Monday Memo November 30, 2015

Principal’s Corner

Advent is a preparatory season. It has significance because it is a season of looking forward and waiting for something greater; both for the annual celebration of the event of Christ’s birth, and for the time when Christ will come again in his fullness.

As noted in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, during Advent, we are asked:

  • to prepare ourselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
  • thus to make our souls fitting homes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
  • thereby to make ourselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

The priest will wear purple vestments on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent. On the third Sunday, the priest wears pink or a rose color vestment. While students at school learn about the Advent wreath, Jesse tree, Advent calendars, and other traditions, it may be a great idea to have a special place in your homes where you can share some of these traditions with your child. As primary educators of your children, children will remember those special traditions more when the school and home are working in unison.

May you have time this Advent season to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Dates to Remember

Dec. 1     8 am Mass

Dec. 1     #GivingTuesday

Dec. 3     Faculty Meeting 3 PM

Dec. 3     PTO Board Meeting, 7 PM CH

Dec. 4     8 am Mass

Dec. 6     Breakfast with Santa

Dec. 9     Christmas Concert 7 PM (Students need to be in the church hall by 6:45 PM.)

Dec. 11   8 am Mass

Dec. 16   2nd Grade First Reconciliation 6:30 pm

Dec. 18   8am Mass


Dec. 18   End of Second Quarter

Dec. 21  Christmas Break Begins – No School

Jan. 4     Classes Resume


We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deFullSizeRenderals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving.

St. Ambrose 8th Grade Students have created a video which can be viewed on YouTube at St. Ambrose #GivingTuesday . Please support St. Ambrose School on this day of giving and share the video with your friends and family through email and on Facebook.


Now that you’ve had time to review your child’s standardized test scores, you may be thinking, what can I do at home to help raise my child’s scores. There are a few easy everyday things you can do that research has shown can raise test scores. One is having plenty of reading material in your home and providing time to read. Provide a print-rich environment with all sorts of interesting things to read: both fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials. Model reading often yourself. Secondly, have family meal time together as often as possible and enjoy each others’ company with rich conversation that increases vocabulary and linguistic skills. Thirdly, use math skills in everyday situations.

Here are some suggestions from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

“You can be a great help to your children if you will observe these do’s and don’t’s about tests and testing:

Don’t be too anxious about a child’s test scores. If you put too much emphasis on test scores, this can upset a child.

Do encourage children. Praise them for the things they do well. If they feel good about themselves, they will do their best. Children who are afraid of failing are more likely to become anxious when taking tests and more likely to make mistakes.

Don’t judge a child on the basis of a single test score. Test scores are not perfect measures of what a child can do. There are many other things that might influence a test score. For example, a child can be affected by the way he or she is feeling, the setting in the classroom, and the attitude of the teacher. Remember, also, that one test is simply one test.

Meet with your child’s teacher as often as possible to discuss his/her progress. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork. Parents and teachers should work together to benefit students.

Make sure your child attends school regularly. Remember, tests do reflect children’s overall achievement. The more effort and energy a child puts into learning, the more likely he/she will do well on tests.

Provide a quiet, comfortable place for studying at home.

Make sure that your child is well rested on school days and especially the day of a test. Children who are tired are less able to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of a test.

Give your child a well rounded diet. A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.

Provide books and magazines for your youngster to read at home. By reading new materials, a child will learn new words that might appear on a test. Ask your child’s school about a suggested outside reading list or get suggestions from the public library.”


The VBRD committee would like to thank you to everyone who is participating in the Family Advent angel2_redAngel program this Advent Season. All of the families have been randomly matched. If your family is participating you should have received a Fast Direct over the weekend with your family name. If you sent us your name to participate and did not get a message with your family name, please let Emily
Elmore know and she’ll correct it ASAP! We ask that you keep your Angel Family in your prayers and remember to send them a Christmas card revealing that you are their Advent Angel Family (Until then it’s a secret!). We hope everyone enjoys the program, as it’s a great way to connect home and school with our VBRD program.

Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa is this Sunday, December 6th from 7:30-11:30am. Tickets are available through the 8th grade students and at the door.

The Breakfast with Santa committee is still looking for items for the Secret Santa Shop. These items should be things that will sell for a couple of dollars or less. They can be household items, decorations, small toys, etc. Please send items to school marked BWS or fast direct Sue Giudici and she can arrange to get them from you.

