WE ARE BLESSED!

This week I was asked to speak at a Lutheran School conference on multiple topics including the Common Core and Standards based education.  I accepted the invitation and was honored to be asked.  Upon reflection, I believe that I was asked, due to the effort of all of our students, parents, teachers, parishioners, and the like that allow me this privilege.  I am very consistently asked why we are so successful, and my main reply is always about the support and stewardship of this parish and community.  We are truly blessed, and this was obvious to me as I spoke on Monday.  Our students have the benefit of receiving one of the finest educations in the country, due in a large part to the stewardship way of life we live and profess.  I pray that we always recognize these gifts, and truly support all efforts in our parish, diocese, and community.  I also thank each of you for not only sharing your children with us, but also making your gifts and talents available to everyone in our parish.

Please be gently reminded that conferences are October 29th and 30th. Please call the school office for a specific appointment.  Conferences are from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. each evening.  We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at conferences.


Digital report cards will be available through Powerschool on Monday, October 21st.  We will not be printing a paper report card in grades K-5.  Grades 6 through 8 will still receive a paper copy. Please view your child(s) first quarter progress through the parent portal in Powerschool.  We have offered two sessions detailing how you can access this information.  If you should still have questions, please contact Mrs. Valerie Rohlman so she can assist you.

When we arrive on Monday we will be starting our annual Red Ribbon Week.  The activities that are planned seem to be a wonderful way to have fun and teach a very positive drug free message.  All of the activities for the week may be found online at our web site.  At the end of the week we will have a 12:30 dismissal, so please mark your calendar.

With You in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

What a Busy October!

As we finish the second week of October I am reminded that we nearly have completed the first quarter of school.  Time truly flies when you are having fun.  October also marks conferences.  Please contact the school office to schedule your conferences with the teachers.  This year conferences will be held on October 29th and 30th, from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.  Please get your time on one of these days as  the schedule fills quickly.  Additionally, I would like to remind everyone of a calendar change that took place for this month.  The 12:30 dismissal for teacher inservice that was originally scheduled for October 11th (today) had to be moved to the 25th.  Please mark your calendar with this change.  I know a reminder went out about a month ago for this change, but I just wanted to make sure you had the change.

At the end of this month, Halloween parties will take place on October 30th.  Parties start around 2:15.  Please be reminded as we supply snacks and drinks for the parties that they should promote healthy choices.  If you are a room mother, you should contact your child's teacher for more information.  We will not have school on Halloween, nor the next day, the Holy Day of Obligation, November 1, All Saints Day.

At the time of print last week I did not have the results of the softball tournament that our students went to in Haven.  The teams played very well and our boys team took third in the Valley 9 Tournament.  The girls played an excellent game and beat Partridge to win the championship!  We are very proud of your accomplishments both on the field and in the classroom.  Way to go Crusaders.

With the end of Softball, basketball will soon be starting.  October 21st marks the first practice.  Students received important information on this earlier this week.  If you have a seventh or eighth grade student and they want to participate with the middle school here in Kingman, students must have a physical, concussion form, and pay the pay-to-play fee with the middle school before the first day of practice.  If you need further information, please ask your student for the note that went home with all of this information.  If you should require an additional note, please contact the office or our web page.

Happy October!  Remember to pray the rosary.

With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Busy October

What an excellent week.  All of the activities that we participated in for Respect Life Week were a huge success.  I am happy to report that our students had a blast and truly reflected on the meaning of respecting life.  Our student council and their sponsors, Mrs. Oeding, Miss Fisher, and Trisha Moritz, did a fantastic job of providing fun and educational opportunities.  I certainly felt that this was a huge success, and we look forward to the events planned later this month, (October 21st through the 25th), for Red Ribbon Week.

Next, I would like to personally thank the PTO and all of their volunteers for a hugely successful Bierock sale.  What we thought was going to be something small, turned out to be something that truly benefited our school and the St. Katherine Drexel fund more than we could have ever imagined.  Thank you to Erirca Parsons, Darla Harbert, Amy Arnsdorf, Shelly Harden, and the countless volunteers who spent many hours planning and cooking for this to be a success.  Thanks also to Doreen Molitor and her staff for allowing us to use the kitchen and their expertise to prepare over 3000 bierocks.  What an event!  Hopefully we can convince them to do this again in the spring.  I know people are already asking for them to do it again.

