Reminders for the week of March 31




As we say good-bye to March, we are looking forward to a busy week ahead.  Please keep the following reminders in mind -





School will be closed on Wednesday, April 2, for a faculty in-service.

Mrs. Gannatti will be out of the office on Monday and Tuesday.  Mrs. Gore is the acting administrator in her absence.  Mrs. Gannatti is participating in an NEAS&C accreditation visit at All Saints School in Norwalk.  Mrs. Gannatti, Mrs. Gillen and Mrs. Gore have all completed the training necessary to participate in these visits.  This is very valuable for our school community since work on a visiting team affords an inside view of the operation of other schools and sometimes results in some great ideas for our school.  These visits also help us to prepare for our re-accreditation by highlighting areas that are of importance when evaluators visit.  Our next re-accreditation will be in 2018.  Mrs. Gannatti will be checking in regularly and will be promptly returning emails and phone calls when she returns to school on Thursday, 4/3.



All Yearbook Orders are due Monday, 3/31/14 - Click here for an order form.  The yearbook is a fabulous keepsake that features a photo of every student enrolled at St. Mary's and that showcases all the year's important events.  Students are always so excited when the yearbooks arrive and enjoy having all their friends and teachers sign their books.  Be sure your child(ren) don't miss out on this fun!







Our April School Mass will be on Friday, 4/4/14, at 9am in the church.  All are welcome to join us in worship.  The Home & School Association will host a coffee beginning at 8:30am in the Parish Center. Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.







Hot Lunch Volunteer Sign Up Genius (for April 7--June 13) is now available for parents to sign up.
To sign up, click here.



Grade 7 Fundraising - Munson's Chocolate Pick Up - If you ordered Munson's Chocolates, they will be available for pick up on Friday, April 4th from 2:30pm - dismissal in the Parish Center kitchen.  If you will not be able to come in and pick up your order at that time or if you would like your order sent home with your student that rides the bus, please contact Michele Sherbacow at 860-675-7545 or aemsherbacow@comcast.net to make arrangements.  Thanks to all that supported this grade 7 fundraiser.

Home & School Association News - Many thanks to the individuals who have accepted nominations to serve as HSA Board Officers for 2014-15. Elections for 2014-15 HSA Board Officers will be held on April 3rd.  Ballots will be available all day in the school office, and elections will be held at the April Home & School Meeting in the grade 8 classroom beginning at 6:00 pm. Nominees include:

President - Jennifer Pavlonnis
Co-Vice President - Ellen Bompane
Co-Vice President - Amy Lillis
Treasurer - Frank Conde
Recording Secretary - Noreen Kuziak
Corresponding Secretary - Beth Scully

To learn more about this year's nominees, click here.



CHOICE Program News - The GL Scrip Center will be closed for vacation. Please be sure to get any special orders (Scrip orders) turned into the office NLT Tuesday, April 1st Any orders placed by April 1st will arrive the following week.  Ordered placed after 4/1/14 will not be placed until GL Scrip reopens on 4/14/14.

News for the Week of 3/26/14







Kindergarten students spent last week thinking about Spring!  Students used a graphic organizer to organize their thoughts and ideas.  They discussed what they see in Spring, what they hear in Spring, what they play in the Spring, and what they like to do in the Spring.  They then used the graphic organizer to create a video using the Educreations app on their iPad.  They wrote their sentences and then illustrated.  Once they were done they recorded themselves reading their story!








Our April School Mass will be on Friday, 4/4/14, at 9am in the church.  All are welcome to join us in worship.  The Home & School Association will host a coffee beginning at 8:30am in the Parish Center. Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.


Observing the Holy Season of Lent - 

One Prayer a Day - Faculty, staff, administration and students have been invited by Mrs. Gannatti to share in a series of daily Lenten reflections.  
Click here if you would like an opportunity to share in these daily reflections.

Reconciliation - Again this year, throughout Lent the sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at St. Mary's Church on each Monday evening from 6-7pm.  Students in grades 4-8 will also have the opportunity to receive this sacrament at school during this Lenten season.  Our thanks to our school chaplain, Father Santiago, for coordinating this.







Living Stations of the Cross - One of Lent's most beautiful traditions is the Stations of the Cross.  St. Mary's Parish presents the Stations of the Cross on each Friday in Lent at 7pm in the church. Our 8th grade students would also like to invite you to our annual "Living Stations of the Cross".  This year, the Living Stations will be presented on Friday, April 11th at 2pm for the school community and at 7pm for the parish.  You are most welcome to attend either presentation.  The 7pm presentation will be preceded by a simple soup and bread dinner coordinated by the 8th grade.  The dinner begins at 5:30pm in the Parish Center.



