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 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

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.
  • 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.
  •  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.