The Trojan Times

August 2019 Welcome Back!

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.

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 busy this summer working to continue to build and strengthen our curriculum and curriculum resources, as well as enriching our Catholic identity as a school and plans for providing deeper faith formation experiences for our students and families.

This year we will move to year two 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 be implementing Households within our grade-level (K-8) homeroom classes. Time has 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.

We hope to further extend the faith and prayer enrichment our students experience at school and so will be sending home Prayer Bags on a rotating basis with one student from every homeroom on Friday afternoons. In the Prayer Bags, families will find family devotional prayer books, a rosary, a St. Maria Goretti prayer card, and other items we hope families will find useful to enrich their family prayer time at home.

Finally, last year students, faculty, and staff came together in the cafetorium on the first Monday of each month for First Monday Morning Assemblies where we prayed, recognized birthdays and student awards and accomplishments, and introduced and discussed the virtue of the month. We will continue coming together in this way but are expanding the experience, coming together as Faith Families. Faith Families will be a group of students, kindergarten through 8th grade with approximately 18 students, 2 from each grade. Faith Families will meet once a month coming together at the Monday Morning Assembly before moving back to the classroom in their Faith Families to participate in team building activities, prayer services, service activities, and other activities related to the virtue and/or topic we discuss during the assembly.

More information on all of the above will be communicated in the coming weeks as we begin the school year. It is 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 resources have also been added to support the instruction of Science: Delta/FOSS Science modules have been added to grades 2-5; and STEMscopes for grades 6-8. We have expanded the use of Shurley English to include 2nd through 8th grade (last year was 3rd-7th). Curriculum resources have also been updated for spelling. Fourth through eighth grade History students will utilize various resources including Story of the World, TCI's Social Studies Alive and History Alive, and The Catholic Textbook Project's Light to the Nations. Kindergarten through 8th grade Religion classes will 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.

Work on the Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) is scheduled to begin in October, after Kountry Karnival. If you have a passion for gardening and would like to get involved with the OLC, please call the office or email me directly (

School Day Schedule and Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

In compliance with the number of instructional minutes required by the Texas Conference of Bishops Education Department (TCCB ED), we are extending the instructional day five minutes. Therefore, dismissal will be at 3:15PM each day. Morning arrival will remain the same, with doors opening at 7:30AM. The entire arrival and dismissal procedure is outlined in the SMG Family Handbook, which will be available on the school website by Monday, August 12th. As well, teachers will have copies of the arrival and dismissal procedure to distribute to parents during Meet the Teacher .

Generally for morning arrival, students in grades K-8 can be dropped off at the west entrance, where assigned faculty/staff will be available to greet them. Parents of Pre-kindergarten students should park in the front parking lot, enter through the front office doors, and escort their preschool student(s) to their classroom. Please note that we will follow Indoor (or Rainy Day) Dismissal procedures (parents will pick-up from the classroom) for at least the first week of school, and will communicate when regular carline/dismissal procedures will begin.

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 2019-2020 Family Handbook has been updated and will be posted on the school website ( by Monday, 8/12. 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 30th.

School Supplies

School supplies for those who ordered from our school supply program have already been delivered to the school, and students will find their supplies in their classroom on the first day of school. 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 14th. More information about Food for Life and the lunch program can be found on the school website, and a representative from Food for Life will be on campus during Meet the Teacher to answer questions and to help register students for lunch service. Students who don't wish to purchase lunch are always welcome to bring a sack lunch along with drinks and milk from home.

School Uniforms

School uniforms should be purchased from Mills Uniforms. The uniforms for the 2019-2020 school year have remained the same with one exception: 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.

Mills' local store is located in the Arlington/Fort Worth area:

Mills Uniform Company

5460 E. Loop 820 S.

Ft. Worth, TX 76119

Phone: (817) 563-7100

The Used Uniform Sale will take place in the Cafetorium during Meet the Teacher and there is a large inventory available. In fact, we are not accepting any used uniform donations at this time so that we can clear out existing inventory first. We will let you know if/when we will be accepting used uniform donations again.

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 14th. More information about the program, including a schedule of fees, 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 12th from 4-7PM. Please see the ad below for more details! Like last year, the Kona Ice Truck will be on campus offering Sno-Cones for purchase.

The First Day of School is Tuesday, August 13th. Students should wear their regular (non-dress/Mass day) uniform. Dismissal will be at 12:00PM, and there will be no lunch service or Extended Day (SMEED) service that day.

Wednesday, August 14th is our first full-day of school. We will attend Mass at 8:00AM. We will have Picture Day that morning as well, and students should wear their full-dress/Mass uniform.

Thursday, August 15th is a Holy Day of Obligation (the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). We will celebrate Mass at 10:00AM and again, students should wear their full-dress/Mass uniform.

