Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workshops
Mr. Brian Corley (ISACS Equity & Justice Committee, National SEED Facilitator, Founder and CEO of SingleStory, Inc.) and Dr. Kellie Corley (Educational Consultant & COO of SingleStory, Inc.) visited Sion on Tuesday, February 21 and offered interactive workshops as part of Caring at Sion, our character education program, for students in grades 4-8, all GS faculty and staff, and parents.
All workshops shared the same learning goals:
Participants started by carrying out an activity to celebrate their multicultural selves and celebrate differences without offending others. They selecting five different groups they identify with. Some examples include ethnicity or country of origin, gender, religion, appearance, family role, language, learning difference, hobbies, interests, school affiliation, and sports clubs, among others, etc. After they were asked to think and share (if desired) a time when they felt very proud to be a member of a certain group, a time when it felt very painful or embarrassing to be a member of a certain group, and one thing they wish people would never say about one of their groups.
This activity was used as a framework to provide all participants with language to combat negative stereotypes and/or acts of insensitivity in a positive and productive way. Further, to increase sensitivity by providing understanding about the power of words and actions, and how these can impact others regardless of the original intent.
Participants received toolkits to spot and understand the difference between bias and prejudice, bullying, belittling jokes, and exclusion, separation, diversity, and inclusion. The need to strive for and nurture inclusion was highlighted. In addition, our presenters stressed the importance of confronting and speaking up against bias and prejudice, and provided strategies to help accomplish this in an effective, respectful, and compassionate manner, to include instances when one could be the offender.
These strategies are useful and applicable for all types of relational interactions: student-student, student-teacher, student-parent, teacher-teacher, parent-parent, etc. After reviewing each one of them, students, faculty, staff, and parents engaged in different age-appropriate collaborative case studies where they had to select the most suitable strategy and write/share a response to the specific cases.
Academic & Athletic Accolades
Duke University Talent Identification Program (DUKE TIP)
The Duke TIP is dedicated to being a global leader in identifying academically talented students and providing them with innovative programs to assess the extent of their abilities with above-level testing, recognize them for their achievements, and provide them with a variety of enrichment learning opportunities. This year, we had 39 students in grades 5-7 qualify for this recognition. Congratulations to these students and all their teachers for all their hard work and dedication!
Congratulations to our Middle School Science Olympiad team who qualified to the State Tournament! In addition, Ruth H. and Maya R. (8th grade) obtained the gold medal in “Solar System” qualifying individually as Regional champions! The State Tournament will take place on Saturday, April 7 at Westminster College. Many many thanks to Jim, Christian, parent volunteers, and everyone for their amazing hard work, dedication, and support to the team! Vive Sion!
Congratulations to the following students who entered artwork for submission at Images Gallery in Overland Park: Aynslee D. (Grade 2), Jack R. (Grade 5), Zoë W. (Grade 5), Lily D. (Grade 6), Ellie R. (Grade 6), Lilly S. (Grade 6), Lily T. (Grade 6), Tessa T. (Grade 6), Sophie E. (Grade 7), and Maya R. (Grade 8).
Congratulations to Ruth H. (Grade 8) who qualified for the State Geography Bee competition. The Missouri State Bee will take place on Friday, April 6 at Moberly Area Community College.
Congratulations to the 5th, 6th, and 8th grade girls basketball teams for making it to the City Tournament Finals. Especially, congratulations to the Grade 5 girls basketball team (top photo below) that placed first in the city championship! The grade 6 girl basketball team placed second in the city championship, as well as the 8th Grade girls team (see photo below). Well done and Vive Sion!
Sion is continuously working towards being a school of character, where adults embrace their critical role as models. Teachers work together as professionals—and with parents and community members as partners—to positively shape the social, emotional, and character development of the young people entrusted to them each day.
This is essential so that all students feel safe, respected, and connected to those around them, allowing them to thrive academically and socially and be motivated to give back to their communities. Guided by our mission, vision, and statement of diversity, we seek to build communities of belonging and caring within our school and beyond.
Making Caring Common
The last blog entry introduced our character education program, Caring at Sion, and I wanted to share an update on how we are making caring at Sion, common. The program started with our first kindness challenge week in October. As part of our daily challenges, we collected funds to help those impacted by the natural disasters. Thank you to your generous donations, we were able to donate a total of $902.04 to the "Estoy con Puerto Rico" relief fund through Catholic Charities. The video below shows highlights of the kindness challenge week at Sion.
As mentioned on the previous entry, our Caring Advisories started some weeks ago. Mrs. Esquivel has been meeting with students in grades 4-8 individually and sharing age appropriate seminars built from resources from the Making Caring Common Project from Harvard University, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and the Teaching Tolerance project on bullying, friendships, respecting each other, diversity, equity, and inclusion, choosing kindness, the power of words, and others. Students in grades M-3 will continue to also delve into these topics with their homeroom teachers. The advisories will be further supported with the upcoming guest speakers, Mindfulness in Motion sessions and bullying prevention seminars (please see below), additional kindness challenges, and more.
