December 11, 2020
Dear BA Families:
Blessed 2nd Week of Advent! This week brought BA students and staff together both here and online for our Immaculate Conception Holy Day Mass. What a joy to celebrate this feast day.
BA RECEIVES FULL ACCREDITATION! After our review we are happy to share that Bethlehem Academy continues as a school of excellence and is now fully accredited by MNSAA for another seven years. Each accreditation review period has us reflect on our strengths and areas for growth. Please visit our strategic plan here for updates on our progress.
This week my father quietly left this world. He loved Christmas and in the past had portrayed St. Nicholas for the students at my Catholic elementary schools, even though he was a Lutheran! It’s fitting that God called him home the morning after the feast day for St. Nicholas. I thank the BA community for your kind words and prayers during this time of loss. You may view his story at: https://www.parkerkohlfuneralhome.com/obituary/JamesJim-Biers Others of the BA family also recently passed including Father Patrick Griffin. Our prayers are with all families at this time who are experiencing loss as their loved ones are called home.
This next week we will be in our Hybrid Phase One learning model. Here is a review of the week ahead, a detailed bell schedule for the week is attached:
- Monday, Dec 14, Red Day: All students in person learning. Ugly Sweater $1 Dress Down Day, proceeds to purchase masks for St. Vincent de Paul. Band practice, all grades.
- Tuesday, Dec 15, White Day: All students in person learning. Christmas Sock Day. Special high school schedule for reconciliation/regular middle school schedule. Band practice, all grades.
- Wednesday, Dec 16: No classes scheduled. Students may be asked to come in for exams (distance learners) and/or additional assistance/review as arranged with teachers.
- Thursday, Dec 17, Red Day: All students in the building. Special middle school schedule for reconciliation. Regular schedule for high school. Red Day high school final exams/activities.
- Friday, Dec 18, White Day: Middle school Mass celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe. MS follows a Mass day dress code and schedule. High school follows a regular White Day schedule. White day high school final exams/activities. Parent and student surveys due by 6pm.
- Monday, Dec 21- Friday, Jan 1: NO SCHOOL / MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY 2021!
COVID Update: As of December 9, 2020, we have not had any additional cases and remain at nine positive Covid-19 cases in our BA family (members who have tested positive but not transferred through school.) Presently we have only one student quarantining due to outside exposure, not exposure through BA and therefore we are returning to school next week in Hybrid Phase One (all students here, four days a week). Please continue to follow the protocols at home and any time your family is in public so that we can offer hybrid or full in-person learning in the months ahead depending on our numbers, the County numbers, and State and Archdiocese recommendations.
- Updated Student Symptom Screening form and Decision Tree - click on the links for updated information.
- Traveling for Christmas or gathering with groups outside of your immediate family? Please plan to quarantine at home and notify the school office that your child will be online that first week in January. Call/email the school attendance line (334-3948, email@example.com) to let us know. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our students and staff safe!
BA Survey: Please take a few minutes to respond to our survey questions as we complete our first full semester of the academic year. We ask that you please complete the survey by next Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Find the parent survey at this link and the student survey at this link.
- BA Annual Fund: Our goal is to raise $250,000 by June 30, 2021. As of December 9 we are at $80,044-Thank you! We invite you, or your extended family, to help us achieve $100,000 in our Annual Fund by Christmas! This is a great time to give! With the 2020 COVID giving tax rule changes, all donations of any amount can be taken as a tax credit in 2020. Please spread the news and help us achieve $100,000 by Christmas!
- BA Bash Raffle Tickets-Looking for a unique stocking stuffer? Order 2020 BA Bash Raffle tickets! Only 1000 $25 tickets printed - send your payment to the front office today and we’ll place you in the drawing. Top Prize-$2020, 2nd Prize-$1020, 3rd Prize: $520. Proceeds help us cover extra costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click HERE to download your order form. All ticket orders must be received by December 30, 2020. Thank you!
KUDOS: Congratulations to Elliot Smith ‘21, one of only 14 MN students named to the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Class 1A Individual Academic All-state Team and to the following on being named to the Gopher Volleyball All-Conference Team: Brianna Radatz ‘21 (1st team); Kennedy Tutak ‘21 (second team); Reagan Kangas ‘23 (honorable mention) and Jennifer Robert (sportsmanship award). Brianna, Kennedy, and Kate Trump ‘23 were also named to the Faribault Daily News All-Area Volleyball Team!
Blessings during our first week of Advent! Please continue to pray for the Gardner family.
Mindy Reeder, President/Principal
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Christmas Break will be a full two week break to clean our building and allow additional professional development time for our staff. We will be out of school Dec. 21-Jan. 1, 2021.
