January 11th Parent Newsletter

January 11, 2022 


Dear Good Shepherd Parents: 


Happy New Year!! We are not quite two weeks into the new calendar year and already 2022 is off to an eventful start. After a holiday season that included the return of our cherished Christmas community events, the school leadership decisions of the new year have yet again been influenced by the surge in covid cases throughout our country. For so many leaders – of classrooms, schools, and families –  the energy required to make and remake decisions over the long haul of this pandemic has taken its toll on our mental, physical, and spiritual well being (understatement of the year!). Thankfully, we are called to continue in our roles in service of the beautiful children who depend on us to guide and teach them. 


Last week, the liturgical year came to an end with the Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. This holiday commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus to the gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his divinity, as it occurred at his baptism in the Jordan River and at his first miracle, at Cana in Galilee. It is a time for us to consider how Jesus fulfilled his destiny and how we too can fulfill ours. As we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King this weekend, we have a prime example of Christ’s endurance manifested in the practice of the nonviolence that shaped Dr. King’s legacy. 


King’s notion of non-violence had six key principles (www.kinginstitute.stanford.edu): 


  • Resist evil without resorting to violence 
  • Win the “friendship and understanding” of the opponent 
  • Evil itself (not the people committing evil acts) should be opposed 
  • Those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive 
  • Nonviolent resistance avoids “external physical violence” and “internal violence of spirit”
  • The nonviolent resister must have a “deep faith in the future,” stemming from the conviction that “The universe is on the side of justice.” 

I share the sentiment of the faculty and staff of Good Shepherd when I say that my own “deep faith in the future” is grounded in my faith in the Good Shepherd School community and others like it. By committing to the mission and philosophy of Catholic education in our families, we have access as parents to the fountain of spiritual endurance that is God’s love. As we embark upon yet another year of new challenges and experiences, know that the community of Good Shepherd School is lifting you up as parents now and always. May the peace and love of God’s blessings thrive in your lives in 2022! 


Peace, 


Mele Mortonson 

Academic Administrator 

SCHOOL NEWS:  


Catholic Schools Week is just weeks away! We look forward to celebrating this celebration of Faith, Excellence and Service with a full week of school events. Please refer to www.goodshepherdschool.us for details, along with the poster being sent home to all families. Dress up days are outlined below FYI. 


****Friends of Good Shepherd Day (Wed Feb. 2nd): Please be sure to share the news about our first annual Friends of Good Shepherd Day with your family, friends, and colleagues. This is a special opportunity for our students to hear directly from community members about their life, educational, or faith experiences. Guests are welcome to visit one or more classrooms – if you or someone you know is interested, please contact Mele Mortonson at m.mortonson@goodshepherdschool.us to get on the schedule! 


Grandparents Day Update: In light of the recent surge in Covid cases, we have decided to celebrate Grandparents Day this year without an in-person gathering. Instead, we will honor our Grandparents and Special Persons with handwritten notes that will go home with students on Friday, February 4th. Thank you to all of the volunteers who stepped forward so generously to plan the Grandparents Day luncheon. We have some great resources in place to make the event a great success next school year! 


Coding is back!! Coding is an essential language for the modern learner – it fosters creativity, reinforces math skills, problem solving, and writing skills as students are tasked with organizing thoughts. We are thrilled to announce that our coding curriculum is back for all grades this month.  In the K-4 classrooms, Mr. Joseph Thompson will be working with all students on the www.code.org curriculum. The 5th-8th grade classes began our twice weekly Python coding classes (https://www.python.org/) today. 


Welcome ICA Students:  This year we have the privilege of working with students from Immaculate Conception Academy Cristo Rey's work study program. These students will join the GSS community by working as office and instructional aides, and their work will support the cost of their education at ICA.  The school will benefit from their work (and modeling for our students!) by means of their presence in the classrooms, on the schoolyard, and in the office. 

 

New K-4 English/Language Arts Resource: We are so excited to introduce a new instructional resource into the K-4 classrooms this year. The Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshops were recently purchased for Good Shepherd School. Pioneered by famed educator Lucy Calkins and refined over decades of research, the 5-part workshop framework offers a combination of whole-class, small group, one-on-one instruction, and independent practice for young readers and writers. This program is known for producing immediate and measurable learning outcomes, both from large scale research and from anecdotal evidence of teachers who have used them. We look forward to putting them to good use with our K-4 students in the new calendar year! 


Virtus Training for students: As part of our school and Archdiocesan-wide commitment to safety, all students have completed the safety training program  (Teaching Safety – Empowering God’s Children) lead by their classroom teacher. In addition to the screening and education required of adults who work with children, this curriculum provides students with valuable tools to keep themselves safe. For more information on this program, you can always refer to www.virtusonline.org or contact your classroom teacher. 


SAVE THE DATE: 


Wed 1.12 Virus Geeks Free on-campus Covid testing 8-330pm

Register Here: my.virusgeeks.com/testreg?org=goodshepherd 


Friday 1. 14 Winter Spirit Dress Day 


Mon 1.24 1230pm Minimum Day: ADSF Educators Day


Wed 1. 26 Virus Geeks free on campus Covid testing 8am-330pm (must register)


Sun 1.30 Catholic Schools Week Kickoff (11am Mass & Open House) 


Mon 1.31 Reader’s Day Uniform or Dress as your favorite literary

Character 


Tues 2.1 Chinese/Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger  – Uniform or gold/red 

Dress 

Star Testing #3 begins (through Feb. 11th) 


Wed 2.2 Friends of Good Shepherd Day – Full Uniform dress 


Thus 2.3 Blazer Spirit Day – Uniform or Spirit Wear 


Fri 2.4 Grandparents/Special Person’s Day (Virtual) – Full Uniform Dress