St. Mary's Families,
- THE FALL AS WE KNOW IT TODAY. We continue to plan for all contingencies. As of today, the plan is we will be IN THE SCHOOL for in-person learning. If we have to resume distance learning at any point, we are prepared for that (as we were this past spring). We are also finalizing our plans for a potential "hybrid" option. That hybrid plan would be implemented if we are forced to limit the number of people on the academic campus. In that case, we would have to rotate students through the school, with a portion of the students in the school and a portion at home, on an alternating schedule. As always, we will keep you informed when we need to make changes and adjustments.
- SCHOOL START DATES. Wednesday, Aug.12, for freshmen; Thursday Aug. 13, for everyone else. We are all looking forward to seeing everyone soon!
- PARENT MEETINGS. Our principal, Mr. Biondini, and our dean of students, Mrs. Jacques, are planning to have parent meetings this summer to walk parents through our plans for the fall and changes we have implemented. We expect to have a couple of in-person (socially distanced) meeting options as well as a virtual meeting (which will be recorded) to ensure we get the information to the widest possible audience. Stay tuned for details.
- PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Our teachers are taking the summer to prepare as well. We have teachers enrolled in a three-week intensive professional development program to improve their already effective distance learning skills. Our response to the distance learning situation imposed on us this past spring, as reported to us by the parents of our students, was among the best in the city. Now we're going to ensure we continue to get even better.
- FORWARD WE GO. Interesting times await educators across the world in this upcoming academic year (remember, 95 percent of students in the world were in a distance learning environment last month). Expect to hear Mr. Biondini say "RTB" (Row The Boat) a lot this year. As the world changes, we're going to ask people to not stand around watching things happen, but grab an oar and pull. Whatever happens, we'll be better off if we tackle any challenges faithfully and thoughtfully as a community. (Faith, Knowledge, Community - where have we heard that before?)
- CASES SPIKING. Speaking of COVID-19, please pay attention to reliable sources of information. I'm not criticizing the mainstream media when I remind us all that one of the MSM's primary goals is to get us to WATCH. That's fine, but what we want is for us all to be INFORMED and not just glued to a media input. In the last week, we've seen the a record high in the number of new cases of COVID-19, and that is generating all kinds of positive and negative attention. Our country is testing a lot more people for the virus, so those big numbers are not completely surprising, but it is still a cause for concern. One of the first steps in staying healthy and staying calm is STAYING INFORMED.
How You Can Help.
- REFERRAL DISCOUNT. Our teachers and course offerings are settled for the fall. Enrollment is on pace with where we were at this same time last year. That means we still have room for 10-15 more students. In light of that, we are going to re-start our "new family referral program." If a current St. Mary's family refers a new family to St. Mary's, the current family is eligible for a one-time tuition discount, up to a $2,000. The discount can be applied to current year tuition, next year's tuition, or directed to the tuition assistance fund. The program is open July 1 (tomorrow) through Aug, 11. If you know a family that is worried about repeating a bad education experience they may have had at their school last year, invite them to join the St. Mary's family. Watch for an e-mail tomorrow with additional details.
- SOCIAL MEDIA. Parents, please monitor your students' social media activities. There have been a handful of very disappointing social media activities this summer. The student handbook has some important guidelines about acceptable online behavior.
SMHS Family Handbook
Parents, Students, how are you doing?
- SUMMER HALF SPENT. We finished up classes about six weeks ago, and we have about six weeks until we resume. How are you doing? Are you recharging your batteries? How are those summer reading assignments going? There is much fear in the world right now, but one place that won't be hosting any fear this fall is St. Mary's High School. We'll be ready for whatever the world decides to throw at us.
- FORENSICS NATIONAL QUALIFIERS. Congratulations to Ben Bodnar '20 and Daniel Zill '21 for finishing FIRST in our Region and in the top 60 in the COUNTRY during the National Speech and Debate Tournament, which was held virtually from June 14-20. They overcame many unexpected obstacles to do so, and in so doing earned another set of accolades for themselves and St. Mary's in a year filled with praise for our school. You can read more about their experience in the Catholic Herald or on our blog this Friday.
Prayer. How is your prayer life this summer? Don't let up. Please continue to pray with us and pray with our community:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.
Deacon Rob Rysavy