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OUR LADY OF PEACE PARISH CATECHETICAL OFFICE
111 South Street New Providence, NJ 07974 (908) 464-8156 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.olpnp.com
Please read this handbook and discuss the student policies with your children before signing section VII on the registration form.
Families and students registered in the Catechetical Program of the Parish of Our Lady of Peace are responsible for knowing and following the policies and procedures as outlined in this handbook. We are here to serve the religious education needs of all children and their families. Should you have a question or concern, please contact the Parish Catechetical Leaders. Confidentiality is always maintained in sensitive matters.
Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Other hours by appointment
Staff Joanne Fezza
Parish Catechetical Leader Sacrament Coordinator for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist Family-Based Coordinator
Anne Marie Mendez
Parish Catechetical Leader Sacrament Coordinator for Confirmation
Table of Contents
Page 4 THE CATECHETICAL PROGRAM
• • • • • • • Program Options Registration Information Tuition Curriculum ACRE Testing Lost Textbooks Report Cards
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
• • • • • • • Communication Student Participation Attendance Make-up Work Instructions Arriving Late/Leaving Early Cell Phones and Electronic Items Behavior
SECURITY AND SAFETY
• • • • Parking and Drop-Off/Pick-Up Procedures Emergency Contact During Sessions Emergency Closings Protecting God’s Children/Child Abuse Policy
Page 11 Page 13
FAMILY-BASED PROGRAM SACRAMENT PROGRAM
• First Reconciliation • First Eucharist • Confirmation
THE CATECHETICAL PROGRAM
Our Lady of Peace Parish provides religious instruction for children in Kindergarten through eighth grade. Our religious formation includes sacrament preparation for First Reconciliation in second grade and First Eucharist in third grade. Our Confirmation Preparation Program begins at the end of the seventh grade, and Confirmation is celebrated during Easter Season. (Details found on page 14). Students are expected to attend religious education classes in grades one through eight in order to receive a rounded foundation in the faith and to be prepared to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Because Mass is the highest form of worship and is central to who we are as Catholic Christians, weekly Mass attendance is expected for all families. Program Options Student gathering begins 15 minutes prior to class time. All sessions begin promptly at the stated time. Kindergarten – Grade 6 Wednesday or Thursday, 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Grade 7 and 8 Family-Based (Gr. 1-8) Wednesday evening, 7:15 – 8:30 p.m. For families who prefer to teach their children in an independent home study setting. FamilyBased study is discouraged during sacramental years in grades 2, 3, and 8 due to the community activity in the classroom and additional required home preparation. Family-Based requirements can be found on pages 11-12.
Registration Information The registration process generally begins in April of each year. Registration packets are mailed to families of current students. All class placements are on a first-come basis. Requirements for Returning Families • Religious Education Program registration form by June 15, 2012. • Non-refundable tuition payment. • Volunteer form committing to donate five hours of time to the program. • A baptismal certificate for siblings new to the program unless baptized at OLP.
Requirements for New Families • Register as parishioners of Our Lady of Peace. • Religious Education Program registration form. • Non-refundable tuition payment. As a courtesy, we extend a discounted tuition rate to new families regardless of the timing of the registration. • Volunteer form committing to donate five hours of service each year. Volunteer service from each family helps to minimize the cost of the Catechetical Program. • A Baptismal Certificate for each child (unless baptized at OLP), and certificates for reception of other sacraments, if applicable. • A letter, or a copy of a record file, indicating the grades your children completed in their previous Religious Education Program or Catholic school. Tuition Tuition covers less than half of the total cost of providing religious instruction for a student. The remaining costs are funded by the parish. Therefore, all families must be registered parishioners of Our Lady of Peace and support the parish through weekly use of envelopes at Mass. A tuition discount is offered for registration submissions prior to June 15, 2012. We encourage families to register in the spring in order to help us: • Process registration forms in a timely manner. • Organize the classrooms, keeping class size small. • Recruit catechists. • Create volunteer schedules. • Take advantage of vendor discounts. Due to additional administration time and cost of processing late registrations, a late registration fee is required after August 31, 2012, for returning students. In gratitude for their service, tuition is waived for children of catechists. A 50% discount is offered to dedicated (weekly) hall monitors, dedicated substitute catechists, and dedicated babysitters.
Families must never allow financial considerations to prevent them from registering their children for religious education. Please contact a Parish Catechetical Leader. All inquiries are kept confidential.