Assistant Principal, Miss Oria Buckley, is not letting the
pending installation of an access ramp keep her from
carefully monitoring the progress in our modular units. 







Campus Facility Updates - We are excited to share a progress report in regard to our new modular classrooms. This week, we expect construction of the access ramp to begin.  Once construction is complete, the town's building inspector will be able to complete final inspection and issue a Certificate of Occupancy.  Our Parish Business Manager, Mr. Heiden, is hopeful that our formal "opening" of the units will be able to happen during the first week of April.  The units have received brand new furniture.  Our thanks to Mr. Ralph Chappano for helping make this furniture available at a very reasonable cost.

Miss Buckley provided PreK teacher, Miss Roxanne Kane, with
a tour of the new modular units.  Miss Buckley is very pleased with
the quality of the new furniture in the library but does have some
concern regarding the number of chairs available in the Music classroom.
She has assurance from her administrative team that adequate seating will
be available when the units open for use!
There are other significant changes coming to our campus soon.  Mr. Heiden has advised us that a new gate will be installed at the entrance of the carpool lot.  This installation is expected to occur as early as this week. This gate will effectively "close" our parking lot during our school day, better assuring student safety and improving campus security.

Mr. Heiden, in conjunction with our Home & School Association, is preparing the request to the Archbishop to obtain the necessary approval to proceed with construction of our new playground. We are all looking forward to this new recreation area for our students and we continue to anticipate that it will be ready for use when school opens on August 27th - just think of the smiles during that first recess of a brand new school year!  Our continued thanks to Mrs. Thompson for chairing our Playground Committee and to all of you for your generous support of this project at this year's auction and associated fund raising activities.

Finally, Mr. Heiden has advised us that air conditioning will be installed during our Spring Break in grades 5-8. Our thanks to all that supported the 2013 HSA Auction that generated the funding for this project and to Mrs. Pavlonnis for her work with Mr. Heiden to schedule this installation.



DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING! Reserve a copy of this year's Yearbook!  All orders must be in by Monday, 3/31.  They make great gifts for the graduate, end of year class gifts to your class' teacher and a reward for your favorite student(s) for completing a successful school year.  The children love to see themselves and their friends pictured  throughout the 2013-2014 school year.  Books are $28 each.  Click here for your order form.  A maximum of 151 books are ordered so be sure to reserve yours now.




Do you know a family interested in St. Mary’s School?  Please encourage them to stop by for our St. Mary’s School Morning Open House on Wednesday, April 9th from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM, we invite interested parents and students to stop in for a cup of coffee and a look at our school. St. Mary’s offers traditional academics, 1:1 iPad technology, differentiated instruction and daily faith. We welcome interested families to stop by! Any questions, please call the school office at 860-658-9412.



Calling all golfers!  Please join us on Thursday, May 29th at Hop Meadow Country Club for a day of golf, fellowship and fun.  The cost of $175 includes lunch, a golf shirt, happy hour and dinner.  You are welcome to register a foursome or an individual and we will be happy to pair you up with another golfer.  Please click here to download a registration form or click here to visit the Golf Tournament website.

We are also looking for sponsorships.  Sponsorships start at tee signs for $100 to lunch sponsors  at $1,000 to golf cart sponsors at $2,000.  Show your support for St. Mary's School and catholic education by sponsoring this year's tournament.  Click here for Sponsorship form.


Athletic News -

Blue Knight Night will be held on April 9th, 2014 from 6-8:30pm.
All basketball players from JVA and Varsity teams should attend wearing their game jerseys and shorts. Parents of these players will have the opportunity to play basketball against their children.
Coaches will be summarizing the team's season as well as handing out team awards.
Pizza and drinks will be provided at 6:00pm


Home & School Association News

Many thanks to the individuals who have accepted nominations to serve as HSA Board Officers for 2014-15. Elections for 2014-15 HSA Board Officers will be held on April 3rd.  Ballots will be available all day in the school office, and elections will be held at the April Home & School Meeting in the grade 8 classroom beginning at 6:00 pm. Nominees include:

President - Jennifer Pavlonnis
Co-Vice President - Ellen Bompane
Co-Vice President - Amy Lillis
Treasurer - Frank Conde
Recording Secretary - Noreen Kuziak
Corresponding Secretary - Beth Scully

To learn more about this year's nominees, click here.


