February 5, 2015

Off to the Races is this Saturday February 7th We hope you all are ready for a night of fun! The parent community is organizing our third major fundraiser of the year -- the St. Finn Barr “Shamrock Derby!” Doors open at 6pm, with the first race beginning at 6:45pm. The $10 entry ticket includes food, dessert, and coffee – a cash bar will feature a Shamrock Julep served in a signature St. Finn Barr mason jar.

The night will include a hat contest for the ladies, and a silent and live auction, with all proceeds benefitting the school. A few of the faculty’s contributions to the auction include:

·      Two Forty-Niners home game tickets from Mrs. Herzstein

·      Guitar lessons with Mr. Dinubila

·      A Golden Gate Park Biking & BBQ Adventure with Mrs. Richardson & Ms. Bruno

·      Nails & Lunch for Three with Ms. McHugh and Ms. Bouvet

·      Hiking with the Principal: Hiking & Frozen Yogurt with Mrs. Mortonson 

·      An ice cream & craft party with Mrs. Naber and Mrs. Hoja

·      An ice cream party with Mrs. O’Reilly 

Father Francis News: Father Francis is leaving this weekend for Rome to celebrate the consistory of his home country’s Archbishop Charles Bo, who is being created a Cardinal. The Catholic Church has maintained a presence in the country of Myanmar (Burma) for 500 years (Catholic Burmese make up 1% of the country’s population), and Archbishop Bo is the first member of the College of Cardinals from Myanmar. For those of our community that don’t know, St. Finn Barr is the center of the Burmese Catholic community in the Archdiocese of San Francisco – Father Francis celebrates Burmese Mass every Sunday at 4pm.

Catholic Schools Week Review: What a week! Despite the major campus transition of three classrooms during this eventful week, our annual celebration of who we are as a  Catholic School included so many experiences of community, learning, and fun:

·      Family Mass, Reception, Open House: This year’s kickoff set a terrific tone for the week ahead – a packed church for Family Mass, a bountiful reception on the school yard, and school hallways filled with families enjoying beautiful displays of student work. Special thanks to the Kindergarten, Sixth, and Eighth grade parents for hosting the reception.

·      Book Fair: The relocation of the Book Fair to the lower hall did nothing to stop the steady crowds all week long! I never tire of seeing children excited about books and reading. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who worked at the Book Fair, especially our coordinators Chrisoula Novo and Marilyn Nepomuceno – the smiles on the kids faces spoke volumes.

·      Shamrock Spirit Day: Our student council did it again! Shammy made another appearance on campus, running through a sea of screaming students in green and white with the new SFB spirit flag. Congratulations to the 4th grade class for earning the right to bring the spirit flag back to their class until the next rally.

·      Grandparents Day Prayer Service: What a beautiful testament to our community. Our Grandparents Day prayer service was a well-attended celebration of the special connection between generations. Thank you to our parent board Chair Tricia Gregory for organizing the prayer service and to our Treasurer Elizabeth Ristaino for helping to plan the lovely reception afterward.  

·      Science Fair: Our 6th and 7th graders presented their projects to students, faculty, and guests alike with pride during our Science Fair. I found so much evidence of critical thinking, lifelong learning, and compassion around science! Thank you to our parent volunteer Lynda Taschek for helping to organize the event, and congratulations to our winners whose projects will go on to the Randall Museum Fair next week:




SF Science Fair Awards

Elyssa Lloyd -6

Biological Science

Will more ants be repelled by chalk or vinegar?

6th 1st Place

Dylan Brown-7

Physical Science

Dropping Metals

7th-1st Place

Xuan Ly-6

Behavioral, Health or Social Science

Talk or Text: Who Uses Phones in Restaurants?

6th -2nd Place

Tristan Howie & Sammy Whitehurst-7

Physical Science

The Power of Wind

7th – 2nd Place

Marissa Reyes-7

Behavioral, Health or Social Science

It’s Written all Over Your Face

7th – 3rd Place

Neehal Ahmed & Kyle Taschek

Physical Science

What kinds of hovercrafts work best?

6th- 3rd Place

Mia Diaz

Biological Science

Where are the germs?

6th -3rd Place

Honorable mention

Megan Morcillas

Physical Science

What kind of fruit produces enough electricity to light a lightbulb?

6th Honorable Mention

Leo Huang &

Joshua Padilla

Physical Science

Can Water Float on Water?

6th Honorable Mention

Nate Brown and Mack Yates

Biological Science

Spoiled Rotten

7th Honorable Mention

Christian Lazo

Physical Science

Which Cereals Have the Most Iron

7th Honorable Mention

·      Peace Parade: Our 4th Annual Peace Parade didn’t disappoint…the weather was beautiful, the Riordan Band sounded terrific, and the students were energized by their social justice causes and the wonderful presence of the San Francisco Fire Department (thank you Captain Dustin Novo!) and San Francisco Police Department. We surprised so many local business people and Sunnyside residents with our pride and St. Finn Barr Spirit! 

