Welcome to the new school year!
We would typically begin sending the Wednesday Parent Newsletter during the first week of school, but found we had an abundance of information to share with you. Thank you for reading!
Scriptural theme for the year–
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
As we prayed on this year’s theme and received feedback from teachers and staff in their votes, this passage was clearly a good reminder for everyone this year. St. Paul is writing to the Corinthians about the “thorn in his flesh” which he has asked God to remove three different times. In Paul’s resolution, he realizes that God has left the thorn for a reason, that he must “delight” in the insults, the difficulties, and the persecutions. No matter what challenges are thrown our way in another unpredictable beginning to the school year, God’s grace will suffice. We look forward to a fantastic year of blessings, gifts, friendships, and learning!
Preschool and New Family Orientations
Details regarding these informative sessions have been shared with our preschool and new families. Please check your email for more information.
Preschool Orientation (one parent mandatory)- Monday, August 30th @ 6:00 pm via Zoom
New Family Orientation (K-8 students)- Tuesday, August 31st @ 3:00 pm in the gym
Volunteer considerations with vaccine mandate
Governor Inslee announced last Wednesday that all employees, coaches, teachers, and volunteers in K-12 schools are now required to be vaccinated. What does this proclamation mean for our school parents?
- Any adult in the building must be fully vaccinated by October 18th and each person must show written proof of vaccination. This includes all volunteers, staff, teachers, and coaches. The only exception to this will be preschool parents who are required by law to physically sign their children in/out.
- Due to the mandate, anyone volunteering on the school campus (includes church, gym and playground) in any capacity must be vaccinated.
- If one has a medical exemption from vaccination, that person may volunteer with other parents but cannot work where students are present.
- Regardless of vaccination status, masks will be required indoors by everyone over the age of 2. This is a change for preschool and prekindergarten this year, but we are following the recommendation of the CDC.
- We’re required to check vaccination status for volunteers. To save time, please feel free to scan or take a photo of your vaccination card and send to Mrs. Dennis. As we confirm vaccination status for parents, we’ll keep a list so as not to have to ask multiple times. Please bear with us for a bit while we figure out a system for this and have different staff members screening visitors at the door.
If you have questions about this information, please call the school or email Mrs. Dennis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Self screening guide for home
Assumption is following the lead of PeaceHealth and other healthcare facilities by asking our families to self-screen for wellness each day before coming to school, rather than screening on site. We’ll be sending a hard copy of this at-a-glance guide home in the first Wednesday envelope next week. We ask that you post it at home where it will be noticed and refer to it often.
Please remember that sending children to school with even mild cold symptoms can translate into many students having to be tested and missing school. If you’re at all unsure of your child’s wellness in the morning before leaving for school, err on the side of caution and keep him/her home. Thank you for your partnership to keep our students, teachers and staff healthy and able to attend school in person.
COVID questions and concerns
Mrs. Dennis will once again serve as our school COVID Supervisor this year. Due to an ever-growing number of demands for Mr. Anderson’s time, please send all your COVID-related questions and concerns her way. She’s been working with the Whatcom County Dept. of Health for the past year and is well-versed in their guidelines as well as school policies and testing requirements. If necessary, she will escalate issues to Mr. Anderson, but we want to preserve his time as best we can for duties only he can fulfil. Thank you for honoring this request.
NOTE: Emails sent Thurs-Fri will be answered on Mondays, so if you have a time-sensitive question please call the office to relay a message. Thank you!
A very generous school family has offered to donate school supplies to students whose families could use a little extra help right now. If you’re interested in this gift, please contact the office as soon as possible.
Just a reminder that Costco also gifted the school with a large supply of brand-new backpacks in multiple patterns. They are full size but probably best suited for preschool-3rd grade or so considering book sizes and durability. Please let us know if you’re interested.
We will begin offering our Extended Day Program (EDP) on Thursday, September 2nd. If you filled out an EDP registration form, Ms. McIntosh (our new director) will be emailing a calendar from which you may select desired days. Once again, EDP will be limited to allow adequate space between students, so please sign up if you have a true need.
