Mercy Peek & Ponder by Mr. McGrath

Volume III Issue 1 Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy, we commit ourselves to living the Good News of Jesus through Works of Mercy. Our rigorous academic program unleashes creative energy for the pursuit of knowledge and nurtures a hope-filled vision for Catholic leadership. We live out our relationship with God by respecting the dignity of others and providing service to the global community that fosters unity, understanding, and compassion.

From the Principal

Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School celebrated its 5th Anniversary this past week. OLM has proven that it is a "major player" in the academic world in three real ways - standardized test scores, enrollment, and parental involvement. We are a thriving faith community that draws its strength from the Gospel and that strength manifests itself in MERCY and service.

Students in Catholic schools enjoy a significant academic advantage over their counterparts in traditional public schools and charter schools, according to findings from a meta-analysis of 90 studies on the effects of schools conducted by William Jeynes, senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, and a professor at California State University, Long Beach. The study was published in issue 3 of volume 87 of the Peabody Journal of Education.

“The results indicate that attending a religious school is associated with the highest level of academic achievement among the three school types, even when sophisticated controls are used to adjust for socioeconomic status,” according to the report. The report found that to the extent that neither traditional public schools nor charter schools are successful on a broad scale, it appears that the best hope for American education is religious schools.

In his meta-analysis, Jeynes found that the average standardized test score for religious school students is .29 of a standard deviation higher than that for traditional public school students. Converting that deviation into percentiles, the average standardized test score for students in religious schools is 11 percentile points higher than public and charter schools. Jeynes stated in the report, “Students who attend a religious school score at an academic level about 12 months ahead of their counterparts.”

Another key finding in the study is that the achievement gap, as measured both by ethnicity/race and socioeconomic status is roughly 25 percent narrower in religious schools. Although academic performance was a key factor in the report, the study also examined student behavior and found an even larger advantage, or effect size, for religious schools. “Students who attend a religious school have fewer behavioral problems than their counterparts, even when adjusting for socioeconomic status, race, and gender,” wrote Jeynes.

Why are students more successful in religious schools? Jeynes concluded that such schools “have expectations of students and encourage them to take risks.” He further stated, “Students are often capable of achieving more than they realize.”

Those in the OLM School community have already seen the conclusions of this study come to life on Conwell Drive. OLM has distinguished itself as a beacon of academic excellence in the five-county area, and our results rival the best schools in the nation. May your family have a healthy and happy school year.

OLM is rooted in God ... and growing in MERCY!

Mr. John C. McGrath, M.Ed.


Upcoming Events

September 12

Music Demonstration, grades 3-6, 2PM (Cafeteria)

September 13

Confessions, 1PM - grades 3-8

September 14

Class Mass, 9AM - grades 6-7-8

Back-to-School Night, 6:30PM

September 16

Dress Down Day - Missionary Childhood Association

Jr. High (grades 7-8) Dance #1, 7:30PM

September 22

Mercy Day

Prayer Service with Student Council Installation, 2PM (Church)

September 28

Class Mass, 9AM - Grade 5


"Back to School Night" is Wednesday, September 14th. Please note that Back to School Night is held on one night for all grades. We try to be family friendly by having only one night out for parents. This is a direct response to our Parent Survey conducted in April.

As you see from the schedule, all grades except K and 8 have repeated sessions to accommodate those who have children in multiple grades.

Please go directly to the classroom at the designated time:
630PM –7PM Grades K-1-3-5-7
7PM –7:30PM Grades 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
7:30PM - 8PM Grades 2-4-6–8

****8th Grade Parents should not go to the classrooms, but report to the gym. 8th grade informational session will follow "Back to School" agenda.

All teachers will be available at school from 6:30PM to 8:30PM.

The following “special” teachers will be in their classrooms, if you would like to stop in:

Art: Mrs. Schmidt – Room 203

Technology: Mrs. Hoffner – Room 211

Library: Mrs. Costanzo – Foyer

Music: Mrs. Demkovitz – Module 306

Spanish: Ms. Houser – Room 214

Physical/Health Education: Mr. Delaney – Gym

Band: Mr. Ferraro – Gym

Special Education: Ms. Collier – Room 201

The purpose of back-to-school night differs from that of the parent-teacher conference. While the conference is intended to be a discussion of your child’s individual performance, back to school night is designed to offer you information about the teacher’s goals, methods of instruction, expectations, and routines.



