Sunday, August 19, 2018

Great Things Are Taking Place!

Teresa Ferrante, LIFE Teacher
We are excited to announce the hiring of a LIFE teacher to join our St. Ann family. Well, in this case, our new LIFE teacher will be rejoining the St. Ann family. Teresa Ferrante is our new LIFE teacher! She is a graduate of St. Ann as well as a parishioner. Miss Ferrante comes from a long line of educators, including her grandmother, Rose Ferrante, who was my son's 2nd grade teacher at St. Dominic. Miss Ferrante received her Bachelor's degree in English from Christian Brothers University, and is working on her Master's in Education also from CBU. What is even better is that Miss Ferrante, as a students at St. Ann, was part of the LIFE program. God surely has his ways. Incredible! Thank you Miss Ferrante for saying yes to teaching at St. Ann. Welcome home!

Cierrah F.
Memphis Catholic Intern
Starting Monday morning, interns from Memphis Catholic High School, will be working in the school office. Memphis Catholic's internship program known as Education That Works is an incredible program where every high school student at Memphis Catholic has an internship in businesses, corporate offices, hospitals, non-profits, and schools throughout Shelby County. Senior Cierrah F. will work at St. Ann every Monday and rotate every fourth Friday. Junior Anna P. will work every Tuesday and rotate Fridays as well. The sophomore and freshman students have yet to be assigned. I am thrilled that St. Ann will be part of the Memphis Catholic internship program. This will be a great experience for our school, staff, and students. When you come by St. Ann and see our Memphis Catholic interns, please welcome them.

Anna P.
Memphis Catholic Intern
Morning carpool line is going great. I have two volunteers helping unload the cars in the morning. Having volunteers out there helps make morning carpool much safer and easier, especially with getting all the backpacks, lunches, gym bags, and musical instruments out of the cars. We are there to greet the students, and help everyone start the school day off on a positive note. Thank you volunteers.

After-school carpool line is also going well. Thank you for being patient, lining up properly, and being safe. Here are two huge NO-NOs for any carpool line: 1) DON'T BE ON YOUR CELL PHONE IN THE CARPOOL LINE! 2) DON'T GET IMPATIENT AND CUT THE LINE! Most of the children aren't looking both ways, and they trust all the adults to keep them safe. All it takes is one distracted driver for something really bad to happen. Let's put ALL the students' safety first, and not just the students in your car. Thanks.

John Hisaw, New SAS Parent
Parents' Night last Thursday evening was pretty cool. It was great seeing so many parents attending this event, and meeting the teachers. We have a plethora of fantastic parents at St. Ann. It is extremely uplifting seeing so many young parents attending Parents' Night. I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with the parents, especially the forward thinking, positive ones. And, most are forward thinking, positive parents. I hear many positive comments about the atmosphere we are creating at St. Ann. It takes all of us working together to not only create but maintain this positive atmosphere. I am grateful you entrust your children to our care.

The role of Home & School is to support the school. One way Home & School raises money to support the school is through selling of apparel in the Spirit Shop. A great way to show off our Colt pride is by wearing SA apparel out in the community. Please stop by the Spirit Shop, and support the school by supporting Home & School.

St. Ann Fall Fest takes place October 19th & 20th. Check out the Fall Fest website at and Facebook page at Half of the proceeds from the festival go to support the school. We need to fully support the St. Ann Fall Fest. It is for our parish and our school! We have a St. Ann Fall Fest assembly on Monday at 2:30 in the gym to get the students ready for the Fall Fest. Looking forward to supporting this event.

Thanks to Mike Green for getting the 2nd computer lab up and running. It is great that St. Ann has two fully-functioning computer labs for the students. The students have access to Microsoft and Apple products. They are going to be well ahead of many students from other schools because of the technology available to them. My hope is they learn to code using the PC and Apple, and that they will also be taught Word and Pages, Excel and Numbers, and PowerPoint and Keynote. They will be getting the best of both technology worlds.

