"Our Lady of Guadalupe School fosters Gospel values, inspires academic excellence, and develops service and leadership. We face this as a sacramental community united and empowered by the Holy Spirit."
OLG Newsletter – Oct. 17th
October 17, 2014
Dear OLG Families,
What a full week we have had! Our Tuesday evening Parent Org meeting was packed with news about upcoming events, anticipation of this year’s Halloween Carnival, and much more. There was discussion about how to best utilize our new volunteer hour sign-up/tracking system, VolunteerSpot, and an opportunity to learn from event chairs who have used it to successfully fill their volunteer slots. Thank you to Grace Corpuz and Erin Stampe for all of your time answering questions, problem solving, and walking volunteers through it!
Wednesday evening, the School Commission met, and one of our agenda items was to review the comments provided at the School Fund Drive Dinner, during which guests were invited to write down their reasons for supporting the Fund Drive and attending the dinner, what they appreciate about OLG School, and their hopes for the school’s future. Several themes emerged: Community as a high value and something that draws families to OLG; a desire for more extra-curriculars for our students (this year’s Fund Drive special initiative – more to come soon about plans that are in the works!); and a desire for OLG to be strong in science, math, and all STEM subjects.
A great discussion ensued about the strength of our science program and real-life, outdoor learning opportunities during the year and in the summer. A couple of Commission members shared about their OLG graduates’ success in challenging math courses in high school and OLG graduates who go on to shine in state-wide high school science fairs. (At last spring’s Middle School Information Night, several OLG alumni spoke, sharing similar stories.) This year’s focus on a new K-5 math program and developing math support and enrichment opportunities for all grades will enable us to build on this strong foundation. Our school has made a significant investment in infusing technology into the curriculum in all areas, and the focus on fundraising for extra-curriculars will enable us to expand Robotics at OLG.
At the same time, there was a lot of energy and appreciation for the ways in which Our Lady of Guadalupe provides an education that goes beyond STEM in creating skilled writers and communicators, strong readers, and students who participate joyfully and creatively in the arts (see Ann Sager’s excellent “Specialist Share!” article). Our teachers continue to be leaders in the Archdiocese, with three of them at an English/Language Arts Committee meeting today. This powerful combination of intellectual rigor, strong arts education and communication skills, and opportunities to grow in faith, service and leadership, ensures that, as one School Commission member affirmed, “Our students come out whole!”
On Thursday, the staff had an intense day of training with our new Math in Focus K-5 curriculum. I have been so grateful and impressed, but not surprised, by the amount of thought, time and hard work that they have all put into learning and implementing a program that requires some new ways of thinking about and approaching math instruction. Our trainer explained at the parent meeting the intentionality with which Math in Focus was designed to create “problem solvers and thinkers.” She shared the impressive research backing this program and the tremendous success that students in Singapore (where it originated) have achieved through this curriculum. Those who attended had the opportunity to solve some typical math problems and were surprised to hear what grade levels they were from! Within a few weeks, the set-up will be completed for our families to have access to ThinkCentral to see Math Background and Support Videos, student texts, and virtual manipulative materials. Special thanks to Ann Manning, Sandy Cavazos, Karen Hollister, Diane LaRiviere, and our 8th grade students who generously provided child care for our Math in Focus Parent Night.
This afternoon, the staff participated in a terrific Solar4RSchools Renewable Energy Teacher Training. This covered everything from the fundamentals of energy to specifics about the photovoltaic system at OLG (our two, pole-mounted solar arrays south of the Walmesley Center) and data about the energy already being generated here. Hands-on activities included working with solar circuits, solar cars, and solar water pumping. Best of all, the materials came with the training and will be used with our students both in the classrooms and outside. We even received our own solar oven! A growing number of lesson plans are available on the Solar4RSchools website.
OLG middle school science teacher, Nathan Franck, was a part of the team of educators working to create those lesson plans over the past year.
