Thursday Newsletter

August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017



It is our hope to always be in clear and continuous communication with our school families.  To that end we use a variety of tools to keep the lines of communication running smoothly.

Good ol’ phone communication: thanks to the generosity of so many and the extraordinary hard work of the Auction committee we have a new phone system.

Most importantly our new VOIP (voice over internet phone) system allows us two-way communication with classrooms, allowing the teacher in the classroom to initiate that communication if necessary.
It also means that parents can now leave voice mail messages with a classroom teacher. 

To leave a message for a teacher, call the main office and ask to be put into the teacher’s voice mail. This conservative approach to using the classroom phone in regard to outside calls avoids the phone ringing in the classroom and interrupting teachers while teaching and students while learning.

Fast Direct is our primary form of communication with families whose children are in preschool through fifth grade (middles school is moving to Google Classroom).

Teachers respond to Fast Direct emails within 24 hours.
All students’ quarterly report cards will be published on Fast Direct

1st through 8th all quarters – see the calendar for end of quarter dates. (Reports will be published on Nov. 1, Jan. 18, March 22, and June7.)
Preschool and kindergarten are published for 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters.

Parents of 3rd through 8th graders can view their child’s teacher’s gradebook via Fast Direct.
Most importantly, Fast Direct holds your child’s emergency contacts.

Today is a good day to double check to make sure all your contact information is up to date – it will take you 5 minutes, it may save us 30 minutes as we search out where to find you on that 1 single day when your child falls and seriously hurts her or himself.
Did you remember to check all the little boxes in the emergency contact section of Fast Direct that allows you to receive Fast Direct directly onto your phone or into your email box?

Remember also that your child’s teacher may be writing a weekly newsletter or posting homework assignments on her Fast Direct bulletin board/planner.

Teachers update their Fast Direct bulletin at least every other week, if not weekly.
Your child’s teacher’s Fast Direct bulletin board maintains an updated school calendar throughout the school year.

School Messenger is our least used but always there when we need it calling system.  It is the automated calling system used for emergencies only.  

It is dependent on your Fast Direct information being up to date.  In the case of an emergency, a snow day or a rainy day dismissal you will receive a message by phone informing you of the emergency at hand and how we are managing it.

The website was perhaps your go-to when you were first school shopping but did you know that there’s still information there you may want to access?

At the beginning of each quarter, teachers post on their SMOS website teacher page a list of those curriculum topics to be addressed during that quarter.
On the front page of the website running along the right hand side is an updated school calendar that includes SMOS sports events.
If you have gmail and are tech savvy it is possible to sync the school calendar with your gmail.

The Thursday Newsletter is a good way to stay on top of what’s happening at school.
Finally, but most importantly, we, the SMOS administrative team, maintains an open door policy.  Face to face communication is most effective for the really important issues.

Sue Brown, Chris Stephens and myself are always at your disposal.
Feel free to drop in or to request an appointment – we are here for your family and your child(ren).



We seem to have more and more children riding bikes and scooters to school – which I think is absolutely wonderful. But, I need the children (and the adults) to follow a simple safety rule.  As soon as your child reaches school property – the sidewalk, the play space, between the buildings – I ask that your child walk his or her bike or scooter to the place where the bike or scooter will be left for the day.

Just yesterday we had an older child riding a bike knock over a kindergarten on foot.
Last year there was the case of the young child stepping from her mother’s car to the Lawrence sidewalk only to be hit by an older child riding his bike.

  If you will please speak with your children, I will ask our teachers to also speak with the children about maintaining the safety of all.



Last Friday, our 8th grade led us in our start to the school year prayer service and the telling of our patron saint’s story.  It’s a tradition, but this class – oh my, this class – they added a touch I had not witnessed before.  As Mr. Unverferth began passing out parts to the play and prayer, calling out who wants to read the intro, the scripture, etc. hands went up.  Every student wanted to play a part in telling of our story.   But then he asked who wants to play the role of Queen Margaret – 4 hands went up.  Mr. U said “Well, if you want the part you will need to write a short essay about how Queen Margaret was like Jesus and what that has to do with you.”  Well, I thought to myself, that will cut the numbers down. The next day all 4 girls walked in with 1 page essays – each one stunning. We agreed, “how could one possibly choose?”  And so, he whimped out (oops, did I just write that!) and told the girls to go talk it out and figure out who should play the part.  I was not privy to their conversation only to the result – they could not decide and so chose to toss a coin.  Coin tossed, girl chosen. 

