Dear Norwood-Fontbonne Families,
As we enter the second week of school, autumn weather has finally arrived. This week we begin our Back to School Nights. On Tuesday, September 11, Pre-primary, K, and Montessori preschool will gather and on Thursday, September 13, JLM and Grades 1-3 will gather. Both evenings will begin at 7:00 PM with a brief general meeting in the Commons on Fontbonne campus.
As we make preparations for Back to School Night, I found myself thinking about my own elementary school principal, Sr. Joseph Eleanor.
My mother like many others found out you could not say no to Sr. Joseph. She was surprised as anyone when a couple of hours volunteering landed her on the parent association board. She also never expected that years of pancake breakfasts, dinner dances, and jump-rope a thons, would forge lifelong friendships with fellow parents and an unbreakable connection to our grade school. Upon graduating college, I returned to teach at my alma mater. By that time Sister was semi-retired and assisted in the office. Sister took pride in all her students, myself included. When I moved into administration, Sister remarked to my mother, “You must be so proud.” My mother replied as she caught Sister’s eye, “We did a good job,” giving Sr. Joseph her due credit. While not necessarily agreeing with their estimation (you know mothers have a way of exaggerating), I do agree with the sentiment. We are all in this together- parents, teachers, and religious and that partnership in developing children into faith filled, independent, accomplished, young men and women is something we do very well in Catholic education. We can’t do this alone. Our schools are dedicated teachers, devoted volunteers, engaged parents, faithful staff, and of course bright young minds.
I encourage you to all consider the many opportunities available to volunteer as an NFA parent. Volunteer opportunities are available to match every schedule and talent and all of them provide the opportunity to more deeply engage in our school and the educational experience of your children. In the words of Jane D. Hull, educator and former governor of Arizona, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” Let us know how we can help foster that deeper level of involvement for your family.
Back to School Night is an excellent first step in the yearlong collaborative partnership between parents and teachers. Our staff eagerly await your visit and the opportunity to share all the creative learning and growth that the year has in store.
There is rarely a week and never a first day of school or back to school night that I don’t ask myself “What would Sr. Joseph do?” The answer—she would hold high expectations, strive for success, and always make sure the children know they are so deeply loved and cherished. We all carry on a great legacy in Catholic education and it is a great blessing for me to serve as your president.
In Christ’s peace,
Ryan Killeen, Ed.D.