Friday, September 18, 2020

"Blessed are You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Matthew 11:25

 Today we have finished our third week of school and our first full week. Students and teachers are in full swing and all seem to be happy to be back in school.

If you haven't viewed my letter on the new NWEA standardized test that students will be taking this year please go to the Friday Folder where it is posted. The window for diagnostic testing is from 9/14- 10/2. The diocese has extended the window for taking the test as teachers and myself are still getting familiar with this new test.

Tonight we will be hosting our annual Barbecue/Ice Cream Social in the school parking lot. Many families will be in attendance. I am sure it is going to be a fun night and I look forward to seeing everyone.

Picture Day has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 30. Students are to wear their uniforms that day. Gym will take place on Tuesday, September 29 and Thursday,October 1 that week. 

If you would like to join our morning prayers in the morning, we begin on Google Meets at 8:02 am. We recite the Morning Offering, The Prayer of St. Therese, Prayer for Peace During COVID 19, and finally, Special Intentions. We then recite the Pledge of Allegiance and begin our morning announcements. If you would like to join in, tune into Google Meets at 8:02 am and use the code "stsfacultymeeting." Beginning October 1 we will begin reciting the Rosary. This will go on for the entire month of October in honor of Our Blessed Mother.

Finally, keep checking the Friday Folder for important updated information. I look forward to seeing everyone tonight at our Family Barbecue/Ice Cream Social tonight. It's going to be blast!

God Bless and have a wonderful weekend!

Tim Dunnigan

Principal STS

Friday, September 11, 2020

'Your Word, O Lord is truth; consecrate us in the truth." John 17:17B, 17A

 We have completed our seventh school day of the 20-21 school year, and I want to take this opportunity to salute the parents, the students, the faculty, the custodians and our school nurse. Everyone is working extremely hard to make in school instruction work, and it is working. 

It is quite evident that the students are happy to be back with their schoolmates. I am so proud of the way that they are obeying the guidelines set forth for us to reopen school. The in school instruction with the wearing of masks has not been easy on any of us, but we are all doing what it takes to make it work. We all know our kids need to be in school, and they want to be here.

Last night our teachers and myself posted pre-recorded videos on the website for parents to view. Since we cannot have parents in the building at this time, all teachers recorded a message to speak to you about what to expect during the coming year. It was a pre-recorded Back to School Night. The messages will be up for some time so you can view them on your own time, and as many times as you like. Just click the Back to School Night tab on the website and look for your child's teacher.

Today we honored those who perished and made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. We had a special prayer service this morning with a musical video that captured the spirit of the nation on 9/11 and after 9/11. We pray that it does not take another tragic event like 9/11 to unite us again.. God, please bless America with the peace that only You can provide.

We do have a date for a picture day. It will be Wednesday, September 30. That day is a scheduled gym day, but all students should come dressed in their school uniforms. We would like for all students to be wearing their uniform for their pictures.

Next Friday we will have our first Family Night Barbecue and Ice Cream Social in the St. Therese School Parking Lot. The barbecue and ice cream social will run from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. All St. Therese families and students are invited including those doing remote instruction. The admission is $5.00 and is due by Monday, September 14. Please see the Friday Folder for more information.

Everyone have Blessed Weekend,

Tim Dunnigan                                                                                                                                                Principal STS

Friday, September 4, 2020

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows Me will have the light of life. "

We have completed the first three days of the 2020-21 school year with in-school instruction and it seems to be going quite well. It is wonderful to see all of the faces of the students that we have missed since March 13. All are recognizable, just taller. It is also great to see so many new faces across all of the grades. All students seem to be very well conditioned to wearing masks and keeping social distance. Good hygiene and the washing of hands is being reinforced daily. Our gym is set up for socially distanced lunches and students are adjusting quite well. They have been doing an excellent job of abiding by the guidelines set forth in our reopening plan. All classrooms, offices, bathrooms and the gym continue to be disinfected daily with our UV lights.

I was just informed on Thursday, that construction of the rectory will begin on Monday, September 7 which will change the way our early prek students will be dropped off. All early prek students will be dropped at the main building while construction is going on. I don't know how long it will be going on for, but until it ends, early prek students will be dropped off at the main entrance at the Grade 1-8 building. They will be supervised in the gym where there is plenty of room for social distancing. 