After lunch she came back to Mr. Unverferth and said “You know it really should be one of the other girls, let’s let her play the part.” 
I think I can guess that first conversation among those 4 girls, I suspect it went something like “You can have the part.” “No, you can have the part.” “I would really like it, but you can have the part.”
What does St. Margaret have to do with our 14 year old young women?  I cannot think of a better example of SMOS than those 4 girls in that one moment.

I was walking one of the new students over to Purcell Hall this morning (our automatic buzzer is under repair).   We were just chatting about his new school and his previous school.  Without much hesitation, he quickly said that he liked having a choice about which world language and which music class to take coming into 6th grade.  I have to agree, I like that to.
This week and last Ms. Brown has been making it a point to visit classrooms as a way of getting to know students and getting to see teachers in action.  After a visit to the top floor of St. Joseph Hall,

Ms. Brown was beaming with stories of 3rd graders practicing how to greet another person with eye contact and a firm handshake.
She was equally impressed with Signora Zegarra-Ballon’s Spanish class of 2nd graders.  Their pronunciation and use of Spanish vocabulary was spot on; Signora’s conversant tone always in Spanish was easily understood by her students.  Ms. Brown is a former Spanish teacher.

Our parents are what is so good about St. Margaret of Scotland School.  Last year when Ms. Nemanick, after many years of heading up the school library, was ready to pass on the reigns; whole new set of parents stepped into her shoes.

Many thanks to Kayse Moss, Sarah Arunski and Angela Faul for taking on the library.
More thanks to them for reinstituting the Scholastic Book Fair.  Mark your calendars for the week of October 2nd.

Ms. Stephens is what is so very good about St. Margaret of Scotland School.

 She worked all summer long to place book and supply orders always searching out the best deal.
She worked all summer long to make sure that all the paper work was in order to allow a seamless transition from one year to the next: graduating families from Fast Direct while adding new families, checking and rechecking bookkeeping so that all records were accurate, setting up class lists, recording each child’s special health needs, designing fun and inspirational bulletin boards, lunch tickets, milk bracelets, media release forms.  I could go on and on and on.



In case you missed it at Packet Day, here’s your chance to be involved in your child’s classroom.  We are looking for parents in all grade levels who are looking for a great way to get involved.  Be a room parent! Help with:

Field trips
Class parties
Faculty luncheons and many other exciting events

For a few hours a quarter, get involved and make a difference in the SMOS experience for your child and his/her classmates. 

You can be a Head Room Parent or a Co-Room Parent.  You can be a Room Parent in one classroom or in all of your children’s classrooms.  If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Carrie Crompton, PTA Room Parent Coordinator, via FastDirect or directly at  Don’t forget – you must have attended or plan to attend a Protecting God’s Children workshop.



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Saturday, September 23, 2017
@ SMOS Gym, 3964 Castleman Ave.
Doors Open at 6:00 pm / Races at 7:00 pm (event will be over by 10:00 pm)
$20 in advance / $25 at the door – purchase advanced ticket by September 15th
Tickets available on WeShare
10 races and mouse roulette - Buy tickets and place your bets!
Raffle for SMOS AA Liquor Basket
Beer, wine, water and soda included!
Bring your own drinks and snacks to share (or not)!
Parking available in the school playground and on Lawrence Street
This is a cash event with no ATM available so bring your wallet for betting on races.
This is an adult event so leave the kiddos at home.
Sponsors can fund part of the event for $100/race and will have ample advertising.

This is a fundraiser hosted the SMOS Athletic Association with the proceeds benefitting our sports programs.  The Athletic Association uses fundraisers like this to be able to support the growing sports programs at SMOS, as well as making improvements to athletic facilities that all of our students use during school day gym classes.  We recently installed new gym windows, sun shades and new gym lights. 

* No mice are harmed as part of the races.  They live a very happy life with the “Mouse Guy”.

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