February News

Sharing faith, hope and love

Love, Love, Love

The month of February quickly brings to mind the celebration of love. Its a natural occurrence for many as many of us as young children celebrated with our classmates exchanging cards, notes in the simplest form to show a kind gesture. As we grew, so did the emotion and trend of gifts and flowers as we experienced the most innocent form of love as young teens that lead us into our adult life. The love shared and defined in relationships we develop in our lives, are a sign of Christ's love for us!


Couples share this as they enter the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony and become witness to the great love of the Father. Children are the fruits of this love and provide great love and joy in the family. The greatness of God's love is with out end, eternal and unconditional.


We model love to our children on a daily basis. We love because God loved us first. Love depends upon God. He has show us a love in his son - Jesus. Love is a gift from God and is in full participation with God. He embraces us even in our imperfection and He gives us the promise of new life.


The month of February also brings us to the season of Lent. A true time to reflect and draw closer to Christ. We are reminded of the teachings of Christ and the call to discipleship. We are called to share this love with all we meet and bring others to Him.


As we celebrate Valentine's Day in the traditional way, let us also remember that God is love. Never failing us as we continue to share within our families and community.



Reading from the first Letter of Saint John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.

The word of the Lord.


Happy Valentine's Day!


Blessings,

Mrs. Ana E. Gomez, M.Ed.

Principal

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Valentine's Day - Celebrating and Observing on 15th

Valentine's Day is always a special day for students at SMS and Little Saints. Our annual celebration will take place on Monday, February 15th. Teachers will share details on how their students will celebrate within the classroom. Students will be allowed to wear blue jeans with a Valentine's day top or one sporting the colors of red, pink or white!


A family opportunity is being shared and is a great opportunity to share love! We can each bring happiness to someone and make this world a better place! Families can send a free Valentine’s Day card to children at the St. Jude's Hospital by clicking on the link below.

All you have to do is choose an e-card featuring layouts inspired by patient art and select a pre-written message, or create your own!

Lent - A Time for Change

Ash Wednesday is around the corner and the Church enters into a great retreat time called Lent. It is a time that the Church invites us to reflect on how we are with God, with our neighbor, and with ourselves. It calls us to make changes in our attitudes, speech or actions if we need to. We should do this often however Lent is a reminder and makes us conscious of the need for reflection and change.


Lent provides us the time to prepare for the celebration of Easter. We have six weeks to concentrate on this conversion of the heart and draw closer to God. There are three Lenten disciplines that can help train our hearts in love. We are called to pray, fast and give alms.


How can we engage?


Prayer


* Daily silent meditation on the day's readings

* Sitting in silence; connecting to God

* Daily reading and study of scripture

* Praying the Rosary

* Keeping a prayer journal

* Pray and reflect on the Stations of the Cross

* Seek penance and pray the Act of Contrition. Psalm 51 is a beautiful prayer as well.

* Attend Mass


Fast


* Abstain from meat on Fridays so we eat simply and sparingly.

* Give up certain foods and give the money we save to the poor

* Give up playing video games, our time on social media and use the time to help around the house or spend time together.

* Give up using negative words, gossip/or complaining and transfer that to good.


Almsgiving ( The word comes from the Greek meaning of "compassion"


* Sharing our blessings with others by donating food, money or clothing to those in need.

* Clearing out and decluttering things that we may not be using that may be helpful to someone else.

* Participate in a school, parish community service project during Lents such as Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program. Families will once again receive a rice bowl and are welcome to participate. LInk with resources is available below and Bishop Daniel Flores has sent each of us an invitation as schools.


Lent is a perfect time to truly change our hearts and receive the gift of our Lord. All parishes will host different events to engage all in the Lenten season and Holy Week. Look out for them and make an effort to connect.


(Pictures below from Ash Wednesday 2019)

Total Well Being - Living a Healthy Life

Strong Spirit, Body and Mind

As we approach the year mark that our community has been battling this pandemic, we continue to navigate through these challenging times. There have been many highs and lows that continue to impact our lives. These times have brought to light many aspects of our lives that have opened to the many opportunities to truly make positive changes.


In partnership with our families, we continue to live to our mission statement of providing an environment that "develops and inspires strong Christian values, fosters academic excellence in each child..." We strive to maintain " a safe, nurturing, and multicultural environment."


