Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Carnival Was a Splash!

 Home & School hosted the ASA Back to School Carnival on Saturday, September 24 at the Upper Campus. It was a great day for food, games, prizes, and splashing the principals! 


Yes, you read that correctly. Mr. Gietzen and Mr. Debri took their turns under the new Splash Tower. They were relieved for a time by Mrs. Beckwith, who took a turn too. It was chilly, but they all said it was lots of fun to make the students so happy.



Other popular games included Shoot Some Hoops, Pop Bottle Toss, and Candy Walk. Pop and candy donations from ASA parents made the last two games possible. Thank you! Home & School would also like to thank the numerous parents who volunteered their time and talents on Saturday to make the carnival happen.






New to the carnival this year was the Bike and Scooter Parade! Students came with decorated bikes and scooters and made a couple of laps while being led by Eddie the Eagle! It was great to see the excitement!


 


See you next Fall!


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

STEM Heat Shields

NASA is planning on sending astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972!

The launch was supposed to happen way back on August 29th, but since then has been delayed repeatedly.

The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students spent a day learning all about NASA’s three part mission to send astronauts to the moon. Part 1 includes a flight test of the uncrewed spacecraft. Part 2 includes a crewed 21 day mission with a lunar flyby. Part 3 will be a crewed mission where astronauts will land on the Moon’s south pole.

The middle school students then learned about heat shields and their importance to the astronauts during their re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Using a variety of materials donated by parents, the students spent the next few days working in groups to design and build a heat shield to keep their chocolate astronaut from melting due to heat provided by a hairdryer.

 

Students tested their first designs for a total of 8 minutes, or until melting of their chocolate bar occurred.
 

After initial testing students went back to the drawing board to redesign their heat shields and go through the testing process again.



Students then compared their results between the two tests to determine which materials provided the best protection for their astronauts.

 


Students had a lot of fun incorporating a STEM activity into our back to school activities that tied in with current events. We are still eagerly awaiting the actual launch of the Artemis rocket. The next attempt is scheduled for October 2nd!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Technology Tools for Parents

Image by Luis Garcia Wikimedia Commons
Children are now growing up immersed in an online world. They watch their parents on their phones, older siblings are glued to their devices for both school and social activities, and they start playing online games at earlier and earlier ages. While the debate is still out on how this affects children long-term, the fact that keeping a child entertained on the internet can be a risky situation for their mental health and physical safety, unless the adults in charge have put necessary safeguards in place. 

Social media is one of the top places child predators seek out new victims, so it's important to both talk to your child about online dangers, and to set up parental controls to protect them. If you are a parent who is comfortable with technology, you probably have already put parent controls in place on all your child's devices, apps and accounts, monitor your child's online activity, and restrict their internet access. If you are a parent who is completely baffled by technology, and your 7 year old is your go-to tech expert, all these controls can seem overwhelming. What is a non-techie parent to do? Where do you even start? Once those parental controls are in place, how do you keep up with the latest ways for kids to bypass them besides fervent prayers to St. Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of the internet? (Yes, there really is a patron saint of the internet.)

Fortunately there are MANY resources available for parents, a simple Google search will bring up countless results. I'll point you to a few from organizations that are either currently in use at ASA, or that we've used in the past. Disclaimer:  ASA does not receive any compensation for any of the resources we recommend to parents. We share the resources we've found and used because we are passionate about working with parents to keep students safe.

Resources for Talking to Your Children About Online Dangers

It's never too early to start these conversations about online dangers and inappropriate content. Sadly, you'll want to have these conversations sooner than you think. 

Parental Controls

Which Apps and Games are Safe?

So your child has an iPad, gaming system or mobile phone, and they want all the latest apps and games that everyone else is using. How do you know they are safe?

How to Keep Up With New Tech?

Let's face it, our children have far more time on their hands than adults, and they are fearless. They always find the latest and greatest app, game, site, way to bypass parental controls, etc.


If you have questions or concerns, or wonder about the technology your child uses at ASA, please refer to this Technology in Use With Students page on our website, or feel free to reach out to me at kszczytko@asagr.org.

Many blessings,

Karen Szczytko (Sitko)
Technology Coordinator

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Meet Ms. Wiser!

The process of creating is joyful! I am blessed to be able to share that joy with our creative ASA children as the new ASA Lower Campus art teacher.

I’ve been teaching art, English and journalism for 31 years. I enjoy nurturing creativity and guiding artistic growth.

