Panther Press

Principal News ~October 20, 2023

Daily Attendance

We all know that there are some situations that are unavoidable when it comes to student attendance. As a reminder our policy handbook says, “daily attendance is required of all students attending St. Margaret Mary Catholic School. Since even occasional absence constitutes a handicap to the pupil in his/her progress, we look for cooperation in keeping absences to a minimum.”

Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in student absences. Many students are leaving for appointments (returning to school or not) throughout the school day. This type of absence is very disruptive to your child’s day. He or she misses important instruction and work time. This can cause undue stress and anxiety to your child. We would encourage parents to make appointments outside of the school day or be sure to attend school prior to the appointment and return afterward. We also have noticed an increase in vacations and trips over an extended period of time. Please try to plan these trips over scheduled breaks through the school year to minimize days absent from school.

There has also been an increase in early dismissals and late arrivals, especially on Fridays. Being in school on time and all day is essential for a quality education for our students. We all need to be on the same page and show the students that education is valued at home as well as at school. We ask that you make every effort to have your child be in attendance every day that school is in session. Students need to be in the building by 8:55 every day.

If your child will be absent from school for any reason, you are required to report the absence to the office by 9:00 AM. This includes students who will be arriving late for any reason. We worry when we cannot get in contact with you and your child is not in school. If your child will be picked up early, please let the office know in advance who will be picking up your child. In all situations it is not enough to notify just the teacher; the office must be notified.

Thank you for your continued partnership in your child’s education.

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Emergency Forms and medications at school

Thank you to all the families that have completed the emergency forms. If you have not done so already, please send in your form immediately.

We are discovering that there are a lot of forms indicating that there are allergies that require medication, EpiPens, and inhalers. However, we do not have these at school. If your child needs access to these items, should they experience an allergic reaction it is very important that we have it on file. If your child carries his or her EpiPen or inhaler we need to know and have a medication form filled out. The medical form can be found at the end of the

If your child needs to have cough drops or over-the-counter medication you must complete the medication form (found at the end of Panther Press). Children cannot carry these items themselves at school, all medication (over-the-counter or prescription) must be kept in the school office. Cough drops are considered over-the-counter medication.

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Volunteer Sign-up Link

Trunk-or-Treat Participation RSVP

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Pumpkin Contest Information

Students in grades Preschool – 7th grade are invited to enter the annual pumpkin decorating contest.

A prize is awarded at each grade level.

Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest:

Official Rules and Guidelines

Please note: Students who do not follow the rules and guidelines will be disqualified from the competition.

Prize Categories:

· Top pumpkin in each grade.

· Principal’s Choice


1. Students in Preschool – 7th grade may enter the contest.

2. Pumpkins can be no larger than a basketball.

3.. Pumpkins must be a creation of the student.

4. A completed entry form must accompany the pumpkin to school with the student on the day of the contest. *Entry forms will be sent out next month in the Brown Envelope.


1. Student must be able to carry his/her own pumpkin into the school building.

2. Parents will not be permitted in the school to assist with carrying the pumpkins to the classroom.

3. Pumpkins will need to be transported in a plastic or brown paper bag to school.

4. Pumpkins will be returned to each child by the end of the school day (Friday, October 29, 2023).

Questions? Contact St. Margaret Mary Home and School

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Attendance Reminders

IMPORTANT - You must communicate with the SCHOOL OFFICE by 9:00 a.m. if your child will be absent. If you do not call your child in for the day, we will call you directly throughout the day until we hear from you.

We worry about all our students and want to be sure they are safe.

Student Absent Guideline:

Tarty – Any student that comes to school between 8:55 – 9:15

A.M. Absence – Missing time between 9:15 – 12:00 for more than an hour

P.M. Absence - Missing time between 12:00 – 3:15 for more than an hour

Partial Absence – Missing any part of the school day for less than an hour

Full-Day Absence – Any student who is missing 75% of the day (4.5 hours)

Notes will be documented through our attendance system, including late arrival and early dismissal times.

Policy and Procedures Reminder

Participation in After School Activities

  • Students must be in attendance for the entire school day to participate in after-school activities.


  • Vacations are strongly discouraged during the academic school year. The best learning takes place when children are in attendance. Nevertheless, the school understands that there may be a time when this is unavoidable. Teachers are not required nor expected to prepare any work that will be missed by such vacation. If work is prepared for the student, the work is due upon the student’s return to school. Make-up time will not be given. Upon returning, it is the parent and/or the student’s responsibility to consult with the teacher regarding make-up work. Absences will be recorded as unexcused for vacations taken during the school year.

Sickness or Injury

  • If a child becomes ill or injured at school, the parents will be notified. When a parent cannot be reached, the person designated on the emergency form will be contacted.

Should a student be ill, the following guidelines should be followed when deciding when a child can return to school:


  • 100.0 or more – the sign of illness that may be contagious
  • Fever-free without medication for 24 hours


  • More than one episode – not induced by cough or reflux
  • Able to maintain a normal diet


  • May lead to dehydration or may be infectious
  • Diarrhea free

Frequent persistent cough

  • May indicate secondary infection – sinusitis/pneumonia/asthma
  • Minimal coughing or treatment begun
Infectious illness – strep throat/pink eye/ chickenpox/flu etc.
  • Is contagious to staff and other students
  • On antibiotics or treatment for 24 hours or until your doctor releases your child to come to school

Uniform and Spiritwear


  • Appropriate school/play clothes, socks, and shoes.

  • Shoes must be fully enclosed and safe for outdoor/indoor play.

  • All children MUST BE toilet trained before entering the 3 or 4-year-old program.

  • Children are expected to be able to take care of their own bathroom needs.