As we continue to work with our students in-person and virtually we must continue our eyes on the mission and to have positive ongoing communication to reach our goals. We continue to support the overall academic program of our students, their spiritual well-being by engaging in the faith, and remain vigilant in the social-emotional health of our students.


We remain very committed to providing the very best for our students. In working during these challenging and changing times, our school team continues to develop, learn and grow. We remain in collaboration with experts, teams of educators, local state, diocesan, and health authorities to stay on top of all updates and safety protocols to protect the overall wellness to meet the needs of the entire community. Our team will engage in an in-service this Friday provided by the Catholic School Office titled, Thriving Teachers: Coping with Challenges, Uncertainty, and Trauma (teaching through COVID and after COVID" presented by Jessica Werner.


A positive home and school connection is always necessary. We remind parents to be aware of what is happening within their child's classes and learning, social media and technology use, levels of physical activity, and their thoughts, worries, feelings.


We remind you that our school community is here to support you. Parents are always welcome to reach out to the administration, their child's teacher(s), or our school counselor. We are here to work together.


We know that during these times there are many resources available at our fingertips. Below you will find a link to an article provided by our school counselor, Dr. Clara Magallanes promoting a healthy lifestyle for all!

STEM Education - Inspiring Minds

Our St. Mary's team is very excited to include a new resource that will support our science curriculum. We have partnered with Accelerate Learning and STEMscopes , an award-winning, researched-based program. Used by over 4.5M students across all 50 states and internationally, STEMscopes provides comprehensive digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that drive engagement and academic growth.


Their vision/mission is dedicated to, " help teachers adopt effective STEM instructional practices, improve student performance, and increase the engagement through high quality, customized, standards-aligned, hands-on digital STEM curricula, and resources." Students and teachers will receive printed materials, hands-on kits for classroom use, and digital access to programs/resources.


Teachers will receive training and guidance from STEMscopes to begin implementation within the third quarter. We will begin with 1st-6th hopefully adding PK and Kinder next year.


We look forward to the implementation of this new program and mostly the fruits, excitement, and smiles of students and their teachers.


Pushing our students to reach for the stars, our STEM team is planning STEM days by grade level for April and May. These have been great challenge days for our students that they have enjoyed over the last two years...we cannot let this year go by without offering this favorite school day activity.


Dedicated to developing future innovators, great thinkers and problem solvers!


(Pictures below from this year and spring 2019 STEM Days)

We Welcome New Staff and Upgrades on Campus

We ask everyone to join us in welcoming new team members in our Montessori/Little Saints program, Nayeli J. Marie and Alicia Hernandez to our custodial team. We are happy to have them join us! We also welcome back Ms. Kathryn Booden, a St. Mary's alumni who will be doing her student teaching in Ms.Carpio's class. She is currently a student at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX. We welcome her back and are excited to walk with her in her journey in one of the noblest professions - teaching.


We are also pleased to announce a few additional upgrades to our campus in the area of safety. We are currently in the process of installing new shutters throughout our campus. Through a grant acquired by the Catholic School Office, a BluePoint alert solutions system will be installed along with ten additional security cameras on campus. This system allows Rapid Emergency Response System (RERS) that instantly notifies emergency responders and building occupants of an emergency situation. It keeps the community safe by providing an increased situational awareness for first responders and building occupants to make better decisions. Training for staff will follow installation and all details shared with parents.


We are grateful for these new safety features.

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Official Opening of Registration for 21-22 Beginning February 15th

It is that time of the year once again! Registration will officially open on Monday, February 15th for the upcoming school year. This time is essential for our school community as we begin planning for the coming year. Key decisions on staffing, materials/resources, and safety protocols are all part of the process, and knowing our enrollment is so essential and important.


We thank our families for choosing and entrusting us with your children. The impact of Catholic education is evident and a true treasure that remains priceless! Catholic schools continue to make a difference in communities around the globe. A recent article shared on Vatican News applauds our school communities and the wonderous work that continues to flourish and make our society a better place! See link below.


