The Trojan Times

St. Maria Goretti Catholic School Summer Edition July 2020

Mission Statement

St. Maria Goretti is a living testament to our Lord's work in His youngest disciples, exemplified by academic excellence, spiritual formation, and compassionate service to others.

St. Maria Goretti Catholic School aims to form what is True, Good, and Beautiful in the souls of our young disciples of Christ.

Principal's Message

Dear St. Maria Goretti Catholic School Families,

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I hope that you have enjoyed a restful and relaxing summer! As we prepare for the new school year, I am especially grateful for the blessings of the community of faculty, staff, students, and families that are SMG, and am looking forward to a fantastic year ahead!

We have been very busy this summer making plans and putting protocols and procedures in place to safely welcome our students back to school next month. As you are aware from the communications I have sent out over the last couple of weeks, we will be offering both On-Campus and Distance/Remote Learning options for our students this fall. If you have not done so already, please complete the survey on the link below, letting us know which option you plan to choose for your student(s). We are working on student schedules and while you can certainly decide on a different option between now and the start of the school year, your response to the survey is helpful as we plan.

No matter which option you choose for your student(s), our goal is to keep expectations as similar as possible for both On-Campus and Distance/Remote Learning. I know this is a difficult decision for parents, especially with the ever-changing information we seem to hear each day. I hope to reassure you that whatever decision you make will be the best decision for your family.

As always, thank you for entrusting your students to our care. We look forward to partnering with you in the education and formation of your children in Truth, Goodness, and Beauty through a Christ-centered environment, challenging academics, and hands-on learning, so that each child becomes a disciple of Christ and is prepared to respond to God's call. May God continue to bless you and your family.

St. Maria Goretti, Pray for Us!


Laura Behee, M.Ed.


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COVID-19: Safety Procedures and Protocols

We have been very busy this summer putting protocols and procedures in place, reducing class sizes, adding faculty/staff, cleaning and sanitizing, and preparing our classrooms for the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff. All student and teacher desks will have sneeze guards, and cameras have been installed in all classrooms to enable us to continue to provide excellent instruction to our students who will be Distance Learning from home the first quarter. Signage has been placed throughout the school, reminding all to practice social distancing and hygiene, such as hand-washing. Hand sanitizer stations have also been placed by school entrances, all classrooms, and other convenient places throughout the building. Please see the SMG Safe Return to School plan that was sent to all school families last week, by clicking the following link.

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Distance/Remote Learning

Some families may need to continue with the distance learning option due to health concerns. St. Maria Goretti Catholic School is committed to providing the same rigorous, quality education and religious formation delivered in our classrooms, to our students choosing the distance learning option.

Distance learning will include daily live teacher-led instruction along with independent activities through Seesaw in grades PK – 1 and Google Classroom in grades 2-8. All live teaching will be conducted through a video conferencing tool such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts. A structured schedule will be provided to students indicating required times for participation in approximately 3 – 5 hours of live instruction each day. The Learning Support teachers will continue to work with students and classroom teachers in implementing Student Academic Plans (SAPs).

Administration will work with families and students to ensure there is adequate technology support, support Catholic Identity through weekly Mass and student engagement, and establish ways of maintaining community while distance learning. Families who have chosen the Distance/Remote Learning option for their students will receive details and schedules over the next couple of weeks.

SMG Distance Learning F.A.Q. link

Faith Formation & Curriculum Updates

Faith Formation

Forming our students in their Catholic faith is central to our mission at St. Maria Goretti Catholic School. We strive to enrich our Catholic identity as a school and provide deeper faith formation experiences for our students and families. This year we will move to year three in our virtues program, Virtues in Practice. This program was created by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia, Nashville, TN for children in grades Pre-Kindergarten through eight to grow closer to Jesus by imitating His life and virtues. More information about the program can be found at

In addition, we will continue our Households program within each grade-level (K-8) homeroom class. Time has again been built into the schedule every Friday afternoon to allow students, along with their homeroom teachers, to come together as a "household" to pray, participate in Adoration and quarterly Households Mass, to read and discuss the Gospel that they will hear when they attend Mass on Sunday with their families, and to participate in other faith-enriching opportunities as a household community.

Last year, we hoped to further extend the faith and prayer life that our students experience at school by sending home Prayer Bags on a rotating basis with one student from every homeroom on Friday afternoons. In the Prayer Bags, families found family devotional prayer books, a rosary, a St. Maria Goretti prayer card, and other items we hoped families would find useful to enrich their family prayer time at home. Unfortunately, as a safety precaution, we will not be sending Prayer Bags home at this time. We are hopeful to be able to resume this wonderful prayer experience, which many families have said has strengthen their family prayer life at home.

