Wednesday, October 1, 2014

News for the Week of October 1, 2014


Our first month of the new school year is behind us!  We've shaken off the newness, found our strides and are moving ahead with smiles, so ready to welcome October at SMS and all that means - "Walk-In Wednesday, our annual Fire Safety visit, Columbus Day, Fall Bookfair, and, yes, Pumpkin Bingo!  Be sure to read the whole blog for all the details!

October is also the month dedicated to the Holy
Rosary.  All through this month, SMS students will be praying a decade of the Rosary each day during their Religion classes.  Mrs. Work will be sharing an interactive iPad app with faculty that will enhance this spiritual experience for our students.   On October 7, we will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Pope Francis has called the Rosary our "spiritual medicine."  "Don't forget to take it," he said.  "It's good for your heart, for your soul, for your whole life."  We hope many of you will consider incorporating the Rosary into your family's prayer time, especially during the month of October.


Our October School Mass will take place on Friday, October 3 at 9am in the church.  All are welcome to join us.  Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

School will be closed Monday, October 6, for a faculty in-service and Monday, October 13, for Columbus Day.



Students in Mr. Cosham's Kindergarten celebrated Johnny Appleseed's birthday last week.  
They shared their celebration with our school chaplain, Father Santiago, near the apple tree 
behind the rectory.



"Walk-In Wednesdays" are here!  Do you know someone who is wondering if SMS might be the right place for their family?  Invite them to stop by any Wednesday in October from 9-11:30am to get acquainted and experience a typical day here at school.  No reservation is required but we are happy to make note of expected visitors if people call ahead.  There will also be an Open House for Prospective Families on Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30pm in the Parish Center.  For more information or questions, please contact Angie Connors at aconnors@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.


Again this year, Paul Cryan is available take photos of  St. Mary's students and siblings at photo sessions that will be held on Monday October 20, 2014 at his Avon studio.

Paul Cryan Studios (located next to Riverdale Farms)
40 Avon Meadow Ln,
Avon, CT 06001    (860) 676-1350

Appointments begin at 3:45. Please contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at JPavlonnis@yahoo.com to book your appointments.  ***Photos are of individual students. Offer does not apply to group or family photos.




Sign Up Genius for Parent/Teacher Conferences in November is open.  Click here to sign up for your Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Please keep in mind that all conference days are 12:45 early dismissals.  Conference days are Monday, November 10 through Thursday, November 13.  PreKindergarten Enrichment will be available on conference days until 3:20pm but NO AFTERCARE is available.

Students in Mrs. Jehning's first grade were out and about on campus last week taking photos with their iPads of God's creation.  They were delighted to run into our school chaplain, Father Santiago.  What a fabulous photo op!

Educonnect Parent Portal Update - Please be aware that there was a concern regarding the security of individual student grade information brought to our attention by students.  We commend the honesty of these students and their responsible action in bringing the concern to light.  We are pleased to share that Educonnect has resolved this problem and all grading information is now strictly private regardless of  any alterations attempted in the URL line of the address.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Donna Hatch, dhatch@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.

Home & School Association News


Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to St. Mary's!  October 7-12.

Come visit the Castle of Sir Readalot and enter the Kingdom of Books!  
Enter a raffle to win a basket full of books!
Pre-order Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9 The Long Haul due to be released on Nov. 4!  Copies will be shipped directly to St. Mary's in early November.

The Fall Book Fair hours are as follows:
Oct. 7  Tuesday 12-4p.m.
Oct. 8, 9 Wednesday & Thursday  9a.m.-4p.m.
Oct. 10 Friday  9a.m. - 3:30p.m.
Oct. 12 Sunday 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. (after the 8:009:30 and 11:00 a.m.Masses) Family Event with coffee and doughnuts

Again this year, students in grades Kindergarten through grade 8 will make a visit to bookfair as a group.  Teachers will advise you when this visit will take place for your children.  PreKindergarten students do not make a "class" visit to bookfair but parents are encouraged to bring their children at their convenience.

Trail Walking/Running

We would love for you to join us!  Do you like to run or walk on trails, but need a partner to go with while the kids are at school?  We meet on Wednesdays right after drop off (8:50 am) at McLean Game Refuge on Salmon Brook Road in Granby (Rt. 10 - Hopmeadow Street becomes Salmon Brook Road when you cross into Granby).   We hope to have several groups running and walking various distances and paces.   If you have any questions, please contact Amy Lillis at amylillis73@gmail.com.


St. Mary's Gardening Club

 Do you have a green thumb? Come help make St. Mary's as colorful on the outside as it is inside! Our first meeting is scheduled on October 16th at 9:00 a.m.  We will be doing a clean up, planting bulbs and sharing our friendship.  Contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at jpavlonnis@yahoo.com if you are interested in being involved!



