SFDS Week of March 4th 2019

Dear Families,

We hope everyone has a safe and fun day for Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday. Please remember that this coming week, we have a half day (12n dismissal) on Thursday 3/7 for a Faculty Meeting and closed on Friday 3/8 for a Professional Day. Enjoy the long weekend!


Now onto the week of March 4th…..


Each year, the Church gives us the season of Lent to prepare ourselves for the joyful celebration of Easter.  Over the centuries, the themes of this forty-day period have remained amazingly consistent: renewal, change, turning to Christ, starting over.  The very term, Lent comes from an Old English word meaning spring, which gives clear indication of the newness to which we are called during this annual observance.  The season of Lent gives us as Catholics the time to reflect on the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and how His resurrection gives us the belief of eternal life.   Let our next few weeks be a time of renewal and growing closer to Jesus Christ and his cross.


Ash Wednesday: Families are welcome to join the Academy at our Ash Wednesday Prayer Service this Wednesday March 6th at 10:15am. Please be aware that there will be very limited seating for parents in the back and in the choir loft.  


Grade 6 Family Mass: Our 6th grade is cordially invited to join the St. Francis de Sales Parish and Religious Education grade 6 families for 9am mass on Sunday March 3rd. After the celebratory mass, there will be bagels and light refreshments in the Small Hall for the 6th grade students and their families from both the Academy and Parish. We hope to see you there.


Family Bingo: Don’t forget to join us for our make up of Family Bingo night on Tuesday March 5th at 6pm. We will have great prizes; this night is always a very fun one! A special thank you to Maura Buckley for planning this event for us.


First Penance: Good luck to our  second grade students from Blessed Trinity Parish who will be receiving first Penance next Saturday 3/9. A special word of Thanks to both Mrs. Schmitt and Mrs. O’Malley for preparing our second graders for this important sacrament. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers as you continue on your spiritual journey and prepare for receiving the Eucharist for the first time.


Elementary School Math Bee: Congratulations to Thomas Porcella and Shane Fitzpatrick for becoming the winner and runner up for the grades 3, 4, and 5 Math Bee. Thomas  will be representing St. Francis at the Diocesan Math Bee on April 2nd. Good luck, Thomas!


RESPECT Week: In two weeks we kick off our 4th annual RESPECT Week here at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy. During this week we come together as a school to focus on kindness and respect for ourselves and others through prayer, classroom lessons, assemblies, contests, and various presentations in different grade levels that highlight and build upon meaningful lessons that focus on preventing bullying and unkind behavior. We are all created in God’s likeness and image and we are called to love one another. We hope that through the week to inspire students to follow that message of love and respect.


RESPECT Week Presentation of Ryan’s Story: During this year’s RESPECT Week, we have recruited Mr. John Halligan to conduct two presentations. Mr. Halligan did similar presentations during the Spring of 2015.  One will be for parents on Tuesday March 12th  7-8:30pm.  The student presentation for Grades 5-8 will be held during the school day on Tuesday March 12th as well.   Mr. Halligan will relay his own tragic experience as a Dad whose 13 year old son took his own life in 2003, after incessant bullying by peers since the 5th grade, both in school and online. His story is riveting and powerful, and reminds students that there is a face, a person, a heart, on the other end of the computer screen.

His presentation will begin with a short video collection of home movie clips and still pictures of Ryan.  John will then begin to tell the story of Ryan and the factors that led up to his son’s suicide. The students will gain a perspective from inside a family of a child who is a victim of bullying and cyber bullying. They will also gain awareness about the signs and risk of teenage suicide and how best to help a friend. As part of Mr. Halligan’s presentation, students will have the chance to ask him questions. We encourage you to visit a website named for his son: www.ryanpatrickhalligan.orgfor more information.  


RESPECT Week Contest: This week information on the Essay and Poster Contest for Grades 3-8 was sent home. All submissions must be in by Thursday March 7th.


RESPECT Week Prayer Service: Finally please join us as we gather as a school community on Friday March 15th at 11am. This prayer service will be the culmination of a wonderful week celebrating each other and the respect we have for ourselves, our peers, and our communities.


