Hello OLOL families,
It really doesn't seem possible that we are getting ready to head into November. I am so incredibly proud of our school community, teachers, staff, students and parents. We are working together to stay safe and provide a faith-filled learning environment for our children. We have been successfully in school since September (with one small hiccup) and looking toward the end of the calendar year already. There are so many things to plan for and to think about as we head into the wonderful season of holidays, family, and celebrating the birth of our Lord. We are planning adaptations and new ways to share, enjoy, and enrich traditional events at OLOL. I have a lot of information for you about some of the plans that have been solidified so far, including some calendar information.
Thanksgiving Plans & Calendar Information:
As we look at November and consider our first Thanksgiving under a pandemic we are concerned, as are many of you are as well, about the impact of traveling and sharing the holiday with family members and friends outside of your normal exposure group. This year we will celebrate Thanksgiving, our Grandparents, and reflect on the things we are grateful for in our lives with a Zoom Celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 25. More details will be shared in the coming weeks. This day will be a half day of school with 12:10 dismissal, no after school activities. Our school will be closed for Thanksgiving from Thursday, Nov. 26 through Tuesday, Dec. 1. Classes will resume on Wednesday, Dec. 2. We are extending our traditional Thanksgiving holiday for two days to give families, faculty, and staff a chance to monitor their health and make sure there were not any COVID exposures during holiday celebrations. We also wanted to give our teachers a well-deserved extra day to refresh, relax, and prepare for teaching in December. Please consider your holiday celebration and if you should send your children to school the week following Thanksgiving. If you have traveled out of state, especially to an area with a higher positivity rate, or if you were at a large family gathering, you should consider staying home to monitor for the presence of any symptoms or notifications of COVID exposure from someone at your gathering.
I am sharing a new link with you today that has all the calendar information for November and December, as well as links to our Google online calendar, and links to other important resources and to-do items. (you can also see the embedded image on the Daily Edition page)
Annual Fund Campaign:
As we move into November we are excited to promote our 2020-2021 Annual Fund Campaign. Our goal this year is to raise $150,000. Please see our Annual Fund page to read more information and to see our list of donors for the 2019-2020 campaign. Last year we had the participation of 60% of our families and 100% of our faculty and staff. We raised just over $100,000. This year we want to reach our goal of 100% participation. Any donation is appreciated and will be used to continue the great works at OLOL, caring for our aging building, and supporting our teachers. This would be a monumental achievement and one that shows we have 100% commitment and support from the faculty, staff, and families of OLOL. Please consider how you can support our Annual Fund Campaign this year and help us reach our goal of 100% participation by making your donation by Dec. 1 (Giving Tuesday).
Annual Letter 2020
Our Annual Book Fair will be online this year. We will run the book fair between Nov. 6 and 19th. The Bookworm Central website will remain open throughout the year so parents can support OLOL and classroom libraries with their purchases. Each year this is the major fundraiser for our Library and we usually come away from the book fair with close to $3,000 worth of books! This is a great opportunity to buy your Christmas gifts and to share the online fair site with family and friends to do their shopping as well. More details will come home next week.
End of 1st Quarter & Parent/Teacher Conferences:
Next week, Nov. 4, you will receive an email from your child's homeroom teacher with a sign up sheet for Parent/Teacher Conferences. The conferences will be held on Zoom during the days of Friday, Nov. 13, Monday, Nov. 16, and additional slots to accommodate middle school conferences before and after school as needed during the week of the 16th. Your child's teacher will supply you with the scheduled slots available for that grade. All appointments must be scheduled by 3pm Wednesday, Nov. 11. After that point the teachers will share the schedules and Zoom links with families.
Hello OLOL families,
We have been busy at OLOL this week and we are looking forward to a chance to gather together tomorrow (via Zoom) and spend some quiet, contemplative time in prayer as we take part in the Living Rosary. This is a lovely tradition at OLOL that I have enjoyed for many years and we have found a wonderful way to keep the tradition under our new circumstances. Please join us on Zoom at 9am tomorrow morning.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 958 510 0449
This week we spent much of our Tuesday and Wednesday morning involved in Student Government Elections. The 8th grade candidates running for office did an outstanding job speaking to the school about their qualifications, commitment to OLOL, and goals for the school if elected. The entire process allowed us to focus in our individual classrooms and teach the students about the importance of identifying a candidate they agree with, a person they believe will work hard in the position, and someone who will represent their own hopes and goals for the school. We live Zoomed the speeches, included our 8th grade families and home learners from all grades. Students in K through 8th grade voted and the 8th graders watched the live voting results come in on our Google form ballots. It was a successful event all around and a wonderful learning opportunity. We are proud of all our candidates and look to our elected 8th grade officers to serve us well this year! See the flyer below for all the results.
Monday, October 26- NO SCHOOL for students
This is an online professional development conference day for our teachers. They will take part in online seminars with other educators across the Archdiocese of Washington. There will not be any Zoom meetings scheduled or assignments shared for this day. It is not a school day for students.
Pink Day to Support Breast Cancer Research & Prevention
The Student Council Officers and our 8th grade students are already planning our first service project! We will have Pink Day on Friday, October 30! There will be prizes for the "Pinkest" individuals and classroom. We will collect donations in the morning at arrival in the parking lot and front steps so that students do not have to carry money into school. We will have pre-packaged goodies to give out to the classroom teachers. More information will be sent home next week. All the money raised will be donated to support Breast Cancer Research & Awareness.