On Tuesday, September 8 we will once again dismiss at 2:00 pm. After Tuesday, most of the kinks should be worked out and everyone should have a good idea of how dismissal works. One of the reasons it is taking a few minutes longer to dismiss is the elimination of bus routes from the Roxbury School District. This was a decision that was made by Roxbury and is beyond our control. Beginning Wednesday, September 9, we will dismiss at our normal dismissal time of 2:30 pm. We thank you for your patience, and your cooperation at arrival.

Our students in grades 4-8 attended First Friday mass today. Our pastor, Fr. Rick Kilcomons welcomed our students back and acknowledged the new students attending St. Therese. He gave his blessings to all of them for a very successful year. The mass was assisted by Deacon Murphy, the first reading was read by Mrs. Cornish and prayers of the faithful were read by Mrs. Rowland. The mass was live-streamed for our students in kindergarten thru grade 3 due to a limit of how many people can be in attendance at the church at one time. 

On your calendar you will see a Virtual Back to School Night for Thursday, September 10 at 7:00 pm. The way that we are going to proceed with Back to School Night is to have the teachers of each grade, as well as myself videotape a message to the parents informing them of the curriculum, student expectations, parent expectations, report cards, the school information system (Rediker,) the parent portal, homework and any other issues that need to be addressed as we begin the school year. This will allow parents to view the Back to School Night video at a time that is convenient for them The Home and School Association will also be putting a short video together explaining their role in the school. The video should be posted by Friday, September 11.

Every year we commemorate a prayer service in memory of the tragic terrorist attack that took place on September 11, 2001. We will never forget, but in our prayers we learn to forgive. The service will take place first thing in the morning on Friday, September 11 via google meets. I intend to send out a link so parents and family members can join us at home.

Please check the St. Therese website and the Friday Folder for the latest information on upcoming events. Also, don't for get to check our web page.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

God Bless America and God Bless St. Therese School.

Tim Dunnigan                                                                                                                                                 Principal STS

Friday, August 28, 2020

"Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come. " Matthew 24:42A, 44

 Dear St. Therese Families,

Welcome back to in school instruction at St. Therese School. A very special welcome goes out to our new families entering the St. Therese School. I want to take this opportunity to go through what I anticipate our first day to be like, and the days that follow. 

Our school doors will open at 7:30 am and students will be expected to be in school no later than 7:55 am. We will follow our normal line up in the morning of dropping students off at the main entrance. What will be different is that parents will have to provide evidence that they took their child's temperature and state whether or not they traveled to a hot spot in the last 14 days. Parents must sign daily a COVID-19 Symptom Free Certification Form, which can be found on the website's Friday Folder. This will be collected before the students enter the building. Then, along with our new school nurse, Vivian Lutterodt,  I will take the temperature of students using digital thermometers before they enter the building. All teachers will be equipped with a digital thermometer. If the students temperature is above 100 degrees, the student will not be permitted in the building and will have to get back into their parents car and taken back home. Students with temperatures below 100 will enter the building and go directly to their classroom. This will most likely take longer the first few days, so instruction won't begin until we have all students in the building. Please make every effort to be on time.

Once the students are all in class, I will lead the school in prayer, make announcements and welcome our students back to in school instruction. Our new students will be acknowledged as well. All students, faculty and staff will be wearing masks in the building. We will review the importance of social distancing, the washing of hands, bathroom procedures, lunch and recess, wearing of masks and using the hand sanitizers. Students will be continually reminded of these important procedures, and there will be signs posted throughout the building about proper hygiene.  Keeping each other healthy is everyone's responsibility.

Once we have reviewed all of the procedures for in school and remote instruction, class will begin. In regards to lunch, I was going to have students remain in class for lunch, but I can socially distance students much better in the gymnasium. Students in grades K-4 will eat first at 11:35 am in the gym while grades 5-8 go out for recess. At 11:55 am grades 5-8 will eat lunch in the gym and K-4 will go out for recess. All students should bring lunch to school. Water fountains will be turned off. Students should bring water bottles to school. Cases of water will be kept in the kitchen should students need water.

