Friday, October 19, 2018

Pulaski Days

Each year, on the first full weekend of October, the city of Grand Rapids celebrates Pulaski Days. Pulaski Days was founded in 1973 by Ed Czyzyk and Walter Ulanch as a way to support the local social clubs by sharing Polish culture with the entire Grand Rapids community.  The annual event has now grown into a week-long celebration to be shared with friends, family, and strangers alike.

All Saints Academy joined the fun this year as we entered the parade, an annual tradition every Saturday of Pulaski Days weekend. Over 20 participants walked the mile route down Michigan St. from College Ave. down to Diamond Ave.

Even more ASA families lined the road to watch the parade, waving and collecting candy. Even though the weather forecast wasn’t the best there was a brief window that allowed us to have a great time celebrating the All Saints Academy community.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Blessing of the Pets

Celebrating the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

Blessing of the Pets 

Almighty and everlasting God, Creator of all things and giver of all life, let your blessing be upon all these animals. May our relationships with them mirror your love, and our care for them be an example of your bountiful mercy. Grant the animals health and peace. Strengthen us to love and care for them as we strive to imitate the love of Jesus Christ our Lord and God’s servant Francis. 

Each year, Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Francis on October 4. St. Francis’ devotion to God was shown through his love for all of God’s creation.  He cared for the poor and sick, preached sermons to animals and praised all creatures as brothers and sisters under God.  Francis chose to live a simple life in the midst of God’s creation in order to be more like Christ. 

The students at the Elementary Campus honored St. Francis in a special way by offering a prayer service and “blessing of the pets.”  Monseigneur Ed Hankiewicz presided.  Msgr. reminded the students, staff, and families present that while the blessing certainly reached the pets present, the blessing also extends to those pets and animals throughout the ASA community. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Meet our Newest Saints

Meet the Babies of ASA & Class of 2033! 

Our school community has grown over the past eighteen months!  And while this is true for our student population, the focus of this week’s blog is introducing you to our newest saints...the babies of ASA and graduating class of 2033!

Meet Finley!

Finley is the newest member of the Weir family, born on March 9, 2017. He is the youngest of four. Grayson is in 2nd grade, Jackson is in Kindergarten and Josie is in preschool.

Meet Hannah!

Hannah is the newest member of the Hulett family. She was born on June 24, 2018. Elly, her older sister, is in kindergarten.

Meet Lindsey!

Lindsey is the third member of the Hekman family, joining Lauren in kindergarten and Leah in 3rd grade. She was born on July 17, 2018.

Meet Nicholas!

Nicolas is the newest member of the Urcia family and most recent baby with a birthdate of September 9, 2018. He’s not even a month old! He has an older brother, Joseph, in kindergarten.

Please welcome these other babies to ASA!

Logan Michael Budnick
Siblings: Elysia (PK-4/5)

Oliva Malecki
Siblings: Lucy (PK-4) and Andy (Toddler)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"...for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor 5:7

8th Grade Camp and Class Retreat 2018

The Paschal Mystery

8th grade at All Saints Academy starts of each year with 4 special events tied to our 4 Core Values to kick off their "leadership year!"

Faith: The 8th grade class retreat in the fall focuses on The Paschal Mystery and verse the class has selected as their theme for the year.

In their own words: On retreat we learned...
"we have so many great memories about ASA!"
"dying to self means we must make small sacrifices for others"

Learning: Student spend time working with Mr. Matlak and Mrs. Zimelis to set a series of goals for their 8th grade year that they share with parents during a special meal after camp.

Loving: Students spend a day at Camp ManitouLin practicing team building skills to develop bonds and habit of encouragement as they support each other through challenges throughout the day. 

In their own words: At camp we learned to...
"face noting with fear"
"sometimes you just have to trust your friends"
"encourage others"
"overcome fears and do what seems scary because I may end up loving it"

Serving: Students are invited to help serve at the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run by manning an aid station in Riverside Park on and early Sunday morning in September! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Celebrating Elementary Bucket Fillers at Mass

Bucket Fillers at Weekly Mass! 

If you have attended an elementary Mass at Blessed Sacrament in the last two week, you might have noticed something new at the end of our celebration...honoring exceptional “Bucket Fillers!”

These following four students were brought up to the altar so that their stories could be shared with the entire school community. 

Amelia B. (1st Grade)
When Mrs. LaPonsie came to pick up Kyle to have his tooth pulled at the dentist, Amelia stopped in line and turned to give Kyle a hug and wish him good luck. This kind bucket filling action inspired the rest of Kyle's friends to also give him hugs and well wishes. It really made Kyle feel special and confident heading into his appointment. Amelia and all the first grade friends filled Mrs. LaPonsie’s bucket too in their kindness. 

