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Our Students St. Joseph's Catholic Community of Grand Rapids is a vibrant faith community located in northern Minnesota. St. Joseph's School is an important part of the St. Joseph's Catholic Community.  We love our students and are privileged to work in partnership with our school families.
Academic Opportunities Academic opportunities at St. Joseph's School include Math Masters, Science Fair, Spelling Bee, Reading Rainbow Writers' Contest, Geography Bee, and numerous field trips. We value the academic enrichment these experiences bring to our children's education. Summer Tutoring 
Service Activities No matter the age, our parish community embraces and serves everyone when we join together in sharing the importance of Catholic faith in our lives.  Students have donated their time through a school marathon by raking leaves for those in need.  Some students worked at the Food Self or collected donations for Habitat for Humanity, Grace House and the Itasca County Autism Group, and God's Little Angels' Orphanage in Haiti.

 St. Joseph's School Family Newsletter

March 24, 2014

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” 

           –Pope Francis               



Spring Thaw is Thursday, April 24

Timberlake Lodge, 5:30 to 9:30



Our students are preparing for the coming of Easter during this Lenten season in many ways. Each classroom has special lessons that focus on the disciplines of Lent.

Stations of the Cross will be led by our 6th graders on April 11 at 6 pm and again on April 16, the Wednesday of Holy Week, at 1:00. You are invited to come and pray with us.

Second graders are preparing for their First Communion (April 27), and have attended Reconciliation for the first time. Students in grades 3-4-5-6 will also attend Reconciliation at school during Lent.

OPERATION RICE BOWL, a school-wide program of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, is underway. We hope your family has found the ideas from Operation Rice Bowl enriching for your family’s observation of Lenten practices of fasting and almsgiving.


March 28 Dance Program @ 2:00
Report cards sent home

April 2 Long Lake (6th grade)

April 11 School Stations of the Cross
& KC Fish Fry

April 14/15 Spanish Projects due (grades 2/3/4/5/6)

April 14-15-16 Preschool Conferences

April 17, 18, 21 NO SCHOOL (Holy Week/Easter)

Grade 5 to Science Museum

April 27 First Communion (grade 2)

May 1 Wizard of Oz Essays due (grades 5/6)

May 2 Science Fair (grades 4/5/6)

Spanish/Computer/Gym/Music Notes on School Website
If you need to know the vocabulary for a Spanish project, want to know what needs to be turned in for computer class, or read what is happening in gym; please go to our school website. For example, to read about the Spanish project for April, go to:
Click on Classrooms
Click on Spanish
Click on April (at the bottom of the Spanish page)


The library staff would like to thank all of you for your help with the Book Fair. Whether you volunteered with your time or your checkbook, Jamie Lemke and I appreciate everything you did to help our students.
This big event on the Catholic Schools Week calendar couldn't happen without the help of a special group of women who volunteer their time to operate the cash drawer and help the children navigate the stacks of new books. Jamie and I thank you in particular.
The Book Fair is a good fundraiser for our school library, but above all, I love it because it is a great opportunity for us to get books into the hands of our children.
We made over $1000 this year and I'm happy to report that every penny of our profit goes into buying new books for our school library.
One of the books we bought is a replacement copy of Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner. Our old copy is going into retirement after being read to dozens of classes and being checked out over forty times in the last seven years.
We also purchased a copy of Kate DiCamillo's 2014 Newbery Award winning book Flora & Ulysses. Kate is a Minnesota author and her books make great read-aloud books for children of all ages.
Reading to your children is something they will never outgrow. Take time this week to read with your children! -John Nalan


St. Joseph’s School Board, as it moves forward with technology recommendations for our school, is asking for information from our families. Last week, I sent out via School Reach notification system, a link to a short (10 question) survey about technology in your home and at our school.

If you were unable to access the survey from this message, please type the following into the address bar of your browser:

Please complete this brief survey this week to ensure that your voice is heard and the School Board has information to work with as they hold their discussions. If you do not have internet at home, you are welcome to use a computer at school to complete this survey. We also have paper copies available at the school office for your use. If you wish to talk with a board member or the principal in person about your thoughts on technology, we would welcome the conversation. Thank you!


The third quarter of this school year will end on March 20. There is NO SCHOOL for students Friday, March 21. Teachers will be working on third quarter report cards and planning for the last quarter of the school year. Report cards will be sent home March 28.


Grades 1 and 5 will be in charge of Mass on May 14, and Kindergarten will be in charge of Mass on May 21.


The Catholic United Financial Raffle brought in $8600, $1665 more than last year’s total-Hooray! The family of Hunter Coatsworth sold the highest number of tickets, and for their efforts, Hunter will receive a Kindle Fire-WOW! The class with the highest number of sales was the Kindergarten class. They have earned a Pizza Party-way to go!
All prizes for students and for the raffle were donated by Catholic United Financial. We truly appreciate their support of Catholic Schools.
Prizes from the raffle will be announced this week-we will keep you posted!