During the course of the school day and after school there will be No Visitors permitted in the building. Parents who pick up their children during school hours and aftercare will only be permitted to go as far as the main lobby.

In regards to in school instruction, students will remain in the same classroom for the entire day, except for recess, lunch and gym. Instead of having students move from class to class, teachers will move from class to class. All specials will take place in the students' classrooms. There will be no music classes to begin the school year. We will offer Art, Spanish and Technology. Students will be offered many mask breaks during the course of the day and will be given the opportunity towards the end of class to stand up and stretch keeping socially distant.

Every school must have an Isolation Room for students being sent to the nurse's office exhibiting symptoms for COVID 19. To begin the school year, the principal's office will serve as the Isolation Room. Students in isolation will be supervised by me or another adult wearing gloves and masks until the student is picked up from school. The student will need medical clearance from their family physician before the student is permitted back in school. Once the student leaves the classroom that he or she was in, it will be sanitized using our new disinfecting UV Lights. It takes about 5 minutes to disinfect 900 square feet. The Isolation Room will also be disinfected.

Immediately after dismissal all rooms will be disinfected using the UV Lights. We have two UV Lights that can disinfect a classroom within 5 minutes. Once After Care is over, the gymnasium will be disinfected using the UV Lights. The gym will take 15 minutes to disinfect.

On Wednesday, September 2, Thursday, September 3 and Tuesday, September 8 students will be dismissed at 2:00 pm in order for students to adapt to the new routine of dismissing. On Friday, September 4 we will dismiss at 12:00 pm. There will be Before Care and After Care. Before Care begins at 6:30 am in the Grade 2 classroom. After Care will run from 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm and 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm on early dismissals 

Students will be dismissed from their classrooms via the walkie-talkie. This is going to be a bit different from the way we have dismissed in the past and may take a few days for students to get the routine. On Wednesday, September 9 we will resume the normal dismissal time of 2:30 pm. By that time everyone should have an idea of how dismissal is going to work.

Our first two days of school are gym days so students will be wearing their gym uniforms. I am going to permit all students for the month of September to wear their gym uniform everyday if they choose to do so. The wearing of masks and social distancing is going to be a bit restrictive so I want students to feel as comfortable as possible, The wearing of gym uniforms is not mandatory, but will be permitted every day during the month of September.

If you have been looking at our calendar you will see that our first day for students is Wednesday, September 2. Our Prek 3 and 4 will do parent orientation on that day and they will begin their first day on Friday, September 5. Our first Family Night Function will be on Friday, September 18. We are combining our Ice Cream Social with our Tailgate Barbecue. All St. Therese families are invited including those who are doing remote learning at home.

I am excited to once again be reunited with our faculty, staff, students and St. Therese Families. The last few months have been trying. Our staff and our students have done an outstanding job of adapting to teaching and learning, but we all know it is not as effective as in school instruction. Let's pray that the Good Lord keeps COVID 19 away from our school and all schools as we prepare to open and educate our students in the Catholic faith. If we put our trust in Him, we can accomplish great things. I am confident if we pray to our God, work together and support each other during this trying time we will be successful.

May God bless all of you and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, September 2.

Friday, August 21, 2020

"Teach me Your paths, my God, guide me in your truth." Psalm 25:4B, 5A

 Good afternoon St. Therese Families,

We are getting closer and closer to the opening our 2020-21 school year. We are extremely busy getting classrooms prepared for in school and remote instruction. I was hoping to put my full Welcome Back Letter to parents of the St. Therese School Community on my blog, but it wouldn't fit, so please go to the Friday Folder to view my Welcome Back Letter. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during this pandemic and I look forward to seeing all of you in person soon. Please read my letter on the Friday Folder. Should you have any questions feel free to email me.

God blesss,

Tim Dunnigan                                                                                                                                                     Principal STS

Friday, August 7, 2020

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:10

 I hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer as we prepare to open for in school instruction and the opening of school on Wednesday, September 2. I don't claim to be very good at doing videos, but I have put together a video of our Return to School Plan. The video will soon be posted on the website along with a copy of the plan.

