April News

Catholic School Strong!

The Season of Spring

The season of spring brings great hope and renewal. The signs are endless around us and it is up to us to hear, see, smell and acknowledge. It is up to us to take the simple, small moment to embrace the gifts of spring.

The sign of hope is in so many ways refreshing. The blue skies, the birds chirping, the new flowers, green grass, visits to the ocean, touch of the warm sand are symbols of life and the cycle that continues.

I share the words of a famous and well-known poet, Robert Frost to reflect on all that is new and good.

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

- Robert Frost

Enjoy the spring! In Christ,

Mrs. Ana E. Gomez, M.Ed.


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Spring Achievement Testing Window

Beginning April 13th students in our elementary program will take the Iowa Assessments™. Your support and encouragement will impact and help your child do his or her best on the tests.

About the Iowa Assessments

The Iowa Assessments help determine how students are performing on nationwide standards. These assessments measure achievement in several important content areas including Reading, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The exact tests that your student takes will depend on his or her grade level. The Iowa Assessments help teachers identify a student’s strengths and areas that may need additional emphasis. The Iowa Assessments also measure student growth and progress in the content areas assessed from year to year. The results produce information that enables sound decision-making and provides a focus for teachers to evaluate instruction.

How your student can prepare for test-taking—and what you can do to help.

A student who is well rested and well fed and has a positive attitude about testing is best prepared for testing. You can help your student do his or her best by considering these tips:

• Make sure your student gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast before each day of testing.

• Make sure that your student is in school and on time on test days. Reschedule dentist appointments and other out-of-school times to non-testing days.

• Remind your student that these tests are only one measure of what he or she has learned. Emphasize that you have confidence in his or her ability to do the best job possible.

• Remind your student to listen to the directions and read each question carefully during testing. Encourage your student to ask the teacher for help if he or she does not understand the directions.

• Be positive and don’t fret. Your student will likely have some nervousness about the tests, but please be sure to encourage positivity and a “can-do” attitude.

In-person students will be administered the test using paper-pencil materials. Students who remain virtual at this time will work asynchronously as in-person testing will be scheduled throughout the day April 13th -16th. Teachers in each grade level will provide details. A separate window for testing will be used for virtual students at a later date and information shared with them as soon as it becomes available.

Once completed, the use of test results & score reporting will help inform instruction, monitor student growth over time, compare student performance with national groups, and evaluate programs and effectiveness of curricular changes. Test results do not have an impact on a student’s grades and/or their ability to move on to the next grade level. The school should receive test scores at the end of May. These scores will indicate how your student performed on the tests compared with students across the nation in the same grade. Discuss the test results with your student, and if you have any questions, contact your child's teacher or administration.

Thank you very much for encouraging and supporting your student during testing.

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Digital Citizenship and Online Safety - All In this Together

Digital citizenship and online safety have been part of our curriculum for some time. Our school community has hosted lessons through our technology and guidance and counseling classes to discuss these topics beginning with our pre-kinder students! Presentations with guest speakers for students and parents have been offered through the years. As the world online continues to evolve so has the presence of our children.

Over the last twelve months, students' presence in the virtual world has increased even more so! Students' worlds have taken a huge shift with them having to take their school classes virtually which resulted in increased accessibility, and time on a device increased. Everyone was quickly deeply immersed in just about everything online. With this, we realize the need to address the needs of our students has also increased and we continue to target the student's social, emotional, and overall being with the effects of technology use.

Many people have the perception that the ability to use and access devices, the internet, and so on equal a level of intelligence however like everything else moderation and supervision is necessary for our young students, tweens, teens, and even adults.

We can look back through time and remember when children were not allowed to read and access certain magazines, books until they were older, television/movies were monitored, and access limited. All of this was for various reasons for the positive development and growth of the youth. The same must be applied to technology use. There are definite benefits in the area of technology however we must remember the areas of great caution.

Our school community remains committed to monitoring and educating our students in these areas. Being a one-to-one school now with each child having a device entails a great responsibility of all. Students sign a Technology Use and Agreement form every year and the rules must be followed. Our diocese requires each school to have a firewall to limit accessibility to forbidden sites as well as safety software connected to all of our devices. We will continue to monitor and carry out regular lessons on safety and digital citizenship.

We partner with our parents in doing so. We ask that you continue to be aware of the use of technology for instruction but also socially. Monitor accounts, create boundaries, limits and control accessibility. We are here to work together so parents are to feel free to reach out to their child's teacher, the school counselor, or the administration.

There are many resources available to all of us. The following are a few parents can access. We continue to work together to keep our students safe.

A Book of Memories

What a year it has been! Definitely one like no other. We have been able to carefully tell our story through pictures.

We are happy to announce that we will have a yearbook this year. It has been carefully designed with a special dedication to the class of 2021.

Our 50th academic year will be creatively and colorfully detailed in each page. We thank all who contributed pictures to make this happen.

We will begin taking reservations for yearbooks with a limited number of books available. The purchase will be billed via FACTS once your reservation form has been submitted. Forms may be sent to your child's teacher.

We look forward to reviewing the pages of our year in pictures.

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Mark Your Calendars

Friday, April 9th - Report Card Day for SMS

* Montessori sent home and by email

* 1st- 6th - Online via FACTS / Google Acknowledgement to be completed

Parents and teachers encouraged to schedule conferences ( virtual/phone) if needed.

Tuesday, April 13th - Friday, April 16th - Iowa Achievement Test for In-person students

Grade Level Teachers will share the testing schedule. Virtual students will work asynchronously on those days. Virtual testing information will be shared soon.

Wednesday, April 14th - Children's Liturgy @ 8:30 a.m. Mrs. Gomez's 3rd Grade Class

Friday, April 16th - Spirit Day

Wednesday, April 21st - Children's Liturgy @ 8:30 a.m. Mrs. Martinez-Reyes 6th Grade Class

Thursday, April 22nd - Earth Day

Friday, April 23rd - Spirit Day

Wednesday, April 28th - Children's Liturgy @ 8:30 a.m. Mrs. Loya's 4th Grade Class

Friday, April 30th - Dia De Los Ninos Celebration

Celebrating 50 Years - A Walk Through the Decades

Talent Show - Live Stream/Video will be available

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Preparations have been underway for our BIG event this year that will support the mission of St. Mary's Catholic School. In this year due to safety protocols, we have not been able to host our normal events much less our fundraisers.

The Great Duck Race is on and we are excited to bring this event back to Brownsville on Saturdy, May 22nd.

Sponsorship opportunities and duck adoption information will be coming real soon! Be on the lookout. We look forward to a great event.