F&S Dashboard: St. Benedict Prep Faculty & Staff Weekly Newsletter

Ms. Rachel Gemo's Notes

Head of Parish School (PK-12) 

In This Week's Notes For Your Reference

  •  2017-18 School Calendar
  • Faculty Lounge Clean Up Schedule - Please review
  • Teacher Committees for 2017-2018 School Year
  • Faculty and Staff FACEBOOK (link) 
  • Sunday Gospel Reflection for Teachers and Staff (Updated)
  • Things to Do this Week for the Lenten Season (Updated) 
  • Updated Active Shooter Drill Training Videos for Teachers (Updated)
  • Please nominate a Colleague for March Employee of the Month (Updated)
  • Information on Gray Knit Hats (Updated)
  • Explaining the News to Our Kids - a resource
  • Archdiocesan Critical Needs Scholarships - Apply now
  • Send Ethan Li Some Notes of Encouragement
  • Consider doing this for your grade level if appropriate - Chipotle Reading Rewards
  • Opportunity from Loyola University Chicago - Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (50% discount)
  • Take STEM CLASSES at Notre Dame - more information below
  • Teacher Treat Form CLICK HERE (for Gala 2018) -  Please complete by the end of the week.  
  • Elementary Yearbook Pictures  
  • Invitation for Faculty and Staff for the YDA Dance Recital in May

Sunday Gospel Reflection for Teachers and Staff (updated)

 Sunday, February 18th  First Sunday of Lent Mark 1:12-15

"He remained in the desert for forty days."  How is Lent akin to Jesus' desert time? How can we walk with Jesus more closely in these 40 days? 

Things to Do this Week for the Lenten Season 

  • Be sure to adopt your assigned Confirmandi and pray for them each day? Perhaps incorporate their name in your prayer space or prayer bulletin board? 
  • Visit the chapel for quiet prayer time - with your class or just for yourself? 
  • Complete LENT WEEK ONE activities with your students - homeroom 
  • Plan for Week TWO Lent Activities - these will be done NEXT week 

Updated LENT Document on Quick Links 

  1. We've added early childhood lesson activities in the weekly chart - thanks Betty! 
  2. We've also added two videos - one appropriate for all grade levels on St. Benedict's St. Vincent DePaul's work in the parish. The other one is appropriate for our high school students based on St. Benedict's work to help educate others about Domestic violence. Please check the chart for these links. Thanks to Elaine and Louie for getting these videos done. 
  3. Here is the LINK again for your convenience https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OIpoSiEbz7ZxyJh2-wG99CWylbSC47HX6um_rhrhh5s/edit?usp=sharing

Use the CHAPEL for Random Acts of Prayer

During the Lent season, we will keep the CHAPEL unlocked, lights on, doors OPEN.  For older students (grades 6-12) please encourage them to stop in during the day to pray silently...this could be during passing period, lunch, advisory, before school, after school. (Yes, they still need to get to class on time.) For younger kids, we encourage teachers to visit the chapel from time to time and stay for 3 or 4 minutes so the students can pray quietly. For faculty and staff, it is also for you to take some time to pray. We aren't going to "RESERVE" the space...just use it. It can hold a few classes at once...if another class is in there...be respectful...get in...pray quietly..and leave. I trust the HOLY SPIRIT will help moderate the prayer traffic. I hope you use this beautiful space. One thing I ask...always expect students to enter silently, pray quietly and leave silently. (THE CHAPEL IS TYPICALLY USED ON TUESDAY MORNINGS FROM 8AM to 9:15 for secondary school mass)

Some short articles and VIDEOS on School Safety Practices regarding Active Shooters 

 Catholic School Teacher:  Safety in Our Classrooms (CLICK)

FEMA Resources on Active Shooter Precautions (CLICK) 

Good video training with some helpful suggestions (Click) 

Video shows how a teacher talks to elementary students (Click)  

Video shows another drill practice (some things school specific) (Click)

A Training Video that give some more good ideas (CLICK) 

Video: Sheep, Shepherd, Wolf Drill for Young Children (CLICK) 

Article - One teacher's approach to stop school violence (CLICK)

For Tuesday PD for Faculty Grades PK-12 

We will gather in the secondary cafeteria for our meeting. Please bring a pencil/eraser as well as a sharpie (black and other colors if you have them). We will be introducing the March Dignity Revolution activity as well as review some school safety procedures in light of the latest school shooting in Florida. You may also bring your laptop. 



Please nominate a Colleague for March Employee of the Month 

It's time to recognize a colleague who is going above and beyond the call of duty. Take time to recognize someone. It's a great way to give thanks to someone here on campus! https://goo.gl/forms/EBCgulWiekJVY6Fj2

Where can you get one of those Gray Knit Winter Hats with SBPS Emblem? 

