The guidelines document includes important information involving building locations, arrival, dismissal, attendance, service hours, homework, snack, discipline, and emails.
Some Helpful Links are listed at the end of the Guidelines!
2022-2023 These Guidelines are subject to change over the course of the year
PARKING: Catechists should park in the large parking lot, do not park in the Insurance parking lot acrsss Washington on Tuesdays. It is only available on Sundays.
Sunday Classes: Grades P – 3 in the Elementary Grade Building
Sunday Classes: Grades 4 – 8 in the Upper Grade Building
Tuesday Classes: ALL Grades in the Upper Grade Building as well All Abilities
Good Shepherd Classes in the Kinane Center basement
To get to the ELEMENTARY GRADE BUILDING walk along the side of the Rectory and then turn right and walk down to the large, long building parallel to the church. Use the back door where the ramp is to enter through Door D3
The UPPER GRADE BUILDING is directly next to the Rectory. Please use the doors beyond the Morello Parish Life Center enter through Door B10.
ARRIVAL TIME: it can’t be stressed enough how important it is for you to arrive ten (10) minutes early. Late arrival causes stress on all those that are waiting and covering for you and makes for a difficult start to your class. YOU ARE BEING DEPENDED UPON! This is very important. Make it a priority.
DISMISSAL: It is essential that we supervise the children at dismissal. The safety of the children is our first goal.
Tuesday Catechesis dismisses the children promptly at 5:30 or 8:30. In the Elementary Grade Center & Kinane Center, the children should be brought outside to the back door by the catechist. Any children left without a parent can be brought to where I am standing which is usually in front of the Parish Life Center doors or in the alley by Rectory and UGC.
For Sunday the Elementary Building grades should bring their students out and keep the students by them until they are picked up. The Upper Grade Building may dismiss the students but tell them to watch for the cars.
SUBSTITUTES: Call BOTH the Office for Catechesis and your coordinator for all absences. Give as much notice of planned absences as possible. Illness of course is not planned but let us know as early in the day as possible.
It would be most helpful if you find a substitute, as it is extremely difficult for us to find one. Ask people you know and trust. If we do not have a sub then we need to split classes up into other classes. PLEASE KNOW if you did NOT find a sub, we need you to bring your lesson plans and handouts to the office so that we can have them available for someone to take over the class.
FIRE DRILLS, TORNADO ALERTS AND EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS: If you hear the fire alarm, stop everything and evacuate. There are evacuation signs posted in the school and you will also receive a map of the building.
In case of a tornado, students go into the first floor halls in the Elementary Building & basement in the Upper Grade Building, sit cross-legged with head down and arms protecting head. In any emergency catechists MUST take a copy of your class lists so that you can do roll call once you have reached a safe destination. The class is to remain silent.
In case of fire, exit the building.
In case of any other emergency, you will get instructions.
RESTROOM/BATHROOM BREAKS: Children are allowed to use the washroom if they have the need. Coordinators will be in the hall monitoring the children. This helps provide safety and discourages inappropriate behavior. Water bottles are allowed but no other types of drinks. Although younger students can go to the bathroom as a group, 4th grade and up should not go as a group – allow only one girl and one boy at a time as it works much better.
EARLY DISMISSAL: Students requesting early dismissal MUST bring a note to the catechist. The catechist MUST hand the note to the Coordinator or the Hall Monitor so she/he knows and will then be watching for the parent.
The Coordinator will come to get the child, do not send the child out as often the parent is late and then the child is missing your lesson. Parents must come into the school and the coordinator will go to get the child from class. No children may leave the building to wait outside for their parents.
LESSON PLANS: If you have been provided a lesson plan by a grade level Coordinator, please adhere to the lesson. Although there can be some diversity in how a particular lesson is presented, all catechists should use any lesson given. Any major changes should be reported to the coordinator who will then communicate the change to the DRE. If you have ideas you would like to share for lessons always feel free to bring them up! Otherwise, if there is no grade level Coordinator please use the lessons in your Teacher’s Manual. Please know you may send home written materials or assignments without first consulting either the grade level Coordinator and the Director, Anna Mae Parkhill.