Our Softball teams ended their season on Thursday with the softball tournament that took place in Haven. Both our boys and girls teams have had very successful seasons with the girls taking 1st place and the boys taking 2nd place in regular season play. Way to go Crusaders, we are proud of you!  Additionally our students have been experiencing success on the volleyball court and the football field.  Our students are very well represented in sports, and we have a lot to be proud of this fall.

Report cards go home on the 21st of this month and this marks the end of the first quarter.  Hopefully many of you had an opportunity to come to our parents meeting for Powerschool and find out how to access you child's grades or progress marks.  If you could not make this meeting and still need assistance, please contact Val Rohlman for assistance.  Parent teacher conferences will be held October 29th and 30th from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. If you would like to call Pam in the main office to schedule your appointments, now is a good time.

Remember that October marks the month of the rosary.  Take some time out of your busy schedule to pray this beautiful prayer for a special intention.  This would be an excellent family activity.

God bless all of you!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall


Fall Reflections

Well it certainly has been nice to see the wonderful weather here.  Almost a little chilly in the morning.  I really enjoy this type of weather as it reminds me of my home.  With the cooler weather arriving, it is always good to remember that students may need a light jacket when we go outside for recess.  It is always better to have this that not to.
This week we will be celebrating Respect Life Week.  Last week we included all the events and activities for the occasion.  It is wonderful that we get to celebrate life and all the goodness that God has blessed us with.  I am certain the students are looking forward to all the activities that this week holds.  If you need a reminder of each activity or dress for each day, please remember that the POST is online each week on our webpage.
Additionally, I hope that all of you have had a chance to read the many articles that we have provided explaining the Common Core Standards as well as standards based grading.  This information has proven very helpful for many. If you missed the numerous articles you still can read them online through our webpage.  If you should have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or your child's teacher.
The regular season for St. Pats softball ended this Thursday. We are anxiously awaiting our seat placement for the tournament which will take place in Haven for both the boys and the girls.  The entire tournament will be played on October 3rd.  Times will be announced after all the teams are placed in their respective bracket.
One last note.  The bierock sale has been a huge success.  The last I had heard we had surpassed over 3000 bierocks sold.  We are truly grateful for all of the support of our school and the Drexel Fund. I am impressed...and very full!May you have a glorious and blessed Fall!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Standards Based Grading

Mr. Lyall’s Line

Again this week I want to offer more information on Standards Based Grading. To better understand the logic and mechanics of standards-based grading, it is necessary to investigate the practice in depth and from different perspectives. Below you will see a series of questions related to standards-based grading with responses that should add to a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the topic, and help parents and educators make a more informed decision about this important subject.

What is standards-based grading? Standards-based grading is a method of reporting what students have learned and how they demonstrated their learning of the content standards required by the state in which they reside. The U.S. Department of Education includes the following guidelines for standards-based grading:

Grades must be related to academic standards and course expectations

Public criteria and student work samples are reference points for grading

Grades should be based only on individual academic achievement

Grades are based on quality assessments and properly recorded achievement evidence

What is the purpose of standards-based grading? Most states and school districts have published content standards that teachers are expected to teach in their courses or at their grade levels. The purpose of standards-based grading is to align grading practices with the content standards by more accurately measuring and reporting students’ proficiency in meeting those standards.

Why is standards-based grading important and why now? Vital components of the standards-based reform movement are clear measurable course or grade level outcomes and accurate measures to determine where each student stands in relation to the standards. With the adoption and adherence to standards-based learning, it can be easily and readily assumed that all teachers link their planning and lesson implementation to the identified standards. And yet, in some schools, there still remains a disconnect between the teaching of required standards and how student mastery of these standards is determined. Many teachers still follow more established grading practices, and, in fact, there is little clear articulation between the grades students receive and the content standards which are taught. Some educational writers have even surmised that our current grading practices lack real meaning and reported achievement data is inconsistent, imprecise, and as Robert Marzano has concluded, “almost meaningless.” Advocates of standards-based grading strongly believe that we should not hold fast to an outdated system that no longer makes sense in the current educational climate. Furthermore, proponents of standards-based grading believe that we must challenge the status quo and move to a system that is sensible, realistic, and up- to-date.

How does standards-based grading differ from more conventional grading approaches? In a traditional grade book, one usually sees student names listed down the left side of the page and a variety of headings across the top of each page. The titles across the top of the page might include descriptors such as chapter test, homework, pop quiz, class participation, extra credit, unit test, and in some cases, student behavior. The scores or grades for each of these designations may or may not be clearly and precisely linked to the standard which was addressed. In the best case scenario, the teacher using the traditional approach had made sure to connect the assessment instrument to the standards the students were expected to learn, while in the worst case scenario, there may be only a loose or fuzzy link to the standards, connections that are almost accidental rather than deliberate, or no connection at all.