Mr. Brian Corley & Dr. Kellie Corley - Save the Date (2/20)!
Mr. Brian Corley (ISACS Equity & Justice Committee, National SEED Facilitator, Founder and CEO of SingleStory, Inc.) and Dr. Kellie Corley (Educational Consultant) will be on campus to present on Tuesday, February 20. They will provide four hands-on 90 min workshops for students, faculty and staff, and parents as follows:
Grades 6-8- 9:15 - 10:45 am
Grades 4-5 - 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Faculty & Staff - 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Parents - 6:00-7:30 pm
Workshops for students will focus on the exploration of their multicultural-selves and identities, and how we can celebrate our differences without offending others. With this workshop, students will engage in a reflective intrapersonal exercise that helps them explore various aspects of their identity - ie. race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and religion. It will provide students with language to combat negative stereotypes and/or acts of insensitivities in a positive and productive way. This workshop aims to strengthen students’ capacity for greater sensitivity to the ways our actions and/or words can impact others regardless of intent.
Sessions for faculty and parents will focus on strengthening empathy as a way to foster positive relationships with others. Participants will begin to unpack events from their personal lives that influence the way they think, their beliefs, and values. Both groups will be provided follow-up activities for continued conversations with students, as well as toolkits for engaging in conversations about diversity and empathy.
The entire Grade School parent community is invited to participate in this wonderful workshop on Tuesday, February 20 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Refreshments will be served. I look forward to seeing you then!
Mindfulness in Motion
Research shows that mindfulness and yoga improve balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children. Likewise, yoga and mindfulness offer psychological benefits for children as well. A growing body of research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior. Further, it can also reduce anxiety and stress in children. More information on the mindfulness movement and how independent schools are incorporating it into the classroom can be accessed here.
Robin Cline, M.A., RYT, current Sion faculty member and parent, led mindfulness and yoga professional development sessions by level in November, to share how these can be incorporated into the curriculum, as part of our Mindfulness in Motion ancillary sessions to support our character education program, Caring at Sion.
Sion has been offering yoga as an elective as part of our middle school curriculum and after school Sion Academies since the beginning of the 2016-2017 year. As we continue to strive to providing students with the best well-balanced education, we will offer one 30-min mindfulness session per semester for all students. Mrs. Cline started with the 8th and 7th grades in December during semester exams. More information regarding the days, times, and the option to opt out of these sessions will be shared by grade level.
Bullying Prevention Seminars
Mr. Joshua Palmer, developmental psychologist and fourth-degree black belt will provide seminars on anti-bullying based on the ATA curriculum to students in grades 4-6 during second semester during seventh period. He will work on adapting some lessons for students in grade 7 and with primary teachers for students in grades K-3.
Together as a Community
Even though Mrs. Esquivel has been leading the Caring Advisory sessions, character education is a responsibility of everyone in the Sion community. As such, she shares the main terms (eg. upstander, respectful, compassionate, etc.) and definitions used during these sessions with all faculty to incorporate as essential questions in student homerooms and classrooms, to ensure that caring advisories result in meaningful learning.
On behalf of the entire Notre Dame de Sion School Faculty & Staff, I would like to extend you and yours warmest wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season. It is truly a blessing and privilege to be a part of your student's learning journey. We are deeply committed to providing all students with the best educational experience to prepare them for high school, college, and beyond. Thank you very much for your continued support and commitment to our school.
May your holidays be filled with many blessings of joy, health, love, and peace. Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!
Sion Students are their Brother's Keepers
The Notre Dame de Sion School community has a deep commitment to character education for all students. We value empathy, compassion, and respect, which arise from an innate sense of caring for each other, the world, and a sense of responsibility to mankind. The Sion mission and our Catholic social teaching signature program provide the foundation through which Sion students are instinctively guided to act with integrity and honesty, serve others, as well as take responsibility for their actions and consequences.
Making Caring Common at Sion
From early childhood to middle school, Sion teachers will purposefully integrate character development across the curriculum and student life throughout the school year. In addition, we will continue using initiatives that reinforce kindness, respect, and compassion throughout the school year.
Pledge of Kindness
Building from the social-emotional learning skills acquired from last year's sessions with Mrs. Berger, and in alignment with this year's school theme of Leading with Compassion: Listen, Learn, Love", as well as the Sion mission and Catholic Social Teaching, Valuing the Life and Honoring the Dignity of Each Human Person, all students will take a pledge of kindness to one another in the month of October. In this manner, they will vow to be their brother's keepers by bringing compassion to our school and respect for one another.
Kindness Challenge Weeks
Throughout the school year, the Sion community will participate in kindness challenge weeks to show our appreciation and respect for one another, others, and our surroundings. Our first Kindness Challenge Week will take place during Spirit Week (October 2-6), as we join Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Students will engage in different age-appropriate activities in which they will display different acts of kindness as follows:
Students in grades 4-8 will also participate in advisory seminars using resources from the Making Caring Common Project from Harvard University, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and others on the month of October by grade levels, and an additional seminar during the spring semester. Likewise, students in grades Pre-K-3 will continue to provide lessons which focus on kindness and compassion.
