WEEKLY NEWSLETTER                                                           DECEMBER 11, 2017  


Buddy Day activity enjoyed by third graders alongside their eighth grade buddies



Kindergarten through fourth grade parents are invited to join us Friday, December 15, 8:00 a.m. in the church. Students will perform Christmas anthems during this special worship service. Students are to wear full dress uniforms.


The deadline for new student applications is Friday, December 15. Contact with questions. Apply online



The last day of school before Christmas break is Friday, December 15. This is a full school day with regular dismissal times; however, there will be no After School Program or Homework Club and the building will close at 4:00 p.m. Classes will resume Wednesday, January 3, 2018.


See the January lunch menu. The menu and January birthday blessings (and July half-birthdays) may also be found in RenWeb under Resource Documents.



Anticipate, Prepare, and Rejoice: Reflections of the Hymns of Advent

The church invites families to its series of Advent events Wednesday, December 13, and Wednesday, December 20 (see times below). After each service, organist Benjamin Kolodziej will present a study that will engage with many of the hymns celebrated during Advent, delving into their histories, the stories of their writers or composers, and how they have edified Christians throughout the centuries.

--5:45 p.m. Evening Prayer/Eucharist (Church)
--6:30 p.m. Potluck Dinner (Parish Hall)
--7:00 p.m. Advent Program (Parish Hall for adults, Undercroft for children)



Back by popular demand, the Crusader Club is offering another basketball skills clinic December 27-29, coached by Greg Lewis of Blade Basketball, for second through eighth grade boys and girls. Get the details and register.


Head of Lower School Jayme Johnson and Director of Technology Aaron Wallace invite Lower School parents for a discussion about providing guidance and appropriate parameters for your child's use of technology. Join them in the Lower School science lab Thursday, January 11, 8:00 a.m. While this morning is targeted toward second and third grade parents, we encourage any Lower School parent who is struggling with these topics to attend. 



Save the date to hear education consultant Debra Moore January 25 and January 26. She will be offering two sessions for parents with students in the third through eighth grades. We encourage parents to attend one or both sessions.

  • Session 1: Clutter and Clocks: Strategies for Success - will focus on organization and time management strategies for children. Thursday, January 25, 6:00 p.m.
  • Session 2: Get Smart! Study Skills to Improve Performance - will focus on study skills and learning styles. Friday, January 26, noon


As part of the After School Program, we offer a variety of optional after school classes for an additional fee. Spring classes will begin the week of January 29. View the ASP page for details, or contact ASP director Lani Jones. See below in Student News for new class addition.



Out of 23 competing Middle School students, eighth grader Molly Fagelman prevailed at the St. John's Episcopal School Spelling Bee, held on December 5. Molly won in the 16th round by spelling the word "residential" after battling it out for three rounds with runner-up Caden Robert (sixth grade). Molly will compete in the Dallas County Private School Spelling Bee in February. If she is unable to compete, Caden will represent St. John's in her place. In addition to Molly and Caden, fifth graders Roman Childress, Aidan Moran and Will Moore finished in the top five. Congratulations to all who participated! 



Congratulations to our Stock Market elective students, led by Mr. Laffiteau. Two of our teams finished in the top four among 174 North Texas teams competing in the Stock Market Game contest. The eighth grade team of Ryan Gilzean, Aidan Stubbings and Mark Cooper placed second, and the seventh grade team of Salese Blow, Parker Forde and Van Alex Ramey placed fourth.


Fun facts about this year's teams: 

1. All three teams were in the number one spot at one time or another during the contest

2. The contest only lasted from October 2 to December 8, yet one of our three teams held the number one spot for over half that time

3. During the final 29 days, one of our teams was number one on 23 of those days

4. On the morning of the final day of the contest, our teams were first and second

5. At one time (and when all high schools were included as well), the eighth grade team was higher than more than 1,000 other schools, and only six high school teams had a better performance than the eighth grade team



Eighth graders will take exams Tuesday through Thursday. See the exam schedule for early dismissal times on those days.



Student Council invites Middle School students to participate in a three-on-three basketball tournament Friday, January 19, 4-6:00 p.m. See StuCo reps at lunches to register teams. $3 per player ($9-$12 per team); deadline to register is Friday, January 12.



Lower School music teacher Megan Nasser is forming a small, after-school choir as part of the After School Program on Tuesdays from 3:45 - 4:30 p.m., beginning January 16. If your second through fourth grade child is interested in joining, please sign up through the ASP program and Lani Jones. Space in this ensemble is available on a first come, first serve basis. The choir will present a few anthems in a chapel service on Wednesday, March 21.


Kindergarten social studies is collaborating with Spanish to learn all about Christmas in Mexico. Along with studying Spanish vocabulary, learning Mexican holiday traditions, cooking and reading books, our kindergarten students have made ornaments representative of holiday symbols and customs.



For the two weeks before Christmas break, St. John's will celebrate computer science education with the annual global event Hour of Code, joining millions of students around the world to demystify the process of coding. All students will participate in an iPad activity using coding. One hour of coding won't make anyone an expert but it will demonstrate the creative and fun side of computer science. This is only the beginning for students and teachers, many of whom will go way beyond just one hour of coding. Talk to your child about what apps or coding websites he or she is using. Join the students by sharing what they've created or challenging them to see which of you can reach the furthest level. While you're "playing" you will be fostering problem-solving skills, logic, sequence, and creativity. Happy Coding! (Pictured at right, second grade students coding with Scratch, Jr.)



