From the Principal's Desk

December 3, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

Are you putting up more Christmas lights and decorations this year than normal? I’ve heard anecdotal reports that stores are running out of Christmas decorations, and I’ve heard a few people talking about how much more decorating they are doing this year. Why is that? I think some would say that this Christmas season just isn’t as busy as it would be in a “normal” year. Fewer Christmas parties. Fewer Christmas concerts. Reduced travel. Fewer in-person trips to the store for Christmas present shopping. And the list goes on. Or maybe decorating is just a comforting diversion from the craziness of 2020!

Is that you? Are you finding yourself with more time that you would normally have at this time of year or in need of a diversion? Whether it is or not, I want to encourage you to use your time to work on your relationships – especially your relationship with your Savior. It’s been almost 9 months since the coronavirus shut down church and school last March. Over those 9 months church was either only virtual or mostly virtual as we’ve limited the number of people who can attend. While the number of people who can attend any given service may not change for a while, St. John’s is trying to accommodate as many as possible – especially this Christmas. In another week or two, there will be an announcement about how many Christmas services there will be and at what time they will be held. If you are comfortable doing so, take advantage of that opportunity to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ to worship our Savior! And if you are not comfortable doing that yet, make time with your family to gather around the broadcasts of our services. It’s one great way that all of us can work on our relationship with our God!

Mid-Terms

Tomorrow, December 4, marks the mid-way point of the second quarter. Mid-term reports will be sent home next Thursday, December 10. Please look for them! Remember, you may monitor your child’s grades daily by going to wels.powerschool.com/public or installing the PowerSchool app on your phone or tablet. If you need help with that, please let me or Mr. Duncan know.

Advent Services

We began our mid-week Advent worship services at St. John’s this week. They will continue for the next two Wednesdays. Worship services are at 1:00 and 6:45 on December 9 and December 16. The 1:00 service is live-streamed, and it is also archived to be watched at any time. If you plan to attend in person, please register online as we are limiting the number of people who can be in the sanctuary. For those who are members at Grace, the services are 12:10 and 6:30. The 6:30 service is live-streamed. These additional mid-week worship services are a great way to prepare your hearts and lives for the coming of our Savior as we celebrate his birth and as we look forward to his return!

Christmas Service

As we announced in November, our K5 – eighth grade Children’s Christmas Service will not be held live as it has always been. This year’s service has been recorded and will be shared on Wednesday, December 23. The service will also be archived so that it can be viewed at any time. We would like to include pictures of the students, and the 8th graders have been video-recorded. In order to include your child’s photo or video in the service, we need you to sign a “permission to use” form. The form (click here) is included with this Crusader Chronicle or you may pick one up in the office if you need a copy. Thanks to most of you who have returned yours. If you haven’t done so, please get that to us at your early convenience.

Basketball Games

The first basketball games of the 2020-2021 season will be tomorrow night, Friday, December 4, against St. Paul’s, Muskego, beginning at 4:30. There are some restrictions about how many can attend the games this year. Passes will be required for most games. Each player’s family has 2 passes which must be presented at the door for admission. Fans and players are asked to arrive no more than 20 minutes before the scheduled start time of their game. Thanks for your cooperation as we navigate this season!

WISCO Play

On Wednesday afternoon, December 9, our fifth through eighth graders will be treated to a private performance of two one-act plays, Drop Dead, Juliet! and The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. The students will be walking to WISCO after an early lunch on Wednesday.

Blessings,
Dan



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November 19, 2020

Dear Christian Parents,

It’s almost impossible to turn on the news without hearing more bad news. Positive COVID tests are up. Hospitalizations are up. Some states are shutting down schools again. Some areas around us are shutting down sports. So what are we doing at St. John’s? That’s a great question!

My first response to that is that we’re doing what we’ve always done. We’re sharing a life-saving message with our students and their families. It’s an eternal message of God’s love and forgiveness which he gives freely to all believers! This message is shared in our religion classes and devotions, but it really permeates everything that we do at St. John’s.

