November 24, 2013

Dear Bishop Dunn Families,

We have adopted an attitude of gratitude here at Bishop Dunn.  As we consider our many blessings during this time of year, I am reminded of the special spirit that embodies our school community.  Even in times of stress and “busy”ness we continually come together in loving-kindness  –  the kind of love that Jesus would want us to demonstrate toward one another.

Your child’s teacher will be talking about gratitude this month as we approach Thanksgiving Day.  And it is in this spirit that I share a quote I read recently:

“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.”  — David Steindl-Rast

At our November 18th Teacher Workshop, we were reminded that teaching, especially Catholic teaching, carries with it an obligation to live out the Gospel by example.  At Bishop Dunn we try to live out this obligation daily.  The picture of Jesus surrounded by children and mothers, which adorns our classrooms and sits on the side table in our lobby, gives us purpose.  The words above that picture fill my heart each and every day:  Be it known to all who enter here, that Christ is the reason for our school, the unseen but ever present teacher in our classes, the model of our faculty, the inspiration of our students. Thank you for entrusting us with your children every single day.

I enjoyed coming together with parents at the recent Parent Coffees to discuss the Common Core Learning Standards.  Some of you expressed frustration with the math homework in particular.  These concerns were shared with our teachers, and we are working on ways in which to simplify the homework process and provide clarification to parents.   As teachers “unpack” the Common Core Math Modules, they are paying closer attention to homework and how best to communicate new approaches to problem solving with their families.  Some of this may have been addressed with you during Parent Teacher Conferences.  The math homework mirrors the problem sets which the students are doing in class.  This can serve as an exemplar for students and their parents as they complete the homework.  But please remember to write a note to your child’s teacher on any homework which your child finds confusing.  Teachers will address this with your child the following day.  So please do not continue in frustration.  Homework should never be a frustrating and tearful experience.

Since we are using the Math Modules from Engage NY as a guide, there is a link which you may find useful as you attempt to help your child with homework:  From this link, go to Parent Resources.  Many of these were shared with parents at the Parent Coffees.

We’ve had a very productive first quarter to the school year, and we are very proud of the progress our students are making.  As I was reviewing report cards this past week I was so impressed with how well our students are performing in light of curriculum changes due to the alignment to the Common Core Learning Standards and Assured Writing Experiences.  We are so proud of all of our students.

We’d like to publicly recognize our middle school students who made the honor roll this quarter and congratulate these students as well as their teachers and parents for providing the guidance and encouragement to achieve such good grades.    Making the Principal’s List for having an average of 95 or higher and no grades below 90 were 6th graders:  Nicholas Albano, Jared Castro, Emmanuel Davis and Daniel Katz; 7th graders: Colin Berardinelli, Morgan Hurst, Rachel Irish, Michael Mazzariello and Devin Scully; 8th graders:  Joaquin Bagtas, Brenden Bready, Kelly Gebman, Sarah Goodhill, Christian LoBiondo and Brielle Maxwell.

Achieving First Honors status for having an average of 90 or higher and no grades below 85 were 6th graders:  Francesca Chillino, Justin Conover, Jabari Garcia, Chase Godwin, Jason Kozak, Danielle Lozano, Olivia Lynch, Anthony Perpetua and Carrick Sculley;  7th graders:  Molly Conyea and Thomas James; 8th graders:  Will Conyea, Julia Griesing, Lucas Labrenz, Max Labrenz and Jarrett Rivera.

Achieving Second Honors for having an average of 85 or higher and no grades below 80 were; 6th graders:  Guy-Paul Delisfort, Samantha McCullough, Hayden McElduff and Sean Witte;  7th graders:  Marc DiVenuto, Isley Gebman, Kevin Horan, Cleveland Lewis, Devin Maxwell and Rory McElduff;  8th graders:  Will Davis, Thomas DeMeo, Daniel McLoughlin and Julia Stillman.   Congratulations to all of these students and their parents.   Keep up the great workJ

In the interest of maintaining safety at all times in our school, please remember to sign in at the Reception Desk upon arrival and complete a guest pass noting the destination location for your visit.   Thank you for adhering to our safety procedures during morning drop-offs in front of the school.  Traffic has been moving along steadily and parents with students in Pre-K and Kindergarten are parking in the parking lot in order to walk their children into school.  Thank you.  Students in grades 1 – 8 are expected to walk to the gym prior to 7:45am and to their classrooms after 7:45am without parent supervision.  This is necessary to maintain order at this critical time of the school day when teachers are supervising students and getting the day underway.  During dismissal, we ask that parents in the car line please adhere to the directions of the adult on duty who is trying to maintain safety for children getting on the bus.  Even while in the parking area of the school, all drivers should obey bus safety rules and not try to pass in front of or around a bus while the stop sign is extended and the lights are blinking.  Thank you.

We are so very grateful to our Parent Guild Board and members and various volunteers who are working so hard for the good of our school community.  Many have been helping with The Book Fair, the Gertrude Hawk Fundraiser, Spirit Wear and the Thanksgiving pies and cookies.  We look forward to putting the fund-raising monies to good use for our children which will take the form of new and engaging books for their classroom libraries, cosmetic updates to the school and technology upgrades to name a few.  We are so blessed to have such dedicated and caring parents frequent our halls of learning.  Our next event is Craft Night with Santa for grades Pre-K through 3.  This will take place on Friday, December 6th, from 6:30-8:00pm in the BDMS gymnasium.  The flier will be posted on our webpage to sign up for this fun-filled event if you have not done so already.

The generosity and school spirit that embodies Bishop Dunn is very much appreciated.  We want to thank everyone for donating goods to The Newburgh Express for the victims of the Philippines.  St. Mary’s Church is very appreciative of the donations for their Thanksgiving Gift Baskets which will go to hungry families here in Newburgh.  Our Families to Families Christmas Drive is well underway as many people took home ornaments to be returned in the form of presents for needy families.  Our Dress-Down Day on Friday, November 21st, yielded more than $700.00.   This money will go to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.  We have a contact who will ensure that the monies raised will be sent to the proper channels to buy much needed medicine and medical supplies for the victims.  And of course, the generosity of our students for collecting money in the form of coins for the Families for Change Drive is nothing short of amazing.  This drive ends next week and Mrs. Riley will inform us of the grand totals shortly.


Lastly, I’d like to share a prayer which was given to the teachers through the Archdiocese on Teacher Training Day this past week:

Jesus, the Teacher

He never taught a lesson in a classroom…

He had no tools to work with, no blackboards, maps or charts…

He used no subject outlines, kept no records, gave no grades,

And His only text was ancient and well worn.

His students were the poor, the lame, the deaf, the blind, the outcast…

And His method was the same with all who came to hear and learn…

He opened eyes to faith…

He opened ears with simple truth…

And opened hearts with love, a love born of forgiveness…

A gentle man, a humble man,

He won no honors, no gold awards of tribute to His expertise or wisdom…

And yet this quiet teacher from the hills of Galilee

Has fed the needs, fulfilled the hopes, and changed

The lives of many millions…

For what He taught, brought heaven to earth and God’s heart to mankind.

 May God bless you and your families richly during this Thanksgiving Day!

Warm regards,

Karen Kellogg

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