Thanks for helping your children to get here rested and ready for MAP testing! We have a couple of make-up tests to administer early next week, and then our assessments can be submitted and the results ready for teachers to view by conference time. In August, we spent half a day reviewing spring MAP test scores, and it will be helpful to have fall data to analyze and inform our instructional decisions for the remainder of the year.
This week, we also welcomed Chelsea Gabzdyl back to OLG and onto our staff. An OLG graduate, Ms. Gabzdyl went on to earn her teaching certification and begin her teaching career in Chicago. She has been immersing herself in our reading and math programs, visiting classrooms, reviewing data, seeing After-School Tutoring in action, attending our Math in Focus training sessions, and dialoguing with our teaching staff about how we can continue our strong reading support programs and add math support and enrichment opportunities.
As the sun begins its NW hibernation, I soothe my perceived S.A.D. with the feeling of great excitement for the upcoming holidays! In that vein, the 4th/5th Chorus kicked off Halloween today with an impromptu lunchtime performance of “The Addams Family” — scary masks and all! We have several more impromptu lunchtime performances planned!
All classes have spent time learning about the Orchestra sections (strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion). We watched examples of cellos, flutes, and trombones and then color-coded the instruments with their section’s placement within the orchestra. We also watched a man make a clarinet out of a carrot! All classes also used color-coding to help understand the link between notes on a staff and notes on a piano. Black-and-white became rainbow-rific! I then challenged them to find the notes on the piano by remembering the repeating clusters of 2 and 3 black notes.
2nd-5th worked on rhythms and notes, completing 3/4, 4/4, and 6/4 measures by filling in the blanks with the correct note values. Music is MATH! PreS, PreK, K, and 1st drew their own Masterpiece of Notes on a treble clef. We then listened to what each individual’s song sounded like (an interesting way of composing music!).
Older grades have spent time learning about Western Music through the ages, starting with Monks and Gregorian Chant (Medieval) to Thomas Tallis (Renaissance) to Handel (Baroque) to Pachelbel (Classical) to Beethoven (Romantic) to Stravinsky (Modern). A fill-in-the-blank timeline was the challenge and we listened to Pentatonix, a talented a cappella group, sing their interpretation of music through the ages.
Younger classes are getting a taste of Halloween to come, as well. We’ve sung a song called “Skin and Bones” that uses rhythm sticks and needs actors: a little old lady, bones in the graveyard, and a scary closet monster for a surprise at the end. I learned that, when given their druthers, the little children like to be the Scare-ers and not the Scare-ees!
The 4th/5th Chorus sang beautifully at our first School Mass on 10/9/14. They are a talented bunch; I anticipate increased confidence and volume over time!
This is the first year I’ve brought out the recorders for the 4th graders. We had a learning session last week and I anticipate good things. Recorders act as a good stepping stone to joining band as a 5th grader.
We played xylophones for the first time last week. We learned a simple pattern, practiced it in rotating groups (we have only seven xylophones), and then played along with a cool jazz band recording. Things that make me very happy: one little girl ran up and gushed, “This is SO FUN!”
Auditions for the Northwest BoyChoir will take place Saturday, November 1st. The Northwest Boychoir is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that has served the greater Puget Sound area for more than 40 years. The auditions are for boys in First to Fourth grades. I have flyers available and they are ready to schedule auditions now. More info is on their website.
Finally, after the Seahawks’ loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, I felt the need to have some fun with football. I projected a field on the wall and each class answered music questions to gain yardage for an ultimate Touchdown. I didn’t want to break any noise records, so penalties were given for loudness and bad sportsmanship. What great kids we have — I gave out almost no penalties! Go Hawks!
Last Saturday of October, 10/25 4-8pm.
Every year new OLG families visit the Halloween Carnival as their first interaction with our faith-based community. Are we generous, fun-loving, respectful, & involved? YES, we are. Reach out to neighbors, friends & family to share this giving event with those you’d welcome to our table.
Advance Purchase, Volunteer Spot, Cakes & This Week’s Ask
Advance Purchase deadline is THIS Friday, October 17th, so order today. Forms for Wristbands and Tickets were sent home, but more can be found with Ms. Clare, if needed. Save money this year and order in advance. Buy now and save, at the door, wristbands will be $15 & no freebies on tickets. Where do I pick-up my Advance Purchase? The gym at “Will Call/Tickets.”