This Thursday and Friday I will join other Catholic school principals from throughout Minnesota to talk with state senators and representatives about our schools and the bills being presented during this session that would have an impact on what we do.
I find this work challenging, but interesting. I have come to realize that it is necessary for our voice to be heard as part of the legislative process. Please say an extra prayer for us that we will speak well for our schools and be heard.
If you are someone who is interested in participating by sending emails on topics that concern Catholic education, please let me know. There are some simple, but effective ways for you to participate and make a difference for our schools and our students.


In our last White Envelope, we sent home a notice of how many service hours your family had completed and recorded. I also indicated that each family would be billed for unfulfilled hours during the last quarter of school. I apologize for the confusion for those who are going to complete their hours by means of Spring Thaw (April 24), Science Fair (May 2), May field trips or the Fun Festival on the last day of school.

Please email us ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), to let us know how you are going to fulfill your hours in May if that is what you plan to do. We will wait until the completion of Spring Thaw to begin the billing process this year-and will not bill people who will be completing hours in May.

Remember to complete Service Hour Forms and leave them at the school office. We will send home information to you about YOUR family’s hours in an April White Envelope. We truly need everyone’s help in keeping tuition affordable and in making our school the special place for learning that it is-thank you for your time!


Students in grades 4-5-6 will participate in our annual science fair on Friday, May 3. Students this year will not only be supported by their teachers during class time, but will receive guidance from some science fair judges during the weeks preceding the science fair. Our goal is to help students better understand the scientific process and the applications science has for our world.


Sacramental preparation takes place during Lent for students in Grade 2. Please keep these children in your prayers as they prepare and receive these sacraments. What wonderful gifts of grace!


We extend a special THANK YOU to those who have already stepped forward to help with this BIG event. We need helpers in a variety of areas-this is a great way to fulfill service hours. Please see enclosed sheet to sign up-thanks!

In our March 24 White Envelope we will send home posters for you to help publicize the event. We will also send home tickets for you to sell. Please let people know that this is a FUN evening for everyone in the community as well as out-of-town visitors. Invite grandparents coming for First Communion to come early to get in on Spring Thaw.

After this looonnngg winter, it will be good to come together to celebrate Spring! We encourage all of our parents and their friends to come and have a great time at Spring Thaw Thursday, April 24, beginning at 5:30.


The school has some funding available for a program or project at the school. In this White Envelope you will find a Grant Application. The School Board, Principal and Pastor review applications. We want to hear your good ideas!!

Feasts of St. Joseph and St. Patrick

The Feast of St. Joseph, our church’s patron saint, is March 19. As husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus, he holds a special place in our faith history and serves as a model of how we should say yes to what God calls us to be. We ask for his blessings on our church and school. And-for those who will remember with joy the Feast of St. Patrick-we celebrate with you in spirit and wish you his blessings always- Have a great week!



These lessons will be taught in K-6 classrooms during March. Please read enclosed information. You only need to send in this slip if you opt out of this program. If you have questions after reading this information, please contact your child’s teacher or Mrs. Matetich.



I see parents taking pictures of the children at events such as skating or concerts or at special school events.  PLEASE SEND PICTURES TO THE SCHOOL FOR THE YEARBOOK.  It is only with your help that we can gather pictures of ALL students. 

Some volunteers are working on a secure drop-box for these photos. In the meantime, send pictures to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

YEARBOOK PICTURES FOR GRADE 6  Each year, parents send in a picture of their child as a baby and write a special message for our yearbook.  We need two parents to take charge of collecting these pictures, messages and doing the layout for the yearbook.  Time to get started now!  Contact Mrs. Lagergren or the school office, and we will connect you with the yearbook volunteers who will show you how to do this.


 Needed: Friendly Faces at the Front Desk and Front Entrance

Of course, Mrs. Maturi is the friendly face that greets you most often, but her lunchroom duties take her away from her desk during a part of the day. We have some great parents who sit at the desk, but are in need of substitutes that could be called on to help. Time commitment is 11:25 to 12:15. Please call Mrs. Maturi if you can help out.


News from Senora Cortes

In our last white envelope, you received information about a CONCORDIA LANGUAGE VILLAGE WEEKEND. We have a chance to take some students April 11 (Friday evening) through April 13. We took some students a few years ago-it was a unique experience, both fun and challenging as it is a Spanish language immersion weekend. If you would like your child to go, please read through the materials we sent home or contact our school office ASAP. There is a cost involved in attending this weekend.


AND-Spanish Projects It has been fun to talk with parents who have come in to see the Family Trees that students have completed. If you want information on this project, please go to our website, click on the Classrooms tab, then click on the Spanish tab. You will also find information on our Computer program and our Physical Education program on our website-along with my letters, the lunch menu, schedules and MANY other helpful “things to know”!




- Everyone should enter by way of the main front drive. Exit by way of the main front drive or out of the parent parking lot.
If we all remember 1 entrance and 2 exits for vehicles, we think this will alleviate congestion and potential problems

.-Our parking lot surface conditions continually change. Please walk carefully!

