News for the Week of September 23, 2015

In celebration of Pope Francis' visit and the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy that begins on Feast of the Immaculate Conception,
our school blog will be featuring the Year of Mercy logo until  the Jubilee Year concludes on Sunday, November 20, 2016, the Feast of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To learn more about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, click here.

#Whalesforacause Be sure to visit our new student council Facebook page!  Our inaugural post features a picture of the student body with the whales they created in support of Vineyard Vines' #Whalesforacause project.  For each picture taken with the Whales for a Cause paper, Vineyard Vines whale and shared with #whalesforacause on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram between July 21, 2015 and September 25, 2015, Vineyard Vines will donate $2.00 to the Jason Dufner Charitable Foundation to help provide a healthy lunch to a child in need. Click here to visit the new Facebook page and be sure to "follow" the page so you see all the upcoming posts!  Our thanks to Mrs. Work for  her efforts creating this new Facebook page and to our Kindergarten teacher, Miss Danielle Bedard, and our Advancement Director, Mrs. Toni Chagnon, for organizing this project!

Say "Cheese!"
SMS Class of '16 - Ready for their yearbook photos!
Virtus® Training - Anyone who wishes to volunteer at school or at after school events attended by students must complete Virtus® training and have a background check completed.  There will be a Virtus® Training session on Monday, October 5th, in the 6th grade classroom.  If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to  If you need to attend Virtus® Training and cannot come to the session on October 5th, click here and then click on Registration to find other training sessions in our area.

Hot Lunch Help Needed This Coming Monday!  At this time, we have only one volunteer signed up for hot lunch duty on Monday, September 28th.  If you can help, please contact Mrs. Budnick in the school office at 860-658-9412 or tbudnick@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.  Please also take a moment to visit the Hot Lunch Volunteer Sign Up Genius for more volunteer opportunities.  Serving hot lunch is a great way to share your child(ren)'s school day.  Click here to visit the Sign Up Genius.

School Board Meeting - The School Board will meet on Wednesday, September 30th, at 7pm in the lower church.

October School Mass - Our October School Mass will be held on Friday, October 2, 9am.  All are welcome to join us.  Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

Ski & Snowboard Club Preparations are underway for the 2016 season at Ski Sundown in New Hartford. New information and registration forms have been posted to the school website under the Athletics section.  Click here.

These forms can be completed and submitted beginning now.  The deadline for submission without a late fee is MONDAY NOVEMBER 2, 2015.  Note that Ski Sundown has changed their policy with regard to parents being counted towards the minimum group size. This will make it more challenging for our school to participate as our group last year was right at the 20-person minimum with 4 parents participating.  For this reason you are encouraged to REGISTER EARLY if possible.

All students who are age 8 or older on 1/6/16 can participate.  First timers are more than welcome.

Transportation to and from Ski Sundown will be available.  Season pass holders can utilize the Club’s bus transportation.  Please see the FAQ for cost information.

Chaperones are also needed and can ski for free.  A Sign-Up Genius site has been established.  Click here.

Please consider this activity for your child(ren).  We have a great time and it would be a shame if we are not able to continue this year.

Candy Corn Kindergarten!
Students in Miss Bedard's Kindergarten worked on this month's Math Strategy - Draw it Out - using vertical addition.  In keeping with the new season, students using candy corn as their vertical template!

ACRE Assessment Reminder - Grades 5 & 8 - Just a reminder that students in grades 5 and 8 will be taking the ACRE Religion Assessment next week. As noted in the letter sent home to parents at the end of August, this assessment has been developed by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) as a tool to assess our Religion curriculum. The assessment will be taken using a secure browsing app on the students' iPads and contains two parts. The first section provides feedback regarding what students know about the Catholic Church’s teachings. The second section addresses students' personal beliefs, attitudes, practices and perceptions regarding Church teachings. The individuals’ scores regarding what they know about Church teachings will be shared with parents/legal guardians; feedback regarding beliefs, attitudes, practices and perceptions will only be considered as statistical data at the school and Archdiocesan levels; individual responses remain confidential. Data will be used to review the Religion curriculum, improve instructional practices and set goals for strengthening the evangelizing efforts within Catholic schools; it will not be used as a grade for students.

Gr. 6 students, Hannah K. & Sophie P., spent a few minutes
during morning arrival reviewing for the upcoming
Religion assessment.