GRADES 1 – 8 Discount: Received on or before June 15 Regular: June 16 to August 31, 2012 Late Fee: Received after August 31, 2012 KINDERGARTEN One Two Child Children $130 $250 $180 $300 $230 $350 $60 Per Child Three Children $300 $350 $400 Four Children $325 $375 $425
Curriculum The Catechetical Program of Our Lady of Peace uses the following textbooks: Grades K – 8 RCL Faith First; Legacy Edition, Parish Sacrament Years Grade 2 Loyola Press God’s Gift for First Reconciliation Grade 3 Loyola Press God’s Gift for First Eucharist Grade 8 Loyola Press Confirmed in the Spirit for Confirmation The curriculum materials used in our program are designed to provide a rich, authentic, and complete presentation of our Catholic faith for children and adolescents. The textbooks for each grade are approved by the Archdiocese of Newark and are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. All catechists are required to teach the curriculum found in the textbook according to the syllabus that is developed by the Catechetical Office. Families can access additional information on the textbooks used in our program at www.faithfirst.com, www.GodsGift.LoyolaPress.com, or www.smp.org. ACRE Testing (Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education) The ACRE test (Assessment of Catholic Religious Education) is a standardized test which the Archdiocese requires of all fifth and eighth grade students in religious education programs and Catholic schools. ACRE assesses faith knowledge and the results will be used to determine where and how we can improve our Catechetical program. Lost Textbooks All students are given a textbook at the beginning of the year and they are expected to bring their books with them to every class. If an RCL textbook is lost, it can be replaced, if our supply permits, at a cost of $20. Students are also presented with a Bible in the third grade, which they are expected to use throughout their remaining grades in the program. A lost Bible can be replaced at a cost of $25 as our supply permits.
Report Cards We honor the commitment of parents as primary catechists and first heralds of Christian faith. As a courtesy, we provide a student progress report twice a year. It is expected that the parents sign and return the mid-year progress report in order to receive a second term report.
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Communication Most communication from the Catechetical Office is sent via email throughout the school year. Select information only will be mailed to the home. Please inform our office immediately if you have a change in your email address or mailing address. All emergency and weather-related closings will be communicated via email and through a message on the office answering machine. Please check the parish website, www.olpnp.com, for current information regarding all parish-wide communications, including information regarding the Catechetical Office and the Religious Education Program. Student Participation Students are expected to be prepared for class each week, including completing any assigned homework. Textbooks are always used during class and students must bring their textbook to each session. Attendance Faithful attendance for all classes is expected. For the student’s safety, parents are asked to contact the Catechetical Office at 908-464-8156 or email@example.com to report a child’s absence as early in the day as possible. A student is allowed up to four absences a year with make-up work completed online as soon as practical. (See instructions that follow.) If the student does not complete the make-up work, or has more than four absences, the student and a parent must meet with a Parish Catechetical Leader. Families who may be experiencing extenuating circumstances or serious illness are encouraged to contact the Catechetical Office. If your child is absent, it is the parents’ responsibility to cover the missed lesson with the student. Your child in grades 1-7 must complete the chapter review online and submit the result to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Eighth graders see * note below.)
Instructions for submitting Chapter Reviews: Read each chapter in the textbook and complete the online chapter review as follows: • Go to www.faithfirst.com. • Click on “Students”. • Click on “Chapter Reviews”. • Click on link above the picture of the alarm clock which reads, “Click here to view previous version of the chapter reviews”. • Scroll down and click on “Legacy Edition”. • Scroll down and click on your grade level. • Click on the chapter number. • Click on the appropriate answers to the multiple choice questions. • When finished, you need to email your results to a special email address the Parish Catechetical Office has set up for chapter reviews. Type in email@example.com and then type a comma and your own email address. This way we will both get a copy. Another option is to have the results sent only to yourself and after you receive them, forward them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Either way, you will know immediately if your results went through.
*8th-Grade Confirmed in the Spirit textbooks do not have online chapter reviews. On the day of your child’s absence, the instructions for the make-up work will be emailed to you.
Arriving Late It is important that all students arrive to sessions on time. Obviously, there are situations beyond our control that cause parents and children to be late. However, it should never be a continuing occurrence. The Catechetical Office should be notified when the parent knows that the student will arrive late. A student who arrives more than 30 minutes late misses a significant amount of the lesson. In this case, the student will not be marked absent but is required to complete the make-up work to ensure that a good grasp of the material is attained. Leaving Early If it is necessary for your child to leave at any time before the end of class, please notify the Catechetical Office as early as possible that day and send in a note with your child to give their catechist or a staff member in the gym. Come to the gym when it is time for your child to leave and a volunteer will be sent to the classroom to escort your child back to the gym. You must sign your child out before leaving. A student who leaves more than 30 minutes early misses a significant amount of the lesson and is required to complete the make-up work to ensure that a good grasp of the material is attained.
