Principal's Newsletter -- Vol. 08, No. 01 -- October 17, 2017

Dear Rockhurst Parents and Guardians,

 

Greetings from Rockhurst. The first quarter of the 2017-2018 academic year has ended.   It is hard for me to believe we have already completed a quarter of the school year.  As we end the quarter, I would like to thank the parents and guardians for everything they have done for the school community this past quarter.  This was a great quarter for us at Rockhurst.   I hope all of us can keep the momentum going as we move into a new quarter and toward the end of the semester. 

 

Our school year began in earnest with the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit on August 30.  The tradition of opening the school year at Jesuit schools with the Mass of the Holy Spirit began in 1548 at the first Jesuit school. This year Rockhurst was blessed to have the provincial superior of the Jesuits celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit with us.  May we continue to ask God to send forth the Spirit as we move forward in our year.     

 

In the Counseling section of this newsletter I invite you to pay special attention to comments from Mr. Bosco, Assistant Principal for Student Life, as he outlines additions to our conversation concerning the wellness program.  We have launched a new section of the website that will provide information about our health and wellness program, including important articles and helpful links as we seek to understand the challenges of adolescence today; particularly the challenges surrounding the emotional well-being of young people. It is my hope that these resources will enable parents and adults in our community to find resources and information concerning the well-being of their son(s).  This resource section is one component of our ongoing conversation on programming to meet the needs of our students.  We are extremely grateful to the professional staff at Children's Mercy Hospital for all they are doing to assist school communities, including Rockhurst, as we look for ways to better serve our students. 

 

Attention Senior Parents:   All seniors should be registered for their Senior Service Placement in January.  Please take a moment to discuss your son’s service site with him.  If you have questions or concerns please contact Mr. Magee at ext 373. 

 

October 20 and 21 is the Don Ramsey Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament here on campus.  This tournament is named for RHS’ legendary debate coach, Mr. Don Ramsey who retired in 2014.  We will dismiss school at 2:00PM on Friday, October 20 to accommodate the tournament.

 

October 29 is our annual Open House.  This is a great day for all of us to show incoming students what life at the Rock is really like.  Thank you for your attention to this day. 

 

As we move into the second quarter, there is much to do and much to look forward to. Here are a few highlights:

  • On Sunday, October 22 we will celebrate our annual Heritage Mass and Food Festival.  All are welcome.
  • Parent / Teacher Conferences are October 25 from 3:30-5:30PM and 6:00-8:00PM.
  • The dramatics society will present The Diviners Nov. 2-4.
  • Mark your calendars for the Instrumental and Choral Christmas concerts, Dec. 5 and 6 respectively. 
  • Many of our fall athletic teams will advance to district playoffs.  Congratulations for a job well done!!  Good luck to all coaches and athletes, Rock State! 
    • Please keep in mind that all district playoff games follow MSHAA guidelines for home field, ticket sales,  start times etc. 
    • Please check gohawklets.com to find out times and locations of all district playoff events. 
  • Our summer immersion trips will begin to roster. Contact Mr. Magee for information.
  • Rockhurst’s service programs extend far beyond the TIE program. The Office of Ignatian Service Programs offers a variety of ways for our students to answer the gospel call and the Jesuit expectation that they become men of service.
  • As a community, we will spend some time focusing on the poor and hungry during our annual Harvest Food Drive November 6-10.
  • Looking ahead...
    • November 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation; we will have an all-school Mass. 
    • Thanksgiving Break is November 22-24.
    • December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation; we will gather for an all-school Mass. 
    • Final Exams will be December 18-20.
    • Christmas Break is December 21-January 3.
    • Classes resume and second semester begins January 4, 2018.

 

Being involved in the life of the school, outside of academics, is a crucial part of student development in the Jesuit model of education.  Please encourage your son to get and remain involved in all aspects of school life.  Contact Mr. Chris Bosco, Assistant Principal for Student Life, for information concerning co-curricular activities.