When we open the doors for our students, things will definitely be different. In my video, and in the Return to School Plan, the guidelines state that students who are not six feet apart must wear masks. Almost all of our students will be six feet apart, but as of Monday, August 3, Governor Phil Murphy has ordered all students to wear masks, so in order to open for in school instruction all students, faculty and staff will have to wear masks in the building. When outside of the building they will not.

Our day will begin with the normal drop offs at the main entrance. All parents will have to sign a daily waiver that they have taken their child's temperature before coming to school. I am hopeful that we can do this through google forms. If not, a hard copy waiver will be collected daily for each student signed by the parent. Once the student gets out of the car, the school will also take the temperature of the student before he or she enters the building. Students will then proceed to their classroom, not the gym. Seats will be socially distanced in the classroom. Kindergarten students will be dropped off at the Learning Center Building along with prek-3 and 4.

Once all students are in the building, morning prayers, the pledge of allegiance and announcements will come from the main office via the PA. Students will not be moving about in the building except for the use of the lavatories. There will be a limit of three students in the lavatory at one time. Students will be informed to wash their hands and then use sanitizer after turning the water off. Restrooms, door handles and surfaces will be wiped down continuously throughout the day.

There will be no visitors allowed into the building during the day, unless it is to pick up a sick child. All visitors will have to sign in and wait in the main lobby. All students will bring their snacks and lunches to school and they will eat in the classroom. There will be no sharing of food by anyone. We will order pizza on Fridays. Students will have recess and will not have to wear masks outside, but they will still have to stay at a socially accepted distance.

Should students or staff show symptoms of COVID 19 in school, parents will be called to have the student picked up and seen by a medical doctor to determine if the student has COVID 19. While waiting to be picked up the student or staff member will have to wait in an Isolation Room supervised by an adult or the school nurse. Should the student have COVID 19, it will be reported to the local health authorities and we will have to follow their directives. All names will be kept confidential.

At the end of the day we will dismiss students from the classroom, and students will be picked up in front of the school as they always have. Students and teachers will leave the premises as soon as they can after dismissal so classrooms can be disinfected. There will be Before Care and After Care, and the gym will be disinfected immediately after students leave the gym. We have purchased two UV Lights that are able to disinfect each classroom in five minutes and fifteen minutes for the gym.

In the Return to School Plan we must provide the option of remote learning from home. Our teachers will do this from the classroom live as they teach the students that are in the classroom.

As we prepare for our in school instruction, I ask for your prayers, your patience and your support. The beginning may be a little chaotic, and it will take us a week or two to get into a routine. I am confident that we can do this. I believe in my heart that in school instruction is the way to proceed during this very disruptive pandemic of COVID 19. I have been praying my rosary that we will have a successful opening and transition into our in school instruction. I ask that you join me in praying for the success of this wonderful school we call St. Therese. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

God bless,

Tim Dunnigan

Principal STS

Friday, July 31, 2020

"The Word of the Lord remains forever; this is the Word that has been proclaimed to you." Peter 1 Pt 1:25

I hope all is well with our St. Therese families on this final day of July. Up to this point it has been a very busy summer. We have many new families registering and enrolling in our school. This is good news.

In between family tours and meetings with new families this month I have been working with principals, teachers and the Diocese on a Return to School Plan for September. The plan is finished, and we will open our doors to our students for in school instruction on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. I will present the plan in a video taped message that will be found on our web page so parents can view and listen to the guidelines at a time that is most convenient for them. I realize everyone has different schedules and I believe this is the best way for everyone to have an opportunity to view or read the message.

I hope to post the plan on our website by Tuesday, August 4. I ask that all parents either view the presentation or read the document. After listening to the presentation or reading the document, you can email me at with any questions and I will get back to you.

For our Hopatcong, Netcong and Stanhope students I am happy to report that we will have busing for those students attending St. Therese School in the Fall.

Have a wonderful weekend and may the Risen Christ bless you,
Tim Dunnigan
Principal STS

"Blessed are You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Matthew 11:25

 Today we have finished our third week of school and our first full week. Students and teachers are in full swing and all seem to be happy t...