As well, last year students, faculty, and staff came together in the cafetorium on the first Monday of each month for our Faith Families Assembly. During the assemblies, we prayed, recognized birthdays and student awards and accomplishments, and introduced and discussed the virtue of the month.Following the assemblies, students moved to their Faith Family classrooms to participate in team building activities, prayer services, service projects, and other activities related to the virtue and/or faith topic we discussed during the assembly. We will continue Faith Family activities this year, but will not be coming together for an all-school assembly until further notice.

Kindergarten through 8th grade Religion classes will continue to utilize Sophia Press Spirit of Truth series, which is not only rich in the teachings of our Catholic faith, but rich in beauty as well.It iis our hope that students will continue to spread the Gospel message through their thoughts, words, and deeds, and that their acts will inspire others they meet in school and elsewhere to answer Jesus' call to a full relationship with him.

Curriculum Updates

In following the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Fort Worth, the faculty and staff at SMGCS believes we are called to do more to teach our students to think clearly and carefully, distinguish between truth and opinion, and to communicate articulately and eloquently. We must form students who are able to recognize and understand Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the world around them. To fulfill this mission, two years ago SMGCS began a transformation of our educational methods and curriculum to a classical education approach. We have provided training for our faculty and staff which will be ongoing. Last year, we began implementing the St. Jerome Classical Education Plan in grades 6 -8, and this year we will be piloting the University of Dallas Catholic Classical Curriculum in Grades K -5. We began working with UD last year and teachers and staff have already particpated in professional development workshops. As well, UD will be on campus to provide more training during our teacher inservice week (which begins next week), and throughout the school year.

We hope to be able to eventually plan a presentation for parents on the Classical curriculum like we did last year when we welcomed Dr. DeAnn Stuart. However, for now, please find the Powerpoint presentation below provided by the University of Dallas to share with parents.

We will be adopting a new math program for our Kindergarten through 5thGrade students. The program is called Right Start Mathematics and aligns well with the hands-on learning we are encouraging, particularly as we adopt a classical curriculum. K – 5 Grade Math teachers and I met earlier this summer to participate in training hosted by the Right Start Mathematics representative, Ms. Teresa Foltin. Ms. Foltin will be on campus on August 4th to provide more extensive training for math teachers, and will host a Parent Information Night that evening at 6:00PM in the cafetorium. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. As well, please be aware that all K - 5 families will need to purchase one Math Kit, which their student(s) will use at home to complete homework. Only one kit is needed per family, though families may choose to purchase multiple kits. The kits will follow the student as they move through the grade-levels, so it is a one-time purchase ($40).

Curriculum resources have also been added to support the instruction of Science: Delta/FOSS Science modules have been added to Grade1 this year, and is already in place in Grades 2-5; we will also continue STEMscopes for Grades 6-8.

Curriculum resources for Spelling for Grades K -5 will include the Spelling for Young Catholics series by Seton Press.

The Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) & Garden was ready for students and teachers to begin growing, learning, and enjoying after we were to return from spring break. Though that never happened, we have been working this summer to prepare, repair, and beautify the Outdoor Learning Center & Garden and the playground area. We will be cleaning out the sanded area around the swings and adding play mulch, trimming trees, planting in the raised beds in the garden, and are planning to cover the deck & picnic table area to provide extra outdoor space for our school community to enjoy!

Other Beginning-of-the-School-Year Details

School Day Schedule and Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

Morning arrival time will remain the same this year, with doors opening at 7:30AM, and afternoon dismissal is at 3:15PM. The Morning Arrival and Afternoon Dismissal procedures will be slightly different from the last couple of years, at least initially, as we work to adhere to the procedures and protocols related to COVID-19. The three biggest differences are: 1.) ALL students (PK - 8th) must be dropped off in the morning using the morning carline in the back (west) parking lot; 2.) Parents/guardians may not enter the building to walk their students to the classroom. We will again have our Junior High Safety Patrol students and plenty of faculty/staff in the back lot during carline to walk little ones to their classrooms. Please understand, this is in an effort to limit the number of people entering and moving through the building for the safety of all our students, faculty, and staff; and 3.) Parents/guardians should download the app Healthy Together on their cell phone. This self-screening app prompts parents to answer a series of questions for each child in their family attending SMGCS, each morning. Parents/guardians must show the completed screening to car line personnel each morning before their children will be allowed out of the car to enter the school.

The entire arrival and dismissal procedure is outlined in the SMG Family Handbook, which will be available on the school website by Monday, August 10th. As well, teachers will have copies of the arrival and dismissal procedure to distribute to parents during the Meet the Teacher event on Monday, August 10th, 3:30PM-7:00PM.