My second response would be that we are continuing to implement our plan to be able to have face-to-face instruction. We invested in air purifiers for our entire building. We have gone through bottle after bottle of anti-virus spray, hand sanitizer, many containers of wipes and rolls of paper towels. We continue to require and encourage and remind all of our students over five years old to wear a face covering. We try as much as possible to maintain our classroom “bubbles.” We encourage parents to keep their kids home when they are sick, and we cooperate with health departments when there are positive cases among our school or our school families. As a reminder, I’m sharing a document from the Wauwatosa Health Department which hopefully answers a lot of questions about isolation, quarantining and returning to school. Please look that over for guidance! You can find it here. We’re so thankful that we’ve been able to continue face-to-face instruction for almost 1/3 of this school year so far. We also realize that this could change at any time, so we remain appropriately flexible!

Finally, we give thanks. If you know the hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God,” but you don’t know the story behind it, you should look it up. In the 1600’s, the author, Pastor Martin Rinkart, performed over 4000 funerals in one year – including his own wife’s funeral. Yet, he was able to write this hymn about being thankful for God’s love and blessings. Some of us have experienced sickness this year. Some of us have even experienced loss. But none of that compares to the love that our God showed by taking care of our biggest need – payment for our sins through Jesus! So, we do have reason to give thanks this year and always! Happy Thanksgiving!

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. (Christian Worship, hymnal 610)

School Pictures

Some were not able to be at school for either the picture day or picture retake day. If your child is in that situation, we’d love for you to contact the photographer and have your child’s picture taken at their studio in New Berlin so that we can have all of our children in the yearbook. Please contact the studio directly. The photographer is School and Sports Pics, at 2020 S Calhoun Rd, New Berlin. The phone number to schedule an appointment is 262-780-2901. You can also call if you have questions about ordering pictures.

Call Updates

We are very thankful that Miss Treder announced that she will remain at St. John’s! She has returned the call that she had to Crown of Life in West St. Paul, MN. We’re also thankful that Mrs. Buske’s husband Jim has returned his call to Trinity in Jenera, OH. Mrs. Henning continues to deliberate the call that she and her husband are considering to Trinity, Belle Plaine, MN. Continue to pray for these workers and the congregations that are waiting for God to provide the workers that they need!

Thanksgiving Vacation

There will be no school on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, November 25-27, for our Thanksgiving vacation. Classes will resume on Monday, November 30.

Third Grade Quarantine

Third grade students who have been in isolation/quarantine for almost two weeks may return to school next Monday, November 23, as long as they have not had additional contacts with the virus or symptoms of their own. We’re so thankful for those who have had to adjust their busy schedules to accommodate their kids at home during quarantines for this class and every other situation where that has been necessary!

Thanksgiving Worship

Our Thanksgiving worship services will be next week Wednesday evening at 6:45 or Thursday morning at 10:00. The Wednesday evening service will also be broadcast online and archived to view anytime at www.sjtosa.org/video. To register for in-person worship, visit https://reopen.church/r/foRFlH12. Whether online or in the sanctuary, I hope that you and your family have an opportunity to join your fellow believers in giving thanks to God!

Blessings,
Dan



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November 12, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Every school has parent-teacher conferences, right? Some are mandatory; some are voluntary. Some teachers dread them; some parents dread them. Some students are concerned about what might be revealed in them. I’m thankful for them. I hope that you are, too!

We had about half of our families show up for parent-teacher conferences last night. We’ll have about the same number tonight. Other families need to reschedule due to the virus or some other scheduling conflict. The reason that I’m thankful for parent-teacher conferences at St. John’s is the partnership that we share. It’s a unique partnership. The reason that it’s unique is because it extends beyond the classroom. Parents and teachers may discuss math or reading or handwriting, but at St. John’s, everything that we do has an eternal purpose. Every class, every day is taught be a teacher who is interested not only in your child’s academic performance, but her spiritual eternity.