Schools of Character
To further affirm and support our commitment to helping students become their brother's keepers, Notre Dame de Sion School will be submitting an application this year to become recognized as a School of Character, and an application to the Caring Schools Program from Harvard University in the 2018-2019 school year, when they will be receiving new applications. The Making Caring Common Project also offers resources available for parents.
Spotlight: New at Sion
Visit Sion's new K-8 Studio Art site, which can be accessed via OnCampus, our new learning management system. This site provides information about Mrs. Teasley's art class: the Art Studio habits of mind, art techniques learned in the classroom, student work, artists of the month, and much more!
Digital Citizenship, Literacy & Research
Mr. McFarland is offering a new class for students in grades 4 and 5 based on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards, to help them acquire the necessary skills to thrive in a constantly changing technological landscape in a responsible and safe manner. In addition, it will prepare students to be effective producers of technology.
Innovation, Literacy & Research Centers
Mr. Kaspyzk and Mrs. Nelson exchanged rooms during the summer to support our continuous improvement efforts to provide a literacy and STEAM-based curriculum with a makerspace environment for all students, while continue building their literacy and research skills. Students are given the opportunity to apply their design and critical thinking skills to become innovators as they explore areas of interest through Pre-K-3 STEAM classes, K-8 Robotics, 6-8 Innovation, Design, and Modeling, Library, as well as after school enrichment classes.
Fitness & Health
Mr. Fowler has been redesigning the Fitness & Health curriculum to offer K-8 students a rotation of fitness classes and teams sport experience to enhance the physical education experience, and working with Mrs. George to teach students health on a quarterly basis. Likewise, he has started implementing a standards-based learning and assessment approach, which allows for personalizing the experience to each individual student's needs and interests.
Rain showers, warmer weather, and the blossoming of spring flowers indicate that the end of the school year is near. At this time, we prepare to celebrate another wonderful year of joyful learning, growth, service, and camaraderie at Sion. In the same manner, we look forward to congratulating the Grade School Class of 2017, as they set new goals, dream new dreams as they embark on their new journey to high school and beyond.
Student for a Day
It is truly an honor and privilege to visit classrooms throughout the year, and witness first-hand how every day is a beautiful day for teaching and learning at Sion. In addition to routine visits, I always follow students' schedules and become "a student for a day" as I attend classes with them. I am always amazed by the knowledge, dedication, passion, and commitment of our expert middle school faculty to tailor each lesson to the unique gifts and needs of every student in a rigorous academic environment, while also modeling lifelong learning and fostering intrinsic motivation. Likewise, our extraordinarily talented students are also a constant source of joy and inspiration. They are master inquirers, knowledge seekers, servant leaders, and empowered learners who are not afraid of being risk-takers and apply critical thinking skills to solve problems.
Whether students are learning about the anatomy and physiology of a squid and frog, finding the most appropriate technique to build igloos from recycled materials or creating Gelli prints, analyzing literature and writing poetry, solving inequalities, or delving into study of different cultures (see pictures below), Sion students are active and engaged learners who have a voice. Their voice teach us how they learn best, what their hopes, interests and expertise are, and how we can better support their learning, by empowering students to be the best that they can be. At Sion, we always include student voice in our teaching and learning practices.
Missouri Math League
Congratulations to 7th and 8th grade students and Mr. Weems for placing 6th out of 20 schools in the Missouri State Math League Competition, and to Maya R. and Nate S, for placing in the Top 31 students in the whole State ! Vive Sion!
Maya R., Mr. Weems, & Nate S.
Foreign Language Film Festival
Congratulations to our 8th grade Spanish students and Sra. Gonzalez for obtaining 2nd and 3rd place at the Foreign Language Film Festival at the University of Central Missouri.
Andrew L., Caroline G., Olivia S., Sophie H., Oscar S., Luke H., Alex M., Josie K., Violet A., & Ana C.
This year's Sion's Middle School Musical took place on April 27 and 28 at 6:30 pm in the gym. Adapted for young performers from Disney’s Broadway production and the motion picture, and based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories, The Little Mermaid JR. took the audience in an enchanting journey of love and acceptance, which flows seamlessly between land and sea. Congratulations to our extraordinarily talented students, cast, and crew on a magical production, and thank you to everyone who helped made it a great success!
Our K-8 Spring Concert took place on Tuesday, May 9 at 8:15 am. It was a wonderful celebration of all the teaching and learning that has taken place this school year in Mrs. Stafford's classroom. Each Middle School grade performed two songs in the Band Instruments and did a fantastic job!
Eighth Grade Awards & More
Celebrations for the Grade School Class of 2017 started today with the traditional end-of-year 8th Grade Awards Ceremony in the Chapel. Each school year, our amazing Middle School faculty presents awards to the 8th grade class in the presence of entire middle school student body. These awards are chosen by each teacher and are based on different qualities that have made a student stand out during their time in Middle School, and are usually non-academic based. Some of the awards received included: Best Lab Partner, Best World Language Movie Participation, Always Aiming High, and Tell Me More, among others. This truly heartwarming and emotional ceremony was a fantastic way to start celebrating all the wonderful accomplishments of our 8th grade students. In addition, Mr. Weems also recognized 7th and 8th students who obtained top places in the Mathematics Competitions during the year. Congratulations to the Class of 2017!