Trail Race Committee

Good news!  Next fall, the HSA will be putting on their first annual St. Mary's School Trail Race!  We are currently looking to put together a race committee.  If you are interested in becoming involved in this exciting event, please contact Amy Lillis at amylillis73@gmail.com.



Box Tops for Education News -  Starting October 1st, we will begin the first of our three Box Tops for Education Collection Contests this year.   The grade level that collects the most Box Tops from October 1st through October 24th will win the first contest, and their teacher will receive $25 for the classroom.  The second collection contest will be in February with the winning grade level teacher receiving $50 for their classroom.  The last collection contest will be in May/June.  The October, February and May/June totals will be added together for a final overall total.  The winning grade level teacher will receive $75 for their classroom.

Please send in the Box Tops to your homeroom teacher, but please do not send in any expired Box Tops as they will not be accepted.  The contest is for all grades PreK through 8.

To learn more about the program, please visit www.Boxtops4education.com.

Last year, we collected over $1,000 for our school, so let’s work together to beat that this year.

Any questions, please email Scott Sirianni at scottmary99@aol.com.  Thanks for your support!

Social Saturday at SMS
Saturday November 8,2014 from 6-8 pm
St. Mary’s Parish Center

Come, Sip and be Social
Wine, Beer and Food Tasting hosted by local establishments
Live music and Auction items

$35.00 PP/ $60.00 per couple
Must be 21 to enter/ no children please


Claude and Michelle Howard with Father Matera at the Annual HOPES (Help Our Parish Elementary Schools) dinner.  Claude & Michelle received the St. John Neumann Award for Volunteer Service.  Claude has served on the school board for the past two years and is currently the Board Chairman.  Michelle has chaired and co-chaired the St. Mary's Auction for the past two years.  The Howard family has also been involved in multiple other events generously offering their time, talents, service and ideas to help strengthen the St. Mary's School community.  We are blessed to have them here.




Congratulations to the SMS students that have chosen to perform in the FMI Regional Band this fall.  Rehearsals have begun providing these students with a wonderful opportunity to play with musicians from other Catholic schools under the direction of multiple conductors.  Our thanks to our FMI teachers, Mrs. Debbie Morse, for helping our students prepare for their auditions and to the "band parents" who are taking the time to drive their students back and forth to St. James School in Manchester on both Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. 


David Kalamarides, SMS Class of '11,
pictured front row, 3rd from left
Alumni News - Seven Northwest Catholic seniors have been named Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Program, based on their exceptional performance on the PSAT/NMSQTs they took in October 2013, when they were juniors.  Among them is David Kalamarides, SMS Class of '11. David's achievement places him among the 5% highest-scoring of the more than 1.5 million students who took the exam. Our congratulations to David along with warm wishes for continued success.  If you have alumni news to share, please send an email to dhatch@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News for the Week of 9/24/14

Students in Mrs. Jehning's First Grade Class enjoyed stories shared by Molly & Anna's mom.  We are so grateful to all the moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts & uncles, and special friends who make time to share their smiles and talents with us!
Calendar Reminders

Our October School Mass will take place on Friday, October 3 at 9am in the church
.  All are welcome to join us.  Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

School will be closed Monday, October 6, for a faculty in-service and Monday, October 13, for Columbus Day.

Hot Lunch Volunteers are Needed! If you have completed your Virtus training and are looking for a great way to share in your child's day, we would welcome your help at hot lunch.  At this time, volunteers are especially needed on the following days -


October 15 - there is only one person signed up

October 20 - there is only one person signed up

October 22 - there are only two people

To sign up to help on these or other days, please click here.


Paul Cryan Photography will be at St. Mary's School on Friday, 9/26/14, to take individual student photos and the class photo for grade 8 only.  Eighth grade students should follow the dress guidelines provided by Mrs. Gillen for these photos.

Again this year, Paul Cryan is available take photos of other St. Mary's students and siblings at photo sessions that will be held on Monday October 20, 2014 at his Avon studio.

Paul Cryan Studios (located next to Riverdale Farms)
40 Avon Meadow Ln,
Avon, CT 06001    (860) 676-1350

Appointments begin at 3:45. Please contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at JPavlonnis@yahoo.com to book your appointments.  ***Photos are of individual students. Offer does not apply to group or family photos.






It's been very busy in Kindergarten! Students in Mr. Cosham's Kindergarten have been especially busy during Guided Reading instruction time! Students have been reading leveled books on their iPads and doing follow up activities (story maps, listing details from the story, illustrating information, etc) to go along with the stories. It is a time when instruction meets the needs of every learner!


