Thursday Newsletter

August 24, 2017

August 24, 2017

 

IN THE END, IT’S THE BEGINNING THAT COUNTS

And what a great beginning we’ve had! 

The eclipse and all the excitement and social life that surrounded that.  Those of us who were still at school at 1:00 gathered outside with glasses at the ready to witness this historical atmospheric event.  I know that so many of our families gathered with other families far away from the city, while others joined friends and neighbors at Tower Grove Park.  Few people witnessed this event alone; our fascination with light and dark, the sun and the moon was cause for friends and strangers to come together.
3 Kindergartens this year, 5 new students in 6th grade alone, 483 students from preschool through 8th.  We did not expect to gain students over the summer nor had we hoped to lose any of our families; but change happens.  Fortunately our enrollment continues to remain solid. I think we can credit you – our families – who create the community that is St. Margaret of Scotland School and our teachers who dedicate themselves to your children’s growth in mind, body and spirit.

Super thanks to PTA who set up coffee and a chance to talk out in our lovely play space each morning.  The conversations that take place before and after school with groups of parents are essential to our vibrant community.

A staff of 46, that’s twice the number of teachers, teaching assistants and office personnel as when I started 12 years ago.

Our staff ranges from 1st year as educators to 30+ years given to the mission of guiding to students to grow in faith and learning.

The Play Space – our St. Margaret of Scotland Campus – is BEAUTIFUL!  The rain garden along Lawrence is not only ecologically sound and lovely with its huge boulders it will come to life in the fall with new trees.  The benches – fabulous whether one is sitting on them or walking on them!  Our US states map is back – super thanks to the parents who persevered in full sun to paint the map and the four squares.
The best part of this week has been watching the smiles even on our 8th graders many of whom claim not to have seen 8:00am since school let out last June.  Our returning preschoolers and kindergartners were clearly pleased to be back having spent the summer growing!  Our new preschoolers and kindergartners, as they walk in the Lawrence door or stand out on the playground, seem a bit shy and cautious about this thing call full day school – somehow they seem to know that 174 days can stretch out for a long time!  And yet, 10 minutes into the classroom and they are thrilled to be here – chatting, smiling and learning.

And yet, there has been some sad news.

Mr. Adams who teaches 7th and 8th grade religion as well as 7th and 8th grade literature has gone home to Ohio to bury his mother.  She had come to live with her son 2 years ago, knowing that a weak heart had limited her days.  Ida Mae Adams, a woman of great faith, returned to God on August 17.
Amira Subasic known to the children as Ms. Amira (she keeps our school clean on a daily basis) lost her mom on August 21st.  Ms. Amira’s mom lived in their home country of Croatia.  Although unable to go home for the funeral, Ms. Amira had spent most of June in Croatia with her family.

Please keep both families in your prayers.  Both funerals will be this Friday.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ST. MARGARET OF SCOTLAND SCHOOL

We’ll be hearing and celebrating lots of that over the course of this centennial year.  But for now mark your calendars with the next three important dates.

Our Back to School Barbecue will have a centennial theme.   This annual event is always the highlight of the first month of school. The children run and play, chase each other, and generally have a great time while the parents pull out their lawn chairs and finally make some time to relax and laugh with their own friends.  September 9 from 5:30 to dusk out on our play space.
Back to our play space again for the Centennial Alumni Mass, weather permitting, to be held outside in the midst of our St. Margaret of Scotland Campus.  All are invited – alumni, parishioners and current school families.  Please put this one on your calendar.  Mass at 10:00am on October 1st followed by snacks and tours of our campus.  Pray for beautiful St. Louis fall weather.
Centennial gear can still be ordered through WeShare until August 31 (just 7 more days).  If you did not get a flyer of those centennial items on sale, just go to WeShare using the following We Share link to own a piece of this historic celebration: https://stmargaretstl.weshareonline.org/2017-18CentennialCelebrationSale ".   Remember that the yellow Centennial t-shirts can be worn any day as a uniform shirt throughout our centennial year.  Items ordered by the 31st will arrive by the end of September.

There just aren’t that many schools in the city or in our Archdiocese celebrating 100 years and still going strong.  Let’s make this the best birthday ever until SMOS celebrates its 200th b-day!

 

 

TWO MORE STAFF CHANGES FOR THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR

As you might remember, Ms. Robertson Wheelock had decided not to return as our Art teacher for 3rd, 4th and middle school.  After many interviews, we were pleased to offer the position to Mrs. Angie Bodell.  Ms. Bodell is not a trained art teacher but loves art, has taken many college level art classes, has assisted in teaching art and, most importantly, has poured herself into seeking out interesting and valuable art projects.  Reports back from middle school after their first class are very positive, the students are looking forward to great opportunities in enjoying exploring their artistic sides.