We now offer band and choir for 5th-8th grade five-days a week. We have music for PreK-4th grade every other day (A-Day and B-Day schedules). Art and PE are offered to all students every other day. PreK-5th grade also have computer every other day.

If you have participated in the St. Ann band, we want you to come back and play with our current band. Our band director, John Baum, and I want to have a concert where graduates of the St. Ann band participate. We also want to get parents who play an instrument to participate in this concert. If you would like to be a part of this concert, please contact Mr Baum at Our current band has over 30 students not including our 5th grade band. By the way, we now have a Jazz Band! Mr. Baum is considering taking the band to a band competition in St. Louis, MO. I hope this happens.

There are 50 students in the St. Ann choir! Their first performance of the year was at Mass last Thursday, and they were simply fantastic. Great work Mr. Cooper! Awesome leadership. I cannot wait to hear them in concert. If you want to hear excellence, attend Mass on Thursday mornings at 8:15. Our choir performs at the school Mass.

The 1st Mass of the year for our students took place last Thursday. You already know the choir was excellent. The lectors, servers, and gift bearers were well prepared, and did a great job. Looking forward to Mass next Thursday.

Sr. Connie
Scholarship Winners
We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Sr. Connie Passing on the Faith Scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to reward students who are formed and grow in the Catholic faith at St. Ann Catholic School. Congratulations to this year's recipients: Channing Gossett (2nd grade), Lexi Morrison (4th grade), and Maria Bair (7th grade).

To those wonderful folks who are stepping up to support the school, thank you! More donations are coming in to help make our school become even better. Donations are also coming in to help families afford a St. Ann education. We even have an alum who now lives in Michigan give a very nice donation to the kitchen renovation. It is his way of saying thank you for what St. Ann did for him. Several donors have signed up to become recurring donors. I love the recurring donations. As an administrator, recurring donations makes my life so much easier in so many different ways. We know the donations will be there to help the students. Please consider becoming a recurring donor in support of St. Ann and our students.
 Support St. Ann Catholic School
Support St. Ann Catholic School

Thank you.

God bless you,
Didier Aur, Principal

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The First Week Has Come and Gone

Robotics Class
Since today is Father's Day in Brazil, I want to dedicate this blog to my father, Rhomes João Amin Aur, who is in heaven. Love and miss you. We went from being father/son to great friends.

Going to start with gratitude and say "Thank You" to several people. In my last blog, I asked for someone who would help the church and school with some welding. On the first day of school, a parent approached me, said he is a welder, and he volunteered to help. He is working with our maintenance department to fix the gate separating the school entrance from the dumpster area. In all the hustle and bustle of the first day of school, I didn't catch his name. I plan to make up for that tomorrow morning.

SA Gear
Thank you Kathy Schiavone for all the work she is putting into running the Colts Spirit Shop. This is an every day volunteer position, and Kathy is working hard to help Home & School support St. Ann. The hardest part has to be coordinating the uniform resale. Glad Kathy is in charge of that. The new St. Ann Colts shirts and hats look awesome. Thanks for organizing that as well. I bought an SA hat on Friday. By the way, I did discover that it is possible to lock yourself in the Colts Spirit Shop. Not a good feeling. That might be the first door lock we change.

Our last day of in-service was last Monday. We used that day to finish getting the classrooms ready for the students. Our in-service meeting was used to review the different teacher/student/lesson observation tools we will use for evaluation. We want to make sure all of us are on the same page in lesson preparation and delivery. The better aligned our lessons, the better job we are going to do for our students.

World Geography Class
I met this week with Amy Fielder of the Bartlett City Schools Title program to review what state funds are available to St. Ann. Part of the funds available are to help schools with student safety. Looks like we are going to be able to use our funds to install cameras in the hallways. If that works, the next step is to work on the door locks. For that, we are going to need support from the St. Ann community to help pay for the new door locks. I've got an idea for that. I'll tell you about it next week.