Continuing with one of the Grade School's most anticipated traditions, the 8th Grade Class of 2017 traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 29 with Mr. Ray, Mr. Weems, and Mrs. Dasenbrock. This educational program provided students with fast-paced and fun-filled hands-on opportunities to interact with government and history in D.C. and Gettysburg, while also meeting and engaging with students from other middle schools across the country. They had wonderful time and created memories with their Sion classmates that will last for a lifetime!
Come and support our Boys Volleyball Team as they compete in the City Tournament. Dates and locations can be found on the Parochial League website. GO Sion Lions!
Sion Sports Boosters
Stay tuned for informational fliers that will be e-mailed/sent home regarding how to support your student athletes and promote school spirit and good sportsmanship at all sporting events.
Tuesday, May 9 at 8:15 am - K-8 Spring Concert in the Gym
Tuesday, May 9 at 1:20 pm - Eighth Grade Award Ceremony (students Only)
Wednesday, May 10 at 6:00 pm - Sports Booster Banquet for student athletes and their families
Thursday, May 11 - Late Start/Last day of school, 11:00 am send-off and noon dismissal for 8th grade
Friday, May 12 at 6:30 pm - Eighth Grade Banquet in the Grande Salle
Monday, April 15 at 12:50 pm - Fifth Grade Step-Up day in the Chapel (students only)
Tuesday, April 16 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm - Eight Grade Breakfast/Retreat/Graduation Practice (students only)
Wednesday, April 17 at 4:15 pm -Graduation Mass & Ceremony
Thursday, April 18 - Grade 6 & 7 Field Trips/ Last Day of EDP
Friday, April 19 - Last Day of School and Noon Dismissal
What is the Sion Difference?
Sion students are intrinsically motivated and independent, lifelong scholars. Sion’s 21st century learning curriculum and personalized instruction approach focus on knowledge and future-ready ensuring that students acquire the habits of mind and skill sets necessary for the college-preparatory curriculum of high school and beyond. Likewise, the Sion community, comprised of faculty, students, and parents, has a deep commitment to justice and service. We value empathy, compassion, and respect, which arise from an innate sense of caring for the world and a sense of responsibility to mankind. Sion students are instinctively guided to act with integrity and honesty, serve others, as well as take responsibility for their actions and consequences. As such, Sion students are agents of change who strive to be their best selves and use their unique gifts and talents to serve others and make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
Please enjoy some of the amazing teaching and learning moments that characterized the Sion Difference during the 3rd quarter. Thank you for your continued support, and have a wonderful spring break!
It's always a beautiful day for teaching and learning at Sion!
Grade 6 has been learning about the geography and history of Ancient Egypt and Kush, grade 7 has been delving into the geography and history of Early African civilizations, and the Empires of Asia-China, while grade 8 students have been acquiring American History knowledge and research skills as they study Reconstruction and the expansion to the West. Also, congratulations to 8th grade student, Oscar S., and Mr. Ray for qualifying to compete in the state level of the National Geographic Bee! The Missouri State Bee will take place on Friday, March 31 at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Vive Sion!
Our 7th and 8th Grade students participated in the Missouri Math League competition on Tuesday, February 28. The goal is to provide students with educationally enriching opportunities to participate in academically-oriented activities and to gain recognition for their mathematical achievement in an encouraging way. Also, our students led by Mr. Weems and Mrs. Welsh celebrated Pi Day on March 8 with engaging activities like using patterns to represent pi by making a bracelet, a paper chain, or a bar graph. In addition, they had the opportunity to play a game involving adding decimals (including pi), they could complete a word scramble or Pi Day sudoku, or a Pi Day coloring page. Of course, proving pi exists was part of the day (and having some pie) as well!
Our Science Olympiad team led by Mr. Flournoy and Mr. Eikermann competed at Penn Valley Community College in the Region 3 qualifying tournament on Saturday March 4, 2017. The team competed in all 23 events and finished 5th out of 18 teams. They missed qualifying for the state tournament by only a few points. Team members who medalled in the following events were: Crime Busters (Briana S./ Ruth H.), Fast Facts (Avery B./ Oscar S.), Microbe Mission (Nate S. / Travis K.), Optics ( Travis K. / Luke H), Rocks and Minerals (Lukas G. / Oscar S) and Wright Stuff ( Max S. / Nate S.). We are so proud of this team for their seven month journey of hard work and collaboration.
