This Week's Newsletter


Dear St. Finn Barr Parents,                                                                  December 2, 2016


This weekend we enter the second week of the Advent season, which marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year and encompasses the four weeks leading up to Christmas. In the United States, this season of anticipation aligns well with the season of winter, when the shorter days and cool weather create just the environment to center ourselves in a sense of preparedness for the joy of the Nativity.


At St. Finn Barr, the most traditional signs of Advent are the Advent wreaths in the classrooms and school lobby, each of which includes the three purple candles that represent the hopeful anticipation of the season and the single pink candle to symbolize the joy of Christmas. Along with this traditional sign, though, are other important signs of the season: the sound of the children rehearsing for the Christmas concert – their chance to share the Christmas spirit and say thank you to their parents through the gift of art. The service learning projects (SF Food Bank field trip, SFCASA Foster Youth Gift Drive, etc.) displayed on the walls demonstrate our commitment to social justice, where every person has an obligation to love and support those in need. Even the artwork and writing around December’s Value of the Month (Thoughtfulness) demonstrates our students’ recognition of themselves as gifted and capable of caring for others.


This week, we learned of another special gift in the spirit of Christmas that was shared with the school. A “Friend of St. Finn Barr,” who requests to remain anonymous, has donated the entire cost of the Christmas program to the school. As such, we have no obligation to charge for tickets and are thrilled to welcome all of our friends and family free of charge. Pre-paid tickets will be refunded, and all guests will have the option to make a donation to the school if they wish.


During a time of year when a sense of peace and the spirit of love can so often be lost in consumerism, hectic schedules, or grief, I am so proud that our community remains centered on the joy that Christmas is all about. I continue to be inspired by the gifts of thoughtfulness and generosity that are so evident at St. Finn Barr Catholic School, and am grateful for the tremendous community that models these qualities for our students every day.


God Bless,


Mele Mortonson


Archbishop’s Visit & Sunday Mass/Pancake Breakfast With Santa: This Sunday, December 4th, St. Finn Barr Parish and school community welcomes Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to our campus. The Archbishop will celebrate Sunday’s 10am Family Mass (Confirmation Enrollment) and Monday’s school Mass at 930am, then he will visit each class to meet the students.


We ask that students come to school on Monday in full uniform.


All families are welcome to join the Men’s Club “Breakfast With Santa” immediately following the 10am Mass!!


Tuition Raffle: The due date to submit Tuition Raffle money has been extended to Tuesday, December 6th.  The grand prize drawing will take place on Friday, December 9th. 


A Message from Sinee Halladay, Parent Board Enrollment Coordinator: Help Spread the Word!


We need your help in spreading the word about our awesome school! If you are going by or know a preschool/daycare that would be interested in learning about our school, please drop off some enrollment flyers for prospective parents (soft copy attached and hard copies available on the white table outside the Principal's office). 


Please also take a moment to write an online review to share with prospective families what you love and value about St. Finn Barr. Online reviews provide valuable insights and perspectives into our learning environment and school community. It is an important resource for many prospective families and often weighted heavily in their decision to come visit our school. Links to some of the online review sites are below. Please feel free to post your review to other appropriate sites. We appreciate you taking a moment to help spread the word about our wonderful school and community. Thank you!


Mrs. Bertko Science Director’s Report: A bit of what was happening in our science classrooms during the month of November:


6th Grade: Students are working on investigating bacterial and fungal growth in their Diversity of Life Investigation.  Groups observed and recorded observations of inoculated agar plates and tasted various bacterial laced foods for evidence that bacteria is a living organism (kimchee, swiss cheese, yogurt).  Class was well ordered, students engaged. Safety was stressed and monitored.  Great questioning and discussion followed.


1st Grade: Air and Weather: Yesterday, the students used syringes to answer the question "what happens when air is pushed into a smaller space".  The students were very engaged and made some great observations.  Good questioning.  Safety was addressed.


5th Grade: Chabot Field Trip: Teams described their jobs in the Mars landing challenge (data, communication, life support, isolation, navigation, medical and more) and challenges they encountered.  In their own words I heard great evidence of problem solving, working together, responsibility for the whole project, engineering challenges…and staying calm!  What a great opportunity for our students!  


As always, I am so inspired by all of these amazing teachers!  What a great team!