Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

What does Christmas mean in a Catholic elementary school?





Christmas means you have waited prayerfully and patiently all through Advent.  You have filled the manger with kind deeds and gentle words so the Baby Jesus has a soft bed.










Christmas means you have walked back and forth to church many times preparing for Lessons & Carols and then watched as your parents and friends smiled through their tears as you brought Christmas to life.











Christmas means seeing the faculty and staff in reindeer antlers and sparkly sweaters and jingly hats.















Christmas means learning about the beloved traditions of other cultures in other parts of the world.

























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Christmas means classroom brunches and parties and moms and dads coming in to visit.

Christmas means watching The Polar Express in Kindergarten.

Christmas means decorating and lighting a beautiful tree to recall that Jesus is the Light of the world.








Christmas means being serenaded in Spanish by our seventh grade students.  Noche de Paz (Silent Night) and Casabeles (Jingle Bells) have never sounded more beautiful.












Christmas means Zumba with Mrs. Voelker.








Christmas in a Catholic elementary school means Santa helped with morning prayer…..











It's the SMS difference - On Christmas, Santa comes to visit and
his day starts with prayer.

On Christmas and always, the faculty, staff and administration keep you in our prayers and thank you for the gift of your child in our community.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

News for the Week of 12/17/13



Thanks to everyone who joined us at our annual Christmas prayer service, Lessons & Carols.  It was a beautiful, reverent retelling of the Nativity story.  Mrs. Gannatti invites everyone to extend the festive feelings of this week by wearing casual clothes with a Christmas theme this Friday, 12/20/13.  Red and green clothing is encouraged and everyone is reminded to make responsible choices regarding their apparel.  Please keep in mind that pajama pants are not appropriate school attire.


Campus Facilities Update - Mrs. Gannatti and Mr. Carter, School Board Chairman, have issued an important letter about plans for changes to our school campus that will help address our space management issues.  This letter is being emailed to all families and is also available on our school website.  Click here to view the letter.  NOTE:  If you do not receive an email copy of the letter, please contact the school office to be sure we have your preferred email address as part of our family email distribution list.



School will be dismissed at 12:45pm on Friday, 12/20, to start our Christmas vacation.  There will be no Prekindergarten Enrichment or Aftercare.  

School reopens on Thursday, 1/2, and we begin our celebration of Catholic Schools' Month.  Our January school Mass will be held on Friday, 1/3, at 9am.


Middle School (Grades 6,7,8) iPads will stay at school over the Christmas break.  If your child(ren) are starting their vacation early, please be sure the iPad(s) are turned into the homeroom teacher(s) on the last day of attendance.


Need a Last Minute Christmas Gift for a Budding Musician?  Piano Lessons with Mr. Cosham are one size fits all!  Please contact him at bcosham@stmarysimsbury.eduk12.net.  NOTE - Mr. Cosham only takes beginners - only children that have had no prior piano instruction.






SMS Chess Club - Tournament Results - After weeks of practice, the first SMS Chess Tournament was held on Friday, 12/13/13.  Click here for more information.







For the past several weeks Mrs. Gore's fifth grade students have been studying the European explorers and their contributions to the "New World." Students have been putting together a triple timeline  on their iPads to show how all of the events were happening simultaneously and not independently of each other. 






Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

News for the Week of 12/11/13


The second week of Advent - Our time of preparation and joyful waiting continues.  Now two candles are glowing on our Advent wreaths.  Looking around school, signs of the season are everywhere from bulletin boards proclaiming "Gloria" to samples of student work that center around the theme of Christmas.  Last Friday, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day with our December school Mass and by participating in National Believe Day sponsored by Macy's.  For every stamped letter mailed at a Macy's red Santa Mail letterbox in-store, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, above the existing $1 million campaign goal. If letters were written on the paper provided by Macy's, their contribution was $2 per letter. Each student wrote a letter to Santa on Macy's paper in support of this campaign. We are proud to share that we were able to send 218 letters to Macy's.  These letters mean our school's contribution to Make-A-Wish will be $436.

 Students also attended a brief assembly about St. Nicholas that was prepared by two of our 8th grade students, Lainey Muller and Collin Duran.  After the assembly, students were surprised to find that St. Nicholas had visited, leaving everyone a special "Believe" bracelet and candy cane pencil.

Saint Nicholas had his hands
full filling all these shoes!



Everyone attended the assembly wearing
only one shoe - just in case St. Nicholas
happened by….

"Make-A-Wish" Letters were collected

Mrs. Hatch & Mr. Cosham "still believe" -
in wonder, in sharing, in the miracle of Christmas!

