Harry D. (Kindergarten) 
Harry heard Lucas ask his teacher to help tie his shoe.  Harry jumped right in and said, "I can help you".  He worked and worked on the shoelace which happened to have quite a few knots in it, but couldn't get it tied.  Mrs. Bowman ended up having to tie the shoe but Harry really stepped up and did his best to help!

Fletcher M. (2nd Grade)
Mazie fell in the hallway on the way to recess. Fletcher got out of line came back and asked if she was ok. He stayed until she got up and was able to go outside. 

Mason R. (1st Grade)
A student arrived back in the classroom after we greeted each other at morning meeting, Mason reached his hand very politely toward the student upon his return and made sure he was greeted saying,  "Good Morning Elijah".  Elijah of course returned the greeting!

Please join us for Mass when you can. We celebrate every Wednesday at 10:30 in Blessed Sacrament Church. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Congratulations, Mr. Debri!

"We need each other more than relying on any one individual." - Mr Debri

Michael Pressley Award for Excellence 

in Catholic Education Recipient 

Did you hear that our own Mr. Debri was honored this past summer at the University of Notre Dame for his commitment to Catholic Education at All Saints Academy? 

Take a few minutes to read the inspiring story written by Audrey Scott from The Alliance for Catholic Education at Notre Dame to celebrate this award and share a little about Mr. Debri's "why!" 

"Education has the ability to change the trajectory of someone's life, and Catholic education can change the trajectory of your soul." 

Friday, September 7, 2018

We Are One Community of Math Learners!


We Can All Grow

We are excited to share that we have entered into an "Adopt a School" partnership with the Aquinas College Mathematics Department!  Professor McCarty and her Elementary Math Methods class are meeting at the middle school on Wednesdays this semester.

The class meets at 9:00 in our Middle School Spanish Classroom to discuss course work. Then they join our 4th, 5th & 6th grade math classes at 10:15 for 1-on-1, or small group supports. AQ students will also create special interactive math stations for teachers to incorporate into our math programs!

This mutually beneficial learning opportunity allows pre-service teachers to get hands-on experience learning by collaborating with our teachers. It provides our students with an additional layer of individualized support. It also enhances coaching opportunities for our teachers through their collaboration with Professor McCarty and our friends from the AQ Math Department! 

We are excited about continuing to develop this partnership with Aquinas College beyond this semester!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Welcome, Ms. Herdegen!

Hi All Saints Academy families!

My name is Beth Herdegen and I am very excited to be teaching 6th-8th grade Math at All Saints Academy this year.  

I grew up in Grand Rapids.  Graduating from Forest Hills Eastern High School in 2012, I continued on to Aquinas College to get my degree in Mathematics with a minor in Physics in 2016.  I student taught at Forest Hills Northern High School. The last two years I have been a substitute teacher at various schools in the area and was a long-term substitute at Northview High School for physics and Forest Hills Eastern High School for math and physics. Starting in High School, I have been the lead mathematics and reading instructor for the last 8 years. 

I have been an active parishioner at St. Robert of Newminster for the last 19 years.  I am a cantor, member of the choir, and a percussionist. Last year, I started working as an Assistant Youth Minister with two parishes in Kalamazoo.  It has been fun and rewarding to help the youth of those parishes learn and grow in their faith and start to engage God. 

When I am not teaching, I read, tap dance, and spend time with my friends and family. I love to travel and see new places.  As of this summer, I have been to all 50 states and 13 countries.  Traveling helps to give you a new perspective on life and how the world works.

I am excited to start teaching at All Saints Academy and getting to know all of the students and families in the community. I look forward to a great year!
Beth Herdegen

Thursday, August 23, 2018

New Diocese Curriculum Standards

ASA Mission Statement: All Saints Academy is a Catholic School inspired by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to teaching and living as Jesus did. Our mission is to serve and partner with our families, parishes and communities as we focus on the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social, and physical development of our children. 

We are excited to share the link to the new, official Diocese of Grand Rapids Curriculum Standards! Over the past two years teachers from throughout the diocese have worked with our Assistant Superintendent, Jill Annable, to update our common curriculum documents.

All subjects K-12, except religion, have been redrafted based on founding documents and organizations such as Catholic Curriculum Standards, Cardinal Newman Society, Encyclical Letters, various National Councils (Mathematics, Social Studies etc), Michigan state curriculum frameworks, ISTE Standards, and College Board SAT and AP objectives.

This new curriculum emphasizes cross-content literacy standards and seeks to form learners who are: empowered, digital citizens, knowledge constructors, innovative designers, conceptual thinkers, creative communicators, and global collaborators.