The Thursday Notes are moving to Monday Notes. We are making this change to better inform you of what's coming up for the week since this blog basically recaps the previous week. The first Monday Notes will go out on August 20th. We are using a new platform to send the Monday Notes as well. Many of you are familiar with Constant Contact and MailChimp. Our Monday Notes will work like those two platforms. But, we are using the platform provided by our new database, Bloomerang.  If you are interested in receiving Monday Notes, please contact Angela de Jong at to give her your email address.

Jazz Band Practice
The Extracurricular Exploration (EE) classes started this week for the 6th-8th graders. We narrowed the offerings down to five classes. The demand for the technology classes caught me by surprise. The demand for 3-D Printing, Coding, and Robotics is going to make us evaluate our offerings for the next EE term. We will probably have to offer more technology classes. The other EE classes are Jazz Band and Creative Writing. The EE classes are from 2:25-2:55 pm every day. This is how the middle schoolers are ending their day. The 1st EE term is from Aug. 9th- Sept. 7th. The 2nd EE term is from Sept. 10th-Oct. 5th. The 3rd EE term is from Oct. 10th-Nov. 9th. The 4th EE term is from Nov. 12th-Dec. 14th. Still looking for ideas. Would love to offer cooking/baking as an EE class. We need someone to teach this class.

3-D Printing Class
From my last blog, I was hoping to work a less than 12-hour day and have an uninterrupted 10-hours of sleep. Well, last Friday was only a 9-hour work day, and I did get 10-hours of sleep last night. It wasn't uninterrupted sleep but it was 10-hours of sleep. I guess that means I will probably spend part of the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary working since that's the day I was planning on getting my 10-hours of sleep.

I've been taking my lunch to work all summer long. Now that the kitchen is up and running, I have been buying my lunch.  When I bring my lunch, I tend to still get hungry around 3:00 pm. By the time I get home, I'm super hungry. Getting a nice hot lunch, I don't get hungry later in the day. Thank you Noel for lunch, especially pizza Friday!
Blessing the Back Packs
I got back a little while ago from St. Ann where Fr. Ernie blessed students, teachers, and back packs. Thanks Father! We need all the blessings we can get.

Here's an area where we could use some help, and it will take very little of your time. During morning drop-off, I would love to have a couple of parents help greet the students and unload the cars. This is not only a nice way to start the school day for our students, it also helps with safety. When I greet and help the students in the first car in the drop-off line, there might be as many as five cars lined up behind the first car ready to unload. Having two other folks there greeting and helping the students will make a positive difference in so many ways. There is nothing wrong with starting the day with a smile. No special training needed to smile and be friendly. Please help.

Creative Writing Class
Our PK-3 teacher, Kristen Sellers, will be tending to a family emergency. She will not be at school this week. We have hired two teachers to take her place until she returns. We want to make sure our students receive the best care possible from the best and most experienced teachers available. So, Casie Garrett and Judy Thomas will sub for Ms. Sellers this week. They are both certified and experienced teachers. Mrs. Garrett is also a St. Ann parishioner and parent. Her son is in Mrs. Cooper's kindergarten class. Mrs. Thomas' most recent experience working in a Catholic School comes from teaching at St. Joseph. Mrs. Thomas comes highly recommended by the principal at St. Joseph, Leslie Harden. Let's support these two teachers as they work with our youngest students in filling in for Ms. Sellers. And, please keep Ms. Sellers' family in your prayers. We will keep you updated.

Coding Class
Our development committee continues to move forward. We know the future of the school depends on the work we do today. We not only have to constantly improve the quality of education we offer our students, we must reach out to alumni, parishioners, parents, grandparents, and friends every day. Schools that are successful never forget those who have walked their halls. Tomorrow will not be here if we don't build now! When we invite you to come back and be a part of St. Ann Catholic School, please say yes. We will update you more on our development plan as we continue to put the plan in place.

Great things are happening at St. Ann Catholic School. We invite you to be a part of the turn-around taking place. There's lots of enthusiasm surrounding the school renovation, parish enhancements, academic offerings, and the parish and school aligning the religious curriculum. Fr. Ernie is bringing us together. The focus is on the positives and eliminating the negatives, which we are accomplishing. We have to keep moving forward together while maintaining positive energy. We want and need you to be a part of what's happening. Please join us.

