From the Principal's Desk

November 2020

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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