Newsletter, January 2019
January 18, 2019
Dear parents of St. John the Baptist Catholic School,
Welcome to the new year of challenges and efforts to form Christ in the souls of your children. First of all, we are happy that we have been able to successfully introduce the changes mentioned towards the end of last year. Our classes are now forty minutes in length and our end of school time is now 3:00 pm. Our transport program is functioning very well, and we encourage all our students to join it. Our transporting parents can obtain additional taxis as required. I would like to remind all parents and drivers that high school boys, in Grades 7 – 12, must be dropped off at St. Joseph House, 21 Rex Street, and must be picked up there after school. The high school girls and primary school students are to be dropped of and picked up at the 11 Amelia Street entrance. Due to congestion in the parking lot and the danger with little children, we ask that parents and drivers not bring their vehicles onto the school ground, but that they wait outside for the children they are picking up or dropping off children, and they are leave free access to the driveway for the faculty.
One of the difficulties that we would like to overcome is the idleness of children sitting around for hours after school waiting for their transport to arrive. As mentioned last year, any student who is still at the school after 3:30 pm will be placed into our After Care program, and the parents will be charged R 50 per day for the service. We will no longer allow children to sit around idle without supervision for hours after school is out. Forms for the After Care and Transport programs are available in the school office. The cost of After Care is R 600 per month for one child, or R 1,000 per month for two. It is billed with the school fees. The cost of the Transport program is variable, depending upon the distance and the driver.
Just recently, we received the results from the IGCSE exams that our candidates sat last October and November. The results were very satisfying, with A`s, B`s and C`s, and demonstrated the comptenency of our high school teachers in their fields. We have successfully added three subjects to our curriculum this school year. French is now offered in Grades 1 and 2, as an alternative to isiZulu or Afrikaans. We will add one grade every year so that the students can study French for Cambridge in high school. We are now offering Accounting in High School for the first time. However, we do not offer Business Studies, EMS or Economics. Also the high school girls have the option of studying Design Technology, which is also a Cambridge subject.
You know full well that no cell phones are permitted at school, and that if any are discovered on the children they will be confiscated for the during of the school term. The reasons for eliminated the dangers of this distraction from studies are obvious. However, now we have discovered smart watches on certain students – that is a watch that has internet access and which despite its small size can be used for the same purposes as a tablet or cell phone. Clearly, such smart watches are forbidden at school, and if any children are found with them, they will be confiscated for the term.
Allow me to briefly introduce some of the new teachers that the Good Lord has sent our way this year. Mrs. Martin is a very experienced CIE teacher, and will be teaching high school English and Afrikaans. Mrs. Dube has taken over the isiZulu department, teaching most of the classes herself. Mr. Ncube is teaching Mathematics in the boys` high school and Accounting throughout. Mr. Okeke has taken over the boys` grade 7 class, which is now taught at St. Joseph House, along with the boys` high school. Mrs. Ganesh has taken over as HOD for Mathematics, and is teaching the girls` high school Mathematics and Design Technology classes. Miss Cordeiro who remains our music teacher, as she was last year, is now full time and has taken over the third grade girls` class as well. Mrs. Mapako, who is very experienced in the foundation phase, has taken over the Grade One girls class, so that Miss Simelane can leave to enter the convent in Kenya. Mrs. Chiwawa, also a very experienced teacher in the foundation phase, has taken over the Grade 2 girls class. This makes for a very professional, as well as spiritually motivate faculty.
You may also have noticed that we have some younger children this year. We have started a Grade 0 or pre-school class for four year olds, and Miss Theresa Poverello is responsible for it. In addition, we have two sisters, the Misses Peters, who are teaching the two Grade R classes.
Many of our teachers have whatsapp groups to maintain contact with the parents of their students. This is a valuable tool, and enables you, the parents, to become fully aware of home work, assignments, and discipline issues that might exist. Otherwise, parents are encouraged to keep contact with their childrens` teachers via written notes. Calling the school is generally not helpful, since the teachers are rarely available to come to the telephone. You are welcome to request an appointment with your children`s teachers, which can be done most commonly at 3:00 pm, after school, or occasionally when a teacher has a free period. Your input is very valuable to us, just as you likewise need to hear from the teachers from time to time.
Our many new students this year have adapted well to the order and discipline that characterizes St. John the Baptist. However, it is fundamental that this order be not purely exterior, but that it be interior, in the depths of their souls. This requires a profound dependence upon Almighty God, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Encourage them, therefore, to be regular and faithful to their prayers, even on weekends. Many students show this fidelity by completing their treasure sheets from the Eucharistic Crusade, in which they tally up their morning offerings, sacrifices, sacramental and spiritual communions and good examples for the special intention of the month. This month of January it is for Catholic families. If your children have agreed to complete their treasure sheets, a little encouragement from their parents would be very helpful.
Yours faithfully in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Peter R. Scott, Principal
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