Dear Family of St. Joseph’s, It is difficult to believe that we are nearing the end of another school year. It has been a wonderful year for us! We have many accomplishments to be proud of; the continued work to improve Literacy and Mathematics, the number of our students participating in Chess Club, Brix for Kids, Art Club, Angel for a Day and many other activities, the wonderful productions of our K-8th grade students at their Advent program, and “Suessical, the Musical” presented by our 5th 8th grade students. Our band students shared their talents at two programs this year, and the Bell Choir performed at several of our weekday masses and other special programs. We enjoyed sharing information concerning different components of literacy and having grandparents and others join us for a special day during Catholic Schools Week. Our second grade students celebrated the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. We participated in many activities throughout the year to enable us to share our faith with one another, most recently, our Lenten Retreat Day on Good Friday. May is always a busy month for us as we wind down the current year and begin planning for the new school year. As a staff we will be examining Iowa Assessment scores and other assessment data to allow us to make sound educational decisions for next year. We will write building goals in the academic areas of Reading, Math, and Science. We will also begin preparing for the 2016-2017 school year. The last day of school is Friday, May 27th. We will have a 1:00 dismissal on our last day. New this year with be STEAM activities on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of our last week of school. Students will be using skills in math, science, technology, engineering and art as they explore those concepts as related to the fairy tales of The Three Little Pigs and Humpty Dumpty. For example, students will be constructing the three little pigs’ houses out of the same materials as they book, and trying to see if they can build houses that can’t be blown down. Students will also be building containers for an egg drop with the goal of not breaking the egg, among many other activities. We are looking forward to an exciting week! We will hold a parent meeting on Wednesday, May 18th for parents of incoming 5th-8th grade students. We will share information about our upcoming 1:1 Chromebook adoption that will begin in the fall, and answer questions parents may have. We will meet at 7:00 in the gym. Kindergarten Connection will be held on Friday, May 13th from 9:00-2:00. There will be no kindergarten that day for our current kindergarten students. Preschool students will “graduate” on Thursday, May 26th. After their celebration, we will end the year with a reception in the gym. We say good-bye and wish much success to our graduating eighth grade students. This has been a wonderful group of young people to work with through the years and they will be missed. Eighth grade graduation will be held on Wednesday, May 25th at 7:00 PM in the church. All school and Parish members are invited to attend this ceremony. May Crowning will be presented by our 5th grade students on Monday, May 2nd at 2:00 in the church. We will say good-bye to three of our teachers at a special reception on May 10th at 6:30 in the gym hosted by our Home and School Association. Mrs. Tammie Dixon, our kindergarten teacher, has made the decision to return to her prior job as a full-time mom. I am grateful for her year of service and excellent teaching that she has provided to our students. She was always well prepared and planned carefully for each educational day, and used every minute of instructional time. She will be missed. We will also miss Ms. Nora Warnemunde, who will be leaving us as well. She will be teaching in the public schools. Mrs. Jones has become a teacher with the Ankeny schools which allows her to teach in the same building with her children. Finally, I extend my thanks to Mrs. Lisa Risvold, who has served our school for many years. She has made the decision to leave teaching and begin working in the public sector. I know you join me in wishing them all of the best and with gratitude for their service to our school. I also wish to extend my gratitude to our Home and School Association for a tremendous year. I know we all enjoyed the parent gatherings/meals at the beginning of the school year, and all of the other events they planned. I wish all of you a relaxing and fun-filled summer! The first day of school will be August 25th! Fondly, Mrs. Phyllis Konchar
Dear Family of St. Joseph’s, April is a glorious month; the beginning of spring and renewal of life. In fact, the word April means “to open.” April is a month full of feast days and little known celebrations such as; The Cart Before the Horse Day on April 2nd, Raining Cats and Dogs Day on April 3rd, the Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer, Patron of Builders, on April 5th, the celebration of the First Human Cannonball on the 10th, and the Feast of St. Mark, Arbor Day and Baptism Day on the 25th, just to name a few. All had great significance when they were initially celebrated and have lost their meaning throughout time. It makes me reflect upon the things we hold so important now- will they be important even fifty years from now? Most teachers breathe a sigh of relief when April 1st falls on a week-end and thus are able to avoid All Fools’ Day, and the numerous “jokes” played during the day. The first of April probably became All Fools’ Day in 1564. That was the year the French began to use the new Gregorian calendar. A few centuries before that, Christians had moved the start of the new year from January 1 to March 25, Annunciation Day. Everyone celebrated the New Year for eight days. On April 1, the festival ended with parties where gifts were exchanged. In 1564, the first of January once again became the first day of the year but some didn’t want to “change with the times” and continued to follow the old celebration schedule. These people became known as “April Fools.” Playing tricks on people became a tradition later as a way to prove someone a fool, those who could not change became a fool as well. So, beware of tricks this April Fool’s Day! Applications for the George and Mary Kremer Foundation tuition grants are available in our school office. This is a foundation we have received an annual grant from