Grade 6 has been working on a thematic unit (helping each other, bravery, human decency) using the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Likewise, they have been exploring real and fictional characters who accomplished their goals, as well as those who were heroes for doing the right thing. The main skills acquired this quarter have been summarizing, paragraph editing, comparing and contrasting, plot events, among others. Grade 7 has been working on a thematic unit (friendship, differences, loyalty, dealing with Bullies, death of a friend), using the novel Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, while 8th grade is working on a thematic unit on racial inequalities, Jim Crow Laws, family struggles and loyalty with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The main skills acquired has been summarizing, making connections, analyzing passages, writing an argument essay, and essay response to literature, as well as literature circle groups. Grade 6 students are also participating in the Battle of the Books.
Our Middle School Debate Team, led by Mr. Kaspzyk, has established itself with great success within the Kansas City debate community. Students competed in three tournaments (Sumner Academy, University Academy and Debate Kansas City Champs) and did very well, 4th place in Novice and Varsity Student Congress (7th grade student), 5th place in Novice Student Congress (8th grade student), 4th out of 40 teams in Novice Policy debate (6th grade), and one of our grade 6 girls, placed 9th out of 80 students for best speaker in the Novice division. Likewise, one of our 7th grade boys was nominated as best speaker for his chamber of student congress.
Students have been strengthening their French skills by listening to native speakers through their online textbook, while taking about their classes, asking questions and expressing negation, using near future tense to express where they are going and what they are going to do. The 8th graders have wrapped up the filming of their French and Spanish films and will be attending the International Film Festival at UMC on April 7th. Likewise, 8th grade students have been strengthening their Spanish skills while learning about the marketplace, clothing by seasons and industry materials. The unit culminated in a fashion show, where students narrated the clothing style and materials being modeled by fellow students.
Thank you to all our wonderful coaches and our amazing Sion athletes for another great basketball season! We are so proud of our teams! The teams played very well and all of our teams made it into the end of the season tournament. Sixth grade girls made it to the semi-final round of their tournament, they gave it their best but lost in the final minutes of the game. The sixth grade boys also played very well. After a great season, the 7th grade boys made it to the semi-final round and lost a heart-breaker in the final seconds of the game. Seventh grade girls lost in the first round of their tournament, but played very well. Likewise, 8th grade boys lost in the semi-final round. Congratulations to the 8th grade girls who won the Parochial League Tournament this past Saturday. Boys volleyball and track practices will start after spring break. Go Sion Lions!
January 20 marked the 175th anniversary of what the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion affectionately refers to as "the event of January 20, 1842". Both schools celebrated with Mass at the Grade School, along with other Sion schools throughout the world, with school-wide events and treats! Continuing the tradition of the tradition of the founding sisters, who promoted doing fun and engaging activities during Feast Day, Maisons participated in the annual "Minute to Win It" competition hosted by Middle School faculty on January 20. Orange House was the winner!
Social Emotional Learning
Mrs. Leslie Berger (high school counselor intern and head basketball coach) is carrying out part of her internship at our grade school by working with K-8 students in social emotional learning sessions, where students acquire critical competencies necessary for academic and life success in areas like: kindness, self-concept, self-respect and respect for others, resolving conflicts, managing emotions, and making responsible decisions, among others. Each group will participate in 6-8 sessions depending on the schedule.
Sion Summer Spectacular
We are thrilled to offer engaging, innovative, and age-appropriate summer enrichment opportunities for boys and girls in the arts, STEM, wellness and fitness led by our outstanding faculty and renowned industry partners. Our camps are open for all students in Pre-K – Grade 8, and have been designed to accommodate your family’s schedule, offering weekly camps, as well as morning and afternoon extended day care options. Whether students take center stage with Camellot Academy, design video games, become sound artists, or storybook engineers with Level-Up Village and their global partners, or participate in our weekly classes with our expert instructors, Sion Summer Spectacular will make their inner superhero shine! Sion Summer Spectacular’s catalog can be found on our website, and registration is now available through CampBrain. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Mr. Cody Kaspzyk with any questions you might have.
March 9: Noon Dismissal. EDP open (12:00-5:30pm)
March 10-21: Spring break. EDP Open on March 10 and 20.
March 17: Re-enrollment contracts due.
March 2: ALLiance meeting. Last day for Sion Summer Spectacular early bird discount. First day of Sion Academies Session IV.
March 23: End of third quarter.
March 30: Red House service trip to Bishop Spencer. Boys, Burgers & Basketball.
March 31: Report cards mailed. State Geography Bee.
April 7: International Film Festival at UMC (8th grade)
April 13: Holy Thursday - Noon dismissal. EDP open (12:00-5:30pm)
April 14-17: Easter Holiday weekend. No school.
April 19: Mass service - Easter.
April 25: Culver's Night.
April 27 - 28: The Little Mermaid Jr. Musical
April 29: GS Parents scavenger hunt.
April 29 - May 4: 8th Grade Trip to D.C.
Welcome Back and Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. Having our students back at school is such a joy! Our second semester will continue to be filled with engaging and authentic opportunities for teaching and learning at Sion. Here are a few highlights of some of the most recent accomplishments of our amazing Sion lifelong learners. Our students are the ones who #BringtheJoy! Have a wonderful second semester!