Here are some ways to help:
1. Pray for St. Ann Catholic School
2. Volunteer to work the carpool line.
3. Support our scholarship program to help a family afford a St. Ann education. Our scholarships are all need based. Please consider providing a quarter ($1,625), half ($3,250), or full scholarship ($6,500) for a student. Any amount will help a family.
4. Donate to a project such as the kitchen renovation, replacing the door locks, purchase a wireless classroom printer, help a family purchase school uniforms, or....
 Support St. Ann Catholic School5. Contact Tracy Angotti,, to help coach an athletic team.
6. Support one of the Extracurricular Exploration classes such as purchasing robotics kits.

Our invitation is out there for you to accept. Hope you say yes to St. Ann.

God bless you,
Didier Aur, Principal

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Strategic Plan, Accreditation, and Teacher In-Service

Ryan Cooper's puppy, Cadence
This has been one busy summer! This week has been the busiest one yet. School hasn't started, we still have one more day of in-service, students start on Tuesday, and I'm ready for a day off. Don't get me wrong, I'm super-excited about the new school year at St. Ann, seeing our students on the first day, working with our incredible staff, and once again being in the classroom teaching. I just need a less than a twelve-hour work day, and maybe ten hours of uninterrupted sleep. Come on Feast of the Assumption (our next day off). This isn't my first rodeo, so I'll survive.

I want to thank Susan Hunt, all St. Ann staff members, the St. Ann maintenance department, the custodial team, and volunteers for their work in getting the school ready for the first day of school. The school is looking great!

School Walk Through
Fr. Ernie asked that we host a "School Walk Through" for parishioners to see the improvements before the first day of school. Today, we hosted a "School Walk Through" after the 8:30 and 11:30 Mass. I personally expected to see a small crowd during each walk through. Boy, was I surprised by the large turnout. Thank you to all the parishioners who turned out to see the school improvements. I wish I could take some credit for the improvements, but all credit belongs to Fr. Ernie, Susan Hunt, our generous donors, and all those working under the direction of Susan Hunt. If you are a St. Ann parishioner and don't know Susan, you need to meet her. She is the parish administrator, which means she runs the place. It also means that she is on duty 24/7. Well, maybe not 24/7, but pretty close.

Blessing from Bishop Holley
In-service started this past Tuesday with Bishop Holley celebrating Mass for all Catholic School employees at St. Francis. That's always a great way of bringing us together to kick-off the new school year.

This was followed up with a presentation I borrowed from the Christian Brothers back in 2002 to help remind Catholic School teachers of our role as Catholic School educators. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves why we have dedicated our teaching careers to working in Catholic Schools. With all the years I have worked for the Christian Brothers, I've received a lot of training on the teaching philosophies of St. John Baptist de La Salle. I like to share what I've learned with my teachers. He was a saint ahead of his time. Incredible!

Liz Wehmeyer & Kids
I'm sending out a great big thank you to Liz Wehmeyer. Liz led three technology sessions for our teachers. The first session was to start all of us towards becoming Apple certified instructors. Would be great for St. Ann if all instructors became Apple certified since our students use iPads. The second session was on Apps and ideas for use in the classroom. The final session was on web design. We aren't there yet but would be nice if all teachers created a website. It is a great communication tool. I'm hoping that we can get Liz to lead more sessions throughout the year to help our teachers.

This is an accreditation school year. The process to become accredited once again by AdvancED has begun. At the same time, we need to develop a strategic plan for the school. To begin the process, the staff came together to rewrite the school's mission and vision statements.

A mission statement answers the question "Why do we exist?" A mission state is also supposed to be between 10-15 words (fit on a t-shirt). Our new mission statement is:

Working on Mission Statement
"Our mission is to provide a Catholic education through faith, service, and love."

That explains why we exist in less than fifteen words!

A vision statement lets everyone know where we plan to be in 5 to 10 years. It is future-casting. Just like the mission statement, it is a short statement but looking into the future. In our case, we are looking at the next five years.  Our vision statement is:

"We envision a thriving school for all children that will provide a
Working on Vision Statement
premier education in the Catholic tradition."

