Principal’s Newsletter – April 21, 2013

Dear Bishop Dunn Families,

I just returned from the Parent Magazine Expo at the Newburgh Mall where our Troubadours performed a medley of four songs and our JV Cheerleaders presented a new routine for the crowd.  They did an amazing job!  Our parent and staff volunteers deserve a huge THANK YOU for making the Expo so successful for Bishop Dunn.  Many families who were visiting the mall today stopped at our table and expressed genuine interest in our school.  We will be following up with these families to invite them in for a tour.  Please continue to spread the good word about Bishop Dunn to your friends and relatives.  Word of mouth goes a long way in generating lasting interest in any institution.  Speaking of good words about Bishop Dunn – everyone has been commenting on the newer furniture in the main lobby area.  I’d like to thank Pete McLoughlin, parent and basketball coach, for donating this lovely furniture.  We are very grateful!

It has been a very hectic few weeks since our Spring Recess.  Here are some of the highlights:

State Assessments

Last week, our students in grades 4, 6 and 8 took the New York State ELA exams.   Once again, the state has requested that these exams remain secure.  As promised by the officials at the State Education Department, these tests were aligned to the common core and were quite rigorous.  Day 2 of the assessment was particularly draining as students were expected to read and respond to multiple choice questions as well as provide both short and extended responses involving in-depth analysis of the texts in two booklets.  I am confident that our students performed their very best under the circumstances:  a new assessment aligned to the common core standards; 70 minutes in duration for grade 4 and 90 minutes for grades 6 and 8 on each testing day; the multiple choice responses were rather tricky; and few adults would achieve a perfect score on any of these assessments in our estimation!  Nevertheless, we are proud of our students and teachers. 

The preparation for these exams is accomplished over the long term by providing our students with many opportunities to read and write at higher levels in every grade.  Our teachers have been working hard all year to align their curriculum with the common core standards and infuse differentiated instructional strategies to help our students begin to master the skills necessary to comprehend textual information at a deeper level than in the past.  This level of rigor continues to be a work in progress as classrooms all over New York State work to inculcate the common core standards into their curriculum every single day.  We are grateful to Dr. Bixler, our Professor in residence, who has been so helpful in guiding our teachers to truly differentiate instruction to better master the concepts endemic in the standards.  Dr. Bixler will continue to work with our teachers and students next year to support our efforts in making the common core standards a natural part of the curriculum at each grade level.  Next week, these same students will be taking the New York State Math Assessments on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  As always, we ask that you ensure their arrival to school on time each day and that they receive a good night’s rest and a good breakfast.   Thank you. 

Honor Roll

Congratulations to all the middle school students who made the third quarter honor roll, and to their teachers and parents for providing the guidance and encouragement to achieve such commendable grades.  Making the Principal’s List for having an average of 95 or higher and no grades below 90 were:  6th grader, Michael Mazzariello and 7th graders:  Joaquin Bagtas, Brenden Bready, Max Labrenz, 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: Colin Berardinelli, Molly Conyea, Morgan Hurst, Rachel Irish, Daniel (Rory) McElduff, Matthew Osborne and Devin Scully;   7th graders: Shivan Brissette,  William Conyea, Sarah Goodhill,   Lucas Labrenz  and Jarrett Rivera; and 8th graders: Ryan Bayer,  Kiana Carver,  Christopher Chiarella,  Alexa DiVenuto,  Isabel Perez, Joshua Pisano  and Will Snyder.

Achieving Second Honors for having an average of 85 or higher and no grades below 80 went to:  6th graders: Marc DiVenuto, Caitlin Jones, Devin Lambe, Cleveland Lewis, Alliana Lightbody, Gabriella Palladino and Zachary Thornton; 7th graders: Milena Arroyo and Julia Griesing; and 8th graders:  Matteo C.-Russo, Nicole Case, Andrew Indzonka, Gracie McElduff, Jack O’Brien, Sarah Palmatier, Mia Serrano and Freddie Watson.

Safety

We continue to make good progress on researching a variety of ways we can increase safety and security at Bishop Dunn.  On Thursday evening we met with our Sub Committee on Safety to debrief our research thus far.  As in the past these committee members gave us some very sound advice.  They were also quite pleased with our progress and intimated that although we are a small school, we are doing more than many school districts to ensure the safety of all of our students. 

When we have finalized our safety plans based on the feedback from this Sub Committee, we will present these to the entire school community.  Some of our plans require upgrading or purchasing new equipment, and we are in the process of setting priorities based on what we can reasonably afford.  Once again, we’d like to thank our families for honoring the security measures we have already in place.  As a gentle reminder those measures include:

As a gentle reminder those measures include:

  1. Coming to the Reception Desk upon entering the building to:
    1. Identify oneself
    2. Show picture identification
    3. Sign in on the daily sign-in sheet
    4. Wear a Visitor’s pass indicating the destination location in the school of where and whom one is visiting:
      i.      This will include class visitations for particular activities, such as, author’s breakfasts, class parties, and all volunteering efforts.
      ii.      This will be required for all visitors including: parents, college students, professors and all college personnel, and any person who visits our school even if a pre-arranged appointment has been established. 
  2. Maintaining order and safety during dismissal procedures:
    1. Please be reminded that parents are asked to pick up children in the main lobby before 2:00pm or after 2:30pm.  Otherwise parents are requested to use the car line for pickups. 
    2. When dismissal begins at 2:15pm, students are required to be silent in the classrooms and the hallways to ensure that everyone hears when their particular bus is called. 
  3. Conducting training procedures with staff on safety and security and practice drills with students so that all safety procedures become routine.  We will be resuming safety drills after the New York State Assessments are administered this coming week.  We intend to have a severe weather drill, another lock-down drill and several fire drills.
  4. Please be reminded to enter the campus from Gidney Avenue slowly as buses are entering and existing in the mornings and afternoons.  While we realize that morning arrivals can be a hectic time as parents need to get to work, we ask for your tolerance.  Please be mindful of bus safety and wait patiently until the bus has safely unloaded our students and has departed the unloading area.  Thank you.

End-of-Year School Calendar

Upon returning from spring break every year, it seems that the school year really flies by and before we know it, we are nearing the end of school days with graduation and year-end celebrations.  Here is an updated school calendar for your reference:

      April 23 – Students in Grade 6 will recite the Pledge on WHUD at 7:30am

      April 24, 25 & 26 – Math State Testing for Grades 4, 6, and 8

      Saturday, April 27 – Barnes & Noble Book Fair

      Monday, April 29 – Middle School Science Fair

      Saturday, May 11 – First Holy Communion for Grade 2 at 9:00am

      Thursday, May 23 – Guys & Dolls Dress Rehearsal at 9:00am

      Friday, May 24 – Make-up snow day.  Guys & Dolls Play at 7:00pm

      Saturday, May 25 – Guys & Dolls Play at 12:00pm and 7:00pm

      Wednesday, May 29 – Band and Choral Concert at 7:00pm

      Friday, May 31 – 8th Grade Confirmation at 6:00pm

      Wednesday-Saturday, June 5-8, Grade 8 Field Trip to Washington, DC…

      Wednesday, June 12:

  • Integrated Algebra Regents at Aquinas Hall/MSMC at 1:15pm
  • Sports Banquet in the evening at Hudson Hall

      Friday, June 14 – Field Day/Family BBQ

      Wednesday, June 19 – 8th Grade Graduation at 9:00am

 

Thanks for all you do to make our school so special

Blessings,

Karen Kellogg

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