Back to School Night (also known as Curriculum Night) will take place on Tuesday, August 27th for PreK-8th Grade. (Note: This is a change from the original schedule on the calendar listing two nights). This evening is for parents/guardians only. Students should not attend. More details about Back to School Night will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Other August Calendar events:

  • Tuesday, August 20th--Dine-Out Night @ Chipotle; 5:00-9:00PM *See ad below
  • Tuesday, August 20th--Kountry Karnival Meeting; 6:00PM in St. Maria Center
  • Wednesday, August 21st--Diocesan 50th Anniversary Mass, 6:00PM at Fort Worth Convention Center; due to limited space, each school is limited on the number of who can attend. More information to follow soon.
  • Thursday, August 22nd--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 SignUpGeniius. We are still in need of volunteers/chairs for various positions for Kountry Karnival and Used Uniforms. 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. Like last year, the Trojan Times will go out each week, usually late afternoon on Sundays. However, I promise none will be as long as this issue!

Finally, 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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Welcome New Faculty Members!

We are so excited to introduce three teachers new to SMG this year, and we welcome back a familiar face as well!

  • Mrs. Anne Pick: 6th-8th Grade History
  • Mr. Christopher Nguyen: 5th-8th Grade Science
  • Mrs. Antoinette Caulk: Learning Support & Dyslexia Teacher
  • Mrs. Mary Beth Cottingham: Librarian & 5th and 6th Grade Literature Teacher

Please be sure to check out their brief biographies below!

We are also excited to welcome SMG parent, Mrs. Cathy Souders, as our Development Coordinator! Mrs. Souders did a great job last year as our Spirit Coordinator and worked to provide other fundraising opportunities, including Spirit wear, for the school. We are looking forward to her continued support and expertise in her new role this year!

Some other faculty changes that were communicated earlier in the summer include:

  • Mrs. Pfaff has moved from Kindergarten and Ms. Schump from 2nd Grade to teach 4th Grade this year. Mrs. Pfaff will teach 4th grade English & Literature and 5th Grade English; Ms. Schump will teach 4th and 5th Grade Math and 4th Grade Science.
  • Mrs. Hansen will be a 5th Grade homeroom teacher and will be teaching Religion to 4th-6th Grade and History to 4th & 5th Grade students.
  • Ms. Seyer has moved from 4th & 5th Grade Math & Science to teach 6th-8th Grade Math.
  • Mrs. Pennell is returning and will have an 8th Grade homeroom and will teach 7th & 8th Grade Literature and Religion.
  • Mrs. Jamison did a great job as our Librarian last year, but is looking forward to returning to her true (teaching) love, Art. A preview of the Art room's transformation that Mrs. Jamison has been working on this summer can be seen below. Students, prepare to be wowed!
Mrs. Anne Pick

6th-8th Grade History Teacher

Anne Pick grew up in Southern California but moved to Texas with her husband and two daughters nearly twelve years ago. She has a BA in History and an MA in Education. Before joining the SMG team, she taught history for ten years at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller. In her free time, Anne enjoys spending time with her family, caring for her yard (it’s a certified wildlife habitat!), boating on Eagle Mountain Lake, and taking care of a menagerie of pets, which includes three dogs, two tortoises, six fish, a guinea pig, and a parrot.

Mr. Christopher Nguyen

5th-8th Grade Science Teacher

As a cradle Catholic being drawn to the curiosity of science as a child, I went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology at UTA. I’ve grown a stronger identity to the fullness of the faith and church by His amazing grace. Having been raised in Arlington, I felt a desire to make an impact in the community by being a public school educator for nearly 3 years. Leaving this to grow in the realm of adult education as a Training & Development Specialist helped me to be even more knowledgable in educational technology.

One of the many reasons I am excited to serve SMG Catholic School is its mission to empower students through faith and to see the seeds bear fruit into Christ-like disciples. I am honored for the opportunity to be a science teacher again and look forward to molding students in both hard and soft skills so that they will be equipped to be shepherds of the precious commodity called faith.

Mrs. Antoinette Caulk

Learning Support & Dyslexia Teacher

Antoinette Caulk is from Houston and lives in Grand Prairie. She is a widow with 6 grown children. She taught in Grand Prairie I.S.D. for 33 years. She is a Special Education and Dyslexia Teacher. She has a B.S. in generic Spec. Ed., a minor in math, and a M.Ed. in Learning Disabilities. Her hobbies are: playing softball, collecting antiques, and collecting Mickey Mouse and Texas teams memorabilia.

Mrs. Mary Beth Cottingham

Librarian/5th & 6th Grade Literature Teacher

It is so good to be back at St. Maria Goretti. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mary Beth Cottingham, and I have a long history with SMG. I have been teaching in the diocese of Fort Worth for 18 years. I began my teaching at St. Maria Goretti as a junior high teacher. From junior high, I found my home in the 5th grade where I taught for about 11 years before heading to the library. After four years in the SMG library, I decided to give the big kids a go at Nolan Catholic High School. I have to say, my heart was pulling me back to the little ones and the beauty of seeing children excited about checking out a book from the library and reading. So, here I am back in the St. Maria Goretti library, and I feel like I am home. I look forward to working with your child!