for the past several years and is another way we are able to help make Catholic education available to all of our families. To be eligible for an award, your family must meet the financial guidelines of the foundation. For a family of four(or less), the household income must not exceed $44,863.00 annually. Additional family members are increased by $7,696.00 for each additional family member. The completed application and copy of the 2015 Income Tax Return Form 1040 is returned to Mrs. Konchar (program administrator) by the deadline of May 6th. Please contact the school office at 266-3433 for an application. All contents of the application remain confidential. Please join us for our presentation of “Seussical! The Musical!” presented by our middle school students this Friday and Saturday (April 8th and 9th) at 7:00 in our school gym. Special thanks to our performers, their parents, and our directors; Mrs. Carissa Jones, Ms. Carolyn Campbell and Mr. Josh Fitkin for their dedication of time and talent to make this production a success. Many of our students will be traveling to various field trips throughout the month of April. We continue to be grateful to the Civic Center for their generous support of our school and students. We will continue to offer free 4 year old voluntary preschool during the 2016-2017 school year. If you are interested in learning more about this program please contact our school office at 266-3433. Fondly, Mrs. Phyllis J. Konchar
3rd Grade Happenings Spring has finally come! Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have continued to hit multiplication facts (0-12.) In addition, we have been introduced to geometric shapes and the metric system. Next we will start in division, so if students know their multiplication facts, they will find this much easier. Please practice math facts as well as multiplication facts at home with your child to help them become more proficient. This is a necessary skill they will need for 4th grade math. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students are enjoying the many different genres offered. A recent favorite of the class was “Sarah Plain and Tall.” We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We had an awesome field trip to the city buildings in Pleasant Hill and learned about how a city works together. This helped us to understand more about city government which we have been studying in our class. Next we will move into learning more about communities and trade. Social Studies 4 – We are finishing up learning about the Midwest part of the country as well as Chicago and the Great Lakes area. After the Midwest we will begin studying about the states in the Western part of our country. Social Studies 5 –This month we have been learning about events leading up to the Revolutionary war and the battle for independence. Important dates for April April 15 No School Professional Development April 20 Buddy Activiy
3rd Grade Happenings Spring is just around the corner-we hope! Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have jumped into our multiplication facts. In addition, we have been introduced to area, perimeter, angles and shapes. Please practice math facts as well as multiplication facts at home with your child to help them become more proficient. This is a necessary skill they will need for 4th grade math. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students are enjoying the many different genres offered. We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We have moved into how our local government is set up and have discussed citizenship and the voting process. Next we will learn about our federal government and how it operates. Social Studies 4 – We are currently learning about the states in the Midwest part of the about the United States. After the Midwest we will begin studying about the states in the West. The students are enjoying learning the capitals and abbreviations of each state. Social Studies 5 –We enjoyed a very successful day at JA BizTown and the class learned very valuable lessons in work performance, job skills, and managaing their checkbooks. Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers! We have gotten back to our textbook and are learning about events leading up to the Revolutionary War. Important dates for March March 5 County Fair March 11 No School Professional Development March 14-18 Spring Break March 23 Mass by Grade 3 March 28 No School Easter Monday
Dear Parents, Lent is the penitential season of approximately 40 days set aside by the Church in order for the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. During this holy season, connected to the Paschal Mystery, the Catechumens prepare for Christian initiation, and current Church members prepare for Easter by a recalling of Baptism and by works of penance, that is: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Even in the early Church, Lent was the season for prayerful and penitential preparation for the feast of Easter. Although the obligation of penance was originally only imposed on those who had committed public sins and crimes, by medieval times all the faithful voluntarily performed acts of penance to repair for their sins. The liturgical season of Lent coincides with spring, calling to mind the new life and growth, the hope and change that should characterize this time of prayer, penance and conversion. In addition to our weekly all school mass, we gather each Wednesday at 2:30 to walk with our Lord in the Stations of the Cross. We will also commemorate Good Friday with a Lenten retreat day on March 25th. Our kindergarten through sixth grade students will spend the morning with various activities planned by the teaching staff. On Holy Thursday we will gather to watch our 6th grade students reenact the Last Supper. We will gather at 2:00 in the Church for Living Stations on March 25th. School will not be in session Easter Monday, March 28th. The word Lent is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word lengthen or lencten meaning "spring." We are "to spring" into action, to do the tasks of the season, to prepare for the new growth and graces that overflow from Easter. Spring is the most important season for a farmer, because it determines what crops he will plant. Once decided, he prepares the soil thoroughly and plants the seed carefully, hoping that the seed buried deep in the soil will produce an