August 29, 2014

Welcome Baby Iglesias! Congratulations to SFB Spanish director Maria Iglesias and her husband Vene Garcia de la Fuente on the birth of their first chid – Alba Garcia Iglesias. Alba means white (blanco) and also sunrise (amanacer). She was born on July 8 at almost six pounds, and her parents are planning her first trip to Spain to meet her extended family.

Traffic Safety: Thank you for helping us begin the school year safely by following our school traffic procedures. It is essential that students never cross Hearst Avenue to load a car traveling east to west. Instead, we ask that all parents/guardians/supervisors:

·      Only drive east on Hearst Avenue to allow their students to enter/exit the car

·      Never leave the car while parked in the street to locate their child

·      Model appropriate behavior while interacting with other parents/faculty/staff

Uniform: We’ve implemented a new uniform infraction policy this year – students found out of uniform will receive a uniform infraction. For the first infraction, parents will be notified and a warning will be issued. For the second, students will lose a free dress privilege. For the third infraction, parents will be contacted to provide the appropriate uniform before students return to class. Our goal is always to focus time and energy on learning -- your support with uniform compliance is very much appreciated.

Powerschool: Families of students in grades 3-8 will access grade, progress report, and report card information this year through our new platform – Powerschool. To use Powerschool, parents will create a username (together or separately) and can gain access to student information by registering each child’s access code. We will share student access codes within the next several weeks. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions related to your child’s learning, please don’t hesitate to contact your classroom teacher.

Enrichment Opportunities are being finalized as we speak. Please refer to the Enrichment Schedule (posted in the news section of our school website for details on how to register your child for any of the following activities:

Dance (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 sessions)

Soccer Shots (K-2)

Spanish Camp (K-4)

ANTS Tennis (K-6)

Engineering for Kids (3-5)

Chess (All grades)

Linda’s Musical Productions (All grades)

Guitar (combo private/group lessons, all grades)

Piano (combo private/group lessons, all grades)

Gaming Club (4th-8th)

School Choir (4th-8th)

Outdoors Club (4th-8th, weekend adventures)

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.

Service: Our first service opportunity is here: the School Supply Drive to benefit La Casa de las Madres, supporting local families. Look for bins in the school lobby to drop off school supplies for children and families in need.

Welcome to our new USF Counselors: Austin Smythe has lived in the Bay Area for most of his life and has volunteered and worked with young students for many years, both as a tutor and as a counselor. When he is not working he likes to read, write creatively, and go to live music events around the city. He is passionate about helping young people thrive and develop their unique gifts. He can be reached at

In Memorium: Just this month, the school received a very generous donation of $1,000 from Kathy and Steve Van der Haeghen in honor of recently deceased Kathleen Ramsey, a longtime parishioner and parent to St. Finn Barr children. As a Catholic school teacher at St. Francis of Assisi in Concord, Mrs. Vanderhaeghen chose to honor her friend of over 50 years with a contribution to our students. We are so grateful for her thoughtful generosity, and I am always impressed by the lifelong impact that Catholic education has on people and friendships.

SFB Science Partnership with Full Options Science System: A four-year research project beginning in September 2015 and titled, "Infusing Cognitive Science Learning Principles into Inquiry-based Science Curricular Units," will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (IES). Our school has been a site for FOSS middle school trial testing for various projects since fall 2013.  The collaborative nature between our school and the FOSS staff at the Lawrence Hall of Science has been mutually beneficial and we look forward to engaging in future trial testing.  We are eager to be involved as a trial test site for the 8th grade materials being developed as part of this IES proposal in SY 2015-16 and beyond. FOSS team today and we downloaded the software for the pilot on to middle school iPads (Exploros).  We will be piloting the first four investigations for Chemical Interactions (beginning next Thursday 8/28) using this interactive program.

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.

A Message from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange: On behalf of the CSJ Educational Network, welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! Although our website, still reflects Summer Thoughts,we have posted the new bookmark and September Family/Faculty reflection.  The password for the 2014-2015 school year is francisfactor.

Save the Date! Executive Functioning Workshop on THURSDAY OCTOBER 2nd 6:30pm Please visit St. Gabriel School for their first SUPPORT GROUP of the 2014-2015 school year. All are welcome.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING will be presented by Shayla Hulgan.

Executive functioning refers to a set of mental processes that allow us to be efficient learners, thinkers, and actors.  Our brains and bodies are capable of many things such as movement, language, emotions, and thoughts.  Executive functioning allows us to use all of those skills in appropriate and efficient ways.  These skills include planning, memory, organization, attention, problem solving, inhibition, and emotional regulation.   Strong executive functioning allows us to organize our behavior, manage our emotions, and monitor our thoughts in order to work more effectively.  

These skills are complex and, as such, are some of the latest skills to develop in the brain, not being fully developed until well into young adulthood.  Children often struggle with these skills at some point and require support, modeling, strategies, and opportunities for practice in order to effectively build strong executive functioning skills.   This talk will focus on further defining executive functioning, discussing why it matters for all students, and explain basic principles for supporting executive functioning development.  

About the speaker:  Shayla Hulgan is a learning specialist and the Manger of Educational Services at Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto.  She has worked as a teacher at Sand Hill School for students with learning challenges and in private practice as a learning specialist.  Shayla has her master's in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University, as well as bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Human Development.  She currently provides assessments and individual coaching around learning disabilities and executive functioning.

Please RSVP to Milena Tapia by 9/24 at


9.1                   Labor Day – No School


9.4                  Opening School Mass 10am

                        5th Grade Bake Sale after school

                        8th Grade High School Information Night (6:30pm in 7th Grade)

Mandatory Sports Meeting 6:30pm in Goode (Parish) Hall


9.5                  SFB Sports Program Ice Cream Social (6-9pm) Goode (Parish) Hall


9.8                  SFB Hot Lunch Program begins


9.18                Magic Dan assembly 9am


9.19                Cooking Class Day


9.20                Campus Volunteer Work Day


9.22                IOWA Testing Week begins (Grades 2-8)


9.29                St. Finn Barr Festival (10am-5pm)