I was born, raised and reside in Grand Haven. I am an alumni of St. Mary’s in Spring Lake and Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. I have three precious, faith-filled daughters ages 25, 23 & 21, a counselor, a writer and an engineer. In the summer, I manage two municipal marinas as the Harbormaster on Beaver Island. Lake Michigan is my favorite place to live, work and play.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Meet Ms. Duflo!

Hello! My name is Lauren Duflo, and I am the new band director for All Saints and St. Patrick’s this school year. I will be directing the 5th-8th grade bands, as well as teaching general music for our 3rd and 4th grade students. This is my 2nd year teaching music! Last year, I taught K-8 music and band at Excel Charter Academy here in Grand Rapids.

I graduated from Michigan State University in fall 2020 with a bachelors in Music Education. While there, I was a member of many music ensembles, but my favorite was the Spartan Marching Band. I played trumpet and Eb Cornet in the SMB for 4 years and loved every minute. I got to attend every home football game, travel to watch UofM and OSU play, and travel for bowl games. A few other things I enjoy are hiking, kayak fishing, and reading.

I am very excited to be joining the All Saints community. Teaching band is my biggest passion and I can’t wait to share that with our students. It’s going to be a great year!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Meet Ms. Baese!


Hi, happy 2022-2023 school year! My name is Madison Baese, and I'm so excited to be a new second-grade teacher at All Saints Academy and work with all the wonderful staff here!

I'm originally from a small town near Lansing called Elsie, where we have more cows than people. After high school, I went to Aquinas College (Go Saints!) where I studied Elementary Education and Language Arts. I've really enjoyed being able to work with various different schools and districts throughout Grand Rapids while being at school. I was also on the dance team all four years at Aquinas and was named an All-American in my sport. To be able to continue my passion and love for dance, I am also going to be a co-coach for the Rockford Middle School dance team this year.

I'm looking forward to a great year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Meet Mrs. LaFramboise!


Hello! My name is Alixe LaFramboise and I am excited to be joining the All Saints Academy family as the middle school English language arts teacher! I was born in metro Detroit, but I lived in Utah and New Jersey as a child before moving back to metro Detroit as a teenager where I completed high school. I received my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a Major in Language Arts from Oakland University in 2011 and then moved to Colorado where I began my teaching career. Having lived in 3 of the 5 U.S. regions, I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to see a lot of our beautiful country, and I love sharing my experiences with others - especially my students!

 
I am married to my husband, Adam, and together we have two children - Vivian and Everett. Both of my children will be joining ASA this year as well. Vivian will be starting Kindergarten and Everett will join the toddler class. My husband was born and raised Catholic, and I completed the RCIA process last year where both my children and myself were baptized in the church, I was confirmed, and my husband and I had our marriage blessed. It was a very significant and special moment in our family’s life. After completing this journey, I feel incredibly blessed that God then led me to ASA where I will be able to intertwine my faith and passion for teaching.

 
I have been teaching for nearly 10 years. I taught 3rd grade, 5th grade and 7th and 8th ELA in a small town in southern Colorado for a few years before moving to the Denver area and teaching 5th grade for another few years. About three years ago, we moved back to Michigan where I continued to teach middle school ELA. I am an avid reader and writer, and I love having the opportunity to read, discuss and respond to novels with students. I can’t wait to get started!

Friday, August 19, 2022

If you build it, they will come!

Hardhats were required if you visited the Upper Campus this summer as construction crews were busy working on the field project.




Last November at Eaglefest our community raised $33,448 to make upgrades to our Upper Campus ball field and play area. Our first phase is focusing on the ball field itself. Over the years, the infield and dugouts became overgrown with weeds and we began to lose some of the grass in the outfield. Part of this had to do with the natural grade of the space as well as having no irrigation for the field. Problem solved! In the last two months Dykema Excavators took out dying trees and trimmed others in the way. They graded the area for better drainage and playability. The field dimensions were lengthened in the outfield. Hitting homeruns got a little harder! The infield was replaced with new stone dust. In the next couple of weeks Waterworks Irrigation will be installing an inground sprinkler system. We also extended the dugout fences from four to eight feet for the safety and protection of our students. The project is really starting to take shape. Once the irrigation is in we will plant grass seed and let mother nature take it from there.

 

Many thanks to Mark Wrona for his efforts in leading this project. Mr. Wrona is a Blessed Sacrament parishioner and retired landscape architect. He previously worked for Grand Rapids based firm, AMDG where he helped design Catholic Central’s C.A.T. facility. His expertise and passion were instrumental this past spring and summer.

We are so excited about the physical changes we are making to our school. Look for an update on the next phase of this project this fall!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Congratulations 8th Graders!