 

What are some additional drawbacks associated with the more customary grading approaches? Numerous practitioners, researchers and bloggers have itemized the flaws with the current system of grading. Below are some of the problems associated with our current method of reporting student learning:

As educator and writer Ken O’Connor has pointed out, the essential question to ask ourselves in relation to grading is, “How confident are you that the grades students receive in your school are consistent, accurate, meaningful, and supportive of learning?” With the determination of grades in some locations being wide and varied, there is little or no evidence that there is one, unified system for determining and reporting student grades.

Our current system of determining and reporting student achievement is fraught with practices that are often subjective, unclear, inconsistent, and, in extreme cases, unfair. One teacher’s “A” may be derived using a completely different set of criteria than the teacher next door. Moreover, another teacher’s “F” grade may be determined based on limited or skewed data, criteria not connected to standards, or even a student’s lack of compliance to classroom rules.

Many grades are determined using what educational writers have called “inappropriate number crunching,” including the averaging of grades. In his appraisal of this system of grading, assessment guru Thomas Guskey has written, “Averaging falls far short of providing an accurate description of what students have learned. If the purpose of grading and reporting is to provide an accurate description of what students have learned, then averaging must be considered inappropriate.” Further, the case has been repeatedly made that the use of zeroes in computing a grade is a practice which must be eliminated entirely. Its use is patently unfair and results in a distorted conclusion about what a student may have learned.

What are the advantages of standards-based grading?

Grading by standards requires the teacher to know where their students are on the learning continuum and thus, be able to determine how to address individual student needs.

Some students fail assessments early in the unit and then give up; with standards-based grading, the door remains open to achieving the standards.

Standards-based grading helps teachers work with individual students to create timelines to complete missed work and help students develop better work habits; the alternative is for the teacher to simply record the poor grade and it becomes out of sight, out of mind for both teacher and student.

The standards-based grading approach can change the complexion of at-home conversations between parent and child from, “Why didn’t you finish your packet? (worksheet),” “Did you make up that quiz you missed?” and “Have you finished your book report?” to “Tell me your understanding of this standard,” “How does your teacher connect your in-class work to this unit’s objectives?” or “What more do you need to do to achieve this benchmark?” Some parents have also reported that this method of grading is more aligned with job evaluations in the workplace.

Many students have no idea how a teacher goes about creating a formative or summative assessment instrument. A teacher can explain the reasoning and process behind creating a standards-based assessment and then allow students to work with peers to collaboratively develop assessment items based on the standards currently being studied.

During the planning process, the teacher can begin by creating essential questions for the upcoming unit. These questions can be posted in a prominent location in the classroom and as the unit unfolds, the teacher can connect the standards being taught to these big picture questions.

As one Kansas school document states, “Grading systems are intended to be fair, useful, informative, timely, and influential so that the result can be used with confidence and communicated effectively to students, parents, guardians, and other stakeholders.” A standards-based system is much more likely to satisfy this intention.

Helping Your Student With the Common Core

Mr. Lyall’s Line
Throughout the school year, you are likely to hear a lot about the Common Core State Standards
(CCSS). To date, 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted these ambitious new
academic standards, which will profoundly alter the way students are taught English Language
Arts and Mathematics. The standards are designed to ensure college and career readiness in an
increasingly competitive and fast-paced world.
Five tips to help you support the Common Core at home
Talk about books, especially the great ones.
The Common Core says that children need to read “books worth reading.” We all know that
reading ANYTHING is great for kids, but they should be exposed to great writers and
challenging content too. Lead by example!
Ask your children questions about what they’re reading.
One of the key shifts with the Common Core is its requirement that students (both orally and in
writing) cite evidence from the texts they’re reading to make an argument. Try asking questions
that require your kids to talk about the content of the books they’re reading. For example, have
them give reasons why a favorite character was heroic or clever or forgiving.
Push your kids to read nonfiction.
Reading fiction is still a critical and wonderful part of learning to read, but the Common Core
elevates the importance of nonfiction, or “informational text,” as the authors of the standards call
it. Does your son love gross bugs? Get him a book about cockroach infestations and let him dig
deep into a topic that interests him. You might have a future scientist in your house!
Encourage your kids to write, write, write.
The Common Core State Standards emphasize the fundamental link between reading and
writing. Writing to persuade by citing evidence is a key 21st-century skill. Encourage your
children to keep a journal or blog, or write a letter or an e-mail to a favorite author.
Talk math with your kids.
The Common Core requires students to learn important math “reasoning” skills in addition to
learning their multiplication tables and memorizing formulas. Parents: Try talking to your kids
about mathematical practices they use every day. Have them estimate time and distance, compare
the value of products in a store, or calculate the tip when you’re out to dinner.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Standards Based Grading