Registration will occur online within our FACTS SIS system. A link will be sent out on Monday by our Advancement and Admissions Director, Ms. Anna Lindsey. She and our team, Mrs. Nena Cecere and Mrs. Alma Gonzalez will be happy to assist you. Our finance committee met in November and our administrative council has elected to not increase tuition and fees for this coming new school year. The freeze is essential in supporting our families in these challenging times. We know it is a great sacrifice in sending your child(ren) to a private, Catholic school.


Early registration is essential in the planning process but also in these times of securing your child's spot as we lock in numbers in each class based on safety protocols and requirements. Enrollment is driven by the space available.


Current families who refer others to our school do receive a credit to their account of $200 dollars in the fall semester. We will once again host an Early Registration Raffle where families will be eligible for the following once their registration process is complete.


Early registration will end on March 15 at 11:59 p.m. and our raffle will take place on Friday, March 26th. Prizes are credits to an individual student account and are nontransferable and only apply to the 21-22 school year.


1st Place - Credit one month's tuition( of your choice) ( $585) / Registration fee ($250) and Technology fee ( $220) total of $1,440.00


2nd Place - Credit of $250 Registration fee for one student


3rd Place - - Credit of $220 Technology fee for one student


4th Place - 1 Yearbook for 20-21 ( issued at the end of the year)


The excitement of a new year is alive. We look forward to continued growth in our program to allow all of our students to reach their highest potential and be the best versions of themselves. We continue to nurture the heart, mind, body and soul of each child.

Kindness Week - February 14th -19th - Saying it OUTLOUD in ACTION

Our community has elected to observe Kindness Week. We choose to continue to model and provided everyday examples for each other. The simple, random acts of kindness speak volumes!


We invite everyone to join us! Below you will see a rundown of the week and students will engage in various activities throughout the week that will be integrated into their lessons.


Let's inspire kindness everywhere! Let's make it a ripple effect like the video below. Our students know about this...and have seen the video.

Kindness: The World We Make | Ripple Effect | Pay It Forward | Kindness Video

Let's Play Ball !

As we progress through the year, we have enjoyed the community events adapted to keep all safety protocols, drive-thru, and virtual events but nothing compares to being together. We know slowly but surely these good times will return in due time. As we noted at the beginning of the school year, we would slowly but surely begin adding these key afterschool/extracurricular activities for our students and families.


We are excited to announce that we have received approval from the Diocese to begin offering sport training activities. Official seasons within BANSA and the city have been placed on hold, but we strongly feel that this activity will be welcomed by students. Getting them physically active in something that they love will get them motivated and inspired.


We will begin offering training sessions in basketball and volleyball. Information in this regard will be sent home to families very soon with an official start date. All safety protocols will be shared and groups will be limited in size.


Let's play ball! ( Picture below from 2018 season)

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Supporting St. Mary's

We thank our community once again for your continued support. We look forward to our upcoming raffle and complimentary BINGO ( Family Fun Night) on February 11th at 6 p.m. via Zoom and the positive response on our new 2021 Kindness t-shirts for our Student Council.


Our Saints Forever Fund is an ongoing initiative till June 30, 2021. This provides the opportunity to our families, alumni, parishioners, and friends of the community to donate to our school. All funds support our school community during these challenges due to the pandemic and replace the traditional fundraising activities. We encourage everyone to share!

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Guidance Group Lessons


Our school counselor in collaboration with the Diocese of Brownsville will present lessons in the Protecting God’s Children Program. She will carry out these lessons for students in Montessori – 6th grade beginning this month.


If you have any questions you may address them to Dr. Magallanes by calling the school or her email: cmagallanes@cdobcs.org.

Upcoming Events - Mark your calendars

2/12/2021 - Teacher In-service Day - No class for St. Mary's Students PK-6th

Little Saints Learning Center - Regular Hours - No extended Day

2/15/2021 - Valentine's Day Celebration

Official Registration Opening for 21-22 School Year

2/17/2021 - Ash Wednesday; Children's Liturgy at 8:30 a.m. Ms. Pier's 6th grade class

Livestream Facebook page

2/24/2021 - Progress Report for Quarter 3 available on FACTS SIS

2/25/2021- Noon Dismissal - Charro Day Holiday - Little Saints and St. Mary's

2/26/2021 - Charro Day Holiday - No Classes - Little Saints and St. Mary's


Photo below ( Charro Days 2020)

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