Thank you to everyone who attended the "Uncorked"  Wine Tasting event last Friday, 3/21/14.  A special thanks to Sarah Mutarelli and Laura Williams for organizing the event, and to Pi Patel of Avon Wine and Liquors for donating the tasting wines and glassware, as well as organizing the raffle.  It was a lovely evening and a great way to raise some money for our new playground!


CHOICE Program News

All families with students enrolled in grades Kindergarten - Grade 8 are required to participate in the CHOICE program as part of their tuition obligation. We are nearing the end of our 2013-2014 earning period. April 30 is the deadline to make purchases towards this year's obligation or make your "opt-out" payment.  If you have any questions about your family's CHOICE obligation or the CHOICE program, please contact Tammy Budnick at the school office or at tbudnick@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.


Community News -


Parental Resource - There's an App for that!  Parents are often at a loss as to how to determine if an app, a game or other form of media like a movie is appropriate for their child(ren).  There is a free app available for iPads and iPhones called "Kids Media" from Common Sense Media.  This app allows you to search media by name and get reviews as to whether the product is age appropriate and the type of content it includes.  The reviews are detailed and specifically outline the type of content you can expect.  Common Sense Media also has a web site that is full of helpful resources for parents - www.commonsensemedia.org.


Spring Clean-Up at St. Mary's - Mark your calendars for the morning of April 5th. The St. Mary's Men's Prayer Group invites SMS dads and their families to join them after 8am Mass.  There will be coffee and donuts for all the volunteers who help clean up the church and school grounds in preparation for Easter.  More info to come, a fun service event for the whole family.




Northwest Catholic High School Invites You!  The Northwest Catholic Dramateurs will present Barnum from Friday, April 4th - Sunday, April 6th.  Featured performers include SMS alumi, Matthew Sottile, Class of '12 as Ringmaster.  Also performing in the cast are Avery Hatch, Class of '12 and Ally Voelker, Class of '13.  For more information and tickets, click here.

April Vacation Fun - Join the Spring Fling at the Community Farm of SimsburySpring Fling at the farm is a two day mini-­‐camp for students 3 years old through 6th grade.  Click here for a downloadable version of the registration.



First Grade Gets a Very Special Delivery! This week the mail carrier delivered a very important envelope for the first grade class at St. Mary's School. It was a letter from the president of the United States! How exciting! President Obama thanked the students for their insightful letters. As Mrs. Jehnings stresses to her students ....writing is powerful! You never know where it may take you.....it may even reach the White House!
 



Third & Fourth Grade "Public Service Announcement"




This afternoon, students from our 3rd and 4th grades made an important public service announcement to our entire school community.  They did a fabulous job!  Here's the important information -

"Good Afternoon -

Keeping in the spirit of Lent, let's please remember those who need food!
Kindergarten, please donate pancake syrup
First Grade, please donate oatmeal
Second Grade, please donate canned fruit
Third Grade, please donate pancake mix
Fourth Grade, please donate juice
Fifth Grade, please donate cereal
Sixth Grade, please donate tuna
Seventh Grade, please donate decaf tea
Eighth Grade, please donate coffee (decaf or regular)....

Remember, bare like winter trees no more, now those shelves have much in store.

Thank you for donating!

Have a great weekend!"



Also a reminder that it's time to order your SMS Yearbook!   All orders must be in by Monday, 3/31.  Only a fixed number of yearbooks are ordered - all yearbooks must be pre-ordered. They make great gifts for the graduate, end of year class gifts to your class' teacher and a reward for the student for completing a successful school year.  The children love to see themselves and their friends throughout the 2013-2014 school year.  Books are $28 each.  Click here for an order form.


News for the Week of 3/19/14




Happy St. Joseph's Day!  St. Joseph is the patron saint of family life, hand-labor, and carpenters.  Some families celebrate this feast day with special foods and a traditional "St. Joseph's Day Altar" that is built on 3 tiers to represent the Holy Trinity.  Since the feast falls during Lent, the special meal is generally meatless but does feature some delicious pastries.









Leprechaun Traps!  Students in Mrs. Jehning's first grade continued an SMS tradition this week, creating ingenious leprechaun traps in hopes of catching the leprechaun that causes good natured mischief here every St. Patrick's Day.  This year's creations were absolutely spectacular!




















