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It’s A New School Year! Our Principal’s Welcome Letter for 2016-17 School Year

August 19, 2016

Welcome and welcome back, DePaul Families!

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I hope that you have enjoyed a restful and relaxing summer!   As I begin my second year at DePaul, I am particularly grateful for the blessing of this community of staff, students and families in my life, and am eager to see you again on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 6thLast spring and through the summer, we have had many hours of good discussion about how staff and families can work together to ensure that our students are receiving an education that supports and empowers them as they strive to reach their full potential as young men and women of promise, intelligence and goodness.   We have spent the summer working hard to strengthen and enrich our academic program, fortify our identity as the only Catholic school in Germantown, and put systems in place that will facilitate teacher/family communication in every classroom.  We are proud and excited to launch the 2016-2017 school year with our incredibly talented and dedicated teaching staff and your ongoing support and partnership!

Let us begin this school year the same way we begin every day with our students, grounded in the mission of The DePaul Catholic School:

 The DePaul Catholic School is an innovative, urban elementary school dedicated to carrying out the legacy of St. Vincent de Paul by empowering students to be lifelong learners, leaders, and servants building the kingdom of God.

Below please find some important notes and reminders about the start of the school year.  Thank you in advance for your attention to the many details.

  • Morning Procedures: Doors open for breakfast at 7:45 AM, school begins at 8:05 AM.  In order to ensure a productive start to the day and maximize learning time, we have moved the start of the school day up 10 minutes.
    • Students in Grades K through 5 will report directly to the cafeteria where they will be greeted by their classroom aides and several teachers each day. Students will be served breakfast upon their arrival and will participate in school-wide Morning Prayer, which begins at 8:05.  We ask that all students who plan to eat breakfast arrive at 7:45 AM.  Breakfast will be served until 8:00 AM.  Parents and guardians are welcome to join our school community for Morning Prayer, which will last about 10 minutes each day.  By 8:15, students will walk to their classrooms with their teachers and classroom aides to begin instruction for the day.
    • Pre-K families will continue to drop their students off at the Rockland Street entrance. The door will open at 7:45 for breakfast and school will begin at 8:05 AM.
    • Students in Grades 6 through 8 will report directly to their classrooms when the door opens at 7:45 AM. They will be served breakfast upon their arrival and will participate in Morning Prayer and a Class Meeting with their homeroom teacher.  We ask that all students who plan to eat breakfast arrive at 7:45 AM.  Breakfast will be served until 8:00 AM.  First period will begin at 8:30 AM.
    • Late students: Students in all grades that arrive after 8:05 AM will receive a late pass and be marked late by their homeroom teacher.  Students that are late more than 4 times in a trimester will begin to incur penalties.
  • Afternoon Procedures: School is dismissed at 3:15 PM each day, with periodic 11:30 AM early dismissal and 2:00 PM dismissal each Wednesday.  There is no Extended Day for Vincentian Academy students on Wednesdays.
    • Students who are picked up will meet their families on the school yard. We ask that all parents notify their child’s teacher when they leave with their child.
    • Students who take the bus will meet on the First Floor Hallway, and wait in their bus line until the designated staff person escorts them to their bus.
    • Students who take Septa will meet on the front steps of the school until the designated staff person escorts them to the Septa bus stop on Germantown Avenue.
  • First Day of School: The first day of school is Tuesday, September 6th, beginning at 8:05 a.m.  When you arrive on September 6th, please proceed to the schoolyard where teachers will be waiting to meet their class.  Each teacher will have a sign with the section of his or her class for easy identification.  We invite parents and guardians to join us in the schoolyard for a special blessing of students, parents, and faculty.  After the blessing, teachers will take their class to the classroom.  Please help us reduce congestion and confusion by saying goodbye to your student in the schoolyard.
  • Welcome Conferences: During the first week of school (September 6th through 8th), we ask that all parents set aside 20 minutes for a short Welcome Conference with your child’s teacher.  We believe this meeting is an important opportunity for you to get to know your child’s teacher as well as share information about your child that will help his or her teacher better teach and support them this year.  At this time, you will also receive the DCS School Handbook, which clarifies the policies and procedures of this school year.  By August 23rd, you will receive a welcome email from your child’s homeroom teacher, along with a link for signing up for these conferences.  Please select a conference time by the deadline of Friday, August 26th.
  • Back-to-School Backyard Party: Please join us for our first annual Backyard Party on Friday, September 9th from 11:30 AM until 2:30 PM.  There will be water ice and pretzels for all as well as games and face painting for the students to enjoy.  This event will be co-hosted by DePaul staff, the 8th grade, and the Home and School Association.  We look forward to unveiling some exciting news about the future of the DePaul Catholic School!
  • Back-to-School Night Workshop: We have redesigned Back-to-School night so that it not simply includes valuable information about the school and classroom, but also gives you an opportunity to meet other families, participate in a Blended Learning simulation, and learn and share strategies that you can use to keep your children motivated at home.  Students will participate in a short Back-to-School uniform fashion show and you will have the opportunity to win a Flynn & O’Hara gift card.  We are requiring that all families attend and have provided multiple opportunities for you to do so.   We have assigned the evening that given grade levels should attend, but if you are unable to attend the designated evening, please plan to attend the other night.
    • Tuesday, September 20th: Back to School Night Workshop for PreK through 2nd Grade, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
    • Thursday, September 22nd: Back to School Night Workshop for 3rd Grade through 8th Grade, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