Bringing food into the building:
Parents please remember, as we stated in our handbook COVID addendum, children are NOT to bring birthday treats to school during this time. I know a few birthday treats have trickled in, but it is important to the entire school community that we follow these safety procedures. We are not sharing food at school during the pandemic.
Precautions to take during cold and flu season:
This is going to be a whole new world of complications to tackle as you and your children come down with illnesses this fall and winter. It is imperative to our school community that if you and/or your children, and any members of your family that live with you, feel sick with COVID symptoms that you carefully consider your actions. You should stay home, assess level of illness and symptoms, contact your doctor, and/or get a COVID test. Please keep in contact with our school office and Mr. Long and Ms. Moore, we may direct you to take further action or provide you with additional guidance. We have had some cold symptoms surfacing the past two weeks and families are being appropriately cautious by keeping students home until adult test results come in, contacting your pediatrician, getting a COVID test, and waiting/quarantining until the results are available. Remember, you are contagious prior to becoming symptomatic.
First Quarter has been extended.
As you can imagine, it has taken quite a bit of time to get settled into all our new routines at school. Getting back to and keeping our academic routines has been impacted by all the new safety procedures in our day. For those reasons, we will extend the First Quarter until Friday, November 4. We want to make sure we have enough time to give a fair and accurate assessment of student performance in the first quarter. We are working now to plan the best date for Parent /Teacher Conferences and will share that with you soon.
We will continue to wear the PE uniform to school until the end of the 2nd quarter.
8th Grade Parents:
Registration for the HSPT test opens Monday October 26. Please see our HS webpage for the link. https://www.bethesda-lourdes.org/8th-grade-high-school-application-process.html
We had a busy and productive 4 day week and I know we are all looking forward to the weekend.
We are in the month of the Most Holy Rosary and it is always a beautiful reminder of the love and protection of our Mother Mary to be in a school named for Our Lady of Lourdes and to have such a beautiful grotto to visit on lovely fall afternoons. I spent some time at the grotto this week talking to Mary in prayer and saying the rosary. Praying the rosary is a chance to draw closer to God, to reflect on the events of His life and His mother Mary. I know that in my own life I need to strive to pray the rosary more often. I very much missed not being able to have our annual Living Rosary this month, and I am sure our students and families did as well. We are planning a Living Rosary hybrid event for next Friday, October 23 at 9am, led by the 8th graders, Mr. Keane and Mr. Long. We will have 8th graders at the Grotto, taking part in the Living Rosary and we will use Zoom to share this with the classrooms and families virtually. I will send home a Zoom link later next week.
Next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we will listen to speeches from our student council candidates and elect our Student Government Officials for the 2020-2021 school year.
On Monday, our 8th grade HSPT course begins. Thanks to Mr. Dwyer and Mrs. Helms for all their efforts to help prepare our students for this important test.
The flyer below shares a great opportunity for some pizza and to support a great cause for St. John's Best Buddies Program.
May God be with you this weekend,
Hello everyone and welcome back to school on campus!
It was not welcome news to quarantine for two weeks, but we have come out of all of this healthy, and that is a blessing. Thanks to everyone for all the extra work and cooperation it takes to teach and learn in the virtual world. We are staying strong in our commitment to one another and to our beloved school. I appreciate all that everyone is doing to show their very best in all that you do and say, and in your support of your children and their teachers.
We've made it to October and lovely Maryland fall days! As we return to campus this October we will now transition to the 4 day on campus learning plan. This plan will take us through the end of November. (Wow, time is flying!) The students who were in the blended learning option (3 days in person and 2 days virtual) will now have 4 days in person learning and 1 day of independent work, asynchronous activities, and completing assigned work. Students in our virtual learning plan will have 4 days of virtual learning through recorded lessons, asynchronous activities, independent work, teacher check-in sessions, and meetings with the subject or homeroom teachers. Monday is an independent learning day for all our students.
Adding a fourth day on campus is a great step that we are all very excited about, but it does put a heavier load on every one of our teachers. Keeping the students in their cohorts, eating in the classrooms or outside, teaching inside and outside, wearing masks, social distance, scheduling bathroom breaks and cleaning times, have all impacted what we remember as a normal school day schedule. We have made plans for art and music classes to be held in all grades (no singing in music, but lots of movement, music appreciation, and so much more!), we have staff and teachers helping to cover recess and lunch responsibilities so teachers can have a break, and more. Monday will be a teacher professional day for planning, grading, recording instructional videos, parent communications, preparing classroom materials, and the list goes on.
Virtual learning families will receive an email with new schedule information and these schedules are also posted on our website.
Parents, please continue to keep up your vigilance as you monitor your child's health and keep us informed of any changes. We take care of ourselves and our families by taking care with one another, wearing masks, keeping distance, limiting our exposure to large crowds or unfamiliar places, and monitoring ourselves and our children for symptoms, fever, etc. We appreciate your continued cooperation and support.
A note about Halloween:
We are working on a fun, creative way to celebrate and "treat" our students, but we will not have our traditional Halloween Parade or school parties. We can not manage what it normally takes to bring parents into the building to help with costumes, parties, and marching around the school. We will share more of our plans for a fun celebration with you in the next week.
Calendar (we plan a few weeks at a time)
I am so grateful to you all for your strength, patience, and cooperation as we move forward in this unusual school year. I have high hopes for a great year. We are more than a building, we are more than parents, children, teachers, administrators, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we are the family of Our Lady of Lourdes and we thank God for the blessings of each day. I pray that you have a restful and blessed weekend.