Grade 8 thanks everyone that supported their sales of SMS Spirit Wear & Christmas poinsettias.      The poinsettias were delivered on Friday, 12/6, and arrived safely in enormous cardboard boxes.  The 8th grade generously shared several of these boxes with their friends in PreKindergarten.  As is so often the case, these boxes provided lots of fun for imaginative play!


Christmas Band & Chorus Concert - Thursday, 12/12/13 - Everyone is invited to join us for an evening of Christmas music presented by our Cadet and Advanced Bands conducted by Mrs. Debbie Morse and our school Chorus directed by Mrs. Patty Lepak.  The evening performance begins at 7pm in the Parish Center.  Musicians should follow directives from Mrs. Morse and Mrs. Lepak regarding arrival times and attire.  Click here for Mrs. Morse's arrival/dress directions. There will also be a 2pm dress rehearsal.  Guests unable to attend the evening performance are cordially invited to dress rehearsal.




Our annual Christmas Prayer Service, Lessons & Carols, will be held on Monday, 12/16, in the church.  There will be a dress rehearsal that is open to the public at 10am.  This is a nice opportunity for young siblings to see the presentation and also a great time to take photos. The evening presentation is at 7pm.  Church doors will open at 6:30pm.  Students sit with their homeroom class.  Grade 8 students report to the lower church. As is customary, the first 6 pews on the right side are reserved for the parents of our 8th grade students.  The first 2 pews on the left side are reserved for the families that had the winning bids at last year's HSA auction. 

All students in grades Kindergarten - 8 are expected to attend and participate in the evening performance.  If a student needs to be excused, a request should be made to Mrs. Gannatti.   Students in grades 1-7 should wear their full formal uniform.  Students in Kindergarten and grade 8 should follow dress directions from their teachers.


School will be dismissed at 12:45pm on Friday, 12/20, to start our Christmas vacation.  There will be no Prekindergarten Enrichment or Aftercare.  School reopens on Thursday, 1/2, and we begin our celebration of Catholic Schools' Month.  Our January school Mass will be held on Friday, 1/3, at 9am.

Reminder - HOT LUNCH ORDERS & PAYMENTS ARE DUE FRIDAY, 12/13/13.


Home & School Association News

Box Tops for Education – As you shop for Christmas, don’t forget that you can order through the Box Tops Online Marketplace and earn cash for our school!  Visit www.boxtops4education.com/marketplace.  You can even use your CHOICE gift cards to get more bang for your buck! Please remember that you can send in your clipped Box Tops at any time.  Each classroom has a collection container for storage.
Cookie Swap – The first annual St. Mary’s Cookie Swap was a great success!  Everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed each other's cookies. Father Matera was kind enough to stop by as well. Thank you to all who participated and this is one occasion that we will repeat next year.
Coffee Hour – Thank you to all those who stopped by for coffee with HSA President, Maggie Domashinski, on Friday before Mass.  It was nice to visit and she looks forward to seeing more parents next month.

Scholarship Fund Announced in honor of Archbishop Mansell - The Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS) and the Archdiocesan School Board have established a new academic scholarship fund, The Archbishop Henry J. Mansell Scholarship Fund, to benefit Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of Hartford.  Donations may be sent to the Office of Catholic Schools, 467 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield, CT 06002.  Checks should be made payable to FACS with Mansell Scholarship Fund noted in the memo section.





"We Are Called to Stewardship
The earth and all life on it is God’s creation. We are called to take care of it because it is a holy gift from God and the only place we can live. When we make bad or thoughtless use of the earth’s resources, many people suffer. When we make poor choices about how we treat other living things (people, animals, plants) we cause life to be less than God intends. Making wise choices about the care of God’s creation is called good stewardship."  
Anne E Neuberger

On 12/4, Mrs. Auger's fourth grade students had an opportunity to learn more about stewardship and caring for God's earth during their visit to the Trash Museum.  Students learned about recycling and repurposing and had the opportunity to observe single stream recycling in action.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, 12/9/13 - Opening of School is Delayed 90 Minutes



MONDAY - 12/9/13 - 
The opening of school is delayed 90 minutes.




The 8th Grade still has about 12 Ten Inch Poinsettia Plants, 10 Six Inch White Plants and 20 Eight Inch Plants left to sell. If you did not get plants and still would like to purchase them, please contact Donna Nolan at donna.nolan410@gmail.com or860-653-6312.





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

News for the Week of 12/4/13


Using their common "cents" in Fourth Grade!  Students in Mrs. Auger's class have been studying currency and its use.  In addition to lots of practice making change and counting money, students have also been learning about the different types of currency used throughout the world.



