Important Update from the Principal

Good morning, parents and guardians! 

I hope you are enjoying these beautiful summer days. As we inch closer to our first day of school,  I wanted to share some important information with you.

2nd Virtual Town Hall Meeting and Learning Preferences Selection

We will be holding our 2nd Virtual Town Hall Meeting to answer previously submitted questions and share school reopening updates on Tuesday, August 25 at 5:30 PM. Following the town hall, we will be asking all families to officially select their student’s learning preference for the beginning of the school year, in-person (hybrid) learning or virtual learning. Learning preferences must be selected by the end of the day, Thursday, August 27, or the school will assume that your child will be attending in-person (hybrid). 

2nd Virtual Town Hall - Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 825 5559 8132
(No Password Needed)

St. Mary Staff Members and Instructors Updates

Rebecca Loonstyn (Kindergarten)
We welcome Ms. Loonstyn to St. Mary Interparochial School! She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early and Primary Teacher Education and a Master of Science in Special Education from The University of Scranton. She has taught and supported in classrooms from Kindergarten through 5th grade. 

Meghan Rakus (1st Grade)
Ms. Rakus is not necessarily new to St. Mary Interparochial School, but Ms. Rakus will become our new 1st grade teacher! Ms. Rakus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education PreK-4 and Special Education PreK-8 and is currently working on her Master of Education in Special Education from Holy Family University. 

William Mullen (Music)
We welcome Mr. Mullen to St. Mary Interparochial School! He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Jazz. Mr. Mullen will hold our Kindergarten through 8th Grade music classes as well as our individualized music lessons.

At this time, we are currently searching for a new 6th Grade teacher.

School Uniform Updates

In light of the challenges that many families are currently facing, St. Mary Interparochial School will be relaxing the school dress code until further notice. All students will be permitted to wear summer, winter, (summer/winter mix) or gym uniforms on any day of the week. In addition, students will be permitted to wear any color sneakers with their gym uniform only; as long as they are not distracting to the learning environment (e.g., light up sneakers, etc. will not be permitted). Students who wear the summer uniform must still wear white sneakers. Please note, students must still abide by any of the summer or winter uniform regulations, if the student opts to wear the summer or winter uniform.

STREAM Program Update

In the 2019-2020 academic school year, St. Mary Interparochial School received a generous $33,000 two-year grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Education (formerly known as the Archdiocesan Educational Fund). From this grant, St. Mary was able to begin to provide weekly “STREAM” (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming. Through this refocused STREAM curriculum, students are developing the skills needed to be successful through hands-on, project-based, design thinking that emphasizes STEAM learning with the added Religious approach. This Ambassador’s Fund for Education grant has helped fund our K-4 STREAM mobile makerspaces and nutritional programming, through Greener Partners, in our first year of funding. 

This year, the grant will target our 5-8 grade classes in building their STREAM mobile makerspaces and nutritional-based programming. We are grateful for their continued support and excited about the opportunities that these resources will continue to provide to our students. Be sure that you are connected with us on Facebook and Instagram to witness our students utilizing these resources in action.

Building and Classroom Improvements

We have many wonderful improvements to share with you. Through the generosity of our St. Mary donors, and with the help of our hard working advancement team, we are excited to improve the physical space here at St Mary for our students. The classrooms and hallways in first through fourth grade received new flooring, and the hallways in both the lower school and middle school have been repainted. In addition to this, our Home and School Association provided the school with nearly $10,000 in cleaning equipment to help maintain both the daily and deep cleanings needed within the building.

A Pledge to Heal: Embodying Mercy through Mind, Body and Spirit

We are very excited to announce that we are partnering with Thomas Jefferson University in a two year initiative to strengthen our students’ understanding and view of health and healing. Together, we will be aiming to redefine and provide relevant education of healing through mental, physical and spiritual growth. This initiative will bring long term health practices into our community’s mainstream living. In conjunction with this health initiative, students will also participate in a Roots2Rise project. This organization will provide Yoga mats and guide participants on the principles of patience, awareness, focus and daily ease.

CYO Sports Update from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

For the safety of our players, students, parishioners, volunteers, and parents, competition for the 2020 CYO season has been suspended until further notice by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. No games or matches will take place between CYO any programs. With that said, Saint Mary’s is happy to announce Cross Country is considering holding virtual races for all K-8 students interested. 

SOS Summer Reading Reminders:

Incoming Kindergarten:

Our incoming Kindergarteners will read:

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by  Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

  • The Day the Crayon Quit by Drew Daywalt

Incoming 1st and 2nd Grade:

Our incoming first and second graders are able to select any 10 books they would like to read. Students will be required to log all books in a reading log and be required to complete one book report. We ask all families to ensure that these books are grade and age appropriate, meaning it is definitely okay to read harder books with your children, but please do not select any books below grade or age level. 

Incoming 3rd and 4th Grade:

Our rising third and fourth graders will read:

  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo)

  • The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate) 

Incoming 5th and 6th Grade:

Our rising fifth and sixth graders will read:

  • Holes (Louis Sachar)

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (William Kamkwamb)

Incoming 7th and 8th Grade:

Our rising seventh and eighth graders will read:

  • Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson)

  • Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition (Margot Lee Shetterly)

To make it a smooth start for all families, below are a few reminders about some important dates to remember (also see here for the updated academic calendar):

  • September 1-3: Stationery Sale (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM / 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM)

    • Families must have an appointment

    • More information will be sent from Mrs. Penna in the coming weeks

  • September 8: First Day of School for Grades 1-8 (Dismissal begins at 12:30 PM)

  • September 9: First Day of School for Grades 1-8 (Dismissal begins at 12:30 PM)

Kindergarten: Last Names A-L only 

  • September 10: 1:00 PM Dismissal for Grades 1-8 (Dismissal begins at 12:30 PM)

Kindergarten: Last Names M-Z only 

  • September 11: 1:00 PM Dismissal for Grades 1-8 (Dismissal begins at 12:30 PM)
    First Day of School for ALL Kindergarten Students

  • September 14: All Students (Dismissal begins at 12:30 PM)

    • Hybrid begins this week (M/T - TH/F - Virtual Classes on Wednesday)

  • September 17: Virtual Back to School Night (5:30 PM)

If you need anything or have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. As a reminder, the office is operating on our summer schedule until September 3, 2020. Our summer hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. The office is closed on Mondays and Fridays. 

I look forward to seeing all of you in the coming weeks! 

Many blessings,

Jayda Pugliese, ABD