New Family & Buddy Family Social

On Tuesday, July 30th, we welcomed some of our 51 new students and their families for the New Family and Buddy Family Social! New students and families were introduced to their Buddy Families and staff members, enjoyed refreshments, and learned about all things SMG from Mrs. Behee, Fr. Jim, Spirit and Development Coordinator, Cathy Souders, Home & School President, Cara Saladino, School Advisory Committee President, Matt Lester, and Kountry Karnival Alumni, Laura Perez and Sophie Barnes. A huge thank you to Mrs. de la Pena, Valerie Ahmed, Cathy Souders, Priscilla Serna, Martha Zavala, and others who donated food and their time and talent to make the event such a huge success and welcoming our new Trojans to the SMG family!

SMG Dine-Out Night At Chipotle

Don't miss our first Dine-Out Night of the school year! Tuesday, August 20th, 5:00-9:00PM.
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Kountry Karnival 2019

We are in full Kountry Karnival & Fun Run planning mode and there are still many opportunities to get involved! Our next KK meeting is Tuesday night, August 20th at 6:00PM in the St. Maria Center. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

The spirit store for Kountry Karnival t-shirts will reopen this Sunday, August 11th! We will email the link and post it to our FaceBook page and school website once it opens. Be sure to get your KK Swag on!

Registration for the Kountry Karnival Fun Run has opened! Runners (and walkers) can register for a 1-mile and 5K event and the course is certified. Visit the link below to register and for more information.

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Virtus Training

All school volunteers over the age of 18 must complete the required Diocesan Safe Environment training, also referred to as VIRTUS training, prior to volunteering.

This training consists of an in person class and a criminal background check. After completing the training, your certification is good for 2 years. After 2 years, you will need to complete a renewal course. You may not volunteer at school until we receive notification of your completion of the training course, and until your background check clears. This includes all school related activities such as lunch monitor, playground monitor, field trip chaperone, class party helper, library volunteer, Kountry Karnival worker, and many other opportunities.

**You may not volunteer in any capacity without first completing this training. You will not receive SPIRIT hour credit for hours completed without training.

Here is the link to set up a VIRTUS account and to sign up to attend a session.

SMG has two upcoming sessions in August:

August 14th at 6:00 p.m. or August 17th at 9:00 a.m.

You may register and attend a session at any parish in the Fort Worth diocese, if other locations are more convenient. Please email if you have any questions or need assistance. Thank you!

Scrip Gift Card Program

Scrip is a gift card program that gives back! Purchase gift cards to your favorite stores and restaurants, and they give a portion of the sales back to the school and families who use the program. We are in the process of updating Scrip and how it is made available to SMG families so that you can earn credit toward tuition!

Mrs. Olivia Bradley will be our Scrip Coordinator this year, and plans are in the works to have Scrip available for purchase (in person) 3 mornings per week inside the Cafetorium doors at drop-off. We are also updating directions on how to purchase Scrip online and are creating an updated order form that will be sent home each week in the Friday Folders or can be picked up at the front office. More information about Scrip will be shared as the updates are completed.

School Website Under Construction

Pardon our reconstruction.....we are in the process of cleaning up and updating the school website. This is a work in progress, and we ask for your patience as we work to improve the site. In the meantime, if you are unable to find information you are looking for on the website, please feel free to call the office.

Faculty & Staff Inservice 2019

SMG Faculty and Staff returned to campus on Thursday, August 1st to prepare for the 2019-2020 School year. They have been busy organizing and planning, and are looking forward to welcoming students back next week and to a great school year!

Cheer Camp

SMG Cheerleaders participated in a cheer camp at Rebel Yell in Arlington the week of July 29-July 31st. The girls learned how to stunt, cheers and chants, and participated in team building activities. Are you proud to be a Trojan? Yes, we are!

School Calendar

  • Monday, 8/12: Meet the Teacher; 4-7PM
  • Tuesday, 8/13: First Day of School; Early Dismissal at 12PM; no lunch service or SMEED
  • Wednesday, 8/14: First Full Day of School; 8:00AM Mass-Full Dress Uniform;
  • Picture Day
  • Lunch Service
  • SMEED available
  • Thursday, 8/15: The Assumption of Mary (Holy Day of Obligation); 10:00AM Mass-Full Dress Uniform
  • Tuesday, 8/20: Kountry Karnival Meeting @ 6:00PM in the St. Maria Center
  • Dine-Out Night at Chipotle (see ad above)
  • Wednesday, 8/21: Diocesan 50th Anniversary Mass @ 6:00PM; Ft. Worth Convention Center
  • Thursday, 8/22: Band Parent Meeting (4th-8th Grade Band Parents); 6:00PM in the Cafetorium
  • Tuesday, 8/27: Back to School Night; 6-8PM (PreK-8th Grade Parents/Guardians only)
  • Monday, 9/2: Labor Day, No School

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.