Uniform Policy Update

The School Board has approved the Lands End apparel to be worn as part of the uniform. This includes polos (long and short sleeve), sweaters, and fleeces. All may be worn during the school day as long as they are hunter green and have the school logo on them. A white turtleneck may be worn under a sweater or fleece. To purchase items from Lands Ends, visit their website. Under the Uniform tab you can select Find Your School. Enter St. Ambrose School in St. Louis and you will be able to see all items available. If you do not select the school you will not be able to have the logo added which is required for the items to be worn in school.

Athletic Association

Picture1Congratulations to the 8th Grade Boys Soccer team who is headed to the finals of the CYC closed division! A Fast Direct message will be sent out to everyone as soon as the details of the game are known. Please plan to come and cheer on the team.

The 2015 Turkey Bowl was a huge success! Not only did we have over 50 St. Ambrose students participate in the soccer game, over $3,700 was raised for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. This was $800 more than the previous high amount!!! Thank you to all participants and donors!IMG_1380 (2)

Blues Watch Party

The St. Ambrose Forever Foundation is hosting a Blues Watch Party in the Church Basement on StLouisBlues1990sFriday Dec 4th. $20 / Person includes Beer, Soda, & Snacks. The proceeds go to the St. Ambrose Forever endowment fund that is used for tuition assistance for St. Ambrose School. Our goal is to help St. Ambrose School with assistance that will continue to provide a quality education. This endowment is to help with necessary funds to make that happen. Come out and enjoy a Friday evening cheering on the Blues in the Basement. Please RSVP to either our Blues Evite or by emailing Scott Stephens at [email protected]

In the Classroom

The Third Grade worked in teams to design bridges built out of marshmallows and toothpicks. Once they agreed upon a design they were given 50 marshmallows and 100 toothpicks to construct their bridges. When the bridge was complete, Mrs. Elmore placed a small container on the bridge and added pennies to it to determine the amount of weight the bridge would hold. The strongest structure was able to support the dish and 16 pennies.

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Catechesis of the Good ShepherdTyWaldropgivinghisstrengthtoGod

St. Ambrose students have artwork and reflections featured in the 2015 Journal for the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ( St. Ambrose used Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the 2012-2013 school year as a supplemental faith-formation program for Kindergarten and First grade students. Both Ty Waldrop and Ava Coats had art work featured in the Journal. This is a prayerful reflections and artwork by now-4th grader Ty Waldrop depicting himself giving his strength to God. You can view the journal at .

Reading Corner

Reading is thinking. When we read as adults, we are engaging so many skills that we have learned throughout our own education and life experiences. The biggest piece of our reading is our schemata. Schemata is our background knowledge and previous experiences that we bring to the print we are reading. For example, if you were to pick up the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you already have some background knowledge that will help you read and understand the book. What do you already know about caterpillars? What they look like? What they eat? What happens to a caterpillar? All of this knowledge helps you to make meaning out of the book. When you read the heading of a newspaper article, you automatically begin to activate what you already know (and your personal opinions) about the topic or event.

A big part of teaching kids to read is to help them activate their prior knowledge. In something as “simple” as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you may need to show them a picture or a stuffed animal and talk about caterpillars. Our teachers use many tools to activate prior knowledge before reading a story. They go on picture walks, make predictions, brainstorm what they already know about the characters or setting. Before the third grade read The Witches by Roald Dahl, they brainstormed what they already knew about witches. They read the back cover, looked at the pictures, and made predictions. The students’ minds were already thinking about what could happen between a little boy and a room full of witches. Before reading the play The Diary of Anne Frank, the eighth grade created webquests with information about concentration camps, World War II, and other information that would give them background knowledge.

What can you do at home? Life experiences build schemata. Visits to places around St. Louis such as the zoo, parks, and museums build schemata. Reading builds schemata. Read to your child every night. Before you read, go on a picture walk. Look at the pictures, talk about them, make predictions about what may happen in the story. Remember, predictions are never wrong…they just may not come true!

