Director’s Columns

directors-column-photo

Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

After his son was severely wounded in the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem, “Christmas Bells.” Coupled with the recent loss of his wife, Frances, who had died as a result of an accidental fire, Longfellow was inspired to write the powerful words of the little known fourth verse: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep…” These words were later joined with an 1872 melody composed by Englishman John Baptiste Calkin; “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” has been recorded by an eclectic group of artists ranging from Bette Midler to Sarah McLachlan and most recently, Echosmith, with each artist bringing their own unique style to the words and melody.

In Chapter Five of his 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury describes this carol as “immensely moving, overwhelming, no matter what day or what month it was sung.” In the 1983 film version of the novel, Mr. Dark and Charles Halloway both quote passages from the carol, and Mr. Dark ominously states that “it’s a thousand years to Christmas!”

In a child’s eyes, this may seem very true! Although the time until December 25th is slipping away quickly for adults as we run on our imaginary treadmill to send the cards, wrap the presents, bake the goodies, decorate the house, trim the tree, etc., it is very different for children. For them, the time from December 1st through December 25th seems to drag on very slowly or even stand still as they wait impatiently for Santa to deliver those long-awaited presents!

December is another busy month here at Good Shepherd Lutheran School, where time never stands still! Besides learning all of the songs and poems for the Advent Programs, which are being held December 14th and 15th at 5:30 PM, the children are enjoying discussing all of the holidays that each family celebrates. Teachers talk about families, friends, love, giving and sharing. We are lucky to have families from a variety of different cultures/religions who celebrate different holidays; therefore, it is wonderful for us to be able to share holiday traditions and to learn and appreciate likenesses and differences.

December also brings some great events that the PTC (Parent Teacher Club) has planned! Children will get to shop in the Little Elves Gift Shop December 5th through December 8th. This is a beautiful experience for our children, and they are thrilled to buy gifts all by themselves for their loved ones!

The Gingerbread Workshop will be held on December 9th at 7:00 pm. Children and adults alike are welcome to decorate their own authentic Wilton gingerbread house and snap a shot with Santa (aka Bob Rickmeyer). Please do not miss this fundraising event for the school – cost is $15 and slips MUST be handed in by 12/5/16 in order to ensure there are enough gingerbread houses for everyone!

With the weather getting colder, it is imperative that children have adequate clothing for the weather conditions. Teachers enjoy taking the children on nature walks and will continue to do so as long as weather permits. If you are a school parent, make sure that your child’s extra clothes set is complete and that the clothes are appropriate for the weather.

Also, please plan to wrap yourself in the warmth of this season and stop running for a moment to see the joy and wonder through the eyes of a child. Isaiah 11:6 …”and a little child shall lead them.”

We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

directors-column-photo

Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

One of my earliest memories is my mother singing the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” to me each Thanksgiving as we were bundling up to go to grandmother’s house. A little known fact is that the author of this song was a woman named Lydia Maria Child, who was one of the earliest American women to earn a living from her writing.

The time to fall back is coming quickly; on Sunday, November 6th, Daylight Saving Time for 2016 comes to an end at precisely 2 a.m. in the morning and won’t return till 2 a.m. on March 12, 2017. We get an extra hour of sleep on November 6th, and while some people don’t like losing the hour of afternoon daylight, the extra hour of sleep is much needed especially during this busy season.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran School is a whirlwind of activities as we move from the Fall Harvest Festival and pumpkin parties into the “Thanksgathering” parties, the tree lighting, and the Advent Liturgies. In addition, there are many Parent Teacher Club sponsored events happening in the school: the Prestige Catalog sale with lots of holiday-themed presents, the Little Elves Gift Shop, a Gingerbread Workshop, and Drop-Off Movie Night, all taking place now and throughout the month of December. Whew! It makes my head spin thinking about the logistics, planning, communicating, etc. It seems we are moving very quickly “over the river and through the wood” into the midst of the holiday season.

The children’s Bible verse for the month of November is: Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love lasts forever.” Please take some time to reflect on what is really important during this month of thanks and also of giving. We hope everyone will appreciate the true meaning of the holiday season as families prepare their Operation Christmas Child shoebox, bring in a coat to be donated or bring in a food donation for each November Chapel on Mondays.

