FROM THE DESK OF SR. MARY GRACE
Dear St. James School Families,
Greetings in Christ! I hope this summer has provided your family some extra time for rest, renewal, sunshine and a few “someday” things. It is a joy to be here with you at St. James, and I look forward to serving you with our pastor, Fr. Michael Wimsatt, Mrs. Shellee Godfrey, our new assistant principal, and our faculty and staff. I spent some time with Sr. Marie Hannah during our transition and have worked closely with Mrs. Godfrey as we plan for the coming year. I’ve been grateful to meet some of our families and look forward to meeting all of you in the coming days. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and the other items in this newsletter.
We will continue the tradition at SJS of choosing a theme that guides our school year. On the feast of Sts. Philip and James, this verse from the Gospel of the day leapt to my eyes as a most fitting theme for the coming school year, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” –John 14:6.
This verse should serve as a comforting promise from our Lord. Regardless of the challenges we face, we can always remember that He is our way, truth and life. We will unfold this theme throughout the year with our students in many different ways, reminding them that with Jesus at the center of our life and as leader of our school, He will be our guide, strength and the source of our joy.
Our dedicated faculty and staff have been spending time this summer preparing for the new year, attending many professional development opportunities and preparing their classrooms. Mrs. Godfrey and I have been working to ensure that as we begin the year, our faculty and staff have the resources they need to serve our students well. We are happy to welcome our new teachers and are blessed to have such highly qualified and caring educators.
To maximize our teachers’ gifts and build cohesive, collaborative teams, there are a few changes to our returning teachers’ and assistants’ positions. We are grateful for the openness of each staff member to these changes. Below are the teachers in their new positions, listed with their instructional assistants.
- Kindergarten: No changes
- First Grade
- Mrs. Galvin and Mrs. Jurus
- Mrs. Wiseman and Mrs. Fondow
- Second Grade
- Sr. Mary Xavier and Ms. Poston
- Mrs. Riney and Mrs. Gendron
- Third Grade
- Mrs. Burke and Mrs. Johnson
- Ms. Shipp and Mrs. Hoefer
- Fourth Grade
- Mrs. Grant
- Mrs. Lear
- Mrs. Wilson (assistant to both 4th grades)
- Fifth Grade
- Mrs. Kirchner
- Mrs. Smith
- Intermediate Asst
- Mrs. Workman (assistant to 3-5th grades)
- Middle School
- Sr. Lucia Christi (6-8 religion)
We are also happy to announce we will return to regular operations, with the children eating in the cafeteria. As we continue exploring different lunch menu options to offer our students, we will expand our cafeteria staff to two full-time and one part-time positions. Michelle Harrison will continue as our full-time cafeteria manager. Yvette McCamish will move into a full-time position and Becky Hart will continue serving part-time. This year, we will begin using a bar code ID card for lunch check-in, hopefully expediting the lunch line and giving the students more time to enjoy their lunches. We welcome volunteers to assist our teacher assistants in the cafeteria, particularly during the younger students’ lunch. If you are interested, please contact Michelle Harrison.
Another change as we return to our pre-COVID procedures concerns our morning arrival. Drop-off times will remain 7:30 - 7:50 a.m.; however, we will return to our practice of the students going to the gym from 7:30 - 7:40 a.m. instead of directly to their classrooms. We are able to provide morning care between 7:00-7:30 a.m. only for those families needing to drop off their children for work reasons. If you need this service, we ask that you contact me directly before the school year begins (or as the need arises) to add your name to the list to ensure we have the appropriate number of staff assigned to this duty. If the number of families needing this service increases beyond the required staff-to-student ratio, we may need to begin charging a fee for morning care. I appreciate your understanding.
We will hold our Back to School Meet & Greet on August 4. Again, we are able to return to a pre-COVID format, welcoming our new families at 5:00 p.m. From 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., we invite all our families to come when it is most convenient for you to meet your teachers, bring school supplies, set up lockers, pick up your yearbooks, and enjoy fellowship with one another. Food trucks will be available, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting our PTO.
On August 18, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., we will host Parent Night. This event is for parents only and we ask that at least one parent from each family attend. We will begin with a presentation in the gym, followed by visits to each of your child(ren)s’ classrooms. This evening will provide you with an overview of the school year, expectations and an opportunity to meet other parents as we begin the new year.
In a separate email, you will receive your child(ren)’s class list. We send this before the school year begins to help relieve any anxiety in the children about who their teacher or classmates will be. We appreciate your assistance in helping them approach the year with an openness to all the new experiences God has planned for them. This can be a hard but important lesson. I remember not “getting” the teacher I wanted in third grade and being separated from my best friend, but then finding out that my teacher was wonderful! I am grateful to the teachers for their thoughtful guidance in creating our class lists and trust the hand of God has guided these decisions.
It is a joy to be here at SJS! I have felt very welcomed into the parish and school community and look forward to getting to know each of you as we journey together with Christ at the center of everything we do. I am grateful to be a part of the tradition of faith, excellence, and community of St. James Catholic School. I hope that together we can form joyful disciples, lifelong learners, and virtuous citizens for our world and the kingdom of heaven!
Please know of my prayers for each of you, and thank you for your kind remembrance of me in yours. God bless you!
Sister Mary Grace Watson, O.P.
Principal, St. James Catholic School