Dear Members of the Saint Mary Catholic School Community:
The start of the 2016-2017 school year for Saint Mary Catholic School is just around the corner! SMCS is ready to welcome everyone to an exciting new year filled with opportunities for parents and teachers to partner in order to guide students in their spiritual, academic, and social growth. I hope the summer was filled with much fun and laughter, vacations and good times, and hours of family time. For me, time with my family is the greatest gift of summer. Summer break enables parents, faculty and staff, and students to recharge before beginning a new year that promises to be filled with opportunities for faith formation, academic success, community building, and service learning. On behalf of Father Cibelli, the faculty and staff, and me, I want to thank you for choosing Catholic education at St. Mary Catholic School for your family.
As of August 15, we are welcoming 27 new families and 42 new students into our school community. We are also welcoming two new staff members to our instructional staff, Mrs. Jennifer Flanagan (Kindergarten Teacher Assistant), and Mrs. Jackie Swarner (Second Grade Teacher Assistant). We are also pleased to announce that Mrs. Carrie Stumpf has assumed the role of Marketing and Development Director for SMCS. Mrs. Flanagan, Mrs. Swarner, and Mrs. Stumpf are eager to share their talents, creativity, and enthusiasm with our school community.
Summer at SMCS is always a flurry of activities. For the third year in a row, the Maryland’s General Assembly passed legislation providing funding to nonpublic schools who currently participate in the Maryland Nonpublic Student Textbook Program for renovations and security-related upgrades to existing nonpublic school buildings. The program is administered through the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). St. Mary Catholic School will receive $27,525 in grant money from the Nonpublic Aging Schools Fund toward improvements in our facilities. This summer the windows in the Msgr. Passarelli Room, the kitchen, and the primary hallways were replaced for a cost of $22,550. The bathroom stalls on the middle school floor are in the process of being replaced at the cost of $6,311.25. The Church and School Facilities Committee continues to plan and schedule needed maintenance for our campus. Thanks to proceeds from the 2015 Auction, sixth graders will enjoy the cool comfort of air conditioning in their homeroom classroom.
Technology is always at the forefront at Saint Mary Catholic School. As part of our technology plan, twenty-eight Apple iPad Air 2 devices and a charging cart were purchased to begin the refresh for our middle school iPad program. Sixth graders will be utilizing these devices. Fifth graders will have access to iPads on a daily basis as a charging cart with twenty-five iPad 2’s will be housed in their classroom. K-4 students will again have access to a mobile iPad lab. The purchase of new iPads will continue as our one-to-one computing initiative extends to the lower grades. Through proceeds from the Scholastic Book Fair, a SMARTBoard was added in the Spanish classroom. This SMARTBoard will be used for Spanish class as well as being available for Mrs. Renken to use with her art classes. Saint Mary Catholic School has remained steadfast in its commitment to providing students with a technology-rich environment in which they have opportunities to develop their skills in collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving, which are key to thriving in today’s world.
Mr. Bob Eves and Mr. Josh Bowers did a thorough job of preparing our building for a new school year. Most of the teachers have been working in their classrooms since the beginning of August. The office staff has worked throughout the summer closing out the previous year and preparing for the 2016-2017 year. The HSA officers have been planning events to enhance each student’s experience at SMCS. Like members in a family, everyone is contributing to ensure that our students have the best school year possible!
Although August always brings the close to summer break, it also brings the pleasant sound of children in our school building. 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 Saint 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