November News

Faith - Academics- Service and Teamwork

A Grateful Heart

Over the last two years, many of us have opened our eyes to truly see the many blessings in our lives. Opening our minds and hearts to truly demonstrate sincere gratitude is a benefit to everyone's social and emotional well-being. As Catholics, we often pray in thanksgiving offering praise to God for all that is good in our lives, and without knowing many times it is also in the challenges that we encounter the gifts that surface in our lives.

In the holiday season approaching, we continue to ask God to open our eyes to the world around us. We continue to ask God to touch our hearts to truly see what is most important in our lives. That all that is worthy of praise and thanksgiving to God, are those things that truly matter and make a difference in our lives. We give thanks for our family members, friends, health, and the list goes on!

We were reminded today by Monsignor Bert that the Holy Mass is a true offering of thanksgiving. It is an act of praise and worship, thanking God for all!

Gratitude is an attitude that inspires our day to remain positive in all things! We must purposely involve ourselves in activities that will allow us to enter a moment of prayer, reflection to authentically proclaim our gratitude. This is true food for the soul!

Let us engage ourselves, our children, and family members in moments of gratitude. May we begin each day with a grateful heart. This will have a profound impact on our day.

There will be times of challenges and moments of distress but we can quickly remind ourselves to find the center of our heart that reminds us of the gratitude we feel. Many times it may be the moment our smartwatch reminds us to is in those moments we reconnect.

As we approach Thanksgiving, let us truly show our God the praise and thanks He deserves. May we cherish the blessings and not so much the "things" that really fill our hearts.

Below, I share an image that shares the benefits of gratitude.

Wishing everyone a wonderful month and a blessed Thanksgiving!

In Christ,

Mrs. Ana E. Gomez, M.Ed.

Big picture

Building Character at St. Mary's Catholic School - A Call to be Saints and to Holiness

On November 1st, we remembered the many men and women who the church has identified as saints. The communion of saints is a large group of people who through their lives and challenges answered the call to follow Christ. As many students learn, the journey was not easy and is one to be admired. It is made clear in their study of the lives of the saints that they had a profound love for Christ and an understanding of the mission of love.

At St. Mary’s Catholic School, we not only are centered on providing a strong academic base but one that is supported by a strong moral and faithful character. We all know that in the 21st century this is a definite challenge for all! Parents are finding themselves in busy households with many activities, responsibilities, and balances with the school day. The challenges of media and the internet create obstacles and questions for our young minds.

Being saints may not be the most popular nor always taking the most Christ-like decision at times. With these challenges, our work along with our parents is critical in forming these young minds and hearts. The true joy of discipleship out weights any joy the world pretends to give.

It is important always to step back and reflect on our work and its impact on our children. The school community remains committed to forming young minds and hearts. We do so by employing first and foremost the gospel and the teaching of Jesus Christ. On All Saints’ Day, the gospel reminded us of the way - the Beatitudes. ( MT 5: 1-12A) Is it easy? Absolutely not!

Our daily religion class and connections across content areas to Catholic Social Teachings support the call along with daily prayer throughout the day. Activities such as prayer services, Red Ribbon Rally, Unity day, and others support our mission. As well as our guidance and counseling program where lessons are taught on friendship, conflict resolution, self-confidence to name a few. Our implementation of Conscious Discipline supports a positive social IQ that allows students to self-regulate, identify emotions and work through situations. We continue to implement a program PK-6th to educate our students about positive relationships/situations to support our anti-bullying stance titled, Second Step. This is ongoing.

This year we are a proud official Leader In Me school and are within our first year of implementation of a three-year process. This has been a challenge adding to the requirements however very much worthwhile. This mindset of Leader In Me impacts all and in these opening months, we see the fruits budding within our staff and students. We look forward to sharing in greater detail what our students are learning but most importantly modeling the seven habits in our lives. We know our students will benefit from the lessons and that it will make a positive impact in their lives. Lessons are held daily and or weekly depending on the grade level.

This quarter students are focusing on the first three habits: Be proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First. The habits develop the whole child with a future filled with strategies and skills to apply in all situations. We are definitely a learning community. We are learning together so we all reach our highest potential.

Our extracurricular activities contribute as well in so many ways.

This is definitely a partnership with parents as we continue to work to mold our students to reach their potential and be saints in our time.

Big picture

2nd Quarter Progress Reports - Working on Healthy Habits!

We continue heading strong into the 2nd quarter. It is key for parents to access all weekly objectives via FACTS email communications and remain in contact with your child(ren)’s teacher via Remind. Conferences are open and may be scheduled by calling the main office.

It is always important to nurture a positive relationship with your child’s teacher(s) and go to them if you have any questions or concerns. Our faculty is here to work with you to support your child reach their highest potential. We are here to work together. A teacher’s job in our times is very demanding and words of encouragement and praise are always welcome.

The grade book on FACTS is open. Parents in 1st-6th grade may access grades at any time. Progress reports will be posted on Wednesday, November 16th marks the middle of the quarter which ends January 12th. A Growth and Habits Chart will be sent home to review by the parent, sign, and return to verify your review of your child(ren) grades.