This vision statement is quantitative: All Children
Future-Casting: Will Provide
Using descriptive superlatives: Thriving Schools and Premier Education

I really like our new mission and vision statements.

Our next step is to develop goals for achieving our vision statement.

Signing Up for Camp Invention
Our student orientation and new comers meeting was pretty awesome. We had a big crowd show up with lots of parents and grandparents. Thank you to Home & School for sponsoring the event. I enjoyed meeting the new families at the new comers meeting. Thank you Dawn Lewis for organizing the food, and Jimmy Crews for taking charge of the meeting.

Annmarie Ghio led several sessions for the teachers. These included PlusPortal and gradebook, using different classroom Apps, and library and STREAM orientation. I hope we all take advantage of Ms. Ghio's expertise. The students will greatly benefit from her work in the library and STREAM. She is also going to make the library more accessible to the students before and after school.

STREAM Session
Gay Landaiche, of the Bodine School, taught a session on dyslexia. We all learned much from her presentation. We now have several great resources to use with our dyslexic students. The presentation was eye-opening to me. We will all be more aware of learning differences in our students. Thanks to Priscilla Williams for organizing this presentation.

Dyslexia Session
We have a new golf coach! Paul Mann, a good friend of mine, has agreed to coach our golf team. Paul is a great golfer and all-around athlete. He is a former two-sport athlete at the University of Memphis. Coach Mann is retired. He was the chief compliance officer at FTB Advisors, Inc. He is also one of the nicest guys I've ever met. I am thrilled he will coach our golfers. This is a great time to be a St. Ann golfer. Contact Tracy Angotti at if your child is interested in joining the golf team.

Here is a list of the middle school extras: (classes starting at 2:25 every day)
1.   Jazz Band/All instruments including Jazz singing (John Baum)
2.   Bowling (Sally Fillion)- Bowling will probably end at 3:30 instead of 3:00.
3.   Handbells (Ryan Cooper)
4.   Robotics (Stacey Griffith)
5.   Creative Writing/Blogging (Justin Kissell)
6.   Anime Art (Katie Jones)
7.   Archery (Didier Aur)
8.   Cooking/Baking (???? Anyone interested?)
9.   Coding (Jimmy Crews)
10. 3-D Printing (Annmarie Ghio)
More news to be sent out this week.

The Crews Family!
Thank you to Jimmy Crews for helping Mike Green update all school and church technology. They are getting everything up and running. Come Tuesday, we will be ready! Thanks guys!

Thank you to Captain Steve Sones from the Bartlett Police Department for leading a session on school safety. Captain Sones and I did a walk through the school to determine hot spots that need some safety improvements.  There are several issues that need to be addressed ASAP. The first line of defense against an intruder is making sure the school is in lockdown mode 24/7. We have this covered. The interior doors are to be locked as well, blinds should be on every exterior window, and classroom door windows ready to be covered. The teachers know the safest areas in their classroom, and they have been through active shooter training. In all my years, I never thought I would be writing about active shooter training but it is a reality in this world we live in.

We have room for improvement. This is where we need your financial support. We need to improve
School Safety Session
school safety to better protect our students. We need to better secure our classroom doors. In order to do that, we need to change out the door locks and devices. We have roughly fifty classroom doors. To replace the door knobs to stronger, safer door knobs and re-key the doors for easier access for police and fire personnel, it will take roughly $7,000. This is a small amount when considering the safety of our students and staff. This includes all the students and staff in PRE who use the classrooms. We also need to replace many of the window blinds, and add interior cameras in every hallway. If you are interested in helping us improve school safety, please contact me.

Sports Sign Up
The school and church need someone who is a welder who can help us with a small project to secure one of the gates behind the school. If you are a welder, and can help us, please contact me.