·      Student Council Photo Booth: Again, another new idea from the student council! Thanks to our photographer Lynda Taschek and to everyone who supported our first ever Catholic Schools Week Photo Booth – what a terrific memento of an exciting week. Photos will be distributed to students today.

Music In Schools Today: Our spring music classes are underway! Last year’s teacher Joshua Boronkay is back on campus for weekly music lessons in all grades. We look forward to showcasing our class-wide talent this spring with our Music in Schools Today showcase.  

Vaccinations FYI: With the recent measles outbreaks in the news, a few parents have inquired about our school policy regarding vaccinations. We follow California state law regarding vaccinations, and 100% of our school families vaccinate their children.

Cold & Flu Season: This year has been a difficult one cold-wise for our school community. We always emphasize healthy hand-washing practices with our students, and our teachers are committing the final moments of the school day to a classroom surface clean up, but a reminder from home never hurts! Thank you for your help with this.

Soccer Shots Spring Session: Soccer Shots is back for our K-2 students. Sessions of this skills camp will be held on Thursdays from 3pm-3:35pm in the schoolyard. The cost is  $156 per student for 12-week session. The first day of camp is Thursday, February 12th. Sign up online at:

ANTS Tennis Spring Session will includes K, 1, 2nd sessions on Wednesdays and 3rd -6th practice on Thursdays after school. Registration is available online at (March 6th Registration Deadline)

·      Wednesday: K: 3:30-4:00pm 1st-2nd: 4:15-5:15pm

3/11/15 - 5/20/15 (No Class 4/6 - 4/10)

·      Thursday: 3rd - 6th : 4-5pm 

3/12/15 - 5/28/15 (No Class 4/2, 4/6 - 4/10)

On-Campus Summer Camp Save the Dates: We are excited to host several enrichment camps on campus this summer. As of today, the following camps are scheduled:

            Arts Camp (Mr. Talamantes): Details TBD

Spanish Camp (Mrs. Herzstein): June 15-July 3rd

·      Open to rising 1st to rising 5th 

·      Three Weeks: June 15 – July 3rd

·      8am-3pm + Ext. Care 3pm-5pm

·      Open to St. Finn Barr students or any Catholic School students in the Archdiocese of San Francisco

            Coding Camp: June 15-June 26th

·      Ages 7-14

·      Further details TBD

Linda’s Musical Productions (Linda Bulgo): June 8-July 31st

·      All grades welcome

·      Each week focuses on a new production

Reconciliation Service March 26th: This year, the school and parish are working together to organize a special event for Lent – a family reconciliation service & soup dinner. This simple service will provide Catholic families with the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation together during the season of Lent. The event will begin with a soup dinner in the lower hall, then a brief reconciliation service with individual confession beginning at 6:30pm. A group of guest priests will join us to support Father McCain and Father Francis in accommodating a large group in a timely manner. We hope you will save this date and join us. An invitation with RSVP will be sent out in late February. 

Technology Policy Update re: personal devices: As many of you know, we have been working for several years now to develop a technology policy that accommodates the needs of our families who also keeping students safe. Part of that plan has included the occasional permission for students to use personal tech devices outside of the normal school day. It has come to my attention that students are accessing social media apps on personal tech devices (phones, tablets, etc.) while on campus. While some of our school families choose to allow their children to use these apps, we cannot allow them to do so during any school-related activity (class, Extended Care, enrichment activities, field trips, dismissal, etc.). These websites are not recommended for elementary and middle school aged children, and we have no way to filter access from non-SFB devices. Additionally, because not all families allow social media access to their children, use of personal devices at school creates an unnecessary divide that is inconsistent with our mission. 

To review our Tech Policy: St. Finn Barr students are allowed to bring personal devices to campus, but they must remain off and put away before, during, and after school* If a device is accessed during any school-related activity (including field trips, retreats, etc.), it should be confiscated and turned into the office for a parent or guardian to claim in person. The school is not responsible for personal devices that are lost or damaged on campus. 

*The exception to this rule is the Video Game Club. Students may use their person devices during the supervised club time and not before or after at Extended Care. 

Thank you all for your insight and support in enforcing this important safety policy. Please notify me if you have any questions or concerns. 


2.7                  Off to the Races (Parent Event)

2.13                Class Valentine’s Day Parties 

2.16                President’s Day – No School

2.17                Mardi Gras Parade Day – Beads & Masks w/Uniform

2.18                Ash Wednesday Mass @ 9am

2.20                Cooking Class Day

3.2                  WASC Holiday – No School

3.26                St. Finn Barr Reconciliation Service & Soup Dinner