Summer Reading

All Kindergarten through 8th Grade students are expected to have completed the summer reading before the start of the school year. There were no additional assignments other than simply reading and (hopefully) enjoying the assigned book for the appropriate grade-level. Books read for summer reading will be discussed in the child's grade-level reading/literature class.

SMG Family Handbook

The 2020-2021 Family Handbook has been updated and will be posted on the school website ( by Monday, 8/10. Please read the handbook as there have been some changes and updates. Please print, sign, and return the acknowledgement form at the back of the handbook indicating that you have read and understand the handbook. A signed acknowledgement form from each family is due back to the school by Friday, August 28th.

School Supplies

School supplies for those who ordered from our school supply program will be delivered to the school the week of August 3rd. Parents who have chosen Distance/Remote Learning for their students may pick-up their orders (of school supplies) during the Meet the Teacher event on August 10th, or by calling the front office to schedule a pick-up time. For students who will be learning On-Campus, their ordered supplies will be delivered to their homeroom classroom. For families who opted to purchase supplies on their own, the school supply list is available on the school website.

Lunch Program

Food service is available to provide a well-balanced lunch that is offered at a reasonable price. Food service at SMG is provided by Food for Life Catering Services. Service will begin on Wednesday, August 12th. Students who don't wish to purchase lunch are always welcome to bring a sack lunch along with drinks and milk from home. Updated information about the Food for Life lunch program, including news about how food will be packaged to meet COVID safety guidelines, can be found on the school website or by following the link below.

School Uniforms

School uniforms should be purchased from Mills Uniforms. The uniforms for the 2020-2021 school year have remained the same. Remember, a red or blue (depending on the grade-level) cardigan sweater is a mandatory addition to the dress (Mass) uniform. While students will not be required to wear the cardigan to Mass while the weather is still so hot, by October they will be required to wear the cardigan to Mass and other days when the dress uniform is required. Please visit the SMG uniform requirements on the Mills Uniforms website for specific SMG uniform requirements ( Use SMG school code 3424. Please see more information from Mills Uniforms, below.

The Used Uniform Sale will take place in the Cafetorium during Meet the Teacher and there is a large inventory available.

Extended Day Program (SMEED)

We offer a before and after school care program on the school campus. SMEED operates from 7:00-7:30AM and 3:15-6:00PM each school day beginning Wednesday, August 12th. More information about the program can be found on the school website.

Calendar Updates

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Meet the Teacher event on Monday, August 10th from 3:30PM - 7:00PM. In an effort to limit the number of people in the building at one time, please use the SignUpGenius link below to sign-up for a time frame to attend. Since we can not allow parents into the school building on the first day of school, parents are encouraged to bring any school supplies to their students' homeroom classroom during the Meet the Teacher event. The Islanders Food Truck will also be on campus during Meet the Teacher and will offer delicious refreshments for purchase, with 20% of the proceeds donated back to the school!

The First Day of School is Wednesday, August 12th. Students should wear their Dress/Mass day uniform. Dismissal will be at 3:15PM, and there will be lunch service and Extended Day (SMEED) service that day as well.

Back to School Night (also known as Curriculum Night) is tentatively scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 25th for PreK-8th Grade. This evening is for parents/guardians only. Students should not attend. Please note that this event may change and/or be canceled. More details about Back to School Night, will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Other August Calendar events:

  • Tuesday, August 4th--Right Start Math Parent Information Night @ 6:00PM in Cafetorium (please see details further down in the newsletter)
  • Thursday, August 18th--Band Parent Meeting @ 6:00PM in Cafetorium

Volunteer Opportunities

There are many ways to get involved at SMG and earn those Spirit hours! Please visit the school website and check out the volunteer opportunities under SignUpGenius. Many hands make light work--please consider giving of your time and talent!


Communication from your children's teachers, including completed classwork, correspondence, notes and flyers from the office will be sent home each week via a Friday Folder. Please look through the Friday Folders your children bring home over the weekends and send it back, along with any thing that needs returning (i.e. picture orders, Scrip orders, etc.) on Monday mornings. The Trojan Times will continue to go out each week, usually late afternoon on Sundays. However, I promise none will be as long as this issue!

2020-2021 Academic Calendar

Please click on the following link to view the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar. It can also be found on the school website at

SMGCS Welcomes New Faculty & Staff Members!

We are so excited to introduce and welcome some new faces to our SMGCS faculty and staff this year!