I really hope that you find your parent-teacher conferences to be an encouragement. There might be difficult issues to address, but know that we’re going to address those issues together! It’s a joy and a privilege for us to be your partners in the Christian education of all of the students at St. John’s. May God continue to bless us as we work together to show our students the only way to an eternity in heaven – faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior!

COVID19

As noted in a special note last Sunday, we quarantined one of our third grade classrooms. Unfortunately, we received news that there was a positive test in that classroom. So those who were in class on Thursday or Friday, November 5-6, could have been exposed. The good news is that our contact tracing revealed that no other teachers or students needed to quarantine because they were not considered close contacts. The students in that classroom may return to school on Monday, November 23 as long as they have no symptoms. During the next week, students in that third grade classroom should continue to communicate with Mrs. Pastorek as she coordinates virtual instruction for them.

Click here to access some documents from the Wauwatosa Health Department that might help those of you who are trying to understand when your child may return to school. Please let me know if you need help, and I’ll share your case with the Health Department.

We have a couple of other students who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but we don’t believe these cases provided any exposure to any of our students or staff. These are cases when students were kept home because a parent or other relative tested positive, and then during quarantine, our student became positive.

Continue to pray for our school families and communities as so many are dealing with this terrible illness in one way or another. Thank God for the opportunity that we have to continue to meet in person with those who don’t need to quarantine or have finished their quarantine!

Singing in Church

Our 5th grade class has pre-recorded an Anthem for this weekend's services.  A special note about their song, All is Well, is that it is one of the new hymns that will be in the new hymnal our synod is working on and Lord-willing will be released in December 2021.  May the Lord use their song to edify our congregation's worship on this Saints' Triumphant Sunday!

Call News

Two of our teachers are currently considering calls from other congregations. Miss Treder has a call to serve as first grade teacher at Crown of Life in West St. Paul, MN. Mrs. Henning has a call to serve as preschool teacher at Trinity in Belle Plaine, MN, where her husband Mike has also been called to be principal and 7th-8th grade teacher. Mrs. Buske's husband, Pastor Jim Buske, has a call to serve as pastor at Trinity in Jenera, OH. Please keep these teachers and their families in your prayers as they consider their gifts and the needs at St. John's and these other congregations. Also, feel free to reach out to these teachers if you have counsel about their calls for them to consider.

No School

There will be no school tomorrow, Friday, November 13. Pray for some productive, but relaxing, down time for our teachers as they recover from a couple of very long days! Be safe everyone!

Thanksgiving Vacation

There will be no school on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, November 25-27, for our Thanksgiving vacation. Classes will resume on Monday, November 30.

K5-8th Grade Children’s Christmas Service

This year we are not able to have our regular live school Christmas service at WLHS this year due to COVID regulations. While that’s a disappointment, we’ve worked hard over the last couple of weeks to record a service of recitations and songs that will shared on Wednesday, December 23. More details will be coming about how and exactly when you will be able to enjoy it.  We are thankful that we are able to learn and share the Christmas Gospel message- just in a different way this year.  Our prayer is that many people will be reached with the Gospel message our children recite and sing!

Blessings,

Dan



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November 5, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

Please join me in praying for the parents and family members of our students who have tested positive for the coronavirus. We thank God for the health of those who have already fully recovered, and we ask that God be with those who are still either suffering or recovering from their bout with the virus. 

Virtual Classes

As the numbers of positive cases have been going up in Wisconsin, the numbers in and around our school families have been going up as well. Because of that, we've had a higher number of students needing to quarantine for a time. Due to the increase in the numbers, I just want to take a minute to remind you of a few things about our virtual education offering.

