soliciting bids for repair and replacement right away. By June, Siemens Alarm had been hired to make and oversee a plan to replace the system. In the first week of July, Siemens presented building blueprints with plans for a new alarm system. During the contract-and-permit approval process, electricians were lined up to begin work in the building. They began work in August, installing required wiring throughout the school and putting in 51 new smoke-and-fire detectors and strobe lights. The electricians cannot work during school hours, when children are here, so they work at night and on weekends. Device installation in the church and final testing are the jobs that remain. 

In the Kazista Center (Kindergarten, Library, Art Room, and Parish Center) the alarms are still operational, but the alarm panel in the Kazista Center will soon be replaced. 
 
Using our "fire watch" procedures, a school-wide fire drill was conducted last week. All students were evacuated in a swift, orderly manner to the required distance (the field) in less than 1 minute. 
 
 Students and staff members in the main building (grades 1-8) have been told to use the classroom intercom system to alert the school office immediately if there is any detection of smoke or fire. There are call buttons in every classroom. The staff in the school office will send an emergency alert over the school intercom system to all classrooms in the event of a reported emergency. From that point, teachers follow their regular fire drill procedures, accounting for all students in their care.
 
The Weekly Note -- I plan to continue to send this Note to you each week. Notice will arrive by email, usually on Tuesday, with a link to the Principal's Note on the school website. This year, there will be a slight change in the format of the Note.
 

The Note will include reports from on the school, reports from our classrooms, information that might have an impact on our school, our teachers, our students, and our families.

Notices of after-school and weekend events and activities will appear on the Gold Folder page, and the Note will include a link that sends readers to the Gold Folder page for flyers and reminders.

The adjustment lets us continually update the Gold Folder page with news about SJB community events and activities. It also lets us keep certain items posted for a few weeks at a time. In the past, we've held all information for release Tuesday. We continue to ask parents to submit flyers and event information by noon on Monday for the Tuesday Folder and Gold Folder page. The earlier, the better.

Gold Folder Page -- See the Gold Folder page for information about the Fall Plant Sale, School Pictures, and Half-Day Grill.

Prayers for the Conlon Family -- We are praying for John Clayton Walters, grandfather of Joseph and Matthew Conlon (4th and 7th). Mr. Walters passed away last week. 

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