~ Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people,
a heart that forgives the worst,
a mind that forgets the bad,
and a soul that never loses faith in God. ~
After eleven years in education, I can tell you the first sign of a good teacher. A good teacher takes the time to learn the interests, strengths, and skill levels of the students in their classroom as soon as the school year begins so the delivery of lessons and the pacing of the curriculum can be tailored to meet the individual needs of students. I want to thank our St. Mary’s teachers for taking the time to do exactly this during our first days of school. The dedication of our teachers and staff is unwavering and I’m proud to be a part of such a fine group of professionals.
We kicked off the 2012/2013 school year with grade band assemblies on the morning of our first day. During these assemblies I introduced myself to the students, shared my goals for our school, my expectations for student behavior, and some of the changes to our daily schedule. I talked with each group of students about my desire to see “good old fashioned manners” and courtesy, and I’m so pleased to share with you that I’ve received too many “good mornings,” “good afternoons,” and “how are you Mrs. Schornack’s” to count over this past week! My key message was that we are one school family. As a family, we will take care of each other and I will accept nothing less from my students. I expect the students in grades 6-8 to be the leaders of our school, and I stressed to them that with leadership comes responsibility, and with the fulfillment of responsibilities comes privileges. I also told the middle school students that although I am very strict, I like to make learning fun and that I want them to have such an enjoyable and educational experience that they don’t want to leave St. Mary after eighth grade. The fourth and fifth graders without a doubt offered the most questions for me after our assembly. They were particularly concerned about whether or not we would continue to have “grub days,” which we are renaming “casual days” and if I would still require them to do homework. The K-3 students blew me away when they broke out in applause after my first announcement during their assembly! For the rest of our meeting, they proceeded to clap after each of my sentences, following the lead of the Kindergarten class. I told Mrs. Kemmerer that I would like to hire the Kindergarteners to follow me around all day and just clap for everything I say!
I want to thank grades 6-8 for going out of their way to be extra helpful this past week; holding doors for me and for each other, never hesitating to greet me, and listening respectfully when I’ve met with them. They’ve been very good about “going with the flow” as we make adjustments to our school day and our routines. I’ve truly enjoyed talking with each of the middle school students and doing my best to memorize their names and faces. I’d like to thank grades 4-5 for being so incredibly quiet and well behaved in the hallways, and always offering me a greeting and a smile. What a genuinely nice and respectful group of students! Finally, I want to thank the students in grades K-3 for brightening my day with their enthusiasm. They never hesitate to say “Hi Principal” and are always waving to me. The first grader who ran up to me and gave me a big hug at the end of the second day of school absolutely made my week!
Yesterday we took part in our first “Mass Class,” a tradition I brought with me from St. John. The students went to the Church to review how to enter and exit from Mass, how and why we genuflect, practice the Mass responses, and discuss how to receive Communion reverently in preparation for our first school Mass of the year. I explained to the students that the entire Mass is a prayer from the moment we enter the Church until we exit, and therefore we must do so with the utmost reverence. In order to do this, I’ve asked the entire school to enter and exit Mass in silence with their hands folded, ready for prayer. They did a great job doing this at our first Mass today! (Some of the classes even kept their “prayer hands” all the way back to school!) Many thanks to Mr. McCauley for helping to plan and lead our Mass Class!
While the students and staff are busy getting back into their school routine, our school parents and grandparents have already been offering many hours of service to St. Mary. I’d like to take a moment to recognize and thank our amazing volunteers who jumped in and started helping out right away on the first day of school. What an incredible group of dedicated parents and community members we have! Many thanks to all those who have signed up to help with recess and lunch, our volunteers in the kitchen and the classrooms, those who have put in countless hours helping with our school technology, and the parents who have been hard at work planning/managing Home and School fundraisers, activities, and communication. We are very pleased to have Mrs. Christina Messerly, Mrs. Tracie Kenney, and Mr. Mark Brady employed as recess aides, and Mrs. Kacie Funk and Mrs. Jayne Bryant employed as lunch aides this year. With these aides on staff we have been able to schedule recess before lunch and allow the middle school students to have a regularly scheduled recess break each day. I’ve reminded the students that our aides, and indeed all volunteers in our building are to be respected as staff.