First of all, please communicate with us! I've been thankful because you have let us know when your child needs to be quarantined. If you can share some details with us about testing and exposure, that would be helpful as we work with the health department to get advice about when kids may return to school. You can also communicate with your local health department about quarantining and returning to school. Health Departments were providing back to school letters when there was a positive case in the home, but I think they're getting overwhelmed and may not be doing that consistently. 

Second, please be patient as teachers adjust your child to virtual learning. Remember, if your child is sick, we'd like him or her to focus on rest and healing. Our virtual option is for those who are required to quarantine and feel well enough to participate. Please realize that the teachers will need some time to get work together for your child when they need to quarantine. Please give them a day to re-organize before expecting them to have that work for your quarantined student. That's also why students who are just home sick should not automatically expect to attend school virtually. Remember, teachers in K5 through 4th grade are using SeeSaw and Zoom for their classes. Students in grades 5-8 will find everything that they need in Google Classroom. 

Finally, if your child is going to be attending school virtually, please cooperate with each of the teachers to follow the schedule. Most classrooms are offering most classes synchronously (live) while some work is being done by recorded videos. This will look different depending on the age of your child. The teachers should be able to let you know how and when to log in to each class. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Our parent teacher conference schedule for next week is filling up! If you have not signed up for a time slot, please do so at your early convenience. First quarter parent-teacher conferences are required for all parents. Please remember, our teacher's schedules will be quite full with just home room students. Please be respectful of the teachers' time. If you would like to visit with a teacher who is not your child's homeroom teacher, please schedule a conference at another time - not next Wednesday or Thursday. Also, please limit your conference time to 15 minutes. That will allow for us to keep our schedule for the next conferences and also allow for quick cleaning. If you need more than 15 minutes, please schedule another time to continue your conference. 

Picture Retake Day

Picture retakes will be next Thursday, November 12. If you missed the first picture day, this is a great opportunity to get your picture taken. If the first picture didn't turn out, please return the original pictures and have it retaken next Thursday. 

Call News

Our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has over 250 Lutheran Elementary Schools around the United States. When there are teacher vacancies in our schools, the Synod provides congregations with a list of teachers qualified for these open positions. Some of our teachers are currently considering calls from other congregations. Miss Treder has a call to serve as first grade teacher at Crown of Life in West St. Paul, MN. Mrs. Buske's husband, Pastor Jim Buske, has a call to serve as pastor at Trinity in Jenera, OH. Mrs. Henning has a call to serve as preschool teacher at Trinity in Belle Plaine, MN, where her husband Mike has also been called to be principal and 7th-8th grade teacher. Please keep these teachers and their families in your prayers as they consider their gifts and the needs at St. John's and these other congregations. Also, feel free to reach out to these teachers if you have counsel for them to consider about their calls.

Shorts Allowed

With near record breaking warm weather, we've decided to allow the students to wear shorts one more time this year! Shorts will be allowed on Friday, November 6! A light jacket may be needed in the morning, but by recess time, we're hoping for warm weather!

No School

There will be no school next Friday, November 13. There will be a couple of very busy nights next week for Parent-Teacher Conferences, so it will be nice to have a little break. Also remember that our Thanksgiving vacation will be Wednesday through Friday, November 25-27.

K5-8th Grade Children’s Christmas Eve Service

This year we are not able to have our regular live school Christmas Eve service at WLHS this year due to COVID regulations.  We are hard at work recording our recitations and songs.  Over the next weeks, we will be putting the recordings together and creating a school Christmas service video.  Please watch for the details of the date and time for when the service video will be released.  We are thankful that we are able to learn and share the Christmas Gospel message- just in a different way this year.  Our prayer is that many people will be reached with the Gospel message our children recite and sing!

