August 16, 2019

Jeffrey M. Howard
Send Your Spirit on Our Students
Two days are down and we have more than a few to go… this week I have been praying these words from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers found on the National Council of Catholic Bishops’ website for our students: Lord our God,in your wisdom and love you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. Send your Spirit upon these students and fill them with your wisdom and blessings. Grant that they may devote themselves to their studies and draw ever closer to you,the source of all knowledge.

I heard someone refer to our day on Thursday as “organized chaos.” Please allow me to begin with an apology: lunch was chaos and not the organized variety. It was our intention to feed all of our students - to buy them lunch - as a welcome back and a thank you for their cooperation moving through Thursday. This did not happen in the way we had planned and, while we did our very best to get pizza to every student who wanted some, I am very disappointed in the manner in which lunch happened. I know that some students did not get fed and I feel terrible about that. I also know that some students did go through the cafeteria line and paid for lunch and we will be sure to get these students refunds. What should have been a fun and productive first day (and was, I think, for the most part) was marred by the mismanagement of lunch. I am quite sorry. The students were terrific, by-the-way. They were calm and grateful and composed. I took my cues from them.

… and the Start of School
But, it was so terrific to have students back in the building this week! What a joy to see the Class of 2023 welcomed on the red carpet by the Classes of ‘20, ‘21 and ‘22 and the Drum Line which was rocking! I hope our 9th graders are off to wonderful starts and I hope our returning and transferring students have come home with the same excitement these last two days with which we have greeted them!

Faculty and Staff Days
As you know, our faculty and staff have been in the buildings working and meeting and preparing for your students for the past 10 days or so. During our time together, we prayed together both at mass and in meetings, discussed our Lasallian faith, talked about Mental Health 101 and recognizing signs of stress in students, meet in departments, collaborated on “big issues” facing the school, had hands on technology inservicing and enjoyed seeing each other after the weeks we’ve been apart. It is ever humbling to be with this talented faculty. It has been so great to see them!

Back to School Night
This year’s edition of Back to School Night is on Wednesday, August 28. There will be no late start that day. Rather, we will move the late start to Thursday, August 29 so that the faculty and staff can have a bit of a breather following Back to School Night. Please plan on joining us at 6:00pm on the 28th to meet your students’ teachers!

Dean’s Office Staff Expanded
As we begin this year, I wanted to let you know that I am most pleased to announce that Mr. Duan Ruff, our Dean of Students/Director of Security, will be joined by two Associate Deans of Students, Ms. Lindsay Hooper and Mrs. Leah Leddin. Ms. Hooper and Ms. Leddin will both be part time in the Dean's Office and the added person power will enable us to do many things to serve your students better, including working with them on tardies and absences. With more people dedicated to this work, we will be able to engage with students showing patterns of lateness or absence and will be able to offer support, suggestions and intervene earlier and more effectively than, perhaps, we have been able to in the past. This is a good thing and not the only area the new Dean’s Office staff will be working through during the course of the year. I am grateful to Ms. Hooper and Mrs. Leddin.

As we settle in to the year, I hope your students are having no issues with classes or with teachers but, if they are, please remind them to chat with the teacher they might be having a challenge with first. If that is not effective, they can engage the chair of the particular department, then an Assistant Principal. They (and you!) can also chat with me, but I am most likely to direct them back to the teacher to begin the process. I know that, especially for our younger students, this can be daunting and we can help them through this by connecting them with their Academic and Personal Counselor for support in this, too!