A little background:
During the 2016-2017 school year teachers engaged in an interactive process with our assistant-superintendent as curriculum standards were drafted, reviewed and edited. Each subject has a program goal draft similar to this statement for the study of mathematics:

“All logic and order have come from the existence of God and the human capacity to organize and classify God’s earthly creation (CCC 299). The study of mathematics provides a foundation of logic, reasoning and calculation skills and an experience in current technology which enables the student to succeed in his/her chosen earthly vocation…”

Curriculum drafts have been reviewed by our bishop and a number of our pastors with education backgrounds, as well as the Aquinas School of Education, and a number of other “experts in the field.”

2017-2018 was a transition year as teachers began incorporating new curriculum standards, while working to tie in skills and sequencing from the previous curriculum to assure there are no gaps in learning for students.

What changes will you see this year?
In the 2018-2019 school year you will see a slightly new report card format to align with the new curriculum. The new report cards will include a section for Spiritual and Social Development as well as Work Habits.

We have been updating instructional materials to support the new curriculum. Teachers are continuing with Battle Creek Kits, Go Math and the Sophia Institute Spirit of Truth series. Teachers continue to research and develop supplemental instructional resources. We will be reviewing social studies materials this year.

Look for curriculum and report card updates from teachers and at open houses and parent informational session. Check out the Frequently Ask Questions section on the Diocese of Grand Rapids curriculum informational page. Please let us know if you have questions!

The new curriculum standards will also be linked on the All Saints Academy website for your convenience.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Seasons of the Saints Summer 2018

2018 ASA Graduating Class

Summer Edition of the ASA Newsletter 

We are excited to share our summer electronic flip book newsletter!  

Inside you will find stories about summer at ASA, notes about Eaglefest 2018, student core value speeches from graduation 2018, biographies of two of our newest staff members, and a new alumni and parish spotlight article. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Crafty Campers & Care for God's Creation

Creativity in Week 2 of 2018 Summer “Camps”  

The second week of summer camps at ASA this July was a little different than the first. 

At the middle school campus we had a group of six 7th & 8th grade girls gather with Mrs. Zimelis Monday through Thursday (July 16-19) to bake yummy sweet treats and work on “Pinterest Crafts. Below are a collection of their fabulous creations! 

During the same week at the elementary campus Miss Giroux worked with the Saints Club and Eagle’s Club crew on Creation Crafts at 10 o’clock each day. Our Saints and Eagles learned how to tell how old a tree is by decorating “tree cookies.” They learned about solar energy by creating solar art and planting seeds for our garden. Monday the group went on a nature scavenger hunt and on Wednesday the class participated in a recycling art project by coloring old plastic water bottles and then constructing a Chihuly-inspired sculpture for the Eagle’s Club Room! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Welcome Mrs. Ockaskis - Middle School Interventionist

Dear All Saints Academy Families,

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.      -Psalm 16:11

The joy of life is always there for us to behold.  My dear mother, who died in April, 2018, taught me to recognize God’s presence in every moment.  Many years ago, as I carried on as a disgruntled teenage girl who would rather go off with friends than stand at the kitchen sink washing the daily dishes, my mother paused me to say, “Feel God’s presence in the warmth of the water at the kitchen sink.”  My mother was a child of God who recognized joy in everything; even in her final years of suffering; she was called to teach those who cared for her to recognize God’s calming presence at all times. 

As I follow God’s call in my life to return to teach, I feel richly blessed to be your new Response to Intervention (RtI) teacher.  However, it is not a response to my intervention that will create joy in learning for your child; but the call of the Holy Spirit within your child that will facilitate us in strengthening your adolescent child’s recognition of his or her potential.  Our prayers are for recognition of His pleasures forever. 

I join you with twenty-two years of teaching experience with degrees from both U of M and MSU.  So blue, yellow, green and white all work for me!  I served as a public school teacher at Godwin Heights and Northview.  I then answered the call to raise my son and daughter with my tremendously supportive husband, Todd.  Todd is a commercial architect at Paradigm Design.  My son, Alec, is a percussion student at U of M.  My daughter, Anna, is starting her first year of college at GVSU on the path to a career in the medical field.  My children are proud graduates of West Catholic High School and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary where I served as the RtI teacher for seven years.  Eager to return to the classroom, I taught first grade at Sacred Heart Academy until God’s call to be with my mother during her final months became a blessing of eternal joy with Christ.  As with all the Saints, my mother’s presence is wholly with me.

It is in partnership with you and the staff of ASA that I partake in guiding students to recognize God is truly there for them even in the most difficult challenges.  Middle school students are transitioning from being a child to becoming a young adult.  This can be a stressful time, but it should be a joyous time.  Stop and sit with your child at the kitchen table when homework or life gets them unwound.  “Feel the warmth of the water at the kitchen sink!”  God is truly present at every moment; in all things.  Remind them of this. There is no hurry.  Be calm.  Set a small goal.  “Wash one dish at a time.”  We are all children of God. The homework will get done and the pleasure of God’s presence is within, even this!