 

Inclement Weather Alerts:

As we move into the fall and eventually winter, I would like to remind all RHS families of our school closing/delay procedure. Should weather require us to change the school schedule or close the school, every effort will be made to let the community know as soon as possible. If a decision is made to change the schedule or close the school, we will notify students by the AMDG email system, and we will send a text via “Textcaster”. If you have not registered for “Textcaster” or have changed your phone number since you last registered, please go the RHS website parents’ page to find the RockAlerts by Textcaster link. We will also inform local media of school closings. As Rockhurst is truly a regional school, in all weather-related cases, it is up to individual families to determine whether or not it is safe to travel to school. More information can be found on the Inclement Weather Information on the Parent’s page of the website.

 

A hallmark of Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality is the practice of active and frequent reflection.  As we end the first quarter of our academic year, I ask that you take some time to ask your son to reflect on the school year thus far.  What has gone well? Where is he now?  What does he need to do to move forward?  Has he gotten involved?  What are his interests?  Questions like these will help your son move more deeply into the habit of active reflection. 

 

As we begin the second quarter, it is important for us to take a moment and review your son’s progress thus far. Quarter grades are now available in NetClassroom. If you have questions or concerns, the best place to begin is with his teachers. Each student at Rockhurst has an assigned guidance counselor who is also ready and willing to attend to your concerns.

 

The quarter grade represents an important part of your son’s overall academic profile; however, please keep in mind that there is still much time for improvement. With help from teachers, counselors, and his own reflective practice, it is my hope that deficiencies can be addressed in the second quarter. Please keep in mind that most courses end with semester final exams in December. If your son has struggled the first quarter, he should plan now to attend final exam review sessions as they are offered later in the semester.

 

A good opportunity to spend a few minutes with your son's teachers is during Parent/Teacher Conferences. Our conferences will be on Wednesday, October 25 from 3:30-5:30PM and 6:00-8:00PM. Please see Academic Affairs below for more details. If you have concerns or questions, the best place to start is with your son’s teacher. 

 

As the summer gives way to fall, may this time of year be one of many blessings for you and your family. St. Ignatius Loyola encourages each of us to find God working in the ordinary beauty of daily life.  As we pause during this time of year to recognize the beauty of this time may we be reminded of all of God’s many gifts to us.  Please know of my deep appreciation for all you do to make Rockhurst such a special place.

 

AMDG,

Gregory Harkness

Gregory Harkness, 81
Principal

 

 

ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

 

First quarter grades are now available in NetClassroom. These grades, along with the second quarter grade and final examination, become a significant component of the final transcript grade. All parents are encouraged to attend the PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES scheduled for Wednesday, October 25th from 3:30-5:00PM and 6:00-8:00PM. Both sessions will end promptly at the specified time, please plan accordingly. Enter the school through the Barry Commons just off the north parking lot. Begin with those teachers in whose classes your son might be demonstrating some academic difficulty. We ask that you keep your meetings with your son’s teachers succinct, ideally four or five minutes. Out of courtesy to other parents, please be mindful of the time. A tone will sound every five minutes to assist you. If a longer conversation is necessary, follow-up with an e-mail or simply tell the teacher you will call to schedule an appropriate time for a meeting. The Parent/Teacher Conference Directory will be available on the RHS website by Monday, October 23. Please print and bring your son's report card with you for reference when meeting with his teachers. Thank you!

 

 

ADMISSION OFFICE

 

During the months of November and December, the Admission Office will be planning informational "coffees" for prospective students (and parents) who attend parochial schools in Kansas. Please contact Tara Hall (thall@rockhursths.edu) or Jack Reichmeier (jreichme@rockhursths.edu) if you'd be willing to host an informational program in your home.  Thanks!

 

ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT

 

As we approach the end of the regular season for fall sports - a reminder that all playoff games for football and varsity sports have a required MSHSAA entrance fee whether at home or away. We wish the cross country, football, soccer, swim & dive programs best of luck in the state series. ROCK STATE!