abundant crop. During Lent our hope is that the seeds planted by our belief and our faith will produce in us a more active faith life; a greater call to action to serving our church and each other. I urge you to participate in our County Fair on March 5th at the Fairgrounds. This will be a family day with multiple activities planned in addition to a wonderful meal. Our Home and School Association, under the direction of President Ryan Dunn, have worked hard on this event. Please show your support- it’s also a great way to spend time with other members of our community. Our 8th grade students will work at the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry on Friday, March 4th to help raise funds for their end of year trip to the Mall of America. Thank you for the many ways your support our school. Spring Break is scheduled for the week of March 14-18. Classes will resume on Monday, March 21st. School is not in session Friday, March 11th for Professional Development. May the Lenten season be a time of reflection, prayer, and a renewed sense of faith for all of us as we await the joys of Easter. Fondly, Phyllis Konchar
3rd Grade Happenings – January Welcome 2016! After a joyous Christmas break we will be ready to get back to work for the New Year. We will be reviewing our class routines to try and perfect transitions, following rules, while remembering that fourth grade is not far around the corner. Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have added drawing and comparing fractions as well as touching on probability. Please practice math facts at home with your child to help them become proficient. Later we will be starting multiplication and that will come easier if regular fact practice is taking place. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students have been very receptive to the content. We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We have been learning about old and new communities in history. This month our chapter focused on explorers and the first pilgrims who came to make a new life for themselves. We also learned about our neighbor to the north, Canada. Social Studies 4 – We have started learning about the states in the upper and lower South and how people have lived there past and present. Social Studies 5 –Currently we are studying European settlements in North America. We continue to prepare for JA Biztown each Friday. Remember that is coming up on February 11 and I need more volunteers. Please contact me if you are willing to help. It is an awesome learning experience for 5th graders to participate in! Thank you all for your prayers and wishes as I recuperate from foot surgery. I expect to be back on January 11 and look forward to seeing all my students. May the birth of our lord Jesus help you to appreciate the joy of the season while you celebrate time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!
3rd Grade Happenings – January Welcome 2016! After a joyous Christmas break we will be ready to get back to work for the New Year. We will be reviewing our class routines to try and perfect transitions, following rules, while remembering that fourth grade is not far around the corner. Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have added drawing and comparing fractions as well as touching on probability. Please practice math facts at home with your child to help them become proficient. Later we will be starting multiplication and that will come easier if regular fact practice is taking place. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students have been very receptive to the content. We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We have been learning about old and new communities in history. This month our chapter focused on explorers and the first pilgrims who came to make a new life for themselves. We also learned about our neighbor to the north, Canada. Social Studies 4 – We have started learning about the states in the upper and lower South and how people have lived there past and present. Social Studies 5 –Currently we are studying European settlements in North America. We continue to prepare for JA Biztown each Friday. Remember that is coming up on February 11 and I need more volunteers. Please contact me if you are willing to help. It is an awesome learning experience for 5th graders to participate in! Thank you all for your prayers and wishes as I recuperate from foot surgery. I expect to be back on January 11 and look forward to seeing all my students. May the birth of our lord Jesus help you to appreciate the joy of the season while you celebrate time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!
3rd Grade Happenings – January Welcome 2016! After a joyous Christmas break we will be ready to get back to work for the New Year. We will be reviewing our class routines to try and perfect transitions, following rules, while remembering that fourth grade is not far around the corner. Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have added drawing and comparing fractions as well as touching on probability. Please practice math facts at home with your child to help them become proficient. Later we will be starting multiplication and that will come easier if regular fact practice is taking place. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students have been very receptive to the content. We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We have been learning about old and new communities in history. This month our chapter focused on explorers and the first pilgrims who came to make a new life for themselves. We also learned about our neighbor to the north, Canada. Social Studies 4 – We have started learning about the states in the upper and lower South and how people have lived there past and present. Social Studies 5 –Currently we are studying European settlements in North America. We continue to prepare for JA Biztown each Friday. Remember that is coming up on February 11 and I need more volunteers. Please contact me if you are willing to help. It is an awesome learning experience for 5th graders to participate in! Thank you all for your prayers and wishes as I recuperate from foot surgery. I expect to be back on January 11 and look forward to seeing all my students. May the birth of our lord Jesus help you to appreciate the joy of the season while you celebrate time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!