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!   - Psalm 118 24

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Welcome Mrs. Patterson

Dear All Saints Parents and Community,

My name is Nicole Patterson and I’m thrilled to be teaching 6th grade English Language Arts and Religion at All Saints Academy for the 2018/2019 school year. I’m passionate about Catholic School education and feel blessed to work with this outstanding school and community.

I grew up in Grand Rapids and my own Catholic School experience started many years ago as a student at St. Alphonsus School.  After graduating from Catholic Central, I went on to get my teaching degree in regular and deaf education from Michigan State University.  My first teaching position was at St. Thomas the Apostle School, where I taught middle school language arts. I left St. Thomas in 2003 to stay at home with my 4 children and to work on my master’s degree from Aquinas College. I returned to teaching in 2009. After working briefly as a hearing and language impairment teacher with GRPS, I took a position with Divine Providence Academy in Conklin, Michigan and have been teaching language arts to fourth through eighth graders since 2011.  

While working as a Grand Rapids Diocese teacher, I had a chance to get to know the leadership and staff at All Saints Academy.  I was impressed with their commitment to excellence and ongoing growth.  When a position became available, I felt God’s call to serve this vibrant community.  I’m eager to share my Catholic faith and years of experience with ASA.

I will not only be a new teacher, but also a new parent at ASA.  My own son, Nikolas (who goes by Niko), will be a new 6th grade student.  He is the youngest of my four kids and the only one not attending West Catholic in the fall. As a parent, I’m impressed with what ASA has to offer.  I believe this will be a good fit for both of us.

I’m excited to start setting up my classroom and getting to know even more about the All Saints Community.  I can’t wait to get to know my new students! Please feel welcome to reach out and contact me with any questions or to stop by to meet me before school starts, as I’m sure I’ll be around quite a bit.  I’m looking forward to a great year.

Nicole Patterson

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Summer STEM Camp at ASA

Building a display stand for a statue! 

Creativity and Innovation Through Teamwork and STEM

July 9th through 12th a group of creative and innovative designers from 1st through 8th grade gathered at the middle school with Mr. Fillman for STEM camp. Their first challenge was to work as a team to lift, and then hold in place, an object placed in a small ring with string. The round ball pictured above was a challenge, but they were successful with a small stuffed animal.

The next challenge of the week was to design and construct a display stand for a "statue." There were a variety of different ideas! Many stood alone and held a test plastic frog, but didn't support the weight of the final test statue.

As the quote from Thomas Edison in the front of the middle school science lab says "I have not failed. I've just found 1,000 ways that won't work." STEM campers reflected on and experienced what it means to learn from "failures." They observed and talked about where their prototypes were weak and how they could improve on their initial designs.

On Tuesday Mr. Fillman started camp by reading Beneath the Sun, a book about how animals seek shelter from the sun's heat on hot summer days. He then took campers outside and introduced them to solar beads, a craft supply that changes color when exposed to the sun.

The first design challenges inspired by this story and item was to design an animal with solar bead eyes. Then groups constructed a shelter for their animal to rest in, protected from the sun.

Groups spent time talking about their designs and sharing ideas with other campers! 

Inspired by another book and a Gingerbread Man needing a lift across a river campers assembled and testing a raft for a gummy bear. Mr. Fillman provided "hurricane" winds in te form of a fan to propel each prototype through the science lab sink.

Learning about the parts of plants with Mr. Levi! 

Doing a little weeding and planting. 
Campers worked with our friends from Urban Roots and our Master Gardener friend, Mrs. Carol Tuesday and Thursday morning! They learned about the part plants that we eat: roots, leaves and fruits. They tasted peas, carrots, and blackberries. Campers found a number of baby frogs living in our garden. They learned about various types of ground cover, like straw and pulled weeds, used to help keep plants wet and cool in the summer. They also helped to weed and plant peppers and Swiss chard.

Exploring how plants get relief from the hot summer sun AND looking for frogs! 

The final project of STEM Camp week was designing and testing a prosthetic leg for an elephant. Campers watched a short video clip about a team who designed a prosthetic leg for a dog. They learned about the many different styles and ideas the team when through until they found the perfect replacement leg. Then they read about an elephant in need of something to help her walk and set out to prototype an idea that they could test on their own limbs. Students came up with a number of great ideas and learned some valuable insights about the importance of comfort and sturdiness when building a device to help someone walk.

Throughout the week campers engaged in discussion with Mr. Fillman about the technology and real world connections to all of their STEM challenges!