"Walk-In Wednesdays" are coming soon!  Do you know someone who is wondering if SMS might be the right place for their family?  Invite them to stop by any Wednesday in October from 9-11:30am to get acquainted and experience a typical day here at school.  No reservation is required but we are happy to make note of expected visitors if people call ahead.  There will also be an Open House for Prospective Families on Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30pm in the Parish Center.  For more information or questions, please contact Angie Connors at aconnors@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.


Students in Mrs. Gore's Fifth Grade learned about the continents, oceans and hemispheres with "Beachball Geography." Students were able to find all of the continents and oceans and determine what hemisphere they were in using globe beach balls.


Lifetouch Photography will return to SMS on Monday, 11/17/14, to take group class photos of grades PreKindergarten, Kindergarten through grade 7.  Formal uniforms will be worn for these group class photos.  On this same day, Lifetouch will take photos of any students that may have been absent on picture day (9/15/14) as well as retakes for anyone not satisfied with their portrait package.  For retakes, please be sure to send in the original photo package.  Students having individual pictures done may bring "business casual" clothes for their photo but will need to be in uniform the rest of the day.



Sign Up Genius for Parent/Teacher Conferences in November is open.  Click here to sign up for your Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Please keep in mind that all conference days are 12:45 early dismissals.  Conference days are Monday, November 10 through Thursday, November 13.  PreKindergarten Enrichment will be available on conference days until 3:20pm but NO AFTERCARE is available.

Grade 8 Fundraising - Thanks to everyone who supported the car wash last Saturday, 9/13/14 - This event raised an astounding $1286 for the Class of 2015!



There's still time to support the Grade 8 bulb fundraiser.  Click here for more information and ordering details.  Your order is requested NLT September 26th.




Sarah Jesses (r), SMS Class of '13
Alumni News - Congratulations to Sarah Jessen, SMS Class of '13!  Sarah, now a sophomore at Northwest Catholic High School, has been selected to participate in the 2014 NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Sarah will be playing trumpet in the All-National Honor Concert Band. She will join more than 650 of the most musically talented and skilled high school students in the United States to perform at a gala concert on October 29, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.

If you have alumni  news to share, please send an email to dhatch@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.

Show your St. Mary’s School Pride!  The SMS oval car magnets are back.  They are available to purchase for $5.00 from the school office.  

Home & School Association News



Ladies’ Night Out - Friday, October 3rd!

Registration ends this Friday, September 26th. We hope you can join us for a night of painting and FUN!!  Visit with old friends, make new friends or bring a friend with you.   You will bring home an original wine glass painted by you!  Don't miss out on this exciting night!  
 Click here for more information.




St. Mary's Gardening Club

 Do you have a green thumb? Come help make St. Mary's as colorful on the outside as it is inside! Our first meeting is scheduled on October 16th at 9:00 a.m.  We will be doing a clean up, planting bulbs and sharing our friendship.  Contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at jpavlonnis@yahoo.com if you are interested in being involved!


Trail Walking/Running

We had a great turnout for our first walk and would love for you to join us! Do you like to run or walk on trails, but need a partner to go with while the kids are at school? We meet on Wednesdays right after drop off (8:50 am) at McLean Game Refuge on Salmon Brook Road in Granby (Rt. 10 - Hopmeadow Street becomes Salmon Brook Road when you cross into Granby). We hope to have several groups running and walking various distances and paces. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Lillis at amylillis73@gmail.com.



Thank you to the St. Mary’s School Class of 2013!  We would like to invite you to the dedication and blessing of our new school and parish center sign.  On Sunday, October 26th after the 11am Mass, Father Matera will bless our beautiful new sign.  Please mark your calendars now and join us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

News for the Week of September 17th

Kindergarten went on a Teddy Bear Hunt!
Searching in 2nd Grade



Graphing those Gummy Bears!
Searching in the office
 On Friday, 9/12/14, Kindergarten formed a search party to look for their missing teddy bears.  Their search took them throughout the whole school building! They searched high and low throughout the classrooms and the main office until they were directed outside where the teddy bears were having fun on the new playground! They shared a picnic lunch with their stuffed animal friends outside on a beautiful day! 


After the picnic lunch, the kindergarteners worked with a math partner and sorted gummy bears into groups and worked together to fill out a graph to show how many of each color gummy bear they had!



Happily Reunited with Teddy Bear Friends

Hot Lunch begins on Friday, 9/19/14.  Hot lunch will be served on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to those that preordered and paid for lunches.  No lunch orders can be accepted at this time.  The next ordering period will occur in December for hot lunches beginning in January 2015.  For more information about our hot lunch program, click here.



