Principal Newsletter Archives

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 10/15/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

Last Friday, several hundred of our young women and some staff members participated in a silent demonstration advocating for a school sponsored club in support of our students and the LGBTQ+ community. 

As educators and parents, who seek to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and the examples of our Patron Saints, Francis and Clare, it is essential that we listen to these experiences and take to heart what our students are saying. I can assure you we will listen to their stories with open hearts. We want to live up to our promise to be a school where every student feels valued, respected, accepted, and cared for.

Some of our LGBTQ+ students have found the courage to express that they feel less welcome or less accepted in our school. And, many more students have stepped forward to express their support for these students. We will continue to have open dialogue and encourage parents to do the same at home. 

When specific issues or ideas come out of these discussions, I will share them, to the extent I am able. We honor our student’s privacy and want to keep our focus on how we move forward together, in better understanding of each other’s perspectives and needs.

Please pray for all of us who share in the privilege and responsibility of helping educate these remarkable young women.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 10/08/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

This week has been one of high emotion at St. Francis. As your daughter(s) may have made you aware, there has been a vocal group of students advocating for a more visible stance on LGBTQ+ issues. As a Diocesan Catholic school, we are not able to support or endorse any iconography or political stance that is contrary to Catholic church teachings. We support and care for all of our students and are deeply saddened they feel so much pain and anguish. 

As a private Catholic school, there are limitations to what we can do, unlike our public secular counterparts. I ask that parents, as the primary educators, speak with your daughter(s) about the legal separation of church and state, and the implications it has for religious institutions.   

To that point, there was a student demonstration today during community lunch. Students peacefully assembled in Serra Court and waved pride flags and other symbols on campus. We care for the safety and well being of all of the students, and directed them to remain in Serra Court if they wanted to participate in the demonstration.  Those that opted not, were allowed to move to other areas on campus. 

I have been in communication with Diocesan leadership and they are aware of the challenges we are facing from internal and external forces. I have asked for their support in creating clear and specific policies that will support all Diocesan schools moving forward. 

Lastly, there have been social media postings that are inaccurate, counterproductive, and slanderous. I want to remind you that our student-parent handbook has a specific Code of Conduct (p.21) that clearly articulates the expectation for all students and parents:

  • A necessary condition of continued enrollment at SFHS is that students behave in a manner, both on and off campus, which is consistent with the principles and Christian philosophy of SFHS.
  • Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to express their concerns about school operation and personnel to the appropriate administrators and staff.  However, they may not do so in a manner that is discourteous, scandalous, rumor-driven, disruptive, threatening, hostile, or divisive. This includes, but is not limited to, use of social media as a means to express any of the above. 
  • St. Francis reserves the right to determine, at its discretion, which actions fail to meet the principles and Christian philosophy of the school and administer appropriate disciplinary action.

Parents, please talk to your daughter/s, and continue to support them as they navigate through their high school experience and discover who God is calling them to be. We also know that high school is a much different place than when many of us were in their shoes. It is more important than ever that we come together to educate and support our children, instead of an unknown entity on social media. For that reason, I ask that you also monitor your daughter’s social media accounts, so you can be aware of what she’s seeing or following. 

I ask that you continue to pray for our students, faculty, and staff, as we continue to do the important work of educating young women who will change the world.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 10/01/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

We had a fantastic Homecoming Week at St. Francis! Our Troubies had an amazing time interacting with one another and our faculty. Thank you to the parent volunteers that came out and helped make the event possible. It takes a small army to put on and clean-up after a school-wide event like this, and we couldn’t have done it without the assistance of our parent volunteers.

Tomorrow evening, we will conclude our Homecoming Week with the traditional dance on campus. As a reminder, the following Homecoming Dance requirements were emailed to all current St. Francis parents Tuesday afternoon:

Students and guests have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test via a hardcopy or digital image saved on their cell phone. For those families that may not be able to get a test done at a clinic or pharmacy, the Abbott Binax Now or Quidel nasal (not saliva) self-test kits are acceptable as proof.  It’s important the self-test includes the student’s signature, date, and time that it was done.  Please refer to the following example of what students using a self-test kit will be asked to present at check-in on Saturday evening before they will be allowed into the event. 

If a student does not have proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event, they will not be allowed to participate.  Tests done prior to the 72 hour window will not qualify for clearance.

We are encouraging carpooling or ridesharing to minimize traffic backups during drop-off and pick-up. Refer to the following MAP to know how to enter campus to drop-off and pick-up your student.

  • Doors will open to Freshmen and Sophomores at 6:30 p.m., which will help with drop-off lines. 
  • Doors will open to Juniors and Seniors at 7:00 p.m.
  • There is no entrance after 8:00 p.m.
  • Juniors and Seniors are allowed to start leaving the dance at 9:00 p.m.
  • Freshmen and Sophomores are allowed to start leaving the dance at 9:30 p.m.
  • The dance will end at 10:00 p.m. Please plan on picking up your daughter at that time.