Mr. Lyall's Line
As promised, I would like to take this time to explain Standards Based Grading.  This is a superior way of looking at students learning and assessing growth in very specific areas.  This attached article should help everyone understand what is taking place in our Kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms.  As always, if you would like further explanation, please feel free to contact me at school.  I will be speaking about this topic at the first PTO Meeting which will be September 18th at 7:00 P.M. in the school cafeteria.  I hope to see you there.
Additionally, I would like to say that our school year is off to a wonderful start.  Our softball teams are off to a 2 and 0 start.  Way to go Crusaders!  Keep-up the great work.

Four "R's" for a Successful School Year

I am very excited about the great turn-out to our Open House on Wednesday evening.  It is so wonderful for the students to have this excellent support.  It is also wonderful because this is the very reason, parental support, that we experience such excellent success.
We have long heard about the "3R's" and in our Catholic School, the special fourth "R": Religion.  Today I would like to offer you another "R" that can go a long way in preparing your children to learn.  This extra "R" stands for routines.  One of the most valuable things you can do is provide your children with a stable, nurturing environment.  Repetition and structure help children feel safe and secure.  Children, like the rest of us, handle the constant expectations and changes in life better if they occur in the context of a predictable routine.  Routines provide a sense of security and help children develop self-discipline, which is a very helpful skill throughout life.
What can you do?  As you and your family begin this new school year, give some careful thought to the routines you will establish for your children.  These routines need not be elaborate.  The key is to carry out whatever routines you choose predictably and regularly.  Here are a few to consider:
1. Morning routine:  Morning should start with an established wake-up time and include a healthy breakfast, time to get dressed, and a stress-free send-off to school.
2. Dinner routine:  Sit down to a family meal if at all possible.  The simple practice of eating a family meal together strengthens the family unit and provides an opportunity for family members to experience the support of one another.
3.  Homework routine:  Having a designated time and place for homework will emphasize its importance to your children.  Be sure to check your child's backpack and have your child pack it in the afternoon or evening for the next day.  This is not something you want to leave for morning.
4. Bedtime routine:  Establish a regular bedtime routine that may include a shower or bath for your child, a bedtime story, or an opportunity to talk about the day.  Older children will establish their own routines, but it is still important to give them a regular bedtime and stick to it.
A healthy, well-rested, and well-prepared child will enter school each day ready to learn.  Establishing daily routines allows you to provide the structure required to help children internalize constructive habits and be better prepared to learn. With blessings for a great school year!

WELCOME BACK!

Welcome back to school.  This year already promises to be one that is filled with great success and achievement in all areas of our educational program.  I hope your summer was everything you wanted it to be, and we are excited to see all of the students back at school ready to conquer the new year.  I am so proud of all of the students here at St. Pat's.  The combined efforts of our students have truly been remarkable over the past few years, and this year holds much anticipation for all the new challenges they will be presented.  I know the Holy Spirit will guide us through this year, as we place our trust in His hands.  Being at a Catholic school such as St. Pats has distinct advantages, prayer, receiving the Eucharist, and celebrating our faith truly will strengthen us as we move through this year.
This year all of us will see many changes within the curriculum, testing, and educational approach.  At St. Pat's, we have been preparing for these changes for the last five years and we are diligently implementing new strategies and curriculum for our students to be successful.  I know that many of you have heard about, and may have even read about the state's Common Core Initiative.  This is a mandatory change in all of our curriculum that will be a true benefit to our students.  Our teachers and I have been looking at all the new curriculum and educational materials for our students so that we have the best possible items for our students to be successful.  Much thought, time, and preparation went into this school year.  I fully expect our students, faculty, and staff to tackle these new changes with character as well as perform as strongly in the past.  To help you understand this initiative, I have attached a question and answer sheet overview of the common core.  Please read this as it provides some excellent information and can help you understand why this initiative has taken place.  As always, if you should have questions, please feel free to contact the teachers or me so we can help you understand.
I will be taking time to write about, as well as offer, informational meetings throughout this school year to help provide accurate information for you.  Our first meeting will be Wednesday, August 28th, at 6:30, Back to School night.  I know the calendar says that Back to School night is Thursday the 29th, but it has become necessary to change the date as Kingman High School will be having their "soap scrimmage" for fall sports on the 29th.  Please make this a priority to attend Back to School night as the children look forward to sharing a day in their life at school with you as well as show you what they can do or have done so far in their classroom.  I hope to see each of you on this evening.
May God continue to abundantly bless all that we do.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Another Year Draws to a Close