CANCELLATION OF CLASS: If classes need to cancelled, you will be contacted by phone, text or email. We will also post it on our website Home page, send out an email blast to everyone and put it on the Emergency Closing Center website (if it’s due to weather). You can sign up for alerts for this website (https://www.emergencyclosingcenter.com/complete.html) (for both our program and the Park Ridge School Districts!) and it will broadcast on WGN & ABC.
CLASSROOM MAINTENANCE: We must be good stewards of the rooms we are in! Let the children know you expect them to keep the rooms clean. The desks should NOT be moved around. Please have the children wipe their desks after eating anything and do not leave food crumbs or wrappers out. And do NOT touch the property inside the desks.
Take a few minutes at the end of each class to have the children help you check desks inside and out and to pick up paper off the floor. Although the rooms are swept each night, please try and not make the floors any dirtier. We rely on you to make certain that desks are back in order that nothing has been taken or placed in desks, food has been properly disposed of and desks have not been written on. We have been working very hard on showing respect for school property.
If you need to communicate something to a teacher, putting it down on paper and leaving it on their desk is a great thing. However, if anything in the room has been broken/damaged, please tell the DRE so I can make an apology and make arrangements to pay the school for the damages.
Windows and blinds should be left the way you found them.
Chairs should be placed on desks (or stacked – if that is how that classroom puts their chairs) at the end of your class, including those chairs in the class that you did not use.
If you don’t plan on returning to the classroom (i.e. you go to the church for a class) please make sure that your classroom is left orderly.
DO NOT USE THEIR BLUE RECYCLE BINS AT ALL.
CLASSROOM EXPECTATIONS: On the first day of Catechesis, discuss classroom rules with the children, such as respecting other people’s property, raising their hands before they speak, etc.
It helps if you have the children tell you rules they can think of instead of you lecturing them. You can write them down the first day as you talk about them and have it in class each time you meet.
DISCIPLINE: The most effective form of discipline is to clearly communicate your expectations of the children to them, up front, and then really believe they will follow your directives.
Discipline comes from the word disciple. We are trying to help the children be disciples of the Lord. Discipline comes from the respect that children have for themselves and others.
Discipline should be appropriate, constructive, proportionate, immediate and clear.
If a student is consistently disturbing your class it is not fair to the rest of the class to allow them to continue. And please know that you are not failing! They should be sent into the hall to speak with the Coordinator. Do not sacrifice the class by keeping an unruly student in your class! Your Coordinator is there to constructively deal with that student!
COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS: PRIOR to sending out any notes or papers or asking for information other than what we give you, please show the office beforehand. This does not extend to any rewards or seasonal gifts you might hand out.
In the case of a problem student, first try talking with the student. If no change in behavior is observed, have the child speak with the coordinator/hall monitor out in the hall. If there is still no change, then the coordinator will tell the DRE and the DRE will call the parents so that we can plan what would be most beneficial to the child.
Please do not hesitate to tell us of a child you may be having trouble with, we are here to help them! For some children, the regular classroom option is not the best choice and we have so many options for them! We then work with the parents to find what is best of the many options. Our goal is for the child to feel successful in catechesis.
PICTURES: We want you to take pictures of your class! And then we want them to email them to us. We have permission to post these pictures from the parents to be able to post to our website, emails and social media accounts. This permission does not extend to any volunteer to post the picture to their social media account or to use in any promotional way.
PENCILS & MARKERS, ETC: We will be asking the parents to have their child bring a pencil and some grades for them to bring either colored pencils or markers. We will ask the students in grades 1 – 5 to bring pencil and markers to each class and the Upper Grades to bring a pencil each class and markers or colored pencils only if you let them know the week before.
ATTENDANCE SLIPS: Attendance should not be taken until fifteen (15) minutes into the class because some children come late.
Catechists should keep track of attendance on your Master Class Attendance sheets, as well as writing the names of the absent children on the green forms.