Mrs. Allison Mitchell, Kindergarten: Mrs. Mitchell will join Mrs. Bara, as we have opened a second Kindergarten classroom this year! Mrs. Mitchell is excited to be joining the faculty and staff at SMGCS. She has experience teaching Kindergarten and First grade, holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and is a member of Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville. Mrs. Mitchell and her husband, Jay, have two sons; Logan is in his second year at UNT, and Brennan is a senior at Keller High School. Mrs. Mitchell enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs Rocky and Roux. In spare time, she enjoys hiking and swimming.

Mrs. Clairessa Cruz, 3rd Grade: Mrs. Cruz will be the 3rd Grade Homeroom teacher and will teach ELAR, History, and Religion to 3rd Grade students, and History to 2nd Grade students. Mrs. Cruz holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, both from The University of Texas at Arlington. She has taught Kindergarten, First Grade, and 6thGrade in public schools and has her own tutoring company and an educational YouTube channel. Mrs. Cruz and her husband have a three year old daughter and are members of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church. Mrs. Cruz says she is, “over the moon to be one of the educators who serve SMG Catholic School, Staff, and Families!”

Mrs. Selena Vasquez, 5th Grade: Mrs. Vasquez will be one of the two 5th Grade Homeroom teachers, and will teach English to 4th and 5th Grade students and History to 5th Grade. Mrs. Vasquez a native of the San Antonio area, has taught in DFW for 5 years. Mrs. Vasquez began her teaching experience with the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. She has taught in both public and Catholic schools grades 4-8 and previously served as an assistant principal. Mrs. Vasquez holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Reading and English from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, a Masters of Education from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters of Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. She is passionate about multicultural literature, drama films and television, and trying new recipes. Mrs. Vasquez is excited to join the SMGCS faculty team and meet the beautiful school community!

Mr. Joshua Jones, 5th Grade: Mr. Jones will also have a 5th Grade Homeroom and will be teaching Religion to 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade students. Joshua Ryan Jones was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended St. Rita’s Catholic School, graduated from Nolan Catholic and received his degree from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana with an English Major and a Music and Philosophy Minor. Joshua taught English and Broadcast Journalism at Nolan Catholic and middle school religion at St. John the Apostle, North Richland Hills. Hobbies include music (praying twice), discovering delicious spicy foods, and learning about anything to do with outer-space. Joshua is excited to join the SMGCS family and looks forward to a great year joining the students in the journey of unpacking the true, the good, and the beautiful.

Mrs. Elizabeth Arseneau, RN: Beth Arseneau is excited to be joining our SMG family as our new School Nurse! Beth has been married to her husband, Ron for over 36 years. They have three children Sarah, David and MaryBeth who all graduated from SMG and Nolan Catholic High School. Beth has been a nurse for 37 years specializing in cardiology and she loves volunteering in the community. She received her BS in Nursing from Old Dominion University in Virginia, her Master’s in Nursing Education degree, and has two national cardiovascular certifications. Beth spent 24 years at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. While working fulltime and raising a family, she spent a great deal of time volunteering in the community and is very excited to transition to the school system during these challenging times to work with staff, students and their families!

Returning Faculty Assignment Changes:

  • Pre-K: Due to low enrollment in the PK-3 class, we will have a blended PK classroom this year. Mrs. Ruth Hill will be moving to teach that class and Mrs. Theresa Dickerson will continue as the PK Aide.
  • 2nd Grade: Mrs. Salomao has moved from PK4 and Mrs. Ellen Gutierrez from a 3rd Grade Homeroom, to be the new 2ndGrade Homeroom teachers. Mrs. Salomao will teach ELAR to all 2nd Grade students and Religion to her homeroom class. Mrs. Gutierrez will teach Math & Science to all 2nd and 3rd Grade students and Religion to her homeroom class.
  • 7th Grade: Mrs. Pick will join Mr. Nguyen as the other 7th Grade Homeroom. She will continue as the 6-8th Grade History teacher this year, and Mr. Nguyen will teach Science to 6-8th Grade students.

Sports Physicals

To participate in athletics next school year (Junior High or High School), students will need a physical dated on or after June 1, 2020. If your child plans to participate in sports during the 2020-2021 school year, they must have a current physical examination, and the form below must be completed and on file before the student may participate in school or diocesan sports.

New School Crest/Logo!

You may have already noticed that we have a new school logo! A huge thank you to SMGCS parent, Steve Aslin, whose creativity and talent produced our beautiful new crest, which will be our new trademark and face of St. Maria Goretti Catholic School. You will see the logo on the new school sign on the corner of Davis and St. Maria Court (picture, below), on new outdoor mats at the front and back doors of the school, on the rug inside the front entrance, and on all future communications.

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New Flower Box/Planter!

