Newsletter, November 2018
November 13, 2018
Dear parents of St. John the Baptist Catholic School,
In this last letter of the school year, I would like to share with you some of the changes that we propose to make for the new school year, 2019. The endeavour of education requires constant effort and innovation to provide the best possible environment, support, and training for your children. One such change is to separate the Grade 7 girls from the boys, and to attach each Grade 7 to the High School, that the Grade 7 students might take their studies as seriously as they ought.
Teachers have complained about the shortness of our classes, lasting only 35 minutes, and students complain about the shortness of the breaks. Everybody complains about the lack of discipline that reigns after school, until the often very delayed pick up by the transports. Consequently, the schedule is being redesigned to maintain a much greater control over the children. The classes will be extended to 40 minutes and both breaks will be lengthened. This means that the school day will end at 3:00 pm for all students. The lower classes will be having practical activities at the end of the day, and Grades R & 1 will only start at 8:00 am, although they will be supervised in their classrooms if they arrive earlier. The boys` high school, which will start in Grade 7 next year, will begin at 7:15 am every day. Transports will pick up at 3:00 pm. We will not allow children to remain unsupervised on the school property after 3:30 pm. I am sure you will understand why. If students are still here after 3:30 pm they will be placed in the school`s after care program, and parents will be charged R 50 per day for the supervision.
This brings me to the next improvement that I propose. There have been constant difficulties with our transport drivers. Some arrive late to pick up the children, or not at all. Others refuse to come in and find their students. Others insist that students break the school rule and wait outside the gate. Many play bad music. Many refuse to transport on days on which students from other schools do not have to go to school. Many also travel via many other schools, meaning that children have to leave home very early and return home very late, which exhausts them physically, spiritually and intellectually. Many also refuse to drop the high school boys directly at St. Joseph House, and to pick them up from there, causing tardies and wandering of students. To obviate all these problems, St. John the Baptist has decided to set up its own transport program, run by the parents of students themselves. These transports will be designated for transport of our students only and will be marked accordingly. The drivers will not be taking children from other schools, and will take our children immediately home, all leaving at 3:00 pm. I consequently recommend that those of you who use transports for your children fill in the attached form, so that we can assign your child(ren) to one of our transports. If we have enough children interested, we will even go so far as to find a school bus. If you are interested, please return the enclosed form by the end of November, so that we can plan for the new year.
Allow me to remind you of the end of year schedule. The last day of exams for all students will be Friday December 7. On Sunday December 9, we will have our annual school and parish auction. We have many good items donated, and there will be some deals available. The luncheon will be at 12:00 Noon after the High Mass, and the auction will continue during the meal.
Monday December 10 will be a day of cleaning up and preparation for the plays and performances that each class will be giving the following day. On Tuesday December 11, we will have the presentations of the entire school in the St. Joseph House auditorium. They will begin at 8:30 am with the younger classes. The presentations of the high school students will begin at 12:30 pm. We encourage parents, family members and interested persons to attend these presentations. Wednesday December 12 is the last day of school. It will consist of an assembly in the St. Joseph House, starting at 8:30 am, during which the awards, graduation certificates and report cards will be handed out to the students. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will follow immediately and will bring the school year to an end.
We are also working on improving the high school curriculum, by adding some more practical subjects. New teachers will bring their competency to play to teach Design Technology and Accounting, as alternatives to some of the more speculative science subjects. These subjects will be taught according to the curriculum of CIE so that the students can do their Cambridge exams in these subjects if they so chose.
I would like to remind you that the school office will be closed from December 13-28 inclusively, and that consequently during this time no transfer letters, learner`s profiles or other documents can be obtained from the school. I also remind you that copies of the 2019 school calendar are available in the school office, and that if your children will be returning next year, you should ask them to pick up a copy. The first day of school for 2019 is in fact quite early – Wednesday January 9. The project for a boarding school for boys for 2019 has been postponed, due to lack of interest from parents who can afford it.
This Friday November 16 we will be having our annual art exhibition. From 2:30 until 5:30 pm Mrs. Wilkins will be displaying the art works of the students in the parish hall, which is also the art room. All are invited to come and see for themselves.
Miss Pekelharing is organizing two final sleep overs for the SAS girls to wind up the year, along with a day of ice-skating. Girls aged 8 – 11 will be having theirs from November 23 – 25 and the girls aged 12 and above will from December 7 – 9. Information sign-up sheets are available in the school office.
May the upcoming time of Advent be one of blessed preparation for the great mystery of the Nativity of Our Divine Saviour, and for the continuation of his Incarnation by His living in our souls.
Yours faithfully in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Peter R. Scott, Principal
Encl: November statement
St John the Baptist transport program
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