EDP Staff Needed!
We are looking for qualified college students or other child care professionals who want to work with children and have the flexibility in their schedules to work from 3 pm to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Ms. McIntosh and Ms. Brumfield will be our permanent EDP staff this year, but we need at least two more employees to make it run. Please get the word out and let people know that Assumption is hiring for these positions. Thank you!
Physical Education and Co-curricular Activities (including sports)
There were questions from some parents about masks in the gym for physical education. According to the DOH guidance, “Physical Education (PE) classes are curricular classes and not considered sporting activities.” Students and staff are required to wear masks inside during PE classes but are not required outdoors.
Sporting activities are classified based on low, moderate, or high contact. Masks are not required for low and moderate-contact sports, regardless of vaccination status. But they will be encouraged when not practicing or competing (like sitting on the bench during a game). For high-contact sports like basketball, masks are not required for vaccinated athletes or for unvaccinated athletes who have been “screen tested” using a molecular or antigen test. The Archdiocese will provide more information on how this testing can be done. We hope to begin with cross-country for our middle school students in the fall and will wait to see what other sports we may have later in the school year.
Fall Sports- Coach Needed for Cross-Country
We are planning for a full year of sports for our middle schoolers with the above-mentioned protocols starting with tennis (5th through 8th grades) and cross-country (6th through 8th grades) this fall. We are in need of a cross-country coach! The practices usually run from 3:15 to 4:15 pm each day and the season typically goes from the first full week of September through the end of October. If you have a love of running and would like to be the lead coach this year, parents can receive volunteer hours or you can choose to receive the stipend that accompanies the position. For more information about coaching, please email Mr. Anderson directly at email@example.com.
Electives, specifically music and choir
There are still a few students who need to submit their priorities for music and their elective choices in grades 5-8 (see links below). These class lists will be finalized on Friday, September 3rd. The first classes for music will be Wednesday, September 8th. If your child is in grades 6-8 and submitted orchestra as their first choice, it is fine to rent an instrument at this time. If your child is a fifth grader, it’s possible not every student will get his/her first choice but you can research the following stores and get information about the instruments to be prepared for the following week. Students can rent instruments through several shops here in Bellingham: Quist Violins, Allegro Strings, or Bellingham Music.
School Masses on Fridays
With three-foot distancing, we can fit half of the students in the church at one time. Therefore, students will attend mass with the following “cohort” every other week through December until we can reevaluate and hopefully have all students at Mass together starting in January. Week 1 (Sept. 3rd) will have Kindergarten, 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades so that Kindergarten and 1st can sit in the pews with their older buddies. Grades 2-5 will be Week 2 (Sept. 10th). Parents are welcome to attend the weeks that their children are attending, and community members are also welcome to Friday School Masses. We ask that visitors sit in the north and south transepts instead of with the students. Masks are required of everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Prekindergarten will attend Mass on the last Friday of each month with the other students.
The Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Seattle has required all schools to use a standard format for the Family Handbook. You’ll notice that this year’s handbook is much more comprehensive than last year’s and includes a number of policies and procedures that are additions. We apologize, in advance, for the legal language and the overall strict tone of this new document, but it is something that all families will need to review and sign. This is posted to the website (link here), so please review it between now and next Wednesday so that you might sign the paper form coming home in the first physical Wednesday Envelope of the school year. If you have questions about this new document, please email Mr. Anderson directly.
Uniform policy enforcement
The uniform policy will be strictly enforced from the first day of school, but we know that Dennis Uniforms may be behind on some of their orders. Teachers and staff will be talking directly to students in grades 3-8 if they are out of uniform and they will be emailing home to parents of students in grades K-2. If you are waiting on a Dennis Uniform order, please send a note with your child on the first day of school explaining the situation. Every Friday, students should wear their dress uniform even if they are not attending Mass that week. This will get them in the habit of remembering and puts them in the space for the prayer service in the classroom that morning. Remember that dress sweaters are required on school Mass days (this was not enforced last year), and students should wear a dress shirt or Peter Plan blouse (not polo shirts). Sweatshirts (hoodies and quarter-zip) should not be worn on Friday Mass days.