Blessings,

Dan



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October 22, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

This weekend at St. John's we'll be celebrating Reformation Day. October 31,1517, was a very important day in the life of Martin Luther. He posted 95 statements for debate on the door of his church in Wittenberg, Germany. Many didn't like it. Many wanted him dead. But God kept him safe because he had a plan to use Martin Luther to turn people back to the truth. Luther would preach salvation by God's grace alone, through faith alone, based on Christ alone, revealed through the Scriptures alone. Here we stand about 500 years later, and none of that has changed. The message of the pure Gospel which we proclaim at St. John's still changes hearts, offers forgiveness and promises eternal life in heaven! I hope that you can join us either in person or online this week as we worship the God who provided the message that Martin Luther preached and the message that we share each day with your children at St. John's! Happy Reformation Day!

God’s Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever.

To spread its light from age to age shall be our chief endeavor.

Through life it guides our way. In death it is our stay.

Lord grant while worlds endure we keep its teachings pure.

Throughout all generations. (Christian Worship Hymn 293)

The end of the first quarter is next Wednesday, October 28. What a blessing that God has allowed us to meet in person for the first two months of this school year! Thanks to parents who have been extra careful with their children when there was concern about sickness or exposure to the virus. I encourage all of you to be considerate of others as you determine whether your child is healthy enough to send to school each day. We are so thankful that we've been able to stay in school, and we pray that God would allow us to continue face to face as he determines! First quarter report cards will be sent home on Thursday, November 5. MAP test results for students in grades two through eight will also be sent home on November 5.

As I mentioned last week, there will be no school on Thursday and Friday, October 29-30. The Wisconsin State Teachers' Conference had been scheduled for those two days. While the conference has been cancelled, our teachers will still gather on Thursday morning for professional development. Child care will remain open for those two days. Please be sure to let Miss Wendland (childcare@sjtosa.org) know, if you haven't already, whether you will need child care on those two days so that we can staff accordingly. Have a safe and healthy break!

There is a link to a schedule for Parent-Teacher Conferences, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, November 11-12. First semester parent-teacher conferences are mandatory! Please help us to reach 100% of our families for these conferences. Please plan to limit your conversation with each teacher to 15 minutes or less. There may be another family waiting to see that teacher, and other schedules may be upset if we make them wait. If you feel like you need more than 15 minutes, please schedule more time when there's not someone waiting! Thanks for your cooperation!

Congratulations to our soccer, volleyball, and cross country teams who competed in tournaments last weekend. The soccer team took second place in the conference tournament. In volleyball, the A team took second place and the B team took first place in the conference. The girls' cross country team won the state championship! Boys' cross country came in fourth place in the state. Great job Crusaders! Thanks to our wonderful coaches and parents for making these seasons successful! God is good! All the time! To him be the glory!

Blessings!

Dan



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October 15, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

Fall sports will be winding down this weekend. Our soccer team is competing in the conference tournament this week. They won their first game on Tuesday night. The second game will be tonight at 5:00 at St. Paul’s, Muskego. If they win tonight, they will play in the championship at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon at WISCO. The volleyball teams have their conference tournaments on Saturday. The A team is at St. Paul’s, Muskego, and the B team is at Star of Bethlehem, New Berlin.  Finally, our cross country team has a state meet at Lake Country Lutheran High School on Saturday. Good luck Crusaders!

We continue to live-stream chapel services on Wednesday mornings at 8:15. Next week, October 19, the K4 and the first grade classes will be attending chapel in the sanctuary. The rest of the classes will watch in their classrooms. Please remember that we invite the students to bring a mission offering on Wednesdays. The offering for this semester is designated for the teen mission trip that we hope to do next summer. The total that we’ve collected so far this year is $152.11.

Please remember that there will be no school on Thursday and Friday, October 29-30. Our teachers’ conference at WISCO was cancelled, but our teachers will be having an in-service on Thursday. Childcare will remain open.

Our Early Childhood program will be undergoing some changes next year. We’re sending out a survey to preschool parents to get their help with what our program should look like. If you have a 2, 3, or 4 year old next year and do not get a copy of the survey today or tomorrow, please email childcare@sjtosa.org, and we’ll send you a survey!