ANY TIME (even when splitting classes) if you have a child in your class that is not on the your list – please indicate that on your attendance form and inform your coordinator.
The Coordinator will collect the Attendance sheets and take any notes from parents. Follow up the next week to see if the absent children completed any missing work.
For the first three to four weeks of the year, you will receive new class lists each week. We have so many changes, we can’t keep track whether every single class has had a change or not. Sometimes it may not appear to have a change but a number might have been switched, etc. So please transfer the old information onto your new Master Class Attendance sheet and destroy your old sets.
HOMEWORK: Individual catechists should not assign their own homework. If you have ideas for homework, talk it over with the coordinator and DRE. If homework was assigned, before you begin your next lesson, go over the work in class.
6TH, 7TH & 8TH GRADE HELPERS: In the Regular Program Grades 1-3 on Sundays and 1 – 5 on Tuesdays may have helpers completing service hours in the classroom. These students are in your class for service, please be sure to let them be an active part of your class. Catechists CANNOT approve a child to come for service, not even their own child – ALL 6th, 7th & 8th graders must schedule their service through the office.
If YOUR CHILD will be assisting YOU in class you must tell the office. We will add them to the list of student aides and your child should check in with the Coordinator or Hall Monitor to tell them they are there that day. It is important for us to know who is in the building each class – for any type of emergency that may arise.
SNACKS: In grades 1-5 ( Regular Tuesday) the children in class take turns bringing snacks. It is the catechist’s responsibility to keep track of who is to bring snacks the following week. You receive Snack Sheets to hand out to who you assigned for that week, so they can bring it home and give to their parent.
Nuts or snacks made with nuts are NOT allowed. For drinks, only water bottles are allowed – no other types of beverages. Please remember that young children after a long day of school need a snack to help them concentrate on their catechesis lesson. Snacks should never be omitted and will in fact make your class run smoother.
Grades 6th – 8th & Sunday Classes– if you would like to bring in a snack/treat for a reward or party, please do so but again, you must follow the no nuts and no drink policy. And unless you are having a party, make the treat be on the smaller side.
And again, at the end of class please make sure that the desks do not have any food crumbs, food wrappings, etc. on them. DO NOT USE THE BLUE RECYCLE BINS IN THE CLASSROOMS FOR ANYTHING – NOT EVEN PAPER. PLEASE USE ONLY THE GARBAGE CANS.
CHURCH: The Regular Tuesday Program does go to church over the course of the year. Please remind the children each time before they come to church to show reverence and participate. Also as they enter the church they should be quiet. In addition, most of the time we will dismiss from church so make sure that the classrooms are left in order and that the children have their possessions.
Have a child hold the door open so that YOU may be the first one to enter and lead your class to their seats.
Explain about making the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water as they enter. Decide before hand how you will have them line up outside the pew and genuflect as a class before going into the pew. They should then place the kneelers quietly down and say a prayer.
Sit behind your class so that you can see what they are doing. Remember that you are there to guide the students through their time in church – so pay attention to make sure they are following along correctly and paying attention.
In the Upper Church please do NOT use the first pew, on either side, because they have no kneelers.
Younger Grades Sit in Front
If there is multiple grades in church, the younger grades sit closest to the front. You may use two pews per room. Spread the class out between the two pews so that the children have space between each other and less likely to talk.
BABYSITTING: Babysitting is available in the Kinane Center on Tuesdays afternoons from 4:00 – 5:30. You must register with us at the beginning of the year indicating that you need babysitting for your younger children.
Please call the office to let us know if you do NOT need babysitting on a particular day.
Bring a nut free snack for your child and also diapers and wipes if your child is not fully potty trained.
CHANGES TO CLASSES:
A catechist is not allowed to move children in or out of their classes. All changes are made by the office only.
A catechist should NOT indicate to a parent that it is “all right” with them, that a child be moved into their class. Please just tell the parent that they must call or go to the office. Much work goes into the class placements, a move is not as simple as one parent makes it out to be.
Some ideas for being a good catechist: