October 2, 2014

Dear St. Finn Barr Parents,

One of my favorite aspects of my job is the opportunity to work not only with children, but also with their parents. I never take for granted the privilege to partner with parents who understand that Catholic schools serve not only children, but families. From the day I arrived in my role as principal, I was impressed by the warmth, cooperation, and dedication of St. Finn Barr parents to the school and parish. This enthusiasm has translated into the successful execution of so many family events each year – from Walkathons to the Christmas shows to the Catholic Schools Week kickoffs and beyond.

Last weekend’s St. Finn Barr Festival brought to light so much about our parent community to be proud of. Last year’s inaugural event turned into the “sleeper hit” of parent functions, and this year was no disappointment. So many people put so much thoughtful energy into creating an experience of joy in the spirit of our Patron St. Finn Barr – the an amazing variety of food, music, games, and prizes put smiles on faces and created special memories for children and adults alike. The festival truly unified the past and present St. Finn Barr community in celebration of who we are.

As I sat down to write my newsletter yesterday, our school secretary and office manager – LaChon Richardson – shared with me the birthday cards she received from the 3rd grade class. Each card included beautiful drawings, along with an expression of gratitude for the work and support that “Mrs. LaChon” provides to our school community each day. I was so touched by the thoughtful and heartfelt sentiment of our students, not to mention the love and effort that they put into creating a special experience for someone they appreciate so much. In a word, these kids have HEART.

The apples really don’t fall far from the trees.

God bless you,

Mele Mortonson


October 2, 2014

IMPORTANT! Title II Survey: A survey was sent home this week regarding our Title II funding under the No Child Left Behind Act. We ask that all school parents complete and submit this survey as soon as possible. The information from these confidential surveys are used to generate an eligibility roster and funding amount that the school receives from the Federal Government for Title I and II services. The funding is triggered by the addresses of the students who would otherwise qualify for Title I services in public schools. These services include professional development resources for our teachers, and special programs such as Catapult Learning Services (small group reading support).

Tuesday October 7th Sundae Sale: Student council will be raising funds for their Halloween Haunted House by selling ice cream sundaes this Tuesday after school. Students will pay $1 per scoop plus 50 cents for each type of topping – oreos, whip cream, fudge, sprinkles, etc. will be available.

Haunted House Donations/Volunteers Wanted: The student council members are collecting Halloween decorations to transform Goode Hall’s stage into a Haunted House for our Halloween celebration on October 31st. If you would like to donate supplies or help build the Haunted House, please contact student council moderator – Michael Dinubila -- at

October 8th Walk and Roll to School Day: St. Finn Barr families will join children all over San Francisco next Wednesday, October 8th for “Walk and Roll to School Day.” This event, sponsored by Safe Routes to School San Francisco (, gives all of us an opportunity to make our community safer and more pleasant for walking. Last year, over 8,500 students in 55 schools across San Francisco participated in this fun and healthy event.

On October 8th, all SFB students will receive a free Safe Routes pencil. Students who walk or roll to school will receive a reflective backpack belt wrap and an “I Walked to School Today!” sticker.

Family Mass & Men’s Club Pancake Breakfast: On Sunday, October 26th we will celebrate a 10am Family Mass to recognize our 2nd and 8th graders preparing for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. All families are invited to join the St. Finn Barr Men’s Club in the lower hall for a pancake breakfast….our first of the year! Students who attend Mass are invited to wear free dress the following school day (Monday, October 27th).

Handwashing Week begins on October 6th. Our USF graduate students in nursing will be leading students in all grades in hand-washing workshops. Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of illness (and in a school like ours, absences), so your support and follow up with hand hygiene is always appreciated.

CYO Cooking Classes: Our first recipe of the year – healthy zucchini brownies – has been posted to the school website. October’s cooking class will feature corn chowder.