One of the sessions we had during in-service was on the state of the Catholic Schools. I believe this was eye-opening to our staff members. This is a presentation I would like to make to the parish council, and even to the parents and parishioners. As you have figured out, I believe in transparency. We all need to know where Catholic Schools stand. I see the future for the schools as positive but the road is a bumpy one. We all need to know where we stand.

I have asked for donations and support for several projects we are
working on. Two weeks ago, I created a wish list, and put that list in my blog. Well, several people have stepped forward, and have started to contribute to the cause. To those wonderful supporters, THANK YOU! Without support, no Catholic School can survive. Tuition only pays part of the bills. Any extras and improvements come from supporters, alumni, parents, grandparents, parishioners, and friends. No non-profit stands on its own two feet without help from the community. We are no different. If we want to improve, and provide our students what they need, it takes support from us all. Even public school systems depend on foundations and donations to help provide for the needs of the students. Taxes don't cover all the costs. If you don't believe me, check out the Bartlett Education Foundation and Shelby County Education Foundation. All non-profits need community support.

 Support St. Ann Catholic School
We need your support. If you are interested in helping, please click on the St. Ann logo or contact me. My email is

We are building and improving. We aren't just dreaming, we are doing.

God bless you,
Didier Aur, Principal
St. Ann Catholic School

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Preparing in Hope and Courage

School Entrance
Kelley and I enjoy attending Saturday Vigil at St. Ann with either Fr. Ernie or Fr. Parham, and Sunday Mass at St. Michael with Fr. Ben Bradshaw. We have some great priests in our diocese. Through their homilies, they help us grow as Christians.

This weekend, Fr. Parham's homily was about hope. Hope is a virtue as is faith, charity, and love. His definition of hope goes a lot deeper than most of our definitions of hope, and I didn't quite understand everything he had to say. No surprise there. To me, hope is a want for something better such as a better life especially an eternal life. I was taught when there is a lack of hope in our lives, evil uses this lack of hope to enter our lives.

Teacher Lounge is Clean!
Fr. Ben's homily was about courage. As Christians, we must have the courage to grow in our faith. As one of my former students in Missouri once said, "We are not called to be comfortable." That former student is soon to be Fr. Brad Berhorst!  We are called to make a positive difference in the world. It is hard to make a positive difference if we aren't willing to sacrifice. I've always said that being a Christian is not easy. If you are going to walk the Christian walk, more is expected of you. Saying yes is just the beginning. It takes some courage to say yes, but it takes a lot of courage to live a truly authentic Christian life. It takes courage to live a life of faith, hope, charity, and love.

Kitchen Work Stations Refinished
I bring this up because as we plan for this new school year, we plan in hope and courage. Our hope is for a better life for our students and ourselves. We need to have the courage to push beyond our comfort zone, to grow as teachers in Christ, help our students grow in their faith, and open our hearts for all to see the Christians we truly are. Fr. Ben always says that it takes courage to open ourselves to the world. What sets Catholic Schools apart from other schools is Jesus Christ. Yes, we work to educate the whole child (mind, heart, body, and soul), but the ultimate goal for our students is salvation.

Kitchen Wall Repainted
This week has been super busy at St. Ann. Our staff participated in an active shooter training with Bartlett City Schools and the Bartlett Police Department. Thank you to Dr. David Stephens and Dr. Korrie White from Bartlett City Schools for allowing us to participate in the drill. I would also like to thank Captain Steve Sones of the Bartlett Police Department for leading the drill. Captain Sones and I met at St. Ann for a walk through to make a list of corrective measures needed to ensure our students and staff are safe. Captain Sones will also participate in a Q&A on school safety with our staff during in-service this week.

More Kitchen Work Stations
Angela de Jong and I met with Home & School representatives this week. Part of the meeting was to figure out expenses and contributions for the 2017-18 school year. We needed to finish up old business before discussing 2018-19. Plans are in the works for Home & School events. You will be hearing more about these from the Home & School representatives.

Two other staff members have decided not to return to St. Ann. Erica Winchester has the opportunity to become a stay at home mom and raise her children. Rebecca Bates has taken a library position at Immaculate Conception. We thank both of them for their years of service to the students at St. Ann.