May our gracious God continue to bless you this week!

Dan



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October 8, 2020

Dear Christian Parents:

We will be returning to school tomorrow, Friday, October 9. We give thanks to God for limiting the destruction in Wauwatosa last night after the District Attorney’s decision in the Joseph Mensah case was announced. We believe that it is safe for our children to return to school tomorrow. Thanks also to our parents for understanding as we exercised caution by sending the kids home early on Wednesday and keeping them home today. Know that we will continue to have heightened awareness as well as open communication with the Wauwatosa Police Department through our school resource officer in case anything changes.

Tomorrow is also picture day! All students and teachers will be photographed by our professional photographer. You’ll be able to order prints if you’d like. Please see the separate article for more information about how you will be able to order pictures. Tuesday/Thursday preschool students are invited to come and have their pictures taken in the morning if that works for their schedule. There will also be a retake day on Thursday, November 12.

Due to the forecast of warm weather tomorrow, we also invite the students to go ahead and wear shorts to school on Friday, October 9. If your child is going to wear special clothes for their school picture, you may want to send another set of clothes that they can change into after their picture is taken.

Since the City of Wauwatosa has issued a 7:00 PM curfew, we have decided to cancel the Fall Blessings event that was scheduled for Friday, October 9. We're sorry that we can't have this opportunity for fun and fellowship! We pray that all of our families are able to enjoy a safe and blessed weekend, enjoying this beautiful weather!

We continue to live-stream chapel services on Wednesday mornings at 8:15. Next week, October 12, the kindergarten and sixth grade classes will be attending chapel in the sanctuary. The rest of the classes will watch in their classrooms. Please remember that we invite the students to bring a mission offering on Wednesdays. The offering for this semester is designated for the teen mission trip that we hope to do next summer. The total that we’ve collected so far this year is $107.73.

Our fourth graders have recorded a song that will be played during worship services this weekend. I hope that you are able to join us either in person or online for worship. This weekend is our Mission Festival. Our guest preacher is Pres. Rich Gurgel from Martin Luther College. Pastor Gurgel will also be leading the Bible class at 9:15 on Sunday morning. If you plan to join us in person, please use the registration form online. You can find it by clicking here.

Thanks again for your patience, cooperation, prayers and support this year and especially these last few days. May God continue to bless the strong partnership that we share at St. John’s!

Blessings,
Dan



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October 1, 2020

As I reported last week, we had our WELSSA Visit earlier this week. WELSSA stands for Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod School Accreditation. Many of you were involved in the hours and hours of work that went into a self-study last school year. There were over 270 standards, and our various committees looked for evidence that our school met those standards. I don’t have the visitation team’s final report yet, but the initial report was that we met 95% of the standards! Praise God for his blessings on our church and school!

According to the St. John’s Parent Handbook, shorts are allowed until September 30. Now that we have entered the month of October, please be sure that your child wears long pants to school! If we get a forecast of high temperatures of 80 degrees or higher, shorts will be allowed for those days only. Pray that we get a few of those yet this fall!

Picture day is next Friday, October 9. Pictures will be taken in the commons during the morning. Students who only attend on preschool on Tuesday and Thursday are welcome to come for their pictures between 9:00 and 9:30, or they may wait until the picture retake day, which is scheduled for Thursday, November 12. See the article in this week’s Crusader Chronicle for information about ordering pictures.

Each Wednesday for chapel, our students are invited to bring a mission offering. You may use your Sunday School offering envelope if you have one, but no envelope is required. Any loose change or bills are accepted. The offering for the first semester is designated for the teen mission trip that we hope to have next summer. Those who attend chapel in the sanctuary may bring the offering to church. Those who are watching chapel in the classroom may give the offering in the classroom.

We continue to live-stream the chapel services on our website at about 8:15. Next week there will be two groups of students in the sanctuary while the rest will stay in the classroom. This will still allow for plenty of separation in the sanctuary just as we do on Sunday mornings. Next week, the second and eighth grade classes will be attending chapel “live.”