 

We also look forward to the start of our winter sports. Basketball starts on Tuesday, November 1 and wrestling start practices on Monday, October 30. Anyone interested in participating should contact Mr. Pete Campbell (head basketball coach) or Mr. Armand Aaron (head wrestling coach) for more details. Remember that all student-athletes who plan to try-out/participate must have a valid physical on file and a completed MSHSAA release form on file. These forms can be found via the Magnus Portal which is accessible when you log in at the top of the www.rockhursths.edu website under "parents". The Magnus link is in on your left. A physicalmust be completed by a doctor from Feb. 2017 to present.

 

 

STUDENT LIFE

 

With September's Freshman Club Fair completed and Mr. Chris Bosco's recent visit to Freshman Seminar, by now freshmen should be well-aware of numerous opportunities to become involved in Rockhurst's robust co-curricular programming.  Please consider engaging your son in this conversation.   Our school mission in the formation of the whole person relies on the student's involvement in activities outside the classroom, too.  It is why we refer to such programming as co-curricular instead of extra-curricular.

 

Attention Rockhurst Class of 2018 Parents: Jostens was at our school Thursday Oct. 5th to provide your student with all the information they need about ordering any graduation supplies.  Please make sure you ask your senior for the information packet.  It is very important that your student turn in their form with the school's group order.  Graduation order day for Rockhurst this year is Wednesday, October 18th, during senior lunch.  If your senior missed the Oct. 5th meeting at school, please pick up a graduation packet in the main office, or email Mr. Chris Bosco for a digital version.   For parents wishing to order any materials, please review this information with your student and don’t forget to have them turn in their order form along with their $60 down payment on the October 18th.  If you have any questions, contact Jostens at 816-628-6157 or Casey Korte at korte.office@jostens.com.

 

Thank you once again to parents who assisted SGA in so many great ways in the first quarter, from pre-game snacks to acting as dance chaperones.  Part of our strong community is the support we receive from parents!

 

 

GUIDANCE COUNSELING

 

As was recently explained to freshmen in their Freshman Seminar, the Rockhurst High School Health and Wellness program is a coordinated effort among resources and broad topics.  Several conversations occurring just before the turn of the decade, involving faculty/staff and administration, parents and students, and alumni, all approached the same question: In the 21st century, what are new ways we should consider in carrying forth our mission to form the whole person?  Soon these separate conversations became united under the thread of health and wellness, and the very first piece of the program began in 2011 with the adoption of the ImPact Baseline concussion test for all students, followed by our revised concussion protocol.  Many more programs (and building adjustments!) have followed as we continue our reflection about how best to serve the needs of students today. 

 

Two new pieces of programming from the Guidance Counseling Department are linked on the RHS Health and Wellness page.  Last year was the beginning of group counseling with Freshman Small Group.  Having freshmen meet in small groups with their counselor every six days of school has enhanced the ability of the counselors to offer resources for the freshmen's transitional experiences.  Whereas the typical freshmen would have met with his counselor a handful of times in the first semester previously, now all freshmen meet with their counselors every week.   

 

This fall we began the Sophomore Conference, which gathers groups of sophomores together three out of every four weeks of school.  Major outcomes for the "exchange of ideas" are related to personal management skills and social-emotional development, the further development of relationships between classmates and their counselors, and an opportunity for sophomores to experiment with developing short-term goals and making presentations, or "pitches."  The link on the website provides further information about topics, including the ability to view the curriculum template for each topic. 

 

Finally, this week the Guidance Counseling Department is excited to continue the school's conversation with visiting members from the Developmental and Behavioral Sciences team at Children's Mercy.  This is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration as the department continues to look for ways to enhance its programing in the support of our students and their wellbeing.  Many of the resources found on the school's Mental Health Resources page were recommended by these mental healthcare providers and other professional organizations. 

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