Recently, our former 8th grade students at ASA graduated and are now incoming freshmen in high school. But they wouldn’t be where they are today without their families, friends, their time at All Saints Academy, and the support of our community. Their last year at ASA was unique and unforgettable, a year that could not have been predicted or expected, and it was a wonderful year, nonetheless.

 
As the 2021-2022 school year started, we were in a transition period for COVID restrictions, which was a change for everyone. And, regardless of COVID restrictions changing, our school began to change as well. Students were now able to move around the building, have classes with students from other grades, sit next to each other, eat lunch and play at recess together, and their sports, band class, and other extracurricular activities began to resume into a state of normalcy. Besides all of these changes, the makeup of our 8th grade changed as well.

 
To start the school year, there were 8 students who were in the building last year. We welcomed back two students who were virtual in the previous school year. One student participated in the bridge program offered at ASA and one student who was homeschooled during the most severe part of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also welcomed a new family who had an 8th grade student added to our 8th grade class. The school year started with 11 students, and they were all boys. But that was not all of the changes we would see to our 8th grade student body. Come November, we welcomed another family to ASA who had an 8th grade student to add to our mix, and she walked into a classroom full of boys.

Now our class is complete! Our 8th grade family would now grow together, learn together, and become closer than ever.

 
Throughout the year, our 8th graders were able to experience more “normal” things that our ASA 8th graders had been privileged to experience in the past. Field trips were back on the table and we fit in as many as possible! The class of 2022 went to Artprize, Camp Roger, traveled to the Lower Campus to participate in Via Dolorosa and Alleluia Day again, as well as experience an 8th grade fun day like no other. Besides the ASA sponsored field trips, many of our former 8th grade students went on an organized East Coast trip together after their graduation. Their connections and friendships with each other continue to grow and develop outside the walls of All Saints Academy.

 
Despite all of the changes, adjustments, and additions to our school and school community, the 8th grade students took everything in stride and did not let the good or the bad stop them from having the 8th grade year they wanted. Any challenge or request that was placed in their way allowed them to work together, grow, and come out the other side stronger. When it came down to participating or planning important events such as: leading the music in church, planning the all-school masses, preparing and performing the Stations of the Cross, working with younger students in various roles, or stepping out of their comfort zone, these 8th graders met and exceeded all expectations. It was amazing to see how, despite these challenges, they were able to work together, take it seriously, and use these experiences to become the students they are today.

 
Whether or not their 8th grade year started as the way they wanted, it could not have ended on a better note. The Class of 2022 are now beyond us, moving on to high school, but they will continue to have a home at All Saints Academy.


 

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! We send you our prayers and blessings for your future adventures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Second Grade Visits Upper Campus

On Thursday, May 26th, the second graders spent the day at the Upper Campus. It was great seeing what life as a third grader will be like next year. The students had a question and answer session with the current third graders, listened to the third grade poetry presentation, picked up trash around the campus, and went on a tour of the Upper Campus with Mr. Gietzen. It was a great day!







Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Early Childhood Grant

This fall, Governor Whitmer signed a legislature that included over $700 million in child care grant funding. The Child Care Stabilization Grant is provided to stabilize child care operations and support early childhood educators. There were two rounds of the grant, one this fall and one this spring. All child care providers who applied received the award.



All Saints Academy was awarded over $100,000 for various much needed upgrades in our early childhood and child care rooms. The Saints and Eagles club received the biggest upgrade with new paint and brand new furniture. Our toddler rooms also had their couches replaced, and there are plans for upgrading the toddler playground. The wood chips will be replaced with a solid rubber surface and additional play equipment will be purchased. Several of the preschool classrooms will be receiving additional furniture pieces too and we hope to have kiosk stations for signing students in and out by the 2023-2024 school year.

Below you will find some before and after pictures of the Saints club room. Students were very excited to see the upgrade!











Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Chicks Hatching

We began the Easter Season with a special delivery from the Poultry Farm. Three dozen fertilized eggs were delivered to our school and the eggs were divided up among the preschoolers, kindergarteners and fourth graders. 

The eggs were put in three different incubators with temperature and humidity closely monitored. Although we could not see all the growth inside the eggs, the students enjoyed counting days and following the growth chart each day. After a 21 incubation period, the baby chicks were ready to hatch! 

 




There was great excitement as these tiny little wet chicks pecked their way out of their shells. We observed them in the incubator until they were fully dry and then moved the baby chicks to their Brooder Box. It is amazing to watch the chicks grow and change each day! 



The students had a chance to pet, hold and observe them eating and drinking. Springtime is full of so many beautiful gifts from God. The baby chicks remind us of the miracles all around us!