Have you picked up your decorated shoebox to pack for Operation Christmas Child? If we run out of the pre-made decorated shoeboxes, you will still be able to decorate your own shoebox and pack it with presents for either a boy or a girl. Please come by the school office and pick up the packing directions and labels, this is all you need! The packed boxes are due in the school office on November 9th and they will be shipped all over the world to needy children.

The school is also collecting gently-used winter coats beginning in November and throughout the winter months. All coat donations will be taken periodically to the New Life Center in Uniondale, NY, along with the donations of canned food and food staples.

We truly have a lot to give thanks for here; due to an incredible effort by countless people, the Fall Harvest Festival raised a lot of money for us to be able to purchase the new playground fence. In addition, the money will bring even more technology into our school to go along with the new mobile Smart Table and the iPads for each classroom, courtesy of A.J. Jin and Flushing Bank.

Last but not least, we are truly thankful for the children who come here each day with bright smiling faces and to our parents for entrusting their children to us. We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

directors-column-photo

Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

Even though it is 2016, fifty-two years later, the times are still “a-changin’” as in Bob Dylan’s song, just as the leaves are still “a-fallin’” as they do every October. Before long we are going to have beautiful blankets of colors on the ground as well as gold, orange and red leaves on the trees, all a reminder of God’s wonderful art show that happens each and every October.

As all adults know, change of any kind is difficult. Just because something has “always been so” doesn’t make it correct. Hopefully the winds of change that are blowing through the school and are perhaps knocking some leaves off the walls will be seen as positive, just as they are meant to be. It is no surprise that children are much more adaptable to change. I see this for sure each time I go in to teach a music class and see children willing to embrace anything I tell them or ready to sing anything I present. I would not want to change a thing about my music classes; as usual, we adults have a lot to learn from the children.

As far as the other “special” classes, I hear good reports from both teachers and parents. Children have been learning about soccer in sports, about circles and wheels in S.T.E.M. and have been making school buses in art. We have been working on the “Baa, Baa” song in music, which will be a surprise for the Advent Liturgies.

Besides leaves, October is about pumpkins; and everyone is excited about the trip to Schmitt’s Farm on Wednesday, October 19th with a rain date of Wednesday, October 26th. The nursery and pre-k children will ride a tractor-drawn wagon and stop to pick a pumpkin and a vegetable. At the end of the ride is a huge playground! We will not close the school for this trip since Bunnies (toddlers) and Little Lambs (infants) will not be attending. Pumpkin picking will be the order of the day for them also and Bunnies and Little Lambs will have their own “pumpkin patch” near the cottages as they “pick” their pumpkins. It will be a fun day for everyone!

Please plan on coming to the school Open House on October 16th at 12:00 p.m. after church. We would like to “Show-off” our Little Lambs” infant room, so if you have a friend or relative who may be considering this licensed, daycare option, please be sure to bring them to see this beautiful
space!

We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

directors-column-photo

Dear Family & Friends of Good Shepherd School:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” Based on a poem published by Robert Burns, “Auld Lang Syne” is the traditional song
that one hears every New Year’s Eve, which is translated literally as “Old Long Ago.” We are all familiar with the stroke of midnight on December 31st and the crowd bursting into this song, reminding us of reconnecting with old friends and thinking about old times. Everyone in the field of education knows that the real new year is September 1st, not January 1st! We operate on the academic calendar, which is from September to June, not the yearly calendar from January through December. The new year means looking forward to connecting with folks we haven’t seen over the summer, buying new books and supplies, getting academic planners ready, and organizing schedules; it does not mean party hats, champagne and noisemakers! New Year’s resolutions pertaining to the school year are made in September, just as resolutions to lose weight or to quit smoking are made in January.

Here at Good Shepherd School the new September resolution is “No Stress.” There is a lot of preparation underway in September with supply ordering, scheduling, and room decorating so everything will be ready for our children and parents on “Orientation Night,” Tuesday, September 6th, at 7:00 p.m. However, we are here to ensure that the children of Good Shepherd receive a wonderful faith-based education. So in the grand scheme of things it does not really matter if the bulletin board paper is the wrong color or that we do not have the exact size binder clip in the supply cabinet. What does matter is the safe, nurturing, and loving environment that everyone will notice the minute they walk into the school. Parents and guests will see a flock of “Little Lambs” (infants), a herd of “Bunnies” (toddlers), a den of “Good News Bears”, and a loveliness of “Love Bugs” (nursery); a parliament of “Owls”, a kaleidoscope of “Butterflies”, and a swarm of “Busy Bees” (pre-K) all along the hallways. Children will be have
many new enrichment classes this school year: art, sports, S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and music as well as a special creative movement class taught in both the fall and spring by our very own Mrs. Angel Lorch. The entire school will join Pastor Eric, Vicar Adam, and “Jelly” (Mrs. Kathy Ocker’s alter-ego) for chapels each Monday morning. In addition, there will be an opening chapel for the school staff on Wednesday, September 8th when we will all come together to worship as one faith community.