In alignment with our commitment to academic excellence and STEAM, five 7th grade students attended "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Junior" last November. The day was filled with mentoring activities with professional women from Society of Women Engineers who organized numerous challenges, labs and games to encourage exploratory thought. They were exposed to the numerous roles and types of engineers, education needed and jobs that are available. Sion was one of 21 schools represented with over 100 girls from throughout the metro area. The event was held at UMKC’s Atterbury Success Center.
Sion’s Science Olympiad team, lead by Mr. Eikermann and Mr. Flournoy, competed Saturday, December 3, at the Pembroke Hill Invitational Science Olympiad. There were 32 schools from 5 states present. Sion medaled in 6 of the 18 events we entered. Students won awards in Bottle Rocket, Fast Facts, Mission Possible, Optics, Reach for the Stars and Rocks and Minerals. We had a full team of 18 in attendance, great success, and lots of good memories. Sion will host the Optics event at the next Invitational.
Science Olympiad Team at the Pembroke Invitational.
Seventh and eighth grade students have continued participating in the Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS) competition. The goal is to stimulate enthusiasm and love for Mathematics, acquire strategies in problem solving, deepening the study of Mathematics, and fostering Mathematical creativity, among others. To learn more about MOEMS please visit http://www.moems.org/program.htm. Our students have successfully participated in three events, and will continue to participate until March, when results will be received. Likewise, they will participate in the Missour Math League contest this upcoming February 28.
Sion Debate Team
Our Middle School Debate Team, led by Mr. Kaspzyk, continues to grow and establish itself successfully within the Kansas City debate community with success. Students have competed in a total of four tournaments since the beginning of our season in Policy debate as well as Student Congress debate. Students will have an opportunity to compete in three more tournaments in addition to a city wide final tournament in March.
Performing and Visual Arts
Our K-8 Art and Music teachers prepared our mid-year Visual and Performing Arts formative showcase this past December. Mrs. Teasley hosted an exhibit gallery of students’ Wonderful Original Work or “WOW” projects in the Francis Gallery. Likewise, she created a wonderful and informative documentary showcasing our nationally recognized “Teaching for Artistic Behavior” or TAB art program, and the process by which students learn art techniques. Mrs. Stafford, directed our amazing Christmas Concert, where our students showcased their learning in Orff Schulwerk principles, choir, and our musical instruments for the first time! The theme was “Bolt Around the World”, and it was certainly a night to remember!
Orange and Purple House students visited Bishop Spencer Place on Friday, January 6. Students chatted with the residents, and made tree ornaments, as well as snowmen with styrofoam spheres.
The schedule for the next visits to Bishop Spencer Place for this school is as follows:
Red House - Mar. 31
Yellow House - Apr. 28
Thanks to all the parents who provided transportation for these brief field trips. We are still in need of parent drivers for the upcoming visits. Please contact Mrs. Pearson if you are available to drive when your child’s House takes this trip.
Basketball Season started in October. Sion held its annual 5th and 6th grades boys and girls tournaments at the Grade School. The tournament was a great success and all the teams played well. Sion 5th grade girls team came in 2nd place and did great but unfortunately, did not make it to the finals. The Basketball tournament schedule for our teams can be found on the PLKC website.
Upcoming Grade School Events
For more detailed information about our upcoming events and parent volunteer opportunities please visit our Sion ALLiance page.
January 12 - Mom's Wine Gathering at Sasha's Bakery (5:30-7:30pm)
January 13 - Red Friday (wear Chief's gear/red/jeans)
Janury 16 - No School. Marthin Luther King Jr.
January 20 - Feast Day
January 24 - Feast Day Mass
January 26 - Late Start. Open House/Showcase (4:00-6:00pm) & International Marketplace (4:00-5:00pm).
January 30 - February 3- Catholic School's Week
February 3 - Vive Sion Spirit Day
February 7 - NAEP Testing for Grade 8 Students
February 10 - Parent/Teacher Conference Day
Dear Middle School Families,
On behalf of the entire Sion Middle School Faculty & Staff, I would like to extend warmest wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season. It is truly a blessing and privilege to be a part of your student's learning journey. We are deeply committed to providing all students with the best educational experience to prepare them for high school, college, and beyond. Thank you very much for your continued support and commitment to our school.
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Sion Middle School students have been working very hard to become more knowledgeable across a range of disciplines, as they engage in issues that have both local and global significance. As stewards of our Mission, students have been giving back to the community to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and leave their fingerprints on the world. Thus, learning the importance of balancing various aspects of their lives (intellectual, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional) to achieve well-being for themselves and others. Please find below a few highlights of the second quarter. Vive Sion!
Sion Debate Team
Our Middle School Debate Team, led by Mr. Kaspzyk, recently competed in this year's Debate Kansas City season opener, a debate tournament hosted by Arrowhead Middle School. Students competed in Student Congress debate as well as Policy debate. The team of Alex and Owen (8th grade) placed 10th and the team of Grace and Julian (6th grade) placed 7th out of 60 teams. Grace later received accolades for accumulating the 4th most speaker points at the tournament (4th out of 120 debaters). Congratulations to our NDS debate team! The next tournament will be held at Coronado Middle school, November 10th.