-Flu season is underway. Please refer to School Handbook for policies and procedures. Take care!

-School Closings will happen for St. Joseph’s School when school is closed for District 318. A School Reach call will also be sent in the event of school closing due to weather or other factors.         

Drop-off is going well for the most part, but we remind ALL of those who drop off children beginning at 8:00, PLEASE DO NOT PARK AND GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL IN THE MORNING when you drop off your children. Park in the parent parking lot if you wish to get out of your vehicle. Thank you!


Need ideas for ways to help? Check our website: . Click on the Parent Resources Tab to find the Fundraising and Services Opportunities booklet which is FULL of ways in which we need help throughout the school year.


The mission of the St. Joseph’s School Board is “to provide for the necessary guidance and decisive environment for the proper function of the school.” (Board Constitution)

This consultative board works with the principal and the pastor to help set procedures in place to achieve overall goals for the school. The School Board was an important part of supporting the move to our new school and crafting the School Self-Study for our School Strategic Plan for accreditation.

Current board members are Bob Beaver, Molly Miskovich, Amanda Butterfield, Steve Achan, Amanda Dosen-Windorski, Tricia Sterle, Heidi Chandler, Mandy Dick, Jean Key, Jay Sonder, Doreen Seekon and Matt Anthony. I encourage you to contact any of these people with questions or concerns you may have about St. Joseph’s School. If you wish to attend a meeting and present your ideas to the Board in person, please contact the Board in writing at least a week before the upcoming meeting.

Meetings are scheduled for the following dates this year: December 19, January 16, February 13, March 20, April 10, and May 15.


GRAB & GO   Each morning from 8:10 to 8:25 am students can purchase items such as Breakfast Rounds, granola bars, go-gurt, fresh fruit, milk or orange juice. This is a great way for students who left home without breakfast to eat something before the start of the school day.

Your child can bring money each time or you can establish an account for him/her; make checks payable to St. Joseph’s Church. Please note that this program is separate from the Hot Lunch program so money put into a child’s Hot Lunch account cannot be used for Grab & Go.

Please sign up to help from 8- 8:30 to help sell items-great way to earn service hours!

UNIFORM CLOSET   The Uniform Closet is a free service. Apparel may be taken and donations may be given at any time. Approved uniform pants, shorts, skorts, jumpers and white shirts/polos are accepted. Red and blue sweatshirts or crew neck, polar fleece or hooded sweatshirts with St. Joe’s logo are accepted. Vests, cardigans and pullovers may be donated. Please no rips, stains, or heavy signs of wear. Socks, shoes and hair pieces are not accepted. 

Steps to Respect

is the name of the curriculum our teachers use in Grades 3-4-5-6 that addresses skills for making friends and handling bullying. Teachers in Preschool, Kdg, and Grades 1-2 also present lessons that address these skills using age appropriate stories and discussions.In the area of bullying, as is age appropriate, classrooms focus on how to: RECOGNIZE bullying, REFUSE bullying, and REPORT bullying.  

One of our faculty’s goals is to be able to respond in a consistent manner to reports of bullying. Teachers have participated in training sessions as part of the Steps to Respect program. All teachers and I take turns supervising students during lunch recess alongside our playground supervisor to observe firsthand the interactions of our students. 

If your child tells you about bullying behavior that (s)he has experienced or has witnessed, please encourage him/her to complete a report with a teacher or the principal. Please contact your child’s teacher or me if you have questions about our curriculum or reporting procedures. We appreciate the interest and support parents have given us in our continuing efforts to create a respectful environment at St. Joseph’s School.


We Love Notes and Phone Messages!
Please send a note to let your child’s teacher and the office know if you need to take them from school during the day. Unless we hear from you, if your child is not picked up by 3:10, we will ask them to go to SAC.
If your child is sick and will be absent, please call our office (326-6232). You can leave a message even in the middle of the night (often the time our children let us know they are sick….) If we do not receive a call from you on a day your child is not in school, we need to contact you.
We want the children to be in class as much as possible. We ask that you make appointments for children outside of school hours whenever possible. Children will be called down to the office upon your arrival at the school office to minimize the time they will be gone from class. Thank you for working with us on this procedure.

SAFE ENVIRONMENT FORMS If you are a parent that wants to go on field trips with our students or work with students (and we encourage ALL parents to do so), you need to complete the Safe Environment Forms once every five years. Ask your child’s teacher or Mrs. Maturi if you need more information on this procedure. Thank you!

There is no direct supervision of children in the school before 8 am. 
UNLESS YOU HAVE CHECKED WITH MRS. MATETICH, please do not drop off children before 8 am. 

NEW THIS YEAR  Our gym teacher does not work at our school on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday mornings. If you can come to help watch students on those mornings in the gym between 8 and 8:15, we can open the gym for the students. Please contact our school office if you can help out. Thank you! 


St. Joseph's School is accredited through the Minnesota Non-public School Accreditation Association (MNSAA). Average class size is 22 students in grades Preschool through Grade 6.


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