Well as we get ready to close another year I can't help but be proud of all of the students and everyone associated with our school.  Another very productive year of learning has taken place.  Summer is a great time to relax and have fun, but academic activities like reading, should be a part of our daily routine.  Reading is fun and a great way to relax by the pool.  Research shows that students who spend time reading for 20 minutes a day during summer retain 85% more of the information they learned in the previous school year.  That should be a huge incentive to spend some time with a good book.
Registration will be held July 22 and 23 this summer.  Please remember that we need to have current immunizations, sports physicals, and all paperwork by the time of registration.  Please plan accordingly for these important items.  We will offer sports physicals during registration.  We will let you know the specific date as soon as it is available.  If you need a list of what immunizations are necessary, please contact the school office, and Pam will gladly let you know.
The uniform exchange will also be available during registration.  Just a warning, we did not have a lot of girls jumpers last year and ran low on the small skirts as well.  Parker uniform will also be available.  Currently they are having a pre-summer sale, so you may want to check that out.
We hope to see all of you on the 21st for field day and the Hot dog lunch.  I know the students really appreciate having everyone here to help them celebrate the close of the school year.  It is a lot of fun as well.  The 21st is a 12:30 dismissal, and students may leave with their parents after lunch.

I am looking forward to next year with all of the exciting changes that we have in store.  Standard based grading as well as a full implementation for the Common Core Curriculum are two things we should be looking forward to next year.  I am so proud of everyone here, and look forward to an even more success in the years to come.  St Patrick Catholic School is the best.  Thank to each and every person who makes daily sacrifices for our students, teachers, and myself.  We truly are a special community who cares about kids.

May God continue to abundantly bless all of us.  Enjoy your summer...don't forget to read.

With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Whirlwind of Activities

Mr. Lyall's Line
I know that I have been commenting on the weather a lot lately, but now I am told that spring is finally here. I have been eagerly awaiting the warmer weather so I can get in my yard and plant flowers and spruce up the outside of the house.  The colder temperatures has put everyone behind, and also increased the amount of illness we are seeing at school.  Strep throat, sinus infections, and ear infections seem to be spreading like wild fire.  Having a jacket in the morning and still washing those hands frequently are two good tips for everyone, even though the warmer temperatures are upon us. We still have some testing from the diocese to finish, and now is not the time any of us can afford to be sick.  Many field trips are planned for these final weeks, and being sick would surely be a downer for any student who has earned such a trip from school.  Eating a good breakfast and getting plenty of rest are still tried and true methods to prevent getting sick.
In other news, our track athletes are wrapping up a very successful season.  Many of our students placed in all of their meets this season.  The weather has really messed with the schedule, but our athletes do not seem to be phased.  The newspaper has done a great job of posting results information and we have been proudly hanging the results in the office window.  Some of our athletes are even setting records in their particular events.  We are very proud of you Crusaders.  You truly represent us well.
We have been enjoying World Week Activities all this week.  Our students have basically created multiple activities in their individual classrooms representing different countries and cultures.  we had a chance to "travel" from room to room to learn all about these cultures.  It was quite fun and we sure did learn a lot.  Ask your student what they learned this week in their "world travels."
I am looking forward to all the great activities next week .  Happy May!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

School Year Coming to an End

Well May has arrived, and as predicted, the Spring weather has not completely come to our part of the world.  We have had a few beautiful days, and we are blessed to have opportunities to enjoy them.
With the arrival of May we have many classes participating in field trips.  It is always good to send a jacket and sun screen with the students for these events.  Both items could become very handy with this unpredictable weather we have been experiencing.  Also, we want to say thank you to every parent who takes the time to drive for one of these events.  We could not do it without you.
Our students will be taking the Religion Assessment all of next week and the next.  This marks our final tests for the year, and we certainly want to be prepared.  This is not the time to take a "mental" vacation as much is still expected in this month.  Keeping to the routine both at home and at school will pay huge dividends in the coming weeks.  Just keeping that focus will be a large help for every student.
On May 10th our students will be once again attending a movie in the afternoon at the Kingman Theater.  We have not fully decided on which movie we will see, but as soon as we do, we will send home permission slips for this earned event.  We will once again walk to the theater.  This is always a nice afternoon for every student.
Congratulations to Katie Harbert.  Katie wrote an Essay for the Citizen's Bank Essay Contest and won.  We are proud of you Katie.  Keep up the excellent work.
Eighth grade graduation? Promotion will be May 16th at 7:00 P.M.  I know the eighth graders are looking forward to this big day.  Please mark your calendars to help us celebrate this milestone in these students lives.
I will continue to pray for rain, but mixed with a little sunshine and some warmer weather as well.  Happy Spring.
With You in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Spring is Here?