  • ALL polo shirts, fleece jackets, and sweaters must have the school logo.

  • These items can be purchased through Land's End.

  • Land’s End Website Address:

  • St. Margaret Mary School Code: 900054578


  • Student uniform shirts must have the school logo and be tucked in always.

  • Belts must be worn if the shorts or pants have belt loops.

  • The entire student uniform must be in good condition. (i.e. no holes, rips, or open/unhemmed seams).

  • Uniform checks will occur.

  • If a student is not in compliance with the uniform guidelines, parents will be contacted by the teacher.

  • The school reserves the right to decide whether certain attire, accessories and hairstyles are appropriate for its students.

  • If for some reason, a student needs to be out of uniform, please contact the school principal prior to your child coming to school. If approved, the student will be given a pass to show the teacher.



Grades K-4:

  • White round or pointed collar oxford (long or short sleeve).

  • White, red, or navy logo polo shirt (long or short sleeve).

Grades 5-8:

  • White oxford (long or short sleeve).

  • White, red, or navy logo polo shirt (long or short sleeve).

  • Blouses and shirts should be tucked in at all times.

  • No turtlenecks are allowed.


Grades K-3:

  • Red and blue plaid jumper.

Grades 4-8:

  • Plaid skirt or culottes. (Purchased from Dennis Uniform.)

  • The skirt and jumper length is to be no more than 1” above the middle of the knee.

  • Solid blue skirts or skorts are not permitted.


Grades K-8:

  • Cotton twill loose-fitting plain navy-blue pants.

  • No leggings, elastic cuffs, sweatpants, or cargo pants.

  • No logos.

  • All slacks must be at the natural waist of the student.

  • Belts must be worn if slacks have loops.


  • Cardigan, V-neck, or crew in true red or navy blue. They may not be worn below the hip line.

  • No designs or hoods.

  • No oversized sweaters



Grades K-8:

  • Plain navy-blue walking shorts.

  • Shorts should be mid-thigh in length, shorts are not to be worn below the knee.

  • No cargo shorts.

  • Shorts may be worn year-round.


  • Crew socks – solid black, navy blue, white, or true red

  • Knee socks – solid black, navy blue, white, or true red

  • Tights – solid black, navy blue, white, or true red

  • Leggings - (under the skirt or jumper) in solid black, navy blue, white, or true red.

  • No patterns are allowed for crew socks, knee socks, tights, and leggings.

  • Socks are to be worn at all times with all types of shoes.

  • Socks must be visible at the ankle and above the top of the shoe at all times.


  • Gym shoes or flat dress shoes are permitted.

  • Shoes should be neat in appearance and tied properly, using all eyelets.

  • No hiker shoes or boots of any kind are to be worn.

  • No sandals should be worn.

  • Shoes cannot light up in any way.

  • All shoes worn by students must be fully enclosed with no openbacks or fronts for student safety.

  • Proper shoes for the gym are necessary.


  • Rings, post earrings (not below the earlobe), watches, necklaces/bracelets, and religious symbols are worn not in excess and in good taste are permissible.

  • Scarves, ties, and/or smartwatches are not permitted.

  • Nails should be of a natural length and shape.


  • Hair should not be distracting or cover the eyes.

  • Bizarre styles, stripes, names, and other designs are not allowed.

  • Hair should be of one natural color.

  • Distracting headpieces or extensions are not permitted.

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Marla's Hot Lunch

Click on the link to order hot lunch -

Now taking orders for the week of September 11, 2023.

Volunteer Requirements:

Attention all Preschool - 8th-grade parents:

With a new school year comes new opportunities to volunteer at St. Margaret Mary. Each family is required to volunteer 20 stewardship hours for the 2023-2024 school year.

All volunteers are required to complete an online VIRTUS training, provided by the Diocese of Rockford and have a background check. The background check form is located at the end of the newsletter under important documents. The form can be sent directly to Mrs. Narusis (

When you are prompted to enter your organization's password, please use 2train!


Recess and Lunch Volunteers:

THANK YOU to all the parents who have signed up for lunch and recess. We could still use more help. Please use the links below to sign up for lunch and recess help.

Lunch Volunteers:

Recess Volunteers:

School Office Hours:

The school office is open Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

On Fridays, the office closes at 3:30 p.m.

Birthday Treat Guidelines:

St. Margaret Mary Catholic School recognizes that birthdays are a special day for our students. We must also ensure that parties and celebrations do not disrupt the instructional day or interfere with the health and safety of all students. Birthdays occurring on weekends are recognized on the morning announcements the following Monday. Summer birthdays are recognized before the end of the school year.

How to celebrate your child's birthday at STMM:

  • You are welcome to send in a low-cost non-food treat such as stickers, birthday pencils, tiny fidgets, (no toy weapons of any kind!), etc…

  • Individually wrapped treat (store-bought or homemade). This should be a small treat. Food options such as pizza, happy meals, or root beer floats are not permitted. This should be a snack that does not require any assembling.

  • Parents are asked to drop off the treats in the main office, and these treats will be delivered to the classroom.

  • Goody bags are not allowed. The school will not permit bouquets of balloons and other celebratory decorations to be sent to the classrooms. These can be distracting to students’ learning.

  • We do not recommend that the school be the primary point of distribution for birthday invitations. Teachers are not expected to hand out invitations for the child. If a child brings invitations to school, it is expected that the entire class is invited, or all of one gender (all boys or all girls).

***We kindly ask that you not ask teachers or staff to make an exception for your child. Making an exception for one child means we must make an exception for all, and that defeats the purpose of the policy. Teachers are also not allowed to distribute private party invitations to students.***

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Important Forms and Documents