Thank you, thank you to the Barraza family for building the big, beautiful flower box/planter that they installed at the front entrance of the school! But wait-- they didn't stop there! They also filled the box and the two plant urns with a gorgeous assortment of flowers! True, Good, Beautiful!

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2020-2021 Enrollment & Registration

Registration & Enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year can be found on our school website. There are still spots available at most grade-levels. As a reminder, tuition assistance is available and we are committed to making a Catholic education a reality for any family who wishes one for their child(ren). Please contact Mrs. Behee (lbehee@smgschool) or our Registrar, Mrs. de la Pena ( with any questions or concerns.

Virtus Training

VIRTUS Safe Environment training for volunteers will begin to expire in September 2020. Parent volunteers will need to renew their VIRTUS training in order to continue volunteering. The VIRTUS renewal program is called "Keeping the Promise Alive" and must be attended in order to keep Safe Environment status current. Our school Safe Environment coordinator will email parents with information for how to register for a renewal session. Please email with any questions.

Mills Uniforms

From Mills Uniform Company:

Thank you for your flexibility and feedback as we successfully adapt back-to-school shopping to the realities of a global pandemic. We appreciate your business!

As our markets continue to be impacted by Coronavirus-related restrictions and community spread, we remain focused on serving you safely and effectively online. Mills’ stores targeted to re-open for in-store shopping this month, are in areas experiencing significant case increases so for everyone’s health and safety most remain closed for walk-in business. Parents may check our Locations page for the latest store status and enhanced services offered.

We encourage parents to shop early and online. has clear sizing information and tips, high resolution product photos, product fit videos, a simplified Order Management portal and easy mail-in return instructions. Free shipping is available on orders $75+ as well as Curbside Pick-up and Returns drop-off at select locations – see our Locations page for up to-to-date store status.

For those needing additional help finding the right fit, Mills’ Customer Service and local Retail Store teams are answering sizing and product questions.

Online and Phone orders process Monday through Saturday, and more than 90% of back-to-school inventory is in-stock. There are some exceptions, as factories closed for up to three months during national and international shutdowns. Additional product arrives weekly and we are expediting to the extent possible. Expected product due dates for items not yet on hand are kept current on Parents can check their Order History easily and orders with items on back order will receive regular email updates. We will notify parents if any specific item(s) in their school program is expected to have unusual delays.

Note: the Texas Sales Tax Holiday will be an online only event at We’ll be letting customers know and asking them to plan ahead accordingly.

Please visit the link below for the SMG Uniform Requirements. Our Mills Uniforms School Code is 3424.

2020 Immunization Events

Please see the information below about an immunization clinic for families that do not have private medical insurance.
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Kountry Karnival 2020 Canceled

For the first time in nearly 50 years, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Kountry Karnival 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This annual event has been a long-standing and a highly anticipated SMG tradition, so the decision to cancel did not come easily. However, we will be working to return next year with an even bigger, better Kountry Karnival 2021!

Box Tops - Earn Money for SMG!

Box Tops makes it easy for families to earn cash for schools and help teachers get the supplies they need. Traditional Box Tops clips are being phased out of production, but may continue to be found on many products throughout the store. Although you may still clip coupons, there is a NEW and EASY method:

  • Create a Box Tops for Education account via the Box Tops app or website - View the video: How it Works, Join For Free
  • Buy Box Top Products
  • Use your app to scan the store receipt within 14 days of purchase -View the video: How to Scan

Like Us on Face Book!

We are hoping to update our official Facebook page with some more recent, positive reviews, likes, and shares. Please visit our official Facebook page (Facebook@StMariaGorettiArlington) and help us spread the word about our great Catholic school!

Calendar Notes

  • Tuesday, 8/4: Right Start Math Parent Information Night @ 6:00PM in the Cafetorium
  • Monday, 8/10: Meet the Teacher - 3:30 -7:00PM; Families Must Sign-Up to Attend;
  • Wednesday, 8/12: First Day of School; Full-day, dismissal at 3:15PM; Mass Day -Full-Dress Uniform
  • Tuesday, 8/25: Back to School Night - Event is Tentative at this time
  • Monday, 9/7: Labor Day - No School
  • Friday, 9/18: Dismissal at 12:10 - No Lunch Service - Progress Reports Emailed
  • Friday, 10/9: 1st Quarter Ends

Need Prayers?

We all do!! The St. Maria Goretti Catholic School Community would love to pray for you and your intentions. Please send all prayer requests to:

Meet Our Priests!

St. Maria Goretti Parish Website:

Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth

Serving the North Texas Catholic community by providing the faithful opportunities to grow in Christian discipleship and strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ.