Happy New Year!

Jan 6th, 2017

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year! I hope each family had a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. We are back for the second semester of the year. Hard to believe that we are halfway through the school year. The mid-point is a great time to reflect on our successes so far and also on the work ahead. Here are a few highlights to celebrate at our school:

Living our faith – we share our theme “He will show you which path to take” while we pray together each day. Through our weekly masses, chapel time, adoration, prayers and sharing our individual journeys, we bring Jesus alive through our words and actions each day.

IB progress – we continue to grow in our implementation of the International Baccalaureate program at Annunciation. Through IB, we are focusing on building inquiry in our students, creating curious, independent thinkers who also know how to communicate and work with others. Teachers continue to develop their IB units of inquiry, as a school, we are living our ‘learner profile attributes’, and we are excited to see students taking ownership of their learning. We are proud of them and they are proud, too!

Math curriculum – students in grades K-5 are experiencing math in a new way. Our teachers and students are learning how to use “math talk” and develop true “mathematicians”. Through the Math Expressions program, students are taking an active role in teaching and learning, explaining the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of math beyond just looking for right answers. This “inquiry” approach is a great match to our IB framework and students have shared their excitement with me that now “division used to be hard, but now it is easier” and “Math is my favorite time of the day.” While we are still learning, there has been great progress already.

Assessment and reporting – in our 3rd year of using the NWEA MAP tests, we are digging deeper into the data to give us another lens for student progress and school instruction. As a team, we are reviewing data, setting goals with students, and reflecting on the progress. In addition, we have begun to review how we report progress. Starting with our K-5 report cards, we spent time revising our report cards to better fit the content we are teaching. In this first phase, we created consistent reports that show the grade level content for the year. More work is ahead as we research and adapt our grading scale and process to match the standards and content. 

Creativity – our Christmas program was such a wonderful moment to see our students shine! What a gift this is for our students and community. You can see each child shining as they sing and share the Christmas story. In addition to our creative arts, students have been able to stretch their creative learning through other experiences in the classroom, enrichment opportunities, through programs such as math masters, math club, Dimensions, Academic Triathlon, Robotics, Science fair, History day chess club, Lego league and more.

Service – through all of our learning, we also want to take action on what we learn. As a Catholic school and through our IB program, we are called to action and service. Students have helped through Feed My Starving Children, providing food at Thanksgiving and gifts at Christmas to Holy Rosary, making gift bags for seniors and much more.

Through the year, we work hard to create the best school for your children – an environment of care, love, creativity, passion, and challenge. It takes the best learners to be the best teachers and our staff continues to work and grow to be the very best. We have lots of work ahead, but are proud of the progress we are making on this journey.

Thank you for entrusting your children to us, giving us the privilege of teaching and forming them. We appreciate your support and prayers and look forward to 2017. 

Jennifer M. Cassidy
Annunciation Catholic School