Mr. Lyall's Line

It sure does not feel like spring right now, but the calendar does indicate it is that time of the year.  Spring is always a time of renewal.  We at St. Pats are always excited for Spring because of all the milestones that we have reached.  Testing will officially end the second week of May with the Religion tests in third through eighth grade.  This is always a happy day.  Our students, as usual, have performed well above average on all of the assessments.  I am so proud of all of the teachers and students.  We truly have one of the finest schools in the state.
Spring also brings to mind the next school year.  I am proud to report that everyone has preregistered for next school year, and we look forward to serving all of you again.  Additionally we will be adding a few new students.  One family from Harper, the Kileys' is sending us five new students.  This is truly great news.  Keep spreading the good news about our school, as many people are inquiring about attending our school.  Our preschool is completely full and we have a waiting list for next year.  All positive things.  I love spring!
In other news I was very impressed to see in the paper how well our 7th and 8th grade girls and boys track athletes are doing this year.  The weather may have played havoc with the schedule, but our students have performed at the top of their game in the meets that they have participated in.  I am very impressed!  Keep up the good work Crusaders.
Lastly, with spring, sometimes we get an attitude that school is "technically" over, and this could be dangerous, as many last minute lessons and details as well as educational trips are being planned.  Continue to strive for excellence, get plenty of rest, and reap all the benefits of the last weeks of school.  We truly do have plenty to look forward to even though it is Spring.
Happy Spring everyone.  May God continue to abundantly bless all of us!
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Year Is Winding Down

It is hard to believe that April is already half over and May is fast approaching.  The weather sure does not indicate this, but soon we will be thinking about summer.  Because of the temperature, please make sure students have a jacket to go outside for recess.  It has been very chilly outside, particularly in the morning, and a jacket is a must when the temperature is in the 40's.
I would also like to congratulate our second graders on receiving their first Holy Communion on Sunday.  This is a huge milestone and we are proud of every one of them for completing this accomplishment.  It is wonderful to see students so excited to fully participate in the mass.  Way to go second graders, keep up the good work.
Some people have inquired about the school Tool Boxes for next year.  This information will be coming soon via e-mail and e-mail ordering to save time and money.  Dana Weninger is diligently preparing this information.  More details will be presented as soon as they are available.
Because of all of our success with the St. Pat's Dinner, our students have earned an ice cream party on April 26th.  This will take place in the afternoon around 2:00 o'clock.  Additonally, the students have earned a movie as well.  This will be on Friday May 10th.  Selection of the movie has yet to be made, but we are searching for a nice option.  Way to go Crusaders, we certainly are proud of all that you have accomplished for our school this year.
We still have a few weeks left of the Easter season.  May God continue to bless all of us during this glorious season.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Cooperative Agreement with USD#331 to include basketball

Dear Parents,
As many of you may have heard by now, our school council, Father Ben and I have been reassessing our participation status in the Valley Nine Athletic League.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this situation, we participate in softball and basketball within this league as well as a music competition, art competition and a spelling bee.  This league consisted of nine schools that offered multiple opportunities for participation and competition in these events.  In recent years a number of schools have withdrawn, closed, or moved to a different league leaving only four schools to compete with in these events.  It has proven to be an increasing challenge to find enough games for our student to fully participate in a complete season.  We have been supplementing the league games for the last three years.  
In football, volleyball, track, and band, we have a cooperative agreement with USD 331 that allows our students to participate fully with their middle school students in these particular activities.  When the opportunity recently presented itself to include basketball and cheerleading within this agreement, it seemed like a logical choice to seriously consider our options.  After the school council considered all of the benefits and choices, it was decided by a unanimous vote from the council, to extend our agreement with USD 331 to include basketball and cheerleading.
This is a very positive decision based on benefits for our student athletes.  We hope to continue to participate in the Valley Nine with the other events, including softball, music and art.  There is a true value in our students participating together as they will be participating together at the high school level.  Since basketball was the only sport that we were still separated, now with the new agreement both schools are united for the benefit of our community.  It is our hope that this extension offers our students the best of every aspect of their education, and we are excited to begin this new venture and look forward to the unseen benefits to our students and community.  In particular we look forward to the opportunities of playing multiple games at many levels.
If you should have questions or concerns, Father and I, as well as school council members would be happy to assist you.  Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us.  Please support us by being positive about this change with your students and one another.