3rd Grade Happenings – December Welcome Advent! We are all very excited to welcome the season to our classroom. With all the upcoming preparations we are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas each day! Here is what we’re doing in all of our classes. Math – We have been reviewing previous concepts daily and have added time telling to the minute, measuring with a ruler, comparing and finding missing numbers. Please practice math facts at home with your child to help them become proficient. Later we will be starting multiplication and that will come easier if regular fact practice is taking place. Reading – We continue to read a variety of stories in our Journey’s book and students have been very receptive to the content. We are also learning new concepts in grammar and are learning to write different types of stories in Writer’s Workshop. Remember Spelling tests are weekly and Reading tests are every other week. Social Studies 3 – We have been learning about old and new communities in history including Indian groups and then about their relationship with the pilgrims who came to America. Social Studies 4 – We are wrapping up learning in depth about the states in Eastern United States. Next we will move to the South and learn about the states in this region. The students have been excited about memorizing the capitals of each state. Social Studies 5 –The students enjoyed researching and presenting very interesting reports on different Indian groups. We also have learned about several explorers such as Columbus and Balboa. Next, we will learn about the pilgrims coming to America as well as preparing for JA Biztown each Friday. Remember that is coming up on February 11 and I need more volunteers. Please contact me if you are willing to help. It is an awesome learning experience for 5th graders to participate in! Important dates for December December 11- Prayer service, Spirit Day December 13 – Advent Program December 14 – Live Nativity December 16 – 3rd grade gift exchange December 17 – Dress Down Day December 18 – Buddy activity, classroom Christmas party
Dear Parents, Our focus in the month of December turns to Advent and the Christmas season. The word Advent means, “coming” or “arrival.” During the Advent season we joyously and prayerfully anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ first advent. It is used to describe the time before Christmas and signifies the coming of Jesus in Bethlehem and his present coming in the hearts of people. During the early settling of America, the celebration of Christmas was suppressed. In the 17th century, the Puritans not only banned the singing of carols, but outlawed hanging green boughs and mistletoe. This atmosphere continued for over a century. As German and other European immigrants came to America in the later 1700’s, they brought with them many of their Christmas traditions. Soon the observation of Christmas as a joyful holiday came back into popularity. For all Christians, Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of our Lord, a time for reflection and prayer as we wait in joyful hope. One of the most beautiful symbols of the Advent season is the traditional Advent wreath. The circular green wreath symbolizes God’s never ending love and grace. The candles, typically three purple and one rose, represent hope, peace, joy, and love. It is also a time for reaching out to others whose need is greater than our own. Each month students in a specific grade select a special mission project. They inform our other students about the project and lead the rest of the school in the collection of items or funds. They ensure the collected materials are sent to the selected mission. We will participate in several mission outreaches during this month. Our students learn to help those in need through our service to others. Advent prayer services will be held in the church on the Wednesday, December 2nd at 2:30, on Friday December 11th at 2:30 in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and on Monday, December 14th at 2:30 grades K and 8 will present a Live Nativity. We will have a noon dismissal on Wednesday, December 16th so our staff may attend faith formation in the afternoon. Students from kindergarten through grade eight will present their talents at an Advent program on Sunday, December 13th at 3 pm in the church, and bell and piano students will also perform at this program. I extend my thanks to Mrs. Jennie Gervais and Ms. Carissa Jones for their hard work in preparing students for these performances. We invite you to share in the sounds of the season! Our band students will present their talents at a band concert on Tuesday, December 15th at 6:30 pm. We partner with another parochial school, St. Anthony’s, for two concerts each year. Please support our band students by attending the concert! Our students in grades 6-8 will be traveling to the Civic Center to see a performance of “The Nutcracker Ballet” on December 11th. Fourth grade students will travel to Dowling Catholic High School to watch “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on December 4th. Our Bell and Chorus students will travel on Tuesday, December 8th to share their talents with our elderly in nursing homes. Our mission project for the month of November was a Saint Nicholas collection and a collection of food items for St. Mary’s Shelter. You may continue to contribute to these missions during the first couple of weeks of December. As we move into the season of Advent, we are reminded of the great gifts we have received. This season, probably more than any other, moves us to acts of giving and charity. Our mission projects throughout the school year empower our students to learn to make a difference. Classroom Christmas parties will be held on Friday, December 18th at 2:00. St. Pius will host the 7th and 8th grade dance on Friday, December 4th from 7-9 pm. We will dismiss for the Christmas break at 3:00 on Friday, December 18th. Classes will resume on Monday, January 4th. May your season of Advent and Christmas be merry and bright and filled with God’s grace and love as we “wait in joyful hope.” Fondly, Mrs. Phyllis J. Konchar
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