Kitchen Make Over
I hired Justin Kissell as our new Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. He will also be the Student Council moderator. Many of you know Mr. Kissell because he is a parishioner, attended St. Ann Catholic School, and taught here for six years. He comes back to us after teaching several years at Resurrection Catholic School under the direction of Principal James Shelton.

I have made an offer to an incredible teacher for the LIFE position. I have known this person since the 90's. I plan to meet with this candidate this week to hopefully finalize the offer. Please say a prayer for this person as they discern this opportunity to work in a Catholic School. Chances are slim, but all things are possible with prayer.

The construction and clean up are reaching crunch time. We are almost there. We are hosting a walk through next Sunday, August 5th, after the two morning Masses. Come see the school and all the improvements.

Principal's Office (finally)
After being in my office since the beginning of June, my office is finally clean! The junk room it used to be is no longer the junk room. I've even rearranged the office, and my memorabilia and books from so many years in education now populate my office. I need to hang my college diplomas in my office, and pretend I'm some kind of intellectual. Maybe not. I would rather hang my children's diplomas on my office wall. Their diplomas are more important to me.

The school enrollment has climbed to over 200 students with several families applying, and some on the waiting list. Students are still taking the entrance test. Thank you for Angela de Jong and Selina Trouy for their work on student admissions. I'm sure the numbers will continue to fluctuate between now and the first day of school.

Crosses on My Office Wall
Rosary from the Vatican
We are working on the EXTRAS for the middle schoolers. This is a thirty minute period at the end of the school day where the middle schoolers will be able to participate in a variety of classes from robotics to coding to creative writing to blogging/vlogging... We have many options we are discussing. Thanks to Jimmy Crews for saying yes to teaching a coding extra for our middle schoolers. Home economics was going to be one of the offering but that went out the window. Maybe we have a parent out there who would be willing to lead a home economics extra for our students. We want parent and community participation in offering these extras. I'm looking for a guitar player to lead a guitar club as an extra. If you have an idea for an extra (30 minute ungraded class for the students to do something fun yet educational), please call me at the school or send me an email at

During in-service, Liz Wehmeyer is going to lead three sessions in iPad and Apple professional development for our staff. Ms. Wehmeyer is a St. Ann parishioner and parent. She is an employee of Bartlett City Schools in their IT department, and is Apple certified. What a great resource for our teachers and students. Thank you Liz Wehmeyer!

 Donate to St. Ann Catholic School
As I do with every blog, I will end with asking for your support. The last blog had a wish list we need help with. If you have the ability to help make a difference, we need your help. Check out last week's blog for the wish list. Click on the school logo to go to our donation page. Without your support, Catholic education doesn't happen. It has always been that way. No more bingo to subsidize Catholic education. We have a great thing going. Need your support to keep it going.

God bless you,
Didier Aur, Principal
St. Ann Catholic School

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Community Coming Together

Welcome to Colts Country!
St. Ann Catholic School is coming together. Clean up has been taking place. Many volunteers along with the maintenance staff have been putting everything back in place and in order. There is still much work to be done before we are ready for our students. Being new to St. Ann, it is pretty neat watching the St. Ann community coming together to get the school ready. Many of the pictures in this blog are of the volunteers getting the school ready. If you are willing to help us, please contact Susan Hunt (, the parish administrator, and please volunteer. We need the St. Ann community to continue to help us if we are to be ready on time. The first day of school is Tuesday, August 7th.

Once the school is cleaned up and in order, we will host an open house/walk through for all to see.  Date for the open house/walk through is Sunday, August 5th after the Masses from 9:30-10:30 and 12:30-1:30.

I mentioned in a previous blog, that we would hold a meet and greet so we could meet each other.  I want the opportunity of meeting St. Ann students, parents, parishioners, alumni, and supporters before school starts. That meet and greet will take place during the open house/walk through set for Sunday, August 5th. Instead of hosting two different events, we are combining the open house and the meet and greet.