  • School Handbook: With school safety, student learning, and teacher/family communication as our highest priorities, we have revised the School Handbook so that it lays out the policies and the procedures that we will follow during the 2016-2017 school year.  You will receive the Handbook during your Welcome Conference with your child’s teacher.  We will dedicate time during the Back to School Night Workshops to review the most important parts.
  • Tuition Reminders: Tuition is due the 25th of every month, beginning July 25, 2016 and ending April 25th, 2017.   The following must be paid in full in order for your child to start school on Tuesday, September 6th.  No exceptions to this policy will be made.
    • Registration Fee, July tuition, and August tuition
    • Returning families: All unpaid balances from the previous year.
  • School Supplies: At the beginning of each school year, families are charged a supply fee.  This will cover all supplies that your child will need to participate in our academic program.  With the exception of a bag for carrying books to and from school, you do not need to purchase any school supplies for your child.
  • Activity Fee: In past years, families were required to pay a $150 fundraising fee by the end of April. Some paid in cash and others paid with the proceeds raised from selling candy. We recognize that this fee caused a hardship to many families that were also trying to close their tuition accounts in April. As a result, IMS has spread this fee out as small monthly payments, every month between August to April. It will now appear on your bill each month as an “Activity Fee” of $16.67 ($150 divided over 9 months).
    • To offset this fee, and to give families the opportunity to fundraise, each family will receive 2 boxes of candy that they can sell. Families will keep the cash proceeds of the first two boxes sold.
    • More candy will be available for $60 per box to families that want to do additional fundraising.
  • New Parent Breakfast: There will be a New Parent Breakfast held on Friday, September 16th at 9:00 AM to formally welcome new parents to our school and answer any questions you may have.
  • Home and School Association: DePaul’s Home and School Association will meet regularly throughout this school year to discuss ways to support school events and initiatives, as well as to plan events and fundraisers that will engage our entire school community.  We welcome all parents who are interested in participating!
    • The first meeting is on Monday, October 3rd at 6:00 PM.
    • Meetings occur on the first Monday of every month.
  • Child Care Before and After School: There are several options for child care before and after school at DePaul.
    • Before Care: A Before Care Program is offered for all students in Pre-K through 8th Grade, starting on Monday, September 13th.  Students may be dropped off at the side door and ring the doorbell for entrance beginning at 7:00 a.m.  Teacher supervision will be provided until 7:55 a.m. when the students will then join the rest of the student body.  Please see the sign-up sheet in the class envelope on the first day of school.
    • Pre-K After Care: Students in Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 are invited to participate in After Care, which runs from 3:15 until 6:00 PM each day.  Please see the sign-up sheet in the class envelope on the first day of school.
    • Out-of-School Time (OST): We partner with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which offers an excellent after school child care and enrichment program to all interested families in Kindergarten through 8th grade from 3:15 PM to 6:00 PM.  Enrollment is during the week of September 6th and the program begins on Monday, September 13th.
  • Middle School Extended Day: All students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade are required to participate in Extended Day on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  On these days, academic courses will run until 4:05 and students will participate in academic support and enrichment until 5:00 PM.  Through this program, students will also have an opportunity to join a club of their choosing.   On these days, students will be served a healthy snack.  While there is no yellow bus transportation at the end of the program, students who take Septa will be escorted by school staff to their bus stops.  We will send out more information about this program during the first week of school.
  • Transportation: School bus transportation is available for students in grades 1-6 who live at least 1.5 miles away from DePaul. 7th and 8th graders who meet the same requirements are eligible for a weekly Septa Trans Pass. To participate in either service, complete the Transportation Request Form and return it to school via email (secretary@thedepaulcatholicschool.org) or fax 215-842-1400 by September 1st.
    • Please keep in mind that bus service can be unpredictable during the first few weeks of school. As such, we greatly appreciate when families submit their Transportation Request Form before September 1st.  We are working with the Department of Transportation Services and Durham Transportation Services to ensure things run smoothly and appreciate your assistance and patience with the process.
  • Free Breakfast and Lunch Program: Breakfast and lunch are provided by Nutritional Development Services and are available to all students at no charge.  A menu will be distributed at the beginning of every month.
  • Yellow First-Class Envelopes: Our primary means of communicating with you will be through the yellow First-Class Envelopes that are sent home with your child every Wednesday.  We ask that you look for these envelopes, read the contents within them, and return them with your child, signed on Thursdays.  If you misplace the First-Class Envelope, we will replace if for a $2 fee.
  • Pre-K Playdate: All Pre-K students and families are invited to participate in a Pre-K playdate on Saturday, August 27th from 10:00 to 11:00 AM.  This is an excellent opportunity to get to know your child’s teachers and classmates.
  • Crayons and Cocktails Give 20 Day: We’re thrilled to partner with Iron Hill Brewery in Chestnut Hill for GIVE 20 day on Wednesday, August 24, 2016!  Print out the attached voucher and bring it with you when you enjoy lunch or dinner that day. Iron Hill will donate 20% of food sales to help us kick off a new school year.  DePaul Catholic School staff will be present from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Thank you again for your attention to the many details of the new school year!   As the school year draws closer, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions that you have.

Warm Regards,

Katie Reilly Wardlow

 

 

 

Mrs. Katie Reilly Wardlow, Principal

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