Hot Lunch Volunteers Needed!  On our second day of hot lunch, Monday, September 22nd, we only have one person signed up to help!

If you can spare a couple of hours (and have had your Virtus training) please consider signing up for Monday. Please click here to sign up!!





School Board News - The Saint Mary’s School Board is excited to begin our work during the new school year. Our first meeting is scheduled for September 24th at 7:00 pm in the Lower Church. All are welcome to attend our school board meetings. We are looking to enhance the development of our meeting agenda items. With that in mind we would ask that members of the Saint Mary’s community that would like to address the board during the meeting submit those inquiries to the School Board Chair, Claude Howard (claudeoh@gmail.com), for review one week before our scheduled meeting. This will allow us to plan our meetings accordingly. Click here for a list of our upcoming meetings and our current board member roster. 


"Walk-In Wednesdays" are coming soon!  Do you know someone who is wondering if SMS might be the right place for their family?  Invite them to stop by any Wednesday in October from 9-11:30am to get acquainted and experience a typical day here at school.  No reservation is required but we are happy to make note of expected visitors if people call ahead.  There will also be an Open House for Prospective Families on Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30pm in the Parish Center.  For more information or questions, please contact Angie Connors at aconnors@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.


Sign Up Genius for Parent/Teacher Conferences in November is open.  Click here to sign up for your Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Please keep in mind that all conference days are 12:45 early dismissals.  Conference days are Monday, November 10 through Thursday, November 13.  PreKindergarten Enrichment will be available on conference days until 3:20pm but NO AFTERCARE is available.

Show your St. Mary’s School Pride!  The SMS oval car magnets are back.  They are available to purchase for $5.00 from the school office.  They will also be available for purchase at the St. Mary’s HSA Fall Festival. 



Students in Mrs. Gore's Fifth Grade  are learning about the ancient Native American tribes called Mound Builders of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the Anasazi of the desert southwest and the Inuit of present day Alaska.  They are constructing models of their homes.


Grade 8 Fundraising



The 8th Grade is also having a car wash on Saturday, September 20th from 9am-2pm in the North (Playground) parking lot.  The rain date is 9/27.  Your car will thank you and so does our 8th grade!





Home & School Association News

Fall Festival 

The Fall Festival is this Friday - September 19 from 5:30-8pm!  There will be food, games, arts and crafts and other fun activities.  This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and socialize with our school community.  We will be collecting non perishable foods for the Simsbury Food closet.  They are in need of the following:

toilet paper
coffee and tea (Reg & Decaf)
canned chicken
canned stew
canned or bottled juices
canned fruit
spaghetti sauce
crackers
maple syrup
pancake mix
cereals and oatmeal

Ladies’ Night Out

Registration ends Friday, September 26th. We hope you can join us for a night of painting and FUN!!  Visit with old friends, make new friends or bring a friend with you.   You will bring home an original wine glass painted by you!  Don't miss out on this exciting night!  
 Click here for more information.




St. Mary's Gardening Club

 Do you have a green thumb? Come help make St. Mary's as colorful on the outside as it is inside! Our first meeting is scheduled on October 16th at 9:00 a.m.  We will be doing a clean up, planting bulbs and sharing our friendship.  Contact Jennifer Pavlonnis atjpavlonnis@yahoo.com if you are interested in being involved!

Trail Walking/Running

Do you like to run or walk on trails, but need a partner to go with while the kids are at school?  Come meet at McLean Game Refuge on Salmon Brook Road in Granby (Rt. 10 - Hopmeadow Street becomes Salmon Brook Road when you cross into Granby) on Wednesday mornings right after drop off.  We hope to have several groups running and walking various distances and paces.  Our first walk/ run will be on Wednesday September 17th at 8:50 a.m.  Hope to see you there!  If you have any questions, please contact Amy Lillis at amylillis73@gmail.com




Save the Date - Mark your calendars - Saturday, November 8th is St. Mary's second annual wine and beer tasting event with silent auction. More information to come at a later date.








Students in Miss Kane's PreKindergarten combined the flavors of the season with science to create apple volcanos!  Apples, baking soda, vinegar and cinnamon led to an autumnal eruption!


Help our School Earn Free Educational Equipment - Again this year, we invite you to register your Shoprite customer card designating SMS as your school of choice.  Your purchases help our school earn free educational equipment.  You do need to complete a new registration each year to continue particpating in the program.  Click here to register your card.  Our school code is 18436.




It is also time to register for Stop & Shop's A+ School Rewards.  Click here to complete the annual registration required for this program.