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

Principal's Note 9/9/19



Please Respond to Survey on Wednesday

 A survey will go out to school families on Wednesday. I ask that you take a few minutes to respond to it. The survey is a requirement of our English Language Learning program, which receives federal funds. Greater participation can mean more federal money. The survey is going to everyone, not just to families with students in our ELL program. Please respond to the questions for each child enrolled in the school.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

An Update of the Fire-Emergency Plan at SJB

Electricians continue to work on the replacement of the fire alarm system. 

Fire-alarm pull-stations in the main school building and church aren’t yet operational. The alarm system is operational in the Kazista Center, which contains the Library, Art Room, and Kindergarten, but the control panel for the system will be removed this weekend. 

Students and teachers are under a Fire Watch Plan under the guidance of the Montgomery County Fire Marshal. Students and teachers have been told to use the class intercom call button to alert the office in the event of an emergency. Staff members have been assigned to keep watchful eyes on different parts of the building. Fire-pull stations have been labeled "out of order" on the advice of the Fire Marshal. 

We conducted a fire drill using the public address system on Aug. 29, and students evacuated to the required distance in less than one minute. We had a second drill on Tuesday, Sept. 10. In this drill, a 3rd grade student went through the exercise of reporting "smoke" to the 3rd grade teacher, who used the call button to report the "smoke" to the school office. The office staff used the emergency call feature of the public address system to alert everyone in the school. From the student report to the successful evacuation, the drill took 1 minute 16 seconds. The evacuation alone took less than 1 minute.   

Electricians have been working and will continue to work on weekday nights and weekends. Child-protection rules prevent them from working during school days with children in the building. The Catholic Schools Superintendent and Fire Marshal have been updated regularly on the progress of the fire-alarm replacement. 

 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. New members have been added as the plan has been updated. This week, teachers in the library and art room and staff members in the Parish Center were appointed to the team. Teachers have explained the response plan to students.  

Contractors say the fire-alarm system replacement in the school is 90 percent complete. Pull-stations have been replaced. New strobe lights and detectors have been installed. Wiring and power have been supplied for a new system sub-panel in the main school building. This week, contractors plan to get the sub-panel up and running. They will run wiring from the sub-panel to the Lyon Center, the church Sacristy, areas in the gym, and to the main panel in the Kazista Center. Over the weekend, contractors plan to add smoke-detection devices and strobe lights to the second and third floors including the gym, kitchen, storage areas, and bathrooms. They also plan to remove the main fire system control panel from the Kazista Center and prepare for the installation of a new panel, which will be done by an alarm company under contract. 

The current cost of replacing the fire-alarm system is about $161,000. 

The job is about 4 weeks away from being complete, according to contractors.  

I will send an update when I have more information. 


Thank You, Barbecue Organizers and Everyone Who Came Out!

Thank you to everyone who came out last Friday night for our First Annual Back to School BBQ! It could not have been a success without this incredible SJB community. More than 200 people came out to enjoy a beautiful night of music, games, food and great company. I would like to thank the planning committee, Chris Regan (Madelyn, 3rd), Jen Margiotta (Tony and Nico, 8th & 5th) and Jessie Fitzgerald (Conor, 6th; Ronan, 3rd; Maeve, K). They were instrumental in starting what I hope to be a new SJB tradition.

So many people and groups came together to make this night special. Thank you to the Knights of Columbus and members, David Andescavage (Toby, PK), Ray Lombardo (Jonathan and Teddy, 5th and 2nd), and Noel Gregos who spend the night behind the grill. Also the SJB Athletic Ministry; Mike Diokno (Athletic Director) and Jeff Vinson (Ian, 7th; Sophia, 5th; Isaac, 1st) and the teachers and staff that not only provided support leading up to the event, but were also able to spend the night with us. We appreciate the Lappins (Colin & Ava, 5th & 3rd) the Oswells (Logan & Morgan, 2nd & K) and Jeanine Regan (Madelyn, 3rd) for all the help with set-up as well.

A special thanks to Mr. Blomquist for supporting us throughout the planning, Tom Klotz, who lugged all the tables and grill out for the night, and to all the many people who stayed behind and helped clean up after the night was over. You all are part of what makes the SJB community so GREAT!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year

-- Eoin Fitzgerald (Conor, 6th; Ronan, 3rd; Maeve, K)


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