News for the Week of September 3, 2014

"Two Heads Are Better Than One" - Mrs. Gore's fifth grade students are off to a great start working in small, cooperative groups.

It's a busy time of year! Our school's Google calendar has been updated with all of the upcoming school year's events.  The calendar is always available to you using the Calendar tab at the top of the blog. Here are a few key dates that are coming up soon:

*  Home & School Association Meeting - Thursday, 9/4, 6:30pm in the Grade 8 classroom.  Did you know that just by sending your children to SMS, you are automatically a part of our Home & School Association.  Your active involvement helps assure that our community does all it can to directly benefit our students and to keep SMS a vibrant, family centered Christian community.

*  School Mass - Friday, 9/5, 9am in the church.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend our monthly school Masses.  Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

"Back to School" Mass  celebrated by Archbishop Blair on Sunday, September 7th at 2pm at St. Joseph's Cathedral.  Everyone is invited to attend this special liturgy. 

*  "Back to School Night" for Parents - Wednesday, 9/10, 6:30pm in the Parish Center.  Book your sitter and join us for your first opportunity to experience a condensed "Day in the Life" of your special SMS student(s).  This is your evening to get to know his/her teacher(s) a little better, visit the classroom(s) and leave a little note of encouragement.  This is also your first opportunity to sign up for your required Parent/Teacher Conference(s) in November.  Signing up for your conference at "Back to School" night helps assure you get the day and time most convenient for you!

*  Individual Student Photos for Students in Prekindergarten, Kindergarten - Grade 7 will be taken by Lifetouch Photography on Monday, 9/15/14.  A photo will be taken of every student in these grades for publication in our school's yearbook.  Students in grades K-7 may wear "business casual" attire, appropriate for school, on picture day. You do have the opportunity to purchase a photo package if you choose.  An order form will be sent home with each student on Friday, September 5th.  If you are purchasing a photo package, the order form and payment should be brought to school on picture day - Monday, 9/15/14.   Please do not send in your order and payment before picture day.  NOTES - Eighth grade students will have their individual student pictures and group class photo taken by Paul Cryan Photography on Friday, 9/26/14.  Group Class Photos for grades Prekindergarten, Kindergarten - 7 will be taken by Lifetouch Photography in November when the formal uniform is being worn.

Last week, children in Mrs. Jehning's First Grade played an interactive game where they had to find classmates who fit a certain description. It led to great conversations and discoveries of similarities and differences. We also read the book titled, I Like MyselfAfter reading, each child shared what they liked best about themselves. Then each child created a unique rainbow which will be displayed in the classroom. 

Used Uniform Exchange - An updated inventory of available items is now available.  Click here.

SMS Voice Mail  - All teachers at St. Mary's do have voice mail available so that you can leave a message if necessary.  Click here for a list of all extensions.  Teachers do check voice mail on a daily basis as their schedules permit.  If you are calling about a change to daily dismissal, please speak directly with the School Office - PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE MESSAGES REGARDING DISMISSAL CHANGES ON THE TEACHER'S VOICE MAIL.

Students in Mr. Cosham's Kindergarten are getting acquainted with their iPads!

Virtus Training for New Volunteers - All volunteers at SMS are required to complete the Virtus "Protecting God's Children" program and have a background check completed in order to volunteer for any activities at St. Mary's School. This is an Archdiocesan requirement. If you have already done this and submitted your paperwork to the school office, you should be all set. If you have completed this at a previous school, we must have a certificate on file in our office.

If you need to attend a training session, Mrs. Ginny Gore will be holding a training class on Wednesday, September 17th at 6:00pm in the Grade 5 classroom. You may RSVP for this class through Mrs. Gore at or Tammy Budnick at If you are unable to attend this class, you must go to the archdiocesan website ( and find a class that is more convenient for you. 

You must provide proof of attendance at a Virtus session and the completed background check form before you can volunteer at school. If you do come to volunteer and you have not obtained the training, we will have to ask you not to volunteer at that time. Please understand that we must follow the guidelines put in place to protect our children.

Grade 8 Fund Raising News - Each year the 8th grade coordinates a number of fund raisers in order to raise money to defray the costs associated with their field trip to New York City, outing at High Meadow and graduation.  This year, their first fundraiser is with Flower Power.  If you are planning to plant bulbs this fall for a beautiful spring garden.  Please consider supporting this fundraiser.  All orders must be submitted no later than September 26th.  Click here to place your order online or follow the directions below to request a catalog and pay by check.

Home & School Association News

The next HSA meeting is Thursday, 9/4/14 at 6:30pm in the grade 8 classroom.  Click here to view the agenda.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

The Fall Festival is quickly approaching!  Please mark your calendars and save the date for this year's event on September 19, 2014 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.  There will be food, games, arts and crafts and other fun activities.  This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and socialize with our school community.  Click here for more information.

Are you looking for opportunities to be involved in the SMS community by volunteering your time and talents?  If so,  look for the HSA table on Back to School Night, Wednesday, September 10th. There are many opportunities to become involved.   We can work around your schedule!

The HSA is happy to announce that we have chosen Claude and Michelle Howard as our candidates for the St. John Neumann Award for Volunteer Service.  Claude has served on the school board for the past two years and is currently the Board Chairman.  Michelle has chaired and co-chaired the St. Mary's Auction for the past two years.  These Auctions were fun, community building events that also provided the funds for our beautiful new playground.  The Howard family has also  been involved in multiple other events generously offering their time, talents, service and ideas to help strengthen the St. Mary's School community.  We are blessed to have them here.

Claude and Michelle will be honored for their service to St. Mary's School at the 37th Anniversary HOPES Dinner on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 4:30 - 7:30 pm at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, CT.

**If you would like to join this celebration, please contact Jennifer Pavlonnis no later than September 7th.  Tickets are $40 per person.