August Newsletter

Catholic School Strong

Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year

Happy August!


Our team is ready to begin the new academic year! The enthusiasm and passion are alive and we look forward to all the new year brings. We are confident in the tools we have to continue meeting our mission: Saint Mary's Catholic School strives to develop and inspire strong Christian values and foster academic excellence in a safe, nurturing, and multicultural environment. Our goal is to make long-lasting impacts on the whole child through their stages of development leading them to a strong foundation for their future success. Our community remains a transformative one constantly looking new strategies, techniques to develop the whole child.


Join our community in welcoming many new families to our school this year. With additions in every grade level, we are excited to make new friends and make new connections. We look forward to sharing the St. Mary's spirit!


The Diocese of Brownsville Catholic Schools is ready to re-open 100 percent to in-person instruction this month along with the many schools across the nation. With the tools, protocols, procedures, and experience we have from last year, we are confident in our approach to this coming year as we continue to work through these times. The challenges have made the community stronger and resilient.


As we know in-person instruction magnifies the entire well-being of each child. Our community is in constant connection with guidance from the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, state, local and Diocesan authorities on recommendations and guidance. In response to our re-opening to 100 percent in-person instruction, the following are highlights of the safety guidelines that will be in place:


* Face masks/shields will be used by all faculty, staff, and students (2 years and over)

* Social Distancing within the classrooms and throughout the day will be practiced. (3 ft)

* Desk shields will continue to be used

* Regular handwashing and sanitizing of hands, work areas/spaces


As recommendations are made, guidance will be reviewed and updated as necessary. Our Parent/Student Handbook and our Safe Re-Opening Plan will describe the daily protocols we will implement. Our Safe Re-Opening Plan will be emailed this coming week following this newsletter. These documents will outline the procedures clearly for everyone and it will once again take a community team effort to provide a safe environment.


We remain united as a community of faith. We look forward to a wonderful school year!


Always In Christ,


Mrs. Ana E. Gomez, M.Ed.

Principal

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Team St. Mary's

A key element in any instructional program is its teachers. Our teachers have always shown great passion and desire to continue learning to provide a rigorous, engaging learning experience. Along with the academic program, a classroom teacher also engages in the development of the social and emotional aspects of each child. We are excited to add the Leader In Me curriculum this year to work alongside our current religion, counseling program. The Leader In Me will give students PK-6th grade, quality experiences, lessons to grow as a leader and develop talents they will share!


We are excited to announce a few changes in our team for the coming school year and additions to our faculty and staff. We are also happy to welcome back old members who return to St. Mary's and Catholic education.


Changes in grade levels are as follows: Vanessa Garcia will join 6th grade teaching Language Arts and Social Studies. In 5th grade, we welcome back Mrs. Sofia Guerra who will be teaching Social Studies and Science. 4th Grade, we welcome back Ms. Carolina Cantu who is an ACE teacher with the University of Norte Dame. In 3rd Grade, Mrs. Denise Salazar will return to the classroom setting and join our 3rd-grade team. 1st Grade welcomes, Ms. Gloria Torteya to the team. Mrs. Wood will be taking on our music program full-time. Ms. Karina Cavazos will be joining our Montessori team. Our Little Saints Program is full, (yay!) so Ms. Diana Raygoza will join our team as a teacher. Both Ms. Cavazos and Ms. Raygoza are no strangers to the Montessori and early childhood programs working at St. Luke School and Kenmont.


With the growth in our Early Childhood program, we welcome additional teacher assistants new to our campus: Ms. Irislee Polanco and Ms. Crystal Ruiz. We welcome back Mrs. Rosanna LeMaster to our program as well!


Great additions and good things continue to happen at St. Mary’s!


Join me in welcoming our new team members and supporting them as well.


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Back to School Basics

Arrival/ Dismissal Time

Arrival - 7:30 a.m. - 8:05 a.m.


First Bell - 7:50 a.m.

Second Bell - 8:00 a.m.


Gates will close at 8:05 a.m.


Dismissal - 3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


* Students will report to and dismiss from their classrooms.

* Parents will drive-thru for drop off and pick up.

* IDismiss System will be used for pick up/ numbers for families will be issued


Cafeteria

* Hot Lunch will be provided for all students who order. ( price per plate $4.00 for St. Mary's Students ) five days a week.

* Menu will be provided. Meals will be billed via FACTS monthly for St. Mary's students.

* Lunch boxes are allowed.

* Lunches may not be delivered to the school; if a child does not have lunch we will be happy to provide hot lunch.

* All students are asked to bring a labeled refillable water bottle to school.


Supplies/Uniforms

* General school supplies will be provided for all students to begin the school year. There is no need to purchase unless parents want to keep supplies at home for their child's use.

* Backpacks of standard size (17.5" H x 13" W x 10"D / zipper/ such as a JanSport) are permissible. A rolling backpack will not be allowed or necessary due to limited space/storage.

* P.E. uniforms will be necessary for 4th -6th grade only. A gradual process for changing will be implemented therefore students will be notified when they will be necessary. Uniforms will be available at the Business Office. We will announce when they become available.

* All students are to be in full uniform Monday-Friday. Uniforms are provided by Ibiley. Correct logos and colors are to be adhered to to fulfill proper uniform requirements. Spirit and Kind Shirt Days will not resume till September and will be announced.

* Socks should be worn ( navy, black or white). Sneakers ( athletic/tennis) shoes are recommended. They are to be a majority of a solid color: blue, black, white. Slight colors and designs are permissible. No lights please!


Email communication will notify students of their classroom assignments and details regarding Meet the Teacher for both Little Saints and St. Mary's School. Information will be shared the week of August 9th. Classroom assignments are prepared with great detail to ensure the optimum experience for each student. The academic, social, and emotional elements are taken into consideration to create a strong balance.


A kind reminder from the business office that all accounts are to be up-to-date to be placed on a list and sent a notification. Thank you!


Immunizations requirements must be up to date for our students to begin a new year. Please refer to your pediatrician for requirements by the state and submit all documentation to Mrs. Alma Gonzalez, the registrar in our main office. Thank you.


Little Saints Learning Center - First Day - Wednesday, August 11th (full day)

St. Mary's Catholic School - First Day - Monday, August 16th (full day)


New Dates


* New Family Orientation ( St. Mary's School)- Tuesday, August 10th

* Meet and Greet - Little Saints - Monday, August 9th

* Back to School Mass & Meet the Teacher (St. Mary's School )- Saturday, August 14th

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Meet and Greet

Family Orientation for St. Mary's families will be head to answer all and any questions prior to the first day! Teams will be available to give a family a small group experience to prepare for a great start and smooth transition for all of our new families. Families will gather at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10th at the school's gymnasium.


Meet the Teacher (SMS) and Back to School Mass is always a special event. This will be held on Saturday, August 14th. Families have been divided by the letter of the alphabet by the last name to reduce the size of the crowd in school. Please adhere to the schedule.


Families will be notified of their child's teacher via a special email during the week of the 9th prior to the weekend.


St. Mary's and Little Saints families are invited to the Back to School Mass for a special blessing to begin the year.


Little Saints Meet and Greet will take place Monday, August 9th any time within the window of 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. for a quick check-in prior to their first day. An email will be sent by the teachers with further details.


We look forward to seeing everyone.

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