With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Spring Happenings

Happy Easter to everyone.  On Tuesday, April 2, our school was honored and recognized once again at the State Capitol on the House of Representatives floor.  Our representatives, Joe Seiwert and Jack Thimesch honored our school's accomplishments and presented us with two framed certificates praising our academic and diocesan awards. The representatives were very complimentary of our school and the house gave us a standing ovation.  Additionally we were honored to meet and have our picture taken with our Governor, Sam Brownback,  in his office.  This truly was a fantastic day, and I am so proud of everyone of our students.  We are truly blessed.  Pictures of this occasion are included in this edition of the Post.  Thank you to everyone for giving so much to our success and sharing your students with us.  These honors are wonderful, and our students, teachers, parents, and community deserve a huge pat on the back.  I am honored to be a part of this school.
Please be reminded to complete and turn-in preregistration paperwork as soon as possible.  We need this information to plan for next year.  I appreciate everyone's attention to this matter.  
State and Diocesan assessments are still underway.  Please make sure that you continue to support your students as we finish these assessments.  I am very encouraged by the preliminary results of the exams we have completed and am truly pleased to see our students performing so well.  Keeping our focus will ensure even greater results on the tests to come.
Track season is upon us.  Good luck Crusaders, we are proud of you.  I know it does not feel like track season right now, but soon it will.  Don't forget the sun screen at practice and at meets.
May this Easter find all of you may blessings and continued success.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Easter

In the Greek Church Holy Week bears the solemn title the "Sacred and Great Week." In the Latin Church the official term is the "Greater Week." The popular names are "Great Week" among the Slavic nations, and "Holy Week" in other countries. The German name Karwoche means "Week of Mourning." In ancient times Holy Week was also called "Week of Remission," since the public sinners were absolved on Maundy Thursday. Another name was "Laborious Week" because of the increased burden of penance and fasting. The faithful of the Eastern Churches also call it the "Week of Salvation."
OBSERVANCE — From the very beginning of Christianity it has always been devoted to a special commemoration of Christ's Passion and death through the practice of meditation, prayer, fasting, and penance. After the great persecutions, the Christian emperors of both the East and West Roman Empires issued various decrees forbidding not only amusements and games, but also regular work in trade, business, professions, and courts. The sacred days were to be spent free from worldly occupations, entirely devoted to religious exercises. Every year during Holy Week an imperial edict granted pardon to a majority of those detained in prison; in the courts many charges were withdrawn in honor of Christ's Passion.
Following this custom, kings and rulers in medieval days retired from all secular business during Holy Week to spend the time in recollection and prayer, often within the seclusion of a monastery. Farmers set aside their plows, artisans their tools, schools and government offices closed, and courts did not sit. Popular feeling caused the banning not only of music, dancing, and secular singing but also of hunting and any other kind of sport. It was truly a "quiet" and "holy" week even in public life.
The Sacred Triduum of Holy Week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) was a time of holy day obligation all through the Middle Ages. The Christian people, freed from servile work, were all present at the impressive ceremonies of these days. Due to the changed conditions of social life, however, Pope Urban VIII, in 1642, rescinded this obligation. Since then the last three days of Holy Week have been classified as working days, despite the sacred and important character they bear, which was powerfully stressed by the renewal of the liturgical order of Holy Week in 1955.
EASTER CLEANING — According to an ancient tradition, the three days after Palm Sunday are devoted in many countries to a thorough cleaning of the house, the most vigorous of the whole year. Carpets, couches, armchairs, and mattresses are carried into the open and every speck of dust beaten out of them. Women scrub and wax floors and furniture, change curtains, wash windows; the home is buzzing with activity. No time is wasted on the usual kitchen work; the meals are very casual and light. On Wednesday night everything has to be back in place, glossy and shining, ready for the great feast. In Poland and other Slavic countries people also decorate their homes with green plants and artificial flowers made of colored paper carrying out ancient designs.
This traditional spring cleaning is, of course, to make the home as neat as possible for the greatest holidays of the year, a custom taken over from the ancient Jewish practice of a ritual cleansing and sweeping of the whole house as prescribed in preparation for the Feast of Passover.
May your Easter be filled with much joy and many blessings!