Mid-term reports are being sent home today for students in grades 1-8. Please be sure to ask your student for the report! You may keep the report card, but we ask that you sign and return the envelope to your child’s teacher. Please do that right away so that you don’t forget or it gets lost. Also, please remember that you are able to access your child’s grades any time by logging in to PowerSchool. If you need help with that, please contact me or Mr. Duncan.

We received 30 new chromebooks this week. These chromebooks will help allow us to support the virtual learning of those who have chosen to or are required to learn from home this school year. At the same time, we are also expanding our use of technology in the school building. We are still collecting donations to help cover the costs of these chromebooks and the air purifiers that were added in early September. Feel free to drop off or send in your donation for these necessary projects!

Our students in grades 6-8 will be taking the MAP Tests in Math, Language Arts, and Reading next week. MAP is Measures of Academic Progress. The MAP tests are designed to measure the academic growth of each student. Our plan is to measure the growth of our students by administering these tests three different times throughout the school year.

If you have a child in grade three or younger, I hope that you are able to come for the Fall Blessing event next Friday, October 9. This will be an outdoor event on our property just up the hill on Dewey Ave. The long range weather forecast is looking pretty good, but we have set a rain date for Saturday, October 10. Please see the invitation and the other information about the event in this week’s Crusader Chronicle.

Blessings,

Dan



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September 24, 2020

Dear Christian Parents,

By the end of this week, we’ll be about half way through the first quarter of this school year! What a blessing that we’ve been able to meet face to face with most of our students for these last five weeks! In the last week, I’ve had a chance to make a quick visit to every one of our classrooms, and I’ve been able to see the results of the great work that our teachers are doing! They spent their summer planning to deliver a solid Christian education in the classroom, and in many cases, they are also serving students who are learning at home. 

I also want to thank many of you for showing love for the St. John’s family by keeping your children home when they’ve been sick. As we work our way through this school year, we will need to be cautious with kids and teachers who are not feeling well. 

There have been some questions raised about how we are going to handle students who are staying at home because they are sick. After experiencing and using virtual learning for several weeks, we have decided on some guidelines for when virtual learning will best meet the needs of our students and that will also make it manageable for the teachers. In order to show consideration for our teachers, and care for the children who are sick, we’re asking you to keep a few things in mind. 

First of all, we are going to continue to serve those who have chosen to keep their children home for at least the first part of the school year out of concern about the virus. Generally speaking, it sounds like these situations are going well. 

Second, if your child is home sick, please treat this like you would have treated it any other, “normal” school year. Contact the school, and teachers will work with you to decide what work your child needs to complete and how and when that work may be picked up. We want children who are sick to focus on rest and recovery so that they can return to the classroom as soon as they are able. 

Third, if your child is out of school because they or a family member are being tested for COVID-19, we will treat them as any other sick child as described above. If a child or family member tests positive for the coronavirus, and the student will be quarantined for a couple of weeks, then that student is invited to participate virtually as he or she feels up to it. We pray that this would be very rare, but this would give the teacher some time to organize everything that needs to be done to carry out the virtual instruction.

We have so many things for which to be thankful! God has been so good to us! We pray that God would continue to bless us with opportunities to teach our students what they need to know to thrive in this world and to prepare them for an eternal life in heaven by knowing Jesus as their Savior!

Blessings,

Dan

A few other notes to keep in mind -

I’m a native of the northern states (Minnesota and Wisconsin), but I’m still getting used to the weather after 19 years in southern Ohio. It’s amazing that we can experience so many seasons in one week! Looks like that’s going to happen again in the next week. Which reminds me! It’s time to put the shorts away next week. Our school policy is that shorts are allowed until September 30. So, please be sure to make sure the pants still fit! Students may still wear shorts after September 30 if the weather forecast calls for temperatures above 80 degrees. Hopefully that will happen a few times in the next month!