Health Office News - Legislation has been passed that changes the required annual health screenings in school.  Beginning this year, these are the new required screenings by the Connecticut State Department of Education:
Vision and Hearing K, 3, 4, 5
Posture girls 5th and 7th
Posture boys 8th
These screenings will be done over the next few weeks by the nursing staff.  If any irregularities are found, a note will be sent home asking you to follow up with your physician.  If you do not want your child to be screened for any of the above, please make a request in writing to St. Mary’s school nurse, Kim Tyrrell, RN.

CHOICE Program News - Please note that Big Y cards are currently out of stock.  The inventory will be replenished after October 1 when the profit percentage increases to 6%.

SMS Art Club Begins Soon! After school creative fun for students in grades 2-8.  See below for details.  Click here to download a registration form.

Students in Mrs. Jehning's First Grade Class explored their 5 senses last week.  One of their projects was the creation of textured name plates.

Harvest Festival Help is needed! Can you help?
Click here to volunteer.

The Fall Bookfair is coming in October!  Volunteer Help is Needed!

The Scholastic Book Fair will be held from October 5 - 11. We need volunteers to help with sales for morning, mid-day, and afternoon shifts, as well as assistance with the children during their scheduled classroom visits. When dates and classroom visit times have been determined, we’ll provide the details. As always, this is a great opportunity to be with your children and help foster a love of reading with them.  Please keep in mind all volunteers must have completed Virtus training. A Virtus training session will be offered here at SMS later this fall.  The date and time for this training session will be announced via the blog.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact either: Bridget Shanley (860) 738-8965( or Karen McKenna (

Show Your School Spirit! SMS car magnets are available in the school office for $5 each. Stop by and see Toni Chagnon to purchase your magnets! Please bring exact change or a check made payable to St. Mary's School.

Alumni News 

Sarah Jessen, SMS Class of '13, has been named to the 2015 NAfME All-National Symphony Orchestra  sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Sarah will join 670 of the most musically talented and skilled high school students in the United States for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: performing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 28, 2015. This marks the second year Sarah will participate in the event.Sarah also participated in the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s All-State ensemble.  Sarah is a junior at Northwest Catholic High School.

Community News

Clothes for a Cause -The St. Ann's Church Scholarship Committee provides partial scholarships to approximately sixteen students from the Hartford area who want to attend a Catholic high school.  The scholarships assist students (selected by the school staff) at Northwest Catholic High School, East Catholic High School, and St. Paul's High School in Bristol.  Each student is guaranteed annual financial assistance throughout his/her high school career. The Scholarship Committee holds four annual fundraisers and the Clothing Sale is the last one for this calendar year. St. Ann's is accepting donations now and there will be a collection box at SMS from Monday, 9/21 - Monday, 9/28.  This is a great time to share some of your clean, gently used clothing and accessories for a great cause.  And if you are looking to refresh your own or your children(s)' wardrobe, why not see what's available at the sale at St. Ann's?

A first-of-its-kind conference, the Digital Citizenship Summit will take place on Saturday, October 3 from 9am-5pm in the Bruyette Athenaeum, located on the University of Saint Joseph's main campus at 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut. The topic is of interest to parents, educators, school administrators, and students, as well as industry and organization leaders concerned about the misuse of technology among students — both children and teens. This full-day event includes four sessions of speakers, a panel discussion, and opportunities to network with leaders across the country intending to improve the use of present-day technology. The cost is $50 ($15 for students) and includes a light breakfast and lunch.  Click here for more information and to register.

Thinking about High School? - Renbrook School will be hosting a secondary school fair.  Click here to learn about other upcoming High School Open Houses & Admissions Tests.

Last week, Isabel M. and Isabella K. were incorrectly identified as being 7th grade students.  Both are grade 8 students.

Saying Goodbye to Summer!  As we welcome in Autumn and the beautiful cool weather and look forward to the foliage, we have a few last summer vacation photos to share.  The Corriveau family visited a personally favorite spot -- Holmes County, Ohio, which is home to the largest Amish settlement in the world. Farms, homemade goods, fresh cheeses, homestyle cooking and buggies as far as the eye can see. It is truly God's country out there. These pictures show Amelie and Leo C. (grades 2 and K) and little sister,Madeleine, getting into the local Amish spirit.