St. Mary's Newsletter

St. Mary's Preschool and Elementary School

Welcome to October!

It is hard to believe that October is already here, it's going to be a busy month! To keep updated with all the enriching and fun things planned at St. Mary's this month (and each month) please make sure to review the Important Dates to Remember found at the end of each weekly newsletter. In addition to this, your Parent Portal in FACTS has a St. Mary's calendar that you can print. To keep up to date with all the happenings in your child's classroom, please be sure to read the Classroom Newsletter that is sent home each Friday by his or her teacher. In addition to newsletters, many teachers have private Facebook groups for just your child's class and/or a Class Dojo group, all to keep you up to date. We want all parents to be informed of all the great things happening in your child's classroom and our school!
Big picture

School Picture Day is Here!

Your child should have come home with information about Inter-State photos that will be taken Monday and Tuesday of this week. All elementary students and those preschool students who attend school on Monday will have photos taken then. Preschool students who only attend school on Tuesdays and Thursdays will have photos on Tuesday, in addition to any student who may be absent on Monday. A retake and make-up picture day is scheduled in early November in case your child is absent Monday and Tuesday or if pictures don't turn out as well as hoped. Due to school photos on Monday, this coming Monday is not a Spirit Day. Elementary students should wear a navy or red uniform shirt with uniform bottoms. Preschool students, because they do not wear school uniforms, may wear any snazzy outfit you wish. More details, ordering information, and background choices may be found at To access information and place your order on the Inter-State website, you must use the St. Mary's ordering code, 61035RB.

Season of Creation

Monday's Feast of St. Francis of Assisi concludes the Season of Creation that is celebrated annually from September 1 to October 4. The Season of Creation has been celebrated by the Church since 2015, recognizing Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si. The title is taken from the first line of the encyclical, "Laudato si', mi Signore," or "Praise be to you, my Lord." Pope Francis' encyclical is divided into six chapters which together provide a thorough analysis of human life and its three intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor, and with the earth (

St. Mary's students learn about and enjoy lessons and activities throughout the school year that highlight the relationships with God, our neighbor, and the earth. Daily examples of these relationships abound at St. Mary's. For example, whether our students are learning about apples and how they grow, helping maintain a pumpkin and gourd patch at our school, studying butterflies, insects, and bugs, enjoying a visit from Johnny Appleseed, attending a virtual field trip in Mexico to learn about migrating Monarch butterflies, or creating beautiful artwork celebrating the seasons He has created, our students are learning to love and take care of others and the earth. To help highlight what our students have been learning and doing the last few weeks, I wanted to share a small sampling of photos of our students sharing the love, legacy, and faithfulness of St. Francis of Assisi.

Blessing of the Animals

Please join us for a Blessing of the Animals on Monday, October 4 at 2:15 p.m. to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. We will meet on the large grassy area in front of the school, west of the parking lot. Father Joe will visit about St. Francis and offer a blessing of pets. We ask that all pets be leashed or contained in other ways (aquarium, etc.) for the blessing. We ask that any pet who may be aggressive to others be left at home, thank you.

ITBS Testing

This week students in Grades 3 -5, as well as students throughout our diocese, will be taking the ITBS. The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills is a series of standardized achievement tests used to assess a child's knowledge of what they have learned in school, they are not cognitive or IQ tests. If your child is taking the ITBS, especially if he or she is in 3rd grade and taking it for the first time, please remind them that standardized tests are designed to be challenging and not to get upset if they do not know all the answers. Students are taking the tests at the beginning of the school year and do not have a benefit of a full school year of instruction in the subject matter, which will also affect test performance. Testing will take place each morning and there will be no homework for these students this week. If you have a child in grades 3-5, please ensure they attend school each day, limit screen time and have a good night's rest each night, have a nutritious breakfast each morning, and arrive at school on time. Home and School will be providing nutritious snack during test breaks this week, thank you!

Big picture

Trunk or Treat

October is here and that means one of our favorite St. Mary's traditions is right around the corner, Trunk or Treat! Please join us for a spooktacular evening of fun on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Mary's parking lot. Trunk or Treat is hosted by our 5th grade students and parents as a fundraiser for their spring trip. The event is open to the public so you may invite family and friends to attend as well. In addition to trunk or treating, there will be lots of games and activities for everyone, you don't even have to worry about dinner! Chili, hot dogs, walking tacos, chips, drinks, and Mrs. Lown's ghost cookies will be for sale in the courtyard area in front of the school and there will be tables set up outside for dining.

You are invited to decorate your car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or any other mode of transportation you would like to bring. Set up for the event starts at 6:00 p.m. in the north end of the school parking lot. This is a great family event and there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade prizes for the entries. If you have any questions about the event, please call the school office, 623-1465. If you would like to register your trunk for the event or make a monetary donation, please use the form found below. Mother Nature is going to cooperate so we can enjoy a beautiful evening outside, but if we have to reschedule due to the weather, the make-up date will be Friday, November 5. Please make plans now to attend this festive and fun evening!

Big picture

Halloween Costumes and Parties

The highlight of many Octobers for our students is always our fun Halloween activities and events during the school day. This year will be no exception. Before too many Halloween costumes are purchased or made, Bishop Rice has requested that Halloween costumes worn to school refrain from any demonic, evil, or scary images and that they are wholesome and fun in nature. We do not traditionally have any problems with scary or inappropriate costumes in our school, but please follow Bishop Rice's wishes.

We will start our Halloween festivities on Thursday, October 28 with an outdoor Halloween Parade starting at 8:30 a.m. Students will wear their costumes to school and classroom parties will begin after the parade ends, probably around 9:00 a.m. Parent involvement during the classroom parties this year will be limited to the designated room parent and two other classroom parents, there will be no exceptions. Even if you are not your child's classroom room parent or one of the additional helpers, there are many ways to help with this fun day. Food items, treat bags, games, and/or supplies for a party craft are always needed and appreciated.

More information about Halloween festivities will be included in next week's Communicator Newsletter, but I wanted to provide some general information this week.

Important Dates to Remember

Monday and Tuesday, October 4 & 5: School Picture Days

Monday, October 4: Kindergarten Field Trip to Wildcat Glades, Noon-2:00 p.m.

Monday, October 4: Feast of St. Francis Pet Blessing, 2:15 p.m.

October 4 - 8: ITBS Testing in Grades 3 - 5

Wednesday, October 6: Charity Dress Day

Thursday, October 14: Preschool Classes Visit the Pumpkin Patch, leave school at 8:15 a.m.

Friday, October 15: $1.00 Paid Dress Down Day benefitting Boxes of Joy project

Friday, October 15: No School Mass, Rosary in Church at 8:15 a.m.

Friday, October 15: End of First Quarter

Monday, October 18: No School--Diocesan PD Day

Wednesday, October 20: Joplin Fire Dept. Visits Preschool and Kindergarten, 9-10:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 21: Free Dress Day

Saturday, October 23: Fill and Pack Boxes of Joy Boxes, 1-4:00 p.m. in Parish Hall

Tuesday, October 26: Pink Out Day for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 27: Halloween-themed Free Dress Day

Thursday, October 28: Halloween Parade and Parties starting at 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 28: Noon Dismissal

Thursday, October 28: Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:30-6:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 28: Trunk or Treat, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Friday, October 29: No School, Fall Break