We continue to work together as a team. Below is a link with great tips for home as we continue to maneuver through this year and support our students to reach their highest potential. Though the article targeted August and the start of the year, it is a good time to review and reflect on how we are all doing to help our students reach their goals.

Thank you for your support.

Extracurricular Activities in Full Motion

Students always enjoy being part of a group, team, and, most importantly, developing new skills in athletics, fine arts, and academics. As we continue to move towards the other side of the pandemic of 2020, we slowly but surely have begun to bring back extracurricular activities to our school and add new ones!

Students have been very eager in bringing in new things such as debate, gaga ball club, and renew cheerleading and art!

Our students' overall experience in school is heightened with the opportunities given. Aside from the above, we have begun volleyball and dance for girls, basketball under (BBA - Brownsville Basketball Academy), Robotics, Chess, and Choir. These activities have been predominantly in the 2nd-6th grade.

We have great plans for our Montessori - 2nd-grade students as well. We are currently working and finalizing a menu of options for afterschool activities just for them. It will vary in activities giving options in athletic, academic, and fine arts. Families will be able to choose sessions they prefer based on interest. Sessions will run three weeks with meeting twice a week. Start dates, fees and calendar will be shared very soon. A K-2nd grade Choir will also be formed in January.

We look forward to the upcoming months and opportunities for our students!

Read-a-Thon - Fall Fundraiser

St. Mary's Catholic School has always been a community of readers. We celebrate reading this month with bringing back our annual Scholastic Book Fairs and hosting a fundraising opportunity a Read-a-thon.

The Read-a-thon as it has been announced this week is an opportunity to promote reading and raise money for our school. Parents may register their child and encourage family and friends to sponsor them and in return the child commits to reading in response to the pledges they receive. We encourage our families to be creative in spending time reading at home. You may do any of the following:

1- Stop and dedicate an hour to reading in your household. Turn off all devices and read.

2- Read together and designate a regular story time; taking turns to read.

3- Listen to audio books together - anywhere! While you drive, before bed time ....

The link below reminds us of the many benefits of reading.

Participation is voluntary as are most of our fundraising projects however your support makes a difference in helping our school cover all costs during a school year and to address special projects needed. Our school receives no assistance from the state and minimal from the federal government to support our program. We depend on collection of tuition and fundraising, grants and donations.

We are excited to sponsor our first ever Read-a-thon and look forward to great returns to support our school. We thank Ms. Lindsey our director of admissions and marketing for coordinating this event. It will officially kicked off November 8th and will run till December 3rd. We thank everyone for their support!

Updates to our Return to School Plan and Continued Protocols

As we continue to work through this pandemic, we continue to remain hopeful of positive works to keep our families and community safe. There continues to be so much debate in the many approaches to handling this crisis what remains is our vigilance in keeping everyone safe by doing our part. We continue to stay informed and proactive.

We continue to hear many stories within our community and beyond of those affected by the virus and we remain faithful in prayer for those in need. With the recent announcement of a vaccine for children 5-11, each family will open a discussion with their child's pediatrician. Though not a requirement to be in school, we encourage those who do get vaccinated to assist our school in case there is a need to implement a quarantine a record of those students vaccinated is communicated to the school. We encourage you to send a record to Mrs. Alma Gonzalez and she will add it to your child's immunization record. This is as we said only for identification purposes. Mrs. Gonzalez can be reached by email at or 546-1805.

Step by step adjustments is being implemented to support all of our students and their overall well-being. The following changes in our daily procedures are in process.

Our music class continues to be held once a week but now stands alone apart from Physical Education class. The need for all students to have P.E. every day is a state requirement and students began this week safely engaged in class. Students are enjoying the outdoors during P.E. as much as possible. The open-air is a great thing for them.

Students will also begin eating lunch in the cafeteria on Friday, November 19th. Students will be separate, and socially distanced. As was stated in the original Return to School Plan, the entire gym will be used so that everyone is spread out. Areas will be disinfected after each group. Students will sit by class. After their lunch, students will go outside to recess supervised by a team of administration, staff, and specials ( teachers). Students, teachers and the entire community is ready for this.

We remain in regular communication with our local health authority and schools as they guide us on good practice. Slowly but surely we will begin adding other procedures and activities as we continue to move forward.

As we head towards the holidays, we will keep you informed on the Diocesan requirements. This will be communicated to us very soon. Our goal is definitely to keep our schools open and safe. What we do know at this point is there will be protocols in regards to travel taking all details of travel into consideration. Communication is key.

We thank you for your continued trust and support during these times. At any time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our school office.

Monitoring Access of Social Media, Gaming and the Internet

Children today as we know are very much aware of the world around them in ways we never imagined. This is a constant topic for us and when dealing with students and issues much comes from their exposure to what they find online, streaming TV, gaming, and more. In our world, we are in constant battle with the way of the world. It is important for us to continue to learn, grow and highlight the values we strive to instill in our children. This is a team effort.