As a part of Mrs. Wyatt's eighth grade Westward Expansion project, students wrote letters containing certain academic criteria and content. The letters were written to an existing person living during the time period, and described actual events that took place. During the process of writing, students illustrated their letters in the style of the famous American painter and sculptor Charles Russell (1864-1926).



In the spirit of the season and living into the Picture of a Graduate, students in all grades will participate in holiday service projects. Please look for additional information from your child's teacher/advisor.

  • Kindergarten will be making Christmas cards in Spanish and English to deliver to hospitalized children at Medical City Children's Hospital over the holidays.
  • First grade will collect pajamas for the Pajama Program, which partners with Scholastic Books to provide a set of pajamas and a book to children in need for the holidays. A representative from the organization will speak to the students tomorrow and collect the donations.
  • Second grade students will be collecting unwrapped toys for children served through White Rock Center of Hope, a frequent partner of St. John's school and church. On Friday, an employee of the center will speak with the children about the good work of WRCH.
  • Third grade will bring toiletry items that will be assembled for victims of natural disasters and donated to the American Red Cross. Representatives will pick up the items and discuss their disaster relief efforts.
  • Fourth grade will donate new books that they will deliver to Reinhardt Elementary for use in the school library. During their visit our students will read with children at Reinhardt.
  • Fifth grade will visit Mi Escuelita for their traditional Christmas party with the preschoolers. They will read books, make Christmas cards, and share a craft project with their friends. Fifth graders are donating gifts of new hats and gloves or mittens.
  • Sixth grade will support a family in need through White Rock Center of Hope by providing Christmas presents and food.
  • Seventh grade will organize and lead the Lessons and Carols service on Friday. They will also help underwrite the supplies for the Middle School Day of Service benefiting the organizations below and neighborhood outreach. 
  • Eighth grade will support a foster family through Juliette Fowler. Over the years, this family has fostered more than 70 children.




Middle School students will spend the day before Christmas break serving others, celebrating (reindeer games and hot chocolate), and with a special Lessons and Carols chapel service. Please note that Middle School will run a special schedule that day. Their activities will benefit:
-- The Stewpot with 200 manna bags
-- Family Gateway with 200 handmade, filled stockings
-- Tsu Zoo Rescue with homemade dog biscuits
-- Our neighbors with decorated door hangers
-- Our Lower School students with homemade treats




Last Saturday, about 100 St. John's students and parents completed community service projects benefiting three local organizations as part of the ninth annual Crusader Club Cares Day. Pre-k and kindergarten students, along with their parents, separated and bagged about 2,000 cookies, including personal notes and pictures with each package. These will be distributed to the homeless by SoupMobile. First through fourth graders, alongside their parents worked in various capacities at Buckner International, mostly helping to organize toy donations. Middle School students helped clean classrooms and organize storage areas used by Gateway of Grace. They also assisted in sorting and wrapping donated Christmas gifts. We thank all who participated.



Congratulations to Mrs. Isbell's class that collected 491 Box Tops for December and wins a free dress day. Mrs. Crabtree's class took second place with 296 Box Tops. Also, the class collecting the most Box Tops cumulatively for the first half of the school year is Mr. Adler's class with 850 Box Tops collected. 



Save the date for Thursday, January 11, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Stock up on gently used school items during Uniform Resale. Additionally, the PA needs help with this all-volunteer effort and asks for parents to volunteer for a shift. Uniform donations in good condition may be dropped off in the baskets by the front reception desk. 


Check backpacks this week! Sponsor packets will be delivered with several sponsorship opportunities for this year's sizzling auction, Havana Nights on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at The Room on Main.



See the basketball schedule and contact your child's coach with any questions. 



If your home is anything like mine, the annual viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special has become an unofficial holiday tradition. Children tend to view it with an uncritical eye, for pure enjoyment's sake. But a more seasoned viewer can detect changes in American holiday traditions and cultural mores since the special first aired in 1965. Artificial Christmas trees, for instance, have enjoyed a surge in popularity since then, and they are seldom looked upon today with any of the concern for authenticity that Charlie Brown expresses. While his frustration with a "commercial" Christmas is timeless and echoes our own longing to find meaning in this juggernaut of a holiday season, the TV special seems to say that his concern is misplaced: clearly the meaning of Christmas has much less to do with what our trees are made of and more to do with what lies in our hearts. We can, still today, get caught up in the peripherals and forget the reason for the season.


In the special, Linus refocuses the whole community by quoting Luke 2 – the very passage we will be hearing in chapel this week, along with Jesus' genealogy and Joseph's dream. These passages reinforce the very visible, concrete, human existence of Jesus. He is God in the flesh, divine and human, alive and active in the messy history of real people with real fears and concerns. He desires to be present and active among us during this holiday season. Unto us a child is born; unto us in our modern, commercial, academic and difficult lives this son is given.


Parents, you are always welcome in chapel. On Friday of this week the Lower School Christmas program will take the place of chapel for the Lower School. And Middle School Day of Service includes a service of Christmas Lessons and Carols at 3:00 p.m., organized by the 7th graders. Students have worked very hard to prepare these events, and parents are encouraged to attend both.


St. John's Episcopal School is dedicated to a program of academic excellence designed to train

the mind, strengthen the character and enrich the spirit of each student in a Christian environment.


St. John's Episcopal School | 214-328-9131

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