Don’t forget about SCRIP! A list of gift cards appeared in the Crusader Chronicle a couple of weeks ago. If you’d like to purchase SCRIP, please come to the school office. Proceeds from the sale of these gift cards are used for non-budgeted items for our school.

It’s not too late to make a donation for the air purifiers and chrome books. To date we’ve received about $1000 towards our goal of $28,000. Checks may be made out to St. John’s and should be labeled for air purifiers, chrome books or Council Project of the Month.

Many of you put in a lot of hours on the St. John’s Lutheran School Self-Study last school year. The final piece of all of that work is the visit of the accreditation team. A small group will be visiting our school next week Monday and Tuesday. They will be reviewing documents, visiting classes and interviewing people to validate the study that has been done. This is all part of the WELSSA (WELS School Accreditation) process.

Thanks to all who were involved in the self-study!



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September 17, 2020

This past weekend was our “Unity Sunday” weekend at St. John’s. This was my first Unity Sunday. It wasn’t normal. I understand that for most Unity Sunday’s there’s one service for the entire congregation. I can’t even imagine 600, 700 or 800 people worshipping together in the gym. So, for most of you who have been there before, maybe this year’s Unity Sunday was a bit of a let-down. We had three services of about 85 people in each service. We had a bunch of people watch from home. But let me tell you from a first-timer’s perspective, Unity Sunday was awesome! I hope you were here for it. If you couldn’t be, I hope you watched it online. If you haven’t, be sure to watch the archived service on the website.

Our congregation’s unity, and our school’s unity is based on our Savior! The message in readings and the sermon, the fantastic music and hymns, and the mortgage burning highlighted a worship service that really brought us all together. But now what? We paid off a mortgage of over 4 million dollars in under 20 years. What a tremendous blessing. But now what? As a united group of believers, we carry out the work that God has given us to do! We grow in our faith through Word and Sacrament, and we reach out to the lost and broken world with the sure hope of the Gospel message!

One of the ways that we train our children at St. John’s is by preparing them to participate in worship. We do that by having the class sing a song that they’ve learned for one of the worship services. Because we are limiting our numbers in the sanctuary, that’s going to look a little different for a while. We are going to be recording the children at school during the week, and the recording will be played during the worship service. This weekend, the first and second graders will be singing a song, and the third graders will also be singing. I hope that you are either able to attend in person or to join us online for their singing and the entire service! You can find the service live on Sunday at 8:00, or you can play the recorded version later by going here.

There will be a Bible Information Class starting on Sunday, September 27, at 9:15. If you need a refresher, or if you would like to learn more about what we believe and teach at St. John’s, please talk with Pastor Bitter about joining us for that study. It will take place each week for about an hour. You may reach Pastor Bitter by email at kyle.bitter@sjtosa.org.

Our Christian Education Society (CES) is planning a family event for young children on Friday evening, October 9. Save the date! This will be an outdoor event which will be held, weather permitting, on the grass just up the hill from school on Dewey Ave. Please look for more information from CES in the next couple of weeks!

Chapel services will continue to be live streamed on Wednesday mornings at 8:15. You can find the link on our website at www.sjtosa.org/chapel. There’s one class from school that will be attending the chapel service in the sanctuary. Next Wednesday, September 23, the fourth grade class will be attending in person. All other classes will live stream the service from their classrooms.

We’re still accepting donations for the air purifiers and chromebooks that we’ve purchased because of COVID-19. If you would like to help cover the cost of these unbudgeted items, please send the donation in a marked envelope or submit the donation online here.

Did you know that you can monitor your child’s grades online? We use PowerSchool for reporting student grades and attendance. To access your child’s grades, go here. You will need a username and password. If you haven’t received one, or if you forgot it, please contact me or Mr. Duncan, and we should be able to get it for you.

Blessings,

Dan



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