Kitchen Clean Up
We have a number of students who are dyslexic. On Friday, August 3rd, Lyle Davis and Gay Landaiche from The Bodine School will present to our faculty on working with students with dyslexia. Parents are invited to this presentation.  Please contact me at if you would like to attend. Thank you to Priscilla Williams for organizing this presentation.

On Tuesday and Thursday, our staff will be attending active shooter training with the Bartlett Police Department at Bon Lin Middle School. Sad that we have to do this but it is a reality. We want to be prepared for the worst.

I met with Mayor McDonald at his office this past Monday. He is a super nice guy. Being the only Catholic School in Bartlett and being across the street from city hall, I want him to know who I am, and that St. Ann is alive and vibrant. I also invited him to the Fall Festival. I hope to see him there.

Our student enrollment is just under 200 students with several families still applying. If you are a St. Ann
Some Classrooms are Ready!
parishioner and are interested in a Catholic education in PK3 through 8th grade for your child(ren) or grandchild(ren), please contact Angela de Jong at We are also reaching out to the parishioners of Nativity and Ascension especially since they do not have a parish school. We have scholarships based on need available to help families afford a Catholic education.

Refinishing Kitchen Doors
For those of you who don't know, I have been involved with the Jubilee Schools since 2002. At the
Jubilee Schools, we don't turn families away if they cannot afford a Catholic education. If a family wants a Catholic education for their children, I believe it is our responsibility to do all in our power to make that possible. If you are interested in a Catholic education, and don't have the financial means, please contact Angela de Jong. Don't not inquire and miss out on a Christ-centered education for your child(ren). You never know what's possible.

The date we set for our staff spiritual retreat did not work out with Gary Wilbers. He is the speaker we were hoping to get for the retreat day. I'm now working on Plan B for our spiritual retreat.

A part of being the principal of a Catholic School is development. If there is a need, it is our
Cafeteria is Ready!
responsibility to figure out how to make it happen. In Catholic Schools, we have plenty of unbudgeted items. Those items become wishlist items. Many times, we make an unbudgeted purchase based on faith that donations will come in to help finance those wishlist items. In my time as a Catholic School administrator, God has always provided by bringing the right donors into my life. It is not a coincidence that this happens. God is a pretty good development director. I said in my last blog that I would have a wishlist.  So here is a partial wishlist of items we need.

Library is Ready!
Bloomerang Database: $806.20 for the first year. The price drops in half for year two. We need a database to keep up to date with our alumni and donors. If we plan to be in existence in the future, we have to have a lot more support than just tuition paying families. Catholic Schools that depend on tuition only to keep the doors open eventually have to close their doors. Let's not be one of those schools. We are the only Catholic School in Bartlett. We need to be here for future generations.

Scholarship Donations: As Catholics, I believe it is our
Replacing Kitchen Ceiling Tiles
responsibility to help families afford Catholic education. It is not easy for a young family wanting a Catholic education for their child(ren) to pay full tuition. Please consider providing a quarter ($1,625), half ($3,250), or full scholarship ($6,500) for a student. Any amount will help a family.

Middle School Math Books: In order to improve our math offerings and our math scores, we are going with a different math book series. We ordered new math books for 7th and 8th grade. The cost of the new math books is $2,767.50.

Another Classroom Ready!
iPads: We would like to finish our 1-to-1 iPad initiative for PK-3 through 4th. Grades 5-8 already have 1-to-1 iPads. Cost of each iPad with Apple Care is $400.

Wireless Printers for the Classrooms: We would like to have wireless printers for all the classrooms. This would greatly help the students and teachers with their work. Each printer is $300.

We also have a lot of big ticket items like HVAC replacement,
Spirit Shop is Ready!
roof repairs, new windows, new blinds, renovate school bathrooms, finish the renovation of the St. Ann kitchen (everyone at the parish uses the kitchen), security doors, and security cameras.

 Support St. Ann and Donate Online
Click to Support St. Ann!
If you are interested in helping with any wish list item.  Please contact me at or click on the St. Ann logo to support online. Please contact me if you have any questions.

God bless you,
Didier Aur, Principal
St. Ann Catholic School