St. Gregory the Great CCD. Parent and Student Handbook

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1 St. Gregory the Great Religious Education Program 4680 Nottingham Way Hamilton Square, New Jersey (609) x St. Gregory the Great CCD Parent and Student Handbook

2 Saint Gregory the Great Religious Education A Ministry of the Church of St. Gregory the Great 4680 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ The Rev. Ian W. Trammell, Pastor Mrs. Dorothy Conway, Director of Religious Education (609) , x227 Dear Parents/Guardians: The staff and I would like to welcome you to a new program year. The purpose of the Religious Education Program in our parish is to help the children deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic Faith and identity through instruction, the Sacraments and proper formation of conscience. We are committed to proclaiming the Truth of our Faith, fostering community, encouraging worship and prayer and motivating service to others. The goal of the program for children and youth is to support and enhance the efforts of parents and guardians who want to share their Roman Catholic faith with their children within the family, which is the Domestic Church. Nothing can replace your involvement, as parents and family, in attending Mass each weekend, in practicing prayers, in reviewing and discussing weekly lessons and most importantly- being loving models of our Catholic faith. Through our combined efforts, we will endeavor to teach the children about Jesus and His Church, and to deepen their faith in Him and love for Him. This handbook is provided to acquaint you with established rules and procedures as well as to present information about the CCD activities for this year. Please review the material and refer to it when questions arise throughout the program year. Faith. We wish you God s blessings as we assist you in educating your children in the Catholic Through the hearts of Jesus and Mary, Dorothy M. Conway Director of Religious Education 2

3 St. Gregory the Great Religious Education (CCD) Program Policies and Procedures OBJECTIVE: To develop and strengthen the children s awareness and understanding of God and the Church in their daily lives. We are committed to proclaiming the truths of the Catholic faith, encouraging worship and prayer and motivating service to others. GENERAL INFORMATION Religious Education Office Phone Number: , Ext. 227 Office hours: Monday and Wednesday: 9:00am 8:00 pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Director of Religious Education (CRE): Administrative Assistants: 9:00am 3:00 pm Mrs. Dorothy M. Conway Mrs. Diane Gregory Mrs. Marie Larkin CLASS SCHEDULE Classes are held weekly in the St. Gregory the Great School classrooms. A yearly calendar of class dates is mailed to all families and is also available on our website, Classes are held: Monday 4:30-5:45pm 6:30-7:45pm Grades 1-6 Grades 1-7 Wednesday 4:30-5:45pm 6:30-7:45pm Grades 1-6 Grades 1-7 The level placement may not always be consistent with your child s public school grade level. Students enter the level based on their prior completed religious education grade level. Students may advance based on their development in the Catholic life (understanding of content, completion of assignments, interest in growing in the faith, prayerful attitude, participation in class activities, Christian conduct) and both catechist and DRE recommendations. Students with special needs or learning disabilities will be addressed individually based on their unique circumstances. Families must be registered as parishioners of St. Gregory the Great Parish. Students coming into our program from another parish must present a certificate of transfer before being placed in a level. 3

4 REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS 1. Families must be registered active members of St. Gregory the Great Parish to participate in the CCD Program. 2. A Baptismal certificate must accompany the registration form if your child was not baptized at St. Gregory the Great. 3. The registration form must be completed in its entirety. You may obtain a registration form from the Religious Education Office, or from our website, 4. If a student is transferring into our program, a history of any previous formal religious education must be provided. Most parishes will write up a certificate of transfer to accompany your registration form. If you are not able to get one, we can contact your previous parish and obtain the needed information. 5. All students must be registered before classes begin. Children must re-register every year. Re-Registration Forms will be mailed to families in the beginning of June, and are to be returned by the first week of August. Please cooperate with the deadline. This helps in scheduling teachers and classes and in ordering textbooks and supplies. TUITION Tuition rates for members of St. Gregory the Great Parish are posted on our website. Please note that in addition to tuition, second and seventh grade students are assessed a one-time sacramental preparation fee. Any family who has financial difficulty is requested to contact the office to make other payment arrangements. ATTENDANCE It is expected that your child will attend class on a regular basis. When your child is absent, he/she will be expected to make up all class work. It is the parents responsibility to review the lessons with the child at home. Any child who misses an excessive number of classes (greater than 3 unexcused absences) may be asked to repeat the year s curriculum or be referred to a home study program over the summer. 4