Progress Reports (Grades 3-8): This year, printed copies of student progress will not be sent home with students. As we have reached the midpoint of the 1st quarter, this is an important time to log into your PowerSchool account at to view your student’s current grade. Please note: you must first create an account, then enter the student access code provided by the school to access grade information. If you experience problems logging in, please contact the school office.

Extended Care Staffing Update: We are proud to announce that Mr. Jerry Tighe (Fabiana, 6th) has accepted a position as Extended Care Team Member. Mr. Tighe was raised in St. Finn Barr Parish and served as an altar boy during his early years.

Our full Extended Care Staff now includes:

Mr. Justin Talamantes      Director

Mrs. Jennifer Hudon         Team Member

Mrs. Elda Lazo                   Team Member

Mr. Jerry Tighe                 Team Member

SFB Gardening Team: Have you noticed the beautiful “sprucing up” that our garden received a few weeks ago? THANK YOU to the Green Team of parents (and grandparents) lead by Lucy Redmond for beautifying our campus in preparation for the festival. 

Walkathon: Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 15th from10am – 2pm on at SOTA (Ruth Osawa School of the Arts) track! This is our first mandatory fundraising event of the year – so long as the weather cooperates, this is always a terrific opportunity for our students and families to enjoy time together while getting exercise and raising valuable funds for our school.

8th Grade Volleyball Philanthropy: This year, the 8th grade girls will continue a tradition at St. Finn Barr of raising funds and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation ( Their goal is to raise $1,000 for the foundation.  They will be wearing a gold ribbon on their jerseys throughout the season.  When a family donates to the foundation, the girls will send a thank you note along with a gold ribbon.

IMPORTANT Calendar Update: Our WCEA accreditation visit has been confirmed. We will be hosting the WCEA Committee from Wednesday, February 25 through Friday, February 27th. On the following Monday, March 2nd, the school will be closed for a Pastor’s Holiday.

Sibling Kindergarten Applicants for the 2014-2015 school year: If your son or daughter will be enrolling in Kindergarten next year, please notify the school office (via phone or email) as soon as possible, so that we may reserve a seat for him or her in the St. Finn Barr Class of 2024. Siblings will be assessed in January with the other applicants, and will receive first placement priority.

CYO Cooking Camps? Chef Matt at CYO has approached us about the possibility of offering cooking day camps for students age 11+ during the upcoming vacations (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter). If you would be interested in signing up your child for a 2-5 day cooking camp, please email me at

Enrichment Volunteers Needed: Our SFB school Choir is seeking a volunteer parent to help with administrative tasks for choir practices (Tues & Friday, 4pm-530pm). If you are available to help (no choral experience needed!)

Also, we are recruiting parent volunteers to work with our Journalism Club. The journalism club meets every other Wednesday after school to build our wonderful school newspaper – The Shamrock Gazette.

Parenting and Faith: Are you interested in learning more about Catholic spiritual life? Did you (or your child) miss the opportunity to receive one of the Catholic initiation Sacraments (baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) or marriage and would like to now? It is not uncommon for parents to feel the “pull” to deepen their spiritual life once their children are enrolled in Catholic school, or to learn more about the Catholic faith on behalf of their student. If so, please contact Mele Mortonson ( or Juliet Samonte at St. Finn Barr Parish ( and we can provide resources to support you on this path.


10.8                Walk and Roll to School Day

10.13              Columbus Day – No School

10.16              Picture Day

10.24              Cooking Class Day – Corn Chowder

10.26              10am Family Mass – Sacramental Prep (2nd/8th)

                        Men’s Club Pancake Breakfast 9am – 1:30pm

                        Sunnyside Neighborhood Association Halloween Festival

10.27              Minimum Day - 12:30pm Dismissal 

Mass Pass day

10.27-10.31   Minimum Days à Parent Teacher Conferences

10.31              Halloween Parade @ 12pm

12.7                St. Finn Barr Christmas Concert

3.2.15             WASC Holiday – No School