Sion's Science Olympiad team, led by Mr. Flournoy and Mr. Eikermann, attended the first Invitational Meet on Saturday, November 5 at California Trails Middle School. All of our 18 students participated in 20 events. A total of 520 students attended the event from both sides of the state line. The weather made it a perfect day for science! We obtained medals in Mission Possible, Meteorology, Bottle Rocket, Crime Busters, and Reach for the Stars. It was a great day of scientific inquiry, learning, making new friends, and lots of fun! Thanks to all the parents who provided transportation and refreshments.
Middle School students have been practicing in class to participate in the Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS) competition. There are five monthly contests (November - March), consisting of five non-routine problems. The goal is to stimulate enthusiasm and love for Mathematics, acquire strategies in problem solving, deepening the study of Mathematics, and fostering Mathematical creativity, among others. To learn more about MOEMS please click here.
All Saints' Day Mass
Our Grade School celebrated All Saints' Day on November 1 with a beautiful and inspirational service led by Fr. Thomas. Thanks to our 6th and 7th grades "Día de los Muertos" altars, we remembered and honored two very important women in our community: Mary Shanahan and Louise Human. Likewise, our 5th grade Spanish class created "ofrendas" to remember their loved ones. A special thanks to Mrs. Pearson, Sra. Gonzalez, Mrs. Stafford, and Mrs. Robards for all their help in the planning process.
Our Maisons started their service rotation in the month of October. Blue and Green House students visited Bishop Spencer Place on Friday, October 21 and November 4 respectively. Students chatted with the residents, played Halloween and Thanksgiving themed games, and made a “thankful” chain with green pipe cleaners. Everyone made a circle from a pipe cleaner. On tags, everyone wrote things for which they were thankful, and then tied these to the individual circles. Then, everyone joined their circles together and read all the “thankful things” for their table group.
The schedule for the next visits to Bishop Spencer Place for this school is as follows:
Orange House - Dec. 9
Purple House - Jan. 6
Red House - Mar. 31
Yellow House - Apr. 28
Thanks to all the parents who provided transportation for these brief field trips. We are still in need of parent drivers for the upcoming visits. Please contact Mrs. Pearson if you are available to drive when your child’s House takes this trip.
Trunk-or-Treat & Halloween Parade
Sion's first Trunk-or-Treat took place on Friday October 28, and our annual Halloween parade on October 31. The Sion faculty dressed up according to this year's theme: board games. To view the complete gallery of photos, please click here. In addition, middle school students enjoyed their first dance. Thank you to all 6th grade parents and room coordinator for all their support with the Halloween Dance.
The 8th grade girls placed first in the 7th/8th Grade Girls division at the championship meet for Cross Country on October 10th. The girls received their trophy today. Congratulations to Sophie, Olivia, Caroline, Abby, and Gabby. Way to go!
Our Volleyball team has had an amazing season and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments! The 4th grade team finished on a high note, while the 5th through 8th grades started playing their post-league tournaments on November 6. Grade 7 and 8 teams will continue playing until November 19 at different gyms throughout the city. Boys and Girls Basketball season started this week. We wish our Sion athletes continued success on their upcoming matches. Go Lions!
Welcome to the first entry of The Clark Report. New posts will be available at the beginning of each month. Please continue to check the Wednesday Weekly for announcements and upcoming events.
Back to School
The beginning of the school year has been filled with learning, team building, collaboration, trust, respect, and fun. Our incredible Middle School students were ready to #BringtheJoy as they attended classes, participated in K-State’s Challenge Course, and celebrated the beginning of a new school year at our Grade School Convocation. Likewise, our wonderful start to the school year would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, and expertise of our amazing Sion Faculty, who is always ready to help students succeed and reach their goals.
Our Middle School program meets the needs of the whole child (academic, spiritual, social, emotional, and physical) in a safe and nurturing environment, which embraces the unique gifts and background of each individual student. In alignment with Sion’s mission and lifelong commitment to academic excellence and to deeply value diversity within Sion’s 21st century learning curriculum, our outstanding Middle School faculty have been dedicated to building knowledge and future-ready skills through creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, ensuring that students acquire the necessary skills for the college-preparatory curriculum of high school of choice and beyond.
Likewise, our STEAM-focused electives provide students with additional learning opportunities to explore courses according to their interests, passion, and skills, providing an intellectual, physical and emotional balance to students. Some of our new electives this year include: Sion Debate Team, Innovation, Design & Modeling, Jazz Ensemble, Yoga, the Art of Play, and Sion Literary Magazine (The Compass), among others.