One of the class projects is the gray knit hat for the Gala 2018. The makers/embroiders of the hat are willing to sell them to faculty and staff at cost for $15. So take a form from the Gala, fill it out, write STAFF on it and just pay $15. Enjoy! Winter will be around for a little while longer, so they'll come in handy. 

ISTE Conference in June - ED TECH HERE IN CHICAGO 

Please let Rachel G know if you are interested in attending. 


ASPIRE INTERIM II Comparison Office of Catholic Schools vs SBPS 

I know some of you were concerned about the student scores for the Aspire II interim we took in late November/December. The Office of Catholic Schools just released a table showing where the OCS average is at for students on track to meet benchmarks on the summative test. Please click the link below to see where our kids are at compared to the OCS average. Kudos everyone on your work so far!  


Speaking of ASPIRE and How to Integrate "test prep" into your Lessons

Provide opportunities for students to practice the skills that will be required for the constructed responses that are on the ACT Aspire summative. It is also important for students to prepare for the writing portion of the April test by writing timed responses to prompts. Please refer to the ACT test exemplar for sample test items that require a constructed response and for information regarding the grade-level writing prompts and rubrics found on the upper right hand side of the Aspire page on the OCS Portal: http://ocs.archchicago.org/CurriculumPrograms/Assessment/ACTASPIRE.aspx


Critical Needs Scholarships for Archdiocesan Employees

The Archdiocese of Chicago awards Critical Needs Scholarships to lay employees who are furthering their education in the areas of critical need in the diocese, such as 

  • Catechesis of children and adults and the formation of parents with children in sacramental preparation
  • Ministry for African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Polish-immigrant communities
  • Certification and training of teachers and principals, especially those serving inner city schools
  • Liturgical ministry
  • Evangelization to teens/early young adults
  • Vitality of the parish system through a renewed sense of mission and stable financials

Included in this email are:

  1. Principal Information Letter
  2. Flyer
  3. Application
  4. Confirmation of Applicant Employment and Recommendation

Explaining the News to Our Kids

Dramatic, disturbing news events can leave parents speechless. These age-based tips on how to talk to kids about the news -- and listen, too -- can help.By Caroline Knorr 10/2/2017  


Consider doing this for your grade level if appropriate - Chipotle Reading Rewards

Every year, we support teachers and librarians with FREE Chipotle Reading Rewards to pass along to the bookish burrito lovers in their lives. What’s a Chipotle Reading Reward, you ask? It’s a special bookmark that includes a coupon for FREE Chipotle. Because learning is delicious, but so are burritos and tacos.  
To get involved, all an educator or librarian has to do is submit an application for their school or library by February 28th. If that application is approved, Reading Rewards will be heading their way in early April. Easy cheesy.

Here is the website for more information 


Send Ethan Li Some Notes of Encouragement

A CaringBridge Site was created for Ethan. It‘s a caring social network to help people stay connected with family and friends during a health event. Visit Ethan‘s site often to stay updated and share messages of encouragement and compassion.

Visit online
Site Link: https://www.caringbridge.org/public/ethanli
Site Name: ethanli

Opportunity from Loyola University Chicago - Learning Behavior Specialist 1

Loyola is offering an opportunity to teachers in our Catholic schools. It is a chance to get a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBSI) endorsement through a one year program at Loyola. Loyola will give Catholic school teachers a 50 percent tuition discount. Please follow this link for more information on how to register.

Take STEM CLASSES at Notre Dame


he Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows spans three summers and two school years to form STEM teachers for the middle grades. We focus on the middle grades because this developmental level is key to fostering interest and engagement in STEM, especially for under-represented populations.

The Fellowship is driven by three Summer Institutes in which Fellows participate in three modules: 1) STEM Integration; 2) Core Instructional Practices; and 3) STEM Impact Plan. Themes of equity, access, and leadership are woven throughout the Summer Institutes.

During the school year, Fellows continue to work on their STEM Impact Plan, collect video of their teaching performance, receive feedback from their content coach, and gather in Palo Alto for the RISE Summit in January.

Invitation for Faculty and Staff for the YDA Dance Recital in May

Ms. Yvonne Grabe-Liddell and the Yvonne’s Dance Academy staff and dancers would like to formally invite all St. Benedict Preparatory School and Parish employees to our 10th anniversary recital, Eudaimonia.

I am confident the dancers would love to feel your support from the audience, and I would be honored to have you as my guest(s) to help celebrate the art of dance.

Saturday, May 19th
11:00AM matinée performance  & 5:00PM evening performance
Senn High School
5900 N Glenwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60660

If you would like to attend, please email me directly at 

yvonnegrabe@yvonnesdanceacademy.com with the following information:

  • your name 
  • room #
  • which show you would like to attend (AM or PM) 

We hope to see you there!

Kindly, Yvonne Grabe-Liddell