Welcome to the start of a new school year and a year of A+ School Rewards. Beginning October 12, 2016 through March 17, 2017, Our Lady of Mercy will have the opportunity to earn cash through the Giant A+ School Rewards Program. Our School ID # is 26548.

All you have to do is: Log on to to designate our school online using your Giant BONUSCARD - or - Call the A+ Hotline at 888 - 448 - 4642 for assistance.

Remember: If you registered your card last year, you DO NOT need to re- register this year. You can visit the website to verify the correct school assignment.

Also, don’t forget to encourage your friends and relatives to do the same. It could mean more CASH for our school. After you register your card, each shopping trip to Giant using your BONUSCARD earns CASH for our school. Each month, the amount of CASH awarded will be updated on the Giant A+ website.

You can track the amount of points you earn for our school by checking your grocery receipt and online when you create an account at

Our school will receive a check at the end of the program and the money can be used for any of our school’s educational needs.

Thanks for supporting our school.If you have any questions, please contact Janine Braccia at


On Thursday, September 22th, OLM will be celebrating Mercy Day, a day celebrated by 11,000 Sisters of Mercy and their friends and colleagues around the world. This is the day on which Catherine McAuley first opened the House of Mercy in Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland and dedicated it to Our Lady of Mercy.

In honor of Mercy Day, the H&S would like to host a luncheon for the faculty and staff who devote their time and energies to our children. We are asking for parent volunteers to help prepare and serve the luncheon and to assist with lunchroom/recess duties.

Thank you for your help and for recognizing the importance of this celebration. We also hope to see you at the school's prayer service at 2:00 pm.

Nancy Emma, Liz Selgrath and the H&S Board

Virtue of the Month: CHARITY

Our virtue of the month of September is CHARITY. When you think of people who were amazing examples of charity - Mother Teresa definitely makes the top ten list. She explained once what this virtue of charity is all about.

"Love in action is service. Become friends to those who have no friends. Become family to those who have no family. Become community to those who have no community."

Charity is just that simple - love people as God would love them. So why is it such a hard virtue to put into practice? Probably because it means we have to forget ourselves and put the other person first. We have to change our priorities. That may mean to glance up from our phone or tablet to look around at the needs of others. It may mean to stop what we are doing and change our plans to help someone in need. Charity may be as easy as just listening to someone who is lonely.

There is a trick to living charity. Plug into the Holy Spirit! Many people wonder what kind of relationship we can have with the Holy Spirit every day. He is the Spirit of Love, the Great Consolor. He can inspire us and point out things we may miss to help us live the virtue of charity. Be honest with God - let him know that sometimes you get caught up in what you have to do and you forget the needs of others. Ask him for help. Say this little prayer whenever you can and your charity will grow.

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love."

Students will be recognized at the School Liturgy on Friday, October 7th.

Our theme for this school year at OLM is “Rooted in God ... and growing in MERCY."

Our theme for this school year at OLM is “OLM is rooted in God and growing in Mercy”. Keeping this theme in mind our OLM community will be collecting donations throughout the school year. These donations will help to spread mercy on a larger scale. In this way we can help mercy to grow in the larger world community in addition to our own community at OLM. These mission collections will take place each Wednesday. Please encourage your child to bring donations regardless of how large or small the donations are. Every donation makes a positive difference in helping mercy to grow.

During the month of September we will once again be accepting donations to support the Missionary Childhood Association (MCA). This Association was founded on the idea of children helping other children. The main ways that this Association encourages children to help are through daily prayer for other children and through making monetary donations of their own money. This money is used to support projects throughout the world that are focused on improving the lives of other children in many ways. We look forward to continuing to support organizations that help mercy to grow. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

OLM Peanut Aware Policy

It is the goal of OLM to partner with parents to ensure a safe environment while children are attending school. With the understanding that OLM is not a “peanut free” school, if a student with a peanut, tree nut allergy attends OLM, the school will partner with the student’s parents to educate teachers, students, and other parents.

Teachers and staff have been trained on what it means to have a life-threatening allergy, precautions, and treatment. They also have procedures to adhere to and are familiar with students who have life-threatening allergies. They have also been trained on the use of the epipen.

Our classrooms are “peanut, tree nut free” for the safety of some of our students. Please do not send foods with peanut or tree nut products in them. In the lunch room, there is a designated “peanut free zone”. OLM cannot prohibit peanut or tree nut products at lunch or police the lunches of students. OLM asks parents to make careful and prayerful decisions about sending peanut or tree nut products to school. Our website lists “nut safe treats recommendations for the classroom”.