December Calendar Reminders - It's a busy time here at school!  Be sure to check our school calendar regularly for updates.  Here are a few important highlights:

12/5/13 - H.S.A. Cookie Swap - See more details below.

12/6/13 - 9am School Mass - Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

12/12/13 - Band & Chorus Christmas Concert, 7pm, Parish Center.  Musicians should follow directives from Mrs. Lepak and Mrs. Morse regarding attire and arrival.  There will be a dress rehearsal at 2pm in the Parish Center.

12/16/13 - Lessons & Carols - Our beloved Christmas prayer service.  See details below.

12/20/13 - 12:45pm Early Dismissal for Christmas vacation.  There will be no Prekindergarten Enrichment or Aftercare.

1/2/14 - School reopens & we begin our celebration of Catholic School's Month!

Looking Ahead to Catholic Schools' Month - January 2014 - 31 Days of Celebration!


Our January School Mass will spiritually begin our observance of Catholic Schools' Month and will be held on Friday, 1/3/14, at 9am. 

We have visits from both a local author and an artist/illustrator. On Wednesday, 1/22/14, local author, Fern Michonski, will be at school to talk with our students in Prekindergarten through grade 2. 

On Friday, 1/24/14, SMS alumna and celebrated artist/illustrator, Christine Kornacki, will meet with students in grades 3-8.  Miss Kornacki will be sharing highlights of a new Easter book she has just completed illustrating. Our thanks to our Home & School Association for arranging for these special visitors. 

Student Appreciation Day has been moved to Friday, 1/24/14. 

There will be an Open House for Prospective Families on Tuesday, 1/28/14.  This will be a great opportunity for families to learn more about our school as they consider becoming part of our community.

We hope many of you will be able to join us for our annual Family Pizza Lunch on Friday, 1/31/14, as a special closing event for our celebration of this special month.

The Hot Lunch menu and order form for January- March 2014 is now available on our school's website. Click here to access this information. A copy of the menu and order form was also emailed to all families.  Please complete and return your hot lunch order no later than Friday, December 13th.  Checks should be made payable to St. Mary's School with "Hot Lunch" in the memo section.  Important Change to our Lunch Program - Please NOTE:   Beginning in January 2014, ALL lunches must be pre-ordered, there will no longer be a "cash and carry" option for pizza on Fridays. Only students that have ordered pizza will be able to have the pizza lunch.



The last day of Chess Club will be Friday, December 13th. It will be a tournament for the students that have been attending on a regular basis. Only the children that have been regularly participating can attend the tournament on the last day. We hope students have enjoyed their participation.  We anticipate that Chess Club will resume for another session beginning in September 2014.




Grade 8 Fundraising - Poinsettia Pick Up is Friday, 12/6. Pick up is in the Parish Center on Friday, December 6, from 2 to 4 or after masses on Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December
8th. Thank you for supporting the 8th Grade Class in their efforts to raise funds for their 8th Grade Trip.


Our annual Christmas Prayer Service, Lessons & Carols, will be held on Monday, 12/16, in the church.  There will be a dress rehearsal that is open to the public at 10am.  This is a nice opportunity for young siblings to see the presentation and also a great time to take photos. The evening presentation is at 7pm.  Church doors will open at 6:30pm.  Students sit with their homeroom class.  Grade 8 students report to the lower church. As is customary, the first 6 pews on the right side are reserved for the parents of our 8th grade students.  The first 2 pews on the left side are reserved for the families that had the winning bids at last year's HSA auction. 

All students in grades Kindergarten - 8 are expected to attend and participate in the evening performance.  If a student needs to be excused, a request should be made to Mrs. Gannatti.   Students in grades 1-7 should wear their full formal uniform.  Students in Kindergarten and grade 8 should follow dress directions from their teachers.




CHOICE Reminders - CHOICE card sales hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:40-9:30am.  Orders brought in after these hours will be filled as quickly as possible and sent home via kid mail.  If you send in your orders for CHOICE cards via kidmail, please remind your child(ren), that is important that they turn in the order to their homeroom teacher first thing in the morning to assure your order is promptly filled.


CHOICE cards make Christmas shopping easy and one size fits all!  There are many retailers to choose from. In addition to completing your holiday shopping, you are helping to support our school and working toward completion of your CHOICE commitment without additional out of pocket expense.  A holiday order form is available by clicking here. Please return your order to the school office marked “Choice Order”.  To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, ALL ORDERS MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE OFFICE NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11TH.   PAYMENT MUST ACCOMPANY ALL ORDERS.  ~Thank you for your support!

Community News -

Click here for this month's issue of "Partners in Faith".