In closing, I’d like to outline our arrival and dismissal procedures for the school year. The staff and I greatly appreciate the cooperation of our school families as we work to keep the safety of our students a top priority. As I stated in my back to school letter, all decisions and procedures are set forth with the best interest of the students in mind, and I thank you for supporting those efforts.
Arrival to School
- Currently, the doors to the main building are locked until 7:15am. Technically speaking, student arrival begins at 7:30am when staff members come on duty. As we get into our regular routine we will transition to keeping the entrances locked until 7:30am for liability reasons and for the safety of our staff and students in Kids CARE. I will post an announcement when we are making this transition.
- All students in grades K-8 must report to the gym for the start of our school day where they can be supervised by the staff on duty. Please do not encourage your child to wait outside of the primary building as we are trying to get the students into a routine. There are two staff members on duty in the gym each morning, and each grade has assigned bleachers with K-5 on one side, and 6-8 on the other.
- K-3 students are escorted to the primary building by our staff after the first bell, so please make sure they come to the gym between 7:30am and 7:45am.
- Students who do not ride a bus must be dropped off at the patio area on Pearl Street. Thank you for observing the signs posted in the unloading zone on Chestnut Street as this area is reserved for buses only.
- Please observe the safety patrol students who help with those crossing the street. Just as we work to protect the children arriving to school, I expect everyone to obey the safety patrol for the protection of those individual students.
- Only bus riders will be dismissed from the main entrance on Chestnut Street.
- Stopping or parking is not permitted in the unloading zone in front of the school. This area is reserved for buses only from 7:30am-3:00pm. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
- Students who are being picked up will be dismissed from the patio area on Pearl Street and may only be picked up from that location.
- Students must be picked up by 3:00pm.
- For the safety of your children, please do not encourage them to wander off during dismissal or walk to the park to wait for a ride. This is for their protection. Once students leave the care of the staff for the day we might not be available to assist them in an emergency.
- Students who are not picked up by 3:00pm are brought to the school office and must wait in the main entrance inside the building for their own safety. They must check-in with the office before they can leave the building when they are picked up.
A very big thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding as I continue to familiarize myself with the St. Mary’s community and work to address questions and concerns as they arise. Please continue to pray for the success of our school year!
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is for those who are unbaptized, those who are baptized Christians from Protestant or Evangelical Communities, and those who are baptized Catholic but have not been Confirmed or received Holy Communion. Although Information & Inquiry Sessions have already been held; it is not too late to begin the RCIA process for the coming year.
If you are interested in learning more about the process, have questions, or would like to begin formal catechesis and discernment of entering the Catholic Church, please contact Brian McCauley at the Parish Rectory: 740.653.5054 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Mary Thursday Folder
For the latest news, visit us at www.saintmarylancaster.com
Students will attend morning masses at 9:00 AM on Thursdays. Please check calendar for exceptions.
NO SCHOOL MONDAY–September 3rd. HAPPY LABOR DAY! Enjoy this last Summer holiday with your family and loved ones.
EARNING FOR LEARNING at the River Valley Mall, now thru September 23. The contest has started and we can win over $1,000 a week! Please shop at River Valley Mall and turn in your receipts to the mall office located outside of JC Penney. If you don’t have time to go to the office, you can send the receipt in with your child in an envelope marked Earning For Learning. We have a parent who will take receipts down each week. Remember!! Food Court and Movie Theater count!!
The first day for delivery at St. Mary is September 8th. Please check online at www.marketday.com to set up an account to order quick and delicious food for your family and raise money for our school. The deadline to order on-line is September 4 at 11 p.m.. In house orders are also taken and need to be dropped to the office by September 4 at Noon. Order forms are available in the office. Pick up, for orders is in the Spirit Center from 9:00-10:00. If you would like to volunteer to help with Market Day delivery or have any last minute orders or questions, contact Kendra Gundelfinger at 740-654-6625 or 740-974-7449.
ST. MARY SPIRIT STORE:
The Spirit Store is located on the first floor to the left of the office. It is open most Fridays from 2:30-3:00. Stop by and purchase St. Mary/Irish apparel. Orders can also be dropped in the “drop box” located to the left of the store. Our first Spirit Day is scheduled for September 28th. Students are permitted to wear Irish shirts available from the Spirit Store (Fisher Catholic and Notre Dame clothing is not included). If you have questions about the store, or to make a purchase, contact Carrie Spears at 740-243-7737.