Spring Parent/Teacher Conferences will conclude on Thursday, 3/20. Thursday will be a 12:45pm early dismissal.  Since there are no PreK conferences at this time, Prekindergarten Enrichment IS availableThursday.  THERE IS NO AFTERCARE AVAILABLE ON THURSDAY, 3/20.  Friday, 3/21 is a regular full day of school with both Prekindergarten Enrichment & Aftercare available.  If you have not yet signed up for a conference, it is not too late.  Click here for the Sign-Up Genius pages associated with conference sign-up.

Family Enrollment packets for 2014-15 were sent out via U.S. mail on Friday, 3/14/14.  Your response is requested by Friday, April 4th.  We do have several grades that are projected to be at full enrollment or that have waiting lists for next year so we do ask that you respond in a timely way.  If you do not receive your Family Enrollment Packet, please contact the school office.  To view an electronic copy of the contents of the packets, click here.



School Calendar Reminders -

School will be closed on Wednesday, April 2, for a faculty in-service.  
School will be closed for Spring Vacation during Holy Week from Monday, 4/14 - Friday, 4/18.
School will be OPEN on Monday, 4/21.  On our original school calendar school was scheduled to be closed but this day is now being used for snow day makeup.
Relaxed Uniform may be worn beginning Monday, 4/21 (fingers crossed it warms up by then!)


2014-2015 School Calendar Update - A 2014-15 Preliminary School Calendar was part of your family's 2014-15 Enrollment Packet.  We already have a correction!  Please update your calendar to show that our last day of school for 2014-2015 is now tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 10th instead of Friday, June 12th, 2015.  This year, 2013-14, our last day of school is projected to be Monday, June 16th with a 12:45pm early closing.  There will be no PreK enrichment or aftercare on 6/16.  To download and print a corrected copy of the preliminary calendar for 2014-15, click here.





Our April School Mass will be on Friday, 4/4/14, at 9am in the church.  All are welcome to join us in worship.  The Home & School Association will host a coffee beginning at 8:30am in the Parish Center. Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.


Observing the Holy Season of Lent - 

One Prayer a Day - Faculty, staff, administration and students have been invited by Mrs. Gannatti to share in a series of daily Lenten reflections.  
Click here if you would like an opportunity to share in these daily reflections.

Reconciliation - Again this year, throughout Lent the sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at St. Mary's Church on each Monday evening from 6-7pm.  Students in grades 4-8 will also have the opportunity to receive this sacrament at school during this Lenten season.  Our thanks to our school chaplain, Father Santiago, for coordinating this.

Living Stations of the Cross - One of Lent's most beautiful traditions is the Stations of the Cross.  St. Mary's Parish presents the Stations of the Cross on each Friday in Lent at 7pm in the church. Our 8th grade students would also like to invite you to our annual "Living Stations of the Cross".  This year, the Living Stations will be presented on Friday, April 11th at 2pm for the school community and at 7pm for the parish.  You are most welcome to attend either presentation.  The 7pm presentation will be preceded by a simple soup and bread dinner coordinated by the 8th grade.  The dinner begins at 5:30pm in the Parish Center.


This year, our spring vacation falls during Holy Week.  We would like to remind everyone that the Chrism Mass will be held at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hartford on Tuesday, 4/15/14 at 11am.  Everyone is welcome to attend this beautiful liturgy.  As noted in the Catholic Transcript on 4/21/11 - " The Chrism Mass manifests the fullness of the bishop's priesthood and signifies the close unity of the priests with him.  During the liturgy, the sacred oils that are used in sacraments are consecrated."  We hope many of you will prayerfully consider attending the Chrism Mass as a special way to prepare for the Easter Triduum.



Physical Education News -  Again this year, SMS students participated in the American Heart Association's "Jumprope for Heart" program.  Thanks to everyone who supported these students with pledges and donations.This year,  our school nurse, Mrs. Kim Tyrrell was on hand with her stethoscopes to help students understand the difference between resting heart rates and active heart rates.  











Last week, Kindergarten read the story If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.  The children wrote and illustrated stories of their own based on the story as an extension activity.  After the writing activity, students talked about how important it has been that their class has been collecting Macaroni and Cheese for the Simsbury Food Pantry all year and that now the Food Pantry needs our help again! This time, Kindergarten will be collecting...you guessed it...pancake mix and syrup!