With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Spring Fever

We already find ourselves getting ready for spring break, which means Easter is right around the corner.  Time certainly flies by.  Before we know it we will be celebrating with the second graders as they receive their First Communion and preparing to promote our eighth graders.  We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy these milestones with such wonderful students, parents, and teachers.  With these reminders we must also focus on next year.  Please return the preregistration forms as soon as possible.  It is very important that we have actual numbers before we order items for next year.  Currently our pre-school, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten are very full.  If you have not completed the necessary paperwork and contacted us about attendance, you need to do so immediately so we can accommodate you and your child.
On Wednesday our third through eighth graders got to celebrate the Diocese of Wichita's 125th Anniversary.  Three of our students were selected to represent all of us at the celebration by carrying our banner into the celebration.  This was a huge day for all of us and filled with much praise and worship as well as happiness and celebration.  We all got to celebrate mass, have a picnic lunch, and  see the many reasons we are blessed to be a part of this outstanding diocese.  It was an awesome day.
It is not too late to request a conference with you child's teacher for Friday.  Please contact the teacher and schedule a time for Friday.  Communication is the secret to success with every student.  Collaboration between teachers and parents does so much to bolster confidence and improve learning.  Thank you for taking the time to benefit your children.
The St. Pat's Dinner was a giant success again this year.  I do not recall a year where I have seen so many people at once.  It was fantastic!  The food was fantastic, the conversation was enjoyable, and the effort on behalf our our school and parish was incredible.  Thank you to each and every person who invests so much of their time, talents, and treasures to make this event so overwhelmingly successful.  I believe we truly are blessed.
Please enjoy your spring break and I pray you will all continue to  receive Lenten blessings.  Be safe.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

March Thoughts

March has definitely arrived and we are moving quickly toward many milestones for this year.  We are in the heart of our State Testing, so please remember that a good breakfast, plenty of rest, and being here at school are imperative at this time of year.  Missing these exams are difficult to make-up, but cause much stress for the students.  Remember that when a student is gone the most important thing that they missed was instruction.  Additionally we are in the middle of pre-registration, preschool registration and kindergarten registration.  In fact we completed kindergarten screening this Thursday and Friday.  We have very few pre-school openings left, so if you need to register or know someone that does, they need to contact the office as soon as possible so we can assist them with this process.  It is very important that we receive the preregistration information as soon as possible as this allows us to form budgets and plan for the next school year.  Please complete this paperwork and return it to school as soon as possible.
On Tuesday, our school hosted the Valley Nine Music Festival.  It was a very nice day filled with beautiful music from all the schools that attended.  I am very happy that we got to host this event again this year.  Hopefully in the future we can continue to host this event.
Track officially started on March the 7th with a meeting a Kingman Middle school.  The first practice is after school on Monday Mach 11th at the middle school.  Good luck to all our 7th and 8th grade participants.  The track schedule of all the meets, locations and times is available on the school website.
Congratulations to our second graders who made their First Reconciliation last Sunday.  I am very proud of each of them.  I am certain they are excited for their First Communion which will be April 21.  Please continue to pray for these students in their preparation to receive and fully participate in these sacraments.
I pray that your  Lenten experience is everything you hoped it would be.  I am certain that our Lenten prayer, fasting, and alms giving truly benefits everyone in our community and life.
With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

SNOW DAYS

Mr. Lyall's Line
Well I am very happy to be back at school again.  I am also happy that the School Reach system worked very well in communicating with all of you, and that we are all safe and have weathered the pounding  we received from Winter Storm Rocky.  School Reach is a very effective way to communicate with all of you in a moments notice.  It is imperative that if you switch your phone number that you let the office know as soon as possible.  We can only communicate with you through the numbers you have provided, so it is important for you to let us know of any changes.  This storm produced a record amount of snow in a short amount of time and I am proud of the way our school district and administrative teams responded to all of the snow during these past two weeks.  With all of this in mind, I want to assure you that the four days we took  will not interfere with Spring Break or even the end of the school year.  I have carefully calculated our calendar and we are well within our limits. This does not mean that we can take off time anytime, it simply means we are fine with our hours and days for this sort of emergency.  Thank you for all the cooperation, and put your mind at ease that we will not have to make up the necessary time we took during this storm.
Have a great weekend.

With you in Christ,
Mr. Lyall

Mr. Bob Lyall