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. -Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Chess Club

At this time, the following St. Ambrose students will be participating in the first CYC Chess Tournament / Preliminary of the season. The Tournament is this Saturday, December 5th:

Evan Batten, Brogan Stewart, Michael Baur, Angelo Tucci, Kyle Verzino, Gianni Brusatti, Gaibrial Nugent, Michael Weitz, Nate Fischer, and Richard Stahl

The Coaches are: Mr. John Tucci, Gracemarie Tucci, and Vincent Tucci

Breakfast with Santa Untitled (5)


Saturday, December 5, 2015 Hill 2000 Inc. and the Hill Business Association (HBA) invite you to BNRedBWFISCHRISTMAS ON THE HILL to kick-off the Christmas season, Saturday, December 5, 2015, Noon – 8:00 p.m., St. Ambrose Church on The Hill, The Hill Neighborhood Center, and Gelato di Riso. Many retail shops will remain open until 7:00 pm, including: Bertarelli’s and Girasole.

  • Come to The Hill for Christmas and sample fresh salsiccia, (pronounced “sälzeecha”), Italian sausage. (in front of St. Ambrose Church)
  • Join a complimentary short tour of The Hill in the afternoon. (starting at The Hill Neighborhood Center)
  • Horse-drawn Carriage Rides from 2 to 7 pm (make your reservations across the street from church and depart from in front of Girasole)
  • Storytelling and treats with La Befana. Learn the Italian tradition of La Befana, a character in Italian folklore, who delivers presents to children throughout Italy. (Gelato di Riso from 1:00- 3:00)
  • A Christmas market of handmade items sponsored by the Sacred Heart Villa Early Childhood Center and St. Ambrose Sewing Circle. (The Hill Neighborhood Center)
  • Enjoy wine and beer tasting. (The Hill Neighborhood Center)
  • A visit with Santa and crafts for children. (The Hill Neighborhood Center)
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 6:00 pm. with Italian Christmas carols sung by the St. Ambrose Choirs (at the Christmas tree in front of St. Ambrose Church)
  • Stay and experience the tremendous voice of Kathryn Favazza, The Clarion Brass, and Eileen Gannon on the harp during the Christmas program that will take place in St. Ambrose Church from 7:00 pm.

For details and times visit!play/cpua

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED for Christmas on The Hill, Saturday, December 5, 2015, onehour or two-hour shifts, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Volunteer duties include taking reservations for carriage rides, working at the Salsiccia booth, and staffing The Hill Neighborhood Center. If you are able to volunteer for one or two hours, please contact Loretta Vitale April, [email protected], 314-550-4059 as soon as possible.

St. Ambrose Items

We have new items available in the school office with the new logo! New car stickers are available for free thanks to Tony Toretta, who generously donated the printing. Tervis Tumblers are available for a minimum $25 donation to the STEM Initiative. They are 24 ounce cups with a red lid. Koozies are also available for $5. Please make checks payable to St. Ambrose School. If you are paying with cash please bring exact change as the office cannot make change.

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Walk With MeMr. Gitto, who volunteers regularly at school with both the Kindergarten and third grade had published another book along with the photography of Becky Towers, a St. Ambrose parishioner. The book includes poetic meditations of a Christian spiritual theme paired with photography showcasing the beauty of the natural world. The proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit St. Ambrose School. The book is available on and other online retailers.



All students have received a yearbook order form to take home. When you complete the order form, you may put more than one student on the form just make sure to put their names and grades. Please send forms and payments to the school office in an envelope marked “yearbook”. Do not combine the check with other school payments please. You may also order online at . Personalization can be done online only and is an extra charge. The yearbook order will be placed at the end of January and we will not be ordering extra books so be sure to get your order in before the deadline. There is an order form is on Fast Direct and extras are in the school office.

Altar Servers

Deacon John is still need servers to sign-up for Christmas 2015. If you are available please send him a Fast Direct or email. Please use the link to see the attached the January 2016 server schedule.

St. Louis Area Enrichment Programs

Gifted Resource Council is a not-for-profit education agency serving the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Its purpose is to bring together the resources of the community, the schools and parents to help bright and talented children achieve their potential. To learn more about year round Learning Labs and Summer Academies, visit their website at

Washington University offers summer academic programs for Middle and High School students designed to expand students’ critical thinking skills in a challenging and innovative environment that includes hands-on learning, field trips, and much more. To learn more visit,