Cell Phones and Electronic Items The use of cell phones, including text messaging and photo taking, are not permitted during sessions. i-Pods, and electronic games are not allowed during sessions. Abuse of these regulations will result in the removal of the electronic item. Sport and Other Items Use of all sports equipment is forbidden in the building. Behavior
Appropriate behavior and common courtesy are presumed and expected from our students at every grade level.
Students are expected to behave in a cooperative and respectful manner towards their fellow classmates, their catechist, and all volunteers and/or parish staff. Persistent behavior situations will result in a warning by the catechist. If the student does not correct the behavior, a Parish Catechetical Leader or appropriate staff member will intervene, the parent will be notified, and corrective measures will be determined.
SECURITY AND SAFETY
Parking and Drop-Off/Pick-Up Procedures For the safety of our children, please be sure that anyone who drives your children to or from Religious Education classes is aware of the procedures outlined below. If you have a special situation that prevents you from following the drop-off/pick-up procedures, please contact the Parish Catechetical Office to make special arrangements. Drop-Off Procedures • All drivers should park in the gym-side parking area with vehicles
facing the baseball field.
• Children should be escorted to the curb, and then enter the building through the Parish Hall entrance. They will gather with their catechists in the gym and then go to their classrooms following announcements and prayers. • Drivers should exit the parking area by pulling away from the building (toward the baseball field) and proceeding via a back lane to the parking lot exit. • Drivers should never back up or drive in the lane closest to the building. • Always observe the 10 mph speed limit.
Pick-Up Procedures • Observe the same parking procedures shown above. • Children will be dismissed from the gym. • Proceed into the gym to meet your children and escort them to your vehicle. Please never allow your children to run or play in the parking lot before or after sessions when traffic is arriving and exiting. Building Procedures • For the safety of our children, everyone must enter and exit through the Parish Hall doors only while the Religious Education Program is in session. • All catechists, volunteers, and visitors must sign the logbook in the gym upon entering and exiting the building. This includes visitors from other parish ministry groups who find it essential to enter the building while the program is in session. • No one should open any outside doors of the building except for emergency exit while the program is in session. Bringing Friends to Class For safety reasons, only those children enrolled in our Religious Education Program may be on the premises during class time. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact the Parish Catechetical Office. Emergency Contact During Sessions Should a parent or guardian need to contact a Catechetical Office staff member in case of emergency when classes are in session and our office is closed, please call the rectory at (908) 464-7600. Let them know the general nature of the emergency and your contact information. They will get a message to us in the school gym. Emergency Closings Our program follows the guidelines of the New Providence School District for emergency closings due to inclement weather. If New Providence Public Schools are closed for the day, then Religious Education classes are cancelled as well. If a decision is made during the school day to cancel afternoon or evening classes, we will notify parents via email. You may also call the Parish Catechetical Office at (908) 464-8156 to listen to the message if in doubt about cancellation.
Protecting God’s Children/Child Abuse Policy
Consistent with Archdiocesan policy and local legal code, the Parish Catechetical Office staff and volunteers have a moral and legal obligation to report any suspected child abuse to authorities to ensure the welfare of a child.
All staff, catechists, and regular volunteers are required to: • Acknowledge receipt of and compliance with the Archdiocesan Policy
Regarding Conduct with Minors.
• Provide satisfactory results of a criminal background check. • Participate in the “Protecting God’s Children” training program.
Family-Based Catechesis Recognizing that the family is the foundation for all religious catechesis, our parish offers a program for families who feel their children’s religious education will be best accomplished by parents teaching their children in an independent home study setting.
Parents choosing this option should possess a strong and authentic foundation in the Catholic faith and/or recognize within themselves a strong desire to grow in faith through catechetical study with their children, and thereby proclaiming the Gospel message through their lifestyle. When choosing the Family-Based Program option, the parent commits to the role of instructor, motivator and living example of faith in relationship with God. They recognize that worship at Mass is the center of their lives. As such, they ensure their child participates in the life of the parish as members of the Body of Christ.
Family-Based study is discouraged during sacramental years in grades 2, 3, and 8 due to the community activity which takes place in the classroom, and the additional required home preparation. Please contact a Parish Catechetical Leader should you have any questions.
Family-Based Registration Procedure
For students currently enrolled in the Family-Based Program • If all chapter work is completed as required, you may re-register your children by completing the registration and volunteer form. • If chapter work is not completed, and/or you have been contacted by the Catechetical Office during the year that chapter work has not been submitted in a timely fashion, a parent must contact the Parish Catechetical Leader to discuss your commitment and continuation in the Family-Based Program with your children. Contact should be made prior to the June 15.