SCRIP GIFT CERTIFICATE PROGRAM:
Earn tuition credit for the school year by purchasing gift cards for things you are already buying!! That’s right, it is that easy. You pay dollar for dollar for the card, and a portion goes to the school, and a portion is applied towards your tuition bill. You can email an order to email@example.com and all orders, with payment, received by Monday at 8:30 a.m., will be delivered to the school by Noon on Wednesdays. Scrip is also sold on Fridays after school in the main building. Checks can be made out to SMHS SCRIP. Forms are also available outside the office. COMING SOON!! On-line ordering!! Questions? Contact Theresa Krooner at 740-277-7777 or 740-644-4987.
HOME AND SCHOOL NEWS:
Our first meeting of the year is Tues. Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Spirit Center. Childcare and light refreshments will be provided. ALL families at St. Mary are a part of the Home & School Assoc. Please plan to attend to share your thoughts and goals for a great school year!
The H&S Assoc. is excited to announce the first of three, new after school enrichment clubs: The Cooking Club! Please click here for more details.
Internet Safety Night is planned for Wed. Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Spirit Center. This event is for all families and will provide insight and information to help us keep our technologically advanced students and children safe while on the web and social networking. An Internet Monitoring Computer Safety Program will be raffled off at the end of this presentation. Childcare will be available.
Classroom Coordinators needed! Each classroom will be assigned a coordinator to assist in scheduling volunteers for required classroom activities, as well as assisting in party planning, etc. If you are interested, please click here for the volunteer form.
St. Mary H&S has implemented the Students of the Month program this year! Monthly, one student from each grade will be chosen by his or her teacher. Monthly nominees will be celebrated on the bulletin board located in the front hall of the main building and will get to attend a pancake breakfast with Principal Schornack! Click here for more information!
There are MANY ways you can volunteer your time and talents to our students and school. Please see the Volunteer Resource Form. Any questions for any Home and School event, please contact Angie Seimer at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLIDAY HAPPENING NEWS:
Mark your calendars! Our Biggest Fundraiser! November 10th and 11th A wine and cheese social is scheduled for a special Preview Night on November 9th!
All parents will be expected to volunteer in various areas. Your class’s assignment will be posted on the St. Mary website soon. There are several small chair positions still available. This would be a great way to “get your feet wet” volunteering. Contact Eileen Gundelfinger with questions or call 740-277-7063.
ST. MARY NEWS:
Check out the REVISED Junior High Football Schedule. Volleyball and Cross Country have also started. Come out and support Irish Athletics!!
Directory Cover Contest!! It is time again to pick a design for the new 2012-2013 School Directory. Students in grades K-4 are asked to design a back cover for the booklet. Students in grades 5-8 are asked to design a front cover for the booklet. You can find the form with all details here. The deadline for your child to turn in their design to their teachers is September 4th. All designs will be displayed in the Main Hallway. Voting by students, parents and teachers will then take place. Winners will be announced and will receive a $10 Pick-Your-Gift card from SCRIP!!
Directory- Parent Updates!! Please print out and complete the updated form available here and return to your child’s teacher for the new school directory by August 31st. As soon as all updates are received, the new directory can be printed.
Protecting God’s Children classes will be offered at St. John’s Elementary (Logan) on Saturday, September 15th at 9 a.m. (register at 1-740-385-2549), and at Fisher Catholic High School (Lancaster) on Sunday, September 23 at 6 p.m. (register at 1-740-654-1231). Remember to volunteer at St. Mary, you must have taken and filed the Protecting God’s Children class, and have current fingerprints/background check done and filed in office. Questions? Contact the school office at 740-654-1632.
Attendance: Please remember to phone the office in the morning if your child is not attending school that day. Send a note when they return which is dated and stating the days and reason they were absent. Additionally, if your child needs to be picked up during the day for an appointment, please send in a note that morning indicating the appointment and time of departure. A sign-out sheet is located in the office. Remember: if your child is gone for more than half the day, it requires a note to excuse the absence. Thank you.
Thank you for reading the first email Thursday Folder. If you have any suggestions, or additions for the next weekly letter, contact Julie Collier or by phone at 740-974-2264. Forms are also available with a drop box located in the office. Deadline for inclusion in the weekly online Thursday Folder is Tuesday by noon.