Calling all Volunteers! We desperately need parents & middle school student to fill remaining shifts for all grades. There are still many great spots available. Volunteer now to make sure YOUR class or classes are well represented. Together, we can make this a continued tradition & a memorable, fun night for our kids! The Haunted Hall, Petting Zoo, and Batting Cage need additional shift coverage. These positions are not assigned to any class but still need your commitment. Your PO class representative will also be emailing specific requests.
We need more cakes! Thank you to all who have signed-up to bring a sweet treat, but we still need way MORE! CUPCAKES in groups of 6 is best. 12 cupcakes =1 cake=1 hour volunteer time. Where & when do I donate the cakes? Bring your cakes to the Lunchroom before noon on Saturday, the day of the carnival.
Don’t miss your chance to be entered into the Sparkle Auction Procurement Contest! For the parents, each procurement form you turn in before Nov 14th could win a $25 gift card. For the students, the first class to have all family donations in will win an Ice Cream Sundae party. As a reminder your family commitment is to provide at least a $125 donation of cash, or item donation worth $125. Please remember, we cannot accept used items. Donations can be sent now to the front office through mail, delivery or via the FCE.
We are looking for a parent volunteer who is interested in coordinating the Dessert Dash with Dani Flanagan! This is a super fun event and we will walk you through all the details. If you are interested, please contact Laura Vornbrock or Laurie Robbins.
October is one of OLG’s months to provide food and volunteers for the Community Meal. We will be cooking a special meal for our guests on Sunday, October 26th and need volunteers to make it happen! Many roles are filled, but we still need help with clean up and desserts. Can you come around 2:00 pm to help cleanup for an hour or so? Want to help but can’t stay? Can you drop by Sunday morning after 10:00 am with a homemade or store-bought dessert? We are also looking for a few people who would be willing to serve as a monthly cleanup crew. Thank you for considering serving our OLG and West Seattle communities! To volunteer, contact Colleen.
The Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death: Where Justice and Mercy Meet
We invite you to attend this Death Penalty Discussion Night on Monday, October 27th at 6:30pm in the Walmesley Center. This evening is designed to create an interactive discussion about the Death Penalty and Catholic Social Teaching. It will feature table discussions, a presentation from Sr. Charlotte Van Dyke,SP, and information from Danielle Fulfs, Outreach Coordinator for the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Presented by the Sisters of Providence, OLG’s Life, Peace and Justice Commission, and Holy Rosary’s Voices for Life committee.
Mass of Remembrance: For Children Who Have Died and the People Who Love Them
You are invited to join together in community to pray for children who have died and for those who mourn them. At this Mass on Sunday, October 19th at 5pm, we remember those who died before we had a chance to meet them, especially those lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. We also remember and honor our sons and daughters who died too young. All are welcome to join us for this reflective evening of remembrance, healing and prayer, lifting us toward God’s promise of hope and eternal life. If you know of someone who would like to attend this Mass, please pick up a personal invitation for them, located in the back of the church on the tables behind the last row of pews. Invitations are available in both English and Spanish.
If you are 4th grade or older and interested in being a youth lector for our Family Faith Sunday masses and other liturgies during the year, please contact Helen Oesterle, 206-935-0358. Training will be provided.
Altar Server Training
Are you interested in being an altar server? Children 4th grade and older, and adults are invited to attend one of the two upcoming trainings: Tuesday, October 21, 3:15-4:15 pm, or Saturday, October 25, 10:00-11:00 am, in the church. This is a great opportunity for families to serve together. Information: Helen Oesterle, 206-935-0358.
Please pray for Dolores Chapman, former OLG recess monitor, for healing from surgery and medical complications.
Please continue to keep Brianna Nelson, 2014 OLG graduate, and her family, in your prayers. Brianna has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital. We pray for speedy healing for Brianna and strength and comfort for her family at this difficult time.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School & Parish acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.