October 9, 2017

Dear Parents,

Even though we continued to encounter more rain, we were able to enjoy our week of planned activities. It was a pleasure visiting with the third grade parents and meeting the students’ pets at the Blessing of the Animals. Reverend Robyn Neville blessed all of the lower school students’ stuffed animals during chapel service and after chapel was greeted by the third graders’ dogs, hamsters, lizards and other animals in the Memorial Garden for a blessing. Following the blessings, the students attended a special presentation by Ms. Debbie from the Humane Society and her service dog Allie. Ms. Debbie explained the philosophy of the Humane Society and shared items with the students that pertained to taking care of their dog and pet responsibility. Ms. Debbie was very grateful for all of the pet items the students collected and sincerely thanked the children for their donations to the Humane Society.

I am delighted to start the year by highlighting our St. Mark’s teachers. Mrs. Alesha Rotavisky and Mrs. Tina Grabski are two outstanding third teachers who thoroughly enjoy teaching. Mrs. Rotavisky received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and a Master of Science Degree in Exceptional Student Education from Daemen College in Amherst, New York. Mrs. Tina Grabski received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Gulf Coast University. Mrs. Rotavisky and Mrs. Grabski are excited about the new language arts curriculum and are focusing on the personalization and differentiation of lessons in spelling and reading. In their reading workshop they are using mentor text (authentic literature) to teach reading and writing skills. In spelling, students are choosing words they have not yet mastered and are adding words from all subject areas so the skills they are learning are transferable. The new Word Wisdom text includes more extensive vocabulary from non-fiction text. They are also very enthusiastic about science class and next week the students will participate in a plant/salad project in which they bring in a plant as part of their food item and divide into small groups to collaborate and use data and observation charts to document their plant findings. The project will conclude with the class all partaking in a large salad together. Both teachers are helping their students understand their strengths and learning styles to help them become more independent and self-sufficient.

On a personal note, Mrs. Rotavisky and her husband John enjoy traveling. They regularly travel to Colombia, Spain and New York to visit family. Mrs. Tina Grabski and her husband Shane just purchased their first home and are busy making renovations. We wish them all the best as they continue to plan for a very successful year.

Parents, thank you for your support and encouragement as we continue to enjoy each day with your child.

Warm regards,
Kitty Rotella, Ed.D
Principal