OLM will require that an Emergency Action Plan be completed by the parents and the health care provider. The plan will include signs and symptoms of a reaction as well and interventions to minimize the reaction. Any required medications, such as an epipen or Benadryl, will need to be prescribed by the child’s physician and attached to the Emergency Action Plan.

News from the OLM Cafe

In order to access the menu, please visit the school website. Due to the increase in costs from our food supplier, we have been forced to adjust the lunch prices. For this school year, Lunch (which includes a main dish, a side dish two fruits, two veggies, and milk or juice) would be $3.50. Main Entree $2.50 and milk or juice $0.75
Enter to win a FREE COOKIE daily for one whole week! -ONE raffle ticket will be awarded for every lunch bought from Monday through Thursday each week during the month of September.


Our Lady of Mercy uses a web-based school management software system called provides parents secure online access to track grades, assignments, and attendance. This system provides improved parent communications with our school, resulting in increased parental involvement to raise student’s academic achievement.

Parents can track their student’s progress from home, work or on the road from any computer with a connection to the internet. Below is a list of all the modules that will be opened over the next few weeks.

This system also allows parents to update information themselves. We encourage every parent to log in and correct / update any information that was not accurately entered into MSP.

We try very hard to make sure the information parents provide to us is accurately uploaded to MSP, however, we are asking parents to input or correct your information directly if you see any errors.

On Thursday, August 4th, an email will be sent to each registered family / email providing you with your individual log-in information. Please look for this email on 8-4-16 and let us know if you did not receive it. Please check you spam folders as well.


We are now taking orders for scrip. Scrip enables you to earn money just by doing your regular shopping. The best way to order is via the website using the enrollment code 8E8L5AC76615. You can also send in a paper order form, which is available using the scrip tab under the Family Information header. Be aware that rebates, retailers and denominations available do sometimes change, so even if you aren't placing your order online, check for the most up-to-date information. When placing an online order, you will be able to print out your order confirmation and send it in with a check, or pay online using Prestopay, an automatic bank debit. The family portion of the rebate has been increased to 85%, so the potential tuition savings are significant. Some families earned hundreds of dollars in tuition credits last year. The primary goal of this program is to help keep an OLM education affordable for our families, so be sure to take advantage of this benefit. Orders placed by Monday at Noon will be available for pick-up by Thursday afternoon.

Volunteer for Lunch Duty at OLM!

Two parent volunteers must be on-duty in the school yard - before the playground is open. This ensures the safety of ALL. Our active volunteer program not only provides valuable hands-on assistance through the school, but also benefits the children by reinforcing ties between the children’s individual homes as well as the community at large, and the school. The Lunch/Recess Duty Volunteer program is a great way to volunteer and become involved at the school.

Sign up for Lunch Duty at:

Birthday Blessings this Week!

Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you this week for the gift of life. We thank you especially for those who celebrate their birthdays this week. Thank you, Father, for gifting our lives with these individuals. Fill them with many blessings throughout the year. Make them good sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and fellow classmates. Allow them to be good role models to all those they meet. Give them the gifts of peace, joy and happiness throughout this year. AMEN.

Nathan Henrich, 09/01

Molly McFadden, 09/01

Mrs. Gribb, 09/01

Sally Reilly, 09/02

Margaux Barrett, 09/02

Ansley DiNocola, 09/02

Michael Lombardi, 09/05

Tess Burghart, 09/06

Evan Coer, 09/07

Addison Matlack, 09/07

Gracyn Matlack, 09/07

Josie Forbes, 09/07

Charles Johnston, 09/07

Liam McLaughlin, 09/09

Mrs. Doyle, 09/09

Melanie McGill, 09/10

Matilda Lutte, 09/10

Emily Nish, 09/11

Haley Nish, 09/11

Ms. Tonelli, 09/12

Edward McGettigan, 09/13

Sean Jennings, 09/14

Sean Laboy, 09/15

Ava Piechotta, 09/15

Lilian Buckius, 09/16

Brayden Freda, 09/16


Monday, 09/12: Meghan Dennin

Tuesday, 09/13: Danny Bryce

Wednesday, 09/14: Gina Princivalle

Thursday, 09/15: TBA

Friday, 09/16: Anna Emma