5 ARRIVAL 1. Parents of all students in Grades 1-2 are to walk their children to their classrooms. 2. All students in Grades 3-7 must report to the School Cafeteria to their assigned class table. Teachers with their classes will begin to leave the cafeteria to go to the classrooms promptly at 4:30pm (Monday and Wednesday afternoons) and 6:30pm (Monday and Wednesday evenings). If your child attends the Monday or Wednesday afternoon class, please do not drop off your child any earlier than 4:10pm, unless you are staying to supervise. DISMISSAL 1. All students in Grades 1-4 will be dismissed by their teacher to the parent or designated adult AT THE CLASSROOM DOOR. Parents will be allowed to go to the classroom to pick up their child at dismissal time. No child will be permitted to leave the classroom unless accompanied by their parent or designated adult. 2. All students in Grades 5-7 will be dismissed by their teacher to the parent or designated adult AT THEIR TABLE IN THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA. Parents will be allowed to enter the Cafeteria through the Main Hallway at dismissal time. No child will be permitted to leave the Cafeteria unless accompanied by their parent or designated adult. Parents are responsible to ensure a timely pick-up of their children from the program. Repeated late pick-ups are difficult on the staff, and be addressed by the DRE. EARLY DISMISSAL The Diocese of Trenton requires regular attendance for the instruction time each week. Your support in helping to keep other appointments and obligations, which may interfere with attendance for the hour of instruction, to a minimum is most appreciated. We do recognize that there may be exceptions when unexpected circumstances require the need for your child to be dismissed early from the class. Please follow our early dismissal procedures to ensure the safety and security of your child: 1. Written notification should be sent to your child s teacher about any need for your child to be dismissed from class early; in an emergency situation, written notification would not be expected. 2. For all early dismissals, please come to the Religious Education Office upon arriving to retrieve your child. 5

6 3. All parents or guardians must sign the child out of the program in the CCD Sign- Out Book. 4. Your child will report to the office for early dismissal. Parents or guardians are not permitted to go to the classroom. EMERGENCY CLOSINGS: If the Hamilton Township schools are closed due to inclement weather or other emergencies, our CCD Program will be closed as well. Also, if Hamilton Township schools close early due to inclement weather, we will not have classes. A closed notice will be recorded on our telephone message center and an Instant Alert will be sent out to all of the families in our Program. WE WILL UPDATE OUR WEBSITE IMMEDIATELY, SHOULD CLASSES BE CANCELLED, so please check our website first for updated class information ( Please make sure that you have reviewed the Honeywell Instant Alert information that was provided with your registration material and that all of your contact information is entered. Please contact the Religious Education Office for further information or assistance with the Instant Alert system. CONFERENCE: No teacher is to be disturbed during class time. If you wish to speak with a teacher, please call the office to make this request known, and arrangements will be made. If you have an immediate need to talk to the teacher while picking up your child, please wait until every child has left the classroom (Grades 1-4) or Cafeteria table (Grades 5-7). The teacher needs to ensure the safe receipt of each child to his/her parent or guardian. REPORT CARDS: Report cards will be distributed in January and May. They will report attendance, conduct, and understanding of content, general interest, attitude, class participation and completion of assignments. Parents or guardians are asked to review the report and discuss it with their child. Comments or questions are welcome. Parents or guardians must sign the evaluation cards in January and have the student return it to the teacher at the next class. The cards distributed at the end of the program year are for your keeping. Please heed any comments or instructions your child s Catechist writes to you; it will assist your child in moving on to the next level. RELIGION CURRICULUM AND TEXTBOOK Our Religious Education Program (as well as St. Gregory the Great School) follows the Religion Curriculum established by the Diocese of Trenton. Our Program uses the textbook series Faith and Life, published by Ignatius Press. This textbook series was chosen for the School and for the CCD program because of its faithfulness to Catholic doctrine, its academic rigor, and its wealth of Scripture and Catechism references. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) has mentioned that Faith and Life is "the best catechetical series in the German language." 6

7 Comments from other Catholic bishops on this series include: Our diocesan Director of Religious Education and I are in complete agreement that this newly revised series is a thorough and excellent presentation of the Catholic faith. I am especially impressed with the references to Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church that appear in each lesson. The student activity book helps to reinforce what has been taught in class. The revised teacher s manuals will prove to be particularly helpful for catechists because step-by-step lesson plans are provided for each lesson. At a time when our young people so desperately need sound teaching, the Faith and Life catechism series is the answer to prayers. I will strongly recommend this series for use in our schools and parish-based religious education programs. - The Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs The Faith and Life series from Catholics United for the Faith provides a clear and informative presentation of what we as Catholics believe, live and teach. With a firm grounding in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Faith and Life reaffirms that the faith is indeed alive, a gift to be cherished, and as relevant today as when Our Lord Jesus Christ called Peter and Andrew to Come after me. - The Most Rev. John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, NJ TESTING PROGRAM: Tests (written assessments) are essential and will be given to students at every grade level to help teachers evaluate the students understanding of the religious content. In addition, a Seventh Grade Written Assessment is given at the end of Grade 7. Students must pass the assessment in order to continue in to the next level of our Program. Modified assessments will be given to all students with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). HOMEWORK: Every family is certainly busy and moving in all directions in this day and age. However, all Catholic parents are called to fulfill the commission that Jesus gave us to pass on the faith and spread the Good News. As your child s first teacher of the faith, we ask that you make the time at home to help your child complete any written homework assignments in preparation for each week s class. It is also extremely important that you read the upcoming chapter to/with your child in preparation for the next class lesson. LOST AND FOUND: Please label your child s outer clothing (sweater, sweatshirt, coat, hat and gloves). Our program cannot assume responsibility for lost or damaged articles; it is recommended that your child does not bring any valuable articles to school. The lost and found box is in the school cafeteria. 7