 

We knew going into this school year that Ms. Coke Hennessy was not returning as our mindfulness teacher, cheer leader, guru.  She passed on the reigns for teaching mindfulness to Ms. Donovan (7th and 8th grade), Ms. Thenhaus (5th and 6th grade) and Ms. Tate (3rd and 4th grade).  Likewise, 14 of our teachers over the summer attended a month long Mindfulness Fundamentals course.  Unfortunately, in August I received word from Ms. Candace Glass who had taught mindfulness to our preschoolers through 2nd graders that she was not able to return as she needed to dedicate herself to her yoga/mindfulness studio, Southtown Yoga.  Ms. Coke to the rescue again!  I met with a colleague of hers just yesterday. She has been teaching mindfulness as part of her position as school counselor in the Parkway School System.  Retired but not ready to give up mindfulness or working with children, she seems to be a perfect fit for our younger children.  I hope to welcome Mrs. Carole Lander as our new mindfulness teacher as of September.  (Final paperwork needs to be taken care of before I can officially welcome Ms. Lander into the St. Margaret of Scotland teaching and learning community – fingers crossed and prayer said.)

 

SOME ESSENTIAL UPCOMING EVENTS

August 31, 7:00pm in Faith Hall/cafeteria: Back to School Night for Parents of Middle Schoolers. Being present will make your year go more smoothly as well as your child’s school year.

Quick notes on the use of Google Classroom instead of Fast Direct as a communication tool with parents and students in Middle School.  (We will maintain Fast Direct in the Middle School for grades.)
A look ahead at 8th grade events leading up to and including Graduation.
Meet with teachers and get clarity on expectations and communication procedures.

 

September 1, 7:50am at church for our first Mass of the school year for Kindergarten through 8th grade.  Preschool’s first mass will be Thursday, September 28.

Typically our Masses are on Fridays, preschool joins us only occasionally until December when they begin to attend weekly Mass with the rest of our students.
K – 8 children, back packs and all, gather in front of church, weather-permitting.  Please do not leave your child before 7:30 when a teacher is present.

 

September 5, 6:30pm in the church hall (enter from 39th street) or September 23 at 8:30am for Protecting God’s Children: Please remember that this 2 hour workshop and accompanying paperwork is a MUST if you are to volunteer at school or with sports in any capacity.  Register either through the Archstl.org or by calling the rectory at 314-776-0363.

 

September 7, 6:30pm for parents of Suzuki violin students in 1st through 5th grade followed by 7:00pm visiting 1st through 5th grade classrooms:

Meet your child’s teacher and get a sense of his or her daily routines.
Learn from your child’s teacher how she will meet each child’s academic needs through pretesting, tiered assignments, differing expectations and more.

 

September 9th – Back to School BBQ

 

September 13, 8:00am in the school cafeteria, parents of 7th graders will enjoy breakfast with their child and their child’s friends.

The parent breakfasts are one of many chances to get to know your child’s classmates and their parents. 
Just about all of our parents are able to adjust their work schedules in order to spend an hour at breakfast with their children.

 

September 18 – suddenly it is standardized testing time for 2nd through 8th graders.  Enough on that for now.

September is filled with opportunities to renew friendships, to get to know how your child spends his or her entire day and find your place in the St. Margaret of Scotland School community.  Each of our families is an essential member of that community, without you we are not whole.

 

PIZZA LUNCH VOLUNTEERS

If you can possibly make it fit into your schedule, helping out on Fridays for PTA Pizza lunch may be the highlight of some of your work week.  Each Friday the parents of a different class are scheduled.  Those parents cut oranges together, they set out napkins and vegetables and forks together, they meet and get to know one another, they get to interact with 400+ hungry, and appreciative, children and they catch up on all the good news of that particular grade.  If you can make it, you won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, our 1st grade parents are on Pizza duty!  2nd grade parents will be serving on September 1st.  The entire list is posted under links on Fast Direct.  Put your dates on your calendar at home and at work ASAP. 

 

OUR ATTACHMENT TO TOWER GROVE PARK, LONG & STRONG

Even if the best I can do is drive by Tower Grove Park I never tire of living so close to such a lovely space.  And soon it will be even lovelier.  Everyone is invited to the sneak peek at the master plan for Tower Grove Park.  Wednesday, August 30, 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Piper Palm House.

 

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER MASSES AND PRAYER SERVICES

ALL are invited, we love your company; I think you’ll love this prayer opportunity.

August 25 at 8:30am in the school gym: 8th grade will lead us in the story of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland.
September 1 at 8:00am at church: Mrs. Kuppinger’s 7th grade will lead singing and prayer at the Friday morning Mass for K – 8th students.
September 8, 8:00am at church, Mrs. Finnegan’s 6th grade will lead singing and prayer.
September 15, Ms. Wucher’s homeroom will lead singing and prayer.
September 22, Ms. Walz’s homeroom will lead singing and prayer.
September 27,WEDNESDAY mass for MIDDLE SCHOOL only lead by Mr. Unverferth’s 8th grade.
September 28, THURSDAY, mass for all students, PRESCHOOL – 8TH, singing and prayer led by Ms. Kavanaugh’s 5th grade.

 

Calling all one-sided paper for copying purposes.  As long as the already printed side is not inappropriate for children’s eyes we can repurpose that paper and save a few dollars.  Thank you, Ms. Stephens.

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