Lastly, this is a closed event. No one, including parents, will be allowed on campus without a ticket.  We encourage parents to take photos off campus to minimize traffic congestion during drop-off and pick-up.

I am looking forward to seeing all of our students and their guest/s on campus. I’m praying for a safe and fun event, and I also ask that you remind your daughter to celebrate responsibly and return home safely.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/24/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

We had another fantastic week at St. Francis! Our Troubies have been actively involved in their Homecoming builds, while trying to stay engaged in their studies. Traditionally, Homecoming Week is high energy, with weeklong events culminating in a grandiose Homecoming Rally.  Given the current COVID restrictions, we’ve made some adjustments and moved most of the indoor events outdoors, and are planning for a safe, masked indoor rally on Friday, October 1st. Unfortunately, due to health and safety concerns, only students, faculty, and staff will be able to attend the event.

Also, it is my pleasure to introduce a new member of the St. Francis staff that you will be seeing around campus. Valerie Ramos, is our new Diversity Coordinator, who will be working with administrators, faculty, and staff, to promote honest discussion of racial diversity issues and initiating steps needed to sustain an inclusive, welcoming community, consistent with the mission of the school.  Mrs. Ramos will continue to spearhead the implementation of our Racial Reconciliation Plan (RRP), which champions the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive community. In her role, Mrs. Ramos will engage with administration, faculty, staff, and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Francis, and serve as an advisor and resource for administration, faculty, staff, and students in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you’d like to reach out to Mrs. Ramos, you can email her at vramos@stfrancishs.org.  We are excited to welcome Mrs. Ramos to our team and look forward to working with her in the years ahead. 

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/17/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

As we finish the sixth week of instruction, I want to recognize the fantastic work our Troubies are doing in and outside of the classroom. The first month of school has flown by and our Troubies are settling into a “normal” routine. 

At this point of the year, I like to remind parents to discuss with their daughters the importance of finding balance in their busy schedules. Our Troubies challenge themselves with rigorous academic coursework, athletics, student clubs, and a host of other co-curricular activities. Please encourage your daughter/s to find time to breathe and decompress, as it will provide them with the coping skills necessary to be successful throughout the year.  As we get closer to the end of the 1st quarter, an important skill for any student to learn is to ask for assistance early, so she can feel confident in her academics and activities. We want to ensure our Troubies utilize our various support systems, such as asking teachers for assistance, tutoring, and working with their Guidance and/or our Wellness counselors.

Thank you for being proactive and helping us develop strong, confident, and resilient young women.

Also, as a reminder, COVID screening will be taking place for all unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff this Sunday, September 17th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Armory parking lot. The screening time frame has been adjusted by our medical providers due to the smaller number of students, faculty, and staff needing to be screened. 

If a student who is unvaccinated is unable to get tested on a scheduled weekend, they will not be allowed on campus. Please reach out to Dean Cost or myself if you have any questions about testing options if you’re unable to attend a weekend clinic. 

I appreciate your flexibility and understanding, as we continue to do everything in our power to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe and present on campus.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal

Email blast

Principal’s Newsletter 9/10/21

Dear St. Francis Families,

I can’t believe we have completed the fourth full week of instruction!  While we are still acclimating to being back to in-person instruction, it’s important to remind your daughter/s to find some balance. Now more than ever, it’s necessary that they find time to breathe and decompress, as it will provide them with some coping skills necessary for resilience and success. As we continue to navigate this school year, an important skill for all students is to learn to ask for assistance early so they can feel confident in their academics and self-advocacy skills. We want to ensure our Troubies utilize the various support systems in place at St. Francis, such as asking teachers for assistance, tutoring, and working with their Guidance and/or Wellness counselors.

Also, as a reminder, COVID screening will resume for all unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff this Sunday, September 12th from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Armory parking lot. 

In an effort to minimize traffic congestion during COVID screening, we ask that students with last names (A-L) arrive between 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. and students with last names (M-Z) arrive between 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. The last 30-minutes will be for any student, faculty, and staff member that may not be able to make it during the designated times. 

If a student who is unvaccinated is unable to get tested on a scheduled weekend, they will not be allowed on campus. Please reach out to Dean Cost or myself if you have any questions about testing options if you’re unable to attend a weekend clinic. 

Additionally, our Urgent Care Now medical providers will be on-site this Sunday, September 12th, to provide a vaccination clinic for any parent or student interested in getting the first or second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. They will also have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available for anyone interested in receiving that particular vaccine. The vaccination clinic will be taking place inside the Armory, so you will have to park in designated stalls to minimize congestion and delays in the drive-thru COVID screening lanes.

Thank you for your flexibility and understanding, as we continue to do everything in our power to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe and present on campus.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza
Principal