Christmas Spirit Dress Down Day Monday!
Get in the Christmas spirit! SADD and BA’s Student Service Club are sponsoring a $1 Christmas Sweater Dress Down Day on Monday, December 14. As they requested, all proceeds will go to purchase face masks for St. Vincent de Paul. Mask donations are also welcomed. Extend the Christmas spirit and wear Christmas socks on Tuesday-no donation required.
MS and HS Band/Choir Next Week
Thank you to David Swenson ‘15 for filling in for Mr. Gardner! A reminder that both high school and middle school students will have band Monday and Tuesday next week, December 14 and December 15. Please be sure your students have their instruments as we will be recording their Christmas songs on Tuesday to share with our community later in the week. Choir will record on Thursday, Dec 17. Students will not have band practice next Thursday and Friday but will have a study hall instead.
A gentle reminder to call or email the front office (507-334-3948 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for any changes to your scholar’s attendance - doctor appointment, excused absence, college visit, change in distance learning, etc. They will then inform your scholar’s teachers. Thank you for your help with this!
Home and School Update
It’s not too late to pay your Home and School dues! Please turn your $25 in at the front office. Also a reminder that Home and School is looking for new parent volunteers. See the attached Christmas letter from Michelle and Jane. New volunteers are needed or this group so vital to our school community will have to end. Thank you!
Make your voice heard!
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and House members have revived the COVID relief talks and the US Council of Cathlic Bishops (USCCB) is asking for our help to ensure Catholic schools are included in this new legislation. To tell Congress Catholic schools need access to emergency aid, click on this link to share your support.
BA Christmas Angel Fund
Help us support BA families in need!Please consider a donation to the Christmas Angel Student Lunch Account Fund. Many families in our BA community are struggling in a multitude of ways this Christmas season. Please keep them all in your prayers and, if you are able, please consider donating to help families cover their students’ lunch accounts, many of whom fall just outside the federal and state guidelines for assistance. Donations can be dropped off at the BA front entrance or mailed to our address. Thank you!
Prospective Student Visit Options
Help us grow our student enrollment and spread the good news about BA! Take the Future Cardinal Challenge and invite one family/student to join us for a personal touror one of our limited shadow opportunities. Mid-year transfers are welcome, and applications are now open for 2021-2022. Find more information on our admission page.
Alumni Update Form
We would appreciate any updates for your post-college graduates. Please fill out the attached form and email it to Sister Mary Margaret. Alumni can also update their contact information, sign up for our Veritas newsletter, or share news on our Alumni website page found here. Thank you!
Mobile Food Distribution: Volunteers & Distribution Info
Area community groups have joined forces to provide mobile food distribution. Drop off sites are Thursday, 12/17 at South Central College and 12/18 at Evergreen Estates and Cannon River Mobile Home Park. Flyers in English and Spanish attached with more information.
Holiday Shopping: Amazon Smiles
If you are holiday shopping via Amazon, go to https://smile.amazon.com, pick Bethlehem Academy as your organization and AmazonSmile will donate to BA, at no cost to you. It works with Amazon Prime and you can use Scrip to pay for your purchases. Thank you!
Holiday Scrip: Holiday SCRIP is a great option for gift giving! You purchase these small denomination gift cards after all Sunday Masses at Divine Mercy Catholic Church and from the Divine Mercy Catholic School Business Office at 15 SW Third Avenue.
HIGH SCHOOL UPDATES
December ACT Exam Cancelled
The ACT for December 12 has been cancelled due to COVID 19. If you were planning to take the test on this date, you should be rescheduled for a future date. A reminder to seniors: most schools right now are test optional due to the pandemic. Please contact Ms. Rogers if you have questions or need help rescheduling your ACT exam.
Unemployment Benefits to HS Students
The State of MN has announced that due to Covid-19, high school students who have lost work due to the pandemic may be eligible to receive unemployment. If your student lost their job due to the pandemic, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The application deadline is December 26. FYI that Ms. Rogers also emailed this information to all high school students December 10. Find more information here.
Ag Career Scholarship
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is providing four $5,000 scholarships to MN students who are pursuing a career in agriculture. Find the application is at mncorn.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is January 8. Scholarship applicants must be a young adult member of MCGA who is working toward a degree in an agriculture-related field.
DIVINE MERCY CATHOLIC CHURCH & SCHOOL UPDATES
Middle School Edge/High School Youth Group
Middle School EDGE & High School Youth Group is open to all BA families. This is another great opportunity for your students to gather with others that want to grow in their faith and to enhance what they are learning in the classroom. Registration is required for both. Visit www.divinemercy.cc/faith-formation for more information.
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