Mother-Son Bowling: This week a flyer went home to our  Kindergarten through fifth grade boys to attend the Mother-Son bowling event. This event will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm at Woodmere Lanes.  The cost is $20/per bowler and it includes light fare & a photo. Please send in CASH to Monica Spaeth (4A) to reserve a spot; please include name(s) and grade(s). For more information please click here.


Advanced Ed Accreditation: As mentioned at Back to School Night our school  will be going through AdvanceED Accreditation this year. (similar to Middle States Accreditation) The Accreditation Process helps institutions make the most of their talents and resources. On April 9th and 10th, a team of evaluators will be visiting our school to work through the Accreditation process. They will be interviewing various students, teachers, Board members, administrators, etc. as well as visiting classrooms for observations. We have prepared extensively for their visit and look forward to a successful few days.


Terranova Testing: This Spring, we are implementing TerraNova testing in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd  grades. From May 16th-May 23rd the Terra Nova assessment series will be administered to students in grades Kindergarten  through Grade 2. It is important that all academy families understand the rationale behind administering a standardized assessment.  The word test means different things to different students.  Some students embrace the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge; other students become apprehensive and fearful at the prospect of taking a test.  There is a difference between testing and assessing.  An assessment is an educational tool to measure the present status of a student’s skills.  The Terra Nova is designed to measure concepts, processes, and objectives taught throughout the nation.  Terra Nova results are used to: analyze strengths and weaknesses of a student’s achievement in each content area; plan for further instruction; plan for curriculum development; and to report progress to parents.


In closing, I ask families to keep the Terra Nova testing in perspective.  While the information provided from the test scores is important, we sometimes forget that a child is far greater than the sum of their percentile scores.  Luckily, all we have to do is look into their familiar eyes, or sneak a peek at night when they’re closed, to remember why we care so much in the first place…


The assessments will be done over the course a few days, and will be guided by your students’ classroom teachers. As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have an issue, or question.  We are only a phone call or email away.


Fundraising Corner


Box Tops for Education: Thanks to everyone who participated in our winter raffle!  Congratulations to our winners of our Amazon Gift cards.

1st Place: Maeve Grace

2nd Place: Sophia Millet

3rd Place: Ryan Wiley


We will be announcing our Spring Contest in the next few weeks. Keep collecting those Box Tops!!!


Save the Date: Our 16th Annual Golf Outing will be held on Friday May 10th 2019 at the Marine Park Golf Course. Get those foursomes ready so we can have a great year! More information to follow.


Card Party: Dust off your Cowboy Hats and Put On Your Dancin’ Boots!

St. Francis de Sales Card Party Committee Presents

The Blue Jean Ball” Friday, March 29th, 2019, 7PM – 11PM

Doors open at 6:30pm in the Gym, Complimentary Coffee and Cake, BYOB,

Ticket & Table Requests will be available on March 11, 2019 and will sell out fast!!


Anyone interested in helping or donating a prize to be raffled off, please feel free to come to our next meeting on March 6th at 7PM at the school or send an email to sfdscardparty@aol.com.


One of the most anticipated and biggest prizes every year at the Card Party is the

Tuition Raffle for one student for the 2019-2020 school year. Please think about supporting this raffle and get a chance of winning a free tuition for one child. (Winner need not be present). Tickets can be bought in the main office or by handing in tickets found on the order from by clicking here.


Have a great weekend.


PS: We are always in need of some parents to help volunteering for our lunch periods. If you are VIRTUS trained and are able to do the lunch duty, we certainly appreciate it. We are continuing to assign lunch duty using a web-based service called Sign Up. It enables those who want to do lunch duty to sign up for slots on specific days with email reminders. It is our hope this will help with the number of cancellations and no shows from families.

To sign up for lunch duty please use the website: Lunch Duty Sign Up

1) Click the link above to see our Sign-Up on Sign 2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on Sign Up

Volunteers, thank you so much for all of your help!