Monday Memo October 26, 2015

Principal’s Corner


The Iowa Assessments are the standardized achievement tests used throughout the Saint Louis Archdiocese in the fall of every school year.  At Saint Ambrose we administer the Iowa Assessments in grades three through eight.   Previously these were called the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and many of you might have taken these tests yourself while in elementary school.   The Iowa Assessments measure student achievement in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.  In fourth, sixth and eighth grades, all students also take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), which measures verbal, quantitative and non-verbal reasoning ability.  Both of these are norm-referenced tests which means students’ performance ranks them among their grade-level peers nationally in the fall of the school year. Students are not expected to get all of the questions correct, or to know all of the information on the test.

When you receive your student’s test results, there are a few different scores that you will see, and the score reports can be very confusing.  The most common score reported and discussed is the National Percentile Rank (NPR) on the score report.  A percentile rank is very different from a percentage that a student might earn on a classroom test (which is percent correct).  A percentile rank tells where the student ranks out of 100 students in his/her grade level nationally in the fall of the school year.  A percentile rank score in the range of 26-75 is considered to be in the average range and this is the range where the majority of students score.    Scores above 75 are above average and scores below 26 are below average.

Scores that are similar from year to year are typical for most students and this represents adequate academic progress.  That means that the child ranks at about the same place as they did last year among their grade-level peers.  Small differences in scores are not significant, especially in the average ranges.   We have not yet received the archdiocesan score reports, but generally our scores are comparable to the archdiocese as a whole.

If your child has lower than average scores in any areas, please discuss this with his/her teacher and the learning consultants.  This may be an indicator that the child may need some further evaluation.    Comparing scores from year to year may also reveal some patterns.  If you do not have your child’s previous scores, talk with the learning consultants, Michele Grellner or Lisa Horner.

Dates to Remember

Oct. 27       8 am Mass

Oct. 28       JClub Bookfair

Oct. 29       Noon Dismissal

Oct. 29       Parent Teacher Conferences 1 pm—9 pm

Oct. 30       No School

Oct. 30       Trunk or Treat 6:30-8:30 pm

Nov. 2-13   STUCO Food Drive

Nov. 3         8 am Mass and Awards

Nov. 5         8 am Mass

Nov. 5         PTO Board Meeting  7 pm in the Church Hall

Nov. 6         8 am Mass

Nov. 9         PTO Special Lunch

Nov. 10       8 am Mass

Nov. 13       8 am Mass

Nov. 25-29  Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 6         Breakfast with Santa

Parent Teacher Conference Sign Up

Outside the gym at the top of the stairs there is a table with sign up sheets for the parent/teacher conferences. Please sign up for a time to meet with your child’s teacher if he/she is in grades PK-5. If you are unable to make it into school to sign up because of your work schedule, Fast Direct your child’s teacher a couple of times you are available and she will check the list for you.
If you have a middle school child, middle school teachers will be in the gym as in the past. There is no sign up sheet for middle school. Middle School students are also expected to come to the conference with you.


First quarter awards will be presented after the 8 am Mass on Tuesday, November 3rd.

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.

PTO News

Trunk or Treat is this Friday, October 30th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on the school parking lot. Reservations for parking spots and pizza are due Oct. 26th.  If you are planning to attend but not purchase a parking spot, please remember to send in one bag of     candy.  This will allow us to have enough candy to pass out and not place the burden of supplying all the candy on the families who purchase a spot.  Thanks for your participation in this fun, family event!

Just a reminder, all PTO forms can be found on Fast Direct under the Planner tab under PTO.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact PTO through Fast   Direct. Thanks!

Athletic Association

Registration for CYC chess, for children in grades 3-8, is now open. The fee to participate in chess is $20 per child. You can register your child by logging into EZRosters via the following link:  Registration will remain open until Friday, October 30th.

Once you have registered your child/children, please click the link that takes you to the payment page.

De-Mystifying Standardized Tests: A Parent’s Guide

The following links are a series of articles provided by the archdiocese and written to help you better understand the assessment process as the report cards/parent-teacher conferences/high school admissions are taking place.

Part I: Introduction <>

Part II: Test Interpretation <>

Part III: High School Admissions and Test Scores <


The virtue selfies look fantastic!  Please continue to send in yourvirtue selfies and stop by the office to see the Virtue Wall.

Virtue Selfies

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Pilgrimage of Mercy

On Monday, October 19th, the St. Ambrose Middle School traveled to Belleville, Il to the        Cathedral of St. Peter for veneration of the relics of St. Maria Goretti.  This visit was especially meaning full to the middle school students since one of the Houses in the House System is named after St. Maria Goretti. All of the students were able to take home two cards about Maria and Alessandro, which are Third Class Relics.