For students new to the Family-Based Program
• Contact a Parish Catechetical Leader for an interview to discuss your interest in pursuing Family-Based catechesis for your children. • After making your decision, complete and return a Religious Education Program Registration Form.
• Families must commit to making regular Mass attendance with their children a priority. • Families are encouraged to attend all five Family-Based gatherings throughout the year. Attendance at three of the gatherings is required: Orientation (required) - September 2012 Advent – November 2012 Christmas Season – January 2013 Lent - February/March 2013 Wrap-up (required) – May/June 2013 • All families are expected to donate five hours of service to the Religious Education Program unless they take the payment option. • Parents must cover the chapter material in the parish textbook with their child, approximately one chapter per week, following the same syllabus as classroombased students. • 8th Grade Confirmed in the Spirit textbooks do not have on-line chapter reviews. The completed text should be returned to the Parish Catechetical Office in January. • After completing each chapter review, families must forward the results to our office at email@example.com on a regular basis as follows: Go to www.faithfirst.com. Click on “Students”. Click on “Chapter Reviews”. Click on link above the picture of the alarm clock which reads, “Click here to view previous version of the chapter reviews”. Scroll down and click on “Legacy Edition”. Scroll down and click on your grade level. Click on the chapter number. Click on the appropriate answers to the multiple choice questions. When finished, you need to email your results to a special email address the Parish Catechetical Office has set up for chapter reviews. Type in firstname.lastname@example.org and then type a comma and your own email address. This way we will both get a copy. Another option is to have the results sent only to yourself and after you receive them, forward them to us at email@example.com. Either way, you will know immediately if your results went through.
Family-Based students preparing for First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation will follow the same process and requirements as the Wednesday and Thursday program students. This includes attendance at special teaching sessions held during the Religious Education class times.
The sacrament policies of the Archdiocese of Newark state that: Your family should be registered in the parish in which your child receives the sacraments. The sacraments are celebrations of the parish community. All sacraments, including First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation should be received in the parish in which the family is registered and worships. Families who are not registered and contributing members of Our Lady of Peace should contact the parish in which they are registered for information regarding the preparation of children for the sacraments. The immediate preparation period of catechesis for sacraments should be parish-based and not school-based; it should involve both Catholic school and public school students in a coordinated and unified fashion. The Sacrament Preparation Program for OLP is coordinated and administered by the Catechetical Office in collaboration with the Academy of OLP principal and teachers. The students of the preparation program include children who attend local private schools and whose families are active parishioners of OLP. Parents are the primary educators of the faith for their children. The immediate preparation for the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist takes place within the family. Our parish program will provide you with the preparation books, resources, and support you need. Your child’s regular catechetical program in the parish or Academy will supplement your child’s faith formation. In recognition of an adolescent’s faith maturity, the immediate preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation takes place during the tenth grade within the student’s community of peers and is led by Catechetical Office staff and mentored by faith-filled adult members of the worshipping community of OLP.
Sacrament Preparation Our Lady of Peace has developed a comprehensive Sacrament Preparation Program which is designed to help each child and his/her family to become actively involved in the parish community. We want each person who comes to our parish to feel welcomed by our community, grow in participation in the Mass and in understanding of the sacraments. We hope that as parents help their child learn about Jesus and His Presence in the Eucharist, both parents and child will grow closer to Christ and gain a fuller understanding of our Catholic faith.
First Reconciliation Preparation for the sacrament begins when the child enters first-grade religious education. Children generally receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the second grade. Detailed program requirements are explained during a parent meeting generally held in October of the second grade. A Reconciliation Preparation fee of $50 due at the beginning of the second grade defrays the cost of materials and a retreat. First Eucharist Preparation for the sacrament begins when the child enters first-grade religious education and continues in second grade as the child prepares for First Reconciliation. Children generally receive the Sacrament of First Eucharist in the third grade. Detailed program requirements are explained during a parent meeting generally held in October of the third grade. A First Eucharist Preparation fee of $50 due at the beginning of the third grade defrays the cost of materials and a retreat. Confirmation A candidate must have experienced ongoing religious education in grades 1 through 8 either in a Catholic school or parish religious education program. If formal religious education has lapsed, the student much demonstrate adequate knowledge of the grade level topics for the missed grades. Additionally, the student must be enrolled in the Confirmation preparation program at the end of seventh grade. Families new to the parish should contact the Parish Catechetical Office. The candidate and a parent must attend an Information Meeting generally held in May of seventh grade and take part in a family discernment interview before September of eighth grade.
"To the extent that we nourish ourselves on Christ and are in love with him, we feel within us the incentive to bring others to him. Indeed, we cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves; we must pass it on." Pope Benedict XVI
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