Academic Labs and Sectionals
Subject-specific academic labs in mathematics, language arts, and world languages are offered from 3:30-4:00pm to provide additional support for all students as well as before-school sectionals from 7:30-8:00am for our Instrumental Music program as follows:
Study Skills Seminar
All grade 6 students participate in our study skills seminar designed to provide all sixth grade students with the necessary critical learning, organizing, and communication skills to be academically successful and thrive in middle school and beyond. The seminar is taught by Mrs. Esquivel, our Learning Specialist, and is held during Study Hall on B days.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by recognizing contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States, as well as by celebrating their heritage and culture. As part of this celebration, Sra. Gonzales' students have been working collaboratively to carry out in-depth research and present this week in Spanish class, about the profound and positive influence that Hilda Solis (Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President Obama), Mario Molina (1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), César Estrada Chávez (agrarian labor leader), Severo Ochoa (biochemist and educator), and Sandra Cisneros (acclaimed author) among others, have had and continue to have in our country. In addition, Grade 7 students will attend a Latin American Ballet performance on Monday, October 10, for an immersive and interactive learning experience.
Insect Field Trip to Smithville Lake
This annual 7th grade field trip took place on September 30 from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Mr. Flournoy immersed students in an authentic and hands-on learning experience to study the Class Insecta in their natural habitat. Students had a day full of fun and learning collecting different species, which were further investigated in class. Students used their own grasshopper specimens for lab dissections in order to locate and assess function of the main anatomical features. The remaining insects will be used to construct a display box with specimens classified by orders, families, genus, and species. A variety of online websites and ID books are made available to learn classic Linnaean taxonomy!
Middle School students gather every “C” day in the chapel during 5th hour (12:50) for prayer services. The readings follow the Catholic lectionary for the liturgical year, and special services for holidays are also included. We are currently in the cycle of Year C in Ordinary Time. Students read Bible verses, prepare prayer petitions, share commentaries about the readings, and may also dramatize some Bible selections. The eighth graders prepared a special service for Rosh Hashanah on October 4.
This year our Masses will be held in the Gym, and will be led by Fr. Sunoj Thomas from St. Catherine of Siena Parish. All Middle School students are required to wear their dress uniforms on these days. Please note that all family members are welcome to attend. A big thank you to all 8th grade students and musicians who contributed in making o Mass service To access our 2016-2017 Spiritual formation calendar please click here.
Maisons, or “Houses”, are six team groups of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders who work and play together. Maisons meet every “A” day during 5th hour and wear their “House shirts” every “A” day. Students participate in three main activities during this time period: Sports, Scholars, and Service. Two Maisons compete in sports activities in the gym, two compete with academic questions in Ms. Dasenbrock’s classroom, and two participate in service by being “reading buddies” for students in first and second grade. Maisons also participate in community service activities, like donating food for the St. Francis Xavier Food Pantry, donating toys at Christmas for families served by Operation Breakthrough, and visiting residents of Bishop Spencer Place for games and craft projects. Students earn points for their Maisons by doing such things as volunteering, displaying kindness, participation in service work, or welcoming a new student.
The schedule for visits to Bishop Spencer Place for this school is as follows:
Blue House - Oct.21
Green House - Nov. 4
Orange House - Dec. 9
Purple House - Jan. 6
Red House - Mar. 31
Yellow House - Apr. 28
Parent drivers are needed for these brief field trips. Please contact Mrs. Pearson if you are available to drive when your child’s House takes this trip.
Our Fall Festival, organized by the 8th grade students and families, was held this past Saturday, October 1 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm to raise funds towards student scholarships for the annual 8th Grade Trip to Washington, DC in the Spring. Students prepared for this family-friendly event by celebrating Spirit Week last week and a Pep Rally assembly, hosted by eighth grade students– they did a fabulous job!
This year's Fall Festival was a lovely day filled with joy, fun, and entertainment for the whole family. Thank you very much for supporting this year's Fall Festival! Likewise, a big thank you to all volunteers, students, parents, sponsors, donors, and entertainers that helped make the day a great success. To view pictures of the event please click here.
Storm Stomp will take place on Friday, October 14 from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm at the High School. The 3-on-3 basketball tournament (it’s just for fun, no skills required) raises money through sponsorships and team registrations for an endowed scholarship fund for financially qualified students. Registrations were sent in Homeroom folders, and handed out during Chapel. Additional registration forms are available in Mrs. Kenney's office.
Please note that all boys will go to Cool Crest in Independence for a fun day of mini golf and camaraderie on that day with our male faculty. More details will be sent via e-mail this week.
Grade School Open House
Our Open House will take place on November 17 at 4:00 pm. Please help us spread the word about this wonderful opportunity to visit and experience first-hand the Sion difference!
Sion Grade School is proud to offer girls Volleyball and Cross Country in the Fall semester. We have 5 volleyball teams and 2 of the them will be participating in the A division of the Parochial League. On the other hand, our Cross Country team consists of 20 runners, lead by our 7 eighth grade students. This year, our Cross Country team welcomes 6 new third grade students. Sion athletes are having a great season: 7th grade girls placed second in the Blocktober Volleyball tournament over the weekend, 6th grade girls played very well, 8th grade girls lost their match but remain in first place in their division! Also, cross country meets were at O’Hara High School. All of our middle school runners ran in the top 10 for this meet! We can’t wait to continue hearing about our athletes’ accomplishments! Thank you to all of our Coaches for their dedication, time, and energy. Go Lions!
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