Dear Members of the St. Mary Catholic School Community:
As principal of St. Mary Catholic School, I am excited to extend a warm welcome to everyone to the 2017-2018 school year. The faculty and staff is looking forward to our students returning to the classrooms with their energy and enthusiasm for learning. With school starting after Labor Day, hopefully families are able to take advantage of the extra week of together-time. August truly has 31 days of summer break! Throughout the summer I would see SMCS students out and about in the community, especially at Martin’s and Sheetz. During June and July, the conversations would always end with how fortunate we are to have so much summer still ahead of us. During August, I have been hearing that students (and their parents) are now ready for school to start. Please assure your children that Father Cibelli, the faculty and staff, and I are happily awaiting their arrival on September 5.
As of August 15, we are welcoming 20 new families and 37 new students into our school community. We are also welcoming three new staff members to our instructional staff, Mrs. Diane McCormick (Kindergarten Teacher), Mrs. Stacy Lowe (Physical Education Teacher), and Mrs. Susanne Harbert (First Grade Teacher Assistant). SMCS students will also have a new Band Instructor, Mrs. Tanalee Southern. Although not a new face, Mrs. Stacey Renken will be teaching Spanish as well as Art. Middle School students will have Spanish two days a week. All of these educators will help us to fulfill the mission of SMCS!
Although the joyful sound of children has been missing on campus since mid-June, summer projects have been ongoing. The boiler that dates back to possibly 1954 and heats almost the entire campus (Church & School) is in the process of being replaced. The work is scheduled to be completed before school starts; however, some work will need to be completed when the heating season arrives around the beginning of October and the boiler is fired up for the first time. The bathrooms in Pangborn Hall and the middle school building have been upgraded with new stall partitions, new sinks, and new faucets. The sinks and faucets in the K-2 bathrooms have also been replaced. Most of the work is being funded through the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Nonpublic Aging Schools Grant. SMCS was allotted $27,132 from this grant. Last spring, in a joint project with St. Mary Church, we replaced and expanded the security camera system on the campus. We upgraded to a digital system and added several more cameras to give us very thorough coverage of the entire campus. The School’s portion of the project was $11,098. Through a Federal Security Grant and the Nonpublic Aging Schools Grant, we were able to make this important improvement for the safety of our children.
Technology continues to be a high priority. Thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Stumpf and the generous donations of our families and friends to our Race 4 Technology, sixth and eighth grade students will be using new iPads on a daily basis. Two new charging carts as well as fifty-two new iPads were purchased. The retired middle school carts and iPads will be utilized on the third and fourth grade floor as well as the K-2 floor. In order to support all these devices, the wireless internet throughout the building is being replaced. An access point will be installed in every classroom to ensure smooth and uninterrupted service. Three Smart Boards were acquired, thanks to the success of the Scholastic Book Fair. A Smart Board is being added in the Art room and two older Smart Boards are being replaced. SMCS remains steadfast in its commitment to providing students with a technology-rich environment!
Mr. Bob Eves and Mr. Josh Bowers are working diligently to prepare our building for a new school year. The teachers are decorating classrooms and planning lessons. The office staff has worked throughout the summer closing out the previous year and preparing for the 2017-2018 year. The HSA officers are enthusiastically planning events to engage our students and families. Like members in a family, everyone is contributing to ensure that our students have the best school year possible!
Now that we have enjoyed an extra week of summer, our school building is ready to house the wonderful sounds of happy children on September 5. The hallways will once again be filled with students ready for the triumphs and challenges of each day. In this final week of preparations, let us take the time to thank God for all the graces He has bestowed upon us and ask Him to keep St. Mary Catholic School faculty, staff, parents, and students in His loving care.
As always, I ask for your prayers to the Holy Spirit to give me the guidance and wisdom needed to serve as principal of Saint Mary Catholic School.
May God Bless You!
Patricia A. McDermott