8 TEXTBOOKS: Your tuition fees cover the cost of textbooks used in our CCD program. If a student loses his/her textbook (Grades 1-7) or activity book (Grades 1-6), the student s family will have to pay for the cost of a second book, which is $ We feel this policy will help to encourage responsibility among our children. DRESS CODE: Students should not wear clothing that may create a distraction. The following articles of clothing are prohibited in the Religious Education Program: 1. Suggestive clothing, including but not limited to bare midriffs, low rider pants exposing abdomen, tight fitting or transparent clothes. 2. Short skirts or shorts that are overly short and revealing. 3. Hats, caps or any head coverings that are considered distracting. 4. Unsafe footwear such as slippers, cleated or spiked shoes and Heeleys. 5. Clothes that may contain inflammatory, offensive, or obscene pictures or words. STUDENT CONDUCT: Expectations: 1. Be punctual. 2. Be responsible by bringing books and assignments for class. 3. Be cooperative and participate in all sessions and activities to the best of ability. 4. Demonstrate self-control, do not speak out of turn, listen attentively, and remain seated during lessons. 5. Must share the contents of their folders with their parents or guardians. 6. Dress appropriately for school. Rules: 1. Being disrespectful to teachers, classroom assistants or other staff members will not be tolerated. 2. Students are to show respect for our building, classrooms and property. 3. Name-calling and the use of profane or foul language are strictly forbidden. 4. Pushing, fighting and other aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. 5. Eating food, gum or candy in the classrooms is not permitted. 6. Distracting electronics (video games, hand-held electronic games, radios, IPODs, etc.) are not allowed in the building. 7. Cell phone use is not permitted while the student is in the building. 8

9 DISCIPLINE: Failure to abide by the rules, any misbehavior, or disruption during one class will result in the following: o 1 st offense The teacher will give the student a verbal warning. o 2 nd offense The teacher will issue a Discipline Report to the student. The Discipline Report must be signed by the parent and returned the next class. o 3 rd offense The student will be removed from class and will remain in the Religious Education Office until a parent or guardian comes to discuss the matter with the DRE. The use of the Discipline Report will be restricted to Grades 3-7. ANY STUDENT THAT RECEIVES MORE THAN 3 DISCIPLINE REPORTS WITHIN A HALF-YEAR TIME (12 CLASSES) WILL BE SUSPENDED FROM THE CCD PROGRAM. A meeting will then be scheduled with the parents/guardians, the DRE and/or Father Trammell to discuss the student s continuation in the Program. SACRAMENTAL PROGRAM A two-year class preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion (Grades 1 and 2) and for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation (Grades 6 and 7) is required. The students are expected to complete the required levels, to attend Mass on Sundays (or Saturday vigils) and on all Holy Days of Obligation, to know the Ten Commandments and the minimum required prayers (Sign of the Cross, Hail Mary, Our Father, Apostles Creed, Glory Be, Guardian Angel Prayer, Act of Contrition and Grace Before Meals) through parent instruction, and to attend all Religious Education classes. The complete Sacrament Schedule (including all meetings, retreats, and practices) is posted on our website, FIRST RECONCILIATION AND FIRST HOLY COMMUNION The parents of the Grade 2 students will help prepare their children for these sacraments in addition to the formal weekly class instruction. Children must complete Grade 1 Religious Education before entering this sacramental year. Parent meetings will be held in November (for First Reconciliation) and in March (for First Holy Communion) to inform all families about the immediate preparations for these sacraments. CONFIRMATION The Sacrament of Confirmation will be bestowed upon those who have been baptized, received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion, have been instructed in the Catholic Faith, and have demonstrated a capacity and willingness to participate in the life of the 9

10 Church. Students must complete Grade 6 Religious Education before entering the formal preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, which begins at the start of Grade 7 with the candidates Enrollment at Mass. Candidates are issued the Confirmation Packets at the Enrollment Mass. These Packets are due at the end of Grade 7. The Sacrament of Confirmation is usually conferred in the Fall of the Eighth Grade year. There are no Eighth Grade CCD classes. Students attend a day-long retreat, receive the Sacrament of Confession, and attend the Confirmation practice prior to the reception of Confirmation. All Confirmation students should know the following (including definitions and descriptions): The Ten Commandments The Seven Sacraments The Holy Days of Obligation The Four Marks of the Church The Parts of the Mass The Beatitudes The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit 10

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