Third and fifth grade parents should have received letters via email yesterday notifying you of your child’s teacher for this year (fifth grade is split for math and reading groups only). Once again, we want to thank Mrs. M-Z, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Blas and Mrs. Town for working together to accommodate these two larger classes. We’re thrilled that so many new families who were new to us last year chose to stay!
As you know, we are welcoming Mrs. Jessica Sidhu into the Office Assistant position to help share the work with Mrs. Dennis this year. Mrs. Dennis will continue as the Office Manager, working Monday through Wednesday. Mrs. Sidhu will work Thursdays and Fridays. To best serve our school families and ensure no communication slips through the cracks, please use the following guide for emailing:
- Attendance, including absences, tardies, and planned appointments: please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This ensures all office staff get your message regardless of scheduling.
- All other communication (questions, concerns, messages to children or teachers)- please do your best to email us according to our regular days but know that we will have auto replies set up directing you to the person on duty. Once again:
Monday – Wednesday: email@example.com
Thursday – Friday: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you may always call the school and anyone in the office will be happy to help you. Thank you so much for supporting this new structure!
New Spanish teacher
Carolina Santos will now be the Spanish teacher for only grades 4-8 since we’ve hired a part-time Spanish teacher for grades K-3. This was a huge blessing for us late in the summer because we didn’t think we could offer as many Spanish classes per week to accommodate Mrs. Santos’ art classes. Mr. Armando Mendoza has worked with all ages, but most recently as the summer school Spanish teacher at Birchwood. He has also taught at Carl Cozier and in the Mount Vernon School District as a substitute. He has great references from all of the places he worked, and his colleagues has said he is “patient, kind, really good with little ones, and very organized.” We look forward to welcoming him into our school community.
A big THANK YOU to Sara Rush, Maureen Thomas and their team of volunteers for their hard work in running the Used Uniform Sale! The sale was very busy and raised $2105 for our PTC! If you missed it, used uniform items are always available to browse. Please see Mrs. Dennis or Mrs. Sidhu at the office if you’d like to take a look. If you have uniform items to donate, please bring them to the office as well. The inventory is low after the sale and we know uniform items are more difficult to find this year!
Are you excited for the first day of school? After dropping off your children on Wednesday, September 1st, please plan to stay for our Volunteer Fair from 8-9:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity to meet other parents (in person this year!) and learn about the volunteer opportunities available throughout the year to meet your volunteer commitment. Weather permitting, we plan to hold this event outdoors under the portico outside the gym.
We are always in need of Playground Angels (see vaccination requirements above). This is a fun way to meet your child’s classmates and get volunteer hours at the same time. Please see the SignUpGenius links for available days and times.
Save the Date! Saturday, September 18th will be our Italian Dinner Fundraiser. This annual meal is one of our big three fundraisers that make up the backbone of our PTC budget. The Italian Dinner will be offered as a Take and Bake meal again this year featuring lasagna, breadsticks, salad and more! It will also provide an opportunity to earn fundraising volunteer hours, so keep an eye out for further details in coming weeks!
Upcoming calendar items:
August 30th– Preschool Orientation, 6-7:30 via Zoom
August 31st– New Family Orientation at 3:00 pm in the gym; Back to School Gathering (outdoor), 5-7 pm
September 1st– First day of K-8, Early Release at 11:45 am
September 2nd– First day of preschool; EDP begins
September 3rd– First day of PreK
September 6th– NO SCHOOL, Labor Day
September 15th– Early Release at 11:45; Curriculum Night (time and format TBD)
September 18th– Italian Night To-Go!
September 23rd– Individual Picture Day, Preschool & K-8
September 24th– Individual Picture Day, PreK