Here are some other items also needed by the Food Pantry this month -

Coffee (instant,ground,regular and decaf)
Decaf tea
Maple syrup

Juices (small/large bottles and packages)
Can fruit (pineapple and oranges)
Pancake mix
Oatmeal (canister and packages)


Items may be sent into homeroom classrooms.  Each week, Mrs. Mortillaro and the 8th grade students who are volunteering at Eno will transport our donations to the Food Closet.  Our thanks to Mrs. Mortillaro for coordinating the transportation of our donations and thanks to all of you for being the hands of Christ.





Do you know someone wondering if St. Mary's might be the right place for their child(ren)?  Please invite them to come by on any Wednesday during the month of March.  Our "Walk-In Wednesdays", will take place on every Wednesday in March from 9 - 11:30am.  No appointment is necessary.  We will also have an Open House for Prospective Families on Wednesday, April 9th from 9 until 11:30.


Yearbook News 

It's time to order your 2013-14 SMS Yearbook!  The yearbook is a great keepsake because it features photos of every student and all the important events in our school year.  All yearbooks must be preordered.  The price per book is $28 and your check should be made payable to St. Mary's School with "Yearbook" noted in the memo section. For an order form, click here.  All orders and payments must be received NLT 3/31/14.


The yearbook is great because you all share your photos with us - so, calling all yearbook photographers!  If you have any photos of events your child(ten) has/have participated in this year, please send to Donna Nolan at donna.nolan410@gmail.com





Mrs. Maria Maynard, former Principal of St. Mary's and current Deputy Superintendent of Catholic Schools visited our school last Thursday.  Included in her scheduled appointments was a meeting with our Assistant Principal, Miss Oria Buckley.  Miss Buckley updated Mrs. Maynard regarding the Prekindergarten curriculum and also provided highlights of activities she has found particularly valuable here at St. Mary's. 




#Social Media - As you know, school owned iPads are managed/supervised devices.  Students are not permitted to add or delete apps.  The apps that are available for use have been carefully evaluated and have been added to address specific educational purposes.  Many students also have access to personally owned mobile devices (e.g., iPads, tablets, Smartphones).  Many students also have parental permission to download apps to these personally owned devices.  In the past several weeks, we have been made aware of some poor choices being made in regard to use of social media apps like Instagram.  Parents are reminded that students that have personally owned mobile devices have the capability to explore and use many forms of social media.  Poor choices can result in very unpleasant and even dangerous consequences.  Please be sure you are familiar with the apps loaded to your child(ren)'s personally owned devices and regularly review and discuss your family's Code of Conduct for use of the internet and social media.  Click here for some helpful resources.




CT Federation of Catholic School Parents - Action Alert!  Your support  is requested in regard to the amending section 9 of Governor's Bill 29 to allow Catholic schools access to the security grant funding available to Connecticut public schools. Our school is in the district of members of either the Education Committee or Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee or both. Please call/email your legislators, particularly because they are on the Education and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees.  We want them to know that we are supportive of HB 5564, as well as an amendment to Section 9 of SB 29 and we are grateful for their efforts to allow our schools to participate in the school security grant program.

Just to be clear, we are supportive of HB 5564, An Act Concerning School Safety.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/TOB/H/2014HB-05564-R00-HB.htm
  • We applaud the Education Committee's effort to make all children's safety a priority and are pleased that this bill would allow non-public schools access to the security grant funding available to CT's public schools.
Additionally, we are supportive of an Amendment to Section 9 of SB 29, An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation and Other Purposes.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/TOB/S/2014SB-00029-R00-SB.htm
  •  We respectfully request on behalf of the 113 Catholic Schools in the state of Connecticut, that the law be amended to allow our schools access to school security funding available to public schools.   


Below are links to help you determine who your State Legislators are and the names of those Legislators on the Education and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees.  Please be sure to keep your message positive.    














Community News







The CT Mirage Fastpitch Softball Travel organization will be holding a series of FREE skills clinic for children ages 9-11 (birth years 2003, 2004, 2005).  Click here for more information.







Congratulations to Lainey Muller, Grade 8!  Lainey was the third place winner for the  Patriot's Pen essay.   The Third District of the Veteran's of Foreign War, Post and Auxiliary 1926 Simsbury, sponsored this contest.  Lindsey Voelker and Cristina Santillan also participated in this contest and were awarded Certificates of Recognition.

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