For their new year the Parent Teacher Club (PTC) is busily preparing for the next big fundraiser which will be the Paint Night to be held on Wednesday, September 28th, at 7:00 p.m. The proceeds from this event will go toward buying a new fence for our playground so that it can be divided into two separate play areas for multiple-aged children. Due to their extraordinary fundraising efforts and events last school year, the PTC raised money for our brand new canopy, which is now hung over the playground. Paint Night will be a great event for “Ladies Night Out” or for a “Date Night” so please come out and support the school with this fundraiser. We ask that you continue to keep the staff and school families in your prayers.

Peace and Blessings,

Teresa Ratkowski
Director

directors-column-photo

Spring is here! Spring could have so many meanings! In the spring we think of soft fluffy bunnies, chirping birds, flowers growing, green grass, sun and warm weather. It is a fresh start. During Easter Jesus died for us; he forgives us so we may start anew.
Many new things happening are happening right here at Good Shepherd Lutheran School. We have moved the toddler bunnies class from the small room number eight to the larger room number seven. Not only will our toddlers now have a classroom with a bathroom, a changing table for diapering, and cots for napping, but they will also be able to stay in the building longer! Your two year old child can grow and blossom right here at Good Shepherd!

Additionally, Good Shepherd is making changes to room number eight. This room will become the infant room called Little Lambs. It will accommodate infants from six weeks to eighteen months. We have been listening to what you have been asking for.
This is as exciting for us as it is for you, and it will all begin this coming September!.
Our beautiful playground will have a chain-link fences added, giving the little children a safe place to play in. A shade canopy will also be added. This will be the last phase of the playground revitalization project. Thank you to all the parents who supported our fundraising initiatives. Your generosity has borne its rewards.

Good Shepherd has listened to all the parents asking for an awesome, fun, faith-filled summer program for older children as well. This summer, you will be able to drop off all your children at one summer program as we will be accommodating ages 3-12 year olds! We have many flexible options for you as well.

Yes, spring has sprung right here at Good Shepherd Lutheran School! Please help us spread the word about these new programs throughout our community. Tell a friend, neighbor or family member about our high-quality school. You are our family, and your word is the helpful way to spread the good news of Good Shepherd. Please consider posting a favorable review on our Facebook page as well. We are forever grateful.
Let’s make Good Shepherd Lutheran School grow into the best it can be this spring!

Praise be to God, Alleluia!

Stephanie Brienza
School Director

directors-column-photo

Dear Friends & Families of our Good Shepherd Little Lambs,

Every day, I open the front doors to let our Good Shepherd children, parents, and staff into school. I smile; say a quick hello; and maybe even get a high-five from a student. This warms my heart. I am learning all the children’s names as well as all the parents. My smile and hello is making an impact on these children and family’s lives. I think to myself how lucky I am to be here. How blessed I am to be in this Christ-centered environment. How thankful I am to be a part of this ever-growing ministry.

After the children walk to their classrooms I walk to my office, and I begin to work. I work for these children and their families; I think what else I can do to impact their lives. It only drives me to do more, help more, and do the best I can.

During this time, I am learning what is needed for the school to run efficiently on a daily basis, how to balance time, return calls back to parents or speak with a teacher about something happening in their classrooms, order materials and more. How to be the best I can be, for you, “The Good Shepherd Family.”

This past month has been full of transition, trial, and learning. I am blessed to grow with all of you. I am so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity and strive for excellence. I cannot reiterate enough; please come to me; talk to me; I am here for you and for your child.

God’s blessing to all of you,

Stephanie M. Brienza
School Director


  Good Shepherd Lutheran School
99 Central Park Road
Plainview, New York 11803

church-picture-white-framed-heightened

Church Website

© Copyright- Good Shepherd Lutheran School | Sitemap

Website Design by Cascade Interactive

Send this to a friend