Most recently we have dealt with references from a "popular" Netflix series "Squid Game" which is definitely not on the watch list for elementary students. This is a great reminder to all of us that we must remain vigilant and aware of what our students are accessing on their devices at home and in their private time. The messaging of many shows and even cartoons goes against our Christian values and beliefs. Our students are very young and developmentally are not ready for many of these themes and or ideas. Though not on our campus, we have heard of Tik Tok challenges that inspire children to engage in activities that are harmful and dangerous.

We continue our curriculum in teaching students to be good digital citizens and practicing their faith. This is a team effort.

The world is evolving at rates so fast we must help each other. As we continue to work with our students, we hope in the future to offer parent talks on these topics with special guests to support our families.

I have attached another link with great tips for every household. As we go into the holiday season and time off from school let us reflect on our practices to support our young ones. Let us continue to partner in caring for our young minds, hearts, and souls leading them to all that is good.

Virgen Peregrina

We are very excited to begin our apostate to the Virgin Peregina. St. Mary's Catholic School began this over 10 years ago, engaging families in prayer. A rotation within the grade levels will occur.

We will begin sending our Blessed Mother to each home for three days.

1- Day one - Image of the Virgen Peregrina will arrive. Families are to place her in a special place in their home. Family may gather to pray a decade or a complete rosary together offering prayer intentions. Students may assist with that!

2- Day two- The family is called to pray once again at a designated time. They may include the daily scripture of the day.

3- Day three - The family will pack the Virgen Peregrina, sharing a closing prayer, and return her to school so that a new family may receive her with open arms.

This is a beautiful practice and a blessed time for each family. May you receive the grace God wishes for you and your family! Please feel free to reach out to your child's teacher if you have any questions.

Welcome to our Team!

Join me in welcoming Coach Hugo Salazar who will be supporting our Physical Education program in the afternoons. Coach Hugo comes with great enthusiasm for working with kids as he is pursuing a career in education and also currently works with the Brownsville Basketball Academy developing young athletes.

He is a great addition to our early childhood program as he has begun to work with our young students offering physical education classes for them on a rotation with our teacher assistants daily. The students are already big fans!

Join us on welcoming Coach Hugo!

World Kindness Day - November 13th

We will celebrate World Kindess Day- promoting the good! The following comes from the official site:

Ideas and Simple Ways to be Kind

Being kind doesn’t need to look or be extravagant. Sometimes the simplest things make the most significant difference! Here are a few simple ideas and ways to be helpful on World Kindness Day in the workplace, at school, with your loved ones, or even while out running errands. Look for opportunities while you go through your day to infuse kindness into someone’s day. It’ll change their day and yours for the better!

  • Smile when you walk by others
  • Write positive messages on post-it notes and leave them for people to find
  • Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Tidy up around your house
  • Pick up trash you see on the ground outside and throw it in a garbage can
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Chat with a stranger and ask them about their day
  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal
  • Compliment someone
  • Send a positive or encouraging text to five people in your contacts
  • Surprise someone with flowers
  • Tell a family member or friend you love them
  • Write a note on the receipt at a restaurant for your server
  • Offer to help with someone’s errands
  • Give a surprise gift to someone you care about
  • Send a kind card or note to a friend
  • Surprise co-workers with home-baked cookies or treats
  • Plant a tree
  • Spend less time on your phone and more time with people you care about
  • Organize a workplace giving campaign
  • Offer a classmate help with homework
  • Talk to someone new
  • Practice gratitude
  • Volunteer
  • Give someone a hug

Get creative and make your list of kind acts for World Kindness Day!

Calendar Dates

11/11 - Veteran's Day - Morning Prayer Service @ 8:15 a.m. - Live-streamed

11/12 - World Kindness Day Observed on-campus/ Book Fair Closes at 12 noon.

11/15 - Read-a thon Continues ...

Virgen Peregina apostolate begins

11/16 - 2nd Quarter Progress Report

11/17 - Weekly Liturgy @ 8:30 a.m. Ms. Solis' 2nd grade class

11/19 - Thanksgiving luncheon provided to all students free! Kid friendly - Turkey, corn, mash potatoes and roll - Full day of school

11/22-26th - Thanksgiving break

11/28th - First Sunday of Advent

11/29th - Last week of Read-a-thon ; officially closes on December 3rd

11/30 - Fall STEM Day for Kinder, 1st and 2nd

12/1 - Weekly Liturgy @ 8:30 a.m. Mrs. Guerra's 5th grade class

Fall STEM Day for 5th and 6th

12/ 2 - Fall STEM day for 3rd and 4th

Looking ahead :

12/ 6 - Feast of St. Nicholas - Pictures with Santa - Details coming soon!

Mark your Calendars

12/ 14 - Christmas Program Day - To implement protocols and divide grade levels, a schedule will be shared and programs will take place during the school day. Programs will also be live-streamed for parents and family members who cannot be in attendance. The following schedule will be followed. More details are forthcoming!

9 a.m. - Little Saints and Montessori

10:30 a.m. - 1st and 2nd Grade

12 noon - 3rd -4th Grade

1:30 p.m. - 5th and 6th Grade

Big picture