“From September to November of this year the major relics of St. Maria Goretti will make a pilgrimage to the United States.  Named the “Pilgrimage of Mercy,” it is the first time that her body travels to the USA.

While St. Maria is universally known as the Patroness of Purity, her greatest virtue was her unyielding forgiveness of her attacker even in the midst of horrendous physical suffering, a forgiveness that would completely convert him and set him on a path to personal holiness.  In March 2015, His Holiness, Pope Francis, announced an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy beginning December 8, 2015. This visit of the major relics of St. Maria Goretti is an effort on the part of the Holy See and Treasures of the Church to prepare and catechize the United States for this great celebration in the life of the Church.”

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SLUH Admissions Update

The academic year at St. Louis University High School is in full swing. Please visit our website at<> for further details about the application process or to schedule an Inside SLUH Visit. Registration for fall visits is open to current 8th graders ONLY, with 7th graders given priority in the spring. We also look forward to welcoming you to our Open House on November 8th.

Untitled JClub flyer

No Screen Time Before Bed

Technology before bedtime: It’s a slippery slope. Before you turn in, you’ve got to send one last text… write one last email… check Facebook one last time.

Three hours later it’s 2 a.m., and you’re watching a chimpanzee ride a Segway on YouTube.

But you’re not alone. A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll found that 95% of Americans use technology within the last hour before lights out. This study and others like it reveal that our brains and bodies pay the price for these late-night tech fests.

Time for a technology curfew – it’s essential for a healthy life and family. By establishing a nightly digital wind-down ritual, you’ll benefit in the following ways:

1. You’ll get more sleep…

-Using technology before bedtime distracts you from the main event: slumber.

-It’s too easy to lose track of time online when you spend hours falling down a Wikipedihole. Introduce more z’s in your life by shutting down technology two hours before bed.

2. …And you’ll improve the quality of your sleep.

-Screens – found on computers, cellphones and TVs – emit blue light that is found in the light spectrum present during daytime hours.

-Acting as artificial sunlight, blue light decreases your production of melatonin, the powerhouse hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

-Eliminating screen time before sleep time restores your 40 winks to uninterrupted snoozy bliss.

3. You may be able to say “adios” to a few unwanted pounds.

Sleep-deprivation data show a link between lack of sleep and obesity. Possible reasons why sleep-deprived people may be prone to weight gain include:

-Appetite-controlling hormones are deregulated by lack of sleep.

-More waking hours mean more time to ingest calories.

-Exercise is very difficult once lethargy and exhaustion have set in. So, turning off technology early each night may result in weight loss. That’s the kind of low-impact exercise we like!

4. You’ll reduce stress, mood swings and depression.

-Technology is an amazing tool that allows for convenience and constant connection. However, being connected 24/7 blurs the separation between work life and home life.

-Mental wellness thrives on balance and not honoring your personal time leads to resentment, anxiety and unhappiness. The first step? Grant yourself more “unplugged” me-/family time.

5. Your attention span will thank you kindly.

-Experts are still studying how the internet effects our brains, but neuroscientists agree that technology is rerouting our neural pathways.  Translation: Our productivity, organization and critical thinking skills are compromised when we spend too much time distractedly jumping from one site to another.

6. You’ll get to reconnect with the person you love the most…

-Cutting down on technology consumption makes room for quality time with your partner.

-Make the most out of these quiet moments and nurture your relationship. Spend one-on-one time with your loved one. Learn, reflect, laugh and listen.

…And your family relationships will improve.  

Have you been feeling that you live in the house that cranky built? Late night gaming, chatting and Facebook stalking will do that to a family. Not to mention the wee-hour texts and calls that interrupt your clan’s much needed sleep. When creating a digital wind-down ritual (i.e., digital-device handover), inject some fun family bonding time into the nightly routine. The family that plays together stays together!

Digital wind-down ritual tips for you and your family:

  • “Unplug” two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Confusion and arguments will be kept to a minimum once your kids understand that the technology curfew is a nightly event that’s here to stay.
  • Make family fun time a part of the nightly ritual. Idea: Assign a night to each family member and make him or her in charge of choosing the activity.
  • Don’t forget to add some invaluable me-time to the mix. This could include, reading, writing, pampering or meditating.
  • Store all digital devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) in an area of